Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mardi Gras

Sunday, time to go to Gulf Shores to meet up with Jean’s old friend, Helen. We had to finish the de-winterizing, which consisted of topping off the fresh water tank and dumping the holding tanks. That completed, we were on our way.

We had direction’s to Helen’s time-share, but we were running a bit ahead of schedule. So we went in search of Gulf State Park. Traffic is confusing on the “island” (actually a long peninsula) so we ended up in the main drag of Orange Beach. To add to the traffic, the streets were from something invented by Lewis Carroll. You can’t turn left at the signals, you have to drive another block and make a U-turn. That’s the rules and the way the streets are arranged.

Eventually we found Helen’s house. We got set up parking in the lot behind her building. After we got set up, we took a walk on the beach. It has the white sugar-sand found along most of the Gulf of Mexico. There weren’t many other people on the beach, just a group of teen-agers trying to play with a stand-up board and a kayak in the surf. They weren’t having much luck.

After a good walk, we went back to the apartment and spent the rest of the afternoon visiting with Helen, and more-so with her great-granddaughter Scarlet. She is about 2 and a bundle of energy. When we went to bed in the Roadtrek, the neighbors were having a loud party next door. Mardi Gras is on full tilt. There are parties and parades for weeks before the actual day.

Next day we went for lunch at Lulu’s. She is Jimmy Buffett’s sister and has an open-air restaurant beside the Intercoastal Waterway. Then Helen drove us down the length of the peninsula. It is filling up with big condos and time-shares.  Scarlet’s mother showed up later and took her home. The apartment quieted down after that.

Tuesday morning (Fat Tuesday) we headed out about 8:30 to get a spot for the morning parade (the parade started at 10:00). A big crowd built up quickly. About the time the parade was supposed to start, there were sirens all around. A short while after 10:00 the news came down the line that the parade was cancelled; a car had run into the lead band (Gulf Shores Highschool Marching Band). Twelve students were injured, three critically. We got updates throughout the day.

There was another parade in Orange Beach at 2:00, so we headed for there. We parked behind a popular restaurant and had lunch --- after a long wait. Mardi Gras parades consist of a large number of floats, as well as other participants. They all throw large quantities of beads, small Moon Pies, candy, and other things. It is great, noisy fun and we caught lots of stuff.

Beads ready for thowing
Our hostess

After the parade we came back to the apartment and relaxed. Later, we watched the news, which was mostly about the accident. The police announced that drugs and alcohol were not involved, and it was not a purposeful act. The car involved was part of the parade and suddenly accelerated. We also did the laundry. I got on-line and scored two nights at St. Andrews State Park in Florida, so tomorrow we head east.

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