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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

11 years ago today, Day 57

Here I sit with the heat running, after our first big fall storm of the season.  The high today was 46.  It's been raining since Sunday.  And eleven years ago today I reached the Gulf of Mexico and was enjoying what I, after seventeen years near Seattle, think of as a nice, warm summer day.  Around eighty degrees.  On the 26th of October.  Sigh.

Anyway, the Gulf was really dropdead gorgeous.  I've never seen so many lovely shades of turquoise in my life:

These were taken from where I first encountered the Gulf, near Fort Walton Beach, Florida

I rolled up  my pant legs and waded a bit here.  The water was as warm as a comfy bath, there were no waves to speak of, and the slope was so gradual that I must have walked the length of a football field before I was in up to my knees.  A great blue heron standing on a sandbar further out and I kept an eye on each other as I splashed around. 

You have to understand.  I grew up on the West Coast, and the ocean I am most familiar with is the Pacific, which does not generally live up to its name.  My mother's reaction to the family's first trip to the beach after we moved from New Orleans to suburban Los Angeles when I was three was that it was far too cold and rough to be a swimming ocean.  And, of course, here in western Washington, beaches are for walking on, not swimming.

I had to go inland a bit to get past Pensacola, then made my way out onto the barrier island road, which ended up at a ferry that goes across Mobile Bay:

I took this while waiting for the ferry to arrive

A pelican and a couple of seagulls on the ferry dock pilings

From the ferry

The ferry ride was wonderful.  It was cooler on the water, and the views were lovely.  That was the second time I'd seen pelicans on my Long Trip, too (the first was on Lake Yellowstone, so quite a contrast -- I don't know if they're even the same species of pelican).  I got slightly lost making my way from the ferry landing through Mobile proper to I-10, where the motel I was looking for was, but I did eventually find it. 

All in all, a very good day.  And the next day I was headed for New Orleans, the city where I was born, which I hadn't visited since I was three years old!


  1. Destin is a fishing village very close to FWB, and that's whee my FiL spent most of his life. The coast around there is gorgeous, and the sand is whiter than the Hawaiian white sands.

    On the rare year when there is snow and freezing temperatures, it's very difficult to see from the road whether there's actually snow, and frozen shallows, or is it the white sand and something else that looks like ice or snow?

    First time I visited Destin, in December, it was 20F. I didn't pack anything for cold weather, because they kept telling me there wasn't any need...yeah, right.

  2. Oh, my. I had gone from midwinter in Vermont in late September to midsummer in Florida in late October, so I was prepared for pretty much anything. I hope your inlaws had something warm to wear that you could borrow!

  3. While cavorting on the beach, did you come across Whit, Hod, or Alder?

  4. No, and I didn't even know who they were back then!