Saturday, November 30, 2013

Florida, Pensacola - Saturday, November 30, 2013 - Naval Aviation Museum

Weather was in the mid to high 60s today with lots of sunshine so we took off on the bike to visit the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.  On the way we saw these zip lines, we originally thought they were observation towers.  They had several people out on the lines today so we watched for a while.  I’ve always thought this might be kind of fun.  I’d probably change my mind once I got to the top of the tower.  Come to think of it, I might not be able to make it to the top of the tower so I think the whole thing is out of the question.
Just a little way down the road we stopped again to walk out on the Gulf State Park Pier.  There is a $2.00 admission fee for sightseers.  This pier was originally built in 1968 and was 825 feet long.  It withstood a lot of bad weather but in 2004 Hurricane Ivan took it out.  This current pier was built in 2007 and at 1540 feet it is the longest pier on the Gulf.
This section of beach is home to the Alabama Beach mouse (a southern cousin of the northern field mouse we are familiar with).  The beach mouse is important to the beach environment because it collects and distributes seeds of the plants that keep the dunes from blowing away.  That is Gulf Shores in the background.
Several pelicans were hanging out waiting for a free meal.  I think if the fishermen caught anything they might have to wrestle a pelican to get it home.

This guy decided to do lunch on his own.

The waves were breaking pretty hard against the beach.

The National Naval Aviation Museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary.  This museum is on the naval base where the Blue Angels are stationed.  Don’t forget to take your I.D. or you won’t get in the gate.  Admission to the museum is free.

We spent about 3 hours here but could have easily spent a whole day.  We didn’t get to spend nearly as much time looking at the exhibits as we would have liked.

They had displays of the old

And displays of the new

This town recreation was really well done.

They had recreated a carrier flight deck

Blue Angels then

And Blue Angels now

Marine 1 helicopter for Presidents Ford and Nixon

We had lunch at the Cubi Bar Café.  We had one of their Subic Bay Steak Panini sandwiches which was delicious.  This café is a replica of an officer’s club that was in the Philippines beginning during the Viet Nam conflict up through the 1990’s (I think).  Hundreds of plaques from naval marine units are on the walls.

We did the 4D flying with the Angles experience.  As I stood at the counter while Greg was buying tickets I was reading their warnings, I was beginning to think we shouldn’t have had lunch before this.  It’s a 3D movie with the added dimension of moving seats and air blowing in your face.  There was a $7.00 charge for this.  It was pretty neat, but we would have liked for it to be longer – no problem keeping lunch down the seats didn’t move that much.

On the way back home we stopped at our friends, Mike and Sheila’s house to pick up our frozen food.  We really appreciate the help they gave us.  We stored everything in our new coolers.  We’ll be headed back to Gulfport tomorrow so we can get our refrigerator fixed on Monday morning.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Alabama, Gulf Shores - Friday, November 29, 2013 - Black Friday

Weather was in the high 50s and sunny today – very nice.  We went to Lamberts for lunch.  This restaurant has been in business since 1943 and is the “home of the throwed rolls”
We had more to eat today than we did yesterday when we went to Cracker Barrel for their Thanksgiving special.  There was an hour wait yesterday, today we walked right in even though the parking lot was full.

For $12.99 I ordered the charbroiled chicken breast with baked beans and slaw.  It ended up being 2 chicken breasts with at least a cup and a half of the sides.  In addition you get softball size rolls and all the fried okra you can eat before your meal gets to you.  While you are eating they are walking around with large pots of various sides you can get in addition to the ones you ordered – black-eyed peas, fried potatoes and onions, macaroni and tomatoes, apple butter and molasses.  There were some other sides they walked around with but I can’t remember them.  In order to get a roll you have to raise your hand and a guy at the end of the room throws one to you.  Sometimes he just throws them for the heck of it.  Drinks come in a large plastic 64 oz. mug with free refills.  I think they have such large heavy mugs for the drinks so they don’t knock them over with the rolls.  Needless to say we have enough left over for supper this evening.
After lunch we actually did some Black Friday shopping at Tanger Outlets just down the road.  Traffic was ridiculous getting in the main entrance so we took off on a side road and went in the back entrance which worked out well.  Even the back entrance was filling up by the time we were ready to leave.  We still haven’t found one of the gifts we are looking for, we’ll be trying again in Gulfport before we resort to ordering on line.

