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YEAR #2 - STOP #69

Today we set a new record for our travels, our shortest move between campsites, ever! Just 11 miles down the road is the next Florida State Park we are going to be visiting. It was touch and go for a short while because we had to be off of our current campsite before 1:00PM and check-in time at the new campground isn't until 3:00PM.

After a 10:00AM phone call we found out our new site was still being occupied by the previous night's guest and not available for us to move in. We got the same response when we called again at 11:00AM. Finally at 12:30PM our site was available and we got the green light to come on over!

I'm so glad that this state park is very relax when it comes to checking in early. We have been to state parks in other states where when they say check-in is at 2:00PM, they won't check you in even 5 minutes early. One state park we were at had a line of 17 travel trailers and motorhomes waiting at the gate to check in at 1:45PM and still refused to even expedite the paperwork to speed things along when the magic time of 2:00PM did finally come around.

I understand the need and the reasoning behind having rules, otherwise their would be nothing but chaos. The two hour window between check-out and check-in time is usually to give the park volunteers and employees a chance to clean up campsites and empty ashes out of the firepits. If the site has already been cleaned and is unoccupied, what's the harm in letting someone check in a couple of hours early?

TUESDAY (CHRISTMAS EVE) - Today we met the a nice couple from Chattanooga, TN who are camping just a few campsites down from us. They have a 30' Airstream Flying Cloud they travel part-time in and invited us to come down to their site for a campfire.

There aren't any firepits here so the only way to have a campfire is if you bring your own. Sherry and Mooch (aka Mike), that's their names, have a nice sized propane firepit we all sat around for the evening. Right next to their site is another Airstream couple, Pat and Patty, who they just met and were also invited to share the campfire.

We had a great evening sitting around the campfire, each couple talking turns telling their stories about where they live, where they have visited in their Airstream and where they want to go next. At the end of the evening we all made plans to get together again in a few days.


A Christmas sunrise on the Gulf shores of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

Once again we have all been invited down to Sherry and Mooch's site, but this time we are in for a real treat. For Christmas Dinner Mooch has a dozen soft shell crabs he is going to fry up and share with us all. Neither Tricia or I have ever tasted a soft shell crab, so this should be interesting. While Patty took care of preparing a delicious salad for tonight's meal, Tricia prepared a couple of Gorgonzola Cheese and Warm Crab dips as appetizers.

While I won't say soft shell crab is Tricia or my new favorite food, it was tasty and I thank Mooch for the opportunity for a taste of the Maryland Blue Crab delicacy.

Since Mooch had one of the few campfires in the campground he attracted a lot of visitors. Some went and brought back chairs to join us and some just stopped in to warm up around the fire. By the end of the evening we must of had at least a dozen visitors.

FRIDAY - Tonight it's our turn to treat everyone to a scrumptious dinner. Tricia loves to make a her full fledged Taco Bar. To begin with we had four different kinds of soft taco shells. For proteins we had grilled tilapia, grilled flank steak, grilled chicken and pulled pork. That was my contribution, grilling all the meats.

Tricia had made up some fresh citrus salsa with orange, pineapple and mango. She also made a fresh red salsa with plum tomatoes, onion, jalapeño pepper and cilantro. Add to that four different shredded cheeses, diced sweet onion and green onion, sour cream, lime wedges, cilantro, jalapeño and bell pepper, shredded lettuce and cabbage. Let's not forget the fresh guacamole!

Anyway enough talking about it, here's what it looked like!

Tricia's Taco Bar - quite the presentation huh?

Once again by the end of the night a number of people had come by to visit. Plenty of them were happy to make themselves a taco or two, even if the meat was cold by then. The best thing is, we still had enough left over for a solid lunch the next day!

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