Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Florida's Forgotten Coast

When people think of Florida, they think of places like Daytona Beach, Orlando, Jacksonville and Miami. Off the panhandle, down along the Gulf of Mexico, lies Florida's Forgotten Coast. Major cities along this stretch of clean white sands and uncrowded beaches include St. Joe's, Panama City and Pensacola. Shunning Interstate 10, we decided to take an alternate route along this coast. Unfortunately, we encountered rain during this portion of our journey through the "Sunshine State".  While this area is beautiful and we were blessed with a safe journey, I was not able to get too many good pictures. What you see below, is the best of the bunch...enjoy.

This is what I pictured the deep south to look like. Large trees shrouded in Spanish Moss, a plant that is not actually moss but rather a bromeliad - a perennial of the pineapple family. I thought this was a fantastic example.

In Madison, Florida we discovered this huge old steam engine. It was used in Peanut and Cotton processing until 1919 when it was replaced by more modern engines.

One of Florida's many peanut farms that I thought looked pretty cool.

We started west on US-90 until it met with Interstate 10, which we took into Tallahassee Florida. From there we headed west on Florida 20 and south on Florida 67 to Carrabelle Florida.

This is Florida 67. As you can see, it's certainly not the Interstate. In the 45 miles we traveled on this road, we saw maybe four other vehicles. Very desolate and reminded me of the movie, "Swamp People".

I would not recommend this as a travel route. From Tallahassee, pick up US-98 and take that down to the Gulf. Much quicker and more interesting. The only interesting thing along this route is Tate's Hell State Forest, which is home to a number of endangered species and many different animals such as the American Black Bear and the Bald Eagle. It's more common inhabitants are alligators and wild cats. Only thing missing were the Swamp People and they may have been there, I just didn't see them.

After 45 miles down Florida 67, we arrived in the town of Carrabelle, Florida, population 1300 or so. The police department consists of two officers. The police chief and one other.

Carrabelle is also the home of the World's Smallest Police Station, seen here. I went inside but there was no one there. They must have been out on calls.

Sarah Purcell discovered it while visiting in the area and featured it on her television show, Real People. Later Johnny Carson featured it on the Tonight Show. It's also been featured on "Ripley's Believe It or Not"

It was an actual Police Station for decades. In the early 60s the officers used a call box mounted on a building for police calls. In inclement weather this left the officer drenched. This phone booth was installed in March 1963 to offer protection for the officers during their shift. The officer could sit in his police cruiser and observe most everything going on in town, while waiting for a call to come in from the phone in the booth. It was used for over 20 years.

This was a hint of things to come as we watched the sky get darker over the Gulf of Mexico.  The rain started just after leaving Carrabelle and lasted almost until we arrived in Destin.

Going through Panama City, Florida in the rain.  Not too many pictures due to the inclement weather.

The rain finally let up just as we arrived in Destin, Florida.

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