Home Away From Home

Baton Rouge

Just as we were getting ready to leave for the day we had a knock on the door. Since this is not exactly your typical campground we were a little surprised. A guy who full-times and has been here for five weeks wanted to ask Jerry about the tow dolly. I asked him about all of the people staying here and he said most of them were workers for the refinery companies. Other than this fellow we haven’t seen anyone walking about. The campground is a large lot with a lot of sites with full hookups I guess. It is not a “campground” but a parking place but it is safe and close to the places we want to visit.

We headed out to Baton Rouge and the Old Capitol Building. Fortunately we were able to park right in front of the building paying $.25 for each 30 minutes, a real contrast to the $50 we paid in New Orleans.

The Old State Capitol Building
The Old State Capitol Building
The Old Capitol Building is absolutely spectacular! There are several multimedia history exhibits that give an interactive exploration of the events and people that contributed to Louisiana’s story. There were two rooms dedicated to Huey P. Long. Wow, what a story that was. The spiral staircase was added later as was the stained glass dome which is exceptionally beautiful. There are several stained glass windows on the second floor and are beyond description.
The beautiful dome
The beautiful dome
Weddings and wedding receptions are frequently held there and we were told that even if the wedding was not held there brides often opted to have their pictures taken on the staircase. I can surely understand why. We shared our visit with about 100 kindergarten children. They were very well behaved and as a former educator I was quite impressed!

We asked for recommendations for lunch and they suggested Poor Boy Lloyd’s only a couple of blocks away so off we went in search of po-boys since that was one local specialty that we had not tried. Jerry ordered a fish po-boy and I ordered an oyster po-boy in addition to the fried pickles.

Southern Hospitality at its  best!
Southern Hospitality at its best!
The food was great but the hospitality was even better. The owner chatted with us a good while discussing everything from local delicacies to ACC sports. He gave us a map of the city and pointed out some places we might want to visit.

When we left we headed to the river front and walked along the Mississippi. The wind was blowing pretty hard by then and the map blew right out of my hand. I chased it for a while but unfortunately it ended up in the Mississippi. I tried. We walked down to the USS Kidd and then headed back to the car. Since we still had a little time on the parking meter we walked over to the Art Museum however it was just before closing time so we missed that opportunity.

As we headed out we decided to cut through LSU for a few minutes. As we approached a gate we were told that if we saw a gate only faculty and staff were allowed through until after 4:00 so we turned around and headed out. Unfortunately either Gypsy got confused or we missed a turn but we ended up riding around a really nice neighborhood with lovely homes right on a lake. As I had done earlier I pulled up Waze on my iPhone but by that time Gypsy had finally decided to correctly direct us to I10.

When we got back to Gonzales we decided to pick up our iPads and go to the local Starbucks to update them. We sat there for a while, drank coffee (at least I did) and watch the Apple updates.
Returning to the coach we began to notice darkening clouds and it began to rain more heavily.

This morning I had e-mailed Techno RV about our difficulty with the booster and I had received a reply with instructions to hopefully get it working so I when we got in I got started on that. Voila! I reset the booster and for the first time since we were in Perry, Ga we had good Internet. Why didn’t I contact him earlier?

As I was working on the computer I got a message from folks at home asking if we were OK because there was bad weather in Louisiana. Really? We didn’t know but began to pay attention only to find out that we were under a tornado watch. The Dish went out so I got out the weather radio and yes, Ascension Parish was under a tornado watch. Fortunately the watch soon ended so maybe we’ll get a good night’s sleep. Temperatures are supposed to drop tonight – guess that was the cold front coming in again.

Home Away From Home

More Louisiana Plantations – Oak Alley and Laura

We got a rather late start in part because Jerry slept really late. In fact he said that he didn’t want a sleep number bed anywhere else because he would surely be sleeping a lot! The other delay occurred because I apparently failed to turn on the hot water heater and we didn’t discover that until I got ready to take a shower. Oh well – we finally turned on the propane and that heated the water fairly quickly.

I had wanted to get an early start because the weather forecast indicated rain was on the way but we still ended up leaving the coach about 10:30, not too bad.

Our first stop was Oak Alley Plantation. Riding by the front and looking up the walk is absolutely breathtaking. The walkway is lined with fourteen live oaks on each side with the house at the end.

The trees are huge!
The trees are huge!
It is quite simply beautiful. One would think that the trees were planted to lead up to the house but actually the trees were planted first and then the house was placed so as to be at the top of them. The trees are over 200 years old and most of them are pretty big. A couple have been struck by lightning and were noticeably smaller but the whole effect is stunning.