Tomorrow it’s supposed to be in the 60s so we plan to get out and just ride.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Alabama, Gulf Shores - Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - Gulf Breeze RV Resort

Just to bring you up to date since I’ve missed a few days.  First off, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  Even though we aren’t with them in person we are with our family and friends in our thoughts and in our hearts.  God Bless. 
On Sunday we were going to go Christmas shopping.  We got all ready to go and the bike wouldn’t start.  It didn’t respond to the trickle charger.  So, we called our friend Mike to see if he and Sheila had left for Indiana yet.  They were still here so he came over and took Greg to Walmart to see if maybe they had a battery like we needed – no luck.

On Monday one of our neighbors here in the campground brought his pickup and jumper cables over and helped Greg get the bike started.  We took off for Harley Davidson in Pensacola, FL.  That was closer than Mobile, but it was still a little over an hour to get there.  Greg took the tools with him to change out the battery once we got there.  The weather forecast called for 80% chance of rain in the late afternoon and we could see it getting closer.  We were able to get in a stop for a few groceries and got home before the rain got here.
From late afternoon Monday through most of the day Tuesday the wind blew fiercely and the rain came down.  If the wind gusts were rocking us, I can’t imagine how it felt in some of the smaller units here.  The weather has taken a cooler turn into the mid-40s, but I know that is nothing compared to what they are getting in some parts of the country.  Everyone please travel carefully over the holiday.

Today we went out to do some Christmas shopping for the grandkids.  When we came out of Target I said to Greg, “It seems weird to come out of Target after doing Christmas shopping and see palm trees”.  He said, “It doesn’t seem weird to be doing Christmas shopping on a motorcycle?”  Well, there is that, I guess I’m just getting used to shopping on a motorcycle.  We are back home now with a pumpkin pie in the oven making the house smell really good.
We’ll be going to Cracker Barrel tomorrow for Thanksgiving dinner.  We have extended our stay here until Sunday.  Then we’ll be headed back to Gulfport to get our new refrigerator cooling unit installed – I’ll be so glad.  We’ve made it just fine especially now that we have our new coolers.  But, it’s so much easier with a fridge.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Alabama, Gulf Shores - Saturday, November 23, 2013 - Gulf Breeze RV Resort

Greg gave up biscuits, gravy and eggs this morning to stay home and have pecan pancakes and sliced bananas with me.  The campground has a breakfast a couple of times a month and today was biscuits and gravy day.  I would have eaten a biscuit, but the pancakes and bananas were probably better for us.
After I took a shower this morning, we took a walk around the campground and as we were coming back home, Greg says “let’s get the bike off the lift, the grass was wet this morning and it might be hard to get off if it rains”.  The sites have concrete pads for the RVs but our lift hangs over that and comes down in the grass.  Sounded like a good idea.

When the bike came off the lift there was a very small incline that he backed down.  Well, it was just enough of an incline that the back tire started to spin when he tried to pull forward, it bit down into mud and he couldn’t go anywhere.  He was on the bike so he couldn’t see what was happening, he thought it was just the incline causing him problems and turned to look at me for a push.  I knew what was going to happen the minute I stepped behind that bike, and it did.
It was definitely a missed photo op.  I was covered with mud by the time he got out on the road.  As he pulled out on the road he turned to look at me and the look on his face was like “what the heck happened to you”.  As I walked across the patio back to the coach globs of mud were dropping off of me.  It was back to the shower for a second time.

The Gulf Breeze RV Resort where we are staying is very nice.
The office has a small store (with ice cream bars)
Rates are $210 for the week for full hook ups.  This is our view from site 35.

There is an outdoor pool.

An indoor hot tub and pool.  There was a lady in the indoor pool and I promised her I wouldn’t take a picture of it.

They have a lot of activities going on right now.  Not sure if they happen all year round or just when the snowbirds are here.  They have exercise class, quilting, line dancing, karaoke, cribbage, euchre and bingo to name a few. 

