Monday, February 24, 2014

Seafood Festival and Lunch

Saturday, February 23
Foley, Alabama

     A Seafood festival, craft fair and car show were advertised as an even to go to today.  It was in Orange Beach.  We loaded up the map and headed out.  As we got closer to the sportsplex where the event was taking place, we saw a parking lot with a "free shuttle ride" to the festival.  Since we did not know what kind of parking was available in the area, we decided to just hop on the shuttle.  There were about 100 people in front of us when we got in line, so knew it would take a little bit to get there.  After waiting about 10 minutes, we saw two little 12 passenger vans pull up and start loading people.  We were astounded, but hopeful that a big bus would show up at any minute.  We waited about another 15 mins, and realized that it was hopeless.  We would just take our chances at finding parking.  By now there were at least 200 people in line, most of them older than us and just getting into the vans could be a challenge for some.   It took us a while in bumper to bumper traffic and crawling speed, but we found a parking space at the sportsplex.
Just a bit of the line we got out of.
     It was not a very big car show, much to Al's disappointment and my delight!
     We wandered around the booths and managed to pick up some yard art.  Did not think to get a picture of it.  The one we bought is all packaged up for travel.  We were hoping to get some seafood at the seafood festival, but all we found was one trailer that had fried shrimp, oysters and some kind of fish.  Was not what we were looking for.  There was also a jambalaya that they were cooking in a huge wok type kettle, but it was only sausage and chicken.  Coming from Oklahoma, we wanted seafood.   Our friends from the RV park, Anne and Dan were there and we decided to find a nice restaurant, so headed out.
     The Cosmos Restaurant had been recommended and it was just down the canal road.

     I had the Mardi Gras beer and Crawfish Pot Pie!  Very good on both counts.

Sunday February 23, 2014

     It started raining last night about 3 a.m. and poured and poured with tons of thunder.  Beau was in the room like a shot at the first thunder, and barking of course.  We finally got him up on the bed (he is not real keen on jumping on the bed when he knows Cujo (Babe) is up there.  He slept on one side of Al and Babe was between us by our knees on the other side.  Not real comfy in a queen bed, but at least he settled down.  It raind all morning.  We got the dogs out and decided to go to a new place I read about on a blog.  Cafe Beignets
is a nice small little place with no menus.  Beignets plain or filled.  We tried an order of each.  Vanilla filled were ok, but we really liked the plain the best.  They were hot and chewy!  We even managed to eat them without being covered in powdered sugar, which was a good thing as Al had on a navy blue sweater.  Luckily, my blouse was white so he couldn't really tell if I was messy!  Unlike the time we went to Dink's BBQ and I wore my white capris and dropped a huge messy rib with lots of extra sauce right in my lap.  No way to get out of there discreetly.

     The next place we went was Al's 5 and 10 which has everything you could possibly ever want.  I saw yarn I have not seen in Hobby Lobby or Michaels.   Every color of the mesh netting that people are making the wreaths from.   It was fun to wander around.
  On the way back to the Foley, we decided to stop at the Gulf State Pier.  It costs $2 a person to walk on it and sightsee and more if you want to fish.  We went as far as we could without paying.  Not that we are cheap, but figured this was something to do when our friends come this week.  There was a pic opt!

     By the time we got back to the iHome, it was pouring again.  We stayed in and watched a little basketball, golf and Olympics.  At 2 p.m. at the club house there was cake and ice cream to celebrate all the February birthdays.  It was poorly attended, but I think that was because of the rain.  Everyone was just having a lazy day at home.  They were also showing the Daytona 500 on the big screen, but I think it was in a rain delay also.

     We had quite the sugar rush day.  Beignets for breakfast and cake and ice cream for lunch.  I did make a chicken noodle casserole for dinner and we even had a salad.  And oh, of course, wine. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Lulu's! Jimmy Buffett's Sister

Thursday, February 21    
Foley, Alabama

     Ann and Dan from New York will be leaving tomorrow.  They are going to the factory where their motor coach was built to have a few items looked at and some renovations done if possible.   We got together to have a going away lunch at Lulu Buffet's Restaurant in Gulf Shores.  It sits on the Intercoastal Waterway.  As you can imagine, the restaurant is as much fun and quirky as Jimmy's.  We shared grilled shrimp and fried oyster basket.  Two hours passed in no time, with 8 of us sharing rv park stories, best places to visit, etc.  We always get such good information when sitting around just chatting.
Ann and Paul caught in mid bite.  We are going to miss them.

