Day 3: We got up early that Monday morning, packed our respective bags for our outing, and ate a hurried breakfast in an attempt to arrive at the check-in desk for the seminar as early as possible. Our first session wasn't until late afternoon, so as soon as we were checked in we got into our rental car. Armed for the journey with Katie's GPS and the soundtrack from "Fiddler on the Roof", we headed to the freeway and made our way towards the general direction of the beach. Unfortunately, at a crucial T intersection I happened to have a decisive moment, and advised Katie to turn right. Of course, several blocks later we realized that I should never give directions when I haven't looked at a map.
We got going the right direction again after stopping in the Archaeological Society's parking lot to regain our bearings. Soon after, and almost by accident (Or was it completely by accident? The details escape me at the moment.) we found a visitor's center. The helpful and friendly man behind the desk gave us a map, highlighted the best beaches (and the fort I wanted to visit) and gave us directions. We were happy. : )
We drove along a long bridge, at the beginning of which we saw a sign that said "Check Gas. Long Bridge" and found ourselves in downtown Pensacola Beach. Following the appropriate signs, we found ourselves driving between two eerily white sand dunes, punctuated by dead trees and live sea oats. (I found out they were called sea oats at the fort's bookstore.) We drove for a while in this strange landscape, but still no fort. Katie was a little concerned, because she could see on the map that we were nearly at the tip of the spit of land we were driving on, at which point I had to laugh, because of the way she phrased her comments. ("We must be close, because we're running out of spit.") --Yes, we were tired. ; )
We finally found the fort, which was amazing. We spent hours exploring, and then went to the beach to dip our toes in the balmy water. We also gathered a few shells, which actually made it back intact!! I did miss the icy chill of the Pacific, though! Between the humidity of the air, and the temperature of the water, I almost couldn't feel the difference when we stepped into the water.
The sessions were wonderful and very helpful, and afterwards we went to our rooms, determined to get more sleep than the previous nights. (Which, of course didn't happen.)
And that was day 3...