When we went in we walked around the yards and looked at two of the four slave cabins. One was the sick cabin where slaves went when they were ill. Two of the other slaves looked after them and if they were unable to cure them they were sent to the doctor who was very successful at amputating limbs meaning he amputated a lot!

The tour of the home was very nice and the house is lovely with period furnishings throughout. There are only three or four of the original pieces and they are denoted by a green ribbon. We only noticed one, a cradle. One very interesting room was used either as a sick room or a funeral room. The mirrors were covered with black netting indicating that a death had occurred. Since there were no funeral homes at that time people would like in-state in the house, thus the room.

After the tour we were getting hungry so we went to the restaurant on the grounds. We just got appetizers, gator bites and fish strips. The gator bites were a bit rubbery but the fish which we were told was catfish was absolutely the best fish I’ve ever eaten!

Drop dead delicious!
Drop dead delicious!
Who would have thought? I also ordered sweet tea sweetened with mint syrup. Unfortunately it wasn’t very good to me so I stuck with the water. We finished up the sweet bread pudding covered with raspberry rum syrup. Oh my goodness – it was so delicious.

Laura Plantation
Laura Plantation
Our next stop was the Laura Plantation, a Creole Plantation. The house was simple and built in typical Creole fashion. The guide was the most energetic tour guide we’ve had giving a very realistic picture of life within the plantation over the years.

After that visit we headed to the local Cabella’s store. Jerry had talked to Gary last night and Gary told him that he had help set up the store and had worked on all of the animals and boy there are a lot of them there! Quite a display.

Back to the coach about 6:30. I was still full from our lunch so we put the spaghetti sauce we had planned on having tonight in the fridge to save for tomorrow night. Caught up on organizing pictures and then a little TV and bed. Tomorrow is another day.

Home Away From Home

San Francisco and Housa House Plantations

We left New Orleans this morning just before 10:00.  Since there is no left turn out of the campground and then a sharp left turn at the next pull through Jerry had scouted out a route for us.  We rode down to the Winn Dixie, turned into the parking lot and then were back on Chef Menteur Hwy where we could easily exit to I10 West.  Apparently we made both GPS’s angry because they started sending us into the city.  I knew this was not correct so I told Jerry to keep going on I10.  He was getting a bit frustrated since the traffic was heavy and he didn’t know where he was going.  At his suggestion I started Waze.  It seems to work better in New Orleans.  I put into the information and it immediately led us in the right correction.  Whew!

It only took us a little over an hour to get to Lamar-Dixon Ag Center and it was just as I expected.  Just a parking lot full of RV’s but not a Class A anywhere. Check in was quick and easy and the ladies in the office were so welcoming.  Someone led us to our site, 49C and we quickly set up.  I called the office and got the Wi-Fi password and it appears that the Internet actually works!  We’ll see.  We had a quick lunch and then headed out for our first plantation on this leg.

The house is authentically painted except for the red doors.
The house is authentically painted except for the red doors.
San Francisco is billed as the only “Grand Mansion” on the River Road to be authentically restored.  The hand painted ceilings are amazing.  There was a period of time when the owners rented the house out and let the renters do as they pleased with the house.  I couldn’t believe that they painted over one of the ceilings and covered the lovely cypress beams.  The house is much closer to the road now since the Corps of Engineers build a new levee.  While once there was a white picket fence on the front now there is a chain link.  The house is truly close to the highway.  The plantation also has an 1840’s one-room schoolhouse and a slave cabin.  Neither are original to the plantation but were donated by others.  If I’m not mistaken I think the school house was donated by Destrehan.  The bottom floor of the plantation house is constructed using bricks in a herringbone pattern but not cemented down.  That was so any flood waters could rise and fall without damaging the floor however no flood marks on the wall indicate that the house never did flood.

Our next stop was Houmas Plantation.  Since it was almost 3:30 I was a bit concerned that it might be too late to view the gardens but it turned out to be perfect.  Instead of taking the 4:00 tour we took the 4:30 so we had plenty of time to wander through the yards.  I can only imagine how beautiful they must be in the spring and summer.  They are beautiful now with just a few blooms although I did see some sweetheart roses in various places.  Also saw something that looked like azaleas.  The statuary is beautiful and interestingly enough there are several bird houses.  Oaks were built on either side of the front of the house creating a wind tunnel from the river so that cooler air would enter the house.  Our guide was Susan and she did a terrific job.  One of the highlights was playing the Steinway Grand Piano. 

Oh what a joy.  Built in the 1800’s I couldn’t believe how well it played.  It is tuned twice a year and they clean every string.  It certainly did not play like an antique piano.  I sight-read the sheet music on the stand, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte.  Susan and I sang and I harmonized with her.  What a treat!

