October 6, 2022

Maine - Part 5 (Complete)

We finish our epic Maine trip by traveling back to Florida, celebrating my 56th birthday, a day on the beach, attending a Weird Al concert, and arriving back in Wild Heron. 28 days! What an amazing trip!

Maine - Part 5 (Complete)

Day 24

We drove from Northern Tennessee to Northern Georgia.

Before leaving Warriors' Path state park where we stayed over night I got another picture of the lake in the morning.

When Sydney and Benson were staying with us a couple months ago, Benson was heavily into the song Fancy Like. It's a catchy song and was played many many times a day at his request.

So when we passed this Buc-ee's sign "Fancy like Buc-ee's ... on a road trip" I had to get a picture and send it to Sydney. Good memories! And we love Buc-ee's. We will be passing one tomorrow and will be getting their pulled pork sandwich for sure.

We stopped at Restaurant Wendy's for lunch. It wasn't as good as we remember. But we both have good memories of Wendy's from our past lives and we enjoyed remembering them today.

We arrived at Hawkins Pointe RV Park for our overnight stay.

Mitzi pulled out her sewing machine, yay!  She's been working on an intricate paper piecing sea animal quilt.  

The shark has many small details and requires a lot of precision to do it correctly. She finished the shark today and finished the crab earlier in our trip.

We went to Amparo's Kitchen. It gets excellent reviews. They make fresh and authentic Mexican food. It totally deserves the great reviews.

The chicken tamale is the best I've ever had.

We also got 3 different types of tacos.

And the Quesabirria Plate.

And for desert we got a Tres Leches Cake to-go.

It was a good travel day, a fun food experience, and we are very grateful to have the opportunity and ability to make this trip happen.

Day 25

We drove to Montgomery Alabama today.

We deviated a bit from the path and stopped at the Buc-ee's in Leeds. They sell good 'ol southern smokers and Mitzi was waiting by them for me to catch up to her after I parked the motorhome.

It was a zoo in there!

Their bathrooms are notorious for being clean and fun to use. So I got a quick pic of Mitzi after she finished her business :)

We got the reliable and delicious pulled pork sandwich, and for the first time we tried the sliced brisket. Actually I ate it, come to think of it I don't think Mitzi touched that one haha. It's good, the pulled pork is better.

Mitzi got the apple pie, another reliable favorite.

I got their cheese curls. Okay.

We arrived at our hotel in Montgomery and enjoyed the warm weather by the pool.

We also worked out in the fitness room but alas we got no pictures from that amazing experience :)

We are so close to home! 3.5 hours away. We do miss it, and are also enjoying this trip so so much.

Tomorrow we drive to Pensacola for a couple days to celebrate my birthday.

Day 26

We got back to Florida!

We stopped at Costco in Montgomery and stocked up since we don't have one near us in Panama City Beach.

As we drove through Pensacola we were at a stop light. I saw our reflection in the window across the street. Quickly grabbed the camera and got this picture before the light turned green – motorhome selfie :)

Before checking into our hotel room we went to 86 Forks in Pensacola for an early dinner.

What caught my attention is their fries are made in duck fat. They taste so good. And remind Mitzi of her childhood fries at the Chicken Inn. They used animal fat in their fries too. You just can't replicate the taste with vegetable sludge. It's got to be animal fat.

I was very happy.

We also got chicken sliders and Bao Buns Bao Chicken Bao Bao.


Then came the Beef Rice Noodle Bowl and fresh Spring Rolls.

Delightful. A fun pre-birthday meal.

As we drove to our hotel which is on the beach we see the beautiful Emerald Coast water for the first time over a month.

We arrive at the Margaritaville Hotel. Our room wasn't ready so we relaxed at the pool for an hour.

We live 7 minutes from a beach like this. It's still so fun and enjoyable to come to a place like this and peace out.

When we entered the room there was a birthday balloon surprise that Mitzi had arranged. I feel so special and loved!

I love this room and place and am so excited to celebrate my birthday at such a fun place!

We sat on the balcony and watched the sunset while a live musical performance was going on below in the pool area. The music was perfect. John Denver Country Roads and other fun and simple songs we know.

Mitzi was telling me something with emphasis and I captured her in the moment as she used her hand to communicate. I love it!

This is a difficult time of year for Mitzi and her girls with Brandon's accident and death. Grief is a terrible thing. A painful thing. We learn to let it come up and let it be felt when it comes.

As she sat on the balcony watching the sun go down the feelings came.

Every year she celebrates my birthday this time of year.

Sydney does the same for Logan who shares the same birthday. Which is tomorrow.

And Maddy and Lizzie always are so kind and loving and acknowledge and celebrate our birthdays too.

