We headed for the coastal route, Highway 98, so we could see the Gulf communities with the white sandy beaches. We saw some intercoastal waterways, some beaches, some pine forests and palmettos. We saw some lovely southern homes and tall condos on the Gulf islands.
We settled in at the Panama City Elks Lodge which is next door to the marina and the City Hall. The Elks Lodge has its own beach which we just had to try out. There was no signs of oil yet but they were worried. The water looked a little brown near the shore but we were told that it was because there had been some heavy rains lately and it was muddy water coming down the rivers and creeks into the bay. Also, like we had seen in Alaska, when fresh water comes into salt water it takes a while to mix and it looks murky.
The water was so warm that it was NOT refreshing, since we were so hot and very humid. We walked around the marina and saw a group of law enforcement and fishing boats gathering on the docks in preparation of setting out with some Coast Guard booms. They were going over the safety proceedures.
The Lodge Lounge was not normally open but someone was preparing for an event so they welcomed us, and our neighbors, in for a drink. We were very grateful for the wonderfully cool air conditioning.
Our neighbors are (naturally) Elks, but they are also Escapees that have Texas drivers licenses and have their mail forwarded from Livingston. We enjoyed their company and discovered we are heading in the same direciton.