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STOP #252

Today's travels had us moving along the Florida Gulf Coast for 123 miles to our final stop of the year. This will be our third New Year's Eve in a row that we have stayed at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park for the Canopener Airstream Rally. The difference is this time we get to camp for half price because I finally made it to 65 years old and am still legally a Florida State resident. That alone saved us $294.00 over the cost of staying here each of the past two years.

We were pleased to see all the communities along the Gulf Coast were well on their way to rebuilding after the October 2018 Hurricane Michael devastated the shorline. Most all of the cleanup is done and there are a lot of new homes and construction still under way for most of the area we travel past today.

Campsite #108 at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Early morning scene at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park beach.

TUESDAY - Although the "official" Canopener Rally doesn't start until next Thursday it doesn't mean there aren't a few dozen Airstreams in the park already. Enough so that one of our attendees took it upon herself to host a Taco Tuesday Night at her campsite.

A quick last minute announcement on the Rally's Facebook Group with requests to bring taco fixin's ended up attracting between 40-50 people. Tricia cooked up and prepared 2-lbs. of Pulled Mojo Chicken to satisfy the few non-red meat eaters in the group and there were plenty of other toppings to sample from.

Thankfully someone thought to bring cookies for desert to share with everyone. Someone else made up a few Crab Rangoons which also served as a desert, at least for me it did.

THURSDAY - Yesterday it rained off and on all day so not too much was happening around the campground. I took the opportunity in the morning to go and get new rear brakes and rear shocks installed on ROVER, so now he is as ready as can be for our trip to Alaska next summer.

Around 11:30AM we felt it would be a good day to go out for lunch and eat at the nearby Stinky's Fish Camp Restaurant.

Every year we hear all the great comments from others attending the rally about how good the food is there, but we've never been. That all changed today! We figured this may be the last time we will be in this area for quite some time. So it was now, or possibly never, if we wanted to go and try it.

Tricia selected the Fresh Fish Tacos and I sampled the Grilled Gulf Shrimp with Sidewinder Fries and a pair of Crawfish Hush Puppies. I even offered to share the Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie, but in the end I had it all to myself. P.S.-Thanks Bob! It was delicious.

While all of the drinkers planned a 2:00PM outing to tour the nearby Distillery 98 and Idyll Hounds Brewing Company, us non-drinkers got together at 1:30PM for a Bingo Session held inside the park's clubhouse.

There were five prizes awarded to the first five winners. We arrived a little late and missed Game #1. Tricia won Game #5 and received a prize and or course, in true form, I won Game #6 and received nothing.

Tricia and I each won one game!




Believe it or not by 9:00PM last night we were both tucked safely into bed
and reading our books. I guess we are becoming a couple of old fuddy duddies.

TUESDAY - Twice this week Tricia invited everyone over to our campsite to sit down and make their own Canopener Keepsake using her bead collections.

A dozen or more people showed up and made themselves bracelets, necklaces and pins to take back home.

She was setup and ready 30 minutes before the crafters were scheduled to show up!

FRIDAY - Today is the day I personally look forward to the most while here at the Canopener Rally. It's time for the Chili Cookoff and the Cornhole Tournament.

Calling it a Chili Cookoff is not really all that accurate, because a large percentage of the dishes are not even chili. I learned that the first year we were here when I offered up samples of my Key West Chili and my Green and White Chili (my recipes can be found on the RECIPES TAB on this website).

This year I'm going to be offering my versions of Chipolte Chicken Corn Chowder and Brunswick Stew. I hope everyone enjoys them!

UPDATE: My Chipolte Chicken Corn Chowder won "1st Place" in the Miscellaneous (i.e. non-chili) Category.

While I did win an award in the Chili Cookoff,
I didn't fare as well in this years Cornhole Tournament.

Two years ago I made to the Final 4 before being defeated by the eventual champion. Last year there was no tournament due to COVID restrictions on large gatherings. This year I barely made it into the Sweet 16 Round with a 21-23 win. Then I was bested by the 2019 Champion by a score of 21-18. He lost in the next round and guess who won?

The same player who won the tournament back in 2020. Todd was clearly the best player in both tournaments where most of his wins weren't even close to be losses.

SATURDAY - This afternoon our "tireless trio of leaders" were treated to a one-of-a-kind limo ride throughout the campground in a Boat Car named “Tsunami“.

While this vehicle does have a boat propeller under the rear bumper it does not float, but it can and has been driven 70MPH down the Interstate Highway.

The Boat Car passing by our campsite!

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