Sunday morning, bright and early (ok, around 9:30), we hopped in a cab and headed to pick up our car at the airport. It was conveniently timed so we could drive ourselves there the following day, of course. They gave us an HHR that we promptly named Beauregard, or Beau for short.
We drove across the Gulf Coast on highway 10, heading for Dauphin Island, Alabama. Matt hadn’t been to either Mississippi or Alabama before, so it was very exciting!
There’s a long bridge connecting Dauphin Island to the mainland, and there are pelicans flying all over the place. While crossing, we found ourselves driving right alongside a pelican more than once. It’s really entertaining.
We stopped at the historic end of the island first, to see Fort Gaines.
Then we hopped back in the car and drove down to the other side of the island, which is a long spit of sand dotted with houses on stilts. For the last mile, it’s just a single road with pulloffs for the houses and occasional beach parking. The road dead-ends at the public beach.
The beach seemed crowded with not much parking, so we decided to look for a spot to park amongst the houses. We found a spot where several cars were pulled over on a “side street”, parked on the sand alongside the road. They all looked perfectly fine there, but the second I pulled off the pavement, we knew there was a problem: Beauregard was stuck.
It took a combination of me rocking the car in 1st and reverse (not easy on an automatic) and Matt pushing to get it out. I didn’t think it would happen; the wheels were more than half-buried in sand, and just spinning and digging deeper holes. But he managed to push us out, much to the amazement of an old lady watching nearby, who congratulated him on the feat. Haha!
We drove around til we found an actual spot on the pavement and parked. There was no way we were risking that again. And then, of course, we did the super-classy thing and changed into bathing suits in the car: Matt between the doors, and me in the backseat. It’s not like there was anywhere else to change!
The water ended up being too cold to swim, but we were very content just laying on the beach.
It’s hard to be too down on the Deep South, knowing there are places like Dauphin Island there.
(I should note that as of July 2010, this beach was covered in oil from the BP spill. That’s tragic.)
Once we started to sunburn, we decided it was time to continue on. We stopped at a little store for provisions, and drove back over the bridge to the mainland.
Deep-fried peanuts, much like boiled peanuts, are not very good. But you have to try them anyway!
We took highway 90 back into Mississippi, driving through places like Fountainebleau and Pascagoula, heading toward Biloxi. We had some gamblin’ in mind.
The Hard Rock Biloxi was way nicer than we were expecting. We went in and won some money on Wheel of Fortune, got some cheap drinks, and went to play Pai Gow. I did very well, and the women at the table were pretty entertaining. We then went to have dinner (have I only eaten at the Hard Rock Cafe when I’m in their casinos? I think so!), gambled a bit more, and around sunset it was time to head back to New Orleans.
We managed to find cheap parking at a lot a couple blocks from the hotel, rather than pay the overnight valet rate, so we left Beauregard there and went to drop off our stuff. It was then time to hit up the Quarter again, for our last night. SIGH.
One of the must-do items on my list was to have the real absinthe drip, and it was finally time. We stopped at the Old Absinthe House for that, of course. Here’s a video!
Around 11, we went back to Pat O’Brien’s to split a hurricane and get some souvenir glasses. I like that you can get the tiny shotglass version of the hurricane, because who wants to transport a giant glass? The bartender made us a layered shot that I don’t remember the name of, but it was hella impressive.
On our way in between bars, I noticed a walk-up window at the Funky Pirate advertising Jagermeister Tooters. Well… that happened. Thank god they weren’t actually that strong. We then walked back down to the other end of Bourbon Street, to Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. The young bartender there didn’t know what an Obituary was, and then proceeded to be disgusted when the other bartender told her what it was. She asked us, “you actually like that??” Haha!
We knew it was about time to head back to the hotel if we had any hopes of getting to the airport the next day, so we began the long walk back. We decided to stop into a bar called Johnny White’s for one more drink just so we could use the bathroom, and I ended up in a conversation with a couple of girls there while I was waiting in line. One asked me where I was from, and the other yelled (through the bathroom door), “YOU DON’T SOUND MINNESOTAN!!”
I told them to go talk to Matt and see if he had the same accent I do. We ended up hanging out with them for a long time, talking about Jazzfest and the Vikings-Saints game. There was a guy hovering about named Beau, who nobody knew, but who really wanted to be our pal. He kept telling people he would do the worm if someone bought him a shot. We refused, so he finally bought the shot himself, then did, in fact, do the worm. It was fantastic.
Our friends took off, sure they had convinced us to come down for the football game in the fall, and we said goodbye to Beau and headed back. With a stop at Crystal, of course. It was necessary!