We left Texas on Sunday, January 4. Our departure was delayed by two days due to inclement weather. It was stressful just thinking about driving in the rain, so I cannot even begin to imagine actually driving in it when we can help it! Sunday was a beautiful day, though, so we were off and running by 7:00 AM. Our original plan was to stop at Frog City RV Park in Louisiana. However, we arrived in that area about 10:30 or 11:00, earlier than expected. Still feeling considerably good and rested, we looked at each other and said, “Shall we just blow through to Alabama?” Sure. Why not. So, I got on the phone and cancelled those reservations.
I was the lucky one driving as we arrived in Summerdale, AL… after dark! I hate it when that happens. We arrived in the campground about an hour after dark and, surprisingly, it wasn’t really that bad getting all set up. So, we hunkered down. After all, this is where we will be living for the next month.
Our friends, Debbie and Steve, arrived in Alabama on Sunday from Florida. They are headed West. We are headed East. Consequently, our paths crossed. Even though Debbie and Steve are full-timers, Steve still works full-time from home. So, after Steve wrapped his work day on Monday we headed over to where they were staying at Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, AL. We had dinner at their place which was absolutely de-lish! Prior to leaving Florida, they had picked up some Royal Red shrimp. They had never heard of them and neither had we. But, people, let me tell you… they were absolutely fabulous! If you have never heard of Royal Reds, they are shrimp that live 1,800′ beneath the sea and never see the light of day. They are large, red shrimp; hence, the name. They are usually steamed, but we boiled ours… not long… because we didn’t know any better. Regardless, they were superb! After wolfing those down, we were ready for more… soon! After cleaning up, we sat outside by the water, next to a beautiful campfire, beneath a full moon. Now, life doesn’t get much better than this. Good food. Great friends. Warm campfire. Full moon. Ahhhhh… THIS is the life!
With the exception of one cold and gloomy day, we spent our time together visiting, exploring, eating, and laughing. Steve is just naturally funny and keeps us in stitches. One evening, just before dark, we took our bikes to their place for a bike ride. Gulf State Park offers great (paved) bike trails. Although we got off to a late start, we were still able to cover enough ground to see how beautiful this place really is! Before long, however, it got too dark and we had to head back. We wish we could have continued, but you just “do” with what you’ve got and enjoy/cherish the moment… especially with friends.
We like to try restaurants where the locals frequent and, well, it’s 50/50. You either win or lose. The first night we ate dinner out we visited L. A. Barbecue, a small little barbecue joint here in Summerdale, AL. We were NOT disappointed. The online reviews were accurate, overall… for a change. The food was great and the price was right. Another night we visited Doc’s Seafood Shack in Gulf Shores. The online reviews were NOT how we experienced this place. The Royal Reds that Deb ordered were waaay overcooked. By the time the shell was peeled off, half of the meat was gone with it. I ordered grilled shrimp on a skewer. They were cold! I really think they purchased them in a box from a large warehouse store and heated them up. Well, tried to heat them up. Against my own protocol I sent them back and they were returned in seconds. I had to literally rip the shrimp off the skewer they were stuck to, and after ripping them to shreds they were pretty much tasteless. Steve and Craig said their fried fish, etc. was really nothing to write home about. Loser! One would think that after being in business for so many years and with all of the seafood restaurant competition around they would know how to cook shrimp, for cryin’ out loud. Not!
We lost at Doc’s but then won big at Ed’s Seafood Shed in Spanish Fort, Alabama! I wish I had remembered to take a picture of our lunches there because they were unbelievably beautiful… and delicious! Why is it that some bloggers (me!) often remember after the food is consumed that we (me!) forgot to take a before picture? I have no answer for that. It just didn’t happen. But you’ll just have to trust me on this… lunch at Ed’s Seafood Shed was probably some of the best food I have ever eaten. And the price was right, too!
After lunch at Ed’s on the water, we visited the USS ALABAMA Memorial Park. We romped around the “airfield” looking at the airplanes and climbed all over the ship and a submarine onsite. Prior to visiting the submarine, there was a simulator that Craig and Steve jumped into. They, temporarily, got to “experience” being in a jet fighter during the war. While Deb and I were waiting for them outside, Deb looked at me and said, “I’ll bet they’re in there screaming like a couple of little girls!” LOL! Not sure that happened, but we were waiting for them to crawl out the door to see how white they might be. All was well. No one got sick!
Afterward, and while climbing around in the submarine, a veteran was inside who was happy to share his stories of life on the submarine with us. His longest stint submersed on a submarine was 93 days. Imagine that! At dusk, we departed Mobile, AL and headed home as Debbie and Steve were leaving the next day for New Orleans. In the event you would like to keep up with their great adventures, their blog is http://downtheroadwithsteveanddebbie.blogspot.com/.
Below is a slideshow of our recent adventures. I must let you know ahead of time that some of the photos are a tad bit redundant. They are so beautiful I just could not choose one over the other. So you get them all!
Until next time…