Panama City Beach, FL

Hello from Kissimmee Florida!

I know, right?! I remember telling some of you that we weren’t going to spend time in Florida. Never say never.

We are happy to be out of Panama City Beach. The weather was cooler than we hoped for. And the cooler weather shuts down much of the outdoor activities in the area. We had the opportunity to golf some, but not as much as we’d like.

I find it ironic that I’m sniping about chilly weather. I never really complained about Portland’s mid-40’s. The temperature in PCB has been in the mid to high 50’s most days. That temperature has the local folks bundled up like they are heading to Mt. Hood for blizzard-like conditions. Full face masks, parkas and other winter wear that has only their eyes showing. Wacky.

The Gulf of Mexico has been fascinating to experience. I’ve never stayed in a coastal area for more than a few days. Spending 5 weeks observing all the fluctuations in tides and waves has been fun.

There are days when the water is so calm that it feels like a big lake. Other days it reminds me of how angry the Pacific Ocean can get. The waves got big enough to draw a few surfers into the water. The water is a very warm 73 degrees.

I was surprised by the number o shells on the beaches. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but there are a ton of them. Mostly small scallops, clams and oysters. Lots of evidence of sand dollars, but they don’t seem to wash up in one piece. We were lucky enough to find two. Both about the size of a quarter.

We also got our fill of naval equipment. Apache and Chinook helicopter fly-byes. Naval and Coast Guard vessels patrolling. And, of course, many F15 and F16 fighters out of joy rides.

Not a lot of boat and ship traffic. Some freighters and tankers anchored near the horizon line. A few fishing boats and pleasure craft. From the number of boats moored in the various local bays, I can only imagine the warmer months brings out quite the flotilla.

We had our token weather scare. A fierce thunder storm rolled through in the middle of the night. Our cell phones lit up with a Tornado warning. I’ve only had my phone scream at me for Amber alerts. Not a pleasant awakening. We watched the storm for a bit. The lightning was pretty amazing. Then another warning came in to “take cover”. We moved away from the windows (We were located on the 7th floor of a 18 story concrete building) and waited. We heard and felt the most angry gusts of wind I’ve ever experienced. A little unnerving to say the least.

We had some wildlife showings here and there. The pelicans are amazing to watch. They soar on the wind gusts and torpedo into the water for fish. We had a peregrine falcon show up on a nearby roof several days in a row. And… dolphins! Two separate sightings. They were far enough out that getting a picture wasn’t an option. Fun to watch though.


We’ve been in Kissimmee for a couple of days. The weather is definitely warmer which is really nice. It’s also nice to be in a place were you can hear chirping birds. We have a resident owl who is hooting up a storm in the early mornings.

I’ll send an update once we get better acquainted with the area.

Till then … hope winter is starting to fade for those of you not chasing the sunshine. Any news you want to share? Would love to hear!

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