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Richard and Cory’s Magnificent Adventure

Editorial Note: This article was first published in May of 2011

S – Shalimar

A – Atmore

N – Niceville

D – Destin

D – Defuniak Springs (Note: Only one "D" is required to complete the tour)

O – Okaloosa Island

L – Loxley

L – Laurel Hill

A – Andalusia

R – Robertsdale

M – Mary Esther

C – Cinco Bayou

Corey, my son and I decided that we were going to do the Grand Tour together. The first day we went out, 4/6/11 was a nice day with clear skies. We decided that we were going to try and be in each picture that we took, so that was going to mean we needed to find people to take the pictures for us. We rode about 100 miles that day. We took off from Crestview and headed to Shalimar. Once we got to the Shalimar Police Station, we saw the Chief of Police and got him to take the picture for us.

From there we headed to Cinco Bayou. There we meet up with the community policing officer, who was happy to take the picture. While talking with the receptionist and telling her about our mission, she said we should have told her in advance that we were doing the trip and she would have posted a message on the city sign about the SandDollars.

After talking with them for a while it was off to Biker Burger, where Joel refilled the most important tanks. Filled up and ready to go, we drove over to Mary Esther and went to the library. No one was out and about, so Corey went in and sweet talked one of the workers in the library. She came out and snapped the photo and it was off again.

Next stop, Okaloosa Island. We pulled our bikes up to the welcome sign and I was a little nervous that someone was going to get upset with us being on the grass. So again, Corey was off to find a photographer. Moments later, the Coke delivery guy was taking pictures.

Then we headed to the Destin Welcome sign. No librarian, no cop, and no coke guy….. Ahhhh beach bum! We told him about the mission and he seemed real confused. We explained it was like a scavenger hunt and he was all excited to help.

So we got our picture under the sign and left for Niceville. In Niceville, we decided we would get the water tower for the background. We went to the city park and found a couple of city workers to help out. I told the worker that we wanted a picture with the water tower in the back ground and he said “You’re not planning on blowing it up are you.” No Joke, after telling who we were and what we were doing, I had to show him my credentials before he would believe me. Then he took the picture. This first day was a pretty easy day, great weather, and a short trip. It was a great way for Corey and I to spend the day together and we meet some really nice people.

It took us a little while to work our schedules out and finish the mission. On 05/15/11, we were able to get together and finish the tour. The weather was threating most of the day, but we pressed on. I was nervous as I hate the rain. We took the map, set our route and came up with a trip totaling around 315 miles. The first stop on our day was Robertsdale AL, never heard of it, but it was the “R”. On our way over we had to stop at the toy store, Eagles Talon. Once that distraction was over, and our debit cards were worn, we continued on. We found the police station in Robertsdale. There were two people sitting on a bench in front of the building. I wasn’t too keen on asking them, as people visiting a police station usually are not having a good day. But, Corey seen it differently, he said “We need the picture.” He talked to them, brought one back and got the picture.

Just a short drive up the road is Loxley. There we found the post office and set the bikes up for a picture. Then some nice lady who was checking her mail walks out. I ask her about helping us out and explained who we are, and she was glad to help. After talking with her for a few minutes, it was off to Atmore. I was sure the heavens were about to open, because the clouds were getting darker. There was a county building at the city line were we found a welcome sign and a deputy sheriff washing his car. Yes, it looked like it was about to pour and he was washing his car, but he said it had dust on it. He was a nice guy though and we got the picture we needed.

We left there for Andalusia with two thoughts in mind. One, we need another “A.” Two, we got to outrun this rain. By the time we got to Andalusia the skies had cleared. We found city hall, after getting lost. Yes, it is possible to get lost in Andalusia! It was 4:30 on Friday, no one around. Corey says, I’ll find someone and off he went. About five minutes later he came back with a woman who was “finishing up some late day work.” She took our picture and reminisced about when she lived in Fort Walton.

Time for the next “L”, so we went south toward Laurel Hill. We found the city building, I know easy task. But the harder task was finding someone to take the picture. No, Corey couldn’t even find anyone, so we had to resort to the timer.

It was starting to get dark and we almost called it with one stop left. After debating it, we decided we were going to finish it. We made it to Defuniak Springs right at dusk. Again, no one around, set the timer and we were DONE!

Felt good to accomplish the mission with my son. Like I said, we had a lot of fun and met some nice people. I’m looking forward to our next trip!

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