We spent the past two nights at Davis Bayou in Ocean Springs, MS, part of Gulf Islands National Seashore. The Mississippi Gulf islands are only accessible by boat, but there is a small area of National Park on Davis Bayou, on the mainland. It’s a very nice campground, lots of trees, a great area to ride bikes and walk. And it’s only $8 (water and electric) with Jim’s senior pass! Not sure why we never camped here before when we lived in Pensacola. Guess living so close to the beach, we were always wanting to head to the mountains and forests.
After we got set up, the camp host came by, and Jim walked over to the office to get a trail map. A couple pulled up on bikes, and asked if I was Gayle. He said he read the blog that morning and figured we would be staying here. It was John and Ellen, and as it turns out I had read their blog in the past, which apparently he no longer writes. After Jim came back we chatted for a few minutes about their upcoming plans to volunteer for the NPS in Georgia and South Carolina. Sorry we didn’t get to talk with them longer, but we were all getting eaten up by no-see-ums.
We then got out the Off, sprayed down and went for a walk around the park and the bayou before the sun went down. I’m sure not liking these short days.
Yesterday morning I made a run to Wal-Mart, just a mile or so east of the park entrance, while Jim did some backing up on the computer. After lunch we went for a bike ride around Ocean Springs. There is a bike route around town, and although there are signs, we managed to miss some and were glad to have had the map. We ended up riding over 18 miles. Ocean Springs is a beautiful area, with a historic downtown full of galleries, shops, restaurants, and lovely old homes. Except for some still vacant lots along the water, there is no other evidence of the damage it suffered in 2005 from hurricane Katrina.
We rode past this tree with a sign on it. Guess they figured the age by the circumference. It was huge, but there were lots of others just as big.
After leaving downtown, we followed the route to the beaches, which took us to the Biloxi Bay Bridge. The original bridge had been destroyed by Katrina, and this new six lane structure replaced it, partially opening more than two years after the hurricane. All six lanes opened in April 2008, including a wide bike/pedestrian lane.
I found this photo of the damaged bridge.
And the new super structure, 1.7 miles long.
When we realized we could ride over it, we set off for Biloxi. The last time we were there after Katrina, the Grand Casino’s main gambling structure was about a mile down the road on the other side of the water. The casinos all had to be built on the water, so they were all washed away. When the state realized how much revenue they were losing, they changed the law to allow them be on land.
Remnants of the old Grand behind the blue fencing. The casino is now across the road in the hotel. That’s the Palace Casino and hotel in the background.
The Hard Rock was just about to have it’s grand opening when Katrina hit. Looks like they are back to normal now.
Biloxi is certainly not the bustling place it used to be, since now there are only a handful of casinos. All the small ones on the water, some of which were actually on boats, were destroyed and haven’t been rebuilt. I’m sure the economy has a lot to do with that.
We had an enjoyable couple days here, but we’re moving on to Lafayette, LA for the weekend.