A Travellerspoint blog

Day 139 - Cape San Blas and Walton Mound

The weather was cold and stormy today, but we enjoyed the beach anyway. We also stopped by a Native American Mound and toured the museum at Fort Walton Beach.

storm 50 °F

While we were sleeping, another storm blew in (or a continuation of the earlier one with a day's break in between, I'm not sure). Anyway, this morning it was cold and windy. Cape San Blas was such a lovely place however, we got out a bit to enjoy it before leaving - despite the weather. In fact, I'm having a little trouble understanding why I would even choose to leave this place?


From the RV, I could see several cardinals running around. I took several pictures - none came out as good as I'd like, but I guess this at least proves they were there?


After breakfast, Mom decided she wanted to take a walk on the beach. I was a little surprised because it was so cold, but she hadn't gone out as far as the beach last night, so maybe she just didn't want to miss out on it. Of course, we both picked up more shells (not sure why, there are plenty at home - maybe its some sort of a nesting behavior?)


When we checked in yesterday, the ranger told us that there was plenty of wildlife at St. Joseph SP (please don't get confused, Cape San Blas is the geological land feature, St. Joseph is the State Park on the far end of the Cape). Anyway back to the wildlife - he said there were deer, racoon and bobcats that are seen frequently. We hadn't left the campground (except for the beach excursions), so I wasn't surprised that we didn't see all these things. But on the drive out we at least saw a couple of deer - which was a treat (it doesn't take much to entertain us).


We drove back to Hwy 98, then continued on our journey north and west. The weather was quite bad so we just stuck a CD in the player and took our time. After driving through Panama City, I turned off on Hwy 30A to try to find a public beach we could stop at. Instead we drove through miles and miles of new condo's and beach front rentals. We didn't see many public beaches at all. It all looked more like Orlando (manufactured quaint). I hated it, Mom thought it was cute. It took awhile, but eventually we got back to Hwy 98 which was just strip malls and such. I never thought I'd think of shopping malls along a highway as an improvement!

So, not expecting to stop or do much for the day we happened on a small town called Fort Walton Beach. As I was driving through, there appeared to be a cannon and some interpretive sides by the side of the road and lots of empty parking spaces (probably due to the bad weather). I pulled over just to take a picture or two, but before I got back into the RV, Mom had gotten out and was getting her walker off. I guess she had a little cabin fever and wanted to get some sightseeing in today - weather or not.

Good thing - this turned out to be quite a little stop. First off - behind the cannon was a small hill, which turned out to be not a hill at all, but a Mound. The people who had built it disappeared long before the Europeans arrived, so not much is known about them except what can be gleaned through archeology. This is what the mound looks like today.


This is an artists recreation of what they think the mound may have looked like during it's heyday, and following that an explanation of what they know about the mound (sorry, it's easier then retyping it all in).



Off to the side is a Museum (where I got the pictures of the painting and sign of course). Mom seemed to really enjoy the exhibits. (She also spent a lot in the gift shop if that's an indicator).


One of the more unusual ones were these six sided bowls. These are unique to the Fort Walton Culture, which was gone before the Europeans arrived, so scientists aren't really sure why they were made like this.


The museum also has a few 'hands on' exhibits, such as grinding corn. I was setting up the camera to take a picture of a 'Pump Drill', when one of the staff grabbed the camera and pointed it at me instead. Fortunately, nothing broke as far as I can tell...

The Pump Drill didn't originate with Native American's, but was brought over by the Spanish. The Spanish may have gotten the idea from the Phoenicians and other early civilizations.

Another room in the museum was devoted to a temporary exhibit about American Women in the early 20th century. This was developed by Florida State University and is a travelling exhibit to various museums around the state.


I took a few pictures of these exhibits, but not nearly enough. Most of the information is in signage, but there are also exhibits of common household items that women or families would have used on a day to day basis.


On the other side of the Mound is the Camp Walton School House. This was used for grades 1 thru 8 from 1912 to 1936. Students used slate boards to practice writing during that period, so each desk is carefully laid out with a slate board and cloth to erase the chalk.


I felt like I didn't spend quite enough time at the Fort Walton Beach Mound, Museum, and school house. (There was also an old Post Office, but my pictures of it didn't come out well enough to upload). However, the afternoon had gotten late and we really were trying to make some tracks, so we moved on.

By this time it was too late to make it to Pensacola tonight, so when I pulled over in a Wal-mart in Navarro to get some things, we just decided to stay there for the night.

I also tried to work on the blog - interesting thing that. I could get a signal on the laptop's data card, but an odd one. I could surf the net, read news, and check email - but I couldn't send email nor do anything that required significant uploading. Some web sites worked OK, some not at all. The Sprint data signals for the next couple of days had the same characteristics - seems like some sort of technical problem with this type of signal with uplinks.


Miles Driven - 130
Camped at Navarro Wal-mart

Posted by jl98584 18:23 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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I wasn't able to get my nightly fix from you the last few days, so it was great to see several entries tonight. When I tried to view the videos of the Pump Drill and of your mom feeding the terns, I got a message, "This video is no longer available." First time that's happened--strange.

If Que thinks it's cold in Seattle, I remind her that we had a high of 9 yesterday, and just a bit more today. But mostly we've been able to stay in, and it's supposed to warm a little later this week.

I continue to enjoy your blog and to learn things from it.

by msj

I've tried playing the video from the blog a couple times and it runs fine for me. Is anybody else having this problem? Maybe I should try to delete it and reinsert it - I'll give that a try tonight...

by jl98584

I just tried again now, and they both worked fine. Thanks, whatever you did.

by msj

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