We awoke before 6AM to the sound of a bird screaming for his friends to come over and check our out tent, so we figured instead of entertaining the riff raff we would get an early start to Pensacola, Florida for the kick off of Memorial Day Weekend. We said thank you to Bill, and hit the road. It was a fairly short drive we figured, so we opted to take our chances on finding breakfast on the road. We Failed. Miserably.
Faced with no other alternative, we pulled in to a Love’s for a pit stop, and had some seriously delicious coffee for breakfast. We figured since we were in somewhat of a gluten free food desert, we would wait for Pensacola until we ate real food. Oh man, am I glad we did. We waited for over 30 minutes to get a spot at Another Broken Egg but it was it worth it. Voted best breakfast by 3 different publications last year alone, they also offered separate cooking areas for gluten free food and several gluten free choices; including PANCAKES! Actual, real, honest to god pancakes that I ordered at a RESTAURANT. LIKE A HUMAN! (Life hack - if you order an omelet dish, they replace your English muffins with said pancakes. Who’s the real winner here?) Score one for Claire.
Having finally tasted their food I now know exactly why I waited a half hour and sat at the bar to eat brunch. Their service was incredible, and the way they worked with each other through the morning rush was impressive. They were friendly, constantly communicating with each other about what tables need, and perpetually making sure no one accidentally dumped food on one another while turning from the kitchen to the floor. I even saw one of the servers insist on walking a to-go order to his car because the gentleman was holding a baby. WHAT? Maybe it’s because New York has ruined me, but I could be holding 45 things and no one has ever offered to bring ANYTHING to my car, whether I was holding a baby or not.
Regardless, after we left Another Broken Egg, we headed down to the beach. Apparently we did that at the same time everyone else was planning to do so (the fact that it was a holiday weekend certainly did not help.) We drove out as far as we could until we were mostly out of the tourist zone, and walked to the water front. We dipped our toes in the water, and promptly realized that neither one of us had put on sunscreen. Feeling lightly roasted we headed back to the car and back towards town to see if we could get a much needed oil change. (we have already driven over 3,000 miles!!!)
We found an American Lube Fast and had no wait. The assistant manager Preston introduced himself and kindly walked through what services their station offered. We chatted for a good while about car parts, the different states we had been to, as well as the trip that we were on. He told us that we should go wander for a bit since the oil change would take 15 minutes or so, but to steer clear of the main roadway we were on. He informed us this particular highway was knowingly referred to as “Death99” and that it was well known for the amount of deaths that occur on the roadway. He told us that cutting through the backs of the stores would be significantly safer. We let Preston get to work and meandered through a few small shops. After a short stroll we headed back, and after another 20 minutes chatting, we hit the road to our campground.
Since we inadvertently decided to spend Memorial Day Weekend at a massive beach town that meant we couldn’t find any National, State, or County parks with a vacancy for a tent. We finally found a campground called KOA Gulf Island/Milton. Turns out we booked the very last tent space available, which really meant we were put on a space on the side of the road leading to the campsites right next to the community picnic house. This led to even more people becoming increasingly curious about our car tent. “Hey mama, you think they really from New Yawk? Is that how they camp?!” After setting up, we went for a dip in the KOA pool, and headed back to our “site” for dinner. The park was absolutely packed, and there were a significant number of curious passersby loudly guffawing at our tent and discussing “what you think those people from New Yawk doing with that tent ‘tached to the back.”
We tried to pack it in for the night but were kept awake by a multitude of lanterns. In particular, one directly across from our doorway. Frustrated, we built up a blockade of our things to block out as much lantern light as we could. We finally fell asleep to the sounds of pop music and yelling adults.