December 30, 2014
Today we are celebrating the fact that Steve is officially no longer working and heading off on a beach adventure! Well, celebrating is probably not the right word. Taking advantage of the fact, might be a better way of putting it. Basically, I asked if we could take a quick trip somewhere and he picked Orange Beach, Alabama out of a list of places I'd mentioned I'd like to go! We are using a bunch of the points that he'd amassed from his business travels (not sure how that works, but it's paying for our hotel) and celebrating the new year at the beach!
We left a lot later than we planned because he had to go by his former workplace to fill out some paperwork. Apparently they were very much not on the ball because they didn't have whatever it was he was supposed to sign, but they told him they'd email it to him, so we finally got on the road. It wasn't a very eventful drive down, but we both like taking road trips, so it wasn't that bad. It's pretty much a straight shot down the state until you make one turn and then continue south again!
Our first stop was Lambert's Cafe, Home of the Throwed Rolls! No, seriously, that's what it's called. Most people around here might be familiar with the place, but in case you aren't, this is a huge restaurant where they will throw rolls at you. Not randomly, or anything like that. They don't just peg you in the head with a roll while you aren't paying attention. Just periodically throughout your meal some dude comes out of the kitchen with a wheeled cart and yells "HOT ROLLS!" and if you want one, they throw one your way. Yes, it's weird, but the food is good! The servers also circulate around the restaurant with big pots of side dishes that you can get some of if you want. It's kind of like eating at a grandma's house where people are constantly trying to give you more and more food, even if you've got a full plate, only no one gets in trouble for throwing bread! I had eaten at one of these places before when I was on an FFA trip in high school, but I didn't remember the roll guys throwing nearly as hard as our roll guy did. When he got around to us, he sent a fast pitch at me, and with my stellar catching skills, I managed to get pegged in the neck with a sizeable yeast roll. Youch. It tasted good, though!
From there we went to our hotel, which wasn't quite ready for us yet, so we took the opportunity to look around Orange Beach a little and get our bearings. There isn't much to it, really, but we were ok with that. It's next door to Gulf Shores, which has all the cheesy beach stuff you could ever want, so we aren't far from anything we might want to do! We did accidentally drive into Florida, which we had no idea was as close as it was! When we returned, they let us up to our room and after dropping off my stuff, I immediately went out to the beach! Steve didn't come with me, as he was getting settled, but I couldn't wait! It was cold, y'all. I knew it wouldn't be warm, but geez. I was wearing three layers and the wind went through all of them! I didn't care though! I was at the beach! BEAAAAAAAAAAAACH!! (If you aren't aware, I enjoy visiting the coast of pretty much anywhere. Just FYI.) I walked around and took some pictures for a while. It's really beautiful, even if it's not bright and warm. I think I could just stand and listen to the waves for hours, regardless of the weather.
I thought Steve would come out, but he never did. I got cold waiting, so I finally went back inside. Steve had fallen asleep while I'd been out there (he must've been tired!) and so I took that opportunity to get myself settled. Our room has been changed from what we were supposed to be in, so we are on the second floor, right over the pool. The pool is indoor/outdoor and our room is right above the archway where it goes from indoor to outdoor, so we can go out on our balcony and look straight down to see who's in there. The bad part of that, though, is that because of where we are A) the pool light shines directly into our room, and B) anyone in the pool or hot tub can see into our room if we don't have the black-out curtain pulled. Oh well, I don't really care. I didn't want to wake Steve up, so I sat back to read for a while and dozed off myself! Oops. Well, when on vacation, I guess! We both woke up later and realized that we were hungry again, only it was getting kind of late. One thing about visiting a beach town during the WAY off season is that not a whole lot of things stay open late. We did find a good Italian place called Franco's, which had some awesome food. We closed the place down, which I felt bad about, but they seated us when we came in, so I guess they didn't care!
We weren't tired after our nap, so after dinner we drove over to Gulf Shores to look around. It was practically deserted, but that was fine. We were only going to be spending one full day down there, so we were finding places we wanted to see the next day. We did make one stop, to an Alvin's Island, which was still open. If you've never been to an Alvin's Island before, it's one of those ubiquitous (and I mean that literally, because wherever I've been to a beach, there have been numerous Alvin's Island stores in each town) souvenir stores where you can get anything from hermit crabs to knee boards. Seriously, any brightly colored, airbrushed, carved from a coconut thing with a stamp from whatever city you're visiting at the time you might want, they have it. It's the kind of place where you can find a tee-shirt for the "FBI: Female Body Inspector" or whatever pop culture slogan that is popular that year (I saw a lot of YOLO things, although I thought that had become passe by now.) You can also usually find skimpy bathing suits and slutty dresses upstairs, you know, for those who forgot to bring their own from home. It's the kind of place I equate with teenage girls making bad decisions while on vacation, or someone who thinks "Crap! I forgot to get Uncle Cleatus a souvenir! Oh, this mug shaped like a naked boob with the nipple you can drink out of, with Gulf Shores (or wherever) stamped on it will be perfect!" I won't lie, though, we visit one usually every time we are near. You kind of have to. It's tradition! :)
After that we came back to our hotel! Tomorrow is New Year's Eve, and our only full day down here, so we are going to bed so we don't sleep all day!