On to San Antonio

Awoke this morning to a very cold and heavy rain. What a day to be breaking camp. I felt sorry for Jerry having to be outside especially when he had to secure the car to the dolly. Betty came out to help us navigate out of the site. Sites at Betty’s are very close together and cars park in front of their units so it is close. There is no cable and Wi-Fi is iffy but the camaraderie is not to be found anywhere else we’ve been. There is a slight possibility that we may come back through Abbeville on our way home. We’ll see where the trip takes us. Cookie and Jim came out to tell us good-bye. Unfortunately they are leaving Betty’s at the end of the month and won’t be back until March so we won’t get to see them even if we return. As Cookie said we’ll stay in touch by Facebook.

I think both of our GPS’s must have been frozen this morning because I know there is an easier way out of Abbeville than where we went. I really don’t like to travel on roads that are so narrow there are no markings on the pavement. Trust me, we were in the back country and it was a little nerve racking. It took us almost 20 minutes to get to a highway that was navigable. We went under a 14’ bridge and I was just hoping that our height measurement was correct. Apparently it was as we didn’t hit anything. There were a lot of trees with hanging branches but they were not low enough for us to hit them. Just low enough to worry me! On top of all of that there was a strong wind blowing making it even more difficult to drive. Jerry was going to have a difficult day.

When we went out to eat Wednesday night we realized that the tax on our meal was 11%. We found out later that that tax is determined by the municipality but can be no higher than 12%. I don’t know where the tax money in Louisiana is going but I can assure you that it’s not being spent on highways. In all of our travels these are by far the worse highways we have driven on. I read earlier that Michigan had some of the worst roads in the United States but we did not find it that way. In fact last night at Happy Hour there was discussion about the condition of the roads with people asking when they could expect to be on smother highways. The answer was Texas! From Abbeville to Crowley was, let’s just say interesting! Both towns have roundabouts that are pretty challenging for a 40 foot motor home towing a car but it can be done. In Crowley we were finally able to get on Interstate 10, an interstate with four lanes. Yea!!

We entered into Texas around 11:30 and stopped at the Visitor’s Center. We were only there long enough to get a few brochures and take a picture of the Welcome to Texas sign. We probably should have stayed longer. Just a few minutes after we left we ran into a terrific storm – pouring rain, booming thunder and sharp lightning. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a storm of this magnitude when it’s 37 degrees outside. It finally quit raining heavily and storming when we reached Beaumont but the wind continued to blow at over 20 miles an hour. I reminded Jerry that people often stopped when the weather was so bad and we didn’t have to get to San Antonio tonight! Thank the Lord for safe travel thus far as the driving has been very treacherous.

Stopped at 1:20 for gas and lunch at a Flying J in Baytown. Gas was a little higher at $2.15. We left at 1:50 headed for Elmendorf. Love driving down the multi-landed highway seeing warnings to drive carefully, icy conditions may exist. And we came south for January!

We got to Houston and bypassed the downtown area but Houston just keeps going on and on and on. Is it the largest city in Texas? As we were riding through we saw a glass cylindrical building with cars stacked on each floor, a golf driving range encircled with a high net/fence right in the middle of the city, a building advertising Sky jumping (which is the only way I’d do it and then probably not), lots of Texas flag flying and even more American flags. Jerry saw one flag that was so large it was visible for over 5 miles.

We finally got to the Braunig RV Resort just before 6:00. Bad planning on our part and we should have left earlier than we did this morning but it was pouring down rain so we sort of delayed. We ended up setting up in the dark, never a good idea. First we had to take the car off of the dolly and he couldn’t reach the chains with his coat on so there he was in the cold with no coat! By this time the temperature was below freezing and the wind was still blowing. We had a little trouble with the jacks and then when we started putting out the living room slide we realized that we were too close to a pole and it couldn’t go all of the way out so we had to pull up the jacks, reposition the coach and then put the jacks down again but this time they worked perfectly. All of this was done in 32 degree windy weather with a real feel in the 20’s. Poor Jerry had the hardest jobs today but then he always does. I offered to drive but he didn’t want me to drive because of the 20 mile an hour wind. Let me just tell you it was a treacherous drive but the Lord had His hand on us and we do give him honor, praise and thanks.

While he finished doing the outside chores I fixed the spaghetti for dinner. I knew he’d be cold and would want something warm as soon as he got in so I tried to do a little bit to help him out.

Finally got the Wi-Fi booster set up so we have some Internet. It’s spotty but better than just using the campground’s which is very slow – when it works.

By this time we were both exhausted and we just collapsed!

Home Away From Home, Louisiana

Palmetto Island State Park and Shadows on the Teche

What a fun day we’ve had. After a good night’s sleep we woke up to a pretty brisk morning. In fact we even had to turn the heat on for a bit but it quickly warm the coach up.

Does someone actually do this?
Does someone actually do this?
We left a little after 10:00 headed for Palmetto Island State Park which is fairly close by. When we got there we found that due to our “old age” we got in free. We first just rode around in the car and got the lay of the land. Loved seeing the “beware of bears” sign and instructions not to feed the alligators. Like I would!

They have a nice campground there with nearly 100 sites. They’re large, wooded, and private and some are even paved. I think the nightly rate during the winter is $18 and then $22 during the summer for water and electricity. Apparently some people are staying awhile because Jerry noticed the dump wagons near some of the units. Yuk!

We got the bikes off of the car and took a nice long bike ride, the first in a long while. Along the way we saw several armadillos, something we don’t see in NC. They didn’t seem to be bothered by us as they continued eating as we snapped several pictures.

A little rest along the way and yes, it does look like I'm advertising for the American Saddlebred!
A little rest along the way and yes, it does look like I’m advertising for the American Saddlebred!
We’re planning to do some more bike riding in San Antonio but the extremely cold temperatures predicted may change that plan. We rode nearly six miles stopping once at a boat launch to rest a bit. It was so much fun to be back on the bikes. Due to cold weather and holidays we haven’t been able to ride at home so this was a nice bonus.

We came back to the campground, ate lunch, got the meatballs in the crockpot for the happy hour tonight and then headed out to Shadows on the Teche in nearby New Iberia. It is a lovely restored Antebellum home nestled among beautiful old oak trees draped with Spanish moss. I know that the moss is a parasite but it is still pretty and adds so much atmosphere! img_1463The home was built I 1984 and four generations of the family lived there through the Civil war and on into the late 1900’s when there were no more descendants. During the war Union soldiers informed Mary, the wife of the original owner that she would have to leave the home. She staunchly refused so they put her under house arrest saying that she could stay on the second and third floors. The bottom floor was used by the soldiers. Due to her tenacity, when the war was over the soldiers left without burning the home down, an act that was usually perpetrated when the soldiers left. The last surviving member of the family, William Weeks, petitioned for years to get someone to take over the home and finally the National trust for Historic Preservation took it over. William Weeks died the next day. Not only did he leave the home to the Historic Preservation but also left them $175,000 to complete the restoration. The family apparently kept everything from building receipts to clothing and over 17,000 items were discovered in the attic thus giving a clear picture of life in the home.

The gardens are beautiful as is the statuary.
The gardens are beautiful as is the statuary.

Interestingly enough there were two other couples on the tour and they were from Virginia. One of the guys is stationed at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC. Small world!

We returned to the campground, got the meatballs and promptly hustled over to the Happy Hour. It really was a fun couple of hours. We visited with another couple that we had met last year, Mary Ann and Bill from Oklahoma and then met a couple who just started full timing two weeks ago and are from Wilmington, NC. Again, small world!

After a couple of hours we went back to the coach and settled in for the night. I did a lot of work on getting blogs entries ready to post when we have good Wi-Fi, if we ever have good Wi-Fi and then turned in. Friday will be a long day!

Home Away From Home, Louisiana

Abbeville Again

Finally a little bit of sunshine on our way to Abbeville. Tonight we will have full hookups! Yea! I guess we are officially boondockers now as we have spent two nights with no hookups and only used the generator long enough to get hot water for showers. Nice to know we can do it.

