I knew about the song and the movie, but I didn’t’ realize that “Sweet Home Alabama” was the state slogan. Now I can understand why: Alabama is beautiful. Beautiful big trees, beautiful rivers, and beautiful beaches. We’d love to have a sweet home there.
Even though we were only getting a glimpse of this state – like Mississippi, it’s not far across at the Gulf end – it immediately felt different. Maybe it was the large green lots. Maybe it’s because there was a gentle roll to the landscape, after all that flatness. Whatever it was, we were definitely smitten.
Our first time in Alabama, this was also our first stay at an Escapees Rainbow park, so we didn’t know what to expect. It felt like a regular RV park – although the spaces were quite large and shady. They did have a club house and lots of classes and events on the calendar, but the timing was always off so we never participated in any of their community events.
We chose to stay put the week before Easter so we wouldn’t have to deal with the spring break crowd. So we slowed down quite a bit, staying nine whole nights!
We did some sightseeing of course. We went into Mobile and toured the Bellingrath Gardens and home – built by the owners of Coca-Cola. That was just beautiful, even on a cloudy day. The first picture is of the 1903 letter offering the Mobile Coca-Cola bottling franchise to Mr. Bellingrath for $1500.00.
We went to Fort Gaines on one day and Fort Morgan another. They are on opposite sides of the bay and we chose not to take the ferry ride between them. They were the largest intact forts we’ve seen and were both very educational, informative and interesting. Too bad I forget the facts as soon as I read them!
We were only about thirty minutes from Pensacola Florida, so we took a drive there one day to watch the Blue Angels practice. It was the first one of their season and there was a record crowd. It was just like watching a regular air show and was pretty fantastic.
Then we went to the National Air museum there, and spent quite a bit of time looking at all of the aviation displays. Tom had fun in the one cockpit not filled with kids!
Also while we were there, we took a tour of the Pensacola lighthouse. There are 177 stairs of spiral staircase, and after we were up we were allowed to walk around the outside (our first time outside in a lighthouse) for some gorgeous views.
We spent a day going down to Orange Beach and Gulf Shores – popular family vacation spots.
The beaches are pretty, but we were surprised to find the areas full of large hotels, condos or private homes – along the waterfront. I guess we’ve been spoiled by the public beaches of Oregon’s coast, or the cute seaside towns of the Central California coast. We found this beach area much more inaccessible. And definitely more congested – due to spring break. I guess that’s why I didn’t get any pictures.
We had a lot of down time, but we had really bad cell service, so I was unable to do remote work. Darn! We had enough time to have our mail delivered, but unfortunately this park didn’t have an office to accept packages, so we had to have those sent to a UPS store. (Which might have been a good thing or I might have ordered some other things I really didn’t need!)
The best part of staying in Fairhope was spending time with friends. Our Escapee Boomer friends, Jim and Deb, stayed in the same park. Mortons on the Move also stayed there for a time. We had many lovely meals and fun games with Jim and Deb who we had met at Crab-a-rang in their home state of Oregon. We hadn’t seen them since Boomerville, in Quartzsite, so that was a lot of fun.
We also got to go to a local hangout and see Kyle from Drivin’ and Vibin’ play – Fairhope is their hometown. He’s a great guitarist with a cool voice and it was nice to see him and Olivia again. (We met them at Quartzsite as well.)
Again I’m amazed at what a great community there is while traveling on the road full time.
And again I’ll say how beautiful Fairhope Alabama is. It just looks like a country song – with it’s bright red roads and huge old trees. We were also lucky enough to have near perfect weather the whole time we were there, so that always makes a place my favorite!
Even though this was our longest stay in a while, the time flew past. We found a couple of beautiful places to go kayaking – right before it was time to leave. Hopefully we’ll break the kayak out at our next stop. We’ve been a little cautious about getting it out because it is inflatable, and white, and could resemble a marshmallow – which I’ve heard alligators are especially fond of. But now that the weather is warming up, I’m excited to be able to use the kayak again.
But today is moving day. Time to say goodbye to our friends and get started on our exploration of Florida’s coasts. However, we will definitely want to return to Sweet Home Alabama someday.
Peace & Love Joy