2015 Trip One, Feb. 3, Florida in Winter

Feb. 3 Milton FL

I spent a pleasant time Tuesday evening reading portions of a book about two people who took canoe trips in various parts of the U.S.35 years ago. It was enjoyable to hear him describe places we have been to, Northern Minnesota, Buffalo River of Arkansas, Okefenokee Swamp and Suwanee River of Georgia and Florida.

Coldwater Creek

Coldwater Creek

It was pleasant but it was also done since we are staying at Adventures Unlimited, a combination zip line/canoeing destination along with camping and lodging. My cell and WiFi hot spot did not work and more importantly, I overlooked the Adventures Unlimited WiFi access code in big print on the front of the three-ring binder that AU provides to all guests detailing its history, exciting adventures, housekeeping rules, etc. And here you thought we must be these highly knowledgeable travelers.

Schoolhouse Inn at Adventures Unllimited

Schoolhouse Inn at Adventures Unllimited

Adventures Unlimited is in its slow season, they say it gets busier after Valentines Day/Presidents Weekend. Right now we are the only overnight lodgers, more should be coming Thursday night. We are here for three nights. Today, Wednesday, is supposed to be rainy all day so we are going in to Pensacola, 30 miles away, to see the Naval Aviation Museum. Right now though, we are listening to throngs of birds chattering in the trees around our room in the Schoolhouse Inn, one of numerous lodging options here. Appropriately, our room has a theme of James Audubon, the great American naturalist.

So far, the trip has not been the typical Florida most people think of. On Tuesday as we drove to the upper panhandle area of Florida, the highways were busy with numerous semis and RVs. We saw longhorn cattle and dairy cows along the sides of the road, not citrus groves or beaches. It seemed like every state trooper in FL was out patrolling; it kept the Daytona wannabes to a minimum.

At the MSP airport we chatted with a minister on his way to a birthday celebration for a woman in her 90s. He had been to Pennsylvania once and was stopped by a state trooper there. Turns out the trooper’s nephew had been accepted to the University of Minnesota and seeing the minister’s MN license plates, he wanted to know what he thought of the U. They had a pleasant conversation at a restaurant at the next highway interchange. That is a good way to meet a state trooper.

Our waitress last night was originally from Washington State but her parents moved to FL years ago. She is engaged and the couple is building a new home which should be ready by the time they are married later this summer. She loves the area. Milton is what I might call an exurb. There are almost 500,000 people in the metro area but only 50,000 or so souls in Pensacola. The panhandle beach area has scads of small towns with congested beach front development but Milton (population 9000) is 30 miles north and in a basically rural area. There is a military base about 10 mille south of Adventures Unlimited as well as several more large bases in the panhandle area of Florida.

Nature trail at Adventures Unlimited

Nature trail at Adventures Unlimited

The Milton area is the world’s largest continguous longleaf pine/wiregrass eco system. Hopefully when we leave here we can better describe what that looks like.

Ed and Chris Milton FL Wed. AM 2/4/15

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