Gulf Shores Bike Trail to Beautiful Sunset Beach

Gulf Shores Sunset

Branyon Backcountry Trail

Bike ride

Bike ride

I would like to say that every day is filled with a bike ride and a walk on the beach, but at least, today, it was.  We use to spend quite a bit of time in Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, and Perdido Key, but haven’t made it down here in the last 6 months.  This is our absolutely favorite time of year to be down here.  The beaches and parks are usually empty, the temperature is still pretty nice.

After getting some work done at home we drove down to a bike trail in Orange Beach that is easy to find but not on many maps or searches.  The Hugh S Branyon Backcountry Trail, which starts and runs through Gulf State Park, is a paved trail that have several different 1-2 mile sections that runs through the sand dunes and some beautiful nature areas.  We have driven by several times in the past but never stopped to ride the tail.

Of course no day would be complete down here without a walk on the beach.  We made it over to the sand just in time to see the sun set.  I walked a few miles down the beach and then we had dinner at a restraunt there on the beach, The Hangout.

I am always amazed at the beauty of the beach and the ocean.  I have seen it so many times, in many different states and countries and it still has some magical, almost mystic quality.  A place that for one reason or another allows you to remove the routine of life and the busy world around you and leaves you with sand and water… but a lot of sand, and an unreal amount of water.

I think people are attracted to the beach because it represents life.  Water that is living, breathing, and a constantly changing yet every time you go to the same beach, it looks relatively the same.  Taking a walk a few miles down a nice white sand beach (especially in January) is a spiritual thing, and I will take a walk any chance I get.  Here are some photos from the day.

Our 1979 Morgan Out Island 33 Sailboat has Sold

Scott and Deborah When They Bought LAUGHALOT

Sailboats in the Bear Point Marina

Today we have officially moved on to a new chapter in our leisure time life.  We have sold our sailboat in Orange Beach, the 1979 Morgan Out Island 33 which we bought in Tampa in April of 2007.  We had big dreams for this particular sailboat (over the other two sailboats we have owned) but we finally decided the distance from Auburn to Orange Beach was just to much to maintain. Plans are to replace her with a tiny little camper and go back to our camping roots and get to know some of the land and parks here in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida.

We first officially put the sailboat up for sale on June 3rd (For Sale: 1979 Morgan Out Island 33 Sailboat in Orange Beach) but decided by September that we needed to go ahead and sell the boat.  Our philosophy has been pretty much the same every since we got married.  If we are not using it, and well, then we don’t need it and should not keep what ever that happens to be at the time.  Having sold on eBay full time for many years, and the Internet in general, people tend to want to get what they paid for on items when they go to resell them, we know this just isn’t the case (see also What is Your Blog or Internet Business Worth // eBay or Sitepoint?), so, when we want to sell something, we sell it.

This is good for the buyer of course, but when we have made up our mind to do something, we would rather do it than sit around for month after month working on it.  When we started looking for this boat, a Morgan Out Island, there were not many on the market, but the ones that were on the market, are actually still on the market, 18 months later.  Not because they are not good boats, they are, but because these people refused to sell something for what someone else would pay for it.  A concept we don’t get.  So we sold it for half of what we paid for it, but we had some wonderful times on the boat and great memories, worth more than what we paid or sold the boat for anyway.

Now it is time to move on, although we will both miss having this sailboat, she was great.

Continue reading “Our 1979 Morgan Out Island 33 Sailboat has Sold”

1979 Morgan Out Island 33 Sailboat in Orange Beach For Sale

Morgan Out Island 33 For Sale

This is probably the saddest post I could make on this blog but we have come to the decision that we can not keep up with our house here and the boat we love down at the coast.

I will be posted more photos and information as time goes on but you can look through this blog and all the posts and history of the boat to know what we are selling. It is a 1979 Morgan Out Island 33 in great shape. We had put a lot of hard work into her since we purchase her in Tampa in 2006. The only issue she has at all is the 50hp Perkins motor needs a new head gasket. The Perkins has been serviced, a new heat exchanger installed, filters changed, and she runs GREAT. Starts right up every time, but she does need the header gasket replaced.

