I discovered that Pensacola, FL was just about a four and a half hour drive from Houma, LA. I had been to central and eastern Florida, but never the panhandle or Gulf Coast side. I also have a friend who lives in Pensacola. So, I decided to rent a car while we were in Louisiana so that I could go exploring on my own – including a three day side trip through Mississippi and Alabama to Pensacola.
It was a wonderful side trip! I booked two nights at the Pensacola Victorian Bed and Breakfast (a nice break from the motor home), explored Pensacola Beach and a scenic roadway along the Gulf of Mexico, toured the National Naval Aviation Museum, and made an impromptu stop in Mobile, Alabama for a fun tour. It was a great side trip and boosted my state count to 21…..the count as a group was 19.
Let’s see how this side trip went:
Me at the Florida Welcome Center with a new friend!
Pensacola Victorian Bed and Breakfast
This was a quaint place – comfortable, nicely decorated, and a very good breakfast. I read that it is considered to be haunted! It is said that people have seen a woman in a white gown, heard children playing, and smelled breakfast being cooked long before time for anyone to be up cooking! I saw, heard, and smelled nothing out of the ordinary. 🙂
I ate good while I was in Pensacola! Aside from the delicious breakfasts at the B&B, I ate at a little seafood shack on my first night, had a wonderful shrimp boil lunch on Pensacola Beach, and went to a fabulous Irish Pub with my friend Debbie and we had some amazing steaks!
I saw crab claws on a number of menus while I was in the area. I got them as an appetizer at the little seafood shack my first night – wasn’t crazy about them.
But, the shrimp dinner was very good!
I had this incredible shrimp boil meal on Pensacola Beach at a place called “Crabs” with the tag line: “We Got Crabs”! LOL
This was a wonderful salad that came with my steak at the Irish Pub – it had a delicious special house dressing!
My ribeye was PERFECT!!! That yucky looking stuff on top was seasoned butter and it was VERY good!
The beach was beautiful. I had to cross two large bridges to get to it and it was so worth it! The sand was so silky and as white as sugar! I spent a little time on the beach, had a delicious lunch, and drove along a scenic road that went along the Gulf Coast with water on both sides of the road much of the way!
Per my friend, Debbie – The story behind the surfer: His name was Yancey Spencer. Well known nationally. Debbie worked temp at his brother’s church and came to meet all of his family. His daughter Abigail is an actress. Yancey died on the beach in California, just coming in from surfing, he called 911, then was on the phone with Abigail when he died. Then entire city mourned his loss. Surfing tournaments raised money for this memorial statue to him. Very sad.
Finally – a restroom sign that got it right!
This house was along the scenic drive…..there was another similar one, too!
I was looking for pink flamingos, but never found any…..apparently, they tend to be further south! Boo Hoo! But, I did find a great hang out for PELICANS – LOTS of them!
There were pelicans all over the place…..even not so real ones! 🙂
Evening with my friend, Debbie
I met up with my friend, Debbie for dinner and then we took a stroll through their lovely Veterans Memorial Park – it was a wonderful evening!
This is a replica of the Vietnam Memorial in DC with a helicopter behind it and memorial benches all along the walkway past it
National Naval Aviation Museum
I went on the Pensacola Naval Base to visit the Pensacola Lighthouse and the National Naval Aviation Museum. I was short on time, so I only saw the ground floor of the museum, but what I saw was pretty amazing!
Pensacola is also home of the Blue Angels……unfortunately, they were not practicing the day I was there, so I didn’t get to see them! 😦
As I was driving home, I spotted a sign for a Battleship Park in Mobile. I decided to make an unscheduled stop to just get a few pictures……almost three hours later, I was back on the road! When I got to the park, I saw one of those amphibian tour vehicles – you know, the kind that drive on the road and then right into the water for a cruise! I had never been on one and always wanted to, so……I did!!! And, it was so much fun! We drove around the park looking at the exhibits, then did a splash-down into the river to see the park from the water-view, then back on the road for a drive through downtown Mobile, and then back in the water for more fun! All in all, we did three splash-downs – what fun!!!
The guide and driver were a riot, too! They really made the trip a blast! When we were driving through downtown Mobile, they played the song “Sweet Caroline” and turned up the volume for the chorus so we could all sing along as loud as we could…..and, the best part……when we sang “Sweet Caroline…” and the music goes “wha, wha, wha”, we had to sing “quack, quack, quack” and some had loud duck call quackers to use! It was such fun…..and, there were people sitting at a sidewalk cafe when we went by singing and we stopped at a traffic light and did the chorus and the people at the cafe joined in with us! 🙂
Just like New Orleans, Pensacola, and most places on the Gulf Coast, there were tons of bridges and highways over and along the water!
The duck boat ahead of us splashing down
Our splash down outside my window
The duck boat ahead of us getting out of the water
The city of Mobile
Statue of a guy looking out over the water – I’m sure they told us who he was, but I don’t remember!
I think this guy was one of the founders of Mobile…..not sure, though!
They call this building the “Twin Robots”! LOL
There is a rivalry between Mobile and New Orleans about exactly WHO started Mardi Gras! Mobile says that THEY were the beginning of it all because the person who did the first Carnival started the parade in Mobile and it went all the way to New Orleans, where it lasted several weeks and became the tradition. The people of New Orleans say that it was created by a Frenchman from New Orleans and it just happened that the parade began in Mobile…..but, it was their Carnival that started it all!
The cool thing with Mobile is these fiberglass Oyster Shells around town – all painted with locally significant designs by local artists. There are TWELVE of them – because, well you order oysters by the dozen, of course – DUH! We didn’t drive by all 12, but here are the ones we did see.
The main focus of Battleship Park was the retired battleship “Alabama”- served in WWII – nick named “Lucky A” because not one of her crew was lost in battle while she was commissioned
A submarine – one of the first first responders at Pearl Harbor after the attack
A major ship builder is located in Mobile – here is one of the ships they just finished building, but has not yet been commissioned to duty!
Some veterans checking out the exhibits
There will be one more MEA post – one with cool and kooky stuff I saw all along the road trip! Check back to see that one in a day or two!