Greetings from New Orleans. Apologies for the long break between posts. Traveling, taking pictures and working a little can all turn into a full time job.
The distance between Gulf Shores and New Orleans is not very large, only about 200 miles. But once you reach the Biloxi area you feel much further away. You can’t help but think of Katrina and Rita and the damage they have caused. In many parts along the Gulf coast did I see dead sticks in the ground, tree trunks without branches and only half their original size. However, the damage to homes was more apparent in Mississippi and Louisiana. Many empty stilts that once were the support and the protection to houses. Four and a half years later roads are still being paved and as one contractor in New Orleans told me only recently have they put up street signs in some areas. Why is this taking so long? The contrast sometimes is amazing, boarded up houses on one block and beautiful homes on the next. So far I have only gotten a very small sampling of the area, but I am planning on exploring more.
OK, you are wonder what happened that I met the NOPD. Well, I wasn’t speeding. Originally, I thought I had my first travel adventure or misadventure on my hands. Leaving Alabama I noticed that my front license plate was missing. My first thought was that someone in Miami must have stolen it while I was parked in the tennis tournament parking lot. When I arrived at my campsite in New Orleans, the very nice St. Bernard State Park, I asked Ranger Johnston if he could tell me where the nearest police station was. I wanted to report the plate as stolen just in case it is being used in some kind of unsavoury activity. Instead of me going to the police, I had two officers show-up at my campsite within 15 minutes! Unfortunately, they couldn’t help. I needed to report the incident in Miami, oh what fun. We had a nice chat and they left. As I said I thought I had my first adventure on my hand, as it turns out it wasn’t one at all. I looked at some pictures I took of the truck along the way and believe it or not, I must have LOST the front plate on my first day of travel. All I needed to do was call the DMV (35 minutes on hold) and order new plates. It was suggested to me to inform the NY State police and the Pennsylvania State police just in case.
Today I started my volunteering gig with Habitat for Humanity. We are a small group of 8 putting up siding on a house. I have to practice my handheld circular saw sawing skills. Managed to hit not the nail on the head but my thumb, blue was always my favorite color :) It is a slow process. Some more people are supposed to join us tomorrow.
Let me go back to Alabama for a bit. I would have never mentioned Alabama and white sandy beaches in the same sentence. The sand is super fine and the beaches are clean! If you are into shell collecting, this is the place to be; especially when you go to Dauphin Island. The shells are bigger than my hand at least a 1/4″ thick, brownish color and pretty heavy. I took a photo which I will eventually post. Does anyone have an idea what kind of shell this might be? The beach was littered with them. Dauphin Island even has a bird sanctuary. Some parts of the West End beach were corded off for migrating / breading birds.
I had my first po’boy on Dauphin Island, grilled shrimp, very nice. I got to talk to the two ladies who were making the sandwiches. They told my about the big fishing rodeo they have every year on the island. Hundreds and hundreds of anglers from all over the world come to fish. Supposedly the variety of fish is endless.
It is getting late and I still have to make dinner. There is more to write about, the nice guy in Biloxi who told me how to get out of a bad traffic jam, the nice guy running a campground who didn’t know that there was a nice restaurant just 2.5 miles from the site (never ask locals) and the beautiful Live Oak trees. Did I mention bugs, I have been eaten alive. Itching and scratching for a week now.
Good night. Next time some photos.