Gulf Shores 2023


Gulf Shores State Park Pier in early morning

We headed to Gulf Shores on January 1st leaving a day early from Gunter Hill (stayed two nights). Last year we stayed at Luxury RV Resort in Gulf Shores, this year we are staying at the Gulf Shores State Park RV Campground for three months. Luxury has about 100 sites and the campground is tucked in off of 59 just a couple of blocks North of the beach. The sites are close but it is a nice little campground and you get to know people quickly as they have a lot of activities and Rene’e did several. Gulf Shores RV park is huge, 500 sites with talk of expansion. The campground is more like a fancy COE (Corps of Engineers) campground with plenty of space between sites. All sites are hard-ball with full hookups. It is very nice, has tennis courts, swimming pool, bike trails, walking trails, and easy access to the beach, etc. It has a large building supporting a camp store and a laundry mat, however, there are so many people that it is hard to get to know anyone. During the summer it is considered a resort and to stay for two weeks it will cost you $850.

There are a lot more people here than compared to last year, I think COVID may have dampened things, so this would be considered a “normal” year I guess. But, it is still manageable and there is less traffic than Bowling Green KY. Last year the City did not put out trash cans at the beach but they are there this year. They are also charging for parking at the State Beach areas which they forgoed last year.

Our campsite is nice, as they all are here. You can see we have our Starlink antenna deployed. Normally we don’t have to raise it but it needed to clear some trees. The Starlink systems works well, that is if the sky is clear; trees can present interruptions. I also deployed my Amateur Radio Antenna (tall pole in back). I can communicate digitally to just about anyone else in the World on 50 watts with just a 65′ wire strung up from the pole to a nearby tree. We also put up our 6-sided 12×12 Gazebo; I use this as a garage. We store our bikes in here along with our camp chairs, table, tools, etc. You can also see our Dish “TV” receiver in front of the camper. The awnings on the newer campers are very flimsy and if you leave them deployed with any amount of wind they can be damaged. So, I went and bought two extendable pools pole with a cut PVC pipe at the end to support each side end of the awning. Then use straps to tighten it down and that has worked great.

We have real barn wood in different places in our camper and wanted to add some to the rear upper cabinet doors but the original doors would not work. So, a friend of mine, Tom Foster, made us some new cabinet door frames and brought them down with them when they visited Gulf Shores in February. I stained them, added a backing and then added the barn wood and letters. Very pleased with how they turned out. Thanks Tom!!

We went to Home Depot and bought a bird feeder with a large bag of food. The birds here are red-winged black birds, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Wood Pecker, types. However, we had a problem with some scavengers. I went out one day and found the food bad out of the Gazebo and laying in the grass half eaten. So, I put what was left in a bag in a tote. Well, I guess I pissed them off because the next day the bird feeder was gone! I looked all over for it but could not find it. So, we went back to Home Depot and bought another. I also put up a motion sensing light so we knew when the scavengers were back. A few nights later the light comes on… I go outside and there are four raccoons looking at me like “what do you want?” So, we bring in the bird feeder each night. If there is no food for them they leave us alone… little burgers.

We had some friends from Bowling Green come down for a couple of weeks staying in nearby Orange Beach. One day Tom and I went to the Gulf Shores State Park Pier to take some photos. It was a little brisk but we had a good time and got some good pictures.

Click here to see the photos.

As I am sure you are aware my wife, Rene’e, is into collecting sea shells and to get the really good ones we go to Navarre Beach, specifically the “Gulf Island National Seashore” were you can find all kinds of cool shells. She has been a little more picky this year and is collecting so as to have a craft party back in Kentucky with family and friends. Below is a sampling of the shells she gets during a single visit.

Click here for some photos...

Not that I don’t have enough hobbies (photography and Amateur Radio) I added a third. When I was a kid, in Nebraska, my dad and I would look for agates at quarries and ever since then I have liked collecting rocks. I also did some rock tumbling when I was younger but I don’t remember much about it. So, I bought a tumbler for Christmas along with one for Grayson, one of our Grand-kids. He is running his in Bowling Green and I am running mine in Gulf Shores, in our gazebo (haha). It does not take a lot of work, its not that expensive, and it is fun. Last year when we visited the Petrified Forest I bought Grayson a small bad of 200 million year old petrified wood nuggets knowing that he would use it in his tumbler. I also bought a small bag for my use, however, it was not enough so I bought some more from “Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co” out of Holbrook, Arizona. They will fill a USPS large size box full of petrified wood rocks (no weight limit) and ship it to you for $80. The campground here will only accept FedEx or UPS shipments, no USPS so I had the box shipped general delivery to the Post Office… it weighed 40 pounds. So, now the dilemma… what do to with 40 pounds of petrified wood sized for tumbling… better get started. Here is a photo of my first batch of rocks that came with the tumbler. Now on to tumbling some petrified wood.

The Gulf State Park has over 30 miles of paved and boardwalk trails that walker and bicyclist use. It was recently voted number one in the Country by USA Today. The trail system is called “Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail” system and was built with funds from BP. When BP spilled the oil in the Gulf they had to make restitution and the trail was part of that. The RED “X” is our campsite.

Renee’s bike was a Liberty Trike (red one) that was becoming to unstable for her, had a high center of gravity and was just not working so we sold it. We started looking for a used recumbent trike and we found one in Pensacola. I then bought a electric motor kit for it and it works great. We have had so much fun with this thing I found another used one in Tennessee that I bought and my daughter went and picked it up for us (green one); will get it tricked out when we get back to Kentucky. Its like sitting in a recliner and peddling and peddling is not as hard as you think. Lots of fun!

Here are a couple of YouTube videos of the trike:

One evening I was outside and the guy across the street said “you might want to fill up your fresh water tank as there is a major water leak in the ground.” I looked over his way and he was right, water everywhere. The next day the City came with a couple of giant vacuum cleaners on wheels and fixed the leak. The entire campground was without water for a day. We had already filled our water tank, we make it a habit to fill it up on the day we arrive to any campground. We have had all kinds of things happen where the campground water is out for a day or two.

Rene’e has her hobbies too. She recently went to a “Pine Needle Basketry” class at the Gulf State Park Headquarters, and then to a weekly women’s crafts gathering at the campground. A lot of folks here make these baskets and they are very cool. I was given the task of finding the Long Pine Needles (12″ – 18″ long) and the old Golf Course had plenty. The brown one with the walnut slice center is her first, and the red/white/blue one with the sea shell is her second one.

A friend of mine suggested that I shoot some video of the Gulf and post it on YouTube, so, I did, the channel is called “JAM Scapes.” There are four videos there, some of Gulf Shores and a couple from Gulf Island National Seashore. Very calming. Just let the video run on your desktop with the surf audio playing in the background. Check it out!

Click here for the YouTube Channel

Well it is getting close to leaving time and March here at Gulf Shores is filling up with Spring-Breakers. Heading back to Kentucky via Montgomery and Huntsville Alabama and Defeated Creek TN; be back to KY on April 9th for a month. Then we head to Dayton Ohio area for three weeks, then back to Bowling Green Kentucky for the rest of the year. One of our daughters is having another grand-child so we want to be there for that.

Take care!