2009 Vacation to Gulf Shores, Alabama
This year we decided to head for the beach since last year was the mountains. Again this year I found a place for rent by owners online and it was absolutely beautiful! Here’s the link to the place where we stayed. I’ll insert a few photos into this page but to view even more go to my flickr site. This post includes the journal entries that Keith made to a boating forum he belongs to and the comments from me and Kelsey were from our facebook entries (our son didn’t keep a journal).
June 13, 2009
And we’re off!! Vacation 2009, Orange Beach, Alabama. At the suggestion of Andy2 we decided to go to OBA.
We are going to stop in Shreveport, La to do some family research and spend the night there. I will update this topic as thing progress.
I wish to thank all of you for your suggestions and offers. Some of them we will probably do when the S and D team are out on their own.
Well the first day went ok. Left our house around 10:00 am and drove to Shreveport, LA. Went to two old cemeteries that border the downtown area. Found the grave sites of some of my ancestors there. Very pretty cemeteries. One had a large Confederate Soldiers section. We left Shreveport and drove to Monroe and have holed up in a Quality Inn with WiFi and free breakfast.
Not too much of a day. Mostly just driving. Kids have their Ipods and Admiral and I have books on tape.
We are using a Magellan GPS unit. I got it turned around a bit in Shreveport and I think I made “Maggie” mad and she said something naughty.
Tomorrow is even more driving as we are not quite halfway to Orange Beach.
From Kay: Just getting settled into our hotel in Monroe, Louisiana. We stopped in Shreveport and visited a cemetery where some of Keith’s family is buried. All 4 of us are on our laptops and we have a suite so we have separate space :)
From Kelsey: In Louisiana =]
June 14, 2009
Well we made it to OB!.
Had an uneventful drive, which is the best. Found the beach house we are staying at. It sits up on piers and is very comfortable.
We met the owners briefly and had a nice chat with them. They gave us some insights into the area and some history.
We went to dinner and had a fine meal of well prepared fresh fish. I love broiled snapper. We did the grocery shopping and stocked up on some essentials.
Got some chicken legs cheap. Will grill them later and put in the fridge for snacking.
Took some chicken and placed in a crab pot that came with the place and tied it off to the private dock in front. Water is pretty shallow. I may do some fishing tomorrow from the shore, they have speckled trout.
Will pick up some bait shrimp. If it’s good looking I may just cook it up and eat it as well.
We are actually at Gulf Shores, Alabama.
We front a lagoon that is popular for fishing. On the other side of the lagoon is “Condo Hell” and then the Gulf of Mexico.
We are on the North edge of this lagoon. Kind of in the middle.
No surf what so ever, the water at the dock is maybe two feet deep, sandy bottom. I will wade out late evening and fish a hole other there where there are trout.
Kids are checking the crab trap pretty often. I think they are night feeders.
I will post some photos pretty soon. We get up tomorrow to go fishing in the Gulf. Daughter and I are going, wife and son may join us.
From Kelsey: Finally in Gulf Shores!!!! beach house is crazy cool. I miss me some Dylan, Britt, and Pookie..annnddddd everyone elseeeeeeeeeeee
June 15, 2009
Went to Fort Morgan today. Was fun for me, rest of family does not share my interest in things historical. Fort Morgan It was the site of a pretty big battle during the Northern War of Agression.
We go fishing as a family tomorrow. My daughter shamed the other two into going. Wife cannot understand why I need to make a beer run for a 6 a.m. fishing trip. I love her dearly, but we are from two different worlds.
Well the daughter and I waded out to just past the docks and fished some shrimp lures in a channel for a neighbors boat dock.
Got several good hits but could not connect, might have been small fish. Daughter had one strike on her toes, kind of freaked her out. Then as she was pulling her lure from the water a fish hit it. Had to put her on the neighbors dock at that point, she was shook up a bit.
Son has been baiting the crab traps and keeping count. We lost a small one but have three keepers now. May have to augment them with some store bought ones for Thursday feed.
We get up tomorrow at the “butt crack” of dawn to go fishing. Hope to have better luck then.
