Thursday, February 21, 2008

Some gave all

WHEN? Thursday · February 21

WHERE? Camp Shelby, Mississippi · find us on the map

Motorhome parked at: Paul B. Johnson State Park

After providing various proofs of citizenship, legitimacy and identification, we were allowed onto Camp Shelby military training post to visit its Mississippi Armed Forces Museum. Its exhibits include wartime memorabilia of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Despite what this historical plaque suggests ...
Seems like it's in Kentucky, doesn't it?
... Camp Shelby really is in Mississippi

WWII recruiting posterBlood-red fields of the first World WarJapanese battle flagHeavy lifter

See more Armed Forces Museum photos on flickr

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Staying South

Mississippi's PBJ

WHEN? Wednesday · February 20 (today's second post)

WHERE? Just south of Hattiesburg, Mississippi · find us on the map

Motorhome parked at: Paul B. Johnson State Park

Stopped in Forrest County for a few days, with plans to do some sightseeing in the area.

Just a-swingin'
Mae Dean and Wendell on the park office's porch swing

Special treat: Area waterfowl paid early-morning visits to our campsite, including a number of rare Mississippi swans.

When we'd had enough of the great outdoors, we discovered PBJ State Park's state-of-the-art game room, complete with music and pay-to-play recreation.

Click on the Park Office doors for a do-it-yourself virtual tour:

Come on in!

Country Roads

WHEN? Wednesday · February 20 (today's first post)

WHERE? Rural South Mississippi · find us on the map

Making our way northward from the Gulf Coast, we traveled along South Mississippi's rural roads around Wiggins, Brooklyn, and Carnes, in the area where Wendell's maternal grandparents lived.

Sights along the way:

A FEMA Staging Area with so many abandoned Katrina trailers that I couldn't even estimate how many. Since the site's entrance signs discouraged visitors, we didn't stop to investigate.


A horse-and-buggy SHARE THE ROAD sign similar to those we encountered in Kansas last April.

We never did see a buggy.

Be a polite motorist:  Share the Road
Mississippi celebrity storyteller* Walt Grayson is as kind as he is knowledgeable — and even answers his own emails. Realizing that he's probably covered this territory, I asked him if this area of the state is home to any Amish families. In his classic style, Walt promptly responded to my question – and then some:
"A family of German Baptists lives out that way. They have similar beliefs as the Amish. No electricity, no telephone, no cars. I guess gas prices don't bother them. But they don't get far from home that way.

Actually, one of the daughters is a world traveler. Takes flights all over from what I understand. I just don't know for sure how she gets back and forth from the airport."

Not Amish, but Amish-ish. Walt's intriguing explanation encouraged me to poke around on the Internet a bit more, where I ...

*So much more than a storyteller, Walt Grayson is well-known around Mississippi and the Mid-South for a number of reasons:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sho'nuff fine dining

WHEN? January - February 2008

WHERE? Alabama's Gulf Coast · find us on the map

Don't be surprised if we've put on a few pounds by the next time you see us. We've stuffed in as much Gulf Coast cuisine as we can during our stay in LA.

Start the day with a good breakfast:

Big O's Seafood Grill - Home of the Plated-Size Pancake

Then on to a mid-afternoon lupper:

  • In spite of traveling to the Redneck Riviera for a number of beach vacations over the past 20 years, this was the first time we'd ever visited Original Oyster House in Gulf Shores. We enjoyed it so much that it earned its own blog entry after our first visit last month:
    We see seafood
    The Perpetual Vacationers
    Since then, we've visited at least three more times and introduced it to friends.
  • Doc's Seafood Shack & Oyster Bar in Orange Beach is all about the seafood.
  • Big Daddy's Grill on the Fish River in Fairhope, opened within the last year by a longtime RRR (Redneck Riviera Restaurateur)
  • We cleared our plates on each visit to Jesse's Restaurant in Magnolia Springs. I still intend to eventually try Jesse's Whiskey Steak, which is one of the state Tourism Bureau's 100 dishes to eat in Alabama before you die (pdf).
  • Speaking of dying ... the portion sizes at "Home of the Throwed Rolls" Lambert's Cafe in Foley may help send diners to an earlier grave. I'm not the least bit surprised that 4 out of 6 Yelp! reviewers mentioned the overabundance of artery-unfriendly (but tasty) food served here:

    San Fransisco:
    "Life is short, you can diet when you're dead. For now, eat another roll and savor the fried catfish."
    "The South is good for something, and yes, it's making people fat."
    "Really good, fattening southern cuisine ... chicken fried steak, fried okra, mashed potatoes, macaroni ... and pass-arounds come out ever-so-often."
    San Diego:
    "My take-out box weighed a ton!"

    Although 4 out of 5 of these comments are also by Californy-ans, I'm not one to stereotype.

  • Shrimp Basket in Foley, an informal Gulf Coast chain that's popular with both tourists and locals.

  • Fish Camp Restaurant in Summerdale was a close-to-home meal when we didn't feel like cooking.* Since its parking lot stays busy, we got the feeling the locals eat here frequently, and we weren't disappointed.

*And can you tell that we didn't feel like cooking a lot?