Pensacolakid's micro Navarre visit

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PensacolaKid
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Sat Jun 18, 2016 4:28 pm

Ok, as much as I would like to provide the readers of this great forum with a stunning account of my latest Navarre adventure, I cannot simply because I was not there long enough to really do much. Ya see, on Wednesday morning at 3:30 am, I departed Houston for Pensacola/Navarre in order to conduct some training for the staff of Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. This training was to take place on Thursday from 8-12 and again same day, 4-8 pm. Between those training's, I just remained in Pensacola and I will share some of that in a moment. So, I arrive in Navarre (actually the 110 exit in Pensacola in 7 hours and 28 minutes.) Almost record time. I made a quick stop at the surf shop in Gulf Breeze, Innerlight. What a great store and I love going in there. Bought a shirt and some SPF Pina Colado lip balm. I then made my way over to The Fish House for lunch and once again, one of the very best restaurants in the Pensacola area and frankly, the entire Panhandle, did not let me down. A bowl of gumbo and a salad later, I made my way down 98 to Navarre. Went to Winn Dixie first to get some supplies for the room as well as the training I was going to conduct the next day and I then go and check into the NASTY, HORRIBLE, DILAPIDATED piece of crap hotel, Days Inn. Now I do not like nor do I speak negatively of businesses in the Navarre area UNLESS they deserve it and are given a second chance but in this case, this hotel has been given 10's of chances ever since it was a Comfort Inn and the owner/General Manager, Sanjay Chauhan fails to understand the hotel business or cleanliness at it's most basic level. This place folks, is to be avoided. If you would like for me to post pictures to prove my point, I will be happy to do so. I spoke to Fran the front desk person and frankly, she could care less and is no doubt tired of hearing the complaints but with the job market what it is in Navarre, she probably needs the job. She was worthless with the exception of getting me in a room at check in that would hopefully remove me from the vast majority of their clientele, which appears to be highly un/under educated and a group that seemingly prefers to start their hotel parties after the 1:00 am hour. I do not have enough negative adjectives to describe this place but like a good patron, I have given them ample opportunity to change things and this loser obviously knows during season he is going to get the business and refuses to upgrade and clean. Well, not only are the masses on this forum going to see this but so is their site reviews and so will YELP and any other outlet I can give feedback. What I would like to see is a Marriott or IHG company come in and purchase the property and do a Hotel Impossible job on it and tear it down and rebuild it. DO NOT EVER BOOK THIS HOTEL. I have given you fair warning.

So, after checking into the hotel from hell I start to make my way over to the pier to check it out, check out the fishing conditions, etc. Well, it starts to lightening pretty good and the last thing I want to do is stand out on an elevated platform with a graphite rod in my hand, so I decide the appropriate thing to do is to go over to Juana's and have a frozen Margarita. You see, this time of day, I have the place to myself. I sit down, order my drink and commence to talk to Kelly the bartender. Great young lady! Anyway, this guy sits down a few feet from me and we start to talk a bit. I inquire as to where he is from (Chicago area), when he got down there, if he has done any fishing, etc. We probably talked for several minutes when he mentioned he and his son fish the pier from the time they get there until the time they leave. BOOM...it hits me, could this be the famous Navarre Beach Forum member, Garrison. Too many similarities not to be, right. So I say....."are you Garrison?" He kinda looked shocked for a second and I said, "I am Pensacolakid...Larry!" We were both pretty shocked to meet like that and certainly so unexpected. Garrison is a great guy and has a great family and I know they have some tremendous memories and will no doubt have some this time. I am glad I got to meet you brother and hope you and your son slay the fish. Perhaps next year we can fish together. We will be there June 24 - July 1. Actually, I will be there three days before that.

Well, I finally got the chance later that afternoon to make my way down the pier and cast a line for a couple of hours. The water on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday was very murky green, very choppy and the wind was from the due West. Not good fishing conditions. I threw out for two hours and decided to call it quits. I put my stuff in the car and went back up to the Pier bar for a cold one and some wings and to really just people watch. I stayed for about an hour and then because Garrison told me about the Rib House or Rib Shack or Rib something (east of East Bay Crab House and in a strip center), I decide to give it a try for dinner. Hey a place I have not tried yet. Well, I know Garrison has had some very good luck in that place but I gotta tell ya, and maybe it is because I am from the brisket capital of the world, the ribs were tasty but everything else including the pulled pork was bordering on very poor. I even asked the young man who seated me if they used sour cream in the cold slaw. He said no and that right there told me all I needed to know. Needless to say, I left it were it lay. Back to the hotel and after brushing the pearly whites, I had a date with the sandman after prayer time.

