Feels like we’ve been here 2 weeks (Hubs doesn’t feel the time has sped by as fast) but the calendar assures me we are working on our last couple of 58 nights and ought to start packing. There were a lot of misconceptions on my part. I thought I’d get homesick right away-I didn’t. Mostly due to the weather we weren’t experiencing. All I had to do was check the highs and lows for Jackson, see all the new snow that fell or how hard the winds were howling to determine their awful windchill. Didn’t miss that for one second.
It’s not that the weather here in the south has been spectacular. Thus far about a third of the days have been subpar. Shitty even-until I check Jackson’s forecast, which certainly made 51 degrees with occasional showers more appealing in Gulf Shores. Our neighbor in the condo next to us moved here 4 years ago from Illinois (she knows ugly winter weather) and said this has been the coldest winter since she got here which makes me feel better.
Hubs on the other hand, has not been as infatuated with Alabama as I have. This smallish town reminds me somewhat of North Muskegon. Both towns have one long, slow, busy street with water on two sides so everyone uses this main drag to make their way to someplace else. But in North Muskegon we were a couple blocks off the beaten trail. Our condo overlooks that busy street which is filled with construction trucks (hurricane repair and constant building of high rises) plus tourists. Watching the Gulf of Mexico just past this constant hum of tires is not as relaxing as it ought to be.
Another issue with our front view is half of our sliding doors leading to the balcony. It’s a double pane thing and the stationary half is a mess. I think the glass has lost it’s gas seal, causing streaks, fog and just plain dirty. These stains are on the inside so no amount of Windex/vinegar, water and paper towels are going to fix that view until the glass is replaced. We love the palm trees across the road and have been anxiously awaiting the removal of all the ugly, dead, brown fronds. Day before we leave, they showed up to trim. Much better, but the timing-not so great.
The pavement (street) out front is very wide but only 2 lanes with added walking and bike lanes, but there’s still a lot of wasted blacktop. Many folks just stop along this road’s ‘dead zone’ to yak, text, get directions or catch speeders. One such truck stopped right below our balcony a couple days ago while I was getting a dose of vitamin D. (Our railing is high and slats are close together so I’m rarely noticed sitting in my swimsuit. More on that later). Dude is leaning over in the driver’s spot, trying to do something on the floor when he finally opens his door. Out comes one leg. Nothing more, just the one leg resting on the running board. He turns sideways, loosens his laces and gently slides off his shoe. With the tender nurturing of a mom giving a newborn a bath he slowly removes his sock. Holy bat-toes, that foot’s a mess. His big and second toes are red/purple and very swollen from my view of 15 feet heavenward. He rests it there while making a call, then carefully brings his foot back into the truck and drives away. Leaving his shoe on the pavement. (Couldn’t get it back on anyway). He did return for the shoe later.
The reason I’m privy to such scenes is the damn pool has been closed since we arrived, (57 days and counting) thus putting me on our tiny balcony instead of a comfortable lounge chair pool side. (This should have been disclosed in the amenities section before we rented the place). First I heard the pool and hot tub were closed because of Covid-19 (I don’t want to swim, just sit for an hour and read), but then noticed the fence around the pool was damaged by hurricane Sally. New sections arrived a month ago but they just started replacing it this week.
So far I sound kinda whiny but there has been much enjoyment too. First the sand. It’s unlike sand I’ve ever seen before, so fine and white. I love it, it’s everywhere-literally! The big pier, about 3 miles away is awesome, even though half of it is still closed after being torn from the pilings during Sally. What a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico from far above the water. The absence of fast food joints on this long stretch of road through town is a welcome site. The two exceptions are Hooters and Waffle House. I think perhaps the Waffle House was grandfathered in (they’re EVERYWHERE) but have no clue how Hooters got their location. All of the usual fast food spots are on Highway 59 north, not very close to the water, although there are lots of restaurants and souvenir shops (which border on outlandish in colors and large sea creatures).
The first week here, we stumbled (no, completely sober) onto this Mexican Restaurant about 5 miles away called Margarita Loca. On Wednesday’s they have their namesake at a very reasonable price, a buck for a sippy cup size and 3 dollars for the arm weight lifting size. I can count on one hand with three fingers hidden how many drinks I usually have in a year’s time, until Gulf Shores. We’ve been to Margarita Loca’s 5 times, always on Wednesday. I might see a pattern here. On the downside, we tried their food the first 2 times and were not very impressed. The following 3 times we just order an appetizer, stay for an hour and head home.
So this midweek was our last visit. Same waitress, Hannah every single week (she must never have Wednesday’s off). She seats us, hands us menus and asks, “what do you want to drink?” We say, 2 frozen margaritas. She starts walking away, stops, turns towards me and says, “you don’t want salt on your glass do you?” Hahaha, gotta love her. Guess who got an enormous tip?
The independent neighborhood restaurants are good, (though we’ve tried pizza twice and none even come close to Klavon’s). Most are small, not very fancy but do what they do best-seafood. It’s been a week since I had shrimp and I’m not hungry for it yet. Too much shrimp, too often.
What would it take to cut the cord? Try a 2 month’s stay with limited, bad cable. I think we’ve finally reached a unanimous decision to say goodbye to DirectV. We’ve been a customer since 2002 except for a short hiatus where the Hubs grew weary of bitchin about the rising cost and signed a 2 year contract with Dish. When that was over we went back to DirectV but have watched our monthly bill working it’s way towards $150. Really, 5 dollars a day to watch TV? It’s got to stop and I think we’re ready and on the same page. (Josh, my techie guru has the answer that’s gonna run us about 60 bucks a month). Not really a Gulf Shores issue but it was here where we noticed we really aren’t watching much TV and haven’t missed it. Thanks to lousy condo cable.
What else is there? Well since our massive downsizing 5 years ago, I’ve been a tad critical of my little kitchen in our little house. All it took to appreciate that tiny kitchen was a minuscule kitchen in a minuscule condo. And in case I ever need another new stove, rest assured it will never be a flat surface stove. Sucker took 21 minutes to preheat for 2 leftover pizza slices. By the time he was done eating pizza, it was time for me to start supper!
Haven’t seen as much wildlife or birds as I had hoped. A beautiful pelican stopped by when we were at the big pier. I spotted an armadillo on the shoulder of the road but since he was dead, I couldn’t count him. But every time I get on the walking path, there’s this one spot where the lagoon is just a few feet away. That’s where I should see something fantastic, right? And I finally did. I think he’s a stunning Great Blue Heron. Made my week!
Would I come back? Survey says? Absolutely, though maybe somewhere farther off the beaten path. We spent a day in Pensacola (an hour east) and found much to like. Their downtown was bustling, filled with quaint shops. As far as Gulf Shores, the weather, the Gulf of Mexico, sand, CHERRY NUT ICE CREAM, and restaurants were spectacular. The pelican and heron were an added bonus. Any egrets? Not a one…