"Involuntarily I glanced seaward—and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock."With some projects at the office wrapping up, I was particularly needing some time away from town and wanting badly to take pictures. As chance would have it, I was subsequently invited to Seagrove Beach, Florida for the weekend, 16 and 17 June 2007. My friends Jon and Susan were heading to a family house there, vacant for those days.
The week before the sixteenth could not have gone any slower. Finally, Saturday arrived as soon Jon and Susan did. We chatted in my living room for a few minutes before hitting the road. Although the drive there should have been a relaxing two and some odd hour trip, the first thirty minutes ended up being extremely tense as I was almost hit several times by inconsiderate truck drivers on Interstate 10.
Soon our caravan of two vehicles broke away from the crowd and enjoyed a mild, sunny ride west and then south. There were a few other troubled spots on the road which would eventually work out for the better. But more on that later. We arrived in town slightly behind schedule, around 1530 CDT.
After spending some time walking around the delightfully wooded and shady neighborhood, checking the beach out, taking some pictures and of course relaxing at the house, preparations for a nice dinner began. After a run for steamed and Old Bay seasoned peel-n-eat shrimp, Jon and I went to the new and nearby Watercolor Crossings Publix, or as it shall now forever be known: The Busiest Publix Ever.
Seriously, during and after the experience Jon and I continued to express amazement about how many people were really in that store. It was not a large building to begin with, but the place must have been close to maximum capacity. And by the looks of the overflowing carts being rudely pushed through the New York Subway sardine-like crowd, the apocalypse was most certainly near. Later in the day I instead concluded people fill their carts to the brim in order to visit this store as infrequently as humanly possible.
Needless to say, we got the hell out of there as fast as humanly possible. The resultant dinner of steak and shrimp along with sides of macaroni salad, potato salad, coleslaw and french bread was fantastic and definitely worth the trip to the store. With dinner finished, cocktails consumed and digestion idling, it was now time for my first trip to Seaside.
Seaside, Florida is a New Urbanist-style planned beach community with strict covenants and restrictions. Most people remember it as the filming location for the film The Truman Show written by Andrew Niccol. Normally I am not for restrictive pre-planned housing developments, but there is just something about Seaside that makes it cozy, not creepy.
The three of us headed out into the dark night at 2230 CDT, for the area has only sparse street lights until you enter Seaside—and even then, those lamps are smartly designed to provide sufficient but not blinding light. It was a lot of fun to wander around the surreal streets nearly devoid of life as the night grew older. We made our way all around the community, stopping in some spots to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet, or to take pictures.
We got back to the house after 1230 CDT and stayed up talking for a few hours before retiring to bed. I have failed to mention until now one of the great features of this house. Behind it rests an old stable converted into a guest house. Basically the size of a smaller motel room and with its own bathroom, the guest house was my quarters for the weekend.
I woke up the next day a bit later than I had originally planned, but this was my getaway weekend so whatever. After spending some time drinking coffee and chatting, Jon and Susan went to the beach and I left to capture Seaside in the daylight. According to timestamp, I was only gone for about an hour and forty-five minutes, but it seemed much longer. Walking through the streets, between houses via the unique pathways, I made short work of Seaside.
I finished the remainder of the food from the day before and joined Jon and Susan in watching part of the 2007 U.S. Open—you read that correctly: I watched golf—before we cleaned the place up and prepared to leave. When we did get underway at 1845 CDT, I was relaxed but saddened to be leaving such a nice, quiet place.
Since the drive in had contained some less than stellar moments, Jon decided to take a different way back. Avoiding the Interstate completely, this new route would turn out to be a perfect conclusion to a perfect weekend. Shortly after leaving the Seagrove area, the traffic thinned to nearly nothing up until we were close to Tallahassee around 2100 EDT.
The weekend could not have been better.
"He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night."Excited to talk about the trip and share the pictures I so adamantly wished to create in the first place, I spent a bit of time a few days ago writing up the article, selecting pictures for the gallery (110 selected from 263), editing nine of those and uploading them. The next day I started the process of adding the pictures to the gallery.
Unfortunately and despite what I do for a living, I underestimated the processing power and system resources required to facilitate the batch addition of high quality images. The software crunched away at the pictures while access to the server began to fluctuate.
"Oh, shit. I'm crashing my web server!"
It was only a short time before my embarrassed message to Marty of TLC Web Enterprises was received and the server was, um, yeah, rebooted. Whoops.
As the traffic on Saturday helped shape the ideal ride back Sunday, this series of events culminates with two positives as well. To start, Mount Sutro will be moving to a newer, more powerful server in the near future. Additionally, I discovered an alternate way of uploading pictures to the gallery—a way that does the job without bringing the server to its knees.
I'd never live down doing that twice.
So now that the pictures are safely on board with their seatbelts fastened and tray tables locked and upright, please take a moment to visit the Seagrove Beach album, the latest in The Road Trip Series.