Btw, before I forget, as I am driving home yesterday, I am listening to Sirius/XM radio and specifically, Margaritaville because, well, I was just in Margaritaville, passed right by the hotel and I still love the old Jimmy. They are starting to play some new music on that station and the DJ is telling the audience about a new group, "The Detentions", a duo that could best be described as a Zach Brown Band meshing with Texas Gulf Coast Music. Wow, I really like this group. So, I looked up their tour schedule and yes, they are an up and coming band and are playing some smaller venues right now but guess where they are playing June 30th? JUANA'S! Yes, Juana"s and they are going to be successful. I am trying desperately to make the Juana's show but they are also in Galveston and Kemah as well so I will most certainly hit them there. Check them out on YouTube.

Thursday, I have my training's to conduct and gotta tell ya folks, a fantastic hospital if you are ever in need and I hope you are not. After my first class, I went back to The Fish House to have lunch with my good buddy, Going Nuts. Great being with you again, brother! Sorry fishing the grass flats did not work out but maybe in July when I am back. Great food once again and are you ready for the really exciting news? Going Nuts and I are out in the parking lot saying goodbye and discussing the Lee House (directly across the street from the Fish House on Bayfront that looks like a big house but is actually a boutique hotel and boy is it. Took a tour and guess where I will be staying in July?) Incredible place and no more expensive that the Marriott a half mile away. Anyway, I think I am hearing a commercial plane coming at us from Pensacola Airport and BAM.....we look up and it is the Blues in formation, over the Fish House, banking to go over the Bay to PNAS. Basically they were saying..."WE ARE BACK!" Boy was it good to see that!

After my late afternoon training, I went to Pegleg Pete's to just sit at the bar and eat as the wait for a table was 70 minutes. I stood at the bar waiting and finally called it quits as it was just too busy. So, I am thinking, "why not East Bay Crab" but it was 7:30 already and I pulled into The Grand Marlin. I sat out in the outside eating/bar area and had Gumbo, Grilled Salmon and Key Lime Pie. WOW! Fantastic and even better, the company paid for it. Back down 98 and you know folks, as many years as I have made that drive...since 1974, I never get tired of it, even when traffic hits. It is all part of being there and even Hwy 98 is in my soul. Back to the hotel from hell and I was asleep in minutes. However, before I took that cruise I was trying to decide if I wanted to stay the next day (Friday) and leave for Houston on Saturday early. The key...what was the wind and water like. So before checking out, I decided to go over to the beach to check out the conditions and of course get my lotto ticket from Tom Thumb. Hey it's gonna happen alright!!!! :lol: I walk into the Tom Thumb and who comes in after me? Garrison! We talk for a while and he and the family were on their way to Destin to rent a pontoon and go to Crab Island. Boy, was I envious! I did not even bother to go to the pier as I knew conditions were not going to change until I was back home eating my Joe Patti's fish. Back to the hotel to pack and off to Joe Pattis' for my fish fix for the next week or two. Indeed I walked in with my cooler and picked up some Grouper, Amberjack, Wahoo, Cobia and Pompano and was back on 110 for the trip back. Thankfully the good Lord gave me a smooth trip both ways and I was back in the house late afternoon.

Today has been a day and continues to be with College Baseball World Series and US Open and the BBQ pit about to get fired up with Mesquite and some grilled Cobia and Wahoo steaks, roasted brussel sprouts and tossed salad.

I will be on Monday, formulating my follow up visit to Navarre/Sacred Heart in July and I hope to be able to visit with Kenny, Pete and Dolfnfan and of course my buddy Going Nuts. Hey maybe even SouthernBreeze can join in the fun.

Oh, the beach, looks great, albeit it needs a season without a hurricane and a LOT of sun to do some bleaching. The sand of Navarre Beach will never be the same as it was pre Ivan, not in the 50 generations at least but it is still very nice.

If I think of anything else, I will post. Thanks for the time!
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lvthebch
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Sat Jun 18, 2016 4:45 pm

As always, I enjoyed reading your report! Thank you for taking the time to share!