We left Saraland, Alabama a little after 8:00, took a short ride through Mississippi and then into Louisiana. As soon as we entered Louisiana we stopped at the Welcome enter to use the bathrooms, took a picture in front of the Louisiana sign and then back on the road to Abbeville.

Jerry said he would drive until we stopped to get gas and then I could take over. In the meantime, I canceled dental appointments, checked on a bill for Mom and then paid our bills and reconciled our bank account all while looking at the pretty scenery of Louisiana. The grass surely is greener here! In NC everything is brown now.

We stopped and got gas in Dedham Springs and then headed on to the Atchafalaya Welcome Center for lunch. We were only 40 miles from Abbeville but knew we could either eat then or have a very late lunch. The center is very nice and we could have enjoyed spending more time there. Maybe another trip.

We arrived at Betty’s RV Park around 2:30 and immediately saw Jim, a guy from Washington state that we met last year. Suddenly I heard his wife, Cookie say, “Is that who I think it is?” and out she came with a great big hug. Good to see friends from our visit last year.

We got set up and felt like we suddenly had so much room after being at Walmart with the slides in for two nights. We swept the floor and mopped it and then headed out to see a little bit of Abbeville that we hadn’t seen before and then on to Maurice to get some frozen stuffed potatoes from Hebert’s. They are in the process of remodeling but were still doing business with cash or check. We bought four potatoes and would like to have had more but at $6 each they’re a little pricey.

I had heard about NuNu’s, another specialty meat store so we rode around until we found it. Jerry went in and scoped it out. It’s a country store with a lot of specialty meats, especially sausage but Jerry said the packages were so big that if he didn’t like it he’d be in trouble because he’d surely have to eat it all. We ended up getting nothing but at least we now know what NuNu’s is!

Our next stop was the Villager Café to get their delicious bread. Jerry bought two loaves. We don’t have much freezer room so couldn’t get any more plus I think the price has gone up! We were able to get both loaves in the refrigerator. We’re planning on spaghetti Friday night after we get to San Antonio, over 400 miles from Abbeville so another long day of travel. Fresh bread to go along with the spaghetti will be very welcomed!

We returned to the campground and walked over to the Happy Hour just to see everyone and then out for dinner at Shuck’s. Boy are their candied oysters to die for! Jerry got fried catfish that he said was outstanding and I got the charbroiled oyster sampler. Wow – just wow!

Being back in Abbeville seems so familiar and it’s nice to recognize things we saw last year. We’ve always said that once we visited a place we didn’t want to return because there are so many other places we want to go. Fortunately Abbeville is on the way to Texas because we surely did like coming back. In fact, we may do it again!

Home Away From Home

Betty’s RV Park

FullSizeRenderWhat to say about Betty’s RV – well, we came for four days, added one and then ended up staying for eight! As I understand it that’s not how most folks to it though as they usually extend their stay much longer. We were on a fairly tight schedule so we sadly pulled out Sunday morning but not without hugs and good-byes and hearing “hope to see you down the road”.

When I was doing my research both on various park reviews and on IRV2 and rv.net Betty’s RV Park kept cropping up. One reviewer even suggested we re-route in order to stay at Betty’s and how right they were. As several reviewers said “they make you feel like family” and yes indeed they do whether you’ve been there one night, one week or one month.

As soon as we arrived someone from North Carolina came up and welcomed us – always good to see a homebody. Every afternoon at 4:30 Betty has Happy Hour where everyone brings something to eat, some fancy and some bought from the local grocery but everyone shares and enjoys and afterwards everyone feels they have had dinner. There’s lots of conversation about where everyone is from and then LOTS of recommendations on where to go and what to eat. I feel like I am eating my way through Louisiana! I must say all recommendations were duly noted and acted upon and were without a doubt right on target.

Our Canadian friend, Lynn
Our Canadian friend, Lynn
We met people from as far away as Canada, Alaska, Washington and California, not to mention Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma and of course the western part of our North Carolina. Betty made everyone feel welcomed and as you entered the Happy Hour she always called you by name so if you couldn’t remember someone’s name her greeting to each person would refresh your memory.
Cookie and Jim from Washington State.  A selfie with no selfie stick is difficult!
Cookie and Jim from Washington State. A selfie with no selfie stick is difficult!