Some of the activities take place here in the pavilion.
Others take place in the clubhouse.

I think this would be a good place to consider for RV rallies.  The clubhouse also has a well equipped kitchen.  This is taken through the window since it was locked, so not a really good shot.
I’ll be checking out the library tomorrow.  I have 5 books I’ve read, need to trade them for some others.
The lake is a catch and release lake.

They have a float they use in a Christmas parade.  I noticed on the calendar they will be having a bake goods and craft sale for Christmas items also.  They have 200+ sites here, there are just a few empty so it looks like a popular spot for folks wanting to spend the winter in a warmer climate.

It was in the mid 60s today, warm enough to sit outside for a while.

This park is located 4 miles from the public beaches on the Gulf.  There is lots of shopping and places to eat, all in all a very nice place.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Alabama, Gulf Shores - Friday, November 22, 2013 - Dinner with Friends

We got into Gulf Breeze RV Resort yesterday afternoon.  Our friends from Indiana, Mike and Sheila, came over and brought us some wine from Oliver Winery (yum!).   We are fans of Oliver’s Soft White and Soft Red wines.  They are down here spending some time over the weekend in their Gulf Shores vacation home.  We sent our frozen food home with them.  We’ll pick it up before we leave here to go back to Gulfport to get the refrigerator fixed.

This morning we spent a couple of hours listening to some programs on the History Channel about the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  Hard to believe that was 50 years ago today.

Mike and Sheila picked us up this evening and drove us out to see their home and the area around it.  We waited to see the alligator that lives in the canal behind their house, but it didn’t show up.
I can see why they enjoy coming down here – such a nice, comfortable home.
We went to the Oyster House for dinner where we met up with Tina and Ronnie who are also friends of Mike and Sheila.  Dinner was thoroughly enjoyable – good food and good company.
After dinner we stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up some coolers we had ordered.  Greg did some rearranging in the “basement” storage area so we can put the coolers there in case we run into fridge troubles in the future.

Sheila helped us get the pictures for our Christmas cards.  We’ve thought about trying the time delay option on our camera to get a picture of both of us, but I was afraid neither of us could move fast enough to get in the picture after setting the timer.  Having her take it was a much better idea.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mississippi, Bay St. Louis - Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - Hollywood Casino RV Park

This is our last day at the Hollywood Casino RV Park.  We’ve had a nice time here.  The weather today was in the high 60s and sunny.
I spent some time cleaning and Greg reworked some storage areas of the “basement”.  He also fixed a scratch up near the roof we got from a tree branch.  We got just a little bit lost coming in to this campground.  We went by where we were supposed to turn.  Although we realized it right away once we were by it we were on a narrow country road heading who knows where.  I am always surprised how well Greg can maneuver this thing.  I bet we surprised the people who owned the driveway where he backed in and turned around!  If we were towing another vehicle we wouldn’t have nearly as much capability to get out of tight spots.  At any rate, there was a low hanging branch that just couldn’t be avoided so we got a little scratch.

We took advantage of the half price for seniors buffet at the casino for lunch.  You just can’t beat $6.99 for a huge buffet.  They had shrimp and whole Dungeness crabs today.  We did a number on the shrimp, but I have a problem with a whole crab.  I don’t want to have to dismember anything before I eat it.  I did get brave and tried a couple of Cajun dishes – crawfish cornbread and crawfish pie.  They were both pretty spicy.  The crawfish cornbread was kind of like cornbread dressing – the crawfish (or at least I think that is what it was) was very good.  I didn’t care for the crawfish pie.  The filling was rice and other things that were very finely ground up, I took a couple of bites and decided it was too spicy for me.  I’m eating Tums this evening.

