Monday, August 15, 2011

Orange Beach, AL to Fort Walton Beach, FL - 68 miles

We are definitely near the end of this epic ride.
 We rode into our fifthteen state today [Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida] 
The route is almost completely flat except for the bridges. Today we traveled along the gulf coast from Orange Beach, AL to Fort Walton Beach, FL riding through several interesting towns...Pensacola and Gulf Breeze, FL. 

 1st Lighthouse built on Florida Coast
Gulf Breeze became famous in 1987 as the site of several UFO sightings. The Gulf Breeze UFO incident is a famous series of UFO sightings which occurred beginning on November 11, 1987. News of high-quality UFO photos spread rapidly and worldwide and became the subject of newspaper and magazine articles, television talk shows and feature programs.
The "Gulf Breeze UFO Incident" most definitive evidence is a series of photographs and contact claims made by Ed Walters that began, for him, on November 11, 1987. Walters reported and documented a series of UFO sightings over a period of three weeks. The photographs of the craft were unusually clear and initially Walters' claims generated great excitement. Research byJerry Black in the early 1990s revealed a trail of suspicious money leading to Walters, giving the initial indications that the case was a hoax. Over subsequent years, new evidence including the discovery of a model in a house once owned by Walters, similar to the UFOs in his photographs, shifted majority opinion to believe that Walters' photos of the 1987 sightings were faked.
Although Ed Walters was the nexus of the Gulf Breeze sightings, he was not the only person to claim a sighting. According to, an estimated 200+ others came forward with sightings, videos and/or photographs during a three-year period. On December 2, 2010, the SyFy series Fact or Faked investigated another UFO video shot in 2009 where the object in the video is similar to the one Ed Walters caught on camera.

Gulf Breeze also received media attention for instituting a program to allow volunteers to drive police cars within the city and report traffic violations to police. Volunteers receive training in radio use and first aid but are not empowered to make arrests or traffic stops.

Flyby with troops

Museum front

Fort Walton Beach
In 1861, Camp Walton was a confederate military camp made up of the 1st Florida Regiment, which consisted of men from the Walton County Militia. At this time, Okaloosa County did not yet exist.
Walton County received its name from Col. George Walton, who served as an aide under Andrew Jackson and whose father, George Walton Sr., was the 56th signatory of the Declaration of Independence. As a result of Col. Walton's influence in the politics of north-west Florida, his name was honored by establishing Walton County.
The 1st Florida regiment's camp was located in front of the Indian Temple Mound, now known as the Heritage Park and Cultural Center, and its mission was to protect the "Narrows" from Union ships. Although the 1st Florida Regiment did not see much action, they did keep busy by digging up prehistoric Indian remains buried in the Indian Temple Mound and displaying them at camp.
Fort Walton was incorporated by a State Senate bill effective June 16, 1941.
The community's name was officially changed from Fort Walton to Fort Walton Beach on June 15, 1953, by agreement with the state legislature in Tallahassee, and incorporated a portion of Santa Rosa Island formerly known as Tower Beach. Tower Beach had been an amusement area in the 1930s with a board walk, casino, restaurant, dance pavilion, and concession stands which was largely destroyed by fire on Saturday, March 7, 1942. Wartime supply restrictions prevented a reconstruction.

We are staying at the Marina Bay Resort.
 A Courtyard View
On the Sound
Tomorrow we are off to DeFuniak Springs, FL.

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