Who would have thought we would have stayed in Mobile, AL for almost a month? Certainly neither of us had it planned that way, but here we are. Hopefully we will leave tomorrow, but we know better than to say that will happen for sure. If we have learned anything on this adventure, we have learned to take one day at a time, and, I suppose, we have discovered how to find some good in every situation.
Mobile Yacht Club hosted a crawfish boil the first weekend we were at Dog River Marina. The food was delicious and endless.
After leaving Lulu’s in Gulf Shores, LA on April 19th, we traveled 32 nautical miles to the Dog River Marina in Mobile, AL. The marina is small, but safely tucked in on the Dog River, and, although it doesn’t offer anything in the way of entertainment, it does have a courtesy car to use. The only restaurant in walking distance is at the Mobile Yacht Club, and there are no stores that can be reached by foot, so a courtesy car was a welcome perk. Dog River Marina was perfect, however, for our main mission; we wanted a safe place to leave AfterMath when we drove to Conway, Arkansas, just north of Little Rock, for our nephew, Matt’s, wedding on the 28th. Although we had a few days before we needed to leave for the wedding, we knew we could use the time on chores while we waited for our road trip to begin.
Part of our scenic Gulf drive took place on a ferry. It was interesting to see the oil wells in the Gulf waters.Kirby liked riding with his head out of the window when the car was on the ferry.We were passed by this huge Navy ship.
We rented a car a couple of days before our drive and took a scenic ride around the coast of Alabama. Finally the time came to leave for the wedding; we loaded up our rental car, put Kirby into the back seat, and started off for Arkansas. We arrived in Little Rock on the night of Thursday, April 26th, and took off early again the next morning for Conway. Kirby was dropped off at Hounds Hideaway, where he was ready to have lots of fun with all of the other dogs. We know he had fun, because Hounds Hideaway posts pictures twice a day on Facebook, and we spotted Kirby with other dogs, dripping wet from splashes from a kiddie pool and covered in mud from rolling in the dirt. Thankfully, we signed up for a bath before we picked him up. For us, though, the weekend was far less messy, and absolutely wonderful.
Kate at the rehearsal dinner.
And Charlie enjoying his beverage.Madison and Michaela, all dressed up for the party.Kelly and Caroline, happy to be together again.
It was so good to see relatives we hadn’t seen for a few years as well as those we have seen more often, and, as always, Kelly and her family. First we had lunch with some of the family at Hendrix College where the wedding was to take place. Hendrix, in Conway, is the college Emily attended. She and Matt, who is a pilot for the US Air Force, met when he was stationed in Little Rock and, after years of being apart while Emily attended grad school and Matt was stationed in Germany, they are back living there. Friday evening brought the rehearsal dinner, hosted by Kathy, John’s sister, and her husband, Steve. We all had such a great time being together at this celebration of the wedding to come.
Left to right, Jim (John’s brother), Julie, Rich (also, John’s brother), Kathy, Carter, Michaela (in rear), Madison, Kelly, Craig, and John.Along the way at Petit Jean State Park, Alabama
Kelly and CraigThis is also in Petit Jean State Park. A beautiful overlook.I love this picture of Craig, Kelly, Michaela, Carter, and Madison.
The wedding was not to take place until 5 o’clock on Saturday, so we had plenty of time to plan some fun. Kelly and family, Rich and Kathy, Jim and Julie, and we met at a state park about an hour from Conway and started out on a hike through the woods. We thought we were taking an easy stroll, but ended up climbing up and down rocks, walking through the woods, and all together having a great hike. John took the camera from me so I could concentrate on not breaking an ankle; this made him the photographer of the event, and I must say, he did a great job. Madison decided she would walk with me and tell me exactly where to put my feet, so I had my very own guide through the forest.
Emily’s brother and momMatt watching Emily come down the aisle.During the ceremonySteve and KathyLeft to right, John and Barbara, Steve’s brother and sister, Sarah, Jason, with Annie, Julie, Jim, and other guestsAnnie and CharlieKate and MarkMichaela, looking far too grown up already, Carter, and Madison. We were so proud of them all the whole weekend.Madison with Aunt Kathy, John’s sisterThat’s a fine looking family!Emily and her dad.Matt and Kathy
Five o’clock came quickly, and we were all so excited to see Matt and Emily get married. It was a beautiful wedding in a lovely setting at the Hendrix College Chapel, and the reception at the nearby country club was beautiful as well. Dinner was delicious, and everyone had fun getting ice cream from the ice cream truck that arrived soon after. Then the dancing began and Carter was one of the first on the dance floor with his “other Aunt Kathy”. Madison loved dancing with the groom, and then with everyone else. Carter didn’t let anyone he knew off the hook; he’s got some dance moves!
