January 18, 2014 – Drive to Santa Rosa Beach, FL

We awoke to a chilly morning on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast!

Temperature at 7 AM in Bay St. Louis, MS - 2014-01-18 Frost on our Jeep at 7 AM in Bay St. Louis, MS - 2014-01-18

 Leaving our campground, there was a “T” in the road where we guess the local authorities figured that after a night at the casino, some patrons needed extra guidance.

Stop Signs at the end of Hollywood Blvd, Bay St. Luis, MS - 2014-01-18Much of the trip across eastern Mississippi crossed rivers and bayous

RIVERSoon after crossing into Alabama, Mobile’s skyline and its two most interesting skyscrapers came into view.

RSA Battle House Tower (l) at 742 feet, it is the tallest building in Alabama and 68th tallest in the US  -  Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel (r) at 374 feet is the 3rd tallest building in Mobile and the tallest hotel in the state.

RSA Battle House Tower (l) at 742 feet, it is the tallest building in Alabama and 68th tallest in the US – Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel (r) at 374 feet is the 3rd tallest building in Mobile and the tallest hotel in the state.

Crossing Mobile Bay, we caught glimpses of the battleship USS Alabama (BB-60).

Battleship ALABAMAFrom Mobile eastward, I-10 was mostly lined with pines and thankfully without any billboards in sight. 

I-10 AL and FLWe stopped at the Florida Welcome Center where one of the former Blue Angels aircraft was on display.

F-9 Cougar – Wingspan: 34 ft. 6 in. – Length: 44 ft. 5 in. – Height: 12 ft. 3 in. – Gross Weight 20,600 Lbs. – Maximum Speed: 705 MPH – Range: 600 Miles

F-9 Cougar – Wingspan: 34 ft. 6 in. – Length: 44 ft. 5 in. – Height: 12 ft. 3 in. – Gross Weight 20,600 Lbs. – Maximum Speed: 705 MPH – Range: 600 Miles

And, whereas many of the overpasses in Texas were adorned with “stars”, driving through Pensacola, the home base for the Blue Angels, the bridge supports were festooned with …

Blue Angels Decorations on Overpasses in Pensacola, FL - 2014-01-18

After getting settled at the campground in Grayton State Park, we took the short mile-or-so walk over a picturesque tidal inlet

Inlet Sand Bar at Grayton State Park, Santa Rosa Beach, FL - 2014-01-18 Inlet at Grayton State Park, Santa Rosa Beach, FL - 2014-01-18to a nearly deserted beach almost absent of any shells, where the sand was extremely fine and where the Yellow warning flag was straight out from a brisk onshore breeze.

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