Mr. Kelly still lives in the house and we got to see him before we left although we didn’t speak with him.  One cabinet camouflages the only television in the house and it’s in his bedroom.

In one room Susan pointed out a mirror which appeared to have two angels in the reflection.  She took a picture of it and they are more easily seen in the picture.

One of the outstanding features of the house is the free-standing spiral staircase. Tradition was that the men had to ascend first because if the women went first the men could see their ankles and that was akin to a marriage proposal.  Naturally Jerry led the way up the stairs.

The kitchen was also fascinating.  Most of the plantations had the kitchen in another building away from the house due to the threat of fire and the harsh heat emanating from there but at Houmas House the kitchen is on the first floor.  The reasoned that there were three people in the kitchen and they could put out the fire before it got to the house.  Susan showed us many of the interesting utensils they used to cook.

Another perk of the tour was our guide, Susan.  In conversation we discovered that she too is a Christian.  It is amazing and quite a blessing to see how God has placed Christians on our path during this trip.

After we left we had planned to eat at Cajun Catch as the crawfish had been recommended.  Unfortunately when we finally got there we realized that it was a deli and take-out so we came on back to the coach and warmed up the meat loaf and I fixed some veggies to go along with it.

Another quiet night and we were headed to bed!


Home Away From Home

Mardi Gras World

Since we will not be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras we decided to visit Mardi Gras World where the floats are built. It was a very interesting visit. We began the tour with trying on various costumes and hats (although I tried on the costume top we declined the hat) and then getting pictures made. The guide then served us a small piece of King Cake and someone did have a doll. She explained that the custom of the doll in the cake indicated that the person who found the doll was supposed to be the next person to host a party. The lady that won was from Alabama. I think she’s safe from that tradition.


It's a bright, bright sun shinny day!
It’s a bright, bright sun shinny day!
We went through the warehouse where all of the artists were working and saw floats in various stages of development although most of them are getting close to the finish as Mardi Gras parades start soon. We took a lot of pictures. One of the krewes was started by Harry Connick, Jr. The initial float costs around $80,000 and updating it each year costs about $10,000. Krewe members are only responsible for their costumes, for loading the float up with the beads, toys, etc. that are thrown and then showing up the day of the parade. The floats even have bathroom (port-a-potties) on them and the newer floats have them on both floors as getting down to the first floor proves to be difficult when the float is moving most especially if an adult beverage has been consumed.

We left and poor Gypsy was lost! We ended up – well, I don’t know where we ended up but I finally turned on Waze on my phone and got us downtown. We ended up having lunch at Charcoal’s. I had a Kobe burger which was huge and Jerry ordered an elk burger. They somehow got the order mixed up and Jerry ended up with a salad. They did prepare the elk burger and gave it to him to take home. I was a bit surprised that they didn’t serve emu. I would have like to have an emu burger (for those of you that don’t know, we used to raise emus).

We rode around a bit then went back to the French Quarter hoping for some more beignets but although there were fewer people there everyone must have driven. After driving around for a while we just gave up and came on back to the motor home.

When I was planning our trip I called a campground in Convent asking about availability and was told that there was plenty of space and no need to make a reservation since we weren’t sure of our arrival date. Well, things must have changed because when I called today suddenly they were full. The message I got when I called talked about the various sites that could be bought. I got the feeling that the guy just didn’t want any “transient” folks. Oh well – I spent the afternoon trying to find a decent place not too far away from the plantations we want to visit. I told Jerry that someone could come down here and open up a nice campground and make a lot of money because highly rated campgrounds are hard to find. I finally settled on Lamar Dixon Expo Center RV Park in Gonzales, La. I called and got a recording that the office was closed possibly because of Martin Luther King Day. I did talk with someone but he knew nothing and suggested that I call back tomorrow when they open at 8:00. I will do that but I also have two other campgrounds that I will call if Lamar Dixon doesn’t work out. They are not nearly as convenient for our touring but will have to work if Lamar Dixon isn’t an option.

After dinner tonight Jerry and I just sat around and talked about what our most favorite experience has been. I think I have enjoyed visiting Destrehan and attending the Seladian parade the most although visiting the French Quarter was certainly eye opening. Jerry said that his favorite was not one particular thing but rather little bits of things, like trying a muffalatta while in the French Quarter. My absolutely most favorite memory though will be sitting on a bench on the waterfront while waiting for the Grayline tour and we prayed for Les and Ivy and Kyle. It was a special moment and one I won’t forget.