Comes with all sails and equipment needed to take an off-shore cruise to the keys or Bahamas. I will post the latest survey soon. We did not have one done as we did not continue the coast guard registration process. Along with all the normals for a boat this size, it also has a GREAT marine a/c and heater unit. We used this all summer last year and this winter and it works great. It is a very roomy cabin, perfect for a live-a-board with the headroom and sleeps at least 5 comfortably. The interior is very clean and in very nice condition. Floors and wood work on the inside are in great shape. Two water holding tanks that hold about 50 gallons of water, a 35 gallon diesel tank, working head and fresh water shower.

To see the history of the vessel please visit the history page, you can also see the most recent survey as well. We had not completed the name change so it is still technically called the s/v LAUGHALOT. The boat is located at the Bear Point Marina in Orange Beach Alabama. You are more than welcome to visit the marina to see the boat. The current asking price is $19,500. The current NADA price is about $23,000 but we have discounted the header gasket work that needs to be done, which should only be about $1500 or so. The marina is VERY nice and the slip is very reasonable at $350 per month, which includes electric, water, phone, and cable.

Any questions at all please let us know through the contact page above and I will be happy to return your email. You can also ask your questions through the comment box below and I will post answers there publicly.

Here are some recent photos. I am sure the new owner will enjoy it as much as we have. We spent many weekends on the boat and enjoyed each one.

Deborah on the Sailboat

Morgan Out Island 33 For Sale

Inside the Cabin












History of Morgan Out Island 33 Sailboat, Hull Number MRY02337M79B

the Island Zephyr

History of the Morgan Out Island 33

Below you will find a brief history of our vessel as best we can put it together. If you are a Morgan Out Island owner or recognize the hull number and have more information we would be thrilled to hear from you. Please go to our contact page and let us know. If you have a site that shows the history of your Morgan Out Island we would love to see it as well.

Vessel Background and History

  • 1979 Morgan Out Island 332 Sailing Sloop
  • IMO Hull Number – MRY02337M79B-333
  • Hull [USGS Documentation] No. 599460 Net 12
  • Manufacture – Morgan Marine, Largo, Florida: Main Plan; Morgan Yatch, 7200 Bryan Dairy Road, Largo, FL 33543 [813-544-6681]
  • LOA – 33′
  • LWL – 27’6″
  • Draft [Tirant d’eau] – 3’9″
  • Beam – 11’10”
  • Displacement – 14,500 lbs
  • Net Registered Tonnage – 12 tons
  • Sail Area – 525 Square Feet
  • Hull Speed – [1.34] [27.5] = 7.02 kn
  • Vertical Clearance – 48’9″ [with 30″ antenna] Stated 46’3″
  • Water Capacity – 50 U.S. Gallons [30 gallon v-birth / 20 gallon bunk starboard]
  • Engine – Perkins 4-108 50HP [Serial # ED22195U611945D]

1979 – 1995

Little is known about the history of our boat prior during this time. We can find no records but can assume the owners name and information from a 1995 vessel survey that was completed, which we have now converted into a pdf file. We were told that extensive log books existed and very detailed records about all the vessels voyages were kept until an angry wife through everything away around 2004.

  • Owner -Unknown
  • Christened Name – s/v Chablis
  • Home Port – unknown (Chesapeake Bay Area)

1995 – 2004

As far as we can tell, the boat traveled extensively throughout the Bahama islands. We recovered a very very old GPS which still had track and route data that could be downloaded and we were able to pinpoint the waypoint locations.

  • Possible Owners – David Salinger / Don Fletcher / J Guy St. Pierre
  • USGS Documentation No. 599460 Net 12 appears on paperwork
  • Christened Name – s/v Hopewell
  • Home Port – Palm City, Florida
  • Destination Ports –

2004 – 2006

At this time it seems to owner for many years had taken ill and was not able to travel on her much and it sat in the marina from this point until we purchased her and had her delivered to us in Alabama. Not much was done during this time, no maintenance of any kind as far as we can tell. It did ride out two hurricanes anchored out with many of the other vessels from this marina and suffered no damage during either storm.

