Elevation gained: 240/Miles: 35/Total Miles: 517
To my hosts last night – “Thank you”. The food, the company and the steam bath were all much appreciated. You are two very special people.
I left my friends at about 10am and pedaled toward the Mobile Bay ferry at Fort Morgan. Vehicles with license plates from Minnesota, New Jersey, Missouri and Illinois passed by on their way to the ferry, snowbirds heading home. They left behind empty pastel colored homes with names like “Our Time”, “Sea Shadow” and “Neptune’s Crew” all waiting for the spring breakers to arrive.
I decided to take it easy today. My body has been fighting me and the latest is a nasty chest cold. So, I decided I’d slow down and smell the fritters – so to speak.
The ferry to Dauphin Island was a treat. It was the first time in a week to be moving under other than my own power and I enjoyed it. We passed more than 30 natural gas platforms. These sit in only about 10 to 15 feet of water, but the gas pipes go down more than 20,000ft. Off to the stern, a group of dolphins swam by.
Once I reached Dauphin Island, I rode to Fort Gaines. It and Fort Monroe were important positions for the Confederate army in protecting Mobile Bay during the Civil War. It was here, in 1864, that Admiral David Farragut uttered the words “Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead.” as his naval forces (along with a separate army contingent) broke through the Confederate defenses.
I found a place to stay in Bayou La Batre (pop. 2,300) took a shower and rode my bike to the Lighthouse Restaurant, which was suggested to me by the hotel clerk. It was another five miles of riding, but I wasn’t feeling very well and thought a good meal would help. I enjoyed pan fried grouper, coleslaw, hush puppies and….wait for it…. sweet tea! It’s a challenge to describe the décor of the place; white rattan furniture, Christmas lights, a four-foot wooden light house, kitsch aquatic decorations, and in the middle of it all, a life size bust of Bear Bryant. Yes, folks, I’m in the land of the Crimson Tide.