Tallahassee, Florida

Day 821

     On February 19, 1819, Spanish minister, Do Luis de Onis, and U.S. Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, signed the Florida Purchase Treaty, in which Spain agrees to cede Florida to the United States. The Territory of Florida existed from March 30, 1822, until March 3, 1845, when it entered the United States as a slave State. 

     The founding of Tallahassee was largely a matter of convenience. In 1822, a territorial government was established, but the impracticalities of alternately meeting in St. Augustine and Pensacola, the two largest cities in the territory at the time (the Spaniards had built a road), led territorial governor William Pope Duval to appoint two commissioners to establish a more central meeting place. In October 1823, John Lee Williams of Pensacola and Dr. William Simmons of St. Augustine selected the former Indian settlement of Tallahassee, roughly midway between the two cities, as a suitable place. The name “Tallahassee” is a Muskogean Indian word meaning “old fields”, or “old town.” Tallahassee became the capital of Florida a year later in 1824. 

Technical Stuff:

Navarre, Florida to Tallahassee, Florida: 199.4 miles

3 hours 47 minutes

10.7 MPG

Diesel: $2.77

Pensacola, Florida

Day 819

     Pensacola, Florida, the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle, has a long and sordid history, as it was a highly desired sea port. Located on Pensacola Bay, it is protected by the barrier island of Santa Rosa, and connects to the Gulf of Mexico.  Since 1559, when Spanish Explorer Tristán de Luna founded a short-lived settlement here, 5 flags have claimed Pensacola as theirs: Spain, France, England, United States, and the Confederate States of America.

     First known  as “Panzacola” in 1686, after the Indian tribe living here, then anglicized.

     Pensacola was an interesting place to tour because of it’s long history. For example, this anchor, which was found in 1992 at the bottom of the bay, was from one of Tristán de Luna’s ships that sank in the hurricane of 1559. 

      This anchor is 459 years old, sat under water for 433 years, is made of iron, and displays this sign:

     That is a laugh.

     After all this time, I can’t believe a person’s fingerprints are going to destroy this relic. Nevertheless, some people don’t listen. 

     Many of the buildings and homes of the various periods are preserved in Pensacola. Over the last 3 years, we have been though many of these types of homes, but this item, from about 1805, has us stumped.

     Do you know what it is?

     The Christ Church, built in 1832, is the oldest brick church in Florida on it’s original foundation (somewhere is the oldest brick church not on it’s original foundation, the oldest wood church, etc. etc.).

     The church had an interesting stained glass depicting Jesus knocking on the bathroom door to see if the room is vacant.

     Another interesting thing we found was this mummified cat. In 1850 the cat became trapped inside the walls of a house under construction. It’s body was found in 1946 when the building was torn down. 

     Barbara window shops in a 1900 depiction of Pensacola. 

     She commanded the street car,

     but had to stop at the first traffic light in Pensacola, put up in 1926

     Anyone who lived in Pensacola is familiar with Trader Jon.

     There was an excellent exhibit on lumbering

     Do you remember the name of this type of saddle?

     Well, my staff and I have to get back to writing the blog.

Navarre, Florida

Day 817

     What is wrong with this picture?

     Barbara is wearing a hooded fleece jacket.

     This violates our 40/80 rule, which states we do not want to be anywhere were the temperature is less than 40 or more than 80. It is 38 degrees in Navarre, Florida. We cannot go any father south here, as we are already along the Gulf of Mexico, on the panhandle of Florida.

     Navarre was first settled in 1884 and named Eagan, after a local politician. Guy Wyman, born May 21, 1878, in Perry, Ohio, is credited as being the founder of Navarre. He was a surveyor for the U.S. Army and surveyed this area in 1905. He then came back here, platting and naming the community in 1925. In 1930, he served as an engineer in the construction of the original Pensacola Bay Bridge. He also served as an engineer at nearby Eglin Air Force Base. For some unknown reason Wyman named this place after a province in Spain. 

     As the sun slowly sets in the west, I leave you with this thought: 

Technical Stuff: 

Ponchatoula, Louisiana, to Navarre, Florida: 239.2 miles

4 hours 56 minutes

10.6 MPG

Diesel: $2.90

Destin, Florida

Day 592

     We drove down the Emerald Coast to Destin, Florida. Destin is named after Leonard Destin, born in 1813, a New London, Connecticut fishing captain who settled in the area around 1850. He comes from a family of whalers and fisherman

     The city is located on a peninsula separating the Gulf of Mexico from Choctawhatchee Bay.

     You know you are old when you see something you use to use every day, now in a museum.

     So, this was Jonah’s view?

     Destin is a fishing village, popular with tourists. Today’s catch:

     And the pelicans are looking for handouts:

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Day 591

     We are at the fairgrounds in Fort Walton Beach, Florida to attend an RV Rally. Not only is there no Fort here, there is no Beach.

     George Walton, born 1749, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence as a delegate from Georgia. His son, also named George Walton (some people are just not very imaginative), born August 15, 1786, was a Colonel under General Andrew Jackson during the 2nd Seminole War. He was named Secretary of Florida under Governor Jackson. Walton County was named for him. 

     Fort Walton Beach was originally named Brooksville, after John Thomas Brooks, who was the first settler in this area. In 1913 Brooksville was renamed Camp Walton. During the Civil War confederate troops “camped” here. Their camp consisted of tents, and nothing more. Walton is the name from the County that encompassed Brooksville. In 1932, Camp Walton changed it’s name to Fort Walton, because it sounded better. In 1953 Fort Walton was renamed Fort Walton Beach to attract tourists (even though there is no beach).

     The only interesting thing we found at Fort Walton Beach was the restored one room school house, built in 1912, that housed grades 1 to 5. 

     As it turns out, I am not smarter than a 5th grader. 

     You are really old if your grade school Report Card looked like this: 

Technical Stuff:

Milton, Florida to Fort Walton, Florida: 56.2 miles

1 hour 37 minutes

9.7 MPG

Diesel: $2.70

Indian Bayou, Milton, Florida

Day 586

     Our campground is located on the Indian Bayou. We decided to go canoeing on the Bayou from our campground, even though we had never canoed before.

     It took us 15 minutes to get the canoe off the shore. We placed the canoe in the water, with the rear still on the beach. Barbara got in and we almost turned the canoe over. We decided I would get in the bottom of the canoe in the middle, with Barbara in the rear. Could not get the boat off the shore. Got out, pushed the canoe further in the water, and tried again…. and again. Finally got all the way in the water without tipping over. 

     Fortunately, the water was very calm. We paddled for about 45 minutes up the Bayou when he saw a large splash in the water just ahead of us. We saw bubbles coming out of the water from the shore to the middle of where we were paddling. We figured it was either a large turtle, or an alligator. We quickly made a 180 degree turn, and began paddling back down the Bayou.

     We did see some wildlife (other than the turtle or alligator). 

Air Force Armament Museum, Florida

Day 585     The Air Force Armament Museum, adjacent to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the only facility in the U.S. dedicated to the display of Air Force armament. Founded in 1975 it was originally located on Post, but move just off Post in 1985.

     The leader of our Alaska trip was with us. He was a Combat Control Specialist in the Air Force, the equivalent of the Navy Seal, during Vietnam and recently retired as a Rocket Scientist with the Department of Defense at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. 

     He explained to us all the airplanes on display from Vietnam to the present, including the Black Bird, the high flying reconnaissance plane. 

     Another cool thing in the museum was this Norden Bomb Site. Developed by Carl Norden, it was used in World War II in the B-17 bombers. Although I have heard about it, this is the first time I saw one. 

     In tribute to one of my faithful readers: