Friday, May 6, 2022

The Escape/Part 6 Gulf Shores Alabama

April 15th, 2022

 After replacing a set of shackles on the fifthwheel, we made it to our next destination. Gulf Shore State Park in Alabama. This campground is huge. Nearly 500 sites so there is always activity. Should you choose to stay here, pick your site carefully. 

We were here once to visit some friends. So this was the first time camping here. It's a very popular campground. You can walk to the beach from it but the preferred method of transportation is bicycles. They are everywhere. It looks like downtown Bangladesh.

First thing on the agenda was to check out the beach situation. Not having bikes anymore we ended up driving out to the Pavilion beach area of the state park. Well there seems to be a lot of cars in the giant parking lot. We walked out to the beach to see this site. I will try to describe it so you can use your imagination. Here goes. 

It was like an undulating sea of humanity that smelled of coconut and sweat. Spandex stretching farther than anyone could possibly fathom. Kids screaming. Music blasting the sand dunes from a hundred different directions all playing every type of music imaginable. This was the polar opposite of what we just experienced in Waveland. It was a culture shock.

We did not enjoy the beach that day. We vowed to come back again because we are here for a week and the day we went out there was Saturday of Easter weekend. We have other things planned for our stay here.

I got a message from a long lost friend of mine who may have suspected that we were on the gulf. Jim from jimandbarb Nelson fame. He begged and pleaded for us to bring him back some of Tony's Clam Chowder soup. It is the best clam chowder we have had and it has won many national awards. It is made in Cedar Key, Florida not far from here. We didn't have to go there though because they do sell it at Publix, the grocery store chain down here. We ended up going to every (3) Publix around here just to find empty shelf after empty shelf. We even tried a Piggly Wiggly and a Rousse super market to no avail. There may be a supply chain issue or something. Sorry Jim.

The next day we planned on finding Ft. Morgan. With my faith in my trusty navigator we were off without a care in the world. We got on the main road that ran along the beach and traveled for miles. Only to come to a dead end and no fort in sight. Google to the rescue. Gulf Shores is like a barrier island and we were just on the wrong part. We bad. We finally found it and boy was it a great fort. 

Ft. Morgan sits at the entrance to Mobile Bay. The other side of Mobile Bay is Ft. Gaines which we saw earlier. Ft. Morgan is by far the larger of the 2 forts. It was started around the War of 1812. It became a strategic point during the Civil War and then up until the 1950's a major part of the coastal defense system. So I will just show you the pictures which are just a small fraction of what we took that day and you should know that all of the brick work is pre-1900's and the concrete structures are post-1900's.
The entrance is through a tunnel going through the first wall which is an earthen embankment.
Once through the tunnel you are in the dry moat between the 2 walls.
You can see the dry moat between the inner and outer wall.
The gateway to the inner wall.
Looking into the inner courtyard.
A look at the inner courtyard. There was another fort in this center section called the citadel. It was destroyed in the civil war from union bombardment.
Archways. These held gun emplacements. 
My tour guide.
One of the coastal defense locations outside of the fort. Built after the turn of the century.
The coastal defense area they built in the middle of the fort. It housed 2 disappearing guns. They would raise the gun to fire over the wall and then it would be lowered to reload to pop up again.
Another coastal defense battery outside of the fort.
This is a 155mm gun that used to sit on a Panama mount.  It could swivel 360 degrees and fire in any direction.

We have been to many Revolutionary and Civil War forts now and this one is near the top. So if you are in this area check it out. It doesn't cost much, 9 bucks to get in and you can spend hours exploring the whole site. There is also a beach there so we checked that out. There were people fishing along it. We noticed a smell that was awful and saw this.
Dead fish. There were about 20 laying around, all about 3-4 feet long and boy did they stink. I asked a fisherman nearby what kind of fish they were and he said Red fish. He was also quick to add that he did not know how they died. We didn't stick around long. 

We stretched out our plans to stay in Gulf Shores a little bit longer. The shackles were in the back of our minds so I got more and worked on those for 2 days.
I got three done to give us some peace of mind. The fourth I could not get it. No matter what I tried I could not get the pressure off of the spring. So with fingers crossed we hope to make it home. There I will do a complete Mor ryde replacement for it.

Lisa has spent more time at the beach than I. She really enjoys it but we have learned that the spring is also the windy season here. The last few days have been incredibly windy with 3-4 foot waves and lots of rip currents. 
This was taken at the pier at the state park.
Since it was not the best beach day, Lisa had better plans. So off into the wilderness we drove. I did not know this and I am sure a lot of people don't know this but 30-40 minutes away from Gulf Shores sits an almost complete example of Stone Hendge? It is called Bamahendge. Blew my mind because I have been to Stone Hendge. Out in the middle of nowhere. Why?

This is hidden in a bunch of trees.
It is almost an exact copy. Some of the stones are missing. It was kind of interesting.
This is from the center and has a 360 degree view.

One day took us to the Florida state line where they have a huge beach/country bar called Florabama. This thing takes up both sides of the road.

This would definitely be a bar Jim would love. It looks run down and dirty. Graffiti all over the walls. Bras hanging from the ceiling. 

And the best part. Over priced colorful fruity, girly drinks without umbrellas.

Our last and final day was dedicated to the beach again. The sky cleared up but the winds continued. 
A bad day at the beach still beats a bad day most anywhere else.

We walked, we searched for shells and other treasures. By the end we were satisfied with our time here. When I first got to Gulf Shores I thought that I wouldn't like it with the traffic and the amount of people but you eventually overlook it to enjoy things here. How does that saying go. It's a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live here.

"Gladys! Why do you keep looking North?"  

"GRANDBABIES!!!!" Gladys said.


  1. The way you described the beach, the sights, smells, sounds, reminded me of a typical Saturday night at your house.
    Thanks for trying to find the Tony's. We will "try" and drop off the package we have for you. How would Lisa describe that fort?

    1. Well anonymous, you have been to our house on a Saturday night, huh? Are you a stalker? Lisa loved the fort. It was her favorite.

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  3. Glad you were able to get so much "beach time" even though it was windy. Too bad you never found the "big treasure" lol but nice to get out anyways. That fort looked awesome.

    1. Thanks for the comment. It was a great little getaway.