Cedar Key – Olde Florida!

Our site at Cypress Woods - Ft. Myers
Our site at Cypress Woods – Ft. Myers

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March 10-13

We arrived in Cedar Key and out RV park  (Sunset Isles) to friendly waves from fellow campers.  Shortly after, as we were setting up and sweating, we met Mary our neighbor who was coming back from the Schwan’s food truck (they sell frozen desserts, entrée’s, etc) with a box of ice cream bars offering us a couple! How nice and it actually cooled me down a bit. We read many good reviews about Cedar Key and especially this park and we received that same “vibe” very quickly.

First let’s talk about Cedar Key (CK). If you were to look at a Florida map, you will soon realize this place is remote with only one road in and out – 28 miles from Hwy 19.  It’s a great road that’s quiet and definitely worth the drive. Our first impression once in town was that of a “maritime” village. CK began as a fishing and clamming community back in 1859 and continues that tradition today. Today, 95 % of “farm-raised” clams in the U.S. come from here. Biking around the town’s streets offers up lots of history with older homes and evidence of fishermen and clammers all around with boats, traps, etc.. This is one destination we would like to revisit for a longer stay. The downtown area is small and quaint and biking around it was fun.

On Tuesday after setting up, we walked around the small park to check out the facilities and meet some of the other campers. In the friendlier parks, other campers are very anxious to tell “newbies” about the park and the area you arrived at. It was getting late in the afternoon and the first thing we learned was there was a Tiki Bar about 500 feet down the road, so we wandered down there and talked to more tourists picking up more information about the area, the local restaurants, etc. We enjoyed a nice sunset and back to camp for dinner.

Wednesday, we woke to warm temps and high UV’s. We unhooked the bikes and biked an easy 1.3 miles to town where we first toured the cemetery and boardwalk/park area north of the downtown area. After a walk on the boardwalk, we headed to the “downtown area” which is comprised of a short main street and a gulf front area where the fishermen and tourists hangout. It’s comprised of a a couple of large fishing piers and 4-5 restaurants with the same number of “tourist” stores. (no I didn’t by another T-shirt!) We where there for lunch time an managed to find a nice spot right on the water on the second floor with great views of the many surrounding keys. By the time we had arrived back to camp after it struck us that we had gotten quite a bit of sun as it took a couple of hours to cool down in the shade and played some Scrabble. A steak BBQ was on the schedule for dinner. No complaints.

Thursday we awoke to another warm and humid day – not complaining!! After breakfast, we decided to walk to town for some more exercise and took our furry friend with us. We basically walked into town, but some of “Tony’s” world famous clam chowder in a condensed can and a couple of grocery items. Tony, a local won the world championship in New England 2009,10 and 11 and they retired his recipe into the Chowder Hall of Fame. No one has ever done that before and he doesn’t need to compete anymore. We’ll try it someday soon. After arriving back to the camp, we had a light lunch and then it was beauty salon time! Thank goodness the A/C works well in the RV. Later in the afternoon we played some Rummikub. We had a quiet evening visiting the Tiki Bar for only one cold one. The sunset was too great, so we were back home early.

Friday we were up early, packed and on the road by 8:30am heading to St. Petersburg Beach area (Indian Shores) to visit with my sister Cheryl and brother-in-law Doug.  Parking was an issue in the area, as was finding an RV park, so what started as an overnighter in a Walmart lot for the night ended up with a short visit at their condo and lunch out. With the rising temps, dry camping as well as Jazz spending time in the RV wasn’t going to work. After lunch, we parted ways around 2:30 and continued down the road another 130 miles to Ft. Myers. We arrived at Cypress Woods around 5:30 to a greeting from Kathy’s brother Wayne and sister in law Lynn.  Our new and beautiful home for the next 9 nights! See pics.

We’ll squawk in a week or so!!!

 

En route to Cedar Key
En route to Cedar Key
Entering Cedar Key
Entering Cedar Key
We arrived
We arrived
Lots of Kayaking in the area
Lots of Kayaking in the area
the "Tiki Bar" - a 2 minute walk away - everyone is unique
the “Tiki Bar” – a 2 minute walk away – everyone is unique
an Osprey "dining" at sunset
an Osprey “dining” at sunset
Inside the Tkik Bar - note the "bottle wall"- most of it was constructed this way
Inside the Tkik Bar – note the “bottle wall”- most of it was constructed this way
Our first Cedar Key sunset
Our first Cedar Key sunset
the front of the Tiki Bar
the front of the Tiki Bar
Downtown Cedar Key- small and quaint
Downtown Cedar Key- small and quaint
one of many staying close to the many fisherman
one of many staying close to the many fisherman
Downtown from a different angle
Downtown from a different angle
 Read it carefully
Read it carefully

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A picture from our site at Sunset Isle - a unique little park
A picture from our site at Sunset Isle – a unique little park
The Tiki Bar also has a small strip motel - very eclectic
The Tiki Bar also has a small strip motel – very eclectic

 

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Less Civilization – Found!

March 10 – 7

Today (Tuesday) we arrived in Cedar Key as we left the Florida Panhandle and headed to south Florida. We had a longer driving day compared to the last few weeks with about 240 miles. Keep in mind, 240 miles (almost 400 km’s) is longer in an RV and especially when you are taking the “scenic route” along the coast through small towns like Port St. Joe, Apalachicola, Carrabelle and Sopchoppy. We left Mexico Beach after spending three relaxing days in a much slower paced beach town vs. the commercialism of Panama Beach, Destin and Pensacola Beach. Today was a sunny drive with temps in the 80’s. As we left Apalachicola (apa-lachi-cola) –easy right!….and spotted several schools of dolphins alongside the causeway.

