12/13/21 What a journey this has been and I haven’t even reached my final destination. There is so much to see in this beautiful country, it can be overwhelming! After stopping at the visitor center in Mississippi, they suggested that I take HWY I-90 and drive along the gulf coast. WOW! It was a short drive to Biloxi, and I was so excited to see the beautiful water on the gulf coast. The day was sunny and a little warm and I drove along looking at the old mansions on one side and the water on the other. I pulled over and stepped out to enjoy the breeze and just take it all in. Ahh! As I drove along, I found a pier with parking and stopped for a break. Looking down at the water off the pier, I noticed a small jelly fish and have never seen one before in the wild. The water was murky brown, but it was very close to the surface and I took a couple of snaps. There were two men standing nearby and they pointed out an alligator gar to me. We talked about all of the critters in the water and they were fascinated with the gar. Guess they are rare in this part of the coast. Apparently, it was a long one, almost 4 feet.
The plan was to find a casino and spend the night in their parking lot. Late in the afternoon, I pulled into the Harrah’s big rig lot across the street from the hotel. Scoping it out, it looked fine, as there were already a couple of RV’s and semis parked there. There was a Steak and Shake in the casino and I had a burger and a vanilla shake, which I regretted later. After, I walked around to a restaurant across the street and had stairs going down to the beach. I walked along for a while and then went back to the casino, as it was getting dark. Harrah’s pool area was beautiful and I hung out there until it got dark so I could see the stars. They started peeping out and it cooled off, so I went back to the van and settled in.
I got up early the next morning and started to drive along the coast toward Alabama. Before I left, I took some snaps at the water’s edge and watched the sun come up over the water. My dream came true and I knocked off one more item from my bucket list!
Mobile, Alabama is situated near the coast and I-90 runs through it as well. It’s a quaint city and I drove through the historical district with its Antebellum architecture and houses on stilts. It was nice that the speed limit was 30 mph so I didn’t have to worry about gawking too much and making other drivers go crazy.
Did I mention that I have a thing about side trips? The Gulf Islands National Seashore is a small National Park that features a campground, boating docks and some trails along with a clean sandy beach. There was also Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) ruins where you could still see the foundations from some of the buildings. These go back to the early 1930’s and was housing for the men while they worked in the forest. The CCC were mostly young and unskilled laborers who were offered housing and a small stipend in exchange for work. There is another National Seashore in Florida.
Well, this one was the bomb (no pun intended)! Welcome to the U.S.S. Alabama Museum! Yowza! I’ve never seen a real battle ship, let alone be able to wander around one. OMG it is enormous! How do these things float?? The U.S.S. Drum is a submarine that also resides there, and the airplanes in the museum hangar will amaze any one who is interested in military history. I wonder how the shipmates traversed these enormous ships, as the hatches were really small. Fortunately, I was able to maneuver them fairly easily, though a few men were slightly concerned about getting through the tiny openings. There were also missiles and other museum-y things and the ships are still used for training. This is truly a must see and I would definitely go there again!