Date: March 7th, 2017
From/To: Fort Morgan AL/Gulfport MS
Daily Mileage: 80 miles
Total Mileage: 490 miles
Conditions: Overcast, wind in all directions (mostly head winds)
I woke up around 8:00. After packing up some of my gear I made my way to the main house to catch up with my hosts. They were already up, and Brenda was making breakfast while everyone else navigated from one place to the next, crowding up the kitchen (or “rocking the boat,” as Brenda liked to say). I was offered coffee, but not the usual routine coffee I drink most mornings. This coffee came with an Irish Cream Liqueur mixed in, another new favorite of mine. I had myself two cups of coffee, and enjoyed some eggs over easy, with grits and some bacon on the side. I still couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have waltzed into this situation. We sat out on the porch after breakfast, watching the pier that the ferry docked at, which was visible from the porch, just a mile west of their home along the shore. We saw the ferry coming in, I said my goodbyes, left my contact info, and made my way down the road towards the ferry loading dock. I took the ferry out of Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island at 10:45.
After the ferry, I started off from Dauphin Island, taking Alabama’s costal connection (193) from the island to the mainland, and from there I took 188 through Bayou la Batre to Grand Bay, then crossing the Alabama-Mississippi border.
Most of the road I took today went past shrimping and fishing towns, home to large many large vessels docked along the coast waiting for their next journey out to sea. From Grand Bay I linked back up with Route 90, again (Remember, I’ve been on and off 90 since I started the trip in Florida. 90 runs all the way to Texas, and is the older highway now replaced by Route 10). Most of the road I passed though were now covered with the remnants of what I’m sure was yet another successful Mardi Gras. The streets were littered with mangled beads and ribbons, serving as a possible threat to my safety as I biked through them. I passed through Pascagoula, another welcoming costal city in Mississippi, along with some other scenic towns ultimately landing me in Gulfport, MS. I’d been racing to get there before 4:30, because my Alabama hosts strongly recommended that I check out Jefferson Davis’s last home. I thought that would be an interesting addition to my trip, and luckily I made it just in time for the final tour of the day.
Davis inherited the home after the war from a previous owner, and was the third person to own the estate. He used the home as a location to write a book on the Civil War, titled “The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government.” Prior to this, the only literature on the Civil War was written from the Union side, so Davis was tasked with an important job, representing the perspective of the Confederacy.
Above are two pictures I took from his living room. The instruments were used as a primary source of entertainment for guests. The harp is authentic, and the piano had to be reconstructed after Hurricane Katrina. The hurricane almost entirely destroyed Beauvoir, and it took nearly four years to fully reconstruct and repair the house to its authentic integrity.
The tour ended around 5:30, leading out to the burial grounds that now contain the remains of thousands of Confederate soldiers and families. In 1903, Mrs. Davis sold the property to the 4th and current owners today, The Mississippi Division of Sons of the Confederate Veterans with an understanding of two provisions. 1). The home would be used as a retirement home for Confederate veterans, wives, and widows of the confederate soldiers. 2). Once the last veteran, wife, and/or widow leaves here, then property would be shrine to Jefferson Davis. That is currently the purpose of this land. I was able to enter back into the home to take some pictures after the tour, and I was then escorted to the exit by out tour guide, who was then able to answer some detailed questions I had regarding the costal forts around the northeast US (as mentioned in the previous blog).
My perspective on these matters may be on sided, but I have come to know many people who stand on the other side. We remain the United States for the purpose of democracy, what we represent as a collective group cannot be broken into pieces. We’ve had our differences in the past, blood has been shed over it, and now we stand united under one flag no matter what flies below or beside it. I am humbled by my experience traveling through the South and I am forever grateful for the hospitality I’ve been offered thus far. These people welcomed me with open arms, and I will always remember their kindness, hoping some day I can pay it forward.
After y tour I made my way half a mile down the road to a Motel6. I wasn’t up too late, tomorrow will bring a long haul to “The Big Easy.”
Enjoy The Ride,