Saturday, February 28, 2009

We're not lost

Today while Mar was working on her online class trying to meet a deadline, Bernie went for a walk on the beach and the shops around there. She met some interesting ladies who were taking a painting class. One of them came back with Bernie to look at Bella because she is interested in RVs.

Then the weather started to turn. The sky got dark and the wind picked up so we decided to get on the road before it got any worse. We headed west on 90. To actually stay on 90 there comes a point where you have to turn left (south), so we did, only to discover that the road was closed down for construction.

So we did a "route exclusion" on our GPS and the drive got really interesting then. We drove for miles and miles on lonely, gravel roads, turning here and there, seemingly going nowhere. Eventually we reached a paved road and entered the directions again on our GPS, got back on 90 and were able to keep going. We weren't lost, just temporarily, locationally challenged.

We headed then towards New Orleans. When we got there we drove a bit around downtown, taking a look around, and then we found a Quiznos for dinner. We had to use our coupons for free subs because they expired today.

Then we called Augusta, who had emailed us about some work at her second house. The house was damaged by Katrina so she is trying to get it fixed up so she can move into the house. We met Augusta at the house in the Bywater area, and she gave us the tour.

Then we parked in the very narrow driveway next to the house, plugged in the electric, hooked up the water hose, and settled in for the night. It's pretty cold here tonight.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Train on water

Today we woke up on the beach on a lovely, sunny day. Bernie took some time to walk the beach but the water was really cold and it had a lot of sediment, pretty gross.

When Bernie couldn’t find her phone charger she realized it was probably still back at the B&B where she had plugged it in to charge her phone. So off we went back to Oceans Springs MS to get it, and there it was, right where she had left it.

When we got back to Biloxi MS, we stopped at the Katrina Memorial. It is a memorial dedicated to the gulf coast victims of Hurricane Katrina. It is a glass tile mural of a wave and a 12 ft tall black wall representing the height of the storm surge in the area. There is also a glass case containing various items from destroyed buildings. The memorial just takes your breath away.

Then we got gas and ran some errands. We went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond where we found the space saver bags we were looking for so that we can store our winter clothes. We used their 20% off coupon and a gift certificate we had.

We met a couple that has been following our blog. Pennie and her husband met us in the BB&B parking lot. They’re great, fun loving people. They gave us lots of tips and it was really nice meeting them. Pennie wrote about us in her blog, you can read it here: Meeting Bernie and Mar.

Then we drove west on 90 and went to dinner at Darwell’s Café in Long Beach MS, a restaurant featured in the Dinners, Drive-ins and Dives show on the Food Network.

Darwell’s is a hippy, gypsy, lively, funky restaurant. Both Darwell and his son were very friendly and asked us a lot of questions about our RV travels. It is a great place with a very friendly staff, lots of unique art and artifacts everywhere, and tonight they even had live music.

For dinner we had the prime rib sandwich and the pork quesadilla. They were both really good. Bernie really liked the prime rib and Mar really liked the pork.

Then we kept going west on 90 and after the Bay Saint Louis bridge, we turned left onto Beach Road to find a spot to park for the night. After a few blocks we saw train tracks going over the water and since the road was closed right before the tracks, we decided to park right there by the water.

A little while later, the first train came by and we got to watch it come over the water. It was pretty cool but we hope there aren’t very many trains tonight or tomorrow morning … after all, we need our beauty sleep. We better find those earplugs tonight.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What was that loud noise?

It is time to go. The road has been tugging at Mar's heart for a couple of days, she is ready to hit the road. She worked hard today reorganizing the inside and getting Bella back to spring/summer mode.

Mar has started a new training for a new online class and has to spend even more time on the computer every day. She has to do homework and there is so much reading and writing to do, is like being in school all over again.

It took Bernie the better part of the day to finish up the last details on the honey do list for the B&B and to pack up Bella. This included packing up all her tools and ladders, and putting up Mar’s pink tricycle, which has to go up last after everything else is in place on the back of Bella.

On one of her trips to the hardware store this week, Bernie found a pulley system that made putting the tricycle up so much easier and we were happy about that, as it is quite a chore, it takes two people.

Finally, it was after dark by the time we were pulling out of the driveway. We were happy to be on our way.

Our first stop was to take pictures of the new bridge between Ocean Springs MS and Biloxi MS, and the great murals under it. The old bridge was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Then we headed up the two mile bridge towards Biloxi. About half way across we heard a really loud noise and we saw a car pull up beside us honking and waving and pointing. Bernie looked out her side mirror and saw sparks flying behind us!

We pulled over and oops! … Bernie had forgotten to strap Mar's bike on after we pulled it up into place with the new pulley system. Luckily the bike was still attached so we were just dragging it behind us. We put the bike back on and made sure to strap it good this time. Then we were off again.

By now we were way too hungry and dead tired so we decided to go get something to eat and forget about the couple of errands we had planned. We drove about 20 minutes to a restaurant in Gulfport MS recommended on the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives show. It is located at the end of a road, right on the water.