Tomorrow we are headed to Gulf Breeze campground in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  Once our refrigerator part comes in we’ll have to come back to Gulfport, MS to get it installed.  Needless to say I won’t be fixing a big Thanksgiving dinner this year since we are without a fridge.  I think the campground at Gulf Breeze has Thanksgiving dinner on their calendar of events.  I just hope it isn’t a pitch-in, we might have to take canned cranberry sauce if it is.  Oh well, we’ll still be very thankful for our wonderful life, our amazing children and their spouses, our grandchildren and great grandbaby and our ever growing network of friends.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mississippi, Bay St. Louis - Monday, November 18, 2013 - Not Much Going On

Our thoughts and prayers go out to our family and friends in our home state of Indiana.  Indiana was hit hard yesterday by a series of tornadoes.  So far we believe everyone is physically ok.  We hope that damage to homes and businesses wasn’t too severe.
Weather is warm here but still rainy so we are staying inside and being lazy.  Since we still don’t have a date for when our refrigerator cooling system will be shipped I spent some time researching what I could fix with just pantry items.  So far we are doing really well, but I may run out of ideas on my own before we get this thing fixed.  Looks like it may be another 6-10 days.

We’ll be doing some shopping tomorrow for some more pantry staples.  I did get really energetic and make a chocolate mayonnaise cake today – pretty good with some lite cherry pie filling on top.  I had an unopened jar of mayo in the pantry so I could make this happen.
Christmas lists are coming in from the grandkids so we’ve been doing some online research to see if we can find what they want.

We still plan on being in Gulf Shores on Thursday to meet up with our friends for a few days.  When the fridge part comes in we’ll come back to Bay St. Louis to get it installed.  It’s probably less than a two hour drive back over here, then we’ll head back to Gulf Shores for a while.  This really isn’t a bad place to be delayed.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mississippi, Bay St. Louis - Saturday, November 16, 2013 - Hollywood Casino Show

We still haven’t found out when our refrigerator part will be in so we extended our stay here.  We were scheduled to leave in the morning, but now we are going to wait to leave on Wednesday.  That should put us into Gulf Shores on the 20th or 21st.  We are scheduled to meet up with some friends in Gulf Shores so we don’t want to be late for that.
Its overcast today and misting rain every once in a while.  The temperatures are in the mid-70s, but it doesn’t feel as nice as it does when the sun is shining.  I wanted to take some sandwiches with us to the beach in Waveland to have lunch.  We did, but it was really kind of cool to be spending much time on the beach, the breeze blowing across the water lowered the temperature quite a bit.

It was so overcast the pictures don’t show much.
This guy was the only one at the beach besides us.
On the way back home we stopped for a few groceries to go with our current pantry items so we could still cook at home instead of going out to eat.  Lots of canned soup instead of the homemade versions, but I’m sure we’ll get by.  Two days and we are already tired of going to the buffet at the casino.

Tonight we went to the casino for a show – Micky Dolenz.  Remember him from the 1960’s rock band The Monkees?  He still puts on a pretty good show.  Nice trip down memory lane.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mississippi, Bay St. Louis - Thursday, November 14, 2013 - Refrigerator Woes

Well, we didn’t leave home today, but we still had an adventure.  Our refrigerator quit working!  Those of you who know us know that we always have a full fridge and freezer.  We eat out very seldom and I like to cook so we always have the makings for just about anything I want to put together.  And we usually have a good selection of some pretty tasty leftovers – had to get rid of all of those.  I had just made potato salad, broccoli and cheese soup and bread pudding, hated to see those go.
However, our refrigerator is sparkly clean now.

We called a mobile RV service from Gulfport.  They said the cooling unit needs to be replaced.  I’m glad we have an extended warranty that will help with some of the cost of that.  The registration building here sells bagged ice so they were kind enough to let us put our frozen food in there.  We keep a couple of empty totes under the coach for extra grocery storage so we took one of them filled with our frozen food up to the ice freezer.  It will probably be a week or so before it is fixed so we are going to be eating out for a while.

There are several choices of restaurants at the casino so we should be just fine.  We went to the buffet this evening because they had a seafood special going on.  We were pleased with the choices and preparation of the entrees and sides, but the desserts weren’t all that great.

