Sunday, July 3, 2011

On the Road Again

GPS is a wonderful thing. It allowed my directionally challenged owner and her friend to drive directly to where they were going this week. MO double checked the instructions with a map just in case that bossy woman --TURN LEFT NOW--decided to have some fun and send them into some godforsaken backwater.

Two women traveling together for a week and heading to unfamiliar accommodations resulted in a trunk that included several bags, 6 round hairbrushes, an air mattress, a box fan, and MO's famous leopard print straw hat . They headed out early and after paying too much for gas at their first stop MO's  friend stopped to buy some cheap gas (all things are relative). She had some trouble with the pump and couldn't understand the cashier's hand motions. She pumped the gas and began driving off when she caught a glimpse in her review mirror of the attendant chasing her car and waving her arms wildly. She hadn't paid. It was all so Thelma and Louise only they hadn't meant to do it and Brad Pitt was no where to be found.

This trip was one MO had taken with her family for several years. Every year along the way there are things she wants to stop and see but she gets overridden by the majority. So she did have one request of her friend which was to stop at an abandoned school she was fascinated by along the way. So somewhere in Mississippi they found it and pulled over. They got out and walked around wondering about the building. The architecture was art deco and MO really wished she could have added some of those glass tiles to the odd collection of items in the trunk.

The destination for this trip was Gulf Shores, Alabama or as Southerners laughingly call it "Redneck Riviera." A tiny strip of coast with white sand that went unnoticed and largely undeveloped until the mid eighties. A shoreline that used to be home to hundreds of brightly colored, quirky, original beach houses, but that thanks to Katrina is now rife with generic condos. Still, it is starting to give its coastal competition, Destin a run for its money.

Staying with friends is tricky, especially when they aren't MO's. But as we know she has an adventuresome spirit and a high tolerance for rustic abodes. She was completely charmed by the residence (and residents!) who would be hosting them for the week.  Across the street from Mobile Bay it is in a fishing village founded in 1860, and the house was originally built as a fishing shack around 50 years ago. The charming couple who live here with their 9 cats don't normally use air conditioning but were thoughtful enough to turn it on for their guests.

Next week: Where they ate, what they saw, where they shopped and what they did.

If on the way down the car was full of an odd array of female necessities, they multiplied for the return trip home: Box fan, a double air mattress that was only halfway deflated, several kinds of chocolate including fudge, 3 gallon containers holding water and cuttings from the hostesses potato vines, stacks and stacks of magazines, fabulous tans, the party favors for MO's daughter's upcoming wedding, books from antique stores, sand, fresh peaches, and boiled peanuts.

Somewhere in Mississippi they spied a Subway and pulled in. Next door there was a gas station and a large African American man in overalls and a straw hat tending two grills made from metal drums. When you see something like that in the south you stop. You stop because the food is going to be amazing. MO cursed her camera that died halfway through her trip. They went inside and struggled to decide between the ribs, sandwiches, or chicken quarters, but finally ordered the pulled pork sandwiches sat down to take a bite. They looked at each other. They agreed that it was the best barbecue they had ever eaten...and they've eaten a lot of it. The cook came in and sat down next to them in the gas station and they told him how much they were enjoying the fruits of his labor. It turned out that he had worked at the same plant for 32 years until it closed when the economy went bad and he decided to start his own business. The barbecue was tasting better and better as he talked.  So if you are traveling on Alternate 45 in Mississippi look for the smoking grills in front of the Exxon in Noxobee County. Tony will be out front there reinventing himself from employee to entrepreneur.
Tony's Bbq of West Point Urban Spoon Link HERE!

Tony's Bbq on Urbanspoon

Happy travels and eating, y'all!

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