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Join me in a drive along the Gulf Coast..as it was.  These pictures were taken the day before the arrival of the brown surf.

A different type of boom:  Housing! Remember that?

The new boom created new jobs.  Some of these jobs were volunteer and others paid $18-32 per hour.  Depending upon skill, one presumes.

Workers awaiting instructions in 100-degree heat.

There IS a free lunch with every tar ball removed.  I have to hand it to the volunteers (whether these folks were or not is immaterial).  Their day consists of 20-minute shifts in scorching heat and painfully bright sunlight.  They must wear protective boots that cannot be anything but hot inside, and they rake up the gooey “mousse” gift that BP presented to the Gulf Coast.

Beachgoers ignored the presence of the clean-up crews.  That didn’t take long.

One must always look for the humor.

We drove out to Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay and observed something interesting about the military.

A group of military construction workers building a fortification along the shoreline! This warranted investigation.

What were they building?  There was boom in the water, so was this wall also meant as a barrier against the oil?  We asked.

Why, yes it was!  This was interesting.  The barrier was meant to protect the beach at Fort Morgan, and it was the only place we saw such protective construction.  Was this because the military designed and built it and had a better idea of what would be required to stop the coming oily tide?  It certainly seemed as if this were the case.

Fort Morgan is a geometric marvel.

Gulf State Park (Perdido Pass).  People swam happily in the few feet of water that was protected by the boom.  This wasn’t the most scenic beach ever; part of it was under a highway bridge, but people have figured out that the base of the bridge makes a great jumping-off point.

Multi-colored umbrellas like this are de rigueur beach accessories on the Gulf.