Gulf Coast 2011

I’ve been busily working on editing the photos from our Easter trip to the Gulf Coast… they are not quite done yet. But a few friends have been asking for a trip report and some teaser photos, so here it goes:

April 22, 2011
We started our visit in Mobile, Alabama at the USS Alabama battleship; where Mary had Pete finally tied down with battleship chains. After thoroughly exploring the ship and marveling at it’s open gunnery room, we ventured through aircraft pavilion. Aircraft on display included a few historic Lockheed planes and a very special SR-71 Blackbird; which Pete was able to park his Mustang right next to for a unique photo op. Also on display there is the USS Drum submarine and a mock up of the civil war submarine the Hunley. The Drum is open for visitors and we took our time exploring its many displays.

We spent the night at the Drury Hotel in Mobile. The Drury offers a few unusual amenities, including a snack and beverage service from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm. Tonight’s snacks included: hot dogs, nachos with lots of toppings, baked potatoes, and tossed salad. We ate enough snacks that we didn’t have to go out for dinner. Each adult in the room is offered 3 adult beverages and there is a coke self-service drink fountain that we didn’t see get locked up after 7:00 pm.

April 23, 2011
Waking up at the Drury with its included hot breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, French toast, waffles, fruit and yogurt starts the day in a very pleasant way.

We had a short stop at the Guitar Center, where Pete bought a souvenir amplifier. Then we were on to the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center to watch an roaming animal show that was in town for the weekend.

Next we were off in the general direction of Florida. We stopped for lunch of shrimp po’boys at a riverside restaurant. The view was great, the food OK, the service… well, nothing to write about.

After lunch Pete’s car got to experience something new; a ferry. Our destination for this afternoon is Fort Morgan and to get there we have to take a ferry. On the way across the intercoastal waterway, we pass nearby an oil rig. Kind of interesting, when considering what this area went through last year with the BP disaster.

We just barely made it to the Fort Morgan museum before it closed. Sure glad that we made it, there is a lot of history at this fort that just wouldn’t be understood without spending sometime in the museum, before wandering the grounds of the fort. This fort had some very large guns, seeing the video in the museum and then standing in the fort where the guns use to be was very impressive.

Hunger drives us to our next destination, dinner at LuLu’s (Jimmy Buffett’s sister’s restaurant). We are met at the driveway by staff informing us that there is an 1 ½ hour wait, but that if there is only two of us we may have luck at the bar; and we do. We rush right up to the bar and find two open spots. Wow, LuLu’s is amazing. Imagine the craziest beach party and you probably still can’t imagine LuLu’s. We did not “budget” enough time here. There is so much going on; hair braiding, a rope obstacle course; beach volley ball… live music… and more. The food was decent, not spectacular, but good. The atmosphere was awesome… we didn’t want to leave, but we have reservations at Jimmy’s place, the Margaritaville Beach Hotel, which is still an hour away in Pensacola Florida.                        

We arrive at the Margaritaville Beach Hotel well after dark. And fall in love with the room; very nice shower, comfy bed, nice amenities, including two Landshark beers at the bar. So, we go to the beach bar with our free drink coupons in hand. Uh Oh, this place is pretty dead. The band playing just isn’t exciting the crowd or us much at all. We should’ve stayed at LuLu’s. We have a few more drinks, but nothing much is going on in here. So, we go check out the beach at night and then head back to our room.

April 24, 2011
Have work tomorrow and there is 8+ hours of road between here and home… so we gotta go. But first, we explore the Margaritaville Beach Hotel a little more. The gift store is having an Easter promotion, find an egg and get the discount that is contained in the little plastic egg. We find an egg with 20% off and Pete buys a few more souvenirs. The restaurant is busy this morning, but that’s about it. This hotel feels deserted. We go to the beach and check out the bar area in the daylight. We are the only ones out and about on this side of the resort. It’s not that early (9-ish). The bar area has a lot of neat tables, benches, games, and a “fire pit”. We took lots of pictures of the hotel and beach.

Our first stop on the way home was for breakfast at McDonalds. We looked for a Denny’s or something close to the hotel, but there was not much around. Pete drove and drove and drove. Finally, it was lunch time… there is a lot of nothing where we were, so at the first signs of civilization we stopped for some steak and cheese sandwiches. Pete drove to the next rest area on the highway, a short distance away, then Mary took over; and drove and drove and drove… and then we finally made it home.

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Here are some pics of the weekend:

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