Life

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing"
- Helen Keller

Friday, April 15, 2016

An Interesting Spring

Fairhope AL. The pier and park on Mobile Bay

We finally got out of Deming after 2 weeks with the emissions system fixed and no alarms went off  even after we added new DEF to the tank. Yea!!! This detour meant my plans for a week or two in Elephant Butte were out the door. We decided it was better to move on towards Alabama so that if we had anymore trouble we had a buffer. My nephew Alex was getting married April 9th and I didn't want anything else stopping us from getting there. We did make a couple stops.

The first was in Stockton, Texas at the Hilltop RV park. A very nice little park in an area where there are not too many places to stay, also it's spring break time so the state parks and some of the private parks are full. Next stop was Kerrville Texas in the hill country. We have been in this area before and decided to stay at a park that many have recommended, Buckhorn RV Park. It definitely lived up to its reputation. We were able to stay 4 days but again spring break got in the way and the weekend was booked so we left on a Saturday morning. Next up Livingston, Texas. It takes forever to get across Texas. Again spring break is a factor this time of year in the south so we chose to stay at another Escapees park. This one is just a little east and north of Houston. I am always happier when we are not in the cities. Moving on our next stop was Buccaneer State Park in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. This is another repeat visit. Its a great little park and since it was early in the week and we only needed one night we got a great spot.
Bay St. Louis MS

Bay St. Louis is a nice little town right on the bay and the last time we were here was during Mardi Gras week a couple years ago. It was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina and on our last visit it was looking pretty good but now there are a lot more new homes and business that have sprug up. We stopped at the local pub and enjoyed dinner with a view of the bay. I was wishing we had more time to stay here but not an option this year.

Finally on around March 20th we reached our destination here in Summerdale, Alabama . It's
 another Escapees park and a very nice one. Has a bit of that park feel rather than an RV resort feel. We are about 20 minutes north of Gulf Shores.This is a beautiful area and we have enjoyed our time here for the most part. I like it here in Summerdale better than Gulf Shores as it was just too busy there. Now it may be an unfair assessment as were still at the tail end of spring breaks and so it may have been a little busier than usual. The traffic is crazy. The beaches remind us of Destin with the white sand.
The beach at Gulf Shores

Now here's the part that wasn't so great. Another recall notice came in our mail and this one was for the track bar for the steering. We had received one earlier on this and it just had to be inspected but now the recall is to have it replaced. John did some calling around and the only dealership that had the techs to do this were in Bay Minnett about 45 minutes north of here. We new it would be there overnight and this time I wasn't going to be without wheels so we rented a car from Hertz. This dealership never once called us to let us know what was going on and we would call to check and it was always something, they had the parts but not the paint. Then got the paint but hadn't gotten to it. We explained that we needed to know how long to rent the car and that we needed the truck Thursday because we were leaving town for the wedding. Everyday it was not today maybe tomorrow. Everyday we were calling Hertz to extend the rental. Thursday it was suppose to be done by 5 so off we went. We had wanted to be in Destin, which is two hours away, before dark. Got to the dealership at about 2 and planned on just waiting until it was done. Guess what, wouldn't be done until Friday morning. That wasn't an option for us so this time we extend the rental until Monday.  My frustration with this is that I think they knew it was going to take all week to get it done and should just have been upfront with us about it so we could have made those arrangements at the beginning instead of calling everyday to both the dealership and Hertz. We were able to pick it up on our way back from the wedding but I am not impressed. They had spilled something on the mat on the passenger side and didn't clean it up and on their call waiting message they bragged about how after servicing they wash your car, well that didn't happen either. I'm glad this is fixed but when we fill out the customer service survey it won't be good. Also they said we could apply to RAM to be reimbursed for the rental. John went online and found the link but also in looking for the recall info to reference what was done, it said we should have been provided a loaner while the fix was being done. All these issues with truck are driving me crazy. I love how it rides and there are so many things John likes better in this truck than our last but sometimes I feel like they are rebuilding it as time goes on.
USS Alabama


Having a rental car was nice in some ways. We did some site seeing and it was nice not to have to worry about finding a space big enough to park in. After leaving the truck we were very close to Mobile where the USS Alabama is docked as a museum and a submarin, the USS Dunn, is on display too.  We spent several hours there and really enjoyed it. Seeing these ships has always been great and an education too. This was a battleship and it's amazing to see how many guns it had and how big some of them really are. The sub was interesting too. I don't know how the crews did it. It is very tight quarters and I know I would have been claustrophobic in that situation.
Lunch on Dauphin Island. Nice View

Leaving Mobile we decided  to go to Dauphin Island on the southern tip of Mobile Bay and then take the ferry back to the Gulf Shores area. There is a bridge from the mainland to the island on the east side of the bay but the ferry is the only way from there to get across the bay. We did stop for a late lunch there, nothing special but we were able to sit outside and enjoy the view. The Ferry only holds about 30-40 cars but its always a fun way to get somewhere. We made one more stop at the Audubon bird sanctuary and that's where we were really glad we had a car rather than the truck. Its not a very big area and the road and parking is very tight. Didn't see many birds except for a group of very noisey ospreys.

We also made a trip to Fairhope a couple days later. Now this is my favorite town in the area. It has a very quaint downtown area with an abundance of restaurants and shops. This is where we found our favorite restaurant in the area. Yelp had this place at 5 stars and we have to agree. It was busy when we walked it but there were some seats at the bar area and we always feel those are the best seats and that proved to be true that day too. We each had Quiche Lorraine and a salad and it was amazing. The best part of it was that the owner stopped to see how things were and we struck up a conversation. Even though the restaurant was hoppin' he stood and talked to us for almost half an hour. His name is Joe Rider and the restaurant is R Bistro. If you are visiting this area make sure you check it out and tell Joe we sent you.
Alex and Olivia

So now on to the wedding in Destin. My nephew Alex is stationed at Hurlbert Field and two years ago when we spent the winter in Destin we spent some fun time with him. We also met Olivia. This was very early on in their dating life but now two years later it's wedding time. The wedding was at the Destin Bay house and was a beautiful venue. The wedding was beautiful and time with family is always fun. My brother Larry and his wife Barb also made the trip and Sharon, Alex's mom, has a big and fun family, the Hoffman clan, that are always fun to be around. On Sunday after the wedding we all went on a Dolphin cruise. Saw a couple dolphins but it really was more of a booze cruise, who can say no to free beer. The scenery can't be beat either.
My beautiful niece Audra

My nephew Austin's daughter, Izzy

My 3 very handsome nephews

John and I stayed in a condo in Miramar beach with my brother Gary (father of the groom), his wife Sharon, daughter Audra and son Aaron. Nice digs for the weekend and as an added bonus it was near a yarn shop that I hadn't been to. It had a great selection. It made me do a happy dance. John is so good to let me indulge my crazy obsession.
John and this other fella waiting outside the Yarn shop. :)

We start back toward Iowa tomorrow. We have another wedding to be at April 29th, my granddaughter is the flower girl and her dad is officiating. The parks open there this weekend and I am excited to get back and spend some time with my family and friends. I waited too long to post so sorry about the length.

Hope all is well with everyone out there.
Happy Trails..................................