     While waiting for all the couples to arrive, Robin tried her hand at the ring game.  My family will notice that the ring is much larger than the one on the patio in Oriental, NC. 
     After lunch, we stopped at Publix and bought some more groceries.  Olympics in the evening!

Friday, February 21

     We walked over to tell Ann and Paul goodbye this morning, then got our showers as the propane people were were coming today to fill tanks.  By the time we showered and took the dogs for a walk, it was time for the US vs Canada hockey game.  The cable in our iHome does not get NBC Sports, so we walked up to the club house to see if the tv in the common area did.  It did!  Then I wandered into the big screen room and we figured out how to get that tv and all the components working so we could watch it on the huge screen.
     Al went back to the iHome and got some popcorn to pop in the clubhouse kitchen.
     I can not say enough about how nice this RV resort is and how friendly all the staff are.  While we were in the screening room, one of the office girls came in and I explained we were watching the Us play Canada.  She went back to the office and sent out an email to all the guests telling them to come and watch.  She then went into the kitchen and baked us some huge pretzels and got us drinks.  That is what I call customer service.  One other man did make it in before the game (we lost!) was over.  We may come back to watch the KU game, as no one uses the room as far as we can tell. 

     Al wanted to take a part back to Camping World, so I had him drop me off at the Tanger Outlet Mall and made my way straight to Chico's.  I don't know what I was thinking when I packed for this trip, but I sure didn't bring what I needed.  I managed to do a little damage. 
   It looks like a package just waiting for Christmas morning.   I haven't opened it yet.  It will be a big surprise to see what I bought.
    I had just enough time to take a short nap and get down to the clubhouse for bingo at 4 pm.  How many games do you suppose a person can play without winning.  I think I am on may way to find out.  At least we got free beer.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Rotary Meeting that Was!

February 19,  Wednesday

     After our experience last week of going to the Rotary meeting site in Perdigo, and finding out it had been moved but they didn't know where, we were a little apprehensive today.  Al found a meeting in Fairhope, a very quaint little town about 30 miles from here.  The town reminded me a lot of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.   There was a very nice buffet set up and huge pans of pecan pies!  We passed several businesses selling pecans and saw pecan groves.  Reminded us of home.   Very nice meeting.  I sat next to a man who had been an aeronautical engineer at NASA in Houston for 40 years and came back to this area when he retired.

His "proof of meeting" card.
     There was a fly fishing shop in Fairhope that Al stopped into.  Then we went by Camping World again.  We had a $10 voucher burning a hole in our pocket.  We also checked out a couple of Class A motorhomes, but didn't find one we would trade ours for.  I wish they would let me design one.  The dogs needed food, so also stopped at Tractor Supply.

     This evening we went back to the Squashed Grape for a wine tasting of wines from Germany and Austria.  Have to say they were definitely better than the Alabama wines.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fort Morgan

Tuesday  February 18

     Last night we went to happy hour.  It is always so interesting to talk to all the RVers, a lot of them full timers.  We went back to the iHome and had dinner then back to the club house to play cards.  We learned a new card game 3 13.  It is an easy game to learn and changes all the time, so keeps it interesting.

     Today we checked out a kennel for the dogs.  When our friends come for a visit, we will want to be gone longer than we can leave the dogs in the iHome, so needed to find a good spot for them.  They won't like it, but they will get over it.  Also, don't think I will ever complain about the boarding costs in Bartlesville again.   What we pay $30 for is $48 here.  
     We decided to drive to the end of the island and check out Fort Morgan.  We did not visit the fort, as we thought we would leave that for when our friends came.  After we checked it out we drove back toward Gulf Shores and stopped at a public beach in the
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.  It was a warm and foggy day.  We sat on the beach (remembered our chairs this time), had a little lunch and walked the beach.  Nice day.
See how foggy it is out there?


Just a couple of oldies but goodies!   


Brunch by the Sea

Sunday,  February 16

    A group of us met at the gate and caravaned to the Shipps Harbour Restaurant.  One of the couples had been introduced to it by another couple who stays here for months each year.  They have a great brunch menu.  A wonderful Bloody Mary bar,  which you make yourself after they bring you the glass with vodka, and unending champagne for only $4.
     I had a wonderful Bloody Mary.

Bloody Mary Bar

    For appetizers I had the baked oysters.  I did not get a picture because I ate them before I thought about it!  They were delicious!   I suggest you check out the Brunch Menu.  I had the crab and brie Quesadilla.  It was amazing.

