Friday, February 10, 2012

Houston Hospitality, Baton Rouge Reunion, Mississippi Lunar Lander?, and Flora-Bama!

After a couple of months in Austin we're finally back on the road!
Austin was a blast but also a reminder that our year of travel will end eventually and we'll have to get our feet back on the ground and earn some money.
But not quite yet!

Heading east to the Florida Keys so Houston was our first stop.
Angie's got family a'plenty in Space City so we stayed with Jason and Kay at "Chez Kay" where we finally got to meet our new niece, Olivia, who was born during the first leg of our trip!
Angie, Olivia (so cute!), Holly, and Joel  

Sadly, Kipper was not with us because he would have loved Zoe, the resident pup.

Jason and Angie devouring pancakes and ham...
We had a fantastic dinner and then pancakes the next morning thanks to Jason and Kay.  Somehow we managed to leave without getting a photo with Kay and Jeremy... ooops!

Anyone that knows us in Austin probably knows that most of our friends are from Baton Rouge.  Back in the 90's, some moved to Austin for music, others for school, jobs, etc and most stayed.   Laura and Layne never lived in Austin, but we met them through mutual friends.  They were kind enough to give us a bed for the night.  It was nice to catch up with them as we hadn't seen them in years.

We went to The Chimes for old Baton Rouge favorite.  SO favorite, in fact, that they built a second one, The Chimes East.  Some might say this is sacrilege.  I say it was a shorter drive.  And just as delicious!

Technically, it was their son, Ben's, room (Thanks Ben!).
Ben just happens to have the coolest lego collection outside of Lego Land.
The pirate ship on the left appears to be attacking Legoville...

Out of Louisiana and onto Mississippi!
Just over the state line there's a great rest area with a visitor's center that includes, of all things,  a life-size model of a lunar lander!  Turns out that there's a testing facility nearby for rocket engines.

Inside the visitor's center was some information about Hurricane Katrina and some before and after photos of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

We continued on a coastal road and stopped to admire the beautiful beaches...

Sadly, just across the road, there're vacant lots (many for sale) where homes used to be before Katrina.

When in doubt take a ferry ride!  We continued into Alabama and drove thru Dauphin Island and crossed over to Gulf Shores via a ferry boat.  We were hoping to camp at Gulf State Park but a bunch of other people had the same idea.

As it was getting dark and we had no place to stay there was no reason not to stop for refreshments.
Just before crossing into Florida you can't miss this joint (thanks for the tip Jeremy!).

This bar appears to have been destroyed and rebuilt from the wreckage multiple times but we like that!

The beer's cold....

......and the oysters are fresh!

Next up.....beautiful beaches, a cave, some missing manatees (and creepy vultures), and Disney World!!

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