The Journey to Florida and now back toward home, day 18. ~ By Tom ~
Good morning everyone. It was January 3rd, Tuesday and day 18 of our journey along the path heading back home. We wanted to stay one more night here at St. George Island but the site had already been booked and no other ones available. So, we unplugged and spent the next couple hours walking the beach and enjoying the sounds of the surf before leaving the island. Audrey suggested we check out “The Blue Parrot Ocean Front Cafe” situated a little further up the shore because she had remembered it to be infamous locally for its great lunches and dinners. We weren’t disappointed, the atmosphere and food was great and they even allowed us to let Emma join us on the deck. From here we walked down to the beach and walked along the shore enjoying the warm, salty breeze and searching for sea shells. Reluctantly we knew it was time to move on but were excited with our next stop being Apalachicola, FL. The name “Apalachicola” comes from the Apalachicola tribe and is a combination of the Hitchiti words apalahchi, meaning “on the other side”, and okli, meaning “people”. In original reference to the settlement and the subgroup within the Seminole tribe, it probably meant “people on the other side of the river”. Many inhabitants of Apalachicola have said their name means “land of the friendly people”.
Now it is important to note Apalachicola, FL has a very precious place in our hearts because it is where Audrey’s parents called home for some 25 years before moving to Tallahassee, FL. Audrey and her siblings spent a lot of quality time in this area and I enjoyed making the rounds to see area highlights and stroll down memory lane. First on the agenda was stopping by the old homestead that is up for sale. It was so relaxing sitting on the front porch swing and walking the grounds hearing Audrey tell stories of her many visits there and all her Dad and Mom were involved in. Then it was off to wander the downtown area.
As we drove along we came across an interesting site of bicycles and bicycle parts hanging from a tree and scores of other vintage, multi colored bikes lined up or in piles surrounding the building. We couldn’t resist stopping and as I was taking some pictures, the owner, Kevin, rode in on what appeared to be a an old western flyer with balloon tires, circa 1960. He was so friendly and as we got to talking he invited us into the shop where the stories just flowed. The name of his business is Apalachicola Community Bicycle and located at 41 Avenue F, Apalachicola, FL. The walls inside his shop were lined with original, old, black and white photographs of famous musicians and actors from what he said were by a noted local journalist. I asked how he came to reside in Apalachicola and he paused a moment and said “like so many others I was just passing through one day and decided to stay”. There was such a peace about this man and it was so interesting to hear him talk about his travels abroad when in the military and after here in the states. He said he always liked bicycles and after retiring decided to turn his interest and hobby into a business. So here he is offering bicycle rentals, refurbished bicycle sales, parts and repair services. Kevin and his shop are well known around the area as being the most experienced bike mechanic in the County and he himself has made multiple cross country trips via bicycle. As we walked around looking at the many bicycles I was amazed at how much knowledge he had of each one. As we were chatting a couple walked up and I could hear the lady talking that one of the bikes she saw reminded her of one she had as a younger woman. When Kevin extended the invitation to take it for a ride he no sooner got the words out of his mouth and the lady was smiling at her husband and peddling on down the street. When we were saying our goodbyes, I could hear the lady making an offer.
From here we meandered down the road a way and noticed a pottery shop with the front doors wide open and two ladies inside busy creating. We couldn’t resist pulling over and checking it out. We are so glad we did. As we walked in we noticed the shops name was “Muddy Evolution” and is located at 254 Water Street, Apalachicola, FL. Before long the lady introduced herself as Beth Weitz, the owner. She also introduced her understudy, Rachel Hale. What artist! They proudly toured us around showing us their many unique and one of a kind creations along with the equipment used in the making of the wares. She paused in front of one piece of equipment, a potter’s wheel, noting with fond remembrance that it was the wheel she had learned on as a young girl. It was so fascinating listening to her story and not unlike Kevin’s from the bicycle shop how she was drawn to doing it from an early age knowing this is what she wanted to do in her life. Beth noted she was born in Memphis but grew up north of Atlanta playing in the red Georgia Lizella clay. She noted how she fell in love with the potter’s wheel when at age 14 got to try it for the first time. She laughed at how she has been throwing pots now for more than 25 years and still feels excitement with each new lump of clay. Her catch phrase was “I trust that my work speaks to you as the Earth speaks to me”.
As we were driving away I couldn’t help but think and marvel at how many times hearing in our travels other people talk about being led or drawn to do things. Then I felt a bit sad that so few heed that call like Kevin and Beth. All I know is keep following your dreams Kevin and Beth because you are an inspiration. Hopefully we’ll meet again one day down the road.
From here we traveled further along the coast settling at the Rustic Sands Resort Campgrounds in Mexico Beach, FL. Before plugging in for the night at the campground we went out to the beach and sat back to relax and watch an awesome sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. It was soooooooo beautiful snuggled together watching the colors of the sky change from second to second and ponder our blessings.
We only traveled 60 miles in 3 hours this date but had so much fun meeting and talking with a variety of awesome people that make up the fabric of this great country we live in. We fell asleep reminiscing about the stories we had heard and the blessings of being able to travel like we are.
Don’t forget you can also click “Audrey on Instagram” to see other interesting photos.