Destin, Florida and Rome/New Echota, Georgia
April 16 - 22, 2005

by Paul Ridenour

Saturday, April 16

We Left Dallas around 11:30 AM and arrived in Gulf Port, Mississippi, at 9:30 PM.  We got the last room at Days Inn and all other hotels were full.  This time of year everyone goes to the beach or gambles in Biloxi.

Sunday, April 17

Arrived at Pensacola Beach, Florida, and visited the Navy Museum on the naval base.  We ate dinner at the Back Porch in Destin.  I had Lobster stuffed Mahi Mahi and Dottie had crab cakes.  I called friend Gary Malone and left him a voice mail - "I am eating at The Back Porch and you are not."  He called back and said "you suck."

I am a wannabe professional photographer and I bought my very first tripod at Best Buy in Destin. 

We stayed at the Holiday Inn on the beach. The rooms without an ocean view were $165.  The rooms with a view were $235.  They gave us a room with a view for only $165 because I was a Priority Member.

Monday, April 18

Hung out on the beach.  The weather was cold and windy but the sun came out and it got much hotter.  We had lunch at Subway and dinner at Harbor Docks.  I had Cobia (like grouper) and Dottie had crab-stuffed bacon-wrapped shrimp.  The salad was made with almonds and tangerine oranges and the best I have ever had.  I got out my GPS at the beach and it read 03023035 N - 08628239 W.  I put the GPS on the ground and the elevation was 0.

Tuesday, April 19th

I have water skied and snow skied all of my life but have never been on a jet ski or wave runner.  Dottie and I rented a wave runner for $50 for 30 minutes,  A guy named Booth with the company High Tide told us to go down the beach to the first and second jetties and we will probably see a dolphin or two.  We found 30 at one spot.  They were all around us.  Booth told us that we did not have to be back in 30 minutes.  We were gone for almost one hour.  He gave us a throw away camera and we took pictures of the dolphins.  He said he has never seen that many at one time.

Some folks had told us they saw a couple of sharks including a Bull shark.  Bull sharks are aggressive.  Dottie and I actually saw two 8-foot Sand sharks that swam by us near the shore.

 We ate dinner at an expensive steakhouse called Chops.  I hade prime rib and Dottie had filet mignon. We shopped at the outlet mall afterwards.

Wednesday, April 20

We left for Rome, Georgia.  There are no major freeways from Destin to Atlanta so we took a road from Destin that ran through Dothan, Alabama, and ended up at Columbus, Georgia.  I have written several articles on false religions and I could not believe I saw a sign for "Christian Karate Association" in Dothan.  We got the last room at the Days Inn in Rome.  All of the other hotels were full.  We had no idea that three huge events were in town: a tennis tournament, women's college softball state championship, and the International Tour de Georgia, where Lance Armstrong came in 9th place.  We did not see him nor Sheryl Crow.

Thursday, April 21

We visited Chieftains Museum/Major Ridge Home in Rome, Georgia, the New Echota Historical Site near Calhoun, Georgia, and the New Echota Cemetery where Harriet Boudinot is buried.  We left Calhoun around 1 PM and drove until about 6:30, spending the night in Brandon, Mississippi, near Jackson.

Friday, April 22

We arrived back home about 4:30 PM.

Navy Museum on the Naval base in Pensacola, Florida

The following six pictures are the first I took using my tripod:

Is that Dottie Ridenour or Sheryl Crow?

Sheryl Crow

The Yamaha wave runner we rented

Booth - owns the wave runner company named High Tide

Picture from the shore - can you see the dolphin?


Dolphins from the wave runner using a throw away camera


Destin Beach - looking right from Holiday Inn

Destin Beach - looking left from Holiday Inn

The Emerald Coast

Right of Holiday inn

Dottie and I at Harbor Docks Restaurant

Holiday Inn pool

View from our room

Another view from our room

Rome, Georgia

Cherokee Chief Major Ridge's Home and Museum - Dottie's 4th great grandfather

New Echota (near Calhoun) - Cherokee Capital from 1825 - 1838

Missionary Samuel Worcester's home

New Echota Cemetery