SouthernBreeze
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Sat Jun 18, 2016 9:15 pm

PK, will be in NB the first two weeks of July. BTW, just read a story in the Navarre Press that the Days Inn recently was the recipient of a national award of excellence. Go figure.
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PensacolaKid
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Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:08 am

SouthernBreeze....I cannot for the life of figure out in what capacity are they receiving "excellence" awards. Like I have mentioned, I have stayed at that hotel from the time it was built. When it was a Comfort Inn, it was a nice place. When Wyndam took it over and this new General Manager took command....the place went to hotel hell . I will post my pictures this week so everyone will see first hand what you get with the Navarre Beach Days Inn. Frankly, I have stayed at the Days Inn (albeit for only an hour until I had to check out it was so bad) in downtown Pensacola and also the one on Pensacola Beach. They are all the same apparently.
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bjrichus
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Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:46 am

Great report 'Kid.

Days Inn will have to improve soon... They'll have competition as of next year.

I'm going to be in the area in about three months time myself, right after most of the tourists have left and gone home... Can't wait to see the new beach in person.

And I promise I'll wave at the Zoom camera.
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Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:04 pm

That was so crazy how we ran into each other and what a pleasure it was to meet and visit with you! Getting ready to put in my report as I watch the lightning display that's been crossing the mainland!
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Garrison
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Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:03 am

Sam and I stop in at Tom Thumb and get a powerball and mega ticket for every draw too lol, gotta play to win I guess :)
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Going Nuts
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Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:32 am

Nice report, P-kid! I'm glad you had a good time in this part of the world, and thanks for the lunch at the Fish House! Hopefully you'll be able to get a room at the Lee House next time you're around. It's a great alternative to a typical hotel. The fishing in the grass flats got better after the first weekend we were there. The winds settled down, and it was actually a little cooler and dryer, so it made for perfect fishing (or just sitting on the dock not wanting to be bothered by fish...). I caught more trout on fly rod than any other method all week, although my son caught about a 6 lb speck one evening right at dark on a large pinfish. Most fly rod trout were small, but it's always fun to catch them on the fly. Give me a shout next time you're in town, and lunch is on me.
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PensacolaKid
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Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:40 pm

We'll do Going Nuts. Great being with you and thanks for turning me on to the Lee House. Beautiful Trout your son caught. WOW! Wish I could feel that feeling right now. In fact, I have been working and on this dang computer all morning. Think I will get me a looksy at the beach and pier right now.

Talk soon. Trying to get more training going at Sacred Heart. May be back sooner than later.
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dolfnfan
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Fri Jul 08, 2016 7:16 pm

Loved your official report as always, P'Kid!

I have to say though...I thought the sand they pumped onto the beach this year was much whiter than the last time (was it 2006? 2007?) It even "sings" when you walk on it like it used to pre-Ivan. It's also much finer, I think. The last renourishment the sand that they dredged up was extremely coarse but this year it's very fine, almost like talcum powder. At least at #10 anyway. I haven't visited many other areas along Navarre Beach and it's quite possible that the quality of the sand may vary along the 3-mile stretch.

By the way, if you ever want to experience that super special, powder, sugar-white sand that Navarre was known for, go to the very western tip of the island in Fort Pickens Park! It is blinding white, as soft as baby powder and sings loudly when you walk on it! The moment I stepped foot on that beach last summer it really drove home just how much the beach has changed (as breathtakingly beautiful as it still is) in Navarre the past 15+ years.
Sleep late, drive fast and don't take anything seriously...
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AngelGirl
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Sat Jul 09, 2016 8:26 am

As always, really enjoyed reading your report, PK. Almost like being there! :)

Dolfnfan, you may have hit on a very imaginative name for a panhandle beach: "Singing Sands"! ;)
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PensacolaKid
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Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:02 am

Dolfnfan...there is also an abundance of that very sand in the backyards of the houses across the street from the beach. Ivan put it there. I know what you mean about the squeak. I remember those days. I also remember when it had an abundance of phosphorus in the sand. At night you could run, turn sharply and not only hear the squeak but see it. You could also pick up a handful of beach sand and throw it in the water and see the glow.
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Kenny Wilder
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Thu Jul 14, 2016 6:54 am

PensacolaKid,

As always your reports of your visits to Navarre Beach are super good and interesting.
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PensacolaKid
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Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:38 am

Thank you Kenny!
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