Home Away From Home

Krewe of Slidellians Parade

I woke up early this morning and was glad to see the sun shining. We had quite the thunder storm and rain last night – guess it was the cold front coming in. We had a slow morning as the only thing on tap was attending the parade in Slidell. Although the parade started at 1:00 we were advised to leave the campground by 10:30 to be sure to get a good spot to watch it. We actually left a bit after 10:00. We followed the directions from the GPS and went directly to where the parade was going to start. We saw a lady with “Parade Management” on her shirt so we pulled over and asked for recommendations on what to do. She told us to park at the beginning of the parade where we would be able to quickly leave after the parade was over and gave us directions to get there.

We parked and it was only 11:00 so we decided to leave the chairs in the car and go in search of coffee. We ended up at Speck’s Eatery where we both had good coffee and shared a breakfast. Jerry had an omelet with Patten sausage which was good and hot. Hopefully we can find some in the grocery store. I shared his grits and they were delicious too.

We went back to the car and got the chairs and then found a good spot to view the parade.

Jerry waiting for the parade to start.
Jerry waiting for the parade to start.
Two couples, one local and one from Atlanta sat next to us and we enjoyed visiting with them. They ended up giving me lots of beads for the grands although I had many, many, many! The street we were on was four lanes with a middle lane and just before the parade began people began to set up chairs in the very middle! The parade started promptly at 1:00 and lasted an hour and a half. It was very family oriented, lots of children dancing and lots of horses. We also saw a spotted saddlebred. There were several floats and folks throwing out beads, cups, toys, candy, etc. It was a beautiful day, sunny and not too cool.
Do you think we have enough beads?
Do you think we have enough beads?

When we left the parade we decided to return to the French Quarter to go to the French Market. Finding a parking place was almost impossible and it took us a good while to locate one a few blocks away. The streets were crowded but we didn’t see the spectacles that we saw last evening. We bought a King Cake and then walked down to a shop we had visited yesterday and bought some pralines. A walk back to the car and fortunately Jerry knew where it was! Since we hadn’t planned dinner we stopped at the local Winn Dixie and bought some baking potatoes and salad ingredients. As we walked out we realized that the store had an armed guard. Wow! We quickly got in the car and returned to the campground.

Spent the evening washing and drying clothes and just resting after a busy and full but good day. Tomorrow we are planning to visit Mardi Gras World and then prepare for leaving on Tuesday headed for Convent to spend a few days visiting plantations. I think that will be more our speed. Jerry and I have both decided that we don’t really enjoy visiting large cities as much although we surely enjoyed Memphis and Chattanooga and even the attractions that we visited in Nashville. New Orleans is a different city seemingly made up of extremes. The Garden District is beautiful and would have been a good way to end our trip with good memories. I’ve heard that it’s a city that you either love or hate.

After dinner we shared our King Cake. We only ate half of it but did not find the baby! Guess that’s for tomorrow. Again we’re calling it an early night. For some reason neither of us can acclimate to the time change. By the time we do we’ll probably be back on Eastern time!

Home Away From Home

Destrehan Plantation

Today was a delightful day! Jerry slept in so we got a late start but I had initially hope we’d have some down time since this is a long trip. We headed out to Destrehan Plantation which wasn’t actually on my list to see but it is the only one fairly close. What a treat! Our tour was Candice and she was in full costume, looked, talked and acted a lot like Scarlett. In fact, I later told her that she needed to be in Georgia at Tara!IMG_0688

The house itself is a treat. It has been completely redone as some time ago it was left vacant for 12 years and during that time vandals stripped the house of many things including the mantles. Destrehan Plantation remains the oldest documented plantation home in the lower Mississippi Valley. Finally the River Walk Historical Society took it on and it has been lovingly restored. Some of the furnishings that are in it were donated by members of the original family so everything looks very authentic. Candice took us through each room telling us about the people who lived there and how they passed their time. The original house took three years to build and then the owner only lived there two years before he died. This was a working plantation producing initially indigo and then sugar cane. When the families wanted to engage in social activities, i.e. Mardi Gras they went into New Orleans rather than have celebrations on the plantation. Initially over 600 acres the plantation is now 16 acres.

One house is dedicated to the 1811 Slave Rebellion where the slaves exhibited behavior that would now be called “Stockholm Syndrome”. During the rebellion some slaves stayed with their owners out of loyalty but some stayed out of fear. Apparently Destrehan took very good care of their slaves. They did not work on Sunday’s and only worked a half a day on Saturdays. There was also a hospital on the plantation for the slaves. The Slave Revolt exhibit includes artwork and display items. The plantation was the site of the trial which resulted from the Revolt. The building also houses other photos and displays about Destrehan Plantation.

