What time does the beach close? (An A-Z guide to vacation)

A – is for Alabama.  The 2nd longest and most boring state in the world to drive the 367 miles through to get to the beach.  (Kansas is the 1st – and there is no beach – obviously)

B – is for Birmingham.  Exit 255 – this is where we stayed overnight.  It’s now ranked number 3 on my list of favorite exits on I65.  (Exit 253 in Indiana is #1)

C – is for Crabs.  Dawson caught 3 crabs and 1 fish

D – is for Drury Inn.  The nicest hotel I’ve stayed in while travelling.  They have a 530pm “Kickback” which is hot appetizers and free beverages, a very nice breakfast and it’s the same price as other hotels!

E – is for Electricity.  The outside lights of our condo shocked you every time you turned them on or off.

F – is for Francos.  The Italian restaurant that has the funky lasagna that Dawson didn’t eat – despite the fact that he insisted we eat there.

G – is for Gulf Shores.  Without Gulf Shores this vacation blog wouldn’t be possible

H – is for Hooters.  For whatever reason we always eat at Hooters our first night in Gulf Shores.

I – is for Iphone.  Because without my Iphone I couldn’t have survived this trip as our condo didn’t have Internet access.

J – is for Jakes.  Home of the $24.95 all you can eat steak – Dave and Dawson’s new favorite restaurant in Gulf Shores.

K – is for Khaki shorts and white shirts.  Friday night that is all you see out on the beach with families desperately taking the “perfect beach picture.”  I tried that when the kids were younger and they threw such a fit about what they were wearing I quit trying.  However as I laughed at several families attempts to get everyone together and one lady complaining that her husbands shorts didn’t match I realized miraculously that my kids actually matched (wearing red and blue) and snapped their picture.

L – is for Lawn Mower Demolition Derby.  Which was advertised on the radio as a “must see” at the Southern Kentucky Fair.  Now I’m not disagreeing that it’s probably something spectacular to watch – it has me very curious actually.  How much alcohol does it take to get on a lawn mower and smash into another guy on a lawn mower?

M – is for Mobile.  Birthplace of Hank Aaron, Ozzie Smith and Jimmy Buffett.  When you come into the city on I10 you go under the water in the George C Wallace Tunnel.  And I will forgive my children for asking “who sings this?” when they played Come Monday on the radio.

N – is for Noodle.  The $1.88 pool noodle at Wal-Mart is by far the most economical water floatation device.  It is also the easiest floatation device to maneuver in the water.  Unlike the neon green inner tube that flipped Dave out twice.

O – is for the private and security gated Ono Island.  I plan to have a house there one day.  Once I win the lottery.  O is also for Orange Blossom – the frozen drink concoction that is unique to Gulf Shores/Orange Beach and which it is impossible to get the recipe for.

P – is for Pool.  Where Teagan spent most of her time.  It closes at 10pm.  Which prompted her to ask the question “What time does the beach close?”

Q – is for Quiet and Relaxing.  Which is what vacation is all about.  Q is also for Question which a 9 year old has 1,000 of on any given day.

R – is for Gulf Shores Rescue 2.  Rescue 2 is really busy and drove by our condo at least 5 times a day.  We also saw the Lifeguards’ 4wheeler respond with lights and sirens on the beach (a first for us) and the Lifeguards also respond on the 4wheeler on the road too.

S – is for Signs.  There are very few road signs along I65 in Alabama making it difficult to play the “Alphabet” game.  However every so often you do see a sign or two.  The one’s that stood out were “Legal Divorce for $199” (there were several different law firms selling divorces) “Big Jims Boobie Bungalow” and not on I65 but on St Rd 59 “Don’t feed the Alligators $500 fine” (we took the kids to find the Alligators and never found them).  And S is also for Sea n Suds….. the comfort food of Gulf Shores.

T – is for Tribal Police.  South of Montgomery there is an Indian Reservation (and Casino).  A police car ahead of us was setting the pace at a nice speed of 60mph – totally disrupting Dave’s typical 85mph – and when it finally exited and we passed it we saw that it was Tribal Police.  That goes on my list of things I never suspected I would see in Alabama.

U – is for USS Alabama.  A South Dakota class battleship commissioned on August 16th, 1942 that earned nine battle stars on the Asiatic-Pacific Service Medal during WWII.  It held 127 Officers and 2,205 Enlisted Men.  If you never thought you were claustrophobic touring a WWII battleship is a good way to find out.  Then after you find out your claustrophobic jump inside the USS Drum the oldest Gato-class WWII era submarine.

V – is for VACATION!!  (and ‘v’ was the hardest letter for me to come up with DUH)

W is for Waves.  Typically the waves in the Gulf are about 3ft.  Several days they were at least 3ft over my head.  Dawson and I both lost battles with the waves.  I had a scraped up knee and Dawson had a black eye.  I know the meaning of “Roll Tide Roll” now.

X is for XTreme Surfing.  Teagan found out that she wasn’t as scared of the ocean as she thought she was by venturing out a few feet into the surf and riding Dawson’s boogie board in.  I’d say she’d make a great surfer one day but I’m not sure she’ll ever go more than 4 ft out into the ocean.

Y is for Ya-Ya Sisterhood.  The Ya-Ya’s were a group of 30-somethings who came to have a girls weekend in Gulf Shores. Mostly they spent the weekend drinking a lot of Tequila and Heineken and rocked out to hits like “Hot Child in the City” “Billie Jean” and “Dancing Queen.”  Teagan pointed out that they were breaking the Pool Rules that say no food or drink or glass bottles in the pool area.  She didn’t mind the music though so she skipped the rule regarding no loud music.

Z is for Zooland.  Zooland has “$5 all you can play Putt Putt.”  And every time we passed the sign Dawson pointed it out.  And we heard “$5 all you can play Putt Putt” about 100 times