I always said that one of my favorite rides is the Forgotten Coast. It is a very scenic ride and you get to travel through a lot of historic areas. As you leave Panama City Beach, you head across the Hathaway Bridge. Watch you speed of 45mph as it is a regular hangout for the state police and they will get you. As you come down the other side you can watch history being made as they build the Flyover, due to be done by 2019. As you head east you travel through Panama City, Callaway , Parker and gas is usually a few cents cheaper in this area. As you cross the bridge into Tyndall AFB, again watch your speed on the base, for about the next 12 miles before you enter Mexico Beach. One of the best things about this ride is once you hit Mexico Beach it is mostly all along the water.
Mexico Beach is a small town, but a very friendly place. I Lived there for a year and loved it. As you are leaving Mexico Beach, you enter St Joe Beach. Now the only way you can tell is the sign that says “Welcome to St Joe Beach”. There is one more sign there and it reads “Entering Eastern Time Zone”. As you continue east you come into Port St. Joe. Port St. Joe is a very historic coastal town. It was founded in 1835, but by 1851 between the yellow fever epidemic in 1841 and a couple of hurricanes in 1843 and 1851, the town was gone. It would be 1909 before the town would return. In 1938 Port St. Joe was the location of the drafting of the First Florida State Constitution. Port St Joe is and interesting city and you can spend some time there exploring the area. As you leave Port St. Joe this will be the last time you see the coastline for about 23 miles when you arrive in Apalachicola, another cool city. Every time you open a refrigerator, you should think of Apalachicola, because that is where refrigeration was born, in 1849 by Dr John Gorrie. The first ice machine is on display in the museum there. Apalachicola is a great little shopping town.
As you cross the Dr. John Gorrie Bridge you come into Eastpoint. 90% of the oysters harvested in Florida are harvested here in this area and there is nothing like Raw Apalachicola Oysters, (If you like raw oysters and I do). Eastpoint is also the home of St George Island, which is worth the ride out there as see the lighthouse. There is also a state park out there. After you come off the bridge, Tiffin Furniture is on the left, and is the home of Big Charles.
Big Charles is a Cypress log measures 24 feet long and weighs 15,000 lbs. It is thousands of years old and was found 12 miles up the Apalachicola River in September 2014. The axe cut tip was the only exposed portion of the log sticking out of the river bottom. It sank in the 1800’s when Apalachicola was a major exporter of Cypress lumber and is one of the most well preserved logs ever removed from the river, due to the fact that it was protected by being submerged under the mud in 30 feet of water. It was Charles Golden, of Eastpoint, Florida, who discovered the log, through he could not remove it initially because it was stuck so deep under the mud. He observed that dredging was occurring near the log in May 2015. It was the dredging that enable Mr. Golden to finally be able to retrieve it. Justin Golden and Jeremy Nowling dove 30 feet into the river to connect equipment to the log in order to remove it. On May 22, 2015 the log was finally raised. The Tiffen family purchased the log on May 26th 2015 to ensure that “Big Charles” will never be cut and will remain and important part of Franklin County History.
This is a worthwhile stop on your trip. Now you might think this is the end of the ride, but you would be wrong. The forgotten coast is a great ride and their is still a lot of area to explore. In my next blog we will explore more of this area.
Until next time, Ride Safe!