|Mona’s Third Sunrise!|
Monte’s 70th birthday is this week and he decided he wanted to celebrate it somewhere warm. To meet that goal we set out early morning on Friday, headed to Panama City Beach, Florida. In fact, we were so early that Mona got to see her third sunrise of the year! In fact, I think it’s also her third sunrise of this century! Of course, she was all aglow with delight….NOT! It’s times like these that I think maybe she might have some of Bill and Eric’s vampire blood in her!
We had never driven through the south at this time of year (M&A have, but we have not) and so it was our first time seeing the cotton harvest. As like corn and beans, they use combines (they call them “pickers”) for harvest, but they only pick six rows at a time. The picker ends up leaving huge ten-ton bales of cotton on the ground waiting to be hauled to the cotton gin. Couldn’t begin to count how many bales we saw….very impressive!
We spent the night at a Harrah’s hotel in Tunica, Mississippi. This is the third-largest gambling area of the United States, behind Vegas and Atlantic City, and hosts ten casinos scattered along a ten mile strip of the Mississippi. Like Vegas, the casinos look like neon palaces, but these are like the casinos in St. Louis; meaning that they are actually huge floating barges. (Yet another archaic law…don’t get me started.)
One area has three casinos within walking distance so we visited each of them to try to donate to the local economy. We finished up around 5:30 (not very hardcore gamblers, are we?) and headed to our car. Much to our surprise, there were about 15 hot air balloons in the parking lot. There were none when we went in! It was the Balloon Glow for the First Annual Tunica Hot Air Balloon Fest. We’ve always managed to miss the STL balloon glow and here we just stumbled onto this one! They had a great band playing country rock and every few minutes the balloons would be fired up, glowing in the night sky. Too cool!
We stopped for breakfast in central Mississippi. This was M&A’s first Waffle House so Aleta decided that she must of course have a waffle. Our food came…minus the waffle. The three of us ate…still no waffle. Flagged down the waitress…no waffle. F…i…n…a…l…l…y the waffle! I guess they wanted her first waffle to be absolutely perfect so they discarded twenty or thirty of them before they found the perfect first-timer waffle!
After about ten hours of driving we made it to our hotel, Marriott Legends Edge in Panama City Beach, Florida. We were tired and hungry so after dumping our bags in our condo we walked over to get our first meal in Florida for this trip. Seafood and martinis for all! That’s the way to start a Florida vacation!!!