Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Deep South

Mobile Bay from Alabama Port
After riding out a day of heavy rain in St. Martin just north of Biloxi, the forecast improved the next day and we rode to Bayou La Batre, Alabama.   From Bayou La Batre we rode to Alabama Port and south across the Gordon Persons Bridge to Dauphin Island.  Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island on the western side of the entrance to Mobile Bay and Fort Morgan on the eastern side were important Confederate defensive positions during the blockade of Mobile Bay.  We rode to Fort Gaines about a mile east of the ferry departure point but did not have time to tour it before catching the next ferry across Mobile Bay.  From the ferry we had a great view of Fort Gaines. We also saw oil rigs inside and outside the entrance to Mobile Bay.   On the ferry we had an opportunity to talk with a number of locals and learn more about Mobile and surrounding area.  We exited the ferry at Mobile Point and toured Fort Morgan.  The fort had multiple lines of defense with overlapping fields of cannon fire.  In many respects it was very similar to one of the forts we toured in France a few years ago.  

Cannon at Fort Gaines
Oil Rig in Mobile Bay
Ferry Ride Across Mobile Bay
Hank Exiting Ferry

Hotel at Orange Beach
From Fort Morgan we rode along a sandy strip of land with beach houses build on pilings 15 feet tall to allow a storm surge to flow under them.  Our hotel in Orange Beach was on the beach and we enjoyed cooling our feet in the Gulf after a long days ride. 
Cooling Our Feet in the Gulf of Mexico

Naval Aviation Museum at Pensacola
Our ride from Orange Beach to Pensacola was uneventful.  In Pensacola, we took a day off to tour the Naval Aviation Museum.  Carolyn had been looking forward to touring this museum since we initially planned our route and thoroughly enjoyed the day.  
Blue Angel's Sky Hawks

Naval Aviation Museum at Pensacola

Florida Coast East of Pensacola
From Pensacola we rode along the coast before heading inland, riding a few miles north of Interstate 10 through rural countryside, part of which was swamps and much of which was managed timber forest land where the undergrowth is burned off each year.  We passed one area where the undergrowth was burning as we rode by.

Hank and Carolyn with Al and Heidi Parker
We arrived in Tallahassee at the home of our friends Al and Heidi Parker on Thursday.  After spending a restful off day at their home on Friday, they rode with us out of Tallahassee to Monticello where we had lunch.  

Ray Charles Statue in Greenville
We left the Parkers in Monticello and rode to Greenville, where we stayed in a cottage behind Grace Manor B&B.  Ray Charles was born in Greenville and there is a statue of him in the town park.   Sunday morning thunderstorms were forecast for most of the day so we decided to spend another night in Greenville.   

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