Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sweet Home Alabama

We moved on Monday, March 17th the 120 miles from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, to the Escapee RV Club Park, “Rainbow Plantation”, in Summerdale, Alabama. Summerdale is one of the smaller communities on the little southern tip of Alabama that is stuffed in between that small southern tip of Mississippi and the Pensacola, Florida area. From what we saw driving into this countryside it is a beautiful area of smaller towns surrounded by lush landscaping. Newer homes mixed with older homes. Larger estates surrounded by white fences.

Rainbow Plantation is another of the Co-Op Escapee Parks where the larger than normal lots are owned by one of the members. This park is huge like the park where we stayed in Livingston, Texas. These owners are reverse “snowbirds”. Moving out in the summers when the temperatures get hot and muggy. This park is beautiful. It is 15 miles from any interstate highway and there are no railroads near us. It is hard to sleep at night when it is this quiet!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014, we were out of the coach at 9:00 A.M. headed for Battleship Park across Mobile Bay. The park is located on the eastern side of Mobile, Alabama. This was a very interesting museum with fighting hardware that included BB-60 the battleship U.S.S. Alabama, the U.S.S. Drum, a submarine built in 1941, a B-52, a SR-71, and most of the jet aircraft used in the last 50 years. Plus a Huey helicopter. There was something here for everyone.

I have never been this close to a World War II battleship before and I was astounded at the firepower onboard the Alabama. The ship was used in WWII as a defender of aircraft carriers. Everything on board from the big guns to 30 caliber machine guns. We spent four hours with this exhibit and could have stayed longer but since we missed breakfast, we were both craving lunch.

Our pick for lunch jumped out of Janet’s iPad. She flagged Manci’s Antique Club in Daphne, Alabama. It got some recent national exposure as Janet saw it on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network. Rustic tavern appearance on the bar side and a rustic antique appearance in the restaurant side. The burger was fine as was the chicken sandwich but I’m thinking Guido’s next door had 5 times the cars in the parking lot as Manci’s. Maybe we will be going back to check out Guido’s. We both like that Italiano!

We stopped at Quail Creek and Rock Creek golf courses on the way back to our home in the woods. These are country club looking golf clubs that are in nice housing developments that apparently never got privatized. Great public facilities that I’m going to be using in the next couple weeks to revive and un-revivable golf game.

The RV Park is having a hotdog cookout at 5:30 tonight and I think we are attending. These are always a rush meeting other RVers. Home on the range!

Thursday, March 20, 2014, saw us drive the 35 miles into Pensacola, Florida. A beautiful drive through country roads and then down Blue Angel Parkway to the Naval Air Station Pensacola. This is the home of the Navy’s precision jet flying team, and it just happens to be the 100th anniversary of Naval Aviation in Pensacola. Personally, I feel like a salmon swimming upstream, actually an old salmon swimming upstream, because I was stationed in Pensacola (not at the Naval Air Station) for five months in 1966. Forty-eight years ago! This is my first time back in the area.

Today we went onto the airbase to visit the National Naval Aviation Museum. We spent about three hours roaming around in the 55,000 square foot museum which includes an IMAX theatre. This is certainly fascinating to me with some of my past experiences and Janet is being a very good sport about it all.

Over the next three weeks the Blue Angels’ practice sessions are on Tuesday and Wednesday and they are open to the public to come on the base. I think we will see one of those sessions the first week of April.

Our trip back to Alabama took a little longer as traffic was a little heavier around noon. It is only a two lane country road. Janet did a great job using her iPad maps feature to guide us to “Lambert’s Restaurant #3” in Foley, Alabama, ten miles south of our RV Park. This restaurant has a huge reputation and we had been hearing about it since Texas. I love the south. The lady next to us ordered and ate “hog jowls”! Okay, Janet had a pulled pork sandwich and I went for the pot roast, mashed potato and gravy heart-stopper. Sure I added salt! We were in there at noon and about two-thirds of the restaurant was full with about 150 people. It is a family style restaurant that opened in 1942 and is still owned by the same family. I think we might have to try this one again before we depart this area.

It’s Sunday the 23rd and we have stayed around the park the last couple days. Catching up on our reading and considering our options for our next move further down the state of Florida. I mentioned earlier that this park is very secluded. Five miles from anything commercial. At night you don’t hear the sounds of traffic passing on a nearby highway or the whistling of a train in the distance. The sounds here in the country is of birds and the breeze in the trees.

On Friday we took the 20 mile drive south and down State Highway 59 to Gulf Shores, Alabama. This is like driving to the beach down the Newport Beach Freeway in Orange County, California, on a Saturday morning in the summer, or, driving through Santa Barbara on a summer’s Sunday afternoon, or, driving down the Las Vegas Strip on any evening. You know, it was stop and go, but in the end the drive was worth it! Gulf Shores is on the sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. Actually, to me, it looks like Miami at first glance. It has about 20 miles of high-rise condos right at the water’s edge. The sand is the very fine-white granules like in Carmel, California. Hordes of restaurants and fast food places. It all adds up to one of those places where you could have fun every minute of every day. Of course, if you are compulsive that is important!

  We need some of the snowbirds to head back north. The season in Florida is from December through April and our time in Summerdale, Alabama is going to expire on April 14th while places further south are still occupied by those snowbirds.

This morning we found out what 100% humidity, Alabama style, is all about. At 10 A.M. the temperature is around 70. Fog is down to the tops of the trees. There is no wind and suddenly it is thundering and raining big noisy drops. This is supposed to go on for a couple hours. Yes, this is a reading day!

It has just come to my attention that the speed on the signals here in the RV Park have gone to hyper-drive. I’m going to get this uploaded and see if the pictures will make it also. It has been a great week for us, and we hope for you also.

Stay in touch.

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