I just want to say thank you to Mitzi and Sydney and Maddy and Lizzie for being so wonderful, so sweet and kind, so loving, for making us feel loved at appreciated and celebrated at such a tender time of the year ❤️

Day 27

"It's my birthday and I'll eat pie if I want to" :) 56 years old – wow!

We ate oatmeal at the hotel's restaurant. I opened some presents before we hit the beach.

Duck Fat cooking oil – yay! Duck Fat is something I've come to love on this trip and Mitzi found the perfect gift :)

And I got Teriyaki Beef Jerky, yum!

I enjoyed some time on the balcony overlooking the beach. Mitzi sent this picture to our children letting them know I was having a very good birthday.

While opening the chocolate covered cashews I let out a rip-roaring sneeze. Mitzi being a great photographer captured it with a smile on her face. Probably a few laughs too.

And a white t-shirt from FatFace.

We went down to the hotel's restaurant and had a salad for lunch. That is goat cheese on the bread. Mitzi didn't touch it with a 10 foot pole. I found it delightful.

We headed out to the beach for a few hours. Mitzi took a walk to a nearby pier.

There is a Jones family story that is in the archives. When her girls were young she encouraged them to walk with her to a pier. "Not much farther", she said many times. They may have walked several miles, that's what they tell me. And they had no water. And didn't expect an expedition.

The pier just never got any closer and they eventually turned around and went back with out reaching it.

The story is family legend now.

So Mitzi took this picture distant from the pier and sent it to her girls, telling them she was going to walk to it.

Of course they razzed her and hoped she was bringing life sustaining supplies like water this time.

Nine minutes later she was at the pier and sent another picture to prove she made it :)

The key lime pie was desert after lunch because it was my birthday. Yum! It should have been in the lunch pictures but I'm trying to keep an even 4 in each gallery so it had to go somewhere else.

Mitzi took a walk in the other direction from the pier. These white sand beaches with emerald waters are so beautiful.

We sat at some lounge chairs under an umbrella enjoying the peace and calm of the gentle waves lapping the sand.

I did some reading in my "Secret Life of Lobsters" book. So interesting.

At one point a sailing yacht passed in front of us. I used to sail these in Texas :) There's just something surreal using the wind to power a boat and cause it to quietly cut through the water at 7 knots. No engine noise or vibration, just harnessing the wind and converting it into motion. Incredible. Powerful.

As Mitzi was returning from her walk she attacked me!

Then it was time to head back to our room and get ready for dinner and our Weird Al show.

But first I opened the last of my presents. A FatFace pull-over, I love it! And Hot & Spicy Beef Jerky, and Maraschino Cherries. Mitzi is the best gift giver, she knows just what I love.

We went to a Korean BBQ slash Sushi restaurant in Pensacola for dinner. Kalbi Ichiban. It was fun to cook our food and enjoy some spicy flavors and some sushi too!

After dinner we headed to the Saenger Theater for the Weird Al show. We weren't sure what to expect, except weirdness :)

This father and daughter were walking ahead of us to the theater. Matching shirt styles! He even looks like Weird Al from the back. Big fans I'm guessing! How great they did this together.

The theater was packed, no empty seats once the show got going.

This is the only picture I have of the stage while Weird Al was performing.

They wouldn't allow my Leica into the theater so had to do with the iPhone. Makes him look like a ghost.

The concert was quite an experience. He only played one song I recognized, which was the whole point. His tour is to perform his songs that failed to get any attention. That itself is funny.

I was laughing many times at the crazy lyrics of his songs juxtaposed with his serious nature in singing them. For example, the clash of singing a song as if it's a love ballad when the lyrics are talking about his girlfriend trying to poison his drinks and that might mean she doesn't love him anymore is very funny to me. Nobody else seemed to be laughing – maybe I'm the weird one :)

Anyway we left after an hour. The intensity of the sound and the flashing lights were somewhat overwhelming to our senses. After an hour we were totally satisfied and stumbled out of the theater needing about 15 minutes to come to our senses again.

I had a wonderful birthday. Thank you Mitzi for all you did to make it great! The presents, the food, the entertainment. Your cheerfulness, your kindness, your encouragement for me to enjoy the day.

I love you and appreciate you so much! ❤️

Day 28

We made it home this morning! A two hour drive from Pensacola to Wild Heron.

It's nice to be home.

We kept telling each-other, we can't believe how amazing this trip was. How grateful we are to be alive. To get to enjoy things like this. To get to do this together.

Feeling very grateful.

Thank you Mitzi for hearing my desire to go to Maine and eat lobster rolls. For doing the trip planning. For being a fun travel partner, food partner, performance partner, shopping partner, tiny motorhome partner.

You are an amazing human, friend, wife, and lover.