Day 42(Monday, May 30):Biloxi, MS to Dauphin Island,AL–71 miles
May 31, 2011 § Leave a comment
We are out of Biloxi before dawn breaks–5:20. How can it already be hot at this hour of the “night”?
The streets are empty; neither cars nor people disturb the early morning quiet.
I see the historic Biloxi Lighthouse, built in 1848 and one of only two left out of an original total of twelve, purportedly the most photographed structure on the Gulf Coast. Of course I stop to snap a few frames.
Before we know it we are across a few more biker friendly bridges and in Ocean Springs. Joe stops, points to a sign, and says we are on Highway 398. Yes, the sign is green and white, but it is the gas price, not the road number. It’s early, 6:15am; life should get better…
We cross the Singing River, named for an Indian Legend. Supposedly the whole Pascagoula tribe walked arm in arm, singing, into this river, rather than be subjugated by the adjoining Biloxis. One may be fortunate to hear their song if one listens closely. We are now 25 miles out as we pass through Pascagoula, home to Ingalls Shipbuilding, the largest employer in the state. We see what appear to be Navy destroyers at the mouth of the harbor.
This morning we thought our day could be 25, 50 or 70 miles. We feel fine at 25 miles and continue on.
I see Joe talking to a bicyclist up the road a bit. Please meet Mr.Coleman Wingate, American Vet, originally from Virginia, now living in Pascagoula, and biking to the local Walmarts to do daily shopping. I secretly visualize him as a Walmart greeter; his bicycle is a vision of red, white and blue, festooned with 5, count ’em, 5, American flags and plastic baskets in equally patriotic colors. The crowning touch: blue duct tape holding the bike seat together. What a perfect character to run into on Memorial Day! Coleman, thanks for the memories!
Next stop: Bayou La Batre at 50 miles. The town fits in nicely on the Coast2Coast Film Tour: it was a featured setting for the 1994 film “Forrest Gump” and the book of the same name. Gump’s friend Bubba hailed from here and Gump lived here awhile while working as a shrimper. Yet one more film fact emerged; in April 2005, Disney Studios launched a secretly built pirate ship, the Black Pearl, out of the village, in order to film sequels to “The Pirates of the Caribbean”. Not bad; this is getting to be fun.
We are not yet tired, though, and after a stop at the local friendly Waffle House for “the usual” we are on our way again after making motel reservations for the night as we now have a final destination. I will save Room Reservation Roulette for Saturday nights when the game is at its most exciting!
20 more miles to go.
Oh, I forgot, we are now in Alabama! We are on the Scenic Alabama Coastal Access Route;
there are even some rolling hills.
We keep hydrating, but somehow Joe has a headache he can’t shake; now it’s a sharp pain behind his right eye. We are still 12 miles out, but thankfully a country diner, the first we have seen the whole day, is a few hundred yards off. We stop for the AC and the ice cold drinks. Within a few minutes Joe both looks and feels better.
We are off yet again. Soon we see a seemingly endless causeway and adjoining bridge, over Mobile Bay, which connects Dauphin Island to the mainland. I see the island!
We are now settled in at the Gulf Breeze Motel, preparing for yet another day.
Tomorrow we take the ferry to Fort Morgan and then…. Yes, Florida, here we come…
For the diehards amongst you: A really obscure film reference: in the 2004 Coen brothers(second mention for them on my film tour)black comedy “Ladykillers”, starring Tom Hanks, the main character Mrs.Munson says her neighbor is going to the Costco(nonexistent) in Pascagoula.
Tom Hanks also seems to be racking up some points on the Film Tour!