     There was a very scary incident at the RV park this evening.  Several people were in the club house playing cards when one of them noticed a motor home across the lake on fire.  The couple who owned it were in the club house.  All hell broke loose, as their two dogs were in the motorhome.  Two of the men raced there and broke the window on the door and got the dogs out and started putting water on it.  The heat pump on the roof in the bedroom had caught on fire.  Most of the damage was to the bedroom.  They had luckily shut the door to the bedroom before they left so the dogs would not get on the bed.  This contained the fire and smoke long enough to get the dogs out.  They are now staying in a motel while things are sorted out with insurance companies, etc.  Somehow they will cover the hole in the roof and drive home to St. Louis.  I had just read an RV blog about fire safety.   We got a fire extinguisher for the bedroom.  If we should have to bail out the emergency bedroom window, there should be a key hidden outside on the RV so that you can open the locked door, get the dogs out and maybe use the fire extinguisher.  Also, an extinguisher should be outside in one of the bays so it is accessible.  We know this couple and it was a rather somber day the next day.  All the "what ifs..." running through our heads.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Valentine's Day

February 14,   Friday

     It was a fun day of not doing a whole lot.  Grocery shopping another trip to the Tanger Outlet Mall.  IZOD had a 15% off coupon on the day's sale and major sales.  Al got another pair of golf pants and shorts and I got two golf tops.  Then we went to a discount golf store and I found a short sleeve golf jacket I have been needing, and it was on sale.  So, it was a good day for me.
    In the afternoon we thought a trip into Foley to an old drugstore was a good idea.   We had been told to get the KeyLime shake.  Our friends Ann and Paul went with us.  It is still a working pharmacy and they deliver prescriptions for free in a '31 Model A.  The drug store opened in 1929.
     There were a lot of model airplanes hanging from the ceilings.  Guess it is a guy thing.

     Our new friends Ann and Paul from the Syracuse, NY area.  They are so glad they are not at home. 
The final product!  The Key Lime shake was good, but I was a little disappointed to see them making it with Key Lime ice cream.  I thought for sure they would use real juice.

     The Bella Terra RV resort was having a Valentine's dinner.  They provided cheese manicotti and meat balls and all the residents brought a side dish.  Happy hour was at 5, and then they were having a vow renewal for any couples that wanted to join in.  Of course, we were not going to miss happy hour, so got there and found a table and our little group of new friends soon started gathering.  Before we knew it, we were all involved in the vow renewal.  It was kind of like being in church when they say "let's all pray".  There you are and what is there to do but go along with it, whether you feel like praying or not.
So, it was relatively painless, and the minister added a lot of levity to it.  After we "kissed our spouses" we were able to eat.  So, it had it's reward. 
Now we are good for another 44 years!
     Our dinner companions:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Rotary Meeting that Wasn't!

Thursday, February 13

      There was a Rotary meeting at noon today in Perdido Bay that Al decided to go to.  We had not been in that area yet and was a good excuse to go.   We found the restaurant and went in and asked where the Rotary meeting was.  They said that it had been changed to another meeting place and they had no idea where that was.   Three other people (obviously people on vacation, like us) had come in looking for it.  The Rotary online site had not been updated by the club.  Not good.  So, we sat down and had a very nice lunch and watched the water.
Al is having a Rotary meeting of one. 

     Since we were here, we decided to drive on out to the end of this little island.  We discovered the Gulf Islands National Seashore.   We had a National Parks pass, so could zip right in without having to pay!  Another one of those old people perks.

      The shoreline was the same as deserted and the sand was a nice hard pack so it was really easy to walk on.  We didn't find any great shells, though.

     We had fun looking at our footprints in the sand.  It doesn't take much to entertain old retired people!

Rain, and more Rain!

Wednesday, February 12

  It poured rain most of the night.  And we had lightning and thunder.  I kept hoping it would let up by the time the dogs got up, but around 6:30, it was still a heavy sprinkle.  We put the awning out over the door and tried to convince Babe and Beau that we could stand under the awning and they could go to the end of their leashes and potty in the grass.  But no go!  Literally.  So, we put our hoods up and ventured out.  There was standing water everywhere, but we finally got the mission accomplished.  Back in, dry and warm with their food and our coffee.
     The plans were to meet friends for lunch at the Gift Horse Restaurant.  This is the same restaurant that holds the Rotary meeting that we went to when we first got here.  They are very smart and hand out buy one get one half off coupons for the buffet.  Six of us had a very nice lunch.  They are known for their Cheesy Apples.  It is a baked apple dish with cheese baked in.  Not sure how else to explain.  I think it was a side dish, but could easily be a dessert.  It tasted like apple pie with cheese on it.  Everyone at the table like it.  I even got Al to try the fried green tomatoes.
Even the Gift Horse is ready for the Mardi Gras and the Olympics.

