Gulf Shores – Home to the World’s Tiniest Hooters!

Gulf Shores – Home to the World’s Tiniest Hooters!

Get your mind out of the gutter! 

Not those kind of hooters.  This kind of Hooters!

Gulf Shores - World's Tiniest Hooters

Gulf Shores - World's Tiniest Hooters

Well, on second thought, maybe we are talking about the same kind.
Anyway, Jan and I went to the Gulf Shores Hooters for dinner tonight.  And as the sign says it is the world’s tiniest Hooters!
It’s actually built on a double-wide trailer.  In fact, when we were here back in November, one of the waitresses said that if you looked underneath, you could still see the wheels.
Jan and I have always called this place ‘Hoots’ because it was too small to be a real Hooters.
We started going to Hooter’s about 9 years ago and it quickly grew to be one of our favorite places
We were eating out with our son Chris, his wife, Linda, and our then 7 year old granddaughter, Piper. We also had Trudy, Jan’s mother, with us.
We were eating something, onion rings, or fried cheese, I believe, and Piper looks at us and says” This is good, but the ones at Hooters are better”.
I looked at her and said “How would you know?”  And she said “Daddy and I go there all the time!”
Ah Ha!  Busted!
We went to the NASA Hooters with the family a week or so later and were pleasantly surprised. They don’t serve hard liquor, just beer and wine. And we really liked the chicken wings.
Almost every table in the non-smoking area had a family with kids sitting at it.  And they regularly have kid’s birthday parties there.
I mean, I would have like to have my 12th birthday party at a Hooters!
Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

Anyway, we hadn’t been there more than about 10 minutes when I heard someone yell “Greg!”  Suddenly someone was hugging me from behind and kissing me on the top of the head.
Without even looking, I knew Jan was giving me “The Look”.  You remember the “The Look” don’t you?
It took me a few seconds to realize this was a student I knew from the University of Houston – Clear Lake.  Well, I mean,  she wasn’t dressed like that the last time I saw her!
A few weeks before, she had come to my office at the university almost in tears.  The ZIP disk that held her only full copy of her Master’s Thesis had become corrupted and she was afraid she had lost all her work.
It took a little work, but I was able to recover the entire document, and she was apparently very grateful.
After the explanation, Jan was somewhat mollified, but she still wasn’t too happy about the big lipstick kiss that remained on the top of my bald head.
Oh well…
Besides this young lady who was finishing up her MBA, we later ran into another one who was just about ready to take her CPA exam.
She said she made enough working at Hooters for just 2 – 3 days a week to pay her way thru college.
Anyway, as I said, Hooter’s became one of our favorite places.
I used to tell people that my wife and my mother-in-law insist I take them to Hooter’s at least once a week. 
Am I a lucky guy, or what?

Well, we’re still upright…

That’s about the best I can say.

Last night was a real experience.  The wind was blowing so hard that I went out about 3am to let the window awnings in. Luckily, it wasn’t raining but boy, was the wind blowing. I also cranked down the roof TV antenna since it was also making noises I had never heard before.

The satellite dish had already blown over earlier in the evening, so it was no longer a problem. I just left it there.

While I was outside I kept hearing the strangest chirping, snapping sound coming across the swamp behind us. At first I thought it was some animal in the swamp. But I finally realized it was the sound the wind made hitting the the still out awnings of the RV’s behind us across the swamp.

And then about 4am I went back out to cut down the windchimes that had been hanging from the awning arms and were now being slammed aginst the side of the coach.

And then about 6am a burst of thunder that sounded like it was about 5 feet over our heads, made the coach rock on the levelers. Man, that was loud!

And then today, not having got a lot of sleep last night, Jan and I stayed around the coach all day, napped, and ate leftover pizza.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be better…

Gather the animals, two by two…


 Gather the animals, two by two… but be more picky this time.

Maybe not two of everything!

Maybe not two of everything!

The rainstorms just won’t let up. Some places around here have had almost 8 inches. We’ve probably had 4 or 5 inches here at the park.

Luckily, we’re parked on an asphalt pad here.  The last time we had rain like this while we were parked was last October in Sioux Falls, SD.  Except then, we were parked on a grass site at the local fairgrounds (A lot of fairgrounds have a small number of RV sites for rent).

When we went to leave after 6 days, we couldn’t.

We were stuck and had to be towed out. The grass that was fine when we pulled in had turned to a muddy muck by the time we were ready to leave. It was pouring down rain when the tow driver showed up and the poor guy had to crawl under the front of the coach in the mud to hook up the tow cables. Once he had us hooked up, it only took about 10 minutes to slowly winch us out.

