On the 17th, my GPS was stolen in a smash and grab in Decatur.

It put me in a funk, an...angry funk. I realize I was at fault for leaving it out, I realize *I* was not the target and so on. But, dang. That was just MEAN. And the asshat broke out a window in my beloved van. Grrr! Which, costs just slightly less than our deductible on out insurance, so more grrrr. Which is what that banner up there is-glass chunks I found under the front seat after I thought it was all cleaned up.

That Friday, the glass guy was late coming to replace the window, so Heather came out here to hang out in the sudden arrival of the FIRST nice weather literally all winter. We ended up setting up the camper and I scrubbed the mildew off the outside and the window flaps and I swept and wiped down the inside while we chatted about nothing in particular. After the window was fixed and Heather had to head home, I cleaned out the rest of the gear that was in there and decided the weather, van repair (along with the good cleaning out and vacuuming she got) and clean camper all equalled a camping trip!

I came in and went to the first campground site that popped in my head-Big Lagoon State Park in Pensacola, FL. I reserved a site and put towels and soap/shampoo in the camper, filled the microwave up with plates, bowls, cups and paper napkins and put in the plug-in hot pot before shutting her down. We packed a change of clothes, warm PJ's and some beach stuff, a small plastic box with crackers, dried fruit, some whole grain chips and a few packs of oatmeal. I stuffed sleeping bags in a cloth bag and we set the alarm for 3 and went to bed!

After tossing everything in the back of the van, we added pillows, toothbrushes and the CPAP and camera gear.
The kids snuggled in with their extra fleece blanket and pillow and stuffed toy and snoozed a bit-after the initial giggle-fest and assurances of near-famine conditions in a couple of bellies. It's amazing how waking up early makes all of us feel so hungry.

We stopped at Greenville, AL and had breakfast, topped off the tank and got some bananas, cheese, bread and chocolate.

The campsite, #75, was still occupied, so we went over to the beach in the park and walked on the trail and took some pictures. Chandler found a Mermaid's Purse! That was really awesome, the best find of the trip.

By noon, we were ready for some beach time! Back at the campground, the site was now empty, so we set up PDQ and after a momentary glitch when the wheeled jack on the tongue fell off! we had her hooked up and set up. It took about 10 minutes from getting it cranked up to making the beds and laying out the little rugs. We did not mess with bringing tables and chairs and the stove or the canopy.

We piled in and had cheese sticks, bananas, some chips and dried fruit and then changed into beach stuff and got back in the van! Perdido Key is our favorite beach on the Gulf Side (well, panhandle anyway) and it is less than 5 minutes from Big Lagoon. We paid our $3 parking fee and ran out to the broad white sand! The kids stripped and started playing, I...huddled in the blanket. LOL! the wind off the water was CHILLY! But it was beautiful and sunny and the sun on my back was warm.

After a couple hours, we were ready to head toward some more substantial food. We called Matt's mom, who lives about an hour away in Mobile, and we arranged to meet her to visit over dinner a couple hours later. We zipped back to the camper and changed into warmer clothes, zipped up the windows and dropped off the sandy stuff.

We tried to go hiking at Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge, but the wind had really picked up and we ended up going geocaching.

A short side-story, we picked up an Arnold travel bug 3-4 months ago. A travel bug is a toy or other small item that has a dog tag with a number on it. When you find one, you take it with you, log the number and drop it off at another cache. Some have 'requests' such as getting to a beach or seeing a certain landmark. Most just travel around from cache to cache.

Well, it has been COLD and we have not done much caching. Then a couple weeks ago Matt decides to move this bug on it's way. We went to Bankhead and the only cache we found (because of the battery dying!) was too small for Arnold's big head! hahaha. Last weekend, we went to another cache and when we got there, Matt realized Arnold had been left on his desk at home! SO, by golly, it was ON with this football headed cartoon boy.

We dropped him in a travel bug hotel near Foley, AL and met Matt's mom at Lulu's.

Now, we eat 99% fast food or groceries on trips. We rarely go in and sit down and order off a menu (unless Suzette is around) so we did not know what to expect.
This place was awesome! It was HUGE, they had live music, it was right on the intracoastal waterway. We got seated very quickly considering how busy it was and I got to sit right under a heat lamp. Ahhhhhhhhh.

Lulu is Jimmy Buffet's sister, which is nice I guess, but she has not really let that be her claim to fame. She can run a restaurant, by golly.

We chatted a while, ate Cheeseburgers in Paradise, chatted a while longer and Chan and Margie had dessert, which we all sampled. Key Lime Pie and Brownies in Paradise. They also had Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding, which sounds like just the thing I would get the recipe for after I tried it. So, I declined. *sob* Matt's mom treated us, which was lovely! : )

van camper shadowchan laughrear viewbl boardwalk over 1 bl boardwalk over bl water 3 bl tower kids bl tower bl sailboat bl overlook water 2 bl lagoon2bl lagoonbl overlook watermermaids purse bl nest 2bl beachbl ben chan fishbl ben tablebeach jake dance beach ben sun beach boxing beach jake matt beach matt jake beach all 2 beach allbeach Chan jake beach bl boardwalk 1 bl prints dune grassmossboatbottom bl nest 1bl bridgeintracoastal geomanfoot signrandom boatlulu barge

Back at the camper, we brushed our teeth and were in bed with the lights out by 9.