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Panama City Beach

The Return Home

April 2005


Coming home from the beach is about as exciting to me as watching molasses flow.  It is made palatable by finding new routes to get me there.  Of course all of this is based on the fact that I am riding my bike.  If I am in my truck or car, I take the most direct route possible.


When I leave the beach, I travel west on Front Beach Road (Highway 98) until it finally leaves the beach.  It is almost sad to be looking at the water for the last time during this part of the trip.  Keep in mind; I do not like the beach.  By that, I mean I do not like to take a chair and traipse through the sand to the waters edge and sit there.  Mind you I love to look at the sights that are part of the beach (the bikinis, the water, and etc), but I have some kind of aversion to sand.  I hate it when it gets in my clothes.


I know; you are asking, “He has a place at the beach, and doesn’t like the beach?”  Well, I like the destination.  I like the area for motorcycle riding, and there was a time when we did go to the beach.  We even used to take our boat and Seadoo down and spend the day around Shell Island or taking a ride to Destin.


Now I use my condo as an overnight stop.  I can get on my bike, spend a day riding and end up at the beach.  Then I can get up the next morning and head home.  You would be surprised at the number of people we know at the beach who say, “I thought I saw you come in the other night, but you weren’t there the next day”.   That is because I am gone before most of them get up in the morning.  I’m either headed home, or off on another adventure.


There has been many a time when I rode through Alabama and ended up in Mobile before heading east to Panama City Beach.  Along the same note, I like to go through Tallahassee and hit Highway 98 around Panacea and head west to Panama City Beach.  These are both real nice day trips.


So now we are heading home.  After leaving the beach I travel west to Highway 331 where I turn north and join the hundreds of migrating beach goers and comers.  This one of the main routes from Alabama and points north to get to PCB and the Destin-Ft. Walton area.  It is also a good way to get to the highest point in Florida.


Say what?  You didn’t know Florida has a monstrous high point.  It is a whopping 345 feet above sea level.  It is located just south of Florala Alabama, just off of 331.  There isn’t much there, just a marker and a park and small bathroom.  You really have to be looking for the site, as it is not well marked.  I try to visit this site at least once every year or two.


From there I backtrack to Highway 2A.  This road is a great motorcycle road.  Not for the curves, but mainly the lack of other traffic.  It is peaceful ride with lots of stops at crossroads.  When you get to Highway 81, you turn south for a couple of miles to pick up Highway 2.  Again there is little of interest along this road except peace, quiet, and a good view of the local countryside.


When you get to the Choctawhatchee River there is a nice little park that has picnic tables and a paved road leading to it.  The paved road makes it nice for us Goldwing riders as our bikes detest soft dirt or loose rocks.  The quiet solitude of this little park makes a wonderful place to take a break and enjoy a little down time.


From here, it is a pleasant ride all the way to the Georgia State line where there is another small state park and boat ramp.  I stop here almost every time I pass this area, mainly because I need to use the bathroom and put my helmet on.


It always amazing to me that there is a sign on the outside of the bathroom that says “water not fit for cooking, drinking or cleaning”.  What is amazing is that there are showers inside the bath house.  Does unfit for cleaning, not include cleaning people?


From here it is simply follow highway 91 to Albany Georgia and home. 



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