Greetings from Dauphin Island on Mobile Bay, Alabama.

We made short work of Mississippi – a day and a half to cross it. And good riddance, I gotta say. I don’t think the Mississippi highway people know what a shoulder is. All the roads we used forced us into the traffic lane.

I’m having a little trouble with the language down here. Today I bought a bottle of Mountain Dew. I took it to the counter and the cashier said something unintelligible. I paused, gave her a “come again?” look. The same sound came from her mouth. I uttered a long “uhhhhhhh,” not knowing what to say and trying to think of some polite way to say “What the heck did you just say?” She made the sound again, only this time there was obvious impatience in her tone. I repeated to her what I had heard. It was something like “whatuhfah.” She nodded, as if to say “Yeah, moron, whatuhfuh!” That was when I noticed out of the corner of my eye the cash register display – “$1.04” Suddenly it was all clear to me: “One o four!” She was telling me the cost of the soda pop! $1.04!

20121017-180524.jpgWe saw these Mississippi Longhorns this morning. Lots of cattle in Louisiana and Mississippi. Probably because there’s lots of grass. You can’t not grow grass here. It sprouts up through six inches of newly laid asphalt as if it were topsoil.

There is a ten-mile causeway and a bridge from the mainland to Dauphin Island. We had a headwind all the way out. I was hoping to catch the ferry and pedal on to Orange Beach today. I got down on my drops and was pumping the pedals furiously when the wind upped the ante and our speed dropped from 11 mph to about 9 mph. At that speed I figured we would arrive too late so I lit the afterburner and got the speed back up to an acceptable level. “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” I muttered to myself, remembering Admiral Farragut’s order during the Battle of Mobile Bay. About that time Mary punctured my ardor by reminding me that we had just entered Eastern Time Zone and the 3:30 ferry was already well on its way to the other side of the bay. “Dammit!” I thought. “That lucky stiff Admiral Farragut didn’t have to deal with changing time zones.”

20121017-182422.jpgThis island lies at the mouth of Mobile Bay. Its high point is probably three feet above high tide so I imagine it gets nearly swept out to sea every time a hurricane passes this way. We passed these bizarre structures just after coming off the bridge. They’re called “CONDO-MINIMUMS” with good reason. Wouldn’t you think a hurricane would topple them?

And then there was this tin man along the road today. The best part is the sign under him!