The Blow Fly Inn is a two story yellow building, nothing fancy but the food was very good. We had the fried green tomatoes and the Greek Salad with marinated prime rib slices. The salad was good but dessert was even better, we had the pecan pie. That is, after we removed the big black plastic fly they put on every plate which you get to take home as a souvenir, or maybe as your new pet.

After dinner we headed to the beach where we found parking right on the water in a casino parking lot. We could hear the waves as we fell asleep and the strong winds rocked Bella from side to side all night.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The parade

We are enjoying our stay at this little B&B nestled in a tree covered lot and only seconds to the beach. It has been wonderful.

The weather is gorgeous but it has been a tad too cold to fully enjoy the outdoors, though the sun is shining the wind is chilly. Not that we’ve had much time for slowing down. Marian’s honey do list for her B&B keeps getting longer, and she also told her friend Karen about Bernie and now Karen has some work for Bernie too.

So far Bernie has re-screened the front porch, dug a draining system, painted a hanging bench, and replaced all the electrical outlets and switches in the main house. Bernie loves honey do lists.

Mar has done the laundry and had a couple of baking and cooking marathons. She baked cupcakes, muffins, cookies, and cornbread, that we will freeze to eat later. She also has prepared several meals and packaged them, ready to eat on the road.

We did take some time last night to go see the local Mardi Gras parade, our first parade. It was a small parade, probably a dozen floats or so, but the crowd was loud and wild. There were tons of beads all over the place. People of all ages were heavily adorned with beads by the time the parade was over. Everyone had a good time and we did too.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Drive by tourists

We had several errands to run today. We went to the post office, the grocery store, and the hardware store, and along the way we got to do some drive by tourism.

We drove by to see the Seaman's Memorial, the 30 ft bust of a indian chief called Crooked Feather, the Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the downtown mural representing 300 years of Ocean Springs' past, present and future.

We read online that there is a geocache at Crooked Feather. We have never geocached but decided to give it a try and unfortunately we were not able to find it.

After we got home, we had last night's leftover bbq for dinner, and then Bernie went to work on the next item on the honey do list.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Good Q

Today we borrowed Marian’s car to go to the local hardware store. She has added our names to her account there so Bernie can get the supplies she needs to work on the honey-do list for the B & B.

Then we went to the local thrift shop to look for some cupcake pans. Mar wants to bake breakfast muffins and other goodies while we’re here and hit the jackpot at the thrift store, she found two pans for .79 cents each.

Then we went to get take out from a place recommended on the Diners, Drivethrus, and Diners show. This place is called The Shed and that’s exactly what it looks like, a huge shed. There are tons of interesting stuff laying around everywhere. There is a working piano just outside the front door, a bed frame completely covered in flowers, and funny signs everywhere. Inside there are tons of dollar bills signed by customers tacked to the walls, columns, and ceiling.

While we waited for our order, we had some sweet ice tea and it was really good tea.

When we got back to the house, Bernie got to work on a few things and then we had our dinner. We got the Shed Sampler Platter which is a little bit of every meat they serve: spare ribs, baby back ribs, pulled pork, chicken, brisket, chicken wings, and sausage. Everything was delicious, this is really good bbq. The sampler comes with three sides and our favorite was the baked potato salad, it was delicious and totally different from any potato salad we’ve ever had. We highly recommend it.

The sampler was a lot of food, even for two people, so we have enough leftovers for tomorrow’s dinner. Which is really good news, because this is really good Q.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Film scramble

The dentist where we parked last night does have the one-day crown service but they do not take the dental plan we have, so it didn’t work out. We went back to the beach to hang out for a while. The water was a beautiful emerald color today and the sand almost as white as sugar. The weather was wonderful if a tad chilly, but it was just so nice to be back near the water.

When it was time to leave, we made several stops on Gulf Shores Parkway on our way out of town. First, we went to the Happy Hippie Shack, a very cool back-to-the-70s place that made us wish we were hippies. Then we went to the Coleman Outlet where we kept going ‘ohh’ and ‘ahh’ about all the cool camping gear we can’t afford.

Then we had to stop at the Lambert's Café. It was still early afternoon so we weren’t hungry but we had heard that they throw the rolls, so we went to check it out. Sure enough, the roll guy comes around pushing a cart with the hot bread rolls and if you want one he throws it to you. It was a lot of fun. Also the servers play tricks on you while you are eating, like pretending to spill water on you or show you fake food. This is one place with a good sense of humor and the best part is that the rolls are amazing, they are huge, really hot and really, really good.

Then we drove north to Fairhope AL to the next place we wanted to check out recommended on the show Diners, Drivethrus, and Dives: Guy’s Gumbo Shack. It was still a little early for dinner so we got our order to go. We got the naked gumbo, rice with red beans, and the sandwich recommended on the show, the T.L.T. (turkey, lettuce, tomato, with a white bbq sauce).

After that, we went to Spring Hill College in Mobile AL to see their Urban Legend Film Scramble, a screening of nine five-minute films produced in 48 hours by local filmmakers, inspired by items from We sat in a classroom with about 50 other people watching the short films. It was a great experience, some of the films were really good and funny. We even agreed with the judges’ choices for the top three films and each got a prize of $50.

