In 2011, we had the pleasure of accompanying our son’s family on our grandkids very first extended roadtrip.
Destination: Walt Disney World in Orlando.
The second night of our trip found us on the Florida Panhandle. We hoped we could find a room on the beach in Panama City so our grandkids could get their first taste of the amazing charm of sand & saltwater. Alas, that dream was not to be fulfilled. After checking with multiple hotels/motels on the beach, we were unable to overcome one or more of three hurdles:
- No vacancy
- A three-day minimum rental, or
- A cost out of our price range
Discouraged, we began to think it was not going to happen.
Then my wife made a fortuitous phone call to a place she found on the internet: the El Governor Motel in Mexico Beach, Florida. They had rooms available, there was no three-day minimum, and the cost was only slightly above our price range.
We reserved two rooms, sight unseen.
25 miles deeper along the Florida panhandle we pulled into the parking lot of the El Governor. It is a large concrete structure right on the beach.
The first level of the motel is a covered parking garage. Think Motel 6 a couple hundred feet from the Gulf of Mexico.
Yesterday morning, Mexico Beach was Ground Zero where Hurricane Michael roared ashore as a Category 4 hurricane.
In the 1948 Humphrey Bogart movie Key Largo, a gang of criminals commandeered a hotel on the Florida Keys just as a hurricane was approaching. In one scene, a couple of the criminals are discussing the hurricane.
Ralphie: What happens in a hurricane?
Curly: “The wind blows so hard the ocean gets up on its hind legs and walks right across land.”
We have fond memories of the Mexico Beach motel, the first place our first two grandkids got to spend extended time on the beach.
It wasn’t fancy, but, if you want a place right on the beach, it’s hard to get closer to the water than the El Governor Motel.
As we were leaving after our night on Mexico Beach, I suggested to my son that “El Governor” might be a bit too grand of a name. “Maybe El Lieutenant Governor” I suggested. My son thought El Mayor might be about right.
Nevertheless, it served us well and I have very fond memories of carrying my then one-year old granddaughter along the beach.
I hope the El Governor made it.