Damn the torpedoes . . . Again

Here’s a repost from March 2009 at the beginning of our 2nd year on the road.

Well, our road trip went off yesterday, but not quite as planned.

The idea was to head down to Fort Morgan, catch the ferry over to Dauphin Island and then visit Bellingrath Gardens.  But as we started the 22 mile trip to the ferry, we saw a sign saying the ferry was closed.

I found the number and called to double-check. The lady said the ferry was broke (yes, that’s the way she said it), but they hoped to have it going by 2pm. So we decided to run our trip in reverse. Luckily, we didn’t have to make the 44 mile round trip for nothing.

We headed up to Foley and then west on Hwy 98 thru Magnolia Springs, Point Clear, Fairhope, Daphne, and Spanish Fort before hitting I-10 into Mobile. This is the way we used to travel to Mobile when I was a kid, since the Interstate didn’t exist.  It’s a very beautiful, scenic drive.

Before heading to Bellingrath Gardens after we got to Mobile, we checked out a Spartan/Cummins dealership looking for parts for my A/C problem I mentioned earlier. No luck, but I did get some good information that helped out.

Heading out, we stopped for lunch at Dreamland BBQ mainly because it smelled so good as we drove by.

Well, you know what they say, Smells can be deceiving, or something like that. I had heard how good this place was for years, and they had all sorts of awards on the walls for “Best BBQ in the South” and other stuff, but not in my book.

Jan’s ribs weren’t bad, but not great either. I ordered the Pork Plate, but I’m not sure what I got.

In the south, pork is normally sliced or chopped. If it doesn’t say ‘chopped’, it’s sliced. Yes, in north Alabama, and up into the Carolina’s, they have “pulled pork”, but it’s labelled too.

What I got was a plate of pork ‘chunks’, or something, covered in thin sauce. In fact it looked more like ‘Carne Guisada’, or ‘Beef Stew’ with no vegetables.

The sides of potato salad and Cole slaw were just so-so. Two other chains, Sonny’s BBQ and Famous Dave’s are much, much better.

Not recommended!

We then headed south toward Bellingrath Gardens. The Bellingrath estate was built in the early 1900’s and the family were major Coke distributors… Coca-Cola, that is. Apparently the wife kept buying and buying plants until she just ran out of room. The place is just one big garden.

I’m just going to post some pictures of the place and let y’all enjoy.











After enjoying the Gardens, we headed down to the Ferry.  I called ahead to confirm that, yes, they had fixed the ‘broke’ ferry and were on schedule for a 5pm departure. We got there a little after 4 so we had a short wait that we spent talking to the couple in the car next to us that was pulling a small camper. Turns out they were heading to the Gulf State Park where we are, so we gave them directions.

The  ferry wasn’t full so loading didn’t take long, but there was about a 15kt wind, 3ft waves, and white caps. And the ride was pretty rough. The ferry was sometimes rolling and porpoising at the same time.

I was worried about Jan when she said she didn’t have her seasickness bracelets with her.  Jan can be very prone to seasickness. She once got seasick while we were eating at a restaurant built over a lake.

Sea-Band Bracelets

Sea-Band Bracelets

But luckily, before we took our Alaska cruise in 1998, she heard about the Sea-Band bracelets, and for her, they really work. There was one point on our cruise where people were bouncing off the walls of the hallway going to and from their rooms, but Jan never had a problem.

The bracelets apparently work on an acupuncture principle, but only if she doesn’t leave them in the coach.

Luckily, she didn’t have a problem, through. I did see a few people who were decidedly pale and hovering near the railing, but I thought it better not to mention it.

Actually what I think saved her was the fact that with the motion of the ferry, she was so worried about it sinking, she forgot to be seasick.


Fort Morgan – Dauphin Island Ferry

As we pulled out we passed Fort Gaines at the tip of Dauphin Island. Fort Gaines was one of the two forts guarding Mobile Bay during the Civil War.

Fort Gaines

Fort Gaines

Apparently it was so windy that some seagulls decided not to fly.  They just hitched a ride on the raised loading ramp all the way over.

Hitch-hiking Seagulls

Hitch-hiking Seagulls

Fort Morgan, named for Gen. Daniel Morgan, a hero of the Revolutionary War, and an ancestor of Jan’s (her mother was a Morgan) was the 2nd fort that guarded the entrance to Mobile Bay.

Fort Morgan

Fort Morgan

The Battle of Mobile Bay in August of 1864 gave birth to the famous phrase uttered by Admiral David Farragut, “Damn the torpedoes, Full speed ahead”. Torpedoes then being what we now call mines, had been spread out across the entrance to the Bay to keep the Union Navy out.

Ironically,  almost immediately after Adm. Farragut gave this order, his supposedly unsinkable ironclad, the USS Tecumseh, struck a mine and sunk in 3 minutes taking most of its 100 plus crew to the bottom with it.

Wouldn’t you think people would learn not to label something “unsinkable”?

The Union did finally prevail and the Confederacy lost its last port on the Gulf,  New Orleans having fallen a year earlier.

Thought For The Day:

I don’t think we get smarter as we get older. I just think we run out of stupid things to do.