We learned a good lesson on the first morning of our stay in Gulf Islands National Seashore! Before you do anything, call the Fort Pickens Road Hotline!
Let me explain.
There’s a place called the Native Cafe that I thought would be a nice place to go for breakfast on the day before Christmas. We’re planning our own holiday meals but why not check out what the locals have to offer. With the rumor of a terrific Crab Benedict being on offer at Native Cafe we headed towards Pensacola Beach for breakfast. Obviously, we finally made it there, in spite of the following story.
About 3 miles down the road we saw a sign. “Road Closed” We could see a front end loader about 1/4 mile down the road clearing accumulated sand from the highway. And a cop returning traffic whence it had come.
We spoke with one of the National Park Service Law Enforcement Officers (L.E.O.’s) about conditions here. A couple weeks ago a small front that came through with just the wrong set of circumstances and the road was drifted over to a depth of about 4 feet. So he says. One of the volunteers here at the park stopped by to let us know that the road had been reopened. He didn’t seem happy. They have been here since the end of October and have already been evacuated 7 times. Bear in mind that this is not their peak visitation season. Summer is the big time here. But this campground IS open through the year and with winter storms on the gulf I wonder how great this place is as a reliable stopping spot. It’s here, for sure. But whether it would be open could be a question. We’ll see how our stay goes. When we arrived we had three days of dry weather in an 11 day forecast. That has improved now that we’ve been here a couple days — we’ve already had 2 really nice days instead of rainy days — and there appear to be more to come.
There was a slow steady stream of campers arriving on Christmas Eve. Some even into the dark of evening. I know I turned on our marker lights for a while as the new-guy-across-the-street attempted to back into his campsite. The roads ARE a bit tight here. No matter how good you are, if you’re in a 40 footer you will go onto the grass a little while backing into your site.
The Park Service built a new shower house here at the campground. The landscaping isn’t complete but with nearly 200 sites they can use the added 6 private showers. The water temp wasn’t as hot as I might have liked, but it beat a cold shower and periodically it’s nice to get under a shower that I can just stand and soak under with a hard stream of water.
One of the idiosyncrasies of RV’ing is the world of showers… We have a full bathroom with a shower onboard but unless one is in a campground with full hookup (which isn’t all that common for us) RV’ers are accustomed to watching how much water they use. When we bought Journey we switched out the original handheld shower with a more water-efficient ECO shower. We still get a decent pressure shower but with much less water consumption. However — it’s not like a good full pressure home shower. Getting used to RV showers takes some time. If you’re a good sized boy like I am, there’s the issue of fitting INTO the shower. And with a 6 or 10 gallon water heater there are issues of how long you spend UNDER the water — we don’t normally run out of water but it has bee known to happen to some RV’ers. And, there is the issue of how much water you want to send down the drain if you’re going to be living on 100 gallons of water for 14 or more days.
We use our on board shower most of the time but from time to time — and specially when I’m in a mood to wash my hair — it’s nice to have a real shower. I won’t say that I showers are one of the things I miss most, but we had such a luxurious shower in Wisconsin that it is a change.
I’m looking forward to a little more clear weather so we can explore around the area. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.