2006 -2007

The boat was finally sold to a broker close to the marina (as a personal boat of the broker), which also (reportedly) had health issues and had to sell the boat. The new owner was told there was not a thing wrong with it (proof from the survey) and kept it one month before she decided to sell it herself.

  • Owner – Margo Robison
  • Christened Name – s/v LAUGHALOT
  • Home Port – New Port Richey, FL

2007 -2008

The boat was purchased by the current owners in May and delivered to the Gulf Coast of Alabama by a delivery Captain from the New Port Richie Florida area. It was determined at that time that the heat exchanger needed to be replaced and the main head gasket on the Perkins also needed to be replaced at some point. The sail from Tampa to Orange Beach was an uneventful one and she sailed beautify according to the delivery Captain. The next 12 months were spent in the slip doing cleaning and general maintenance and enjoying long weekends on the boat (see coastal). We decided to sell her in 2008 to someone who could spent more time with her than the schedule we now have to keep. It is a great boat and we hope the new owner will be as happy with her as we were.

  • Owner – Scott and Deborah Fillmer
  • Christened Name – s/v LAUGHALOT / s/v Island Zephyr
  • Home Port – Bear Point Marina, Orange Beach (Gulf Coast of Alabama)

Survey Value

The 2004 survey is posted here (download 2004 survey in pdf) lists the value at $33,000 and a replacement value of $125,000. Additional photos will also be placed on the website at The NADA guide value is also listed between $20,100 and $22,600 in standard used condition (which is the case here).

Additional Blog Posts About the Morgan

Dinner at LuLu's Homeport and the Bama Breeze

bama breeze

We drove down to the coast today. We try to come down to the gulf coast as often as we can since this is where our sailboat is located (see this blog under the category coastal or tagged under sailboat). This is actually getting more of a challenge with the price of gas now close to $4.00/gallon down here, but it is still reachable, just would be nice in some gas friendly car.

Who knows, I may look back at this post in 6 months and the price may be $5.00/gallon by then. Makes our trip to Colorado in late summer a load of fun, gas wise.  Either way, we love it down here and we try to come as often as we can (which seems to never be enough).  Our favorite time to come down to the gulf coast is in the off season, you never have to wait for a table and the beaches are always clean and empty.  Of course one thing we love to do while we are down here on the coast is eat, and Orange Beach and Gulf Shores has no shortage of good places to eat.

There is Some Great Food Down Here

There are several restaurants we love eating at down here. Tonight are going to LuLu’s at Homeport, which is a localish restaurant (meaning it is half touristy and half locals) and tonight should be a great set by John Reno and The Half-Fast Creekers.

John Reno andthe half-fast creekers

The band played longer than we stuck around but they played a nice mix of their own music and the usual known pop most bands play for the tourists. I guess those here for their vacation expect to hear Cheese Burger in Paradise at some point when they come down here. Deborah and I enjoy hearing songs we know, but we do like hearing the original music each band creates, they all have their own flavor.

His music can be defined as trop rock – a mixture of rock-n-roll with an island theme. John Reno and the Half-Fast Creekers have been described as Hoagy Carmichael meets Toby Keith in Margaritaville! LuLu’s

One reason we love to go to LuLu’s when we are down here is for the live music. It isn’t the most quiet place in the world for sure, and probably not the cheapest, but if you are in Alabama’s gulf coast, stop by and have their open faced crab melt sandwich and enjoy some local music.

Nature in View

Down here there is always something going on. When we got back from dinner we had a nice pod of dolphins that were having a feast on the fish they had pushed into the cove across from our sailboat. We watched them jump, play, and eat for about 30 minutes and then sat in the cockpit of our boat and listened to them until we went to sleep.