In the late afternoon as everyone is returning after touring or doing necessary chores the questions asked were what did you do and where did you eat? Sometimes we even went out together.

Dan and Merlene from California .  I was trying hard to focus!
Dan and Merlene from California . I was trying hard to focus!
Last week Jerry and I had the pleasure of having lunch with folks from Michigan and North Carolina. Then this Saturday many joined together for Cajun music at a local bar, Touchet’s. We were the only non-locals there but again they acknowledged and welcomed the group from Betty’s. Lots of friendly people in Louisiana!

Earlier in the week Jerry and I had the great pleasure of eating at Shuck’s and we had a nice visit with the owner. He said he was often asked why he didn’t have Happy Hour and he said it was because he couldn’t compete with Betty’s Happy Hour. We ended up missing a couple of the get togethers during the week we were there because of our touring but we tried each day to get back to join in the fun and comradery.

In summation, it’s quite easy to see why Betty’s was selected as one of the top 25 parks in America and also the “Most Fun Small Private RV Park” in the United States. If you get a chance go by and stay for a night – or a month! You’ll feel right at home.

Home Away From Home

Another Day of Rest

Although we didn’t plan it today became a day of rest. After a fairly normal late start we knew we needed to go to the grocery store to buy some more meatballs for the Happy Hour tonight. Jerry wanted to go to Walmart as he knew he could get some good meatballs there so I did a search and found the local store and off we went. He had also decided to make a cheese ball later in the week so needed to get some ingredients for that.

We came on back to the coach and put the meatballs in the crock pot and then took off for Vermilionville via the grocery store. We stopped at Robie’s but they didn’t have what he needed so we went across town to the Winn Dixie and got what he needed. By this time it was after 12:00 and we decided that we’d try to prolong our stay by one night and get an extra day of touring in and just use today to rest and watch football. I called Betty and we extended our stay. That determined we decided to join four of our new friends at River Front Restaurant for lunch. Jerry got shrimp and grits that he said for delicious and I got stacked crab and crawfish which was also delicious. Apparently River Front burned some time ago and they are in the process of building at a new site and should be opened soon. However, for the time being they remain at the original site. As we were leaving we met a waitress with a tray of food and realized that the cooking was being done outside in a trailer! You do what you have to do!

After we left we went back to Robie’s to get cayenne pepper – yes, if you’re counting that was our fourth grocery story today! Jerry also got a King Cake and boy is it sweet. I had one little piece but I doubt I’ll be eating anymore of it.

Jerry was not feeling well so he got on the sofa with a blanket and the football game, possibly a nap. One of the nice parts of RVing is the flexible schedule. Since we had extended our stay one day we didn’t feel the urgency to get out and tour today.

Oh, the good news – while we were eating lunch I told them about losing a letter in a 40 foot rig and someone asked if I had looked under the sofa cushions. Well no, I had not because I was sure it couldn’t be there but when we got back I looked anyway and don’t you know – there it was! I have absolutely no idea how it got there but if I can hold on to it long enough I’ll get it in the mail tomorrow along with a card for Jane for her birthday.

A lazy Sunday afternoon – Jerry watching football, me reading, meatballs cooking, popcorn and root beer on tap.

About 4:30 I walked over to the Happy Hour while Jerry stayed in and watched the playoffs for the Super Bowl. There were more people there tonight and it was such fun. Obviously some of these people have known each other for a long time. One couple told me they’d been coming here for 7 years and this is only reservation they make. Dan apparently plays banjo or some instrument and was insistent that we stay until Sunday so we could attend some of the jam sessions. He said they needed a keyboardist and he had a keyboard I could use. We’ve extended our stay here one day but I don’t see us staying until Sunday. I told him he’d have to talk to Jerry tomorrow night at Happy Hour. He and his wife are full timers and work with Habitat for Humanity. When RVing we are privileged to meet so many fascinating people

In about 8:00 and watched the end of the Panthers-Cardinals game. Go Panthers!