Saturday, April 21, 2012

Gulf Shores, AL

Hmmm, guess it's a good day to be writing this post, as it's absolutely pouring outside and so there's really nothing else to do.  We did actually have plans for today, but guess they're on hold or maybe put off completely, as we leave here on Monday to head for Tunica, MS.

We've been in Alabama for 2 weeks now and although we got off to a rotten start (thanks to some new meds the Dr. put me on, but that's in a previous post; a tire blow out on the way down tore off part of the trailer and caused us to get 4 new tires; Mr. C breaking his sun glasses and having to go to Pensacola to get new ones at Lens Crafters and then having them be wrong and having to go back and get them redone, LOL) the rest of the trip has been very pleasant.  We also discovered that we can get a higher rated tire, so eventually we'll replace all 4 tires again with the new higher rated ones, but that's going to be expensive :-(
So, you might be wondering, what have we been doing, besides lots of Rest and Relaxation.

This picture's for you, B
The first thing we did other than just try to "feel my skin again" and feel like I could move was to visit a lovely festival in Loxley, AL.  (I keep thinking we should see Robin Hood, but apparently it isn't THAT Loxley, and I don't know why, but that's what Mr. C and I both think of every time we see the name of that city, LOL).  Anyway, it was their annual Strawberry Festival.  I was in the mood for some fresh strawberries, although with this year's weather, we didn't know if we'd actually find strawberries or not.  After all, we have the Apple and Pork Festival in Clinton, IL every year and they never have pork or apples for sale pork and apple dishes galore, but not actually pork or apples to sell).  For some odd reason, we were also confused about where it actually was located, as we both thought it was in Foley which is only about 7 miles up the road, but Loxley was about a half hour away.

The festival was in the city park which is a very large park with a paved "track" all the way around it, including 2 wooden bridges over the creek passing through the center of the park.  The festival was set up on either side of the track and nicely spaced out.  There were lots of craft type vendors, not just resale cheap stuff stalls, 2 food areas, and a carnival area.  There was also a "flea market" area, but it was about a block away and not in the actual festival grounds.  We had decided to make this a triple trip, as it was half way to Mobile, AL and I needed something from Hobby Lobby and there were 2 Hobby Lobby stores in Mobile, as well as a Golden Corral (which takes the prize for the WORST Golden Corral we've been to, LOL).  So I knew I couldn't eat much, since we were going to Golden Corral for lunch, but we did share a VERY good funnel cake.  It was a lovely day and a lovely festival and they did, indeed, have fresh strawberries.   The strawberries were red, ripe, soft and warm as if freshly picked.  I could tell they were sweet, but as to actual taste, since my taste buds were numb, couldn't tell you just how good they were. 
 Mr. C says the strawberries were wonderful and although they were a bit pricey if we had realized and had had enough storage space would have gotten the full flat instead of the half, LOL.  We sliced and diced them all up and had them on Twinkies the first day, then got some Sara Lee Pound Cake and had them for the next several days for our desserts.  They were so good and such a great comfort food for me, LOL.  Funny aside here.  Mr. C says, let's get pound cake, that way we don't have to have the cream stuff from inside the twinkies, just as I'm making out the shopping list and writing down "whipped topping" to go with "MY" pound cake.  We got a big laugh out of that one.

So, after we walked the whole festival (which believe me, with the way I had been feeling was a real accomplishment) we headed off to Mobile, AL.  We found what I was looking for at the 2 Hobby Lobby stores, found the Golden Corral and headed back to camp.
I have to admit that Mr. C and I are not very adventurous people, food or restaurant wise.  We know what we like and we don't like to take chances with our money or taste buds on places we know nothing about.  We also like calm, peaceful, quiet meals.  Mr. C does not like seafood, so any seafood restaurant is automatically out of the running, for the most part.  One thing we have found odd, down here in Gulf Shores is a lack of "known" restaurants.  No Red Lobster, no Bob Evans, no Denny's, there is fast food, but even most of that is in Foley, not actually near where we are located.  That's ok, we've mostly eaten in camp, which is good for us, anyway.  There is a Ryan's Buffet in Foley (which is my least favorite of the Buffets and THIS ONE was the least favorite of the least favorites, it was awful, LOL).  

There was also a Lambert's "Home of Thrown Rolls".  We've been told repeatedly that someday we have to try a Lambert's, so we decided to make this the time to try it.  So. . . we've tried it. . . it was ok, they did indeed throw rolls and the rolls were quite good, especially with butter and honey, although they were more of a coarse "bread" roll than a soft dinner roll.  I had fried chicken (good) and Mr. C had ribs (not so good).  My sides were french fries (cold) and green beans (delicious, home made tasting with diced ham and onions in them).  Mr. C's sides were baked beans and corn (neither of which was anything to write home about).  He ate  my cold french fries and I had some fried potatoes and onions they brought around to share as side dishes for the restaurant.    If you've never been there, you get your meat, and 2 sides and then they have several dishes the servers wander around the restaurant with and you can have all you want of those (the huge rolls, fried "okrie" (okra), apple butter, cooked cabbage, black eyed peas, macaroni and tomatoes dish, and the fried potatoes with onions).  The fried potatoes were great and I had seconds, although Mr. C was amazed because he said they were much too spicy for me and I normally wouldn't have liked or touched them (I think because of my numb taste buds I could actually taste them, so they seemed good, LOL, anyway, I had seconds on them, :-).  Their drinks were huge, served in thermal mugs.  It was noisy and quite an experience, LOL.  

Let's see, what else did we do, not much of anything, although we did try a total of 3 different beaches and finally found one we liked.  

