Saturday, September 18, 2010

Red Bay then Destin

First we want to say Welcome! to our latest Follower:
La Louvre
Thanks for joining us!

We waited until after noon to get into the Service Bay to check out our sagging tanks.  We were willing to stay a couple of days more to get them fixed if they needed it.  The basement floorboard under the tanks is starting to bulge a little.  We were concerned that the wood was rotting and wanted to be sure we were ok.
Pete, David and Craig all agreed they were in good shape and we were in no danger.  There was no evidence of leaking or any wet plywood.  We have a 6 year warranty on them so we can check them again next time we are in Red Bay.

That was a 15 minute check and it was approaching 1:00PM.  We decided leave Red Bay for Destin FL where we had reservations at the Destin Army Recreation Area.  It was a long but good drive and fun until about 9:00 PM.  We called ahead and let them know it would be after 8:00 PM before we arrived.  They said it was no problem - they were open until 10:00 PM.

We debated whether or not to stop at the state line/Florida Visitor's Center and go in first thing on Thursday morning.  But we decided to continue on and passed a lot of deer along the highway.  That was a bit unnerving as we got into the Niceville/Eglin AFB area off I-10.

So after 16 months on the road~ we became 'one of those guys'.  I always wondered what the big deal was that would make someone travel late at night and why they would want to arrive in the dark and set up in the dark?  
We have seen it many times and commented, "Not for us!"...  Ha!
But I doubt we will do it again.  We'll see.

We got to Destin and missed our turn onto Benning Drive.  We turned around, went back and arrived at the gate at 10:20 PM.  Pressing to get there and seeing lots of deer by the roadside ~ that was the no fun part.  We were very glad to see someone in the registration office!  She could not have been nicer and more helpful!

We are pretty excited to be here.  This is one of the best kept secrets in the Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine MWR (Morale, Recreation, Welfare) system!
We had not heard of it but it has been here for 30+ years.  It is open to active duty military, military retirees and DoD civilians.  Our site is costing $19/night.

Thursday was a day of exploring.  Pam and I met down the road at Fort Walton Beach in 1978.  We were both in the USAF stationed at Hurlburt Field.  We came back and visited with our kids in the early 1990's and haven't been back since then.  We were anxious to drive around to see what's changed.

Wow!  Fort Walton Beach and Hurlburt Field have changed a LOT since we were last here 16 or 17 years ago.  The base has grown to be a huge place now.  It is the home of the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).  In the late 1970's it seemed the base was a sleep hollow type of place. Now it is booming!  We did not recognize most of the buildings on base.  It has really come of age.

Later, in FWB, we went by our first apartment.  It is now a condominium and it was nice to see it is still well maintained.
We also went to the beach on Santa Rosa Island.  This area has the arguably the whitest beaches in the world.  We have never seen anything like them.  We would come here often.
After living her in the late 1970's these beaches became the standard by which we have measured all others.  Nothing like them!  There is absolutely no evidence of oil or remnants of the tragic oil spill in the Gulf.  None.  Nada.

Before the end of the day, we had time to go back to the campground pool and enjoy that for a while.
After dinner, we went down by the water again and watched the birds and water and the stars in the sky.
The campground is about 2 miles from the gulf side of the beach and located on the water of the Choctawhatchee Bay on the Florida Panhandle and the Emerald Coast.  We are off to a great start here in Destin and loving the high 80 degree temps.  The soft balmy breezes are what we have been looking forward to.

Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles today.  We are glad you stopped by!


  1. Wow what a neat place, That is our dream too, to be able to spend a winter in a place like that. Even the price is great.Hope you guys enjoy your stay, Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  2. Randy and Pam, We have been followers for several months now. We really enjoy reading about your experiences. We fell in love with the Destin, FtWalton Beach,Mary Esther area in 2007 when our daughter and her family moved to Mary Esther. Now that we have our motor home, we hope to winter there maybe next winter. We recommend First Baptist Church in Mary Esther. We will be there without MH in early November.

  3. Yup, we have been *those guys* a couple of times, arriving after dark. But when you work 5am till 3pm and then hit the road, sometimes you can't get to the final destination till after dark. Especially now that it's fall and it gets darker much faster.

    When we do, we try to go to campgrounds we know and places we have camped in that particular site, so we know we will fit and the lay of the land so to speak.

    Have been to Destin, lovely area and great beach to enjoy. Loved the pic of your shoes up in the air and relaxing as you look out over the water. How nice!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  4. Maybe we will have to look at that campground again. We drove thru it with the car a few years ago and it seemed a bit tight.

    We spend a good deal of time in the area as one of our daughters lives there. we always stay at the Emerald Beach RV park in Navarre, also on the water.

  5. Looks like a really nice area and how fun for you to return to the place you met, enjoy your stay. What is a DoD civilian?

  6. We were late getting there on our very first night of "rental" RVing. The day had been one delay after another! Having survived that I guess we can do just about anything.

    Also on that trip, we stayed at a friends house instead of one night at a state park up in Washington. We had paid for the park, but by the second week into our trip, we realized it didn't matter.

    Sleeping in a driveway was free so there was no loss and we went to the park the next day.

    I hope we will always be able to say enough and park where we are safe rather than try to make a reserved spot in the dark!

  7. That sure is a beautiful looking park, and those beaches with the white sand are spectacular!

    Like you, we've only arrived after dark once, and it was unavoidable, but never again if we can help it.

  8. Love, love, love the FWB area! Have been there many times and it never gets old. My brother and his family live in FW... If you head over to Destin, be sure to eat at The Back Porch... it is our favorite place.

    If I'd known you were headed toward FWB, I would have stowed-away in the Roadrunner! Sorry we didn't get to visit during your stay in Red Bay... maybe next time. I owe you both a Harvey's shake...

    Dig your toes deep into that beautiful sugar sand one time just for me!

    Safe travels!

    Kerri in AL :-)

  9. That's quite the change from camp Red Bay on the old runway!

    Isn't it interesting how you get accustomed to going to Red Bay to get things done?

    Its almost like you are looking forward to fixing stuff up and getting new things installed. Even though it is going to cost a bunch of money, you know they will do it right and charge a reasonable price.

    I guess that's why there is such a waiting list to get service there.

    I am always envious of you folks that qualify to use the MWR campgrounds, since it is off limits to us single tour of duty folks. Even if our tour was in a hostile fire zone, since we only have our 6 years we can't qualify.

    But I guess you folks re upped and there has to be some perks for doing that. LOL

    Retired Rod

  10. We've never driven that late at night , but came close to it when we were driving though part of the Blue Ridge Mountains in March this year at dusk. It wasn't fun having to worry about the deer at every turn we made.

    Looks like you have a great spot there, enjoy!

    Ruth and Kevin

  11. Destin is one of the best places to spend time. I just wish I had bought that house foundation I was offered after Camille. The sand is so white. Thanks also for the on site oil spill update. I seldom trust the news anymore.
    Anchorage is yellow trees and 35-60 degrees each day this week. We should have winter in about 3 weeks.
    Nice that you still can find your old places you enjoyed.

  12. Glad the tanks in the MH are OK.
    Coming into a park after dark isn't our favorite thing to do either. As you wrote, sometimes it just happens that way. At least you arrived safely and got set up without incident.

    Nice looking place there! Enjoy your time in the warm sun.

  13. Welcome back to Florida. Looks like you are living in Paradise, what a nice park. Glad you finished your stay at Red Bay and can enjoy your time in Florida.