Click on picture to read Chaco's poems

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Apalachicola, Florida to the Mobile Bay Ferry

Well I have lost track of the days as we continue on our quest to drive from Virginia to Texas sticking as close to the coast as possible and only using the interstate when we need a cheap motel for the night. After leaving Jekyll Island, Georgia we continued on to Jacksonville, Florida for the night before we headed west to the Gulf. I wondered how bad the oil spill was going to be and if we would see any unspoiled beaches along the way. First we had to get across the north of Florida and that meant getting on I-10 and just doing 70MPH while seeing nothing but malls, fast food and billboards. We hate the interstate! We were both tired and in no big hurry so we stopped for the night in Madison, Florida with the idea the motels would be cheaper than in Pensacola, and we were right. Thunderstorms with flashes of lightning all the way at least gave us something to look at in instead of the urban sprawl and the traffic. The next morning we set off for Pensacola and the Gulf Coast. We set the GPS for the roads right along the coast and headed to Gulf Shores, Alabama right beside the water. pelicans flew right alongside the car as we passed over bridge after bridge. We thought we saw protesters as we breezed through downdown Pensacola but gave it no thought until we started seeing all the work camps and buses of temp workers heading to and from all the beaches. We stopped in Perdido Key just long enough to buy some postcards and a sticker for Farkus' roof box then passed right through Gulf Shores, Alabama on a narrow spit of land that would take us to Fort Morgan and the ferry that would get us across Mobile Bay. The beaches were closed and flying double red flags as we passed through Orange Beach and we started noticing that there were no tourists around at all! All the resorts and motel parking lots were full of work crews and heavy equipment for people cleaning up the beaches. As far as we could tell the beaches were not all covered with oil and looked pretty good to us. We saw none of the oil booms that we watched on TV everynight. When we reached the ferry landing we were lucky to get in the second line of cars on the marked  loading spots so we knew we would fit on the first ferry to arrive. The temp had to be one hundred degrees and we gathered with all the other waiting passengers in the shade of one of the massive oaks near the shore. Offshore there were lots of oil or gas platforms and alarms seemed to be going off on the one nearest to the ferry landing. No one seemed concerned though. The ferry showed up right on time and we drove Farkus onto his first ferry ride. Farkus had been running great the whole trip and we thought he might like the treat of a new oil change and a ferry ride! The ride was about 40 minutes to the other side and it was nice and breezy as we walked around the ferry. One the other side we checked out anothe old fort but decline the tour charge and continuted on to Pascagula, Mississippi.  Again we hugged the shore along US90 and drove through Biloxi and Gulfport, Long Beach and Pass Christian. Here we started noticing not only oil booms but miles and miles of beachfront houselots for sale with nothing on them but empty slabs. Hurricane Katrina!! Five years later and all you ever hear of was New Orleans. Biloxi and Gulfport looked like they had almost been wiped off the map as well and now five years later they are just now fixing the beaches, parking lots, sidewlaks and roads. A big number of houses are ...well...just gone! Last night we again got on I-10 to find a cheap motel and stayed in Slidell, Louisiana just north east of New Orleans.

Toesocks looking for hermitcrabs on Carrabelle Beach

Hermits in the tide pools

Shopping in Apalachicola, Florida

The Mobile Bay Ferry

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