Then we went back to Bella and had our dinner. The gumbo was too spicy for us, the rest was good, but nothing to write home about. Not the kind of place we’d visit again.

Then we drove west about an hour to Ocean Springs MS to Bernie’s next job. Marion has a honey-do list at her Bed and Breakfast for Bernie to take care of. She showed us around when we got there, we hooked up the water and electric, and then walked to the beach, which is less than a block away. We can actually see the ocean from where we’re parked and that makes us very happy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The beach

We got up in time to go to Panini Pete’s, they are only open for breakfast and lunch and close at 2:30 pm. This place was recommended on the Diners, Drivethrus, and Diners show. It is located in the French Quarter of Downtown Fairhope AL. The place is full of charming little stores around a lovely courtyard with outside tables and a big fountain.

We walked into Panini Pete’s and asked who there answers the emails. We had emailed to ask about their hours and to let them know we were coming. Turns out it is Pete himself who takes care of the emails. Pete came out of the kitchen and made us feel like welcomed old friends, giving us big hugs. Pete is awesome and very friendly.

Panini Pete’s is by far the cutest of the DDD places we have visited so far. The theme is sort of beachy and colorful, and there is a collection of salt and pepper shakers on shelves around the walls. This is a small sandwich shop, it was jam packed with people, and the staff was running around crazy, they were so busy.

We got our food to go and will save it till dinner time. We don’t eat lunch since we are usually still sleeping at lunchtime. We ordered the sandwich recommended on the show, the turkey panini, and also got the roast beef panini. The turkey sandwich was good but the flavors are a little too bold for our taste. We really liked the roast beef sandwich with gorgonzola, it’s a winner.

After that, we drove south about an hour to Gulf Shores AL and went straight to the beach. By the time we got there it was midafternoon and the weather was gorgeous but it was chilly, even though the sun was out, the wind was too cold for us to stay outside.

So we went back to Bella and opened the curtains wide so we could gaze out at the water and the beautiful sugar sand beach. We both picked up our books and started reading. Next thing you know, we both fell asleep and took a long nap, about three hours long. When we woke up it was dark and we were hungry so we had our paninis.

Afterwards we drove around some more to get to know the area and made it to Orange Beach AL. We found a dentist office and decided to park there for the night and wait till morning to see about Bernie getting her crown that she still needs.

Bernie is sick tonight, she has a sore throat and a low grade fever. Hopefully the beach will do her some good and she will feel better soon.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The road is calling

After getting Bella ready to go and saying goodbye to Sandy and Bobbie, we are once again on the move.

We drove south about three hours on I-65 towards Mobile AL. Along the way we stopped at Walmart to buy milk and bread, and got a full tank of gas there for $1.70 per gallon.

In Mobile we stopped at Dr. Java for an iced mocha latte. This is a very hip coffee house with art for sale on the walls. We were very excited when we saw that they have shelves full of books for trading. We found nine books we wanted so we were able to unload nine of our already read books. It's almost too good to be true!

When we left there, down the road we started noticing there were a lot of people on the road and some streets were blocked. We stopped to ask and were told that there was a Mardi Gras parade tonight. By that time the parade was already an hour and a half late in starting. No one knew when the parade would really start and we were too hungry to stick around and wait, so sadly we moved on.

We drove east about another 25 minutes to Daphne AL. We went to see a place recommended on the show Diners, Drivethrus, and Dives. We found Manci's Antique Club, parked and went inside. The kitchen would be closing in about a half hour so we went ahead and ordered, and then walked around exploring the place.

There are tons of collections here, the whole place is covered with all kinds of stuff everywhere you look. They have cowbells, hotel keys, decanters, horseshoes, beehives, tools, thimbles, signs, pictures, and many other things. Every square inch is completely covered, everywhere you look you keep seeing new things you missed the first time.

For dinner we had the Manci Burger and the Manci Fries. The burger was simple, not the best we've had. The fries were covered in white cheese, bacon, and sour cream. Dipping them in ranch dressing, it was so hard to stop eating ...

After dinner, we drove south about 15 minutes to Fairhope AL, we drove around downtown looking for the next place we want to check out from the Diners, Drivethrus, and Dives show. This place is only open for lunch so we found a parking lot around the back, and parked for the night. Lucky enough, we found there was free wi-fi once we parked.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Since we got here to the Alabama River, the weather has been wonderful. Usually it stays in the 60s during the day, and in the 40s at night. We've had to use the space heater in Bella for a little while each night, and then we're fine after that.

Mar has spent her time here doing the laundry, working on her online classes, watching the Food Network, baking, cooking, and preparing meals to take on the road.

Bernie has been working on what Sandy and Bobbie needed to get done. She's been having fun riding their golf cart around the property, to go pick up the moss and branches that prevent the lawn mower from working properly. And also, cleaning out the two sheds, to turn one into a workshop.

Bernie is almost done with these projects, so we should be able to hit the road again in a couple of days.