We have Good Sams Emergency Road Service  so the tow didn’t cost us anything, but I gave him a big tip.

Rain, wind, and storms…

We’re in our 2nd day of rain, wind, and storms so there’s not much going on. There was a tornado about 10 miles up the road in Lillian, but we were OK here.

We had the breakfast buffet again at Hazel’s down the road.  Always a good meal.

A little before 2pm, a park guy came by saying they thought we were leaving yesterday and we hadn’t paid for anymore.

After Jan woke me up from my nap (I’m retired, remember) I headed down to the campground office to figure out what happened. I had gone down on Monday (the day before we supposed to leave) and extended for another week.  So what happened?

Well, what happened was that I had extended and paid for a week, but in the computer they only had me down for extending a DAY.  Oh, well.

Surf Flags

Surf Flags


I did find some more info on the surf flags.

Right now, we have a red flag and a purple flag. The purple flag normally means jellyfish or Portuguese man-of-war.

 Gulf Shores shuts down swimming on their public beach at one red flag, but the state beaches do it at two red flags.


Although the surf was rougher than the other day, we would have still been swimming/surfing in it.

Surf's Up!

Surf's Up!

Hopefully better weather tomorrow, but not likely.

We’ll see.

Damn the torpedoes…

Well, our road trip went off yesterday, but not quite as planned.

The idea was to head down to Fort Morgan, catch the ferry over to Dauphin Island and then visit Bellingrath Gardens.  But as we started the 22 mile trip to the ferry, we saw a sign saying the ferry was closed.

I found the number and called to double-check. The lady said the ferry was broke (yes, that’s the way she said it), but they hoped to have it going by 2pm. So we decided to run our trip in reverse. Luckily, we didn’t have to make the 44 mile round trip.

We headed up to Foley and then west on Hwy 98 thru Magnolia Springs, Point Clear, Fairhope, Daphne, and Spanish Fort before hitting I-10 into Mobile. This is the way we used to travel to Mobile when I was a kid, since the Interstate didn’t exist.  It’s a very beautiful, scenic drive.

Before heading to Bellingrath Gardens after we got to Mobile, we checked out a Spartan/Cummins dealership looking for parts for my A/C problem I mentioned earlier. No luck, but I did get some good information that helped out.

Heading out, we stopped for lunch at Dreamland BBQ mainly because it smelled so good as we drove by.

Well, you know what they say, Smells can be deceiving, or something like that. I had heard how good this place was for years, and they had all sorts of awards on the walls for “Best BBQ in the South” and other stuff, but not in my book.

Jan’s ribs weren’t bad, but not great either. I ordered the Pork Plate, but I’m not sure what I got.

In the south, pork is normally sliced or chopped. If it doesn’t say ‘chopped’, it’s sliced. Yes, in north Alabama, and up into the Carolina’s, they have “pulled pork”, but it’s labelled too.

What I got was a plate of pork ‘chunks’, or something, covered in thin sauce. In fact it looked more like ‘Carne Guisada’, or ‘Beef Stew’ with no vegetables.

The sides of potato salad and cole slaw were just so-so. Two other chains, Sonny’s BBQ and Famous Dave’s are much, much better.

Not recommended!

We then headed south toward Bellingrath Gardens. The Bellingrath estate was built in the early 1900’s and the family were major Coke distributors… Coca-Cola, that is. Apparently the wife kept buying and buying plants until she just ran out of room. The place is just one big garden.

I’m just going to post some pictures of the place and let ya’ll enjoy.











 After enjoying the Gardens, we headed down to the Ferry.  I called ahead to confirm that, yes, they had fixed the ‘broke’ ferry and were on schedule for a 5pm departure. We got there a little after 4 so we had a short wait that we spent talking to the couple in the car next to us that was pulling a small camper. Turns out they were heading to the Gulf State Park where we are, so we gave them directions.

The  ferry wasn’t full so loading didn’t take long, but there was about a 15kt wind, 3ft waves, and white caps. And the ride was pretty rough. The ferry was sometimes rolling and porpoising at the same time.

I was worried about Jan when she said she didn’t have her seasickness bracelets with her.  Jan can be very prone to seasickness. She once got seasick while we were eating at a restaurant built over a lake.

Sea-Band Bracelets

Sea-Band Bracelets

But luckily, before we took our Alaska cruise in 1998, she heard about the Sea-Band bracelets, and for her, they really work. There was one point on our cruise where people were bouncing off the walls of the hallway going to and from their rooms, but Jan never had a problem.