Sunday morning brought us all together one more time for breakfast before the group began splitting apart. Some the family stayed a couple more days, and some of us began the drive back home. As always, it was sad to say goodbye to everyone, but the time together will be remembered forever.
Back in Mobile, we had some work to get done. Dog River Marina’s motto is that they can fix anything, and we decided to take them up on that challenge. First of all, our freezer stopped working the day before we left for Arkansas. The freezer is one of AfterMath’s biggest assets, as far as I am concerned, so we really needed to get it taken care of. Also, it seemed that, as they can fix anything, it was time to deal with the chronic issue with the master bathroom head. One last project was to have the boat hauled and to have the props removed, changed, and have the ones taken off repaired, as a diver had told us that one was slightly bent. Like any boat work, everything takes far longer than expected. John ended up replacing all of the components of the freezer himself, thereby saving a ton of money, but this meant we had to wait for the parts to be shipped to us. The props went smoothly, so that project was done quickly, but the hose that was sent to repair the head was the wrong one, so once again we had to wait for a shipment. The men are downstairs working on that project as I write this entry. Hopefully it will be finished today.
Dauphin Island, ALAt the Blessing of the Fleet in Bayou la Batre, ALThese people served up tons of shrimp and fish My shrimp came with a little bonus!The land parade beginsAnd now the boat parade. Here the pastor of the church is ready to throw the blessed wreath into the water.
So, while these repairs may seem disappointing, we have used our time well. Last weekend we rented a car and made a trip to nearby Dauphin Island, AL, to see the beach and the sights there. Later the same day, we drove to Bayou La Batre, a tiny shrimping town in Alabama. Bayou La Batre was the hometown of Bubba in the movie, Forrest Gump. It is a town that gets beaten down over and over by hurricanes but each time it picks itself up and builds again. The attraction the Sunday we went, May 6th, was a 69thannual Blessing of the Fleet. For this event, the town gets together at the Catholic Church and a festival takes place. There are crafts and food, shrimp, of course, a land parade, and then a boat parade. A bishop is in attendance and, after introductions, a short service, and the reading of the names of the people in town who were lost at sea, he boards a boat and goes out to bless each boat in the boat parade. It was beautiful to see all of the decorated boats float past in this little town that has overcome so much and just never gives up.Along the Dog River
This past weekend was a busy one. I was able to restock my freezer as John has it completely fixed and, believe me, it is now filled to the brim. After getting all of the groceries put away, we took Tangent, our dinghy, for a ride up the Dog River. The river is beautiful, long and winding, and full of cypress trees and beautiful lily pads. There are a few little beaches where boaters congregate, and the water is clear, clean, and fresh. Our ride was a joy.
Mother’s Day in New Orleans
Yesterday, May 13th, was Mother’s Day. John asked me what I would like to do for the day and the answer was simple. From the marina, New Orleans was only a couple of hours away. I have always loved New Orleans, so I asked him to take me there for lunch. We had a wonderful time riding and walking around the French Quarter, dining on muffalettas in a great little café with the obligatory New Orleans band that, of course, ended their set with “When the Saints Come Marching In”, and just generally enjoying an outing that was unexpected.
It seems that this chapter in Mobile may be about to end, but we are watching weather again, of course. While there has been a dry spell recently, and that is good for traveling up a river that floods and brings debris along with the rushing water, seeing that the rains may start again is a little disconcerting. We will go as soon as possible as we have new places to explore! While we have been thinking about spending the summer in Kentucky and will still go there, the glowing reports we have been hearing of taking the Tennessee River all the way up to the Smokey Mountains are making that excursion very tempting. And next month, I have plans to get to Jacksonville for just a short visit to get my last check on my eyes and to attend Madison’s ballet and tap recital; I missed it last year and vowed then not to miss this one! I’m not sure how I’m getting there yet as who knows where we will be when it’s time to go, but as always, we will figure it out.
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” Henry David Thoreau