Sunday, May 15, 2022

The Flowers Explore - Gulf Shores Alabama Pt 1 - 2022/04/12-16

Our first stop of our Westward trip was more of a repositioning. Today though we're headed to a destination! We're off to visit Gulf Shores Alabama!

During the entire time here at the Stay N Go RV park, we didn't see any staff. We made reservations and checked in online, and left before the check-out time. The front office never had anyone there. That worked out fine for us though. 

Our drive today is a pretty easy one. Just about 3 hours to get from the Stay N Go RV park to the Gulf Shores State Park.

Driving over the bridges that connect the different lagoons and islands. There's an RV park down there, but that's not the one we're staying at. 

That's because we're trying to fill up our RV State Map, and we're missing a state down here. We're getting pretty close to the border, and places have adopted the names of both states, like the Flora-Bama Yacht Club or Flora-Bama River Grill. 

Welcome to Sweet Home Alabama! 

Our destination today is the Gulf State Park Campground. This is one that Theresa was on the ball for, reserving it very soon after they became available. It's a very hot spot, and reservations go fast. 

There's 496 full hook-up sites here and T got a great spot. A pull-through that's near the amenities, but far enough away from things to not be too busy. It's great when there's full hookups. Even the kids appreciate the differences between being on full hookups and boondocking. 

Get that new state sticker up there Alli! Alabama! 
I know there's lots of different ways people can choose to fill up their map. Some do it if they drive through the state. Others say it has to be 3+ nights spent there. We're in the middle. We'll count it if we've spent the night sleeping inside the RV. That's why we haven't filled in Colorado yet, since we always sleep at Gram and Pop Pop's house and not in the RV. I don't know what we're going to do about Hawaii and Alaska. 

Just got here, but I've got to go out running. I like to do it late at night when the weather is cooler and it's less busy. Just got to watch out for critters!

I didn't see any snakes this time, but I do have a blurry photo of an armadillo. 

The next morning, Ian was exploring the area around the RV and found some berries. Using our PictureThis app, these are Coastal Dewberries, or Southern Dewberries. They're edible and mostly used for jams. They are usually ripe in the Spring, though I think we're on the early side of it. This is the only ripe one we found, though we did see a few more patches of red ones.  

One of the things that drew us here to this state park was all the biking and hiking trails in the area, along with the nearby beach. There are miles and miles of boardwalks here to carry us over the marshy water. 

And across the coastal grasses. 

And when we get close to the beach, an overpass to take us above the traffic, and down to the sand. 

Forgot our bike lock, so we're not going to spend too much time here today. We walked them along the beach path to the water. 

It was a pleasant enough day for a bike ride.

But not a great day for a swim. The water was really rough and choppy, and the winds had picked up quite a bit. The flags on the beach said that this was not a good day to go into the water. 

We can swing though! Thanks for the pushes Alli. 

Near the parking lot, there were 3 swings, just waiting for us. 

We continued along the long boardwalk, finding our way to the Lake Shelby Playground. The kids loved this playground, with all the different obstacles. There was a section that they deemed to be like American Ninja Warrior, and their goal was to cross from one end to the other without letting their feet hit the ground. 

This Christmas Tree doesn't spin like the one in Colorado. 

But you can still climb all the way to the top. 

The kids are great at making friends. Any other kid who is nearby that's close to their age gets a "do you want to play together?" and "what should we play?" Then they all run off and have a fun time for the few minutes they get to be together. 

Hoping on our bikes, we continued around Lake Shelby. 

Then fought the wind trying to get back to our campground. This trail is known for its birds, and there's even supposed to be a bald eagle nest around here, though we didn't see anything. 

Our Uncle Donald and Aunt Amy come down to Gulf Shores Alabama quite a bit on vacation, so we asked them what sort of things we need to do. 
"You have to go eat at Lamberts!"
Well let's go see what this is all about then! 

They don't take reservations here, so we figured it'd be best to arrive a little early for dinner at 4:45pm. We were right! There were just a couple groups ahead of us, and we were seated right away. 

