BeachnRiver Kayak Rentals --- An Alabama Gulf Coast Vacation Amusement

The title of this blog should be:

Beach'n'River's Excellent Adventures ---A Journal of Reflection Written to Inspire, Offer Tips and Motivation To Those Who Challenge Themselves Daily To Take The Road Not Taken

In this blog you will discover how "River Rick" and "Beachin' Betty" spontaneously purchase a piece of property near Gulf Shores, on the Bon Secour River in Foley, Alabama while on a carefree Airstream Roadtrip to becoming proud owners of a kayak rental business --- BeachnRiver Canoe and Kayak Rentals.

Follow in this journal to discover how our dreams are nearly crushed by personal injury, natural disasters and financial hardships. Learn of our day to day struggles and triumphs meeting the challenges of self-employment.

Most of all discover yourself through this adventure.

Find the threads of commonality between us --- the desire to live a free life, to be happy in life --- and for some of us --- the desire to pass on some happiness to others.

If you like what you read and can identify, feel free to email or comment. We'd love to hear from you.

Most of all, if you chose to vacation in Bon Secour, Foley, Ft. Morgan, Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, Alabama, we hope you will consider choosing Beach'n'River Canoe and Kayak Rentals for your amusement and recreational desires.

Follow along on our adventures --- or better yet --- join us for a "Beachin' Good Time!"

"Hope On The Horizon" Says Dr. Guy Harvey ... But "It Takes Cash To Care"

Billy's Seafood Market On Bon Secour River, Bon Secour , AL Is Beautiful At Sunset.
JOURNAL ---  The photos above are of Billy's Seafood --- the only open air fish market located at the end of the road of a quaint fishing village of Bon Secour, just 15 or so miles NW of Gulf Shores, AL. The photos were taken at sunset--- a particularly beautiful time on the Bon Secour River.

The Workers At Billy's Seafood Market, Bon Secour, AL Are Helpful And Will Help You Make Selections.
The appeal of Billy's Seafood Market lies in the imperfections of the place. Billy's is basically a wooden shack perched on the water. The parking lot and bank are made of cast off oyster shells. The workers have names like "Bubba" and some sport mullets (the hairstyle) along with their white shrimping boots. Large shrimping boats dock in and around Billy's to unload their catch. 

Billy's Seafood Market In Bon Secour, AL Is The Only Open-Air Seafood Market Located On The Bon Secour River. Shrimpers Deliver Their Catch To Billy's Market And To Other Waterfront Markets Along The River.
The place smells fishy. It is not air-conditioned, yet fish and shrimp are nicely displayed on ice. That it still stands is a testimony of owner Billy Parks who has re-built after Hurricane Ivan  --- despite not having insurance. In my mind, it is one of the best and wholehearted reasons why I am hopelessly in love with where I live.

This place is filled with resilient "overcomers."

But Park's business/livlihood, along with countless other businesses (like ours), is struggling to survive after the BP oil spill attacked our coast.
Signs On Cty Rd 10 Foley, AL Direct Guests To Plenty Of Fresh Seafood.

Tourists To Gulf Shores, AL Hired Shrimping Charters Prior To BP Oil Spill.

The Captain's Galley On The Bon Secour River Was A Favored Restaurant To Enjoy Seafood Prior To BP Oil Spill

Up the road a bit The Captain's Galley --- a restaurant that has been in business for the past 25 years (except to rebuild after the past three hurricanes: Ivan, Dennis, Katrina) is now closed due to lack of customers --- thanks to the BP oil mess killing our tourism business. Report from Locust Fork News of Captain's Galley Closure

The Captain's Galley Has Been A Foley, AL  Business For 25 Years But Did Not Survive BP Oil Spill.
Countless other businesses are teetering on financial failure and the local news media has daily coverage of one business owner or another who says they may not survive until the end of the month --- yet alone the entire winter season. (I consider them the lucky ones --- at least their stories get picked up on the wires and get regional and national attention --- which may in fact boost their business. The businesses who are obscure from media attention will suffer most.)

