MARCH 31ST, 2017 – NAVIGATIONAL CREATIVITY
Total miles traveled on Dive and Drive USA in six days: 1,278 miles
On Day 6 of Dive and Drive USA, Christine and I finally left Florida! Ha, didn’t think it would take so long to jump to another state, but there were all sorts of places we wanted to see in Florida. In particular, we drove through beautiful beachfront areas near Destin and wondered why we hadn’t spent more time here! We were lucky to experience the perfect sunny day and feel the brilliant blue water wash over us, but needed to get rolling to the next dive site. Next time, we need to budget several days for that area, for sure.
After leaving Destin, we pushed on into Alabama. We had big plans to shore dive the Whiskey Wreck in Gulf Shores. The Whiskey Wreck is an old Rum Runner wreck that sits just off the beach, easily accessed from shore and in only 15 to 20 feet of water. It is popular to hit for both day and night dives.
We were very excited to check out the Whiskey Wreck! It was going to be a perfect stop for a Dive and Drive! Just off the highway and just off the beach. So simple.
As we cruised down the road, our excitement was rising. We were reading about the history of the Whiskey Wreck and looking for special points of interest not-to-be-missed around the area. A few hours away, we called to confirm our dive reservations…and then we heard the news. Weather had fouled us again, and our plans had all fallen apart! Gulf Shores was in a small craft advisory. Wind was causing problems. The waves had been crashing big on the shore for hours. The visibility was non-existent and the conditions were brutal. The ideal conditions of close to shore and shallow were now working against us! The dive was canceled. That made the third dive/snorkel chance that had been called off in six days. Oh well, all part of the adventure…right?
In the spirit of grand exploration, we were determined to be happily flexible with our road trip stops. Immediately, we opened up the idea notebook and we moved onto plan B: Holly Beach, Louisiana.
Holly Beach, Louisiana was another six and half hours and 400+ miles away. With that kind of distance, we had to commit to the journey. Slapping together peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the car, we tried not to make many stops. We swiftly flew through Alabama and Mississippi and finally hit Louisiana. Then, the advancement started to drag…As we got close to New Orleans there may have been a minor issue with navigation.
Possibly the fault of the Driver (Adam), possibly the fault of the Navigator (Christine?), we took the exit INTO New Orleans, not around it and got stuck in traffic for a few hours. It’s funny how sometimes sitting in car can be all nice, looking around at different people and places, enjoying the journey, but sometimes it’s a little less joyous. By this point, sitting in traffic had past the point of cute and road-trippy and more just tiring. It was getting late and we knew that due to the recent navigational creativity, we would never make the 250 miles on to Holly Beach before dark.
We made the call to change plans AGAIN and camp outside New Orleans at a state park called Fontainebleau. The pictures online look nice and it seemed close. We made another major turn and headed north. The next thing we knew, Christine and I were on a bridge over a lake and couldn’t see the other shore. “Where is this place?” The bridge went on and on and on. I made the joke that we were stuck on the longest bridge in the world. We took pictures, then more pictures, then some video and thought, seriously, when does this thing end? Christine looked it up and the bridge, Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, which passes over Lake Pontchartrain is the longest continuous bridge over water in the world. 25 miles total! We stumbled on to a pretty neat Guinness World Record! The glory of road trips.
We finished crossing the bridge, drove into Fontainebleau campground, and ended up in an enchanted forest on the lake shore. With old trees dripping Spanish moss, an abandoned (and haunted?) sugar mill, and white-tail deer everywhere, it was a perfect end to a less-than-according-to-plan day! We set up camp and walked down to the lake to be rewarded with an EPIC sunset. Tomorrow, Holly Beach?