All the effort was well worth it, the state park had access to the bay and the gulf. We got unpacked and set up and walked down to the beach. There was a killer sandbar and the water was warm and clear. We spent some time soaking off the road dirt. It started to rain so I walked the half mile back to camp in a rush to cover up my gear. Some stuff got a good soaking but nothing terrible. I had made some light preparations for rain before hitting the sand.
Hopping back on 98, we made slow progress through every touristy beach town. There were small stretches where we actually covered some miles but they were few and far between. We grabbed a $1 menu lunch and gas. Since time was getting away from us and I was afraid we would not make it to Mobile that day I decided to call ahead to the Gulf State park and reserve a campsite. I had called several weeks before and been told I would not have a problem getting a spot the week after July 4th. Apparently the operator who said this was not aware that the softball world series would sell out every campsite and hotel in the area. Neither were we. An hour of smart-phoning and calls later and we still did not have a place to stay. We said screw it and pressed on.
My buddy decided to split off, he wasn't really interested in my next destination and I think the pace and the sun were negatively effecting his good time. I was going to snap some shots of the National Aviation Museum in Pensacola but I never made it on base. Apparently you have to have a long sleeve shirt (neither a t-shirt or long sleeved jacket will work, I asked) to ride on base so we never even got past the gate. This was fiasco number 2. I backtracked and headed for Perdido Key.
Another bit of smart-phoning and I had some leads on places to stay. Thus begins fiasco number 3. The Beech Camper and Mobile Home park in Orange Beach does not allow motorcycles on its premises. Noted. Another site I won't even name wanted hotel money for a site. No sir. I spoke to a very nice woman on the phone who promised she could find us a space on her site so I went to check it out. Basically we would be stringing up our hammocks in her front yard with no privacy, shade, etc. There were also some "sites" in the woods next to the main loop of the site but old discarded junk, swarms of insects and a strange odor at these "sites" was a little too Texas Chainsaw Massacre for me. I passed. I hit 59 towards Foley stopping at every hotel I saw. I was hit with a lot of "no vacancies" and was quoted rates everywhere from $160/night to $240/night. I decided to loop back. A run down off the road Travelodge had one room left so I grabbed it. I called my buddy and unpacked.
I arrived back home in time for supper. I unpacked my gear, all of which smelled like bug spray and campfires. Even with it's rough spots, it was a killer trip and I already miss being on the coast. I am sunburned in places (should have reapplied), the only souvenir I brought back. If you live close and ever need a quick getaway, don't ignore the coast. There are tons of great state parks to stay in and cool places to see. Do some research, plan your trip and get out on the road.