There are several more houses spread out over the grounds which are impeccable. Stunning live oaks with limbs lying on the ground surround the house and huge pots which were earlier used in preparing the sugar cane are filled with greenery and I would imagine flowers during the spring and summer.

As we walked through the house Candice related many stories about various members of the family. When we tour plantations like this I am always reminded of how many children lost their lives due to illnesses during that time. Destrehan had two hospitals on the grounds but that didn’t stop yellow fever which they thought was contagious. One lady died of lead poisoning due to the heavy homemade makeup she was using. Tea, a precious commodity, was kept in a box lined with lead! Tea was a dear commodity but coffee was the drink of choice for many Louisianans.

The entire front of the upstairs is a covered porch or veranda. I can just imagine sitting out there in a rocking chair sipping coffee and watching the mighty Mississippi which although across the highway is no longer visible from the house due to the levees put in by the Corps of Engineers.

Once the boys reached the age of 12 they were no longer allowed in the house but instead moved to another section for boys only. Although I was first stunned and dismayed at that proclamation when I saw where they were moved to I decided that they just had an early man cave. It had a pool table in it! I would assume they had maids that cleaned up after them. Let’s hope.

After we had gone through the house we walked around the grounds for a bit and ending up chatting with a lady who used to be a guide there.

Walking around the grounds.
Walking around the grounds.
She was an absolute fount of information not only about Drestrehan but about Louisiana in general.

It was nearing lunch time so we asked if we could go have lunch and then come back to wander the grounds. They not only allowed that but they suggested a restaurant a couple of miles from the plantation.

Portside Restaurant
Portside Restaurant
We went to Port Side which like described was a little hole on the wall. It backs up to the levees of the Mississippi so before we went in we walked up to the top of the levee to see the river. When we went in Connie, the lady we had met at the plantation and her friend Ally were already seated and they asked us to join them. We had a delightful lunch sharing our lives and as Connie continued to share snippets of information about Destrehan and Louisiana. The nicest thing though is that she is a Christian. We held hands and she asked the blessing. As we were getting up to leave she shared that she met with a group of ladies at her home once a month to minister. She sort of tilted her head discouragingly toward Ally and I reminded her that we were only to water. Jesus will to the rest. She agreed and smiled.

We all went back to the plantation and wandered around a bit, took some pictures and then we headed back to New Orleans. Since we will miss Mardi Gras I had hoped to visit the Mardi Gras Museum and the French Quarter during the afternoon after Drestrehan but because of our late start that didn’t happen. But as Jerry said if we had left earlier we wouldn’t have had the pleasure of meeting Connie.

We went back into the city hoping we could find a parking place so we could go to the French Market. Wow – the French Quarter on a late Saturday afternoon during Carnival is, well let’s just say interesting. I can only imagine what it must be like on Saturday night and oh my – Mardi Gras! We rode around for a good while going in and out of streets we hadn’t earlier seen and I finally realized that I needed to close my mouth because it was surely gaping open in amazement. We saw many people dressed up in costumes. Some had their bodies painted gold or silver. We saw one guy painted entirely in silver lying on the sidewalk with his dog who was lying on his back. They were so very still it appeared that they were mannequins. The only movement was the breathing of the dog. Of course the streets were full of music everywhere from groups to trumpeters. It was truly an amazing site. We never did find a parking spot so we ended up coming on back to the coach.

We spent a quiet evening in. Since I had such a wonderful and filling lunch (fried oysters while Jerry tried two kinds of gumbo) I didn’t want any dinner so Jerry just warmed up left overs. He watched football and I read. We had another “summer storm” and had lots of heavy thunder and then rain. Temperatures are supposed to drop tonight so perhaps that was a cold front approaching. Although cooler it’s still supposed to be sunny so tomorrow we’ll be headed to Slidell for our only Mardi Gras parade.

Home Away From Home

A Sugar High in the French Quarter

Our day started in the French Quarter, first finding somewhere to park the car. A word to the wise – don’t take your car to the French Quarter unless you’re willing to pay A LOT to park. Once parked we knew we’d stay most of the day to take advantage of the great albeit expensive spot! While waiting for the Gray Line tour of the Isle of Orleans we walked along the water front. Due to the water coming from the heavy rains in the upper states the water is quite high. That was really obvious when we saw a ship coming down the river and it was sitting so very high. We had received some tragic news from home and were discussing it so I suggested that we just sit down on one of the benches and pray and that’s what we did – right there on a public bench with the sun shining down on our bowed heads.

