We wish we could show you a picture of the Historic Oak of Thomasville, Georgia, but we can't because the air was so humid, and our camera so cold that the lens got all fogged over and we couldn't get the fog to go away! So we'll have to tell you. The Oak is, it seems to us, the principal tourist attraction in Thomasville, which was founded when a lot of Yankees built quail hunting clubs at the southern end of the railroad track. It (the oak) is The Gulf Coast Sand Dune has nearly white sand, with green grasses struggling to take root Gulf Coast sand dune 323 years old, 68 feet high, 25 feet in circumference, and has a 165 foot spread. It's been propped up over the years and occupies a large corner lot. We do recommend a look at the Oak.

The country around Thomasville, east of the Appalachicola, is just high enough for agriculture -- cotton, peanuts, pecans, and cattle. A number of houses had a small patch of sugar cane; we wondered if that was for homemade molasses or rum. This part of Georgia and Florida is definitely the home of the Crackers. As for the origin of the word "cracker", we've had several replies, with conflicting answers. We suggest our readers try the following website: http://kpearson.faculty.tcnj.edu/Dictionary/cracker.htm for fun and edification. Perhaps the most important advice is not to use the word as a racial slur -- that would be a hate crime in Florida!

As for us, we cut south to the Gulf, and entered the Central Time Zone. We travelled the coast from Port St. Joe to New Orleans, and can report On a three-level grey steel tower sits the oil rig in Mobile Bay Mobile Bay oil rig that business is booming. Wherever there is a sandy beach, not otherwise occupied by a park or wildlife refuge, the developers have planted a high rise condo, or an exclusive gated waterfront residential community, or elegant luxury yachting homes, or some other such. The broad white sand beaches looked just as inviting as when we first took our kids for an inexpensive summer holiday at Fort Walton Beach back in 1967, and oddly, just about as uncrowded. We think a lot of people just like to BE on the waterfront, without actually feeling the need to go INTO the water!

A line of thunderstorms passed us before we spent the night in Pensacola; it was pretty to watch the squalls approach over the water. The next day we especially enjoyed taking the coastal route out of Pensacola, going west and south to Fort Morgan, where we took a half-hour ferry across the mouth of Mobile Bay to Dauphin Island. From the deck of the ferry, looking all around the horizon, we counted no less than 25 oil rigs, two oil rig service boats, and three Coast Guard boats -- a buoy tender, a 44' lifeboat, and a utility boat. We have several pictures to share if you'd like.

The glittering Mississippi gambling establishments have changed the appearance of the coast, but don't seem to have brought much prosperity. Litton Shipbuilding has probably done more for the economy, with the assistance of Trent Lott. We did find good shrimp and oysters for lunch, though. Against the blue green waters and the grey blue sky, the Coast Guard buoy tender in the distance has a black hull, white superstructure, and tan stack.  The cutter is identifiable by the deep dip in the line of the hull where the decks are kept low to allow the heavy buoys to be lifted onto the cutter. Coast Guard buoy tender

As we continued west the character of the Gulf changed from beaches to bayous, with room for thousands of sport fishermen and plenty of commercial shrimpers, too. The fishing camp is not the desired venue for the wealthy waterfront retiree or second home, though. This part of the Gulf seems to be for people who like to go about in boats on the bewildering network of navigable waterways, rivers, bays, canals, bayous, and lakes which cover the land. Lots of shrimp boats were tied up at the docks. Is this not the season? There are plenty of great Gulf shrimp to eat. Or do they go out late at night?

We approached New Orleans on Highway 90. We recommend this route; what used to be the principal east-west highway is now a forgotten back road, as nobody who is going anywhere would think of taking anything but the Interstate. Good for them. The names of streets and places are French now, the food definitely New Orleans style, the people laid back and fun-loving. We're visiting Cajun Country again.