Fort Walton Beach, FL to Biloxi, MS

“Lets roll the windows down, turn the radio up, and let the wind blow through our hair” – Alabama

Miles traveled: 178.4 miles

Before heading west to Mississippi, we headed back into Destin to fill the bellies. We made a quick stop on Santa Rosa Island to check out the white sand dunes and beaches, which is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. It was hotter than Adam Levine during a Maroon 5 encore as we trudged our way through calf-burning, soft white sand. There was a brief moment where I thought we were walking on the surface of the sun, but alas, it was just the 100 degrees melting the sand to the bottom of my feet. Probably not the best call to walk all the way to the water….but hey – the things you do for a photo.

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After sweating off a couple of lbs at the dunes, Alice and I grabbed breakfast at a local spot called the Donut Hole. Largest pancakes I have ever seen…and they were delicious, hubcap-sized flapjacks that I could only muster up the energy to get through about half of them. Not a waist-line friendly establishment, but worth the wait for a good solid breakfast. Plus, I sweated off the lbs that I added back on from the pancakes – so I think it was essentially a wash. It’s this very logic that may be the root of my weight fluctuations….hmmm. Eh.

Ok so while heading West, we pass by the pontoon party of all pontoon parties in the Santa Rosa Bay. Had I been better prepared for that, I would have timed my playlist perfectly to “Pontoon” by Little Big Town and rocked that catchy jingle as we passed over the bridge.

“On the pontoon/
Makin’ waves and catchin’ rays up on the roof/
Jumpin’ out the back, don’t act like you don’t want to/
Party in slow motion
/I’m out here in the open/
Mmmmmmm…motorboatin’.”

Like come on yall. That is song-writing perfection. Hats off to you, Natalie Hemby et al.

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mmmmmmm……motorboatin’

Back to reality. So it wouldn’t be a trip with Alice without hitting up at least one antique store. And how can you not stop at one called the Iron Gargoyles Antique Store?! Alice is the master at coming across some of the coolest antique and/or vintage finds. She has a great sense of design and mixing the old with the new. This is a talent I do not have, but I do enjoy hunting for old cameras and photography related trinkets (it’s kind of an addiction). And jackpot – found a few great camera treasures and an old photography book, wheeled and dealed for a better price (Dad would be so proud) on three of them, and that was another successful antiquing trip in the books!

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my addiction

my addiction

I-10 West started to get a tad boring as we drove through Florida once out of Pensacola and into Sweet Home Alabama (“where the skies are so blue”), so I hit up my Roadside America app and found the perfect quirky detour – 16 foot dental tools and a giant blue paper clip. Yes, folks, this actually happened. Alice didn’t seem as into this side excursion of awesomeness as I was as she uttered, “this is by far the weirdest thing ever.” Damn right its weird! I told Alice she should be grateful that she’s not doing the whole road trip with me since there’s major potential to pass by a lot more blue paper clips and gargantuan dental equipment the next 6 weeks. The photo of the 16-foot dental tools is going to make a great gift for one of my best pals (sorry Betsy – spoiler alert) who happens to be a dentist! Thank you Daphne, Alabama for these finds!

where the skies are so blue

where the skies are so blue

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16-foot dental tools

16-foot dental tools

big blue paper clip - no seriously

big blue paper clip – no seriously

We passed through Mobile, Alabama after making a quick stop at the post-office and to get gas/ice. And then we were on our way to Biloxi, Mississippi.

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mobile, alabama

mobile, alabama

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tunnel through mobile

tunnel through mobile

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biloxi marina – fishing boats

biloxi marina

biloxi marina

We are staying at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in a modern room with a Gulf view – it was the least I could do after the last two hotels. Alice has never gambled before, so we tried our hand at some poker and penny slots as we inhaled second hand smoke like a couple of champs.  Slot machines remain an enigma to me.  They make zero sense – so we just pushed buttons like they were going out of style.  Casinos are not Lowndes-friendly zones! We are a frugal people. We reuse aluminum foil until is softens to a tissue-paper like quality (you have to know when to stop, i.e. when you start to see metal flecks in your PBJ). So we quit the slots after losing $3.24 – winners know when to quit – and once our eyeballs burned to an intolerable level of discomfort. We wandered around, checking out the rock and roll memorabilia, scoping out the Ben & Jerry’s, and headed to dinner at the Hard Rock Café. Bizarre that there was a Hard Rock Café in the Hard Rock Hotel…

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room with a view

room with a view

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So nothing too crazy on the agenda for today, but there is room service and pool time in our future.

Until next time…

– traveljunkE

day 4

day 4

trip totals

trip totals

4 thoughts on “Fort Walton Beach, FL to Biloxi, MS

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