Sunday, 27 July 2014

riding west - short and sweet mississippi

Alabama night cloaks the Hardwoo as we head out of the panhandle and cross towards Mississippi , we stop for the night at a rest area just over the Alabama/Mississippi border. Our first impression of the state is given to us by a weathered and talkative security guard at the rest area seriously this guy looks and sounds like he should be a sheriff in a Clint Eastwood movie. A friendly sort though who says I remind him of his wife who recently passed away and cautions us about everything from local snakes to pickpockets in New Orleans.
 Worn by the road we are happy when he shows us to a spot where he says the transport trucks won't bother us and we're able to set up our camp chairs and have a couple of well needed drinks in the heat of our first Mississippi night.
We make some simple breakfast and set out, anxious to be on our way to New Orleans. We did however make a couple of stops that earn their mention. Seeing signage for Ocean springs along our way we decided to depart the highway in search of what might presumably be, well, a spring .
Well maybe there was a spring at one time maybe there still is,but find it we did not .
What we did find was a delightfully desolate beach , huge BBQ pits right on the beach , photogenic decaying fishing piers and the only business around is picturesque little yacht club renting hobby cats and small motorized fishing boats. If your there for the day I recommend taking in a game of giant chess. There's a board right on the beach although understandably, you do need to call for pieces. The board walk is a long and peaceful walk to the sound of the sea. It's a rare thing in North America to see a beach like this one where quiet contemplation is possible without the interference of loud and colorful sea side capitalism . The water is warm and calm although fairly shallow still fine for swimming also worth mention courtesy of our friendly security guard all beaches and parks in Mississippi are dog friendly.
It would be a shame to pass through Mississippi without trying some BBQ so we don't . On our way out of town we make a detour to what might be my favorite place yet. The Shed is a roadside BBQ joint that bills it's self as a BBQ and Blues family food and drinker, I love it.
The Shed is somewhat of a local legend it turns out , built by a brother and sister team out of, well, what could simply be called junk. popularized as a blues joint by another brother straight out of school for sound engineering . Today the blues is blasting and every inch of d├ęcor is plastered with a funny slogan, ceramic smiling pig , bullet holed license plate, scribbled love note or signature. So grab a seat and get into the overwhelming awesome kookiness. Rows of picnic tables make up the main "dining area" or do as we do and just sit right up at the bar and order up a refreshing midday beer .
We order The Shed combo plate 2 meats , 2 sides and 2 BBQ breads , we chose ribs and their world famous pulled pork. For sides collared greens and G-Maws famous beans . I'm a huge ribs fan for real. I order them whenever they look good wherever I am in the world and I can honestly say these are some of the best I've ever had, the beans are also a big thumbs up. After your meal if you feel the need to make your mark and salute The Shed at the same time , lick the last morsel of BBQ sauce off that plastic fork scribble your message on a 1$ bill and ram it into the celling above the bar.

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