Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Racing The Sunset

Last week, after leaving Tallahassee, I took the back roads with no particular goal except "water".

To that end, I focused on boat ramps for photo ops since they ...
A) Provide easy access to waterways.
B) Are usually well marked and easy to find.
C) Provide entertainment when actually being used by boaters.
D) Are on my mind in new areas since I am one of those entertaining boat launchers.

The collage below is just a smattering of the scenery.
I hit boat ramps at St. Marks, Econfina, Aucilla, Wakulla ... lots of boat ramps.
All of them were in great shape, even the fairly remote ramps.

Even though it was mid-afternoon on a workday and all the ramps were quiet, you could judge which ones are crazy busy with Tallahassee boaters on weekends by the size of the parking areas. Some of them were vast.

Some of the scenery.

This lady was just sitting enjoying a quiet afternoon on the dock of this ramp.

Most of my side trips were at the beginning of the trip home when I had plenty of daylight to burn. By the time I got to Perry, I was in "might as well just scoot home" mode.
Some of those blessed afternoon thunderstorms had built up enough to drop the windows and turn off the AC ... which I did to save gas.
It was a hot day and I had been in and out of the JEEP all afternoon taking photos, but I didn't plan to go in anywhere, so being a little sweaty and windblown did not seem to be a social issue.
Passing through Perry as the sun was setting, an amazing smell wafted in through the open windows of the JEEP.
I wheeled my steed around and pulled in to Goodman's. The parking lot told me I had made a good decision ... loads of pickup trucks and about 5 police cars ... all signs of good BBQ.

I ordered a triple decker BBQ pork sandwich on garlic bread and an unsweet tea to go.
When it was ready, I went.
As soon as I got back on the road, I was in a quandry.
How do I eat this amazingly good smellin' drippy sandwich and drive.
Plus ... I was wearing my new "Save Our Gulf" T-shirt and the thought of BBQ sauce stains on it (so soon) was most unpleasant.
I drove a little farther in this state of indecision, until the sign for Keaton Beach popped up.
Hmmm ... 17 miles ... could I beat the sunset and get a few last second photos while eating my BBQ sandwich by the Gulf?
Could I stand the smell that long without giving in to temptation?
I decided to go for it!

Keaton Beach is not a "beach" in the typical Florida chamber of commerce style. None of these tiny big bend communities ... Horseshoe Beach, Dekle Beach, or Keaton Beach have what an east coast raised Floridian would call a true "beach".
Neither do they have wall to wall motels, asphalt, condo's, or "attractions".

Keaton Beach is barely above sealevel, so homes are perched poles along whatever "high" ground that exists.
The storm of the century in March of '93 pounded these communities and drowned about 13 folks who were caught unaware by the storm surge.
Memories are short though and people rebuild, so it will happen again.

I'm happy to say, I did beat the sunset and got to enjoy the show as it sank in to the Gulf of Florida.

My faithful steed who got me there in time, taking a well deserved rest.

As you can see, I was strong and the sandwich did make it all the way to the Gulf.
It was excellent, but then ... almost any food seasoned with a beachside sunset turns out delicious.


Sayre said...

You were hanging out in my old stomping grounds! Riverside Cafe in St. Marks is really good, if you're hungry the next time you're up that way...

Hahahaha.... my word verification is "fooding"

The Florida Blogger said...

I remember driving through Perry when I was little thinking I was in Miami because of the palm trees that lined the center median. Little did I know:)

Dani said...

A day with the Jeep windows down, BBQ, and a beautiful sunset. Sounds wonderful to me!

Miz S said...

Hats off to a man with amazing will power.

Don't you love the bbq sign that has the pig in the chef's hat, wearing a bib, looking really cheerful? Like he's getting ready to roast and eat some of his fellow pigs. It's wrong on so many levels.

Caroline said...

Can almost smell that BBQ sandwich from your description! Sounds yummy to me :o)

lisa said...

That sunset picture is just beautiful, what a way to have a meal!

SophieMae said...

I'm playing catch-up yet again. Actually, I read your post yesterday, but, by the end, I couldn't see to type anything. *snffffff* What everybody else said.

I just now caught the fishing post and drooled over that red. Did you keep any? The remora was too cool. Looked like a sneaker sole. No, not a sole, a sole. 8-}

Moving on to the present... I sure wish we'd bought property around Dekle/Keaton when we had the chance years ago. Oh, and next time you're on that long road between the refuge and Perry, head on down Cow Creek Grade. (Be sure your bladder is on empty!) The end of the road is well worth the drive. Did you happen to see Poor Spot Cemetery Road? I have yet to check out that one, though my curiosity is sufficiently piqued.

Now I'm craving BBChew and a Cuban. And my v word today is licking, lol!

Lynn said...

No not your typical east coast beach that I grew up on, but it did remind me of an area out in the Keys. LOVE the look of the stilts but hate the climb.

Floridacracker said...

Riverside Cafe is on my list!

Oh yeah, a LONG way from Miami.

It was pretty wonderful!

Miz S,
Those happy BBQ pig signs always strike me as odd too!

It was good and smoky!

Gulf sunsets tend to be spectacular. Makes it easy for the photographer!

I will be seeking out Cow Creek grade. Appreciate the tips!!!

Bringing in the groceries probably gets old!