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I made it to Destin around 6:30 last night.  As I passed all the bear crossing signs around dusk, I thought I might spot one until I realized this freezing weather probably sent them into hibernation!  Actually, it made me wonder if all bears hibernate.  It seems like Florida bears could just travel south for the winter. In addition to looking for bears, I kept an eye out for mileage signs to Destin.  I only saw signs for Panama City which I thought I heard Dottie say over my cell connection was about an hour east of Destin.  I was moderately perplexed as my GPS estimated my time of arrival to Destin to be the same time (in my mind) that I reached Panama City.  I kept contemplating what I could have misunderstood when I realized I had crossed into the Central Time Zone!!  I haven’t been on CST for months…I’m getting closer to home!  Sadly, however, I have to admit that I always thought Florida was in the Eastern Time Zone.  It magnified the fact that while I’ve visited all over Florida in my lifetime, I’ve never been to the western part of the panhandle!  I sure have missed out.  I should have used my high school graduation present, a week stay at Dottie’s condo, years ago.

The dogs and I enjoyed a lackadaisical day.  We spent the morning lounging around the condo, blogging, and waiting to see the bomb house in Escondido, CA get burned to the ground.  We also caught a few blurbs on Wikileaks and debates centering around the Bush tax cuts and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.  I figured if I was going to walk on the beach in Florida, I wanted it to be above 49 degrees which was forecasted to take place around lunchtime.  We headed to the beach to quickly find out dogs weren’t allowed to enjoy the white sandy beach reflecting sun so bright I walked with squinting eyes; crystal clear waters that changed colors between aqua marine, turquoise, and navy blue with the depth of the Gulf of Mexico; and pelicans and gulls staring intently into waves gently lapping onshore hoping to catch a fish.  The scene looked like a beautiful, spring day until beach walkers passed by in pants and jackets.  I spent just a short time absorbing the view before we set out to find a dog friendly park or beach…no such thing in Destin and the surrounding area!  We stopped at the only two parks listed on my GPS, both with signs posting the rules, one being “no dogs allowed”.  We returned to the condo and took a leisurely stroll around the complex, past the marina, the putting green, two pools, and the canals dug by the yellow and white condos built on stilts to withstand high waters caused by hurricanes.

After one more blog posting, I attended the half price happy hour across the street at Louisiana Lagniappe.  The blackened shrimp and glass of wine hit the spot.  Dani, the bartender, was from Pennsylvania and has camped extensively.  Of course, now being in Florida, she wasn’t fond of the cold weather.  While we were talking, four men came in for dinner, but they ended up sitting at the bar.  I didn’t catch all of their names, but two worked for Elbit in New Hampshire and two worked for Boeing in Albuquerque.  They were here working with the nearby Air Force Base.  After chatting for a while, I called it the night and let them enjoy their dinner.  I’m preparing for a drive to Alabama and warmer temperatures tomorrow. ETB

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