Mississippi, Alabama

We were impressed by the plantation-style Rest Areas in Mississippi. This was actually a visitor’s center but still very impressive. We stopped to get some info on campgrounds near the beach. The good one, Buccaneer, is still closed from hurricane Katrina damage. The one we found was not on the beach and not too spectacular but it was after dark and we were ready to stop.
We saw lots of cotton fields. Marian took me to a field for some closeup shots. Starting with the left pic: before the pod opens; next: pod is just opening; next: fully opened cotton pod; last: cotton ‘modules’. They are not called cotton ‘bales’ anymore. Modules are larger than the old bales. They spray a defoliant on the plant before the can harvest the cotton. That is so the cotton is not colored green by a live plant; which decreases the value of the cotton. Marian remembers, as a child, having to get into the cotton containers and stomping it down to compact it. These modules are compacted by large equipment similar to the garbage trucks that compact the contents using hydraulics. I just think it is amazing that you can make clothing out of a plant!

This is our friend’s, Gil and Marian’s, ‘nut farm’. We learned all about pecan farming…well, not ‘all’. They made it look simple but they have been working at it for years and Gil is a natural when it comes to farming anything. They were very gracious hosts and we loved spending time with them, as usual! Their farm is a beautiful and peaceful place.
They treated us to all the sites in the area too. We saw Pensacola Beach. I guess this water tower is a ‘must have’ for the spring break picture-taking crowd. They took us to the Pensacola Naval Air Station. The lighthouse was closed but we toured the great museum. Don was interested in how those Navy guys adapt airplanes for use on the water.
They also took us on a boat tour to see dolphins! That was great fun. I couldn’t believe how white the sand is on the east side of the Mississippi River! I grew up closer to Galveston and that beach sand is the color of mud (it’s down-current of the Mississippi). The beach pic is at Gulf Shores, Alabama.
They fattened me up for days for the next outing; threatened to feed me to the alligators. We went to Alligator Alley. I held a 4-foot gator (after he taped his mouth shut)! One amazing fact we learned is that gators only eat about 10% of their body weight per year! This gator, on the right, is eating a chicken and that’s probably the last thing he’ll eat this year. How could you grow on that kind of a diet?

Gil and Marian drove us everywhere! But before we headed back west, we noticed our odometer rolled over 100,000 miles on the ole’ Dodge.

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