Saturday – March 16, 2013
Our hopes for a peaceful nights rest was not to be here at the St. Andrews State Park Campground in Panama City Beach, Florida. We were awakened at midnight by several college students talking very loud with continuous laughter. In addition, a large campfire had been started and someone was chopping wood! The four college girls camping on one side of us, had been joined by the three college boys and two college girls camping on the other side of us, plus two more college boys had joined the party. This boisterous party continued until 2:30 a.m. before quiet returned to the campground.
I awoke at 6:30 a.m. and decided it was payback time for our college partygoers on both sides of us. I was walking around our campsite, coughing quite loud, slamming the doors on our van, and talking in a loud voice to Sharon. The noise I had generated had aroused a couple of dogs in RV’s close to our campsite and they started barking incessantly. I could hear murmurs coming from the college tent campers on both sides of us. One of the college girls came out of her tent, groggy and sleepy-eyed, and gave me a dirty look. I just smiled at her. Pleased with myself, I retired inside our trailer to get ready for breakfast.
We departed the campground at 7:40 a.m. to meet my son for breakfast at The Egg & I Restaurant in Panama City Beach. As we were leaving our campsite, the groggy looking college girl was still sitting outside, apparently sleep deprived and not feeling too well. We could relate to the sleep deprivation that they had caused us for 2-1/2 hours earlier in the morning.
We had a wonderful breakfast with my son, said our good-byes and returned to the St. Andrews State Park campground to hook up our trailer. We have completed our two-day stay here. We departed the park this morning at 10:15 a.m. Our destination today is somewhere close to New Orleans, Louisiana.
Our route to New Orleans took us west on US-98 out of Panama City, Florida. This route was bogged down with heavy traffic due to college students returning to school from their Spring Break. Traffic crawled along at about 25 mph for about 15 miles. The majority of the traffic was taking FL-79 north up to I-10. We decided to continue west on US-98 and take US-331 north to I-10. Once we passed FL-79 the traffic opened up and we were able to travel at the speed limit of 55 mph. We took US-331 north, but at FL-20 the northbound traffic was backed up to I-10. Thankfully, we were in the left lane and able to take FL-20 west to FL-85 north up to I-10. Once we got onto FL-20 we were able to travel at the speed limit with minimal traffic. We made a mental note to never again visit Panama City, Florida during Spring Break.
Traffic on westbound I-10 through Florida was moving at the speed limit until we approached the tunnel at Pensacola, Florida. Traffic was backed up for about 8 miles. There were no reports on our CB radio of any accidents on westbound I-10. Once we got through the tunnel, traffic resumed to the speed limit. It is a long tunnel, so I guess the backup was due to drivers being overly cautious driving through it.
Slow travel through Florida ruled out any hope of reaching New Orleans before dark. We decided we would spend the night at a Gambling Casino RV parking lot in Biloxi, Mississippi. We discovered a nice location at the Boomtown Casino at 5:55 p.m. They have a large RV parking lot, patrolled by 24-hour security. There were several other RV’s there, so we felt this would be a safe location for us to spend the night.
Once we got settled in, we walked over to the Casino to check it out. The place was packed! It looked like just about every slot machine was being played and the gaming tables were filled. The Buffet area had a long waiting line, so we did not have an opportunity to see what it had to offer. We are not gamblers, but felt it would be appropriate to visit the Casino in appreciation for the free parking space they provided us for the night. We decided we would have breakfast at the Casino in the morning.
Camping Fee: Free
Total miles traveled: 246
Tomorrow another adventure begins.