We’ve only found one place to find any shells and it’s a breakwater just on the border between FL and AL (the only place we’ve found free parking access to the beach, too, LOL).   If you look at the last photo of the Dolphin blog post, you can see roughly the location of the beach to the right as we are coming up under the bridge.  Here's the same bridge from the beach.  

One interesting thing about this beach (all the beaches) is that they have board walks part way and then you have to slog through the sand to get to the water.  This particular one, the raised board walk is about 1/4 mile long (and no, I'm not exaggerating) and then it's about another 10th of a mile of slogging through the sand to get to the water's edge.  
The first day we went to the first beach, I had to stop and rest about 4 times, just to get that 10th of a mile to the water.  Yesterday, I didn't have to stop until I got to the boardwalk (coming back) and didn't stop on the board walk at all, so I'm doing much better breathing and walking and everything. We found it Thursday and then found the best thing of all (although dummy me, I didn’t have the camera, so don’t have a picture).  We were moving in and out of the surf watching for some decent shells (not great ones, but decent ones, good enough to bring back to the grandkids, anyway, LOL).  
I noticed something black on the beach just behind me, I thought I knew what it was so I ran over and made sure it wouldn’t get washed away and called Verle over to see.  But, surprisingly, he didn’t have a clue what it was.  It looked like a black pod, about as long as Verle’s hand and about half as wide and probably ½” or so thick.  Each end had two long pointed things that curved towards each other making it look like a huge beetle with pinchers on both ends.  
 It was either a Ray or Shark Egg case (often called Mermaid’s purse).  Although this isn't my own picture, it's off the internet, couldn't find the source, this is just what the one we found looked like.  Once I told Verle what it was, he picked it up and tossed it back as far out into the water as he could.  Hopefully it’ll stay out there and go ahead and hatch someday.  We looked it up on the internet and it’s probably a Skate (looks like a spotted ray) egg case, but could also be some kind of shark.  Anyway, I’ve never seen one in person, so I thought that was great fun.  

We went back to that beach Friday afternoon and thought it would be our last visit to the beach as we don’t want to go on the weekend (we really don’t like people/crowds much, LOL) and we leave here for Tunica on Monday.  It’s been a lovely campsite, we basically end up back in a parking lot type in Tunica, LOL, but it’s lots cheaper there, with lots of buffets to eat at (but also lots of smoking and I'm finally off all the allergy/asthma/COPD meds etc. and breathing just fine and really don't want to start that up again.  I'll have to be really careful.  

Whoa, we almost had a big change in plans here:  we had such a lovely, wonderful day at the beach yesterday, Friday (we went back to the same place as Thursday), and I'm finally feeling so good that we decided to see if we could just extend our time here and skip the Tunica part of our trip.  So we stopped at the office to see if we could do so.  Unfortunately (for us, but fairly for all) they have limits as to how long you can stay here at the Gulf Shores State Campground in any particular campsite.  Along the canal (where we are) the limit is 14 days.  So, yes, we could stay at the campground, but would have to move the trailer to a different campsite, not on the water.  If we have to pack the darn thing up to move it anyway, we might just as well stick to our original plans and just go on to Tunica.  . . 
So why the sudden change just because of the beach?  
Remember, this is only April, that's still Spring and remember, in the Camping post, we said we don't like cold water, so we assumed we'd only be able to wade in the ocean and maybe find some shells, which until Thursday wasn't happening, LOL.  Now that we have found this one good beach with free parking etc. we want to go back.  Yesterday (Friday), even though we had clothes on, I actually sat down on the beach (in the water and got thoroughly soaked). . .  the WATER IS WARM. . . I don't mean have to tip toe out and get used to it, I mean walk in warm, not quite bath water warm, but actually warm, not even chilly.  
It's also very shallow there a LONG way out (I probably went out about 1/10th of a mile and it was still only to my thighs).  Mr. C didn't want to get his clothes soaked though, so he wouldn't go out that far.  Ok, so I'll admit part of why I got soaked was because I sat in it and got my pants wet, but also, as I was coming back in from rinsing the sand off, I bent over to try to catch a pretty shell and a little wave knocked me over, so I was completely soaked, LOL.  I'm glad nobody took a picture of that, LOL.  So, although originally we did not plan to return to the beach on Saturday (didn't want the "expected" crowds on the weekend), we decided we'd return on Saturday just so we could actually go out in the water and get wet.  
I wanted to walk out as far as we could, but didn't want to go by myself, I wanted Mr. C to go with me, so we were going to wear swim suits so we could both go swimming (not much swimming when the water is only about 2 1/2 feet deep (with swells, but no real waves, I'd take the grand kids there in a split second, they'd LOVE it and not be scared by huge rough waves).  But guess we won't be going to day, because it's chilly today and completely clouded in and has been pouring rain for the past 3 hours, LOL.  Tomorrow, we'll be packing the trailer up to get ready to go on Monday (we have a really long drive Monday and Tuesday and we'll want to be ready to take off bright and early), so we'll see how the weather is as to whether we go back again tomorrow or not.  

So, that's all folks, hope you're having a great weekend, too.  Smiles


  1. We had the same thing with our last fiver, a tire blew out and took the drivers side skirting and all the dump valves off the tanks and punched a hole in the floor, Big bucks to fix.You can bet I do a lot of tire checking now. While your down by Pensacola, make sure you get to see the Blue Angels practice. what a sight, It doesn't say in you profile where your home is, but if you ever get up by St Louis.St Charles we have room for another fiver to driveway dock.We always enjoy company and we have a membership at a Lake where we can use the campground with our guests.Be safe out there. Sam & Donna......

  2. Hi, Sue! Thanks for coming over to visit on my blog! Here is the link that you wanted for the little Martha Stewart-design pillow boxes!