Packing the tent for the final time after 6 weeks spent in Florida was filled with mixed emotion. Excited to move onto another state, we reflected on our time spent here. We enjoyed the immense diversity the state had to offer: from the tropical food farms and mangrove covered islands of South Florida, to the sprawling development along the coasts, we found isolation in Florida’s Big Bend, as well as camaraderie in the Panhandle.
Opting for the coastal route and avoiding the congestion of another city we rode south to Perdido Key. Greeted with blinding white sand and a coastline undisturbed by development and commercial interest we rode the length of the National Seashore before setting our sites on Alabama.
Quirkiness abounds at the state line in a bar called Flora-bama. Technically in Florida the bar’s property line stretched a few inches into its neighboring state. We parked the bikes and joined the 50+ crowd of Harley bikers and RV wheeler drinking mixed drinks and listening to the live band.
Riding the Gulf Coast through Alabama was much the same as Florida with beautiful ocean views to our left, but with smaller and more colorful houses decorating the shore line. Time running short and the last ferry leaving at 5:45 we sprinted past the hundreds of houses dotting the shore line. Fort Morgan was a blur of a bunker set into the sand and with minutes to spare we arrived at the Mobile Bay Ferry.
Crossing the Mobile Bay was very different than our first crossing, as far as the eye could see were hundreds of offshore rigs pulling dinosaur remains out of the seafloor and continuing humanities trend of destroying this beautiful planet.
At the western port we disembarked the ferry and spent nearly an hour of me fighting a flat tire that refused to reveal the puncture. Tire repaired we rode to our hosts, John & Jan, on Dauphin Island. Cyclist, RVers, and travelers from Branson, MO we discussed routes and all the normal conversations while Amanda and I ate a very late dinner.
The following morning we rode back to the mainland past more “tiny pink houses for you and me” and swamp/estuary landscape. In the first two hours we rode I had a total of 6 flats! Burned out and going ‘postal’ I gave up at abandon building and cooled off for a long while.
Our ride took through Bayou La Batre and past all manner of ship building/repair/breaking facilities, shrimping companies, and every other thing that floats, fishes, or fixes the aforementioned. A stop at CVS loaded us up with day after, discounted valentines candies and we made it to McDonald for the WiFi as torrential rain then tornado touched down, forcing us to shelter in the fast food restaurant.
In between the rain, lightning, and gale force winds we hustled to Ric and Kim’s house. Legendary warm showers hosts they left the door open for us to seek shelter from the rain threat. Ric arrived home shortly before Kim and we spent hours talking about touring, hosting, and warm showers stories (good and bad).
Our route through Alabama was originally longer, but we decided to shorten it and save the northern part of the state for another trip. Situated between Florida and NOLA, in Grand Bay there is a small shop that fuses the two states with Cuban and Cajun cuisine. It was highly recommended to us, and we extend that recommendation to you. Go. Eat at Ozzy’s!