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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 30.0861, -94.1019
This is the second day of our trip. The agenda for today was to drive from Pensacola, FL to Beaumont, TX. And although we didn't have a plan for the day, as so often happens - the day had a plan for us. We left Pensacola at 7:30 AM and 66 degrees and hopped right onto I-10 heading west. About an hour down the road we crossed Mobile Bay and into Mobile, Alabama. Mobile is an amazing sight from the bridge, built high to allow for passage of all sorts of boats and ships. It is a working harbor with one of the world's largest container storage facilities. It also has a shipyard and a convention center…all located right on the water. The skyline is limited to only two tall buildings, but the architecture of the surrounding buildings is more than interesting, and truly artistic. I tried to get photos from the car. They probably don't do justice to the views (and the weather was rather threatening as you will see) but it was not feasible to get out of the car, in the traffic on the tangle of roads along the shoreline. Check out the photos.
We drove around
the residential streets, lined with mature live oak trees gracing old southern mansions. We stopped by the library to study a map and observed a group of young men behind the building, who apparently had nothing more to do but hang out. And we witnessed one walk across the street towards us, greet an old man on a park bench, hand him some crumpled up money from the pocket of the over-sized shorts which hung loosely to his ankles, and receive from the man, a small packet of something. And I thought…this is where my taxpayer dollars are going. I just paid, unwillingly, for someone's morning fix.
After traveling the short distance across Alabama, which has limited frontage on the gulf, we entered Mississippi. Our first stop was the Welcome Center, where we chatted a bit with an employee who directed us to route 90, the scenic route through Biloxi and Gulf Port, where Katrina made landfall and destroyed 90% of the buildings along the water in 2005. Biloxi is a charming coastal town. It is located right on the Gulf, though there is no surf due to the barrier islands a few miles offshore. The city is a long
Mobile AL Convention Center
You can see the cranes from the working harbor behind the building.
stretch of beach with powdery soft white sand, not naturally occurring, but put there by man as an adornment for the many casinos that line the strip. This used to be the longest man-made beach in the world. Most of the buildings along the road are new, and many built on stilts. And Steve was obsessed by the complex bath houses along the beach, all the same, where the restrooms stood safely above any possible high surf, with winding ramps for full access to all. I took photos of several mansions and a church which stand on the north side of the road, but with wide open views of the beach and the gulf, and a lighthouse which stands in the middle of the median dividing the roadway. Interestingly, the beach was nearly deserted.
Further west we stopped at the marina in Gulf Port, a brand new facility with gray wharfs lined with boats of all shapes and sizes. There is a tower on each wharf, painted gray with white trim and adorned with latticework that attempts to hide the electrical and mechanical equipment inside, but only succeeds in looking beautiful. The towers are designed to keep this equipment safe from
the high tides. And it became clear to me that a lesson was learned here in 2005.
Further west we drove through Baton Rough, another working harbor, and crossed the bridge that spans the Mighty Mississippi. As always it is clearly a working river with activity in every direction. The water, which customarily looks muddy brown was uncharacteristically bluish today.
Just before we crossed the border into Texas we drove through Westlake Louisiana, and we laid eyes on the largest complex of petroleum refineries we have ever seen…complex tangles and towers of steel as far as the eye could see. It appears that there is no shortage of jobs in this area of the US.
We entered Texas at mile 878 on I-10 around 4:30 PM. Texas is a massive state and we are only beginning to experience just how big and beautiful it is. Tomorrow, Houston, Galveston and Corpus Christi.
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