July 11-15, 2014
Day 1 - Most of this day was spent traveling. The plan was to have the rest of the family drop by my apartment in Pelham to pick me up on the way to the beach. This was a good because I had to spend almost all of the previous day cleaning up my apartment for the trip and would not have had the time if I had to drive up to Colbert County. They decided to come up to use the bathroom/etc. which was cool because everyone got to check out the apartment (only my mom and younger brother had been there previously). So everyone got refreshed and all and then we loaded up the two cars to start heading to Gulf Shores. The trip down itself was pretty uneventful for the most part. We stopped off at the Burger King off the interstate in Evergreen, AL to get some grub. I got a grilled chicken sandwich and some fries. I was bewildered by the fact that the sandwich was so small, so I got a piece of chocolate pie to go with it. I was also concerned that some Indian guy was staring at me from across the restaurant... but no matter. Then we got some gas at the Shell Station across the street and headed south again. My brother noticed that there is a Shrimp Basket at that same exit. It was just a gentle reminder of Tuscaloosa I guess. A short time later I decided to throw on my Jimmy Buffett Live in Anguilla CD to get everyone in the mood. We later switched to a 90's compilation album as we were driving through Foley. We've been through this section of Baldwin County so many times that it's amazing how many things I remember from previous trips. For instance, the fast food restaurant that I saw the guy with a DMB shirt in during the 2002 trip (I think it was the Burger King in Foley?). So we got to the realtor's place to get the key and proceeded to Driftwood Towers room 5E (pictures here: http://www.vrbo.com/461917). I think we had stayed in that exactly same condo before. We unpacked, got settled, etc. and went down to the beach to enjoy the last few hours of sunshine. Unfortunately, there was a lightning storm in the distance so we decided to cut the day short. Part of the family headed to Walmart and got some delicious sandwich meat. I made myself a cajun turkey and cheese. Several, actually. And we watched POTC: Curse of the Black Pearl as the remaining hours of the day ticked down. Actually, before that, we ended up watching most of the first Harry Potter movie. It turns out our vacation coincided with ABC Family's Harry Potter weekend. Those movies will forever be associated with the beach for me from now on. We ended up watching parts of almost all of them over the next few days.
Day 2 - Our first day to fully enjoy the beach and pool. Not much to say about this day. Pretty low key. Mostly just going from the beach to the pool to the condo and then repeat over the course of the day. We got a shitload of seafood from Lartigue's in Orange Beach for dinner. 5 lbs of shrimp, 5 lbs of crab legs, cajun potatoes and corn, etc. I went with my mom to pick it up with Jackson and Marshall just so I could check out the shop. It did not disappoint, there were plenty of fish-related items there to browse through.Anyway, after our $220 of seafood was ready, we packed it up and headed back to the condo to enjoy. Later that night, we went crab hunting and watched Casino Royale.
Day 3 - We woke up bright and early to head to the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. It was a place we had been many times before and it rarely changes much. They improved the museum cafe which is good because the one time we ate there it was basically hospital food. They did have one new expansion area called Hanger One I think? Anyway, there were some cool items in there. I got sucked into this exhibit on American POWs in Vietnam. Also, Nixon's Marine One was there which is a pretty cool historical item. It felt like we were the only ones there because we got there so early, but eventually the museum filled up. Little Liam wanted to play with everything and pitched a fit all the time. :) I almost had a heart attack because I thought they might check ID's before entering and I had left mine at the condo. But luckily, they didn't really check everybody. Anyway, we stopped off at the lighthouse nearby to eat a quick sandwich and chips before moving on. We came back to the condo and hung out for a little while, but eventually we headed to the Original Oyster House for dinner. I got the Luncheon Seafood platter with crab claws and meat pies as an appetizer. So much fried food, I thought I was going to vomit haha. I recognized our waitress, she may have served us there before. Afterwards we let Liam play at the playground behind the restaurant for a while. I wanted to check out the souvenir shops so bad but we didn't want to give the kids a bunch of ideas on what to buy so early. :) So we came back to the condo and then headed out yet again to take the kids to The Track to ride go-carts. They ended up buying three rounds of go-cart rides for the kids which took forever for them to tear through. I spent most of the time walking around the track and having Oasis songs in my head. Eventually, the 'older kids' headed back to the condo as the kids were finishing because we had been there for two hours and the baby was getting restless. So we got settled in for the night and I think watched some Third Rock from the Sun to end the day.
Day 4 - Caleb and I basically started the day by heading out on our own just to check out some souvenir places and grab lunch. We first headed west after leaving the condo. I assumed there would be some shops and things but we ended up driving the entire length of the beach without seeing anywhere to stop. We did stop at this convenience store called Waves (30.244403,-87.7163305) and they had some movies there. I almost bought Road to Perdition but it was a little more than I was willing to pay for it and it was only Full Screen (I actually found the widescreen version for $4 a few days later so that worked out). My brother bought the two Kill Bill movies. Anyway, we headed back east and had lunch at Bahama Bob's. I had the shrimp po-boy which was GREAT. It was especially nice being able to enjoy a meal outside and basically on the beach while drinking some sweet tea. After there, we went to Alvin's/Souvenir City. I was looking for a boogie board but they were all too expensive, so I ended up settling for a coozie and Alvin's and a keychain at Souvenir City. So then we came back and hung out at the condo for a while while everyone else went souvenir shopping. We watched the last part of the final Harry Potter and talked about Harry Potter a lot. As I said, it was the Harry Potter beach trip. And then we made our final trip to the beach and pool once everyone got back. We ordered pizza from this place called Marco's and watched some ABC family shows. We went crab hunting at night once again. A cool thing about this is that I walked (read: trespassed) onto the Gulfside Townhomes complex to check out our old stomping grounds. A flood of memories came flooding back to me. I can't believe we haven't stayed there since... 2002? I think? I still remember the people I met while we were there in 2000. Old friends long gone. Anyway, enough nostalgic rememberance for now. Afterwards, once we god back to the condo we watched some more Third Rock from the Sun and said goodbye to the last night on the beach.
Day 5 - Last day. Before we left, we headed down to the beach one last time. We didn't swim. As a matter of fact, I was wearing jeans so I'm sure I looked like a knob. However, it did keep sand from getting all over my legs so it wasn't too bad. And then, we made sure everything was packed and ready to go. I spent some time taking one last good look at the condo. Once that door closed, all I had was memories. Good memories. Took the elevator down, took some final pictures in front of the palm trees outside, and started heading back. The trip back was rather eventful. We stopped at the Subway at that same intersection we stopped at during Day 1. On the way back, we made the traditional stop at Peach Park. I had some Peach ice cream and pie. Yum. We swung and made some pictures at the swingset. I was bewildered by the fact that there is a barbeque place there as most people probably just go there for ice cream. I think I saw two people buy something from that stand the whole time. But oh well. We always like going there. I got to check out all the restrooms and old pictures of 'peach queens' that haven't been changed since I was a little kid. After we left here, they dropped me back off in Pelham to get my car (I was going to drive back to Colbert County by myself later that night). I ended up spending a lot of time at the Summit that night doing some general shopping. I found a couple of documentaries (Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Searching for Sugar Man) that I had been looking for forever. I ate a steak dinner at the bar at Logan's, stopped by Walmart to buy a few other things, and headed to Colbert County for a couple of relaxing days with my family as my vacation ended.
Some other highlights:
- throwing the football on the beach w/ Jackson, Clint, and Caleb
- the numerous failed attempts to build a sandcastle for Liam to destroy
- there weren't any jellyfish in the water this time!