After the lunch, we ran home, let the dogs out and drove to the movie theater.  We got there about 10 minutes before the show started. 
     Lesson learned:  in a town full of retirees, on a rainy day, with a movie about WWII, got at least 30 minutes early.  The theater was packed.  We had to sit in the breaking rows that no one but little kids want to sit in.  We stuck it out and were glad we did.  The movie was the Monuments Men.  I understand that it has been booed by critics, but we really enjoyed it.  Guess it is just our age.  Really enjoyed seeing Lord Grantham from Downton Abbey.  George Clooney and the french guy weren't bad to look at either. 
     Got back to the iHome in time to feed the dogs, rest a bit (so hard being retired and having a social day) and then back into the car for a trip to the Squashed Grape for a wine tasting.  $5 a person for appetizers and a tasting of  wines.  They were all Alabama wines and were supposedly not  too sweet, but they were. 

It was a fun evening.  About 10 people from the RV park were there.  Next week will be a German wine tasting.  Pretty sure we will be there for that!   Back to the iHome for more Olympics.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Doggy Blankets

Tuesday, February 11

     Today for craft day at the club house, we met and made dog and cat blankets out of fleece to be given to the local SPCA.  We were to bring 1 yard of fleece.  They could be made to keep or to donate.  As it rained or sprinkled all day, this was a great day to meet and do this. 
Cutting the fringe to prepare for the knotting.

It is a double layer and the fringe is tied in knots.

My finished blanket.

This is the pile of blankets we made today.  I think they counted 22.   The fun ones used one color for the top and one for the bottom.  I donated mine as our two spoiled pups have their own blankets and don't need more. 
      A trip to a Mexican restaurant with new friends Ann and Paul and watching the Olympics finished the day.

Business and Happy Hour

Monday, February 10

     Al's 94 year old mother has been in a care facility in Kansas City for about a year now.  The boys decided that the house needed to be sold.  Trying to keep it up, pay the bills, insurance, etc was just not necessary.  It was costing money and time and the funds are needed for her care.  Getting the house empty was not quite as hard as we expected, with a lot of the bigger items being taken by family members.  We were very lucky to have my niece and her husband as our realtors.  They have gone way out of their way to help get the house ready for sale and finding buyers before it was even on the market.  They found us a great buyer who is basically redoing the inside and will use it as a rental, if he doesn't decide to sell it.  Of course, all this has transpired while we are on the road, so yesterday was taken up with faxes, waiting for UPS deliveries, finding a notary, overnighting documents, etc.
It is amazing how much time that can take.   The closing should be on Friday.  It will be nice not to have to worry about the house and wondering what might break before they could sell it.   She has lived in it since 1967.
     While we were doing that, Al's younger brother took her to a throat specialist.  She is having trouble swallowing and eating.  We are so glad they are there to be able to be with her at the doctors.  Last week she had tried to get out of her wheel chair and fell and cut her head.  They took her to the emergency room for xrays and stitches.  Luckily, Al's middle brother was on his way to the care facility, so went on over to the emergency room and stayed with her til she went back to the care facility. 

     After all the running around we made it to happy hour at the club house.  Met some more people and had a great time talking to them.  We stayed for game night and played a golf game with cards. 

This is the Gotcha game board.

Beach Day!

Sunday, February 9

     What can you say about perfect days?  It was perfect.  We decided a walk on the beach was the way to spend the morning.   Drove down to Gulf Shores, it takes us about 15 minutes if we don't hit the stop lights right.  Parked the car and set out walking.  Once again, we did not bring anything to collect shells in, so will get them the next time.   Nor did we bring our beach chairs, cooler, lunch, etc.  We are slow learners.  We walked and walked and enjoyed the morning. 

 We stopped into a  couple of tourist trap shops looking at
all the "stuff" you could buy.  We only came home with a pair of
shorts for Al.  The entrance to the store was a large shark.  Interesting.  I am sure the little kids love it.


Beau in the dog park.