I’m a little behind on my vacation updates…and today I’m going a little out of order..skipping some of the weekend (which I will post about later) and moving ahead to Monday.

Monday we woke up to moderate fog, a calm wind and very mild temperatures. I got my hotel breakfast and went out to eat at the outdoor tables on the deck overlooking the pool. Several kids were already in the pool, which was heated to about 80 degrees. I was recognized while eating breakfast, so took time out to chat.

Big problem – my cell phone wouldn’t charge. A friend that we know in Pensacola Beach said go to “Joe” and gave me directions. It was about 1 10-15 minute drive east of Gulf Shores. Turns out Joe doesn’t do cell phones, just computers…but said to go to Hector Chavez – who was awesome. OK…got directions…stopped next door to shop…the lady at the desk said “go to Hector Chavez – same guy. So off we go.

We found Hector and he quickly diagnosed the problem. He had it fixed in a little over half an hour. He also put on a new screen (mine had cracked) and I got a new case for me and for Gayle. We also stopped at a mall and got a couple of Christmas gifts.

The fog was starting to lift, the sky was still mostly cloudy as we turned north to head to Alabama and eventually connect with I-65. We passed an area where it seemed every 3rd house had a horse or two. We passed several farms where they had harvested cotton, which was packaged into giant rolls with colorful plastic coverings. We stopped to get gas. The price varied by quite a bit. We found a station at $2.91, while not to far down the road it was in the 3.30s. The car thermometer peaked held in the low 70s and the wind was light and from the south.

We happened to stop to eat lunch at a place called Open Pond (see pic above) We didn’t realize it until we got there, but it was the same place we stopped to each lunch 5 years ago. The pond is roughly 30 acres. There is a campsite on the south side of the lake. We saw four trailers there. There are hiking trails, a pier for fishing and the park offers non-motorized boating. There is a stone fireplace and shelter that was built by the CCC during the 1930s.

The park is full on pine trees and live oaks that don’t really lose their leaves until new ones grow in the spring, so the park looks pretty much the same in winter as it does in summer – quite green.

After lunch we meandered north, eventually linking up with I-65. It was an easy drive through Montgomery and we stopped for the night just south of Birmingham. At 1 am, the temperature in Birmingham was a relatively warm 65. It was colder as you went north…Nashville was 56, Louisville 46, Indianapolis 41, Grand Rapids 37, Ironwood MI 18 and Warroad MN was -15 deg. at midnight EDT.

We ate dinner at Cracker Barrel – spent time trying to solve the golf tee game they have on the tables, then came back to the hotel to watch Tom Brady and the Bucs. pull out a last second win on Monday Night football.

More tomorrow – Happy Tuesday, everybody!