The Ultimate Road Trip: THE SILVER SNAIL : A solo woman's full-time RV adventure
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Mobile, Alabama

I backtracked to Mobile because 1) it's a place I've been wanting to go to, 2) it was close, and 3) I didn't have a plan yet and the floorboard repair was going to be a deciding factor.

Mobile is an easily manageable small city on a bay. It's where Mardi Gras began and in many ways is like a small version of New Orleans. I liked it here, with its very friendly people and interesting architecture. It also has some excellent restaurants and is close to beautiful gulf beaches.

mobile alabama

mobile alabama

The morning after I arrived at Shady Acres RV park and took Harley out for a walk, he pounced on a grounded baby blue jay, but stopped in his tracks before he hurt the little guy. The fledgling had apparently fallen out of the big oak tree we were parked under and was learning to use his wings. I watched him all day - watched his stronger siblings fly down to encourage him, and saw momma jay coming down to feed him. He wasn't alone, so I didn't worry too much about him, just kept my eye on him. He particularly liked my Airstream, falling on my steps, then climbing back up, hoping my water hose would get him where he wanted to be. When he was perched on my inlet water valve, I offered him some strawberry, and he gave it a try, out of my hand. He trusted me. As evening was approaching, I saw that he still couldn't get up into the treetops. Exhausted, he took a nap under the rig next to mine. When he woke up, the sun was just about to set and I carefully followed him to see that he could get into the treetop. He'd get a little of the way up, and then fall again. His whole jay family was up there but nobody could help.

I couldn't stand it. This little guy would never make it through the night on the ground with no defenses against prowling cats and owls on the hunt. So I scooped him up in a cardboard box and lifted him up high into the nook of a tree so that he'd be safe. Of course, he climbed and climbed....and I thought yay! he's got it...and then he fell and tumbled to the ground, where, in his daze I quickly scooped him up again. Momma jay flew down and yelled at me. Baby jay fluttered and squawked in the box. I hated to do this, but I was sure if I kept him for the night, it would save his life. Well, at least I dearly hoped it would.

So I poked a bunch of holes and a little window in the box and put the box in the trailer's window so he could still feel the breeze, listen to the night sounds, and maybe feel more comfortable. I gave him some strawberry mush on a long spoon, which he liked, and made the box cozy with leaves and branches. He fell right to sleep. I checked on him periodically through the night and he was always sleeping soundly.

In the morning, at the crack of dawn, I brought my baby jay (in his box) outside under the oak tree. I opened the flaps of the box and held it up high into the tree to give him the best chance of climbing into the canopy. He squawked and immediately his entire jay family came flying in squawking and inspecting him - acting like he had risen from the dead. He easily climbed all the way up into the canopy and reunited with his other fledglings. I watched them for days up there, practicing their flight in the treetops, and was happy to see that all was well.

I was thrilled that my little baby blue made it, and was inspired to create this very special blue martini: The Alabama Blue Baby Blue.

baby blue jay

blue jay family


Mobile is the first home of Mardi Gras, so I went to their Carnival Museum. I was hoping for a fascinating history and insight into the secret mystic societies, creative inspirations for the floats and for stories of rampant lascivious and unruly behavior through the ages...but what you get here is mostly just a showy display of the expensive, extravagant costumes that the wealthy society of Mobile make for their Mardis Gras kings and queens. Yes, they ARE very beautiful and skillfully made, but the tour is essentially an opportunity to hear a steady stream of names while gazing at royal trains that cost as much as a nice car. There's not much reference to Mardi Gras as an entire community party. A tad disappointing.

mobile carnival museum

Here is where you'll find long stretches of beautiful white gulf beaches lined with vacation homes built on stilts. What you won't find is shade on this side of the island. On the other end, however, is the historic Fort Gaines, where the Battle of Mobile Bay was fought. "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" This side is also home to a bird sanctuary so there are trees and shade here.

dauphin island alabama

A Mobile institution, Felix's Fish Camp is on the edge of town with a beautiful view of the bay. I had the crab soup and soft-shell crab BLT panini and it was oh, so deliciously good. Definately worth a visit.

Another Alabama institution, I had the best plate of cooked oysters I've ever had. The sampler plate: roasted with butter, parmesan and romano; cheddar, bacon, jalapeno; bacon blue cheese; rockefeller; shrimp, crabmeat and parmesan (OMG). I went to the original in downtown Mobile. There are a few of them in this area. Go. And enjoy the signs on the walls too.

wintzell's oyster house

wintzell's oyster house


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