It is summer vacation season and lots of people from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and other states are headed to the beaches in Alabama and Florida. Their travels will, more times than not, take them through Mobile Alabama on I 10. Most of the beach rental units turnover on Saturday ( old renters moving out and new renters moving in) causing a gigantic traffic jam on I 10 and an even worse traffic nightmare on 59 headed to the Alabama Gulf Shore. Don’t think this won’t happen to you….It will.
On a recent trip to Fort Morgan Alabama, Tastes Like Travel had a first had experience with this traffic nightmare. After spending the night in Natchez Mississippi, our GPS told use we were in for a leisurely 5 hour trip to our destination. Wow if that was only true. About 5 miles east of the George Wallace tunnel the traffic headed east was at a slow crawl. At 3 miles the traffic was at a dead stop. A quick look at Google Maps on the Ipad told me the snarl was bumper to bumper all the way across the bay bridge. We immediately began looking for an alternative. We managed to drive North then South then East and probably saved us an hour and a half of misery but our destination was down 59 and the misery was just starting.
Fort Morgan Alabama is on the Alabama Gulf coast. Our options were 59 south off of I 10, 59 to the Foley Beach Tollway, or the Dauphin Island Ferry. Surely after a 2 hour delay on I 10 the short drive down 59 would not be bad. it was not bad, it was horrendous. At one point when we were 8 mile from 180 (our turn off) I calculated that there were a mere 2008 cars in each lane in front of us. It was excruciatingly painful to be 20 mile from your destination but over 2 hours away. We did survive but on the return trip the traffic escaping the beaches was equally painful.
If you are facing this trip take this advise. Consider taking the ferry from Dauphin Island to Fort Morgan. It will cost you anywhere from $20.00 and up (depending on how many passengers are in your car) to go across the bay, but it is worth it compared to spending four and a half hours driving the last 55 miles. The other option is to take 59 south and jump on the Foley Beach Tollway. It cost around $2.00 and you still have to drive a few miles down 59, but it will save you some miles and a lot of your sanity.
If you find yourself going to Orange Beach, Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores, or FloriBama, do yourself a favor and arrive early or late, or take the short cut of your choice. You will be glad you did.