It was brisk heading out from New Orleans. The Harley-Davidson full sleeve electric liners were plugged in and turned on, the seat heaters set on high and the heated grips set on 2 on a scale of 0 to 6, We were toasty. The winds had subsided somewhat from the previous day and night and but the temps had not recovered in spite of the brilliant sunshine. The heated gear is certainly earning its keep this morning. We typically fill the tank on our way into our hotel at night to prevent a morning fuel stop. We had not done that coming in to New Orleans so before we got out of town we made a quick stop for fuel and encountered some great guys from the Big Easy M/C Club. They were getting fuel on their way to meet the rest of the club for a Sunday ride. The club started in 2002 and has steadily grown to a nice size club. They are an all brand club and members ride just about every kind of motorcycle. It doesn’t matter what we ride as long as we do right?
By mid day we were out of our liners and wearing only our jackets, helmets and gloves. Things were improving nicely when we passed through Gulfport Mississipi. In August of 2005, this areas was wiped out by hurricane Katrina. The few remaining properties were either built back in the 40’s and very strong or they were gone. Simple as that. Every dwelling that remains is either new construction or completely refurbished following the devastating hurricane. It has been almost 10 years but the healing process continues.
Just passed Gulfport is the little community known as Pass Christian. It is a quiet and sleepy little beach town that had also been taken out. Pass has recovered somewhat with an all new harbor and we came across a cool little book store/coffee shop called…Pass Christian Book Store. We enjoyed a cup of mud and took in the beauty of the white sands of the Gulf Coast. Very different from our beaches in Daytona and truly beautiful.
We continued along Highway 90 a road we have become very familiar with as we had used it along the Southwest all the way to the Gulf Coast. Great road that goes the width of the US. It was mostly a two lane today with a few stretches of four lane. We were taking our time and enjoying the ride but then we saw a sign that said “Toll Ferry Next Right”. Signal on and boom! we were on our way to see where this ferry went. The ride to the ferry was about 40 minutes and we could see on the Sat Nav that we were headed for a large body of water. Upon arrival at the ferry we discovered that it was a nice ride across Mobile Bay that cost $8.00 for the motorcycle and 4.50. So $12.50 cents later and we were out on the water enjoying a sunset cruise. Truly beautiful as the boat shifted on the rough water and the sun was setting in the West. It is the things that happen unplanned that makes a tour interesting and this was one of many surprises on this tour. We met some great folks from Fairhope, Alabama who had been at a party and obviously had a fun afternoon that involved much white wine. They snapped a pic for us and took turns sitting on the Harley having their picture taken. Living vicariously through our tour you just had a feeling they wished they were doing what we were doing. The ferry actually saved us about an hour of drive time over to Gulf Shores, Alabama. Sweeeet.
Upon arrival in Gulf Shores, Alabama it was dark and we were both hungry and ready for hot showers and sleep. On our approach to town I spied The King Neptune. We just had to do it. Nothing like some delicious Southern cooking that involves copious amounts of fresh Gulf seafood to top off our long riding day. We rode right through lunch so this was most welcome.
As we left the dinner stop we found a nice Holiday Inn. My favorite. Under a hundred and all the comforts of home. This would perhaps be our last hotel stop on the extended tour. Unless we get sidetracked by something out there on the road we will be home tomorrow and sleeping in our own bed for the first time since October 21st. Definitely ready to be home but definitely not ready for our tour to end.