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Oh beach, where fore art thou??

Bill got a Garmin GPS system for his birthday. We could not help but laugh as Bill “played” with his new toy. It sat on the front windshield of our minivan and looked and sounded a little like something in an airplane. Anytime we exited the freeway it would say “repositioning.”

And Bill would cup his hand around his mouth and in his best airline captain voice he’d say…“Request approach for landing. Request approach for landing.” Made us laugh.


When we exited the car we’d hear (in the same captain-ish voice) something about thanking us for flying with him.

The GPS was a hit.

But here’s the thing with GPS systems. You have to tell it where you are going. And once we left Savannah….well, we didn’t exactly know where we were going. We knew Florida, but so many beaches, so many decisions.

So we headed South with the Garmin freaked that it didn’t know exactly where we were headed. No final destination. We did have a map we picked up once in a Cracker Barrel. Problem with that was that it only had roads where Cracker Barrels could be found. And I realize that in the South, that’s a good bit of roads, but it’s not all of them. Had we needed some biscuits and gravy, we’d have been good, but at this point, lodging was more of the issue.

After consulting with my dad and a man in a gas station - who ended up selling us a regular “good ole’ fashioned” map, we continued on through Florida. (We later learned that one reason our Garmin freaked was that we were near an air force base and they purposely scramble the signals. Someone should let the Garmin people know, because we thought for a minute there we were going to have to return the thing.)

Somewhere around 9:00 PM we decided that Panama City was a little too “college spring breaky” and decided to program Destin as our final DESTINation. The Garmin could rest a little easier now.

And then we called a few hotels. We learned that most of the hotels in Destin are across the highway from the ocean. We were told that the privately owned condominiums are on the beach side. That kind of bummed me out because dodging cars on a freeway while carrying buckets and shovels and the like did not exactly sound relaxing to me.

When we arrived in Destin, we saw a hotel on the beach side but with a road in front of it. That beat a freeway so we inquired.

Sold out.

This was when we began to question our “fly by the seat of our pants” vacation strategy.

But just for a second.

As we pulled out of the hotel, thinking maybe Fort Walton Beach might be nice, we saw a condo that said….“Vacancy…Walk ins welcome”. At this point it is 12:15 am. We doubted we’d find anyone around, but sure enough, there was someone who was getting off work shortly. He showed Bill a room that was only slightly more than the hotel. The hotel with only two beds a microwave and a mini fridge…and a view of the freeway.

And as Bill was in there, I was praying that the room would be the right place for the right price.

Next thing I knew Bill said…“let’s unload!”

Music to my ears it was…music to my ears.

And not only did we all have a bed…..king size room for us, bunk beds for two kids and a fold out couch for the others, full kitchen, two baths…..THIS is the view we saw when we woke up the next morning.

As my uncle Heartsil would say….“How sweet it is….how sweet it is.”

The Destin Beach Club suited us just fine! And then…when we woke up the next day they called to say the rates for Friday and Saturday had gone up $70 more per night - Spring Break rates (I guess Texas is a little ahead of the curve on our Spring Break dates). We (politely) told them that wasn’t in the deal and they agreed to continue our “off season” rates. And I really think God got a kick out of getting “the right price” for us. Really I do.

And this was kind of how we spent our days at the beach…

Evening dip in the pool with dad.

Flew a kite.

Stacked on the pullout couch for some movies.

Continued working on the sand castle.

Frolicked in the ocean.

Played some card games, mostly as a family. This particular one was between Jacob and his imaginary friend, Powers.

Had a shaved ice…yum!

Contemplated life.And pretty much just soaked in the sunshine!

(some of us a little too much….and with VERY poor sunscreen application skills!)

And all too soon, the sun was setting and it was time to head home.

We input our destination into the Garmin and just like that, we were off.

And, tonight when we were putting Jacob to bed he said…“I want to go back to Florida. It’s more funner there.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Comments: #

Deb - Mar 4, 2009

Sounds like you had a great trip. Beautiful beach!!

Deanne - Mar 4, 2009

I really had some interesting visuals with the whole “this is your captain speaking”. Sounds like a fun time was had by all. Too bad Spring Break only comes once a year….

Beth - Mar 1, 2009

I got a Garmin GPS for my birthday too! What a hoot! OK - my favorite pic of all is the one on the beach with everyone holding hands turned around, looking at the camera. That’s a blow-up, put on your wall pic! Love it!