Say a fishing prayer for me.
From Kay: I forgot to turn my 5:34 am alarm off on my cell phone. Oh well, I got to see the sunrise over the water. Very beautiful and peaceful.
From Kelsey: i have no idea what our plans are for the day =/
June 16, 2009
Well we made it back from fishing the Gulf.
I did not sleep well last night, woke up a few times thinking I had missed my alarm.
We all go up and made it to the Emerald Spirit Charter Boat. just fine. I like fishing party or head boats. These are boat where they just load up everybody that wants to go. You pay so much per person and then tip the crew. You can always strike up a friendly conversation with some one to pass the time as you go from place to place.
First place we stopped at my wife caught five red snappers, two of which were keepers. You fish doubled rigged and both times my wife had a fish on each hook. I landed one good sized red snapper. We moved on and hit two or three other spots. My family limited out on red snappers (two each). We needed to get into some other fish, as did some of the other folks on the boat.
One guy was fishing with his kids and his father. They were not having much luck. Offered him a brew and he said it had just finished a Miller’s. I admonished him that we were fishing the Gulf of Mexico, not the Great Lakes and the Gods of the Gulf found disfavor in his choice of brews. I again offered him a Tecate. He accepted and as he cracked it open offered a prayer to the Aztec and Mayan gods of the sea.
We had some problems with backlashing on the reels, took some time before it came back to me. Had to fix the kids reels a few time. A gentlemen helped by wife land a fish and he was rewarded with a beer later. We got into some vermilion snapper and pretty much loaded up. We had one of the heavier stringers when we got back.
I checked with the guy I gave the beer to and his luck had changed. He limited out and had some fine fish.
Three guys fishing next to us did not want their catch so they gave it to us.
At .30 cents a pound whole wait the cost to have the fish cleaned was $18.00 bucks all total.
I will post some photos later, but am going to kick back and offer thanks to the Gulf gods for the good fishing. Stay tuned.
From Kay: Got up at 4:30 this morning, went deep sea fishing and all 4 of us caught the limit of red snapper, beeline and mingo. I caught 9 (3 were too small, 2 fell off my line in the air which leaves 3 red snapper and 1 beeline). The red snappers weren’t easy to reel in and I caught 2 at a time twice. Another group gave us their catch so we have 9 gallon bags in all. I’m tired now.
From Kelsey: i took a nap…=) and now to Desoto’s.
Desoto’s is a restaurant but we actually went to Doc’s (note from Kay: We got free salads and desserts because it was a bit slow to them but we hadn’t really noticed it as a problem.)
June 17, 2009
Today was good. Took the ferry from Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island. Went to a very good aquarium.
Had sandwiches at a local shop and then went on a well reviewed nature tour by boat. Apparently the reviews were for a different crew. They did little narration along the way. Finally put out a net and brought up some fish. Then we tossed the fish to pelicans. Then we went back to the dock.
Had dinner at a beach shack place. It was as good as we have had and very casual. Sand from the beach finds its way onto the floor.
Crab trap did not get us any more today. The ones in the trap are doing well on the bait.
Tomorrow I go to the USS Alabama and USS Drum.
From Kay: Waking up at 6:15 is much better than 4:34. Now we’re getting ready for a day on Dauphin Island. More later…
We went to an aquarium and the very helpful docents made it very enjoyable. It was the highlight of our day. We also went on a boat tour to a lighthouse and saw some dolphins swimming. It was okay and could have been much better with some narration. Being in the hot sun all day is exhausting.
foooddd babbyyy =/
Sunday come faster!!!
June 18, 2009
Well I did the USS Alabama and USS Drum tour.
Spent about four hours on the Alabama. They have it pretty much cut open to the public. All the 16 inch guns are open and the #2 turret is done so that you can go all the way down into the magazine area.
It was interesting to tour the gun control area. Lots of old time mechanical and primitive electrical computers. Most of the stuff dates from the research the British did before WWI, as I recall.
The engine room was neat. For as big a battle ship as she is the boilers are not that huge and the turbine motors are not as large as I had imagined. I guess when you have 720 degree steam to play with you can run smaller turbines.
