Winter Funk


For the first time since we began our fulltime RV journey, this winter I found myself in a not so great mental place. Unless you went to the SW this winter the weather in the rest of the US has been atrocious. Colder than usual and depending on where you are more rain and snow than usual. We don’t always pick the warmest spots for winter, we tend to pick more temperate areas. This year that strategy didn’t work. We have seen little of the sun here in the Florida panhandle until just this last week. I have never thought of myself as someone whose mental health is affected by the sun until this year. One of the joys of this lifestyle is being able to be outside and that is what makes living in our little trailer very workable. This winter we have had to spend so much time inside that I found myself wishing for more space and we even looked and almost bought a bigger unit at the Tampa RV show. The thing is I’m not sure that would have solved anything. Just recently I realized that what was probably wrong was some seasonal depression brought on by our lack of sunshine and time indoors. This last week the sun has finally made an appearance for more than 1 day or just part of a day and my mood and mental health are on the upswing. I am sure all our friends up north are experiencing the same and maybe worse as this winter has been relentless for them. Just caught the forecast for Cedar Rapids and it sounds like the never ending winter is continuing with another snow and ice storm rattling through the area tonight and tomorrow. I think the majority of the US will be happy to see spring and summer arrive.
Blackbird outside the Armament Museum


Armament Museum

The area we are in is very beautiful when we can get out and enjoy it and we have done a few things during our time here so I will hit a few highlights. This area sits next to Eglin Air Force base and just east of the Pensacola Navy Base and each base has a museum. One cool windy day John and I took in the Armament Museum just outside Eglin AF Base. John has visited this museum previously and it was one of his favorites so he was ready for another visit. This museum displays munitions of all sorts and their delivery systems. They even have one of the smart bombs that John worked on for Rockwell. There are also the planes, helicopters, and guns that deliver those weapons on display. It is not a large museum but that’s kind of what we like about it. It’s about the right amount to take in for a few hours. I don’t know about you but after a couple hours in a museum my eyes (and brain) start to cloud over.
John and Alex

Beach and pier at Navarre

My nephew Alex is stationed near here at Hurlburt Field. It is a Special Operations base for the Air Force and he is a medic in their clinic. We have been trying to spend some time with him while we are here, and he had extra days off over the MLK holiday so that weekend we all went to Pensacola. We wanted to take in the Navel Air Museum, the Pensacola Brewery and stop at a Mexican Restaurant in Navarre that was recommended to us. It was a fun day. 
John and Alex checking out the Blue Angels

Inside the Naval Air Museum

First we drove out to stopped to eat at the Cactus Flower restaurant. It has excellent Mexican food with a little bit of a California flair. Then we drove out to Navarre Island and beach. It looks a lot like Oskaloosa Island, same beautiful white sand. Then it was on to the Naval Air Museum. This is a much bigger museum with lots of aircraft. I liked the Blue angels display the best. The planes are hung from the ceiling and a balcony goes all the way around so you can get a good look at the planes. They have simulators you can ride but the guys didn’t feel like it today. I don’t do those things anymore since I tend to get migraines after rides like that. Looked like the kids who were taking the rides were enjoying it.
Lu and Terry

We have had a couple visitors during January and early February too. Terry and Lu passed through, staying at Henderson Beach SP and we got to spend some time with them. The weather was not good during their stay so shared meals were on the agenda. It was great to connect with them again. Then the first of February Char and Bill came into town on their way east, again the weather was poor and shared meals were the main activity. 

Waving goodbye to Char and Bill. Does the trailer look familiar?
They have the same trailer we do...twins!!

This weekend the Morgans, John and Gayle, arrived for a 2 week stay. They usually are in this area for several months during the winter but a family illness changed that this year. They are happy to be here for a couple weeks. John is retired National Guard so they stay at a Military Recreation area on the bay in Destin. This is a nice complex with an RV park that they usually stay in and then various condos and villas. They have a 3 bedroom villa this stay that is very nice and looks out onto the bay. Cool digs! We are looking forward to spending some more time with them.
These ducks hang out in the bay

From a bayside walk near our park

He looks much happier with the sun shinning
Me too!!!

The sun has been out more days than not this past week and we are hoping that trend continues. We only have 2 more weeks here and then we will be moving west along the gulf coast. I have a few more outdoor activities I’d like to get in before we leave.

To all our northern friends we hope for warmer temps and sunnier skies for you too. I think spring this year will be a cause for celebration for many.

Comments

  1. Bummer, looks like you'll be leaving just as we are arriving. We're staying a week at Henderson State Park too beginning March 2nd. The week before that we'll be in Gulf Shores, At Sun Runners RV Park. Maybe our paths will cross. I totally hear you about the sun affecting your mental health. I was diagnosed with SAD while living in Wisconsin and had one of those sun lights. As soon as the sun is gone for a day or two, I can tell my mood changes. Love that sunshine. Hope it continues to shine for you guys!!!

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  2. I figured out how much I need to see the sun when we lived in Kalispell, MT. One of the most gorgeous places to live in the summer time but during the winter you can go months without seeing the sun. It really affected me. I'm not really sure why people "winter" in the Florida panhandle. It is cold there in the winter time. Further south in FL is where you want to be. But I am glad the sun finally showed up for you and I hope you feel much better.

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  3. we will be in Henderson Beach SP on the 23rd for two nights but the forecast doesn't look too good right now... hope they are wrong... if you are still around maybe we can commiserate together.

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  4. Oh yeah, the sun definitely affects our moods. Florida hasn't been as sunny as we expected. The weather has been getting better, and it looks like 80's for next week. Yay! We got a workamping job at J Strom Thurmond for the summer, we can't wait to be there again.

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  5. What a rough winter it has been for the two of you! Terry and I have been watching your weather and cannot believe how long you have been without the sun. We agree that almost any temp can be tolerated for a time as long as it is accompanied by the sun. Glad to see that you are finally getting some of that.

    We have been communicating a lot with Terry's folks as of late, since OH is having such a horrendous winter. Terry's dad has been in the hospital with pneumonia and just recently got out. It seems we made the right decision to stay in this part of the country as we anticipate a visit up north may be in our near future.

    Take care you two! Hope the sun continues to shine in the panhandle. :)

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  6. What a rough winter it has been for the two of you! Terry and I have been watching your weather and cannot believe how long you have been without the sun. We agree that almost any temp can be tolerated for a time as long as it is accompanied by the sun. Glad to see that you are finally getting some of that.

    We have been communicating a lot with Terry's folks as of late, since OH is having such a horrendous winter. Terry's dad has been in the hospital with pneumonia and just recently got out. It seems we made the right decision to stay in this part of the country as we anticipate a visit up north may be in our near future.

    Take care you two! Hope the sun continues to shine in the panhandle. :)

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  7. We planned to spend the winter in the SW from October to the end of March in the SW (Borrego Springs, CA) but it was cold there too. We cut our stay short and headed back home to the Olympic Peninsula at the end of December. Got tired of being stuck inside of the RV. In fact, we rethinking our whole winter setup. Hope the weather improves for you both. We sure enjoyed Fort Meyers Beach for the winter a couple of years ago! Try Gulf Waters RV Resort. Really fun place with a Tiki Bar at the pool!

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  8. Hi...I haven't been on the blogs for a while either...bad, bad winter! But looks like we might be able to cross paths as you head north again. We are in GA and headed for southern Al. Hope to stay at the Frank Jackson State Park in Opp. Looked for your email address, but couldn't find it.

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  9. I moved to the Orlando area from NJ in 2009 with my kids to escape the long cold winters. BTW, you are living my dream.

    Peace ~ Bear

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