Alabama to Louisiana
We arrived in Alabama under cloudy skies stopping in Fairhope so Doug could do a little work at the public library. On the drive here from Pensacola there were a lot of vacation homes along the shore but this time of year, not many bodies to fill them. We had hoped it would clear to enjoy the sunset over Mobile Bay but the weather gods have turned lately and the sun does not shine as it did in central Florida.
Fairhope is a quaint little town with some cool buildings and upscale shops. Fran did some walking (and no shopping!). We spent that night outside of Mobile at a Lowes. Lowes has become a go to spot when we are in cities as it offers free Wi-Fi that extends to the parking lot. It is not a place where we see other RV’s but we’ve had no issues (yet). It’s quiet as it closes at 9pm. Next morning Doug managed to get a line on a used backpacking knapsack he’s been eyeing and he picked that up for a good price.
The sun did come out as we drove westward towards Louisiana and the solar panels were able to get a good charge but it’s been a while since we’ve had a full charge so we are hoping the sun lasts. We have driven a bit with the generator on to assist in that regard.
We drove through the Gold Coast of Mississippi without really stopping other than to check out the pier in Biloxi. The beach is lovely and white but with very little surf. We drove through this area back in 2011 with Serena one year and saw a lot more casinos and hotels up now that have been rebuilt since Katrina. There are still a lot of empty lots with parts of foundations on them that have been as is or are for sale. The casinos seem to be thriving though and the area around them has been beautified and is well maintained.
We arrived in New Orleans, topped up with gas at $1.71! a gallon at the Costco. The price of gas has been decreasing more and more as we head westward to Texas. We were happy in Florida at around 2.20, and then Mobile was $1.89. We’re wondering how low it can go in Texas.
We parked in a permit lot downtown for New Year’s Eve so we could partake of the festivities and not have to walk far back to Tigger. There is little street parking downtown and the streets are narrow. The lots have 24 hour rates so it was way cheaper than a hotel. There is an RV park near the French Quarter and we did check, but it was $126 a night because it was an “event season” (NYE and the Sugar Bowl). Ridiculous! Hotel prices were even worse.
Doug did some work on the RV while Fran did some banking and errands. We set out just before dark for a walk to the River and then up into the French Quarter. We, naturally, had to stop for some hot beignets at Café du Monde. Yummy treat.
There are A LOT of football fans in town; Alabama vs Ohio college game, so it’s a sea of red. There were fan fests going on and lots of flags a waving.
We wandered Bourbon Street until we found a nice little bar that also served food. The bar had a couple of piano players entertaining the crowd. We ordered some dinner and drinks; Doug had beer, of course, and Fran had two, only two hurricanes (but they must have been category 6’s) the whole time we were in the bar. Well, around 9 Fran needed some air, so she went outside, Doug joined her after paying the bill and after that it was all a blank for Fran. Something was strange; she was very, very inebriated on only two drinks!. Next thing she remembers is waking up at 4:30 am fully dressed in bed in the RV. Doug says we didn’t make it to midnight to see the fleur de lis drop or the fireworks, although he did hear them from the parking lot. Fran has no recollection of anything after 9PM. She was quick sick the next day but no hangover headache so we’re not sure what caused this; weird to black out but not have a headache but she had a very upset tummy all day Thursday. She stayed in bed, while Doug did some maintenance jobs, walked and since our parking was going to expire, Fran stayed in bed while Doug a couple of hours out of NO.
We decided to get a hotel for the night as Doug needed to work Friday so we stayed outside Lafayette, LA for the night. Fran felt better by the evening and was keeping down saltines.
Friday the 2nd, after a few hours of online work, we stopped in St. Martinville aka “Petit Paris” for a look. A little disappointing but you never know, do you? This is the place where a lot of the Acadian families came back in 1765 when the British deported them from Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick, for not agreeing to pledge allegiance to the crown. There was a great deal of French culture here and many Frenchmen with money, who left France for the new world, also came here.
The weather was cloudy again today with fog in many areas, very humid but temps around mid 60’s (high teens C). We drove the Creole Nature Trail through the “Louisiana Outback” from Lake Charles to the coast, west to Cameron where we took a ferry across the intercostal waterway. Here we saw many pelicans and at least a half dozen dolphins frolicking in the river. A well spent $1 for that ferry for the scenery alone. This area also has a lot of oil drilling going on and you can see the oil rigs and drilling platforms. This area was hit hard by a bad hurricane in 1957 when hundreds were killed and then again by Hurricane Rita (after Katrina) with yet another hurricane in 2009. You can see lots of foundations and destroyed buildings. Holly Beach, right on the Gulf coast beaches, was completely destroyed. It was a holiday destination for many and it has slowly begun to come back. Due to the overcast skies and misty rain, we didn’t bother to stop.
This nature drive took us through many wildlife refuges and we saw many wetland birds but the only animals we saw were rabbits. It is a little late to see alligator as they are dormant in the winter but apparently there are a lot in this area. It is very wet and swampy with few trees. You can see where prairie land has begun where there has been enough vegetation die to support growth.
We continued westward towards the FREE ferry to Galveston, Texas.