The Gray Line tour lasted over three hours and we saw a lot of New Orleans. After riding through the French Quarter and the French Market we rode through a lot of the Katrina damaged part. We did go into the ninth ward but did not actually go into the most damaged part as that was no longer allowed. We saw many damaged homes, some being rebuilt, some being hoisted higher and some that were ruins.
Our first stop was St. Louise Cemetery #3. What an interesting place. Apparently most of the people in New Orleans are entombed above ground. We were fascinated (is that the correct word) when we learned that many people could be buried in the same tomb although it would appear that only two coffins could fit in there. Beneath each tomb a hole is dug so when the extra coffin is added to the tomb the first coffin can be emptied and the bones put beneath. The original coffin is thrown away and the current coffin is inserted.

Our next stop was the City Park. There we had the famous beignets and then quickly toured the Besthoff Sculpture Gardens. Most of the sculptures were very abstract but it was fun to walk through.

Our next stop was the New Canal Lighthouse. It is not the original lighthouse as it was destroyed in Katrina. Interestingly enough it resembles the lighthouse in Edenton, NC a lot! Outside of the lighthouse is a huge bell that was rung in case the light could not be seen.

Jerry ringing the bell at the lighthouse
Jerry ringing the bell at the lighthouse
Believe me, they could have heard the bell. After a short tour in the lighthouse we boarded the bus again and then continued to ride through some of the more prosperous areas of New Orleans.

It was well after lunch when we returned to the terminal so we decided to go in search of the famous muffalettos. After having earlier read the ingredients we were pretty sure we wouldn’t like them but felt that since it was such a part of NO we had to try them. The original creator was the Central Grocery so that’s where we headed. It wasn’t difficult to find as there was quite a line waiting outside. A man in front of us said that he’d been coming for 20 years and these were definitely the best in town so we were in! We only got one and split that and it was quite enough. They really were surprisingly good, reminding me of a sub with very different ingredients, the olive being the most prominent along with the olive salad.
With our hunger assuaged we began our tour of the French Quarter walking in and out of different shops. We sampled the also famous pralines and they too were very good, though pretty sweet. I found a magnet I liked and bought that.

We continued to wander around ending up in Jackson Square. There were several street entertainers at various places, one playing a trumpet. I just sang along with him. No one knew me plus no one could hear me above the buzz of the crowds. We walked through Jackson Square and ended up in front of the magnificent St. Louis Cathedral. Interestingly enough there were a lot of tables set up with people reading palms, doing whatever you do with tarot cards and a magic show among many other things including a band. Kind of paradoxical right in front of the church. We continued to just stroll around and eventually ended up at the Café du Mond for some more beignets like we hadn’t had enough already. They come three to a serving – why did we get two servings instead of sharing one? We had no trouble eating all of them though and probably left with powdered sugar on our faces.

After a bit more strolling we conceded that we were getting tired so we headed for the car. Although we were leaving in the midst of commuter traffic our ride back to the park was fairly quick. Our Internet is to say the least sketchy so I drug myself up to the office to find out what was wrong. Nothing – it’s just not that strong apparently. On the way back I had a brief visit with two Canadian full-timers who are just wandering around with no definite destination in mind other than staying out of snow. They said they don’t even like to tour that much.
Came back to the coach and tried again to get the booster working but was unable to. We had a very quiet night. I tried to work on the computer some planning the next day’s activities and finally gave up and turned on my hot spot on my phone. I am so paranoid about over using my data that I usually end up with lots at the end of the month. Surely wish we could carry it over. I didn’t have any dinner as I was still full from the afternoon. Since I had awakened at 5:00 this morning I was dragging and ready for bed but when I realized it was only 7:00 I kept busy. Finally at 8:00 I gave up. I should be rested for tomorrow!

Home Away From Home

New Orleans Bound

Since we were only about 130 miles from New Orleans and we couldn’t check into the park until 12:00 we slept in and then took our time getting ready to leave.  We ended up visiting with our neighbors who were from Nebraska and arrived late yesterday afternoon driving a 2014 Canyon Star.  We ended up comparing floor plans.  They had gotten the one with the L-shaped sofa but had ended up replacing it with a sofa that fit their needs better.  This was their fourth Newmar!

We pulled out about 10:00, stopped a little after 11:00 and gassed up at Flying J at $1.55 a gallon.  With our discounts it ended up being about $1.47.  Wow – that does make traveling easier!

After traveling through Mississippi we entered Louisiana around noon and stopped at the Louisiana Tourism Center.  They were very helpful and we got LOTS of brochures of things to do and see.

