Gulf Shores, Alabama was our destination for the next five days, located right on the AL/FL border on the Gulf of Mexico. As we got set up at the Luxury RV Park (not really that luxurious, but great location), I instantly felt the humidity. We took a walk down to the beach, only about 4 blocks away, and it felt great to be back on the water. There was a cool bar/restaurant, The Hangout, right there that was having its annual Oyster/Craft Beer Fest for the weekend. More on that later!
The first day, we enjoyed a morning close to the MoHo getting some chores done. We then drove down the beach toward Florida through Orange Beach and Perdido Bay. Our destination was the renowned FloraBama Bar, which sits right on the border of the two states. The Shulls, who have vacationed down here often, told us all about it. Great location, yes! But, we were there on a Thursday mid-day and the only thing going on was free Bingo. I’m sure in high season, warmer weather, with live music playing and in the evening hours, this place is hopping! But, pretty dead for us. We had a beer and walked around checking out this eclectic place and enjoyed the amazing ocean view, but then got on our way. We stopped at an outdoor restaurant on the intercoastal bay and enjoyed a nice early dinner. Looking out at the water and boats just never seems to get old.
The next day, we made the hour drive over to Mobile. We were going to take a small ferry across the bay, but it wasn’t running due to high winds. On the drive, we passed by the first park (Meaher State Park in Spanish Fort, AL) that we ever stayed at. When we did our trial run in Fall of 2012 and rented an RV for our cross-country trip from Baton Rouge to Las Vegas, this was the first stop on our trip. Very cool to see it over two years later and realize how much has happened since then! Our plan for the day was to tour Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile Bay where the USS Alabama resides as well as the USS Drum submarine and an aircraft pavilion filled with many different types of aircraft. We spent over 3 hours there and would highly recommend this stop. Afterwards, we drove into downtown Mobile for lunch then back to the MoHo to gear up for the Craft Beer Fest, which started at 6. We walked down to the beach and paid our $25 entrance fee, got our souvenir tasting cups and wristbands and entered this awesome event. There were over 20 booths there each serving at least two types of beer with fun giveaways, live music and a lot of people. The Hangout is huge with a large outdoor area, right on the beach, so all of the booths were set up outside. A really fun evening and we got to sample many beers we had never heard of.
Saturday, they were having the main event, the Oyster Fest with 40 to 50 booths offering oyster samples, shucking competitions, Bloody Mary contests and much more. We strolled over around noon to check it out, but neither one of us care for oysters. The beer booths were still set up, bands were playing and college football games o’plenty on the many TV’s. We decided to just go into the restaurant for lunch on the deck and people watch. It was a beautiful day and it was much more crowded than the night before as it was free admission, then tickets were available for samples. Again, a very fun atmosphere and lots of Alabama and Auburn fans decked out in their gear. We ended up back at the MoHo to watch our teams play, then an early night. Yay, Cougs beat OSU!
On our last day, we drove over to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola for an Air Show featuring the incomparable Blue Angels! It was a great day for it and tons of people there to take it all in. There was a huge free admission area where we could set up our chairs with a great view over the runway. The event was all weekend and was a “Homecoming” for the Blue Angels welcoming them back to their home base after their season. The whole show was great with a variety of demonstrations. The Blues capped it off and provided the same thrill and excitement we always get watching them at home in Seattle. The one difference here was that we got to see them take off and land and appreciate the same precision and discipline they show in the air, on the ground. Loved it! Drove back to the MoHo for the Hawks game and a victory against Dallas!
Next up is Destin, FL and the start of our 3-½ month “residency” in Florida.