Wednesday - 8.30.00

We were packed up and on the road by 9:45 AM, headed for the beach. (A tip for the future - if you camp in Mississippi and arrive right before 10:00 PM, it's free. Even though there were people every where in the campground, we looked for a place to pay in vain and no one ever came around to collect the fee.) After weaving back through the detour we found the beach. The sand was surprisingly white - almost pure white.

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We later learned that the beach was 26 miles long - the longest man made beach in the world. We found a good-looking spot on the beach to take a dip and waded out quite some distance since the tide was up. It wasn't long before I spotted some fins circling out in the distance - shark? Nope - just dolphins - Kurt could hear them exhale when they breached. Kurt and I swam around some more and then it happened - THE ATTACK OF THE JELLYFISH. How many Kansans have been stung by a jellyfish? Kurt thought it was seaweed at first and then I accidentally brushed my hand over the body. We were both inundated with strong tingling sensations - what would happen next??

Were we to die? Arm in arm we struggled back to the shore to await our fate.

Kurt experienced mostly muscle cramping in his chest and leg however, I was overcome by red blotches and bumps all over my stomach and neck. After waiting about 20 minutes we started feeling normal and walked down to the Waveland Pier. It's ironic that this part of the Gulf had no waves.

Following all of this excitement we jumped back in the Jeep and crossed the Bay of St. Louis, following highway 90 along the coast. We stopped and took a few pictures of the shrimp boats in commercial marinas. Our next stop was Sharkheads in Biloxi Bay for magnets, a souvenir for Tiffany, and some other stuff we didn't need. We decided we wanted to eat at a seafood restaurant right on the water - preferably a dive. We found McElroy's and had a great lunch. We split oysters, shrimp, fish, scallops, gumbo, a Po Boy and clam fingers.

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After lunch we spotted the Biloxi Shrimping Trip across the parking lot and thought it looked like fun. A friendly older guy was our guide - dressed the part in overalls. We took a 70-minute tour and learned all about shrimpin'. The boat set sail from the harbor and dropped the nets out in the bay

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The guide explained how the nets work and entertained us with shrimpin' stories and facts. Seagulls and dolphins appeared as we started to pull the nets. We checked out all the different life forms that we caught and watched the guide throw some fish to the dolphins.

We caught stingrays, eels, baby sharks, flounder, crabs, white fish, jellyfish (2 kinds) and of course some shrimp. The boat headed back while our guide sorted the catch and fed the seagulls and dolphins the scraps. By the time we got back, it had started to rain a little so we ran to the Jeep and headed towards Alabama.

We were headed to Mobile when we saw a sign for tours of an alligator farm. Kurt and I had been hoping to find a swamp tour someplace in Louisiana or Mississippi, so after only a moment's hesitation, we turned the Jeep around and headed back to the farm. Upon investigation, we discovered that they offered a walking tour through part of the farm, or the walking tour and an airboat ride out into the swamp. Neither Kurt nor I had been on an airboat, so we opted for the full tour.

We walked down the boardwalk and fed dog food to the alligators. In all, there were 2000 alligators on the farm. The airboat ride turned out to be pretty cool; we saw an alligator's nest and toured the rest of the swamp area.

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Afterwards, we headed on East entering Alabama - another first for the both of us. We purchased gas in Mobile and headed North for the first time on the trip. We also had to say good-bye to the ocean. Montgomery, AL, was our next destination for a picture of yet another capitol building. We also tried to find the Civil Rights Memorial but the signs kept sending us in circles. Darn signs - we gave up. Prattville, AL, was the next stop, this time for dinner.

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We ate at O'Charleys - it was similar to an Applebee's.However, the service frankly stunk. We ate and left a $1.00 tip. We won't be back there again. We continued to follow the Interstate North, driving straight through Birmingham, AL, and on into Huntsville, AL.

We arrived in Huntsville about 10:00 PM and found a new Motel 6 off Alan B. Shepard Jr. Parkway. We both showered off the Gulf salt and jellyfish stings and went to bed around midnight. (Day 6)

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09.25.2000 -