We arrived at Jude RV Park around 1:00 and were quite dismayed initially.  It was certainly not what we expected to say the least.  In fact, we were not even sure we were going to stay at all much less for five nights.  It is located in inner city New Orleans as are several others.  One next door got a 10 rating while this got a 7.5.  I was very disappointed when I realized that the hot tub that I was so looking forward to is outside and it is just a bit cool for that!  Jerry got out and walked around and we decided to stay for two nights.  Check in was very easy and the owner was extremely nice.  In fact she gave me three oranges that they are picked off of their trees in the back of the park.  Who knew they had oranges in Louisiana?

We got set up and then had lunch.  Although I was chomping at the bit to ride around a bit Jerry just wanted to be quiet for a few minutes.  Suddenly other big rigs started coming in and things began to look a little better.  After doing some research I realized that we were expecting way too much for our location and we decided to go on and register for five nights.

We then rode into the city itself.  Our destination was the Garden District.  Since it was raining we only rode around rather than walking around.  The houses are palatial to say the least and very colorful.  Some were obvious shotgun houses.  We rode by Archie Manning’s house.  I can’t quite imagine Peyton and Eli growing up there!

Then – we rode down Bourbon Street.  Wow, this little country come to the city girl had her mouth agape the entire time.  I told Jerry that we probably had tourist stamped across our foreheads and he assured me that no one could see it because my eyebrows were so arched in shock.  We did see some strange sites!

After a visit to the local Winn-Dixie we came back to the rig for a quiet evening of pizza and reading.  The park’s cable doesn’t seem to be working with our TV’s so until we get the dish set up we only have limited channels.  That’s OK because neither of us watch much anyway.  The biggest problem is that the Internet is either slow or non-existent.  Oh well!


Home Away From Home

On the way to Greenville, Al – I think

Since we had such a long day yesterday plans for today are for a shorter drive. Unfortunately finding campgrounds where we want to stop proves to be difficult so we will see. Since we both got a good night’s sleep we didn’t push this morning. I don’t want to be so exhausted when we get there that we’re too tired to see anything… We both got up around 7:30 and by 9:00 we were pulling out. Our tentative plans are to stop in Greenville, Al which is about 200 miles from Perry and an almost equal distance from New Orleans. We’ll just see how the day goes.

After we left the campground we drove through an area that was full of peach trees and then saw Lane Southern Orchard. They have daily tours so we may be able to visit in March. I can just imagine how incredibly beautiful it must be in the spring. We then rode right through the middle of Fort Valley, a very small town and I think we saw most of it from the business to the poorer section. I only found out the name as we were leaving and I saw a sign on the other side of the road welcoming people to Fort Valley!

A little crooked but we're in Sweet Alabama!
A little crooked but we’re in Sweet Alabama!
As we continued to ride along Jerry realized that we would be in Greenville, Al around 12:30 so he suggested we just stop there. We discussed it a bit and realized that there was not much to see there as far as we know and Mobile is only about 120 miles further so we decided to go on to Mobile. That will put us closer to New Orleans for an easy drive Thursday. I also assured Jerry that I would help drive today. I started looking for campgrounds in and around Mobile and found two possibilities. One is a Passport for only $12.50 but it has no webpage, reviews were sketchy at best and we finally found a message telling us to e-mail or call a specific number because they are often in remote places and may not get voice messages for days. Obviously we didn’t choose that one. I called Shady Acres and they had an available site for $25 with Good Sam discount. Sounds like the best bet for us.

We stopped about 11:24 at a rest station for a brief break. As I was denoting the time I realized that somewhere along the line we changed time zones. Instead of 11:24 it was 10:24. We’ll get to Mobile even earlier than anticipated! So wish we would have some time to tour a bit but probably not. Oh well, another time!

Around 11:30 or !2:30 depending on which time we were observing we stopped for gas at a Flying J. They have an RV lane which makes getting gas so much easier. We surely will continue to look for them as not only is getting gas easier but getting in and out of the station is signfnicantly easier. We have been in some tight places before and don’t want to do that again. Flying J you’ve got a customer! When we went inside Jerry found a coozie that would fit the drinks that I like so he bought it – it’s a Roll Tide coozie! The guy at the checkout asked if we were Alabama fans and we told him no, that we were NC State fans that pulled for Clemson!

We got into Shady Acres RV Park about 3:00 Central Time, 4:00 Eastern Time. It’s a lovely small park with what looks like a lot of full timers. No frills but with Good Sam discount it was only $25, well worth it!

