Fun With Family in the Gulf

Trip Start Sep 12, 2011
Trip End Nov 21, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Alabama
Monday, November 14, 2011

We arrived at Ike's sister Judy's house in southern Alabama on Wednesday, November 8th and stayed there for six nights.  Had a great time meeting the rest of the gang, which includes his sister, three nieces and their families and playing in the beautiful Gulf of Mexico area. 

It rained a little bit the first morning we got here, but still was incredibly warm.  Took the dog in for grooming and while we waited we went flea market shopping.  That night we played at a casino (reinvested in their local economy); while we were out the dog got sick all over Ike's sis' car--I told Auggie's new "Aunt Judy" that she was feeding him too much ham, biscuits and gravy, etc. when we first got there--so she got her "pay backs"!! The rest of our visit was just sunny, warm and very humid, and the dog ate "dog food"!!  Ike's sis and his nieces here are a blast and we played and laughed the whole time.  Niece Jeanette's son Tristan is 15 years old and nearly as tall as he is!  Big Boy & very sweet!

The area is very flat, open and agricultural.  We saw cotton being harvested; even picked some myself to bring home and picked a bunch of fresh satsumas from niece Julie's tree (they are soooooo sweet and juicy!) and kumquats; there were peanut fields, pecan orchards and lots of fruit/produce stands.  It's a great place to walk, when I go out one morning at 7:30am it is 74 degrees, with 84% humidity!  Forget trying to do anything with your hair down here!!!

We golfed with the neighbor and his friend on Veteran's Day.  Golfing with three vets--guess what the conversation was like?  Oh well, it was fun, an easy course because it's so flat and open down there.  Ike only lost a few balls!!  One of his shots landed right on the edge of a water hazard, he could play it, but I sure didn't like the sign they had posted!  Don't see that in Washington!

We spent one day with his niece Julie and her husband Richard on their boat trying to fish for "redfish".  Got skunked in the fishing department but we had a great boat ride non-the-less. 
Just in the little area we were in, out of Mobile, Alabama, there were 30 oil rigs out in the bay.  Never seen one up close and personal before.  They are huge!!! 

We saw lots of pelicans and dolphins playing in the water and had a great time.  This light house, built in the 1800's, had the island it sits on washed away during the last hurricane so they are dredging and trying to rebuild the island around it to preserve the lighthouse. 

Supposed to be a good place for fish around there, but we didn't find any.  Ike had one little nibble the entire day, and that was the extent of the fishing action.  Oh well, you know what they say, "The worst day fishing is better than the best day working"!

Next day brings a traditional southern "shrimp boil" for the Saint's game at Richard and Julie's house.  Had a great time, met some super people and of course had lots of wonderful food!!!  Every touchdown sent Richard outside to light off another piece of his fireworks collection!!

Monday takes us to the beach at Gulf Shores.  Hard to believe it is the 14th of November, it's 80 degrees out and we are strolling barefoot along the beach!  The sand here is what they call "sugar sand".  It is so white and soft and fine, very fun to stroll in. 

As I'm looking up and down the beach I find it hard to imagine what it looked like here after the big BP oil spill.  Judy said last year the area lost so much because of the damage.  There is still clean-up material around.  It's a picture I can hardly visualize.  While in the city of Gulf Shores, we went for a stroll along a boardwalk right in the middle of town, and there laid a big old alligator right along the waterway!!  Incredible!! 

We parked at the entrance to an RV park, after seeing the sign they had posted, I would think twice about staying there with our little dog.  He would be a perfect "gator snack"! Judy did say that a two year old child had been eaten right near where we were.

We have eaten so much great food during our visit here that I don't think we will fit back into our tiny motorhome for the journey back north.  I tried on a pair of pants the other day that fit when we left home that are certainly not comfortable now!!  I'll have to join a gym when I get home.  We have had great beans and ham, cornbread, fried potatoes, beef brisket, chicken and dumplings, desserts, breakfasts that look like a buffet and just such a huge amounts of foods; Ike will think he's starving when he gets back home to my meals. When asked what you want for breakfast, if you say "BLT's" you get a BLT in addition to biscuits and gravy, fruit and eggs! I saw a little plaque that says in the south, macaroni & cheese is considered a vegetable! Ha Ha

We are saddened to have to leave here, but leave we must if we are going to make the 3250 mile journey home. We have travelled over 8500 miles so far. It doesn't seem like we have been gone two months already and now we are having to rush the last part of our trip, but life is unpredictable and we must go on.
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