Sweet (it feels like Home) Alabama!

AlabamaMississippiDay 14

Miles Driven: 394

After some final sightseeing in New Orleans, we hit the road. We enjoyed a lovely drive over Lake Pontchartrain, through Mississippi, and into Alabama. The drive did not seem to take as long as the GPS predicted. But we passed the six-hour drive with more podcasts, trying to memorize all 50 state capitals, and being the first to spot one of the many Cracker Barrel billboards along the roadside. And no offense to Louisiana, but we no longer saw the many accidents or shredded tires once we got into Alabama.

IMG_3490We are staying with some very old friends of ours. Nan and my mom have been friends since before I was born and they worked together at Mattel Toys. Mom and Nan were pregnant at the same time so I have grown up with her son Kev. We would visit them at each other’s homes in California or travel together to Catalina Island. Always a fun family to travel with. Now, Nan and her photo 1husband Lar have retired to Lake Martin, Alabama. Lake Martin is a man-made lake created by Alabama Power. The power company created a dam to generate electricity and the backed up water flooded the hill country creating lots of little peninsulas perfect for a lake house. Over the past 100 years, the shore line is slowly being developed with strict building codes. Nan and Lar are in the process of building a “dream house” and welcomed us into their temporary rental home on the Lake. Both Kev and Lar graduated from Auburn University, so they are HUGE AU fans!

Day 15

photo 4We spent the morning bumming around the lake house. A walk down to the lake side and a trip into town to buy new swimsuits and shoes passed the morning. In the afternoon, we drive into the town of Auburn (about a hour away) to see the university and buy souvenirs. It seems like Auburn University is to Alabama like Cal Poly is to California. Both Polytechnic Universities in cozy towns.

Dinner was at Oskar’s, a local seafood diner, where I had my first taste of grilled catfish. Yummy and crispy! We had a time understanding the local accent and phrases while ordering our food. Funny how much English varies from one side of the country to the other.

Day 16

Another lazy, rainy morning. By noon, the sun was starting to peak out so we all decided to rent a pontoon boat for the afternoon. The lake was very enjoyable and an easy escape from the humid weather. Nan and Lar showed us the lot for their future home along with many other lake houses they were using for inspiration. Wow! Every house around this lake is amazing!

photo 3IMG_3489

The visit with Nan was filled with catching up and remembering the past. It is always fun to hear some of mom’s old “wild” stories of her past! haha!

We had a lovely and relaxing time with our very hospitable friends! Everyone in Alabama has been very welcoming. It will be hard to get back in the car and leave the beautiful lake. Some day we will be back to Sweet Alabama.

FloridaDay 17

Miles Driven: 489

We made it to the east coast!

The drive into Florida was long! Lots of little back roads to get onto the I-75 towards Orlando. Yet, if we had not taken the back roads, we would not have seen the wonderful foods growing in Georgia! Peanuts, pecans and peaches! We stopped at a roadside farm stand and bought peach butter, hot boiled peanuts, and some peach ice cream. Everything tasted wonderful.

Day 18

In Orlando, we are staying with another one of mom’s friends. Barbara attended the Naz church with us in California before moving out to Florida to be with her family. She is letting us store all our camping supplies at her house while we travel to the US Virgin Islands for a few days to visit Mom’s younger sister.

So, lots of trading stories with Barbara and puttering today. We had to repack our clothes for a little side trip to the Caribbean. 😀

Early flight tomorrow!

Total Miles: 4,296