Friday, October 23, 2015

October at Gulf Shores: Before Friends Arrive

From Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, Alabama        Three sites (#175, #177 and #179) were reserved at Gulf State Park for our fall get together with friends. Arriving extra early, on October 15, we were assigned the middle site (#177) for our six week stay. We expect Pam and Ernie in a couple of weeks. Joyce and Charlie will arrive around November 1st.

The original campground reservation called for arrival the first of November, the official first day of "off season" rates. Because we arrived seventeen early, we paid $122.88 for the first three nights and $471.46 for the two week period that remained in the "seasonal" month of October. That total of $567.68 for seventeen nights is $33.40 daily.  Our November full month rate is nearly $35 less at $523 ($17.43 daily) with no charges for electricity. It's a weird system but we were obliged to pay whatever was charged under the circumstances. Interestingly, later we would find a rate increase was made effective on November 1st for those guests who did not pay in advance and no notice was given. Hummm. Odd system.

It's still very warm and humid here and I appreciate that our site has afternoon shade. The coach faces south so the bright sunshine comes through the windshield until well after noon.  I keep remembering how cold it was here in mid-November last year... but that seems so very long ago...

Our Gulf State Park Campground Site #177. Day of arrival.
The day after our arrival, I got word that some old high school friends were winding down a vacation week in one of the nearby Orange Beach condos. I drove over to sit with them on the beach for a few hours on their last full day.  It's always nice to renew high school friendships and I was glad I got to see Julia and Janice.

Julia (L), me (C) and Janice (R) at Orange Beach.
They were staying at Phoenix IV Condo
On Saturday Wayne visited his old boss and good friend, Frank McCarver for an afternoon of college football. Frank's wife, Beverly, is recovering from foot surgery and stays horizontal most of the time. Because of that, I stayed home and busied myself with dog baths and getting the bicycles ready to ride. Gulf State Park Campground has miles of good bike trails that I'm really looking forward to riding.

Shopping at Tanger Outlet Mall and eating at some favorite local restaurants filled several days. We especially looked forward to having lunch at Cactus Cantina, the Mexican cafe Frank and Beverly introduced us to two years ago. As always, we ate on the patio with Lexie and Ozzie in their stroller beside us. Another good lunch place was Shrimp Basket. It's a regional chain of mostly fried seafood.

One of Wayne's favorite Cactus Cantina
menu items is shrimp tacos with cactus grits and black beans. 

We got in a round of nine holes at the state park golf course during our second week. During play, Wayne mentioned his left hand index finger was locking occasionally after he gripped the clubs. The finger didn't hurt and he remembered that it had happened once or twice when we played golf in Lexington with Gary. Next day, I did some internet research and learned his condition is known as "trigger finger".  We began treating it with anti-inflammatory drugs and he slept with a splint on the finger.

Ole Trigger Finger in action.  It's the index finger of the left hand and it's not finished with him yet. 

I am in near constant communication with Pam these days. She and Ernie are at Fort Walton, Florida finishing their residency paperwork and getting their Florida drivers licenses. They sold their Maryland home over the summer and plan to travel full time for a few years. This is the couple who initiated the 2016 motorhome journey to Alaska. We met them in North Fort Myers two winters ago. Together we decided to spend this winter traveling the southwest so we'll be positioned to head north toward Alaska at just the right moment next spring. 

Pam and I have been planning our winter and early spring travel via text, email and phone calls. To this point, we have made reservations through January in Chula Vista, California. We have lots more ideas to develop and routes to select. I'm hoping they get finished with the residency matters quickly and come here earlier than planned.

We pursuaded others to join us here in Gulf Shores for November and then travel on to Abbeville, Louisiana and then San Antonio during the first two weeks of December. That couple is Joyce and Charlie from Wichita, Kansas. We met them at Seminole Campground in North Fort Myers too. Unfortunately, at this point, we've been unable to convince Joyce and Charlie to go beyond San Antonio and they will head home for Christmas - rejoining us in early spring.

Pam tells me that Linda and Dale and Fran and Mary have made a last minute decision to divert their route to Florida and will stop here to see us. 

Linda thinks our friends from Auburn, Rachel and Ned, are coming for a shirt time too. 

One other RV couple from Seminole Campground in North Fort Myers, Janet and Dennis, are camped in another Gulf Shores campground until November 11. Maybe we will get to see them too.

Seems a nice little mini-reunion might be forming.

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