There is always the Pelican, Sea Gull, and all the other water birds constantly flying around but we also have a pesky Gray Heron that seems to think our slip is his domain. He squawked at me several times trying to get on the boat and then again as he reclaimed his territory. The dolphins were kicking up so many fish that he was just waiting to pounce and he several nice dinners.

Other Images

A few other images from LuLu’s last night. The Bama Breeze (from the song of the same name, but I am pretty sure this is not the original) is just off the sand mound from LuLu’s and for the previous year we had been coming to this restaurant we didn’t even know it was out there. There was also another photographer there last night, she was shooting some private party but we shot her shooting them (really cool dreds too).

Scott at LuLu's at Homeport

The wait for a table in the summer time is supposed to be very very long, but we have never had to wait for a table, not once. Of course we have been there mostly in the winter and early dinner in summer but, still, no wait at all.

Pitching a Tent on the Empty Gulf Shores Beach

The weather is wonderful. It is cooling down, finally, and we found this fabulous tent thing at the dollar store. Can I hide out here forever? Scott says no, so tomorrow it is back to the house and back to our day jobs.

When we arrived at the boat there was a pod of dolphins, about 50 to 100 individuals, there to greet us. They were chasing schools of fish toward the shore and having a feast. Fascinating! Today we are off to the Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores. Scott loves shrimp. Me, not so much. But I did spot a corn dog vendor yesterday while we were touring the arts and crafts part of the festival, so I’m set.  I love sitting on the beach with not another person around.  The photo here is just about what it is like here right now, empty on this beach.  It is October and everyone is doing other things.

Thunderstorms on Perdido Key and Bearpoint Marina

Storm at Perdido Key

Friday morning we left for the boat for a long relaxing anniversary weekend on the boat. Scott’s parents had rented a condo for the week in Perdido Key, so when we arrived in Orange Beach we unloaded the boat stuff and headed over to the condo to visit. Scott and his parents went for a swim while I watched from the beach. They all headed out of the water when something kept stinging or biting the guys. The stings weren’t terribly painful, something like ant bites, but they couldn’t tell what the culprit was so they opted to depart the waves for a shower in the condo and dinner.

We dropped them off back at the condo after a good, but odd dinner at Doc’s Seafood Shack, Orange Beach and went for a walk on the beach before returning to the boat. If you haven’t been to Doc’s, you are missing quite an experience. The restaurant is an interesting little place to say the least. It is truly a shack in every sense of the word. Structurally sound, it is not. Driving by the place one has a sense that the food must be very good because the parking lot is always full. Upon closer inspection it is revealed that the parking lot is just woefully inadequate. This is not a reflection on the food, just poor planning.

This planning runs over into the construction of the shack itself. A building that should have been condemned many years ago, the restaurant consists of three to four rooms that seem to have been added one at a time to the initial existing structure, accommodating the increase in patronage through the years. Hence the lack of parking space. The walls are buckled in all the rooms from years of leaky air conditioning ducts, salt filled air and humidity.

There is a sign out front that reads “Local Food, Local Atmosphere”. Inside the entryway is a gum ball/game machine that we have personally witnessed several kids and more than one adult loose quarter after quarter in because they could not make the suction cup stick to a gigantic gum ball, which is the objective of the game. Even Scott’s father gave two quarters to his mom so she could try her luck. In another corner sits another game machine.

This one filled with water and a couple of pathetic looking lobsters. A claw hangs from above and for $3 you can try your hand at catching one of the lobsters with the claw. If you are lucky(?) enough to capture one of these creatures the restaurant will cook it for you for free. The place is quirky indeed, but the food is local seafood and the price is very reasonable.

The remainder of our weekend was spent listening to NOAA weather radio and watching the skies. The “showers and thunderstorms” that the NOAA voice reported to be imminent were and we enjoyed watching them roll in and over the boat. We were even treated to a rainbow while Scott tried his hand at fishing again. Dinner’s out were at the Oyster Bar in Perdido Key, FL and the Jolly Roger at the marina. Here are the photos, enjoy.

Storm at the marina

Pretty Bird

Scott fishing under the rainbow

Sunset from the bow of Laughalot