Saturday, October 19, 2019

Fall Break 2019 - Gulf Shores, AL

I wasn't going to do a blog post about this trip, because it was short & sweet and for the most part, it was a lot of what I've already done and shared, but the only way to become a better writer is to write, so here I am.

Mom and dad left the now nearly-freezing weather of Minnesota to come down and visit me over my fall break. When discussing plans the week before, we still weren't entirely sure where we were going to head (Atlanta? Pensacola?) but when it came down to it, the high temps of the gulf coast lured us down.

Day 1 - Sunday, October 13, 2019

We left middle Tennessee just as the cold began to set in for the first time, which is great, because I'm cheap and refuse to pay for heat in any month besides January because I live in freakin' Tennessee and its suppose to be warm.  Exactly one week before fall break I had been sweating my tail off at an apple orchard and corn maze, trying to pretend like it was fall in nearly 90 degree weather. The temps as we woke up this morning were hovering in the 40s - it was suppose to warm up to nearly 70, but why stay in warm and nearly 70 when you can have hot and definitely 80s??

After a 7.5 hour drive (and a few stops along the way - one for Snickers Cinnabon, yum!) we made it to the beach mid-afternoon, and boy was it beautiful! Rain was predicted off  and on over the next few days, so we stayed out in the sand for as long as possible, just in case we didn't get the chance again. (This seems to be a trend when I head down to the Gulf Shores area....)

When deciding on dinner plans, I remembered a restaurant I had gone to with friends when we had been down in July. At the time, I tried the oysters, but because I was so apprehensive about the fact that I was eating something predictably slimy that came out of a seashell, I refused to acknowledge that it was good. However, when I recommended we go to this restaurant this time around, I believe my exact words when mom asked me if I liked the oysters were, "Well, they were okay. If someone else ordered them, I would try them again, but I wouldn't order them myself." Then five minutes later..."actually oysters sound really good, I vote we got to ACME." So to ACME Oyster House we went, and yes, I ordered the oysters. They were ten hundred times better than I even remembered them being, and not at all slimy. And the butter! I soaked up every last bit of it with my bread and fries. If you've never been to an ACME, I highly recommend you try it. If you have been to one, I highly recommend you go back!

Day 2 - Monday, October 14, 2019

A family of early risers, we were up, had eaten breakfast, and were at the beach by 8 AM. Again, there were storms predicted in the forecast, so we wanted to soak up as much sun as we could before the rain began to fall. And soak up sun we did. (oops! sorry skin...) The water was wonderfully warm, and it was so relaxing to be pulled back and forth, by the calming waves. The riptide warning was on yellow, but the water seemed incredibly calm to me. I guess compared to the hurricane-like waves that were here in July, it was incredibly calm!  Dad had a Moon Jellyfish brush up against him, so that was enough of being in the water for us! The jellyfish were HUGE! Nearly a foot in diameter! I looked them up later and found that their tentacles are short, and their sting not quite strong enough to cause anything more than mild irritation, but I wasn't taking any chances.

Eventually it looked like it was about to rain, so we broke for a late lunch a little after one and went to the Sunliner Diner on the strip. It was a cute little establishment with a lot of tasty menu options. I ended up getting the fish and chips, which was alright. I wanted the cereal waffles, but I had a waffle for breakfast and needed something with less sugar (<-- things I rarely say....) I was envious of the milkshakes a table near us had ordered...I would say I would go back just for a milkshake, but when The Yard Milkshake Bar is just down the strip, I'd have to go there instead.

We tried to drive down to Orange Beach, but there wasn't a whole lot to do, nor was there much for public parking, so we ended up heading back to the Gulf Shores beach. I strolled a mile and a half up and down the beach while working my way through an audiobook, and found there to be quite a few beachgoers for a Monday in October. We stayed until the sun began to set and the weather got dark and cloudy once again.

Can you spot the (dead) jellyfish??

We headed back to our hotel and showered before exploring town a little bit and grabbing a quick bite. The rain finally began, but it wasn't too terrible. It definitely seemed like it had rained more downtown than on the beach side.

Day 3 - Tuesday, October 15, 2019

In true Larson fashion, we were packed up, checked out, and out the door not too long after 7AM (which is late compared to days we spent on the road as a kid!) We were at the beach by 7:30AM, because again, it was suppose to rain and we wanted to enjoy the warm weather while we still could. We sat for a bit, then dad and I went for a mile and a half walk heading the opposite direction than we had both walked the day before. Again, there were quite a few people out on a Tuesday morning in mid-October. There were some fisherman, but mainly families with kids.

A little before noon we began to head towards home - taking the long route through Mississippi. We stopped in Meridian, MS for Cracker Barrel, because when in the south, that's where you eat! We hit some pretty hard downpour on the way, and it seemed we had left Gulf Shores at the right time (even more so now that they have a tropical storm on the way!)

We swung through Tuscaloosa to check out the University of Alabama, but it had to be a quick drive through as the rain was still coming down. We ended up staying at a hotel south of Birmingham which worked out great because it was right next to a Whataburger! (Not quite as good as In-N-Out, but also YUM!)

Day 4 - Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Honestly there is nothing really to add about this day except that we made it home after a lot of Birmingham traffic and a quick stop at McKay's!!

You can find all travel posts from Hey Dreamer Blog here.

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