Tuesday 4/9 Blackwater Florida – De Soto National Forest Mississippi
Truth be told, I had my doubts about the south. Alabama in particular is a spoopydoopy place in my imaginings, full of chewing tobacco and risings again. However, the good ole boys have done the vanish life right. This is the land of a Planet Fitness every few hours, cheap as heck gas, and truly wonderful free campsites. Our sleepy little corner of Blackwater Florida was very much the latter (The lattest? The tertiarier? There ought to be a word for this situation other than “the third of these things”), right amount of moist, more chirpies than mosquitos, and a gator free hike. Between these amenities and our recent discovery that if one adds instant coffee to their pour overed brew, one’s hatred for the morning sun somewhat lessens, our pre-noon drive was all grins, filled with the joys of Ivy Soul’s first album, the endearingly underwhelming J Cole, and a deepening appreciation for just how crazy well written the Dissect Podcast (longform analysis of TPAB) really is. Our NOLA bound route unfortunately took us back into my most feared of AL states, but the roads really were cute as heck, so I wasn’t too upset. I had no idea there were so many pines in this part of the country, and I’ve always liked highways running through swamps.
We stopped for the afternoon in Mobile, which seems a really intriguing place. The streets through downtown were bone ass empty. I’ve been in a ghost town or two, but never one of quite this size or quantity of country pop venues. Right by the water is a park framed by flags, cartoon color palette statues, and plaques naming Mobile the birthplace of Mardi Gras. On main street there is an enormous and rather ugly temple looking building, framed by wildly well endowed sphinx’s and held shut by chain, padlock, and heavenly wrath. One block North is a spectacularly sick series of celebrity murals, including the most badass looking Willy Nelson, and a young MJ holding his older face like a mask. A couple more blocks and one finds a window display for youth artists of Mobile. One of the pieces is a kind of consumerist critique reimagining the packaging of popular products to more accurately depict their functions. It was really cool stuff made us feel things n what not.
Anyway, the sky at some point decided to stop playing around and commit a little more seriously to the idea of rain, which we decided was our queue to check out the local PF. And here, we found the entire population of Mobile. I cannot overstate how packed the place was. 5 or 6 people shared each treadmill, 10 or 12 to each elliptical. Rather than wait the several hours necessary to get on a bench press, people had started lifting one another. A number of small children inhabited each locker, offering to watch your towel for the lowest price in town. In other words, ‘twas bumping.
We got some tasties from a smoothie king in the parking lot, flavor blaster with powerbuidlingproteinsupershakerhorsepowerhugeassmusclemanflavor. Full of that power, we hit the road like slappin salmon and gunned it for NOLA, not stopping till we found a nice free campsite somewhere in Mississippi.