travel blog » Mississippi & Alabama!
Mississippi & Alabama!
Oh how time flies when you're having Fun & on a Roadtrip with a Mission! Is now the wee hours of Friday, May 10 & am writing from Sheldon, South Carolina where Danny & I have been happily respiting at the lovely home of some friends here for the past few days after a whirlwind tour of several states earlier this week! So picking up where I left off last Sunday morning in New Orleans...
After getting gas, we headed out from the New Orleans Inn on the I-10 heading east & after a short while crossed into my 43rd State of Mississippi! As there was a Large & Welcoming sign on the side of the highway which said "Welcome To Mississippi, The Birthplace of American Music" with a closed exit right near by, Danny drove around the exit barricade & parked so we could get out & take proper pictures with the sign! We climbed through the small purple flowers & tall thistles to get just the right shot with cars happily honking in Celebration with us as they drove by! After taking Lots of pictures, got back on the highway & shortly after came across a Mississippi Welcome Center which we pulled into & were warmly greeted outside with Mississippi Southern Hospitality by 2 lovely woman, one a 7th Generation Mississippian & the other a transplanted, French-Canadian roots New Englander. They gifted us with Mississippi Seeds & Sparkling & Colorful Mardi Gras Beads, Green for Justice, Purple for Faith & Gold for Power! Once inside the center, we were again warmly greeted by two nice ladies who offered us MS info., coffee & the news that this month of May in Mississippi was dedicated to Music, as the roots of Blues run deep here in the Mississippi Delta. Having been told by the Mississippi native outside about a scenic route along the Gulf Coast, we avoided the !-10 & headed south to drive along the pristine white sand beaches of Mississippi. We were also told by the MS native that a place called Waveland that we drove through had been completely swept away during Katrina, so any buildings we noticed along the way seemed to be quite new & some were on stilts. Interestingly enough, along this part of the MS coast there are not any tall high-rises, which made it much more scenic & inviting, but as we neared Biloxi, we began to see more & more high-rises right on the beach, looming large & uninviting. Again at the suggestion of the MS native & after quietly crossing into my 44th State of Alabama, we were watching for a restaurant called Felix's as we got closer to Mobile. We stopped at a gas station to double check it's location with 2 very nice & helpful Alabama ladies. Continuing on through a steep tunnel, we emerged to find Felix's right on the water as the sun was just settling in for the night. Were greeted with Lots of Southern Hospitaly in Felix's as we ware seated by a window with candlelight & got a few pics . of the sunset taken by our very nice waiter, an AL native. Being that veggie options were limited on the menu, I dug into deep fried green tomatoes, deep fried hush-puppies & mac 'n cheese for dinner with a shared mocha ice cream pie for dessert! Danny tasted crab soup & some almond batter deep fried fish & we checked off having a Truly Southern dinner! Not yet knowing where we going to spend the night, our waiter gave us some tips for places nearby, so we headed out once again watching for just the right place to stay. After a bt of driving, Danny spotted a place called The Key West Inn which was not in FL or Key West, but AL. Being tired, that was not a concern to us, so we drove in & were checked in by a nice gentleman from Louisiana to an affordable room, with wi-fi & breakfast included (always a plus!) So we drove over to park near our room & were happy to have a place to get some sleep as it was about 10pm!
Next morning woke up feeling refreshed after spending our first night in Alabama! Went off to the lobby to enjoy the included breakfast of bagels & cream cheese, cereal, muffins & for the first time, instant grits with American cheese, like instant oatmeal but different! Then chatted with the owner from Gujarat India who shared that her sister owns another Key West Inn near Nashville, so made a mental note of a place to stay down the road! Then packed up & headed out with plans to check out a bit of the Alabama Gulf Coastline on the way to Florida. Took a few suburban backroads & were impressed with the nice AL homes on the beach & the perfection of the weather in May. Eventually found our way to a main road which led to the main coastal road, where we stopped at a Alabama Gulf Coast Tourist Office where 2 nice Alabama ladies told us about an annual Music Festival which is in it's third year called "The Hangout" which is coming up & sells out immediately, as well as helped us map out the rest of our Alabama Journey. Just as we were about to leave, one of the ladies told us about a place called "The Floribama" which is a roadhouse that is half in Alabama, half in Florida & is the longest operating roadhouse in the country. She said she thought we'd like it as I had shared the story of our "50 In 50" Mission! So off we went, first driving by "The Hangout" on yet another white, pristine (& windy!) beach nearby & thought, what a Beautiful place for a Music Festival! Watched as a kite-surfer held on tight to his kite which was on the move on such a windy day! Then we continued driving east, enjoying the beautiful & expansive beaches to our right until we came up on The Floribama & crossed the Florida border! I have been to Florida before, but not the Florida Panhandle, so took a moment to mark the moment!
Wind was definitely blowing as Danny & I went to take a few pics. & check out the Historic & Eclectric Floribama Roadhouse. I tarried outside taking pics. as Danny went in to check out the bar & when I went to go find him, ended up finding out how many nooks & crannies the Floribama had! There was a bingo game going on in one area with an outdoor bar which was near yet another expanse of beautiful windswept beach. Somehow I missed the main bar, so eventually Danny came to find me & share that he had met some very nice people who were inviting him to play a bit. So went up to the main bar with him where met a group of very nice people, 2 of whom were singing & playing onstage & invited Danny up to sing a song or two. So up Danny went to sing one of his songs to the small crowd gathered who were also encouraging me to join him in song! Next thing I knew I was up on stage with Danny singing harmony on his song "Oceans In My Mind" (which I had never done before!) & a few others as well! After this spontaneous show for which we received a heart-felt applause, we were kindly offered free drinks & listened to the local duo perform. We also visited with a musician from Mississippi & the very Full Of Life woman who books the music acts & was Enthusiastically inviting us back! So after taking a few pics., we exchanged contacts, said our good-byes & got back on the road, this time in Florida. Our next goal was to reach our friends' place in Tallahassee, FL, where we would be spending the night before it got too late! Having never been to the Florida Panhandle, we debated if we had time to follow the small & scenic coastal road a little longer before getting on the "not-so-scenic" I-10 further inland. After looking at the map, the time & remembering that we would be jumping ahead an hour as we crossed into Eastern Standard Time, we decided we better just get to Tallahasse. So we found our way through Pensacola, Florida where our friend Aimee called us from San Francisco to check in & see where we were & we thought of our Dad who had done flight training at the naval base in Pensacola back in '50s! Eventually found our way to the I-10, which we jumped on & stayed on until Tallahasee with our GPS, who I'm calling Thomasina, doing a Great job of leading us directly to our friends place at around 10pm! Happy to have made it, our lovely friends helped us bring up our things & made a delicious dinner! We also met their roommate who's originally from CA & the resident cats, a young black boy named Magic & older grey girl named Tiki. After eating, visiting & Danny showing our friends his foldable guitar, we settled in for the night in true couch surfing style on the couch & floor, knowing we would be up & out early the next morning with plans to make it to Jacksonville, FL, the end of the 10 freeway & Atlantic Ocean & all the way up to South Carolina!