After getting settled and resting a bit we walked down the nature path to the river. It was a nice little walk and we surely needed some exercise albeit a little bit!FullSizeRender (1)

We came back to the coach and were trying to get on the Internet when Jerry suddenly remembered that we had a Wi-Fi signal booster. Between the two of us we finally got it set up on the computer and the iPads so hopefully that will help. We still have to name our hotspot but will do that later. At least we have it password protected now! Pretty good considering we didn’t know what we were doing. Jerry keeps reminding me that I was a technologist and I emphasize the word “was”. Technology changes so fast that it’s difficult to keep up with it when one is actively involved and when you’re not you can get behind quickly! Case in point!

130 miles tomorrow and we’ll be in New Orleans. I expect we’ll be up early and on the way as we’re both tired and still on Eastern Standard Time!

Les Bon Temps Roulé!

Home Away From Home

On to Swansea, SC – or not!

Well today started off early enough! I woke up at 5:00 and realized that I would not be be able to go back to sleep so after thanking the Lord for waking me for another day and prayers for Les and Ivy I decided to get on up and get busy. I had planned to make potato salad last night to go along with the spare ribs that will be cooking as we ride along but I was really a bit tired after a hurry up and wait day so that task was not done. My thoughts this morning – what better time. Jerry was still soundly sleeping and since he will do the bulk of the driving today I let him sleep. I fixed the potato salad and also cooked some peas. I also got the ribs ready to go in the crockpot and I’ll put them in about 1:00 so when we get to the campground our dinner will be nearly ready.

Our first stop on the journey was supposed to be Swansea, SC but Jerry quickly realized that we’d be arriving there around 1:00 so I began to look for a better stop. I used the Good Sam’s route planner and the hard copy map and finally came up with Perry, Ga making it about a 500 mile day. Not what we had planned but the weather is nice (cold but not bothering us), sunny and the drive is all interstate so easy driving. I called the campground and made a reservation. Fortunately I had not made a reservation in Swansea. In fact, we only have reservations at one campground for the entire trip. Living a little dangerously for me!

The campground we are planning to stay at tonight is Fair Harbor RV Park and interestingly enough it’s the one we’re hoping to stay at for the FMCA rally in March. At this point we’re on the waiting list.

Trying to type or read or catch up on social media not to mention cross stitch is absolutely impossible on I95 in South Carolina. I can always tell when we cross the state line because the road deteriorates rapidly. Perhaps that’s why gas is so much less in South Carolina. I’m not sure who pays for the upkeep of an interstate though. As I was trying to do spell check I realized that a sentence that I had put in the third paragraph suddenly appeared in the first paragraph. Like I say, bumpy, bumpy, bumpy and the cursor jumping everywhere.
It’s been a quiet morning. We stopped in Latta just before 10:30 and gassed up and took a potty break and were on the road in less than 15 minutes. The Flying J at Latta has the easiest access and egress of any station that we have been to. It has a special lane for RV’s and fortunately one can get regular gas there. So often the RV lanes are diesel only. Jerry is listening to an audio book and I am trying to read amid the bumps. Yuk!

Kept riding along with little traffic and easy driving. Stopped at a rest stop in Walterboro, SC for lunch. We had put a turkey breast in the crock pot yesterday in preparation for sandwiches so today we had delicious turkey with lettuce and banana peppers and a little Hellman’s mayo! Great meal. We were only stopped about 25 minutes since we knew we had 2-3 hours left. Perry was a bit further than we had planned to go but it’s doable. It’s not something I want to routinely do especially on the first day of travel but it worked for us today. Now we have to decide whether to stop along the way to New Orleans or get up early and have another long day of travel. Basically it’s up to Jerry as he’s the driver!
Getting to Perry was a bit more difficult than we thought and took a little longer as we ran into road construction and a two lane road. FullSizeRenderWe arrived at Fair Harbor RV Park about 5:00 and had an easy check-in. They invited us to join them for Bingo at 7:00 but I knew Jerry would be tired after such a long drive.
We got in and set up very quickly. Jerry did not hook up the septic since we’re only here for a night and I don’t know if that made the difference in the set up time but boy it was quick. We finished unpacking and made the bed and then had a nice dinner. I had used the crockpot with a liner and wow that does that made cleanup easier.
After dinner we did walk up to the office and joined the bingo game. I didn’t do very well, in fact someone suggested I change cards but I had fun. The last game was covering the entire card and Jerry covered both of his! He won $26.50. We paid $6 to play and $35 for the night so with his winnings I guess the night only cost us $20. Pretty good! It’s a nice park and I hope we can get in for the FMCA rally.
I worked on the computer a bit trying to find a place to stay tomorrow night. Jerry wants to split the drive but halfway between Perry and New Orleans are NO parks. We may end up in Mobile – we’ll see!