These days are a real test for any "overcomer" and it takes shear will-power to remain "positive" in thinking --- especially when successful and long-standing businesses are falling like dominoes all around.

I was listening to a Joss Stone song earlier this morning, "The Choking Kind," and the lyrics "you can kill ... with a knife or you can take her pride" choked me up. "How true, I thought." Although the song had nothing to do with oil spills or financial struggles it got me to thinking about what has been the worst part of this whole BP mess --- the assault on our region's pride.

I get a knot in my throat when I think of how pristine our little Gulf Shores was prior to the oil spill.

As You Walk Gulf Shores, AL Beaches You Are Struck By Beauty Of Sugary White Sand.
Aside from having the whitest sandy beaches in the country, we are home to countless endangered species and a refuge for so many others.  Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
Cleaning oil from Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

Freshly Caught Shrimp Bon Secour, AL.
Oysters Served "Nude" Wintzells, Orange Beach, AL
The pride in our area is almost palpable. You don't just eat a plate full of raw oysters --- you are eating potentially the catch of the day from some happy local oyster man.

Royal Red Shrimp Are An Alabama Gulf Coast Pride.
Signs suggesting tourists buy "Alabama Wild Shrimp" were put up to help the industry --- yes --- but they are the Gulf Coast's bragging right. Our "Royal Reds" are a unique specialty that taste like lobster and come from no other place on the planet.

Our Gulf Shores tourism didn't rise on the backs of theme parks, high rise entertainment centers or the glitzy glamour found along many coastal areas.

Fishing Alabama's Gulf Coast At Gulf Shores Is A Favorite Pastime.
Our appeal was as a laid back "natural" destination --- a fishing destination --- a place to take the family to bathe in all of God's natural glory --- the kind of thing that some tourists long for but never get to see once the filter of commercialization sets in.

Speaking for myself, I didn't fall in love with Gulf Shores/Orange Beach because of nearby outlets and malls and proximity to numerous chains found in many "destination towns." I fell in love with the area because of the many "mom and pops" along the one road Hwy (59) and beach boulevard. 

You Can See Gulf Shores Beach Boulevard From The Inside Of This Popular Souvenir Shop.
In my mind these type businesses are what gives the "character" and charm to the area. It is not a forced "theme" park imposed feeling --- it is the "real thing" --- and the "character" comes from the owner's stamina to survive years of struggle forging a living where sand, water and wind continuously impose their will to overcome. 

This Photo Of A Rainbow Was Taken After A Gulf Shores, AL Storm.
You can't buy this type of  "feeling." 

So getting back to the "pride" issue. I can't explain how awful it has been to "take a chance" and "take time off"  from our negligible business to attend town hall meetings to witness our fellow (formerly successful) business owners BEGGING for honesty and truth from the representatives chosen to dole out due BP compensation.

After hearing story upon story of long standing businesses being denied for one phony reason or another we know we don't stand a chance of receiving any help. We are a new business started basically this year --- the spring the BP oil spill happened --- April 20. We were barely putting up wet boats from spring break business when the news hit and our business stalled.

BeachnRiver Kayak Rentals Readied For Gulf Shores, AL Guests To Kayak Bon Secour River .
I am not a naturally positive thinking individual. I am not the one who sees a pile of doo doo and begins to look for a pony.

I am the one who says "now THAT is one MESS of a PILE OF DOO DOO! How are we going to CLEAN THAT MESS UP!" ... and then I get after it.

If I find a pony at the bottom of the heap then I begin new thoughts, "What are we going to do to multiply this gift?" "How can we best use this gift?" "How can I say thanks?"

