The day started off really rough. After getting thoroughly lost, I decided I needed a real map and headed to the Florida Visitor Center (on the border). What I thought was a 20 mile commitment turned out to be closer to 55 miles-the first place to turn around and head back into Florida from Alabama is 13 miles past the state line. Oh well...I got some really good stuff from the visitor center, not to mention a taste of Florida orange juice (grapefruit is also available), and I am going to spend a lot of time in this state.
Next stop was the Waffle House in Pensacola. Now I feel really dumb for passing these up for years. They have some good food at downright cheap prices. I had biscuits & gravy (probably the best I have ever had away from my own kitchen), covered (cheese on top) scattered (as opposed to cooked close together in a ring form) hash browns, and sweet tea for under $5 before tip.
Then I headed over to Historic Pensacola Village(WFU sponsored). They offer tours, but my time was limited so I just strolled around the grounds and took a few photographs. Then I went over to the TT Wentworth Museum for a historical timeline (done very well) of the area.
I noticed what appears to be a humorous sign, actually two of them. It read "Check Fuel Long Bridge Ahead". This might have made sense on the bridge across Lake Pontchartrain, but this little toll ($1) bridge was less than 4 miles long. How many people have run out of gasoline on this bridge (maybe idling in traffic?) to necessitate this signage?
Just as you reach the island, past the toll collection area, there is a beautiful little beach on the left side of the road.It had free parking very close to the water. The water on this (north) side of the island is actually deep enough to enjoy a swim in the warm water. Then I began the very slow drive (35 mph) from the bridge back to the mainland that took about an hour.
I found a weekly rental on the water in Fort Walton for $180 per week. It overlooks the bay, has water access, a porch swing, and a lot of bugs. The owners were great and the placed worked out okay, don't know if I would do it again though (thus I am withholding its name and exact location).
I went out to Destin for fireworks. Forget about trying to park on the Destin side of the bridge. Just grab a space in the lot southwest of the bridge and get ready for some nice fireworks.
Here's Your Sign: "Check Fuel Long Bridge Ahead" on a short bridge
ROUTE: US 90 East>FL 399 South>US 98 East
Lodging: Weekly rental in Ft. Walton
Meals: Waffle House (****Food ***Service)
Attractions: Florida State Visitor Center, Historic Pensacola Village, TT Wentworth Museum, Pensacola Beach, and Destin Fireworks
$$$: $1 Toll $28 Fuel $180 Motel $28 Groceries $6 Food = $243