Not having dessert at the casino was no problem because we have lots of cookies at home.  I made oatmeal raisin and chocolate pecan cookies earlier in the month.  I scoop them out and then freeze them so I can just bake 4 of them at a time when we want homemade cookies.  Since the freezer isn’t working all of the cookies had to be baked today.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mississippi, Bay St. Louis - Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - Gulf Coast Ride

Sunday we did some Christmas shopping.  I’m finding it hard to get into the Christmas spirit when it’s in the mid 70’s and I’m wearing shorts.  We did find a few of the things we were looking for – had to strap one to the back of the bike.  Other than that we didn’t do too much so I didn’t think that warranted a post.
On Monday we left home about 10:00 to ride the beach road along the Gulf of Mexico – WOW.  I couldn’t decide where to look, Gulf of Mexico or the beautiful homes on the other side of the road.  We got home a little after 3:00, fixed supper and then I had to watch Dancing with the Stars and Castle – so no time for a post.

On Monday we headed to Waveland first.  Since it was Veteran’s Day, we wanted to see the veteran’s memorial they have on a pier in the Gulf of Mexico.  We found it, but were disappointed at the condition of the memorial.  If we would have had some trash bags and a truck we would have done some cleaning.
The next time we are in this area I know where I want to try to get an RV site – The Silver Slipper Casino.  They have 35 full service sites that are right across the road from the Gulf of Mexico.  You have to call for site prices so I don’t know what it would cost, but most of the casino parks we have run into so far are very reasonable and you are under no obligation to gamble.  Being that near to the Gulf of Mexico and having that view would be wonderful.

In Waveland there were yards of beautiful white sugar sand beach between the road and the Gulf.  On Monday there wasn’t another person in sight for most of the time.  A couple of times we saw people out exercising their dogs.  The dogs are supposed to be on a leash, but they sure did look like they were having fun running free at top speed through the sand.  I could have sit there all day, just listening to the waves come in.
A lot of the piers that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina haven’t been rebuilt.

This one either made it through or has been rebuilt.

We walked out to the end of it.

There are a lot of empty lots where homes haven’t been restored since Katrina.  A lot of for sale signs are up.  But, there are also some amazing homes looking out over the coast.  I didn’t even try to get pictures since they wouldn’t have turned out very good while we were moving and if we had stopped to photograph every one of them, we still wouldn’t be back home.  There are very few areas that haven’t been cleaned up.  This pier is still closed and has debris laying around but most of the area looks very good.

We stopped for lunch in Bay St. Louis at The Blind Tiger.  The fish tacos were great and the breeze blowing in off the Gulf through the open windows was fantastic.  This place has a bar that seats 18 and another 30 or so can be seated at tables, menus are written on blackboards hanging on the wall. 
We took a stroll through a yacht club in Gulfport.

I bet they have some high class parties here.
We drove on to Biloxi to see the lighthouse there, which is supposed to be one of the most photographed sites on the Gulf Coast.  The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1967 and where it stands is now the middle of highway 90, two lanes of traffic flow on both sides of it.

The lighthouse has stood through 20 hurricanes.  August 17, 1968 Hurricane Camille smashed into the coast with 200 mph winds.  The beachfront of Biloxi was devastated and 172 lives were lost along with scores of architectural treasures.  Miraculously, the lighthouse received only minor damage.

In 2005 Hurricane Katrina’s record storm surge of 26 to 30 feet damaged the lighthouse brick lining and destroyed the electrical system.  Winds ripped off the door and smashed windows in the light cupola.  After the storm, although it was battered and bruised, it stood tall amid all the destruction around it.  There is a picture of this shown in the visitor’s center, it just takes your breath away to see how much destruction there was and this lighthouse was about the only thing standing.
Within hours after Katrina, workers hung a flag from the cupola railing and it hung there all during the cleanup and restoration period.  February 19, 2010 after a $400,000 restoration it became a lasting symbol of the strength of Biloxi.

The visitor’s center is across the road from the lighthouse.  The original building was destroyed during Katrina and a replica was built on the same site.  It’s built in the likeness of an old mansion that once stood in Biloxi.
The visitor’s center has a small museum that is pretty interesting.  This jacket is one that was once worn by Elvis Presley.
Today we hung around home.  Greg did some cleaning on the exterior and I made potato salad and bread pudding with vanilla sauce.  We did take a walk to the end of the campground and pick up some large pine cones in anticipation of doing some Christmas decorating.