The weather turned and so did our fortunes as we headed west towards Texas.
We decided on our first leg to travel to a town called Carabelle, a small fishing village along the gulf coast of Florida. We wanted a relaxing, scenic drive staying off the interstate for a while and it was just that, arriving at Sunset Isle RV and Yacht club in the afternoon. Dinner was at Hog Wild, one of two restaurants open on Monday at this time of year, this is a summer time area and not a lot of snowbirds visit. This park was originally going to be small vacation homes with brick paved roads community pool and spa. When the economy died so did the dream, and the owner turned it into a RV park until things turn around. Jimmy (the manager) is a very friendly and accommodating fellow, helped us to our site and checked back after we set-up to make sure all was well.
It was a good spot for the night setting us up for a drive along Hwy. 98 which follows the shore with beautiful views of the water. We were traveling along our merry way enjoying the sunny morning drive when I saw a car flashing high-beams behind us. This is never a good sign with 40 feet of trailer plus bicycles hanging off the back end of that. When we pulled over he told us a bike was dragging along behind us. Oh No! Detra's new bike was hanging broken, worn and scratched. I had checked every thing minutes before we left and all was well. The driveway on the way out was steep and I think the bikes must have hit as we left. They are held on the rack with three heavy rubber straps each but I guess the pressure of dragging down the slope was enough to pop them off. It was at least 40 mins. of driving before we had someone come up behind us, Both tires blown out, the rear wheel bent and scratched all over, not to mention it banged into my very nice road bicycle and marred the carbon fibre and other bits and pieces. We didn't hear a thing all that time it was dragging and it's shame, but new wheels and some tweaking I'll have it working again, if not quite as pretty as it once was.
Fulltiming Lesson #2: Set everything up with bouncing and banging down the road in mind and allow for all angles coming and going.
I had bought a Thule rack for four bikes thinking it was perfect for us but with the amount of miles we are putting in you need them separated so they don't destroy each other moving down the road. Just like us when we were kids on family road trips. A new rack is in our future that doesn't hang out back the trailer.
For Sale- nice Thule bike rack- hardly useful, oh um no, I mean hardly used.
Biloxi, MS was the next stop on the Wandering Whelan Wagon Westward Way Tour. (T-shirts and trademark pending). We blew right through Alabama as it is less than 70 miles across the southern part of the state on Hwy. 10. We will have to return to fill in the state on our "been there done that" sticky map since our made up rules say we need to have spent time and/or have done something significant and memorable in the state to qualify.
Martin Lake Resort was the choice for our stop here and we should have thought a little more before choosing. This was convenient to Biloxi and the highway, but is not an overly appealing place to spend time. Detra was ready to go before I had unhooked the truck. I think the weather added to overall gloom of the place as it was cold, grey and wet.
Biloxi reminds me of an old boxer, beat-up, a little duller than it once was, makes you sad when you finally meet and is not what you had hoped it would be. It's not Biloxi's fault that it was knocked hard to mat by Katrina and is struggling to get back on it's feet. The tax base has disappeared with all the homes and businesses that once made this a place to have fun at the casino's and other area attractions. The casino's are back in full force as they have a ready cash supply and are big business. Before the storm all gambling was done on barges tied to piers beside hotels , they ended up on land and on top of buildings with the storm surge. Katrina changed the rules and now gambling can take place on land in Biloxi and the casino owners and a few other businesses have managed to rebuild. For the most part there is a lot empty land between casino's down by the waterfront, just about everything else is gone. Enough with this depressing stuff.
Downtown Ocean Springs, just across the re-built bay bridge from Biloxi, was not hit as hard, people's homes where hit here and working businesses that were sparred have helped with the comeback. Nice little shops and restaurants line the small streets making for a nice place to spend the afternoon.
The highlight of our time here was The Shed BBQ and Blues Joint. This is our second Diner's, Drive-in's and Dives restaurant on our travels this year.
Made tracks straight to the front door
Takes a minute to figure out where the front door is.
There it is! Let's Eat!
You grab the menu at the door and sit down to make your choice. Empty now but by the time we left all the tables were full.
Walk up to the bar and place your order.
When your food is ready, the server calls your name and you wave them over.
We decided on The Original Shed Sampler, a platter with the seven different meats on the menu along with three sides. To say this was delicious would be a gross understatement, this was the best BBQ I've had. The seven meats where pulled pork, BBQ sausage, back ribs, side ribs, chicken, beef brisket and ...ummmm...sorry, we ate it so fast we don't know what the other meat was. The sides where also great although the fries could be better, they were the only thing you could get at any other restaurant.
Click for "SMELL-O-VISION"
This is a pivotal point in our journeys. We planned on travelling to beautiful places in nature, historically significant sites and some exciting tourist traps. We were going to find ourselves and the meaning of life and how to live it. The joy of a carefree life without the shackles of modern society free to explore, experience and enjoy North America! That seems so long ago (actually it was Jan. 14th 2014).
It has all changed now, Diner's, Drive-in's and Dives has ruined a perfectly good plan. Maybe as we drive between these restaurants, as the new plan states, a landmark might get in the way and we can stop and take a quick look, but only if we can make it in time for the dinner special at the next DDD restaurant down the road. Grand Canyon or Great Ribs, Yosemite National Park or Mile High Desserts ...I DON'T KNOW ANYMORE!. The plan was all so clear before, now... now it's all mixed up like Jambalaya. (mmmmmmm... Jambalaya, drool, drool)
We ended up driving right past New Orleans, which was originally going to be a stop, but seeing as the weather was bad and Mardi Gras had overrun the area, filling the campgrounds, we drove on to San Antonio, TX. Corpus Christi was where we were headed, but that changed in route.
That's a story for another day,