I have been trying to look for a silver lining in all this heartache. At least a few positive outcomes have resulted from the experience:

It Is Difficult To Believe This Was The Scene At Gulf Shores, AL Beaches During Summer After BP Spill.
There has been an onslaught of dialog about our little Gulf Shores, AL --- virtually putting us top of mind in media conversation. My guess is before the BP incident if you took a survey of ten people you might learn one was aware Alabama has a beach --- much less a beautiful coastline.

Several Concerts Were Held At Gulf Shores, AL Beaches To Raise Awareness Of Beauty Post BP Spill.
Another good thing?  Several fundraisers popped up and began raising money. Jimmy Buffett provided a free concert. The Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Alabama Gulf Coast Vacations, Coast 360 and others have worked day and night to put out a positive message that our beaches are still a great destination and several tourists have made personal commitments to support the Alabama Gulf Coast by keeping their vacation plans to the area.

There Are Many Spirited Restaurants In Gulf Shores And Orange Beach, AL.
I am an active participant in trying to promote the area. As much as I can I Twitter/Facebook and brag about our (now --- post Hurricane Ivan) fine dining establishments, the coastal birding trails and newly designated National Coastal Byway.

I actively participate on (newly award winning) Gulf Shores/Orange Beach Facebook Wall interjecting suggestions in answer to guest questions as a way to promote "off the beaten track" businesses.

I Love To Promote Seafood "Dives." Fish River Grill #2 In Foley, AL Is A "Do Not Miss."
Our first year business was severely impacted due to lack of tourists and negative public perception of our waters. With no budget to survive the winter, (much less spend on advertising) I'm going to stick my neck out here and (swallow my pride) to ask you to help us.

It Isn't Just About "Kayaking" At BeachnRiver Kayak Rentals In Foley, Al. Guests From Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Ono Island and Ft. Morgan Love The Gardens And Free-Range Chickens.
I need you to brag if you have had a good adventure at BeachnRiver Kayak Rentals .

If you take the time to brag on Alabama Gulf Coast Facebook Wall about your favorite restaurant --- why not brag about your kayaking adventure with BeachnRiver Kayak Rentals? It is no longer enough to just suggest "kayaking" --- there are other kayaking outfits --- so no one will know you mean "kayaking the Bon Secour River with BeachnRiver Kayak Rentals" unless you say so.

This Spirited Guest To Gulf Shores, AL Gives A Big "Thumbs Up About Her Experience Kayaking The Bon Secour River In Foley Located Just 10 Min From Gulf Shores Beaches.
If you haven't already written reviews (remember the little cards I gave you at the end of your kayak trip?) on Trip Advisor PLEASE DO SO. We don't have a website so the Trip Advisor reviews help to rank us on search engine queries.

BeachnRiver Kayak Rentals Promises Guests Will Have A "Beachin' Good Time!"
We were told recently we were listed #1 in Google search for "Best Kayak Rentals Gulf Shores/Orange Beach."  We'd like to remain #1 --- heck we'd like to remain in business another year!

... And I thank you in advance for our continued success. As one guest told me yesterday (and I'm clinging to this!) "I predict you will have a better year next year."

p.s. after hearing the Joss Stone song and getting all involved writing this blog I find this blog post written by Fred Garth on the Dr. Guy Harvey blog:

Hope on the Horizon : Guy Harvey Magazine

and then I hear this on the radio: Chet Baker's  "Look for the Silver Lining" --- "always look for the silver lining, try to find the sunny side of life" 

This Gulf Shores, AL Sky Is Beautiful After A Storm.
Should I start searching for a pony? ha. As always I look forward to hearing from you and reading your responses.


Natalie Neal Whitefield said...

Wishing you the very best recovery over the coming months. If we ever travel to Alabama, we will come see you. My friends Bonnie & Tom have recommended you highly! Best regards, Natalie Neal Whitefield

beachnriver said...

Thank you much Natalie. I hope you do travel to Alabama. "River Rick" and I would love to meet you. Bonnie and Tom have been so supportive of our little kayaking business and we are ever so grateful.
Thanks again for your lovely comment and well wishes!
"Beachin' Betty"