I like bridges. My Brother Mike, not so much. Lately I have been sending him pictures of the bridges I have been crossing just to get on his nerves.
So I figured I would share a really neat one here. It's called the Dauphin Causeway or Bridge or something like that. It's only a couple of miles long but since it crosses the intracoastal waterway on it's way to Dauphin Island, Alabama, it has to have a section with enough room for large boats to pass underneath. And does it ever!
As you approach, the bridge seems to have a big bulge in the middle.
Once you get on there is no turning back.
Suddenly it is right in front of you.
Probably the steepest bridge I have ever been on.
There is a great view from the top. Almost like being in an airplane.
No shoulder, no guardrail. Looks like fun, huh Mike?
That was part of my long Friday drive.
But this blog actually begins last Sunday, when I bid adieu to Louisiana and spent a few days in Mississippi.
Not far over the border is Buccaneer State Park.
This is a high end campground and the prices reflect it. $24 for full hookups and $35 for water and electric only.
No, that is not an error.
Sites 1-206 have the full hookups and are set in several loops. They accept reservations which are recommended when the weather is nice.
Site 31 even came with a rainbow.
There is a laundry/store and swimming pool nearby.
The more expensive sites are near the water park and gulf.
They do not take reservations for those ones.
A mile away is the Silver Slipper Casino.
I have no interest in gambling so I walked to the water to play with my camera.
Under the watchful gaze of a Blue Heron.
There was a lone fisherman stalking the flats.
The sun came out briefly and then quickly disappeared again.
I like shooting in black and white in stormy weather and that continued back at my campsite.
My trailer is not two-toned although I like that look.
This is how that came about. Here is a standard shot of my campsite.
This next one was shot in raw format and converted to an HDR image.
I made the black and white image from that one. Now I am really starting to like the two-tone look. Hmmm...
While all this was going on I kept hearing a tapping sound. It kept starting and stopping. I finally located the source up in a tree.
The woodpecker would tap in a hole, stare at it, then start tapping again.
Here is a short sequence.
Looks like fun...if you are a woodpecker.
I am not so I left there on Tuesday morning in gloomy weather and continued east to the Davis Bayou campground in the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
The weather forecast was not good so I quickly took campsite pictures with the goal of continuing east early in the morning.
Did not happen.
Here is site 10 on Tuesday afternoon.
And site 10 on Wednesday morning.
The little bit of snow was not the problem. The ice was the problem. With a Wednesday high of 24 degrees it would not melt and the roads were closed due to dangerous conditions.
The 52 campsites were full by Tuesday evening. Surprisingly, at least to me, was the fact that this National Park Service campground had electric hookups. With my little heater plugged in I was fine.
The bridges were still a little icy when I left on Thursday morning, but I was only going 15 miles to Shepard State Park.
But it's not really a state park anymore. The operations have been taken over by the city of Gautier. The number of sites have been reduced to 28 and they rent for $360 per month. There was one site open without a monthly tenant when I arrived and I was able to stay there for the night.
There was a strange ice formation by the dump station.
Scary. I hope that is just clean water.
Even the bayou was still partially frozen over.
I was hesitant to even take photos of the campground but my experience on Friday morning cemented my decision.
I went into the bathroom at 6am to do my duties. I flicked on the light only to be told to turn it off. There was somebody sleeping inside. Enough of this place. I hooked up the trailer and left.
I took a very scenic route along the coastal barrier islands. Notice how I spell "coastal". I thought that was the correct way but apparently not in Alabama.
I crossed over to Dauphin Island. Let me put this one picture up again for my Brother Mike.
There ya go, bro. Enjoy!
Dauphin Island is a hugely popular place for vacationers.
Looks like they have all the bases covered.
I continued east and wound up here.
On a ferry crossing Mobile bay.
I was given a rousing sendoff by a gang of pelicans and friends.
Hello Oil Rigs.
The 35 minute ride cost $26. Almost 75 cents per minute. Ouch.
I went over another bridge.
The sand was applied to help drive on the ice. Most bridges were simply closed during the storm.
The bridge emptied into Orange Beach, Alabama, near the border with Florida.
After entering Florida I went over another bridge onto Perdido Key.
From there it was just a short distance to Big Lagoon State Park.
I had been driving and boating for over four hours and was ready to set up camp.
"I'd like a spot for the night" I asked the ranger.
"You can't camp here" the ranger replied.
"Why? Because I'm Canadian?"
She gave me a weird look.
"No, because we're burning in the campground".
"You are burning down the campground? How odd".
"We are doing a prescribed underbrush burn. The campground is closed until Monday" she said with a little heat.
"Actually I wouldn't mind the warmth" I replied. "It's been quite cold lately".
"Go away" she said. "And welcome to Florida".
The next campground on my list was 85 miles away. I hoped it was in a nice spot.
Even the squirrels were nice.
I was road weary and having problems backing my trailer up, forgetting which way to turn the wheel.
I guess the squirrel was equally frustrated because he told me to get out of the car. He and his friends would do it for me. Fine. I got out and they jumped in.
He worked the wheel while his buddies pressed the pedals.
"Turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction you want the trailer to go" he chided me. "Like this".
They did a surprisingly good job for a bunch of tree rats.
There are 42 wonderful sites here. All are good but 29 through 36 have bayou views. Did I mention how big the sites are?
Florida does state parks very well, and this one is no exception.
Beautiful bathrooms, boat ramps and paddling rentals.
The sun set and I ate some macaroni and went to bed.
The sun rose on Saturday morning and I rambled down to the bayou to get some pictures.
There was only one other set of prints on the sand besides mine.
Watching the sunrise always invigorates me. It also makes me hungry.
I wanted to do something special. Tacos of course, but special ones. I had picked up a few pork chops the day before at a market in Alabama and figured that they needed to be cooked.
So here is what I did.
I cut out all the good stuff into little chunks.
Added a dash of salt and black pepper. Some cayenne pepper. And some habanero sauce. Oh yeah.
Turned the stove on high, searing the meat to keep the juices inside.
Turned the heat to low and covered the pot with a fry pan.
Pork needs to be cooked thoroughly. Covering it keeps the meat moist and tender.
I left it this way for about 10 minutes while I grated some cheddar and tore up some lettuce.
The pork came out perfect.
I feasted, with a bit more habanero sauce added for oomph.
The scenery wasn't to shabby either with the bayou in the background.
I will be spending the next month or so in Florida. Orlando is 80 degrees at the moment.
Regards, Park Ranger