The morning ritual went as true to form as it has for the past months. Coffee with Maggie Rodriguez, Harry Smith, and Julie Chen from the Early Show. OK, I’ve had enough of Mrs. Obama already. Over to the eliptical machine, weights and sauna that anchor down the east side of the clubhouse. Back to the rig for a late breakfast. Lying under the redneck riviera sun, I grew bored quickly. A fast jaunt on the internet to find something quick. And then it was decided…..Dauphin Island, separating Mobile Bay from the Gulf. I pack the cameras and Brutus into the Jeep in moments. Robin is still a bit flustered that I can decide and be ready to go to a place, unknown moments before, in a matter of two minutes. But soon we’re rolling down Highway 59 turning right toward Fort Morgan at the end of the peninsula. The road winds and weaves between white beaches and pastel cottages sitting atop dozens of utility poles. It’s a twenty-five mile road to lands end and the ferry. I look in amazement at the number of homes for sale. I wonder if it’s the economy, people tiring of their abode, or frustration with hurricanes. The windows are down, the stereo beats out sounds of the oldies, while I straddle the center line. No traffic is coming in my direction. I own the road now. In a half hour the road ends at the water. The ferry isn’t in yet. I park and wait, grabbing for my Canon. I focus in and realize I left the flashcard back on the counter. Frustrated with myself, I grab Robin’s camera, only to learn she needs batteries. I steal the ones from my flash and at least I”m set for a few pix now. Twelve vehicles align on the ferry and we’re off to Dauphin Island, twenty minutes across the bay. A Coast Guard helicopter caroms from the wind on the stern side and dips sideways to offer a quick hello. Pelicans aren’t nearly as cute as they appeared in my third grade reader. In fact, they’re quite dirty and not aesthetically pleasant. Oil derricks dot the seascape, providing slaloms for the inbound cargo ships. I’m excited. Fourteen miles long and a half mile wide, I’m eagerly awaiting life on a typical tropical isle. Off the ferry and a campground directly to our left proves a worthy place to stay if we ever return. But we go due west to explore the entire island. Where are the shops? Where is the eye candy? As the road rolls under our feet I’m now wondering where in the hell do these people buy milk and bread. Moving past more stilted pastel clapboards, empty, awaiting spring break. We pass a school. It must contain the entire K-12. Two young children play in the mud along the roadside. Oh, the joys of not knowing worry in the minds of the young. The road ends at the water. There is no more island. There is….no more. And we have yet to see any quaint little…..anythings. I decide the return trip will be via an unknown route. I like it best that way. We drive across Three Mile bridge and into the heart of southern Alabama. I have no damn idea of where I am and where I’m going. I am delirious with wanderlust. An out of the way vegetable and fruit stand draws us to a stop. Fresh corn on the cob in early March. Life is good today. But the network’s light rock is as bland as the homes along the wayside. On toward Mobile, ringed with bypass expressways. Their sprawl goes on, mile after mile. It seems I haven’t seen anything taller than a 50-foot hill for hours now. Soon I’ll hit Interstate 10 back toward Pensacola. And there it is. A myriad of phone chatting drivers weaving in and out of lanes. Back across Mobile Bay and off to our portside lies the USS Alabama. Robin wonders why I have no interest in mounting the steel behemoth. Just not my cup of tea. My dad served on a destroyer. That was as close to the Navy as I’ve become. Alas, exit 44, south on 59 heading back toward Gulf Shores. A quick stop at a local bakery introduces me to the idea of a rodeo and LeeAnn Womack on Saturday night. I ask the counter lady…..where? And she sneers at my raspy Yankee accent and scolds me that it’s right behind Robertsdale High School. As if I’ve been on another planet for not knowing. Perchance we shall don our Stetson’s and boots and take in the rodeo this Saturday evening. As for now, I need to just sit for awhile and put the gypsy genes to bed.