Last Days at Gulf State Park

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Wednesday it was wonderful to see our pastor Harvey looking much improved when he led the midweek devotion. He and Lana have both been ill and we are so thankful they are both much better and he is planning to preach Sunday.  Anne began Wednesday with a NOMADS membership interview and did the same again this morning.  It’s encouraging to see our number of applicants finally increasing again.  The remainder of the morning we rode our bikes on some new-to-us trails.  There are so many great trails to ride in Gulf State Park.  We really enjoy being able to just get on our bikes at our site and ride on safe trails.  You can ride or hike different trails every day and never get bored and spot wildlife along the way. We, however, did not see the eagles when we stopped by the nest before lunch.  After we cooked another great seafood lunch, this time flounder, we went back to the nest. We hit the jackpot with both eagles on the limbs above the nest.  Such beautiful birds! A great ending to a really great day.

The forecast for today was iffy with rain predicated.  We loaded the bikes into the truck last night to protect them from the possible severe weather and heavy rain.  This morning was actually beautiful, so after another NOMADS interview we hiked out to the beach.  The water was much rougher today with rip currents and waves 5-8 feet due to the storm coming in, but it was a great day for a walk in the beach and then one last hike.

Sadly, we will be leaving in the morning, but have already made plans to return next year.  We spent the afternoon preparing FRED for the two day trip further south.  The storms have now arrived and we are hopeful that the weather will clear before our 7:00 am departure time tomorrow.  It’s been a great two weeks of R&R and now it’s time to get back to work.

Moving Monday, Volunteer Tuesday

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Monday was moving day.  When we made our reservations, our site was not available for the last four days of our visit so we reserved another site.  When leaving you are supposed to vacate your site by 11:00 am.  Monday morning, several times we either walked over or rode our bikes to our new site to see if it was vacant.  It was not.  After one pass by our new site, Max said, “You know it would be funny if that other RV is waiting for us to leave to go to our site.”  Anne did not think it was that funny.    At 11:00 Anne went to the office to pay the balance on the reservation and they asked if we were on the site yet and she told them no, we were waiting for the previous RV to leave.  The computer system couldn’t let us pay the balance and get our new car pass until the site was vacant.  Ok, we would just wait and return to the office later.  The next time we checked the couple was pulling out of the site.  We quickly went back to our site and moved the truck, bikes and FRED to our new site for the next 4 days.  As soon as FRED was parked, Anne returned to the office to pay our balance.  Another lady entered the office at the same time.  She was there to pay her balance – for our old site!  They had been waiting all morning for us to vacate our site.  They finally left the park to refill their propane tank, hoping we would be off their “new” site when they returned.  We just switched sites with another couple and both had been waiting for the other to move all morning.  The office said they just realized it a few minutes before we both arrived and they figured it was too late to tell us just to stay where we were. Oh well, we got our exercise, walking and biking between the sites all morning.   After setting everything up again, Max checked on the eagles again – not on the nest.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing.

Today was another Volunteer Tuesday and we returned to the primitive campsites to continue installing a wooden fence to keep the alligators out of the camp sites and to keep campers out of the alligators’ creek.  We made great progress today.  The fence is looking good.  There were 17 volunteers today, some from the community and some from the campground.  After spending the morning working, we hiked out to Lake Shelby and spotted one of the alligators in a canal.  It was a small one, about four feet long.   Nothing like those huge ones in the Everglades.  However, Anne is still thanking Santa for not giving us a tent this year.  A new GPS was the perfect gift. Two more days to enjoy Gulf State Park.

Praying for all of you who read our ramblings, that you stay safe, warm and healthy.

Last Weekend In The Park

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Yesterday was a cold morning!  We brought in the water hose, filter, and pressure regulator Christmas night because we had a low of 29, predicted 27.  Too cold for south Alabama!  There are usually two or three cold days here each year and then winter is over.  We didn’t try to see eagles yesterday due to the cold.  We did however snag two places in a 10 person private tour of the fishing pier yesterday.  One of the naturalists led the tour and it was great to get to participate.  The state park fishing pier was closed May ll of this year to have repairs due to routine deterioration of the pier deck.  It was slated to reopen September 16, 2020 – the day that hurricane Sally made a direct hit on Gulf Shores as a Cat 3 hurricane.  The pier which was thought to be “hurricane proof” was not.  However, it did as it was supposed to do and the panels were pushed up and out of their frame and many were found washed ashore after the storm.  Unfortunately, one section of the pylons also collapsed and are on the ocean floor below the pier.  The sections reclaimed are in the process of being reinstalled and they hope to open that portion of the pier in February.  The engineering of the repairs of the collapsed portion is ongoing.  The very distant end of the pier with the new observation tower is still intact and just needs to be reconnected to the rest of the pier.  No projected date for the completion of that work.  The new pier, once it is completed for the second time will be beautiful.

Today was a warmer although still cool day.  We decided to make a road trip to just visit areas we haven’t seen in a while.  We rode out to Fort Morgan to see some of the Sally damage there  – a lot of damage still visible, road up to Foley and the outlets – too crowded for us to shop,  and to some of the smaller communities in the area.

We went out to see the eagles this morning and this afternoon.  Saw an osprey and eagle this morning and struck out this afternoon.  Oh well, we had a good bike ride and another nice day.

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 25, 2020

Wednesday was another great day in Gulf Shores.  After another morning of sleeping in, we went to the beach for a nice long walk.  The state park beach pavilion and educational center were damaged by the hurricane but are mostly repaired and operational.  There is still a good deal of visible damage, businesses still not reopened, but there are repairs being made everywhere.  We also had a nice bike ride around the campground.  By afternoon the clouds had moved in with storms predicted.  And as so often occurs in Alabama, we were awakened at 2:00 am Thursday morning by the weather alert radio proclaiming a tornado watch and later a warning.  The warning was a short distance north of us, so not a problem for us, but not much sleep for either of us.  Christmas Eve was a dreary, rainy day so we stayed in, prepared for Christmas, and watched movies.

Today was a beautiful sunny day although a bit too cool.  It was only 35 degrees when we got up this morning but the sun warmed things up quickly.  We went to the beach, made our Christmas pictures, enjoyed sitting outside at the campground, had our traditional Christmas dinner of snow crab legs and went to see the eagles again.  They didn’t want to be seen today so we just watched the sunset.

We didn’t have the TV on today, so we didn’t hear of the horrible Nashville bombing until late today and we still have few facts. God be with the police and other first responders, the people of Nashville, this country, the world, and us.  Remember, this was not a surprise to God.  He is with us.