Saturday, April 6, 2013

Dauphin Island, AL

We've been walking about an hour each day since we've been on the road, but Trisha has had a problem with one of her toes hurting and blistering.  We had both bought new athletic shoes right before we left, and she felt the problem was that she did not get the brand she usually wears.  So, one day while in Gulf Shores we headed out in search of some new running shoes for her and, ended up with the most wonderful surprise.  We were in the Wharf shopping area in Foley when she spotted a shoe store.  We went in, asking the sales clerk if they had New Balance; he said no and we were about to leave.  Just then we noticed a display of Vibram Five Fingers, the shoes that have the individual toes and are basically like going barefoot.  Well, I have laughed at our daughter when she wears hers, but on a lark we decided to try some on.  Well, now I'm the laughee, 'cause we both got some and it is truly amazing.  Trisha's toe has not bothered her since, and we've walked several miles in them with no pain or discomfort.  Even with my nonexistent arches, they feel good.  The first day we walked nearly 4 miles quite comfortably!  So exciting to discover new things on this journey of ours!

Yesterday when we got up at Gulf Shores, the weather still was not particularly pleasant--still cloudy, windy and quite cool.  So I jumped on our favorite new campground finding app to see what options we had.  We found a lovely city/county park campground on Dauphin Island, and we got here yesterday afternoon.  When I called to see about availability, I initially asked for 3 nights, but we think we'll stay here a week or so.  It is just delightful, right across the road where the ferry from Ft. Morgan docks--alas, they were not allowing RVs on the ferry yesterday, which happens from time to time we understand, due to wind conditions, etc.--so we had to drive up through Foley, Fairhope and to Mobile, and then come back south to Dauphin Island.  But, as with most things so far on this journey, it turned out quite nicely, as we enjoyed being on scenic 98 right along the water for most of the way, seeing lovely homes, and for much of the way driving under a canopy of stately live oaks, just beautiful!
Dauphin Island Campground is lovely.  We are sited under shady oaks, the path that leads to the beach is just beyond our campsite, through a tunnel of oaks and pines, with pine needled covered sand floors, leading to a boardwalk to the beach.  We enjoyed some good beach time yesterday afternoon, and then made some wonderful portobello mushroom chili, from a recipe our daughter had given us--delicious!

This morning we had a delightful walk in the Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuary, which is nearly adjacent to the campground.  On the way through the campground we met a very nice man who snowbirds here every winter from upper Michigan and he showed us an incredible picture of a painted bunting he had just seen near his site.  We;re hoping we may be able to see it before we leave here.  The bird sanctuary is unbelievably beautiful, with board walks, pine needle trails, with a vibrant symphony of multiple bird songs accompanying our walk.  We sat for a while on a bench by a designated Gulf observation point, and decided that this is where we'll go in the morning for our worship service.  The Audubon Society coops with Dauphin Island to maintain this 160 acre preserve, where nearly 350 different species have been documented.  We've heard some really unusual birdsongs and have seen some beautiful birds.  We suddenly came upon a little marsh pond with a beautiful great blue heron standing guard--alas, my phone camera was too slow and the bird flew away before I could get the picture.

As we walked along the road to the sanctuary entrance, we were on a marvelous paved bike/walking path and saw lots of people riding bikes.  We came back and rented bikes from the campstore and rode to the grocery store for a few items.  We had talked a little about getting bikes for our trip, but weren't convinced until we did this.  We had such fun we decided we'll find us some bikes to take with us to ride in campgrounds and to run errands--on the condition that I won't ride on any roads without bike paths.  So I called our friend Nil Toulme, who is quite the bicycle guru, for some advice on what to get and then found a store not too far from here where we'll go next week to get them.  Very exciting!  Then spent the afternoon napping on the beach, soaking up some sun, met some lovely folks from Mississippi who gave us some tips on places to see along the Gulf in their state, and met a German woman who had the cutest little Havanese dog with her.  Think that settled things for Trisha--we're now scouring the internet looking for Havanese adoptable dogs along our route, so hopefully we can find one before too long.  Trisha has really wanted another little lapdog since we had to say goodbye to our precious Milo last Thanksgiving--I had resisted getting a dog before we left, as I knew there was too much to do making modifications to the RV and getting ready to go.  But now, if I don't find one soon, Mrs. Claus may just tell Santa he'll be sleeping in the barn with the reindeer when we get home!!

So here are some pics--bear with me, I'm still learning how to get these in the right place!  First, our new Five Fingers shoes!

 Here's Trisha looking at some cool birds in the Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuary.
 On one of the many lovely trails in the Sanctuary.
 Out to the Gulf.
 From the observation point in the dunes.
 Lovely bent oak tree.
 We were fascinated by these live oaks--used to build ships back in the day.
 Playing rummy at our campsite--one of our favorite  pastimes!

1 comment:

  1. thank you for sharing such a detailed account of your trip!