Mike and Al head south again, still looking for good birds, good local food, new waters to paddle, and their ever-elusive lost youth.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Thursday March 3 and Friday March 5 - Sittin’ in the Geezer Trailer sippin’ a Margarita and fixin’ ta tell ya’ll what we bin doin’. Sorry, being back in Mississippi has that effect on me!
What a great couple of days the Geezers and ladies have had. The weather has been a bit iffy with high winds yesterday joined by bands of rain showers today
Our dear friend Kenny just can’t win! His plans to play hooky with the Geezers on Thursday got changed with the announcement of his new boss, press release to write resulting in a raft of phone calls to return. He did finally manage to break away, but the Geezers made sure the pressure stayed on him. He had arranged for us to be able to paddle from the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Estuarine Education Center, a beautiful new facility that trains students to work in the outdoor recreation industry. It was a windy day and we made the poor guy paddle against 15-20 mph winds, in heavy boat with a paddle reverse feathered – and he did it, despite our finest efforts! We were rewarded with a glimpse of a bald eagle, many ospreys and lots of herons. In an effort to further complicate Kenny’s life we lead him through a series of twisty and increasingly narrow passages through the bayou in a futile attempt to take a new route back to the dock. He spent much of his time in the marsh grass earning him the nickname “WeedWacker” Flanagan!
Back to campground for shower then we met Kenny at the Shed – BBQ joint that makes the Dinosaur look sterile and formal! Good food, good beer and good friends – it just doesn’t get better than that!
Just before bed, Mike made a garbage run to the dumpster. Let’s see, campground, midnight and garbage what should someone with Mike’s wildlife background expect? Well, he forgot and got the bejesus scared out of him as two raccoons bolted from the dumpster as he opened the lid! The medications seem to be working – no heart attack!
Friday – lazy morning – Off to check e-mail at coffee shop Delo’s Heavenly House of Coffee then to meet MGCCC Estuarine Education Center for a crack at their climbing wall. Kathy went first, making it about 2/3 of the way up the wall before making a controlled fall to the matting. Al went next, testing his ailing knee against the wall, making it just a little further up before succumbing to the laws of gravity. Fat ole Mike, against his better judgment, decided to test the limits of the mechanical belay system and climb next. He made it about 2 feet, peeled off and got mad! Another try had much better results, and he managed to propel his bulk almost to the top of the wall before he did something that no experienced climber would do – he stopped and thought! Since thinking is just as strenuous as climbing for the Geezer, he did the only thing he could do – fell! The director of the center, Wayne Taylor, was a gracious host to the Geezers and we thank him and his staff for letting us play with their toys!
The excitement continued. In keeping with the theme of Geezers Eat the South, we pulled into the Country Gentleman a little local restaurant in Gautier for a “light” lunch – you know, soup and salad – right! The homemade Chicken Noodle soup had a unique lemony/acidic taste that proved that it didn’t come from Campbells, the Seafood Gumbo was rich in crawfish, shrimp and crab and a great spicy brown roux. Both soups came in either cup or bowl size – the cup was about the size of a small child and you could take a bath in the bowl! The salad ($3.95) came on a platter that you could serve your Thanksgiving turkey on! So much for a light lunch!
The afternoon entertainment consisted of visiting the Mississippi Sand Hill Crane Refuge for a chance to see one of these elegant and beautiful and highly endangered creatures. This bird, a distinct, non migratory sub-species of the Sand Hill Crane has been teetering on the brink of extinction due to habitat destruction. At the time the refuge was established in the mid 1970’s, there were only 30 birds known to exist. Through the efforts of the refuge, the population is currently at 112 individuals. After a bit of driving around the area, we were indeed fortunate to spot 2 of the cranes near a fenceline outside of VanCleave
Tonight, we introduce the ladies to Rachel’s Widows Walk, a place the Geezers enjoyed a couple of times last year. Sam, the owner has certainly maintained high standards over the past 12 months – he was not here, as he just got married yesterday. Congrats!
Off to bed to the pitter-patter (and ROAR!) of rain on the camper roof!