The bracelets apparently work on an acupuncture principle, but only if she doesn’t leave them in the coach.

Luckily, she didn’t have a problem, through. I did see a few people who were decidedly pale and hovering near the railing, but I thought it better not to mention it.

Actually what I think saved her was the fact that with the motion of the ferry, she was so worried about it sinking, she forgot to be seasick.


Fort Morgan - Dauphin Island Ferry

 As we pulled out we passed Fort Gaines at the tip of Dauphin Island. Fort Gaines was one of the two forts guarding Mobile Bay during the Civil War.

Fort Gaines

Fort Gaines

Apparently it was so windy that some seagulls decided not to fly.  They just hitched a ride on the raised loading ramp all the way over.

Hitch-hiking Seagulls

Hitch-hiking Seagulls

Fort Morgan, named for Gen. Daniel Morgan, a hero of the Revolutionary War, and an ancestor of Jan’s (her mother was a Morgan) was the 2nd fort that guarded the entrance to Mobile Bay.

Fort Morgan

Fort Morgan

 The Battle of Mobile Bay in August of 1864 gave birth to the famous phrase uttered by Admiral David Farragut, “Damn the torpedos, Full speed ahead”. Torpedos then being what we now call mines, had been spread out across the entrance to the Bay to keep the Union Navy out.

Ironically,  almost immediately after Adm. Farragut gave this order, his supposedly unsinkable ironclad, the USS Tecumseh, struck a mine and sunk in 3 minutes taking most of its 100 plus crew to the bottom with it.

Wouldn’t you think people would learn not to label something “unsinkable”?

The Union did finally prevail and the Confederacy lost its last port on the Gulf,  New Orleans having fallen a year earlier.

That’s your history lesson for today. Read the next 3 chapters and we’ll have a short quiz on Monday. Study hard!

Scavenger hunt…

Today Jan and I  did a scenic tour of Baldwin County pawn shops on a scavenger hunt.

And the prize was…

A new…er, used VCR.  The one in our coach died a couple of days ago and so far we’ve been unable to find a replacement.

The only ones I’ve found still on sale are DVD/VCR combos that are too big to fit in our overhead cabinet. So I had the bright idea to check out pawn shops. So off we went. And found ZIP. 

Apparently pawn shops got out of the VCR business a good while ago, so no luck there. So I’ll have to figure something else out.

Next time, maybe a tour of Baldwin County flea markets?

After our tour Jan and I went back to Lulu’s for dinner.  Just had to split another Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding.  Mmmmmmm!

Yesterday was Garbage Day, except here they don’t pick up. Instead, we drop it off.



 There have been a few parks we’ve stayed at that have garbage cans at each site, but most have dumpsters somewhere.

The ones here are convenient to dropping off our garbage on the way out, and we’ve never found them overflowing as we have in some parks.

Tomorrow we’re going to take the Ft. Morgan ferry over to Dauphin Island, see Bellingrath Gardens and then come back the long, scenic way thru Mobile, Daphne, and Fairhope.

Road Trip!

Par dee! Par dee!

We had our first real RV get-together this afternoon.  As I mentioned yesterday we were invited by the couple next door to a Potluck/White Elephant. It was a good turnout with about 30 people and quite a spread.


Potluck Get-Together

Besides our Big Daddy’s beans (which went over great!) we had ribs, Swedish meatballs, several kinds of chicken, multiple veggies, different salads, and a lot of deserts.

Mm Mm Good!

After the meal, they started calling out the numbers we had been given when we turned in the White Elephant gift we brought.  We brought a bottle of sparkling red wine we got in Florida a few years ago and it was a big hit.  It quickly got traded around the maximum three times.

Hurricane Lamp

Hurricane Lamp



Jan got a candle-burning hurricane lamp that clamps to the side of a picnic table.  Jan was really happy with it, so happy we had to go buy candles for it later in the afternoon.

 Most of the people at the Potluck seemed to be Canadian snowbirds. The ones we talked to have been here since October and will be leaving in the next week or so.  As will we.

Just Like Home

Just Like Home


Another example of how long-termers here make themselves at home is this pic. 

Just like home.

Some people have so much stuff it looks like they brought their backyard with them.


Surf Warning Flag

Surf Warning Flag


As we were driving down to Orange Beach to get Jan’s candles, I noticed the red surf warning flags were posted up and down the beach.  I was curious to see what they considered dangerous surf so coming back from buying candles, we drove out to where our beach property used to be.

And I couldn’t believe what I saw. 

They’ve turned into a bunch of wussies down here.

This is what I saw!

