I've driven through Alabama twice in my life, but decided this was the year that I would actually make a stop and visit. Since I didn't want to meander all the way to Birmingham (which I hear is getting hip), I decided to spend a week camping at Gulf Shores State Park. I knew before arriving that there were just 11 tent sites and 500 RV sites, so my expectations were low regarding a grand outdoor experience. Yet, the Park is on the Gulf of Mexico, is nearly 6500 acres, and has 27 miles of paved biking/walking paths. How bad could it be?
Well, there were two key elements that escaped me! One, the Park is a snowbird destination for Midwesterners and Canadians; I guess "warm weather" is a relative term. And two, this isn't a State Park, this is a "Resort Park" (their term, not mine). In addition to cabins, a fishing pier, air-conditioned bathrooms, and a golf course, the Park has a swimming pool, large laundry facility, camp store, outdoor amphitheater, and nature center. Ah, to get away from it all!
While I was extremely grateful for the cycling paths, I felt like a fish out of water. Literally, people would walk by and stare into the "primitive" campsites like the Loch Ness Monster was in residence. The entire week I had just two, five-minute conversations, and neither one was with an Alabaman. A bit disappointing, but for the near future, Alabama has been checked off the list!
I'm now in a small town in Louisiana doing a two-week volunteer stint and the setting is superb.
4/7/2018 12:46:29 am
J... that beach and sand dunes look so beautiful and inviting! So sorry about your tent. Glad you're back on the road though bc how can you be sure that snakes and alligators did not crawl near your tent while you were sleeping.
4/9/2018 07:04:45 pm
Bo: You crack me up! Indeed, there can be creatures crawling near the tent at all times! but I sleep like a log anyway. I DO however look before I step out at all times! The beach was pretty but it didn't have that sea smell of the ocean or the pounding waves either. I'm simply not a Gulf side person! j.
4/8/2018 08:03:44 pm
What? You didn’t stop in Mississippi?
4/9/2018 07:09:43 pm
Gary: I actually spent a few days in Biloxi in 2016 so no stop this year! That said, I've been reading a bit of Greg Iles and Natchez is now on my list of places I'm curious about! So much to do! Promise to write soon! J.
4/10/2018 09:29:17 pm
Don't miss Natchez Under the River, and the Natchez Trace Parkway. The Parkway has some beautiful hardwood forests along it.
4/9/2018 04:56:09 pm
I am sorry to hear that your trip to Alabama was not as adventurous as it should have been. My nephew and I are sad that we missed you during your stay in Sebastian. Hope to see you on your next go around.
4/9/2018 07:14:14 pm
David: So happy to hear from you! I was stunned to hear of the year that Shawn just had; what a scare. I actually spent a total of 5 weeks in Sebastian this year; crazy but I just love that Inlet State Park! Yes, I hope you guys are fishing next year!!!
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Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover