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Mississippi, Alabama and Florida

 

To get from New Orléans, Louisiana, to Destin, Florida, you need to go through the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, over the Gulf of Mexico, and known as the Florida Panhandle. All the clichés about the South and blacks and prejudice were undeniable, but there was some surprisingly unique countryside.

 

Louisiana

 

Because we were driving from New Orléans on the Coastal Highway along the water on the Gulf of Mexico, many of the houses at the water’s edge were on stilts.

P1110047

P1110047

P1110048

P1110048

 

The longest bridge we’ve ever seen was over Lake Pontchartrain, a huge lake just North of New Orléans. I gasped when I couldn’t see the end of the bridge, especially when glancing down at the GPS to see that we were actually six meters below sea level.

P1110068 Long Bridge Over Lake Pontchartrain

P1110068 Long Bridge Over Lake Pontchartrain

P1110065 .6 Ft Below Sea Level

P1110065   6 Ft Below Sea Level

 

Mississippi

 

Shortly after, we crossed the border into Mississippi. 

P1110059 Map H 90 Louisiana Mississippi Alabama

P1110059 Map H 90 Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida

 

Just before Gulfport, Mississippi, we came to Long Beach, miles and miles of beach along the highway. The sand was so white that it disappeared into the horizon.

P1110084 Long Beach, Gulfport, Mississippi

P1110084 Long Beach, Gulfport, Mississippi

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P1110087

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P1110083

P1110091 Long Beach, Gulfport, Mississippi

P1110091 Long Beach, Gulfport, Mississippi

 

But it was foggy in Gulfport and the huge trees were veiled in a delicate mist hiding elegant homes set back from the highway.

P1110078 Closer

P1110078 Gulfport Trees in Fog

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P1110081 Gulfport

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P1110086 Gulfport

 

On a whim, we checked one of our favourite sites, Booking.com, and there was a big hotel in Biloxi for $9 a night. Of course we booked it right away, and bonus, it was a Casino!

P1110109 Grand Biloxi Casino Hotel, Mississippi

P1110109 Grand Biloxi Casino Hotel, Mississippi

 

That night I went down to the Casino and played a little Roulette. Lo and behold I surprised T by bouncing back into the room and announcing that not only had I won more than the measly price of the room and dinner, I won a few hundred dollars! And no, I am not an addicted Gambler – I just find it immense fun, but I know when to quit.

P1110110

P1110110

 

Alabama

 

Down the road we continued crossed the border into Mobile, Alabama, crossing yet more prolonged bridges over great expanses of water.

P1110122 Mobile, Alabama

P1110122 Mobile, Alabama

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P1110133

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P1110134

P1110135 Mobile Bay Bridge

P1110135 Mobile Bay Bridge

 

From Mobile, we followed the coastal road again, H 98, passing through Fairhope, Alabama, a pretty little town, with soft hills and valleys, nicely treed.

P1110139 Fairhope Pretty

P1110139 Fairhope Pretty Town

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P1110138

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P1110143

 

Then Magnolia Springs, Alabama, with – guess what? Magnolia Trees.

P1110145 Magnolia Springs

P1110145 Magnolia Springs

 

Mississippi and Alabama

 

As we travelled across Mississippi and Alabama, there were many fascinating signs and little stores along the highway, the kind of signs we never see at home, so it was a quick education in local culture.

P1110147 Gun Signs Everywhere

P1110147 Gun Signs Everywhere

P1110155 Baptist Churches Everywhere

P1110155 Baptist Churches Everywhere

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P1110160

P1110166

P1110166 Live Shrimp

P1110230 Dirty Dick's Crab House

P1110230 Dirty Dick’s Crab House

P1110231 Dead Eye Dick's Steakhouse

P1110231 Dead Eye Dick’s Steakhouse

 

Especially loved this sign, “Free Ride In Sheriff’s Car”… if you shoplift from this store.

P1110255 Free Ride In Sheriff's Car

P1110255 Free Ride In Sheriff’s Car

 

Innocently enough and not accustomed to any type of segregation or discrimination in Canada, we stopped for gas in a small town in Alabama. The staff was all black. They stared and stared at us, and we realized that not many – or probably no – white people come into this gas station. They just found it odd to see white people. They were friendly and polite, but looked like they were in total shock. Back in the car, we had to giggle at our naïvety and their perplexed confusion.

 

Just before crossing the border into Florida, we came to Orange Beach, stopping to check it out. It’s the first of many beaches along a stretch of keys and long skinny peninsulas stretching across the gulf towards the Florida Panhandle. Orange Beach, for all of its advertising as the best-kept secret in the U. S., was too developed for our tastes. High rises and condos everywhere you looked, and we couldn’t even find a public beach.

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P1110170

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This was the setting outside a little restaurant where we stopped for lunch in Orange Beach. Steps away from the restaurant, a ditch pond with signs saying, “Don’t Feed the Alligators” was a little alarming.

P1110174 Do Not Feed The Alligators, Restaurant, Orange Beach

P1110174 Do Not Feed The Alligators, Restaurant, Orange Beach

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P1110175

 

Florida

 

Zipping along the highway we crossed the border into Florida passing through the Port of Pensacola across more massive expanses of water on never-ending causeways that, quite frankly, spooked me a little.

P1110182 Miles And Miles Of Bridges Over Gulf Of Mexico

P1110182 Miles And Miles Of Bridges Over Gulf Of Mexico

P1110184 Pensacola, Florida

P1110184 Pensacola, Florida

P1110185 Pensacola

P1110185 Pensacola

P1110188 Miles And Miles Of Bridges Over Gulf Of Mexico And Gulf Is.

P1110188 Miles And Miles Of Bridges Over Gulf Of Mexico And Gulf Is.

 

Then across the maze of inlets, peninsulas and islands to Okaloosa Island to get to Destin Beach, our next stop.

P1110194 Okaloosa Is, Florida

P1110194 Okaloosa Is, Florida

P1110197 Okaloosa Is

P1110197 Okaloosa Is

P1110178 White Sand Drifts

P1110178 White Sand Drifts

P1110196 White Sand Drifts, Okaloosa Is, Florida

P1110196 White Sand Drifts, Okaloosa Is, Florida

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P1110199

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P1110200

 

Destin Beach was actually quiet. The powdery white sand was delicious to walk in, but it was windy and cool so swimming wasn’t an option, plus we weren’t willing to risk losing a limb if the water was full of alligators. 

P1110201

P1110201

P1110202 Destin Okaloosa Beach

P1110202 Destin Okaloosa Beach

P1110204 Destin Okaloosa Beach Sand

P1110204 Destin Okaloosa Beach Sand

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P1110203

P1110207

P1110207

P1110208

P1110208

P1110209 Thomas Destin Okaloosa Beach

P1110209 T on Destin Okaloosa Beach

 

Scenery on the way to Panama City, Florida

P1110218 Water Reflections

P1110218 Water Reflections

 

Panama City, Florida

P1110235 Panama City Beach

P1110235 Panama City Beach

 

More scary far-reaching causeways over great masses of water, water, water.

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P1110253

P1110267 Long Bridge Across Gulf

P1110267 Long Bridge Across Gulf

P1110271 Map Intercoastal Highway Bridge

P1110271 Map Intercoastal Highway Bridge, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida

P1110272 Super Long Bridge

P1110272 Super Long Bridge

 

Super super long bridge to St George Island on Apalachicola Bay. Can they get any longer?

P1110281 Super Super Long Bridge To St George Is In Appalachiola Bay

P1110281 Super Super Long Bridge To St George Island In Appalachiola Bay

 

A Bear Crossing. That was a surprise.

P1110276 Bear Crossing

P1110276 Bear Crossing

 

Stopping in St. George’s Island for delicious Soft-Shell Crab.

P1110286 St George Is In Appalachiola Bay

P1110286 St George Is In Apalachicola Bay

P1110293

P1110293

P1110302 Soft Shell Crab

P1110302 Soft Shell Crab

 

OMG. More wildly long causeways and altogether too much water to be balanced over. I felt like I was walking a tight rope. 

P1110305 Super Long Bridge

P1110305 Super Long Bridge

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P1110306

 

Next stop was to pick up a bag of hot Boiled Peanuts. Not bad.

P1110317 Hot Boiled Peanuts

P1110317 Hot Boiled Peanuts

 

St. George’s Island was kind of quaint, but again it was cold with a fierce wind.

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P1110289

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P1110292

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P1110293

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P1110295

 

Back on the road to fly over more water. I only had to hold my breath for about half an hour before we got back on land again at Tarpon Springs.

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P1110306

P1110350 Tarpon Springs

P1110350 Tarpon Springs

 

We were now well around the Florida Pan Handle heading South towards Tampa. It was somewhere around this area that we stopped on an open stretch of road where a few other cars were parked on the side of the road. Water hugged both sides of the highway. As we walked towards a little beach area in the ditch, we were astounded to see a man with a little boy poking a stick at a big alligator. Physically, we froze with mortifying anxiety, horrified that the alligator would snatch the little boy in a tenth of a second. Not wanting to add to the drama the man was creating, we left, hoping that he would leave too without an audience to encourage him to continue. A picture was out of the question.

 

More interesting signs.

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P1110238

 

Smoked Mullet and Swamp Cabbage

P1110321 Oysters, Swamp Cabbage

P1110321 Oysters, Swamp Cabbage

P1110337

P1110337

P1110338 Close Up

P1110338 Close Up

P1110336

P1110336

 

Big truck, little boat…. errrr… Big boat, little truck! Wonder if he has enough motors?

P1110454 Little Truck, Big Boat

P1110454 Little Truck, Big Boat

 

The wind-swept marshmallow sand dunes at Clearwater Beach near Tampa and St. Petersburg were perfectly photogenic. 

P1110367 Clearwater Beach, St Petersburg, Florida

P1110367 Clearwater Beach, St Petersburg, Florida

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P1110368

P1110369

P1110369

P1110371 Clearwater Beach, St Petersburg, Florida

P1110371 Clearwater Beach, St Petersburg, Florida

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P1110372

 

Past Treasure Island, another looming causeway bridge felt like we were going up a giant roller coaster. 

P1110397 Another Super Long Bridge

P1110397 Another Super Long Bridge

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P1110398

P1110399

P1110399

P1110400 A Unique Bridge

P1110400 A Unique Bridge

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P1110402

P1110403 Over The Bridge

P1110403 Over The Bridge

 

Santa Maria Island was a pretty island too with its wind-blown sand dunes and blue waves.

P1110417 Anna Maria Is, Florida

P1110417 Anna Maria Is, Florida

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P1110418

P1110428 Anna Maria Is, Florida

P1110428 Anna Maria Is, Florida

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P1110430

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P1110432

 

Maybe you’re interested in buying a condo in Florida? Friends of ours had just bought one in Fort Myers, so we stopped by to take a look. Great spot for boaters, and friendly retiree residents. 

P1110471 Old Bridge Dev't, Fort Myers, Florida

P1110471 Old Bridge Dev’t, Fort Myers, Florida

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P1110472

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P1110496

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P1110499

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P1110486

 

Tallahassee, Florida

 

Since we were flying home from New Orléans, we started heading back towards Nola, this time taking the I75 and I10 fast route highways instead of the coastal highways. The highlight of the trip home was Tallahassee, in Northern Florida, a gorgeous city with gigantic trees, elegant homes and a peaceful ambiance. 

P1110605 Tallahassee, Florida

P1110605 Tallahassee, Florida

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P1110608

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P1110609

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P1110612

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P1110613

P1110615 CLoser

P1110615 CLoser

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P1110619

 

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P1110622

 

Tallahassee Park, Florida

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P1110627

P1110629

P1110629

P1110631 Shirley In Tallahassee Park

P1110631 Shirley In Tallahassee Park

P1110633 Lichen (Cladonia Evansii Orpowder Puff Lichen, Or Deer Moss)

P1110633 Lichen (Cladonia Evansii Orpowder Puff Lichen, Or Deer Moss)

P1110643 Huge Oak Trees

P1110643 Huge Oak Trees

 

 

Mississippi, Alabama and Florida

 

You can probably tell that we weren’t all that thrilled with Florida: very busy, highly populated, high rises, windy, alligators and over-developed, but we are still very glad we went. If we went again, we would go further down to the Florida Keys and Cape Canaveral. You never regret travel, but some places are definitely more memorable than others. Those causeways will definitely be one of the first things we think of when we recall our travel through Florida.

 

Louisiana and Mississippi were tantalizingly off-beat. We went through only a short part of each of them on our way to Florida, but still we got a little taste of the authentic Southern states.

 

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Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida

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Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida 30.031055, -85.693359

Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida

 

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6 Responses to Mississippi, Alabama and Florida

  1. Yes – too much ‘on the water’ (bridges) for me. Interesting pics; some cute signs. Would love to sample that soft-shelled crab! The trees in Tallahassee sure are huge – wow.

  2. Yes, the water and bridges stretching so far you could not see the end really got to me, and not just ocean, but swampy water with alligators. Gave me shivers. Soft shelled crab is delicious – you just eat the whole thing. For me, Tallahassee is a romantic city!

  3. Wendy says:

    Love the white beach, hopefully I can see that before I die :). Thanks for all the insights to all the different places in the world!

  4. Oh, of course you will see all these places Wendy. Where there is a will, there is a way. Thank you for taking time to comment. I really appreciate it.

  5. Joanne says:

    Thanks for bringing back delightful memories. And I recommend the drive to the Florida Keys-awesome!

  6. Really? The Keys are awesome? How are the Florida Keys better than what we saw of Florida?

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