I wish more of the engine room had been available and have a few docents to answer questions would have been nice.
I also got to climb up in the gun turret of a 5 inch 38.
They were able to load these guns even if the guns were elevated to 85 degrees.
Lots of 40 mm Bofors and 20 mm machine guns.
I would really like to see a diagram of how they trained the big guns on their targets. Had some huge optics in each of the turrets.
Took a tour of the submarine USS Drum, a WWII boat of renown.
It was much larger inside then the U-505 that I had toured years ago, but still difficult for someone six foot or more to get around in.
The Fairbanks-Morse diesel engines were not what I had expected. The pistons are below the crankshaft. They look like two stroke diesel design to me, the way the air was plumbed into them from the side, but I could be wrong.
On the way home I had a flat tire. Changed it out and got to a service station. Found out the valve stem had cracked. We just got a recall notice from Ford about this. Seems the company that makes a lot of the valves stems out there has a problem. TECHis the brand, from what the service writer told me. Read about the valve stem recall here. … tire pressure.
Got on back to the house and set up to do a crab boil. We had several good crabs and I picked up two pounds of jumbo shrimp. Tossed it into a pot with some lemons, corn, new potatoes and Zatarans spice and some Old Bay. Man, did it smell good. Kids and I ate it all up. Cooked up some of the snapper for my wife, she’s not real big on shellfish.
Found snapper to be a very mild fish.
I am now kicked back and relaxing. We go to some beach, some where, tomorrow and get sand in our toes. I am looking forward to that.
From Kay: Keith loves museums way more than the rest of us so he’s on his way to Mobile to visit the USS Alabama Battleship. I’m enjoying the scenery and catching up with the video we took. The kids wanted to sleep in and later today will lounge around & swim here at Forever Yours. Tonight we’ll cook the crabs & red snapper we’ve caught.
Keith’s been at the USS Alabama for 3 hours & is only half way through. Meanwhile, the kids are still asleep! As long as everyone is doing what they want then it makes a good vacation. I’m wondering if we want to rent waverunners, craig cat, go parasailing or something else.
Keith had a flat tire on his way back from the USS Alabama. He’s dropping the tire off to get repaired but he anticipates that we’ll have to buy a new one. One kid’s been awake for a couple of hours and the other a few minutes.
The crabs are just out of the crab trap and into the ice. We went to a fresh seafood market and bought some shrimp. Keith also went to a Burris’ farmers market and bought tomatoes, peaches, boiled peanuts and silver king corn. Here are 2 links that tell you more, if, like me, you don’t know about these last two items.
June 19, 2009
Well today was our last full day at Gulf Shores. We loaded up and went to the beach. Spent about four hours playing in the sand and surf. Son and I wrestled each other out in the surf for a bit. He got the upper hand on my a time or two and I was winded before he was. Got a bit of a belly burn but I feel really good right now. As a Navy brat I grew up playing in the ocean, forgot how much I enjoyed it. Was nice to have a taste of salt water. We decided to cruise to Pensacola.
Along the way we ate at the Cactus Flower Cafe. California style Mexican food. Had some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten. I had the Mango Shrimp appetizers as a meal and they were wonderful. They also had wonderful Sangria but would not share the recipe.
We made it to Pensacola and toured around. We were beat up by the surf and decided to cruise on back to the house.
We are now cleaning and packing in preparation for an early start tomorrow. Have a lot of Red Snapper to pack up and take.
From Kay: Today we spent a few hours on the Gulf Shores beach, swimming and hunting for shells. Then we drove to Pensacola, Florida and on the way we ate at the Cactus Flower Cafe and it was fabulous. Now, we are back at our place, doing some laundry and preparing to pack up and leave very early in the morning.
From Kelsey: gonna be on my way home SUUPPPEERRR early in the morning. gotta get up super early tomorrow =/ but at least i will be home!!!! sooo i have like four hours till im supposed to wake up..and i still have to pack my bag
June 20, 2009
From Kay: We had a safe drive back.