From Big Lagoon State Park to Dauphin Island Camping – Monday 17th March 2014 (about 45 miles)

steve and a large cannonIt rained all night, and was still raining when we set off after a quick look at the big lagoon which is an area between the coast where we were camping and the outer sandbanks. No longer heavy, just steady. Then we pushed off along the 292 until, wow, we entered Alabama and the road changed its name to 180. The coastal ‘scenic byway’ (the official designation) is pretty awful. Yes, there are fragments of the gorgeous sand spit that this must have been and yes, the sand is almost ash white, but high rise after high rise sprawls along the seaward side of the road, and even on the road to the Mobile Bay Ferry the endless beach houses on stilts stretching for mile after mile was a bit disappointing. Guy said ‘I think we’re probably 50 years too late’. If you are looking for real estate on the Gulf of Mexico there is plenty forl sale here. Some of the ‘condos’ are frankly immense, with swimming pools on the 10th floor or so and another 20 floors beyond that. There’s a nice irony though, for these condos look out on a sea dotted with gas and oil rigs, an industrialised sea for an industrialised (leisure + second home industry) coast. Makes me feel slightly warmer towards big oil.

We reached the ferry accidentally just at the right moment (4pm sailing) and so Fort Morgan got no more than a cursory glance though it was, apparently a part of the confederate defences for the south. It failed to prevent the Union overwhelming Mobile City. When the ferry reached Dauphin Island, after about 30 mins to cover the 4.2 miles of water, we saw the corresponding fort, Fort Gaines, on this side. It looks solid as a fort by Vauban, and yet it didn’t stop the Union Navy.

The campground is excellent – it even has a pavilion where we can sit in warmth, light and wifi, and make tea, and drink Sweetwater IPA. Wow, what hops! Again!

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