Tuesday, April 12, 2016

7 Days in Mobile

Monday (Apr 4) to Monday (Apr 11):

We left out of Fontainebleu State Park (we were lucky - no more rain), dumped our tanks and headed down I-10 east to Mobile. The drive was about 130 miles and we took about 2.5 hours to make the trip. We pulled into the Shady Acres RV Campground and were assigned to Site 21. This was one of only a few sites that had southern sky access so we were able to get a satellite signal at the site. We got set up and settled in for the evening.

On Tuesday we travelled south from the campground to Dauphin Island. This is a resort island with several miles of white sandy beaches. There are a large number of houses that are available for rent on the island and we were surprised at the number of families we saw as we walked along the beach.

We also visited old historic fort located at the east end of the island, Fort Gaines. The fort was built around 1821 and was the site of a civil war engagement: the Battle of Mobile Bay. We walked around the outside of the fort since there was an $8 charge to tour the inside.

We did not see any groceries stores on the island and didn't know how far you would have to go to get supplies on the mainland (we didn't see any stores on our drive down).

On Wednesday we met Michael & Linda Cross who have been wintering in the Pensacola FL area. They drove over and we met them at the Gulf Coast Exploreum. This museum was having a display of Leonardo Da Vinci's machines and artworks. The exhibits included copies of his most famous paintings, the bicycle, a spring-powered car, hang glider, helicopter and robotic drummer. The models of his inventions were done by craftsmen in Italy for the touring exhibit. Da Vinci was truly a "Renaissance Man" with may talents. One interesting note: Since there were no patents or copyright laws during his time, Da Vinci alway put an "error" in his drawings/instructions so that they would have to come to him to have the machine work.

The 2 Mikes putting together one of Da Vinci's bridges.

After completing our visit to the museum, all of us went to Wintzell's Oyster House in downtown Mobile to eat seafood for lunch. We had a great lunch and got to visit for a couple of hours before Mike & Linda had to return to Pensacola.

Thursday was a work day for us. We spent time cleaning & doing laundry. We also called a mobile RV tech, Daryl Green, who came out to the motorhome and worked on our steps and door. He ended up having to replace the motor on our electric steps and "clean up" the wiring to our electric door locking/unlocking mechanism. So now our fobs work on the door and our steps go in and out like they are suppose to.

Friday we spent the day at the Bellingrath Gardens and Home. They are located about an hour south of Mobile on the Fowl River. This is a beautiful estate built by Walter & Bessie Bellingrath during the 1920-1930's. Walter was one of the first to have a franchise to bottle and sell Coca-Cola in the south: his area was Mobile and the surrounding counties. He bought the franchise in 1903 for $1,500. The estate started out as a fishing camp with 5 acres. They ended up buying the 60 acres next to it and then built a large house on the property in the early 1930's. The estate is unusual since the gardens were already well on their way to completion before the house was built. The gardens were overseen by Bessie along with an architect and developed over a number of years. The Asian Garden were added several years after Mr. Bellingrath died.  The home is about 10,500 square with antiques that Bessie collected over the year. All of the furnishing, silverware, china and accesories located in the house are the originals. Here are a number of photos we took during our visit.

Friday night Connie made a pizza from scratch that she adapted to fit our oven (it was a rectangle instead of a circle). We took it easy on the week-end. We ended up buying fresh shrimp at a store near the campground called Dip Seafood. On Saturday and Sunday night we enjoyed boiled in beer shrimp and it was delicious. I spent some time cleaning the front of the motorhome and then tightened a number of the bay doors to that they would close better. Sunday we took a drive through downtown Mobile and saw some of the large homes located in a neighborhood near the downtown area. I also watched the Masters golf tournament and was surprised at the meltdown by Jordan Spieth on the back nine during Sunday's round. On Monday we will head to Pensacola for the next week to visit friends in the area.