Dangerous Surf?

Dangerous Surf?

 When I was growing up down here we would have considered this moderately good surfing  waves, and I certainly surfed in much bigger.

But according to the signs in Gulf Shores proper, you can be fined for swimming when the red flags are out.  I don’t know what the State Park says yet.  I will be interested to find out.

But while we were checking the surf out I did get some nice sunset shots, so enjoy and I will see you tomorrow.



Condos, Condos, Condos

Condos, Condos, Condos

Our old beach cottage

Our old beach cottage

Beautiful End to a Great Day!

Beautiful End to a Great Day!

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day…

We’re still having great weather here in Gulf Shores. It’s pretty much staying in the low-mid 70’s in the daytime and the mid 50’s at night.  Just about perfect.

We’ve decided to stay another week after this Tuesday, which will make us a full month.  That should put us out of most of the Spring Break crowding, I hope. We’ll see.

Jan and I had our Franco’s leftover pizza for dinner tonight.  We ate it outside on the picnic table that’s part of our site.  We also had a delicious fruit salad that Jan made yesterday from fresh fruit we purchased.

Tomorrow we’ve been invited to join our neighbors for a Potluck/White Elephant lunch at 2:00pm out in the center of the cul-de-sac we’re parked on. 

We’re supposed to bring a dish to share and a wrapped White Elephant object.  We don’t know if we auction it off, or trade it, or what. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.  I volunteered a certain black cat to be named later, but Jan just gave me “The Look”. 

We all remember “The Look”, don’t we?

We have decided to take the last of our Big Daddy’s Northernmost Southern BBQ beans to the dinner.  They were so good that we bought a couple of gallons in Fairbanks, AK to freeze and bring back with us. The beans seem to have almost as much meat in them as beans. I hate to see the last of them go.

More tomorrow…

Palm trees and AC’s and rope lights, Oh My!

Today was my day to work on one of our coach’s air conditioning systems.  We actually have 3 AC systems.

Coleman AC Unit

Coleman Rooftop AC Unit

Two of them are the rooftop units that cool the coach when we are stationary and plugged into shore power, although we can run them on our Onan 7.5 KW diesel generator if we were say, parked at a rest area having lunch.

The 3rd AC system that I’m working on is pretty much like the one on your car. It cools the coach while we are traveling down the highway and runs only when our diesel engine is running.

When we were looking at our coach before we bought it, I noticed the belt that drives the engine AC was shredded and lying on the ground under the engine compartment.  The salesman assured me it would be fixed.

And it was.  At least for a while.

Somewhere between Houston, TX and Fairbanks, AK,  the new belt disappeared.  Since we were traveling in February, March, and April on our round-about trip to Alaska, we only used it a few times and it worked every time.

Since we were coming back to Houston in the Fall/Winter timeframe, we also didn’t need it.

But this year we are going to traveling in Florida and then up the East Coast, and we’re probably going to need our AC.

I believe the problem is with the idler/tensioner pulley that keeps the AC belt tight.  But I’m having a problem getting any info on it.

Cummins Diesel, the company that built our engine says they did not install the AC assembly on the engine.

Spartan Chassis, the company that built our chassis and installed the engine in it, also doesn’t seem to know anything about it.

That only leaves American Coach, the company that took the chassis/engine combo and built our coach on top of it.  It seems to me that the AC would have been installed before they got it.

So I guess I’ll have to wait until Monday to follow up on this.

Around 4:30pm Jan and I headed out to Franco’s Italian Restaurant in Orange Beach.  Jan and I shared a large pepperoni/mushroom pizza and it was one of the best we’ve had in a long time.  And the tiramisu we shared for desert wasn’t half bad either!

After dark we drove around the park to look at how RV’ers decorate their coaches and sites.

Palm Trees

Palm Trees

Palm trees and rope lights are very popular as well as Christmas lights and outdoor lamps.

More Lights

More Lights

Jan now wants her own palm tree.
I just have to find a place to stow it onboard.  Oh, well.

Another quiet day…

Another quiet day of retirement. We read, watched TV, and played on the computer.

Sometime during the early afternoon we lost water pressure here in the park, but we turned on our water pump and ran on our internal 100 gal. tank until it came back on later.

About 2:30 we headed to up Foley to see Inkheart at a local theatre. It stars Brendan Fraser, the guy in the Mummy movies.  It was strange, but good.  I like a movie that you can’t really anticipate what’s going to happen, and this was it.

After the movie we had foot long chili cheese dogs at Sonic and then headed home to more reading, watching TV and playing on the computer.

What can I say?