Lamberts has 3 locations across Missouri and Alabama, and they're all known for their country cooking and generous portions. Like drinks served in giant 34 oz mugs! 

But what they're really known for are their "Throwed Rolls". Every 15 minutes or so, a worker walks up and down the aisles with a giant tray of hot, fresh rolls. If you hold your hand up for one, instead of placing one on your table, they'll toss it to you from wherever they happen to notice you. I'm sure it's a fun game people play to try to get the farthest tossed roll. 

We had fun holding our hands up for one or more whenever they came around. A few that were tossed to the kids ended up on the ground and under the table, but I think that's probably just par for the course here. 

They come around with a container of molasses, offering to ladle you some, but we're all about the butter and honey. Having unlimited hot bread was a big selling point for us decided to come here tonight. 

Our meals came out, and they were tasty enough. Ian chose the cheeseburger, while Alli was more adventurous with the Roast Beef and Mashed Potatoes. Theresa surprised me choosing the Charbroiled Chicken with veggies. I really thought she'd go for the catfish. 

I had a hard time deciding. There's so many things I wanted to try. Chicken & Dumplings, Fried Chicken, Pork Chops, or even a Hog Jowl. In the end, I went with a classic that I love. Chicken Pot Pie. 
It tasted fine, though not exceptional. The crust was just okay. I still finished the whole thing, and when the waitress stopped by and saw I was done, she asked if I wanted another! I was stuffed, but I wonder if it would have been complimentary? 

Because along with the meal and sides, there are also workers constantly walking around the dining hall with unlimited pass-around sides. You can have as many of these as you want! 
Like Fried Okra. 

Which Ian loved. I wasn't sure if I would like it or not, but I guess if you deep fry something in a tasty enough batter, it can overcome whatever prejudice you might have against it. I thought they were great! 

Alli really wanted to try the Macaroni and Tomatoes, though this was a bit of a letdown. The tomato sauce was the weakest, wateriest, tomato ketchup you could imagine. 

I got a small portion of Black-Eyed Peas because my mother loves them so much. These were not all that tasty. Overly salted. 
Along with those above there was also Boiled Cabbage (which we passed on), Fried Potatoes & Onions (just okay), and the fresh rolls. Their menu said they had apple butter, which we were looking forward to, but the waitress said shipping problems had delayed it, and they were all out. 

Still, we didn't leave hungry. There was just so much food!

Gotta take a few rolls to go too! 
That was a good recommendation Don and Amy! Thank you!

After getting back to the RV, all of us were totally stuffed. We went on a 4 mile walk to help work off that giant meal we just ate. Since it's dusk, the kids got to see bunnies, bats, and as a special treat, even some lightning bugs! 
It's been a great first few days here at Gulf Shores. We'll continue the rest in Part 2!


  1. Definitely needed a good walk after that HUGE meal...Lambert's served up a lot of food...those rolls were humongous (quite a "throwed rolls" game)...drink mugs were huge, too!...the macaroni & tomatoes were no match compared to the homemade spaghetti Alli is use to. state onto the RV map! Biking over lots of boardwalk is a change of pace...biking against the wind means those miles are really hard-earned :-) Bench swings...haven't seen those for a nice; the "American Ninja Warrior" obstacle course looked challenging...did Alli & Ian make it through without touching the ground? Always good to see Alli & Ian get opportunities to make friends whenever they are. Sounds like a choice RV spot was snagged by Theresa...good job! EOM

    1. They didn't make it through the obstacle course on the first try, but after a few attempts, both of them were able to make it. Then I challenged them to do the same course, but now in the reverse direction. That added a few more difficulties, but they figured that out too.
      Theresa was telling me that she had to book that site 6 months in advance! It's not often you get a state park RV site with full hookups, near a beach, and only $40 a night!

    2. Great effort by Ian & Alli to conquer the course in BOTH directions!! Wow...only $40/night for the location and full hookups...what a steal! EOM