Yesterday (Monday) was a quieter day with overcast skies and temps in the mid 70’s. Not hard to take. We did some household chores, went for bike ride around the town and did some reading – outdoors. During the bike ride, we just happened to stumble across a custom painted golf cart – was Jimmy in town? Likely not, but we had to take some pic’s of this beauty. (see below)

Sunday was a “funday”, as the weather was excellent up to 80+ with  bright sunshine. We started out the morning by going out for an early walk with Jazz walking a good 4-5 miles and came back to the RV for a late morning brunch – omelet, sausage, bacon and raisin bread toast. After this amazing meal cooked by yours truly, we donned our bathing suites, beach chairs, towels and books and headed to the beach for the afternoon. (yes we had a couple of cool ones in the cooler as well). What a great afternoon on the beach! Later in the afternoon we needed to check out the beach bar and grill (Toucan’s) right behind us to get a status update on the NASCAR race. A Gulf side seat, a pitcher of beer and the race is on – no complaints! We arrived back at the RV to see the final few laps of the race and it was time to BBQ some ribs. Yep they were meaty and delicious………..hmm, hmmm, hmmm.

Saturday, we arrived at Mexico Beach in the early afternoon to a “campground” called Rustic Sands. It was a bit rustic, but wait it gets better…….First of all, with our Passport America membership, 3 nights with tax cost $73 total including full hookup, cable and lighting quick wi-fi! Accountants like that sort of value!!!

The owner of the park informed us as we checked in that on Saturday nights they have live entertainment, food and happy hour in the clubhouse (see pics), so we decided to scratch our meal plans for the night and check it out. First of all, let’s get rid of the bad – the food – the wings (M&M style where not thoroughly heated through and were cold. The homemade pizza – OK, would be a stretch but it was edible).  On a positive note, happy hour for $2 gave you a beer or as Kathy had, a glass of their finest Cabernet – about 10 oz served in a styrofoam cup.  Not a big deal, as it actually tasted OK. Now the best for the night was the entertainment. (see pic) Randy and Art (the postman-yes really). Randy played the guitar and sang and Art looked like he was from ZZ Top with a long grey beard and cowboy hat playing the saxophone. What a sound combination that worked. The two of them were amazing…. really! We watched a couple of sets and really enjoyed their music and ability to relate to the crowd. They are regulars every Saturday. What a fun night.

One last fact for the Mexico Beach area. Saturday night/Sunday was time to change the clocks for day light savings. That was OK, however Mexico Beach lies right on the central and eastern time zone line so whenever an event was posted they had to list CST. We thought at first we would be losing 2 hours that night, but the “line” was 1 mile east so Tuesday we would lose the other hour.

Have a great week.

Great Saturday night entertainment!
Great Saturday night entertainment!
Art (on Sax) and Randy-vocals and guitar
Art (on Sax) and Randy-vocals and guitar

Mexico Beach 4

Warm weather, a beach bar, a NASCAR race with my buddy
Warm weather, a beach bar, a NASCAR race with my buddy
Darn - no keys
Darn – no keys
Is Jimmy going to sue for patent rights?
Is Jimmy going to sue for patent rights?
Some custom airbrush paint job - hard core Parrot head
Some custom airbrush paint job – hard core Parrot head
On the MB pier
On the MB pier
Someone that doesn't like sand - really!
Someone that doesn’t like sand – really!
Mexico "Beach" day
Mexico “Beach” day
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Still searching for Jimmy……

 

March 4 – 7, 2015

Our drive to Destin along  the coastal Hwy 98 was rather interesting as for a lot of the drive, it looked like we were surrounded by snow. In reality it was all sand but when you see the pictures below you will see what I mean. We much prefer the sand! It had also been very misty for several days and that day was no exception which just added to the illusion.

We arrived in Destin  in the late morning and found a spot to park in the downtown area close to HarborWalk Village which is located right at the foot of the Destin Bridge so it was the first thing we saw as we entered Destin. We took Jazz out for a stroll along the boardwalk. It was a beautiful sunny  and warm day and it was really nice strolling along the water.
HarborWalk Village offers adventures for all to enjoy.   You can book tours there for fishing and dolphin cruises. They have water sport rentals, shopping, nightlife, weekly fireworks, seasonal festivals, live entertainment, and an array of restaurants including  Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville!!  Now you know the real reason we went there!!

Once Jazz had enough exercise, we took her back to the RV and Rob and I went to Margaritaville for lunch of course. (See pics) We had a fun lunch and enjoyed seeing this Margaritaville. For those who have never been to any Margaritavilles , each one is different so it is interesting to compare them to others. I liked this one in Destin.

After lunch, we returned to the RV and headed to our next RV Park which was located in the east end of Destin actually in an area called Miramar Beach. We found Destin to be very big and VERY commercial. Every store and restaurant chain imaginable can be found there.  Miramar Beach was a little less commercial  but we determined this really wasn’t the kind of place we enjoy. We prefer smaller towns with some personality

When we woke up Thursday morning it was very humid and was already 75 degrees. Rob went out for a nice bike ride at about 7:45 am and he checked out the area and found where the Outlet Mall was located. We had read that the largest Outlet Mall in Florida  was only 1 mile away from our park and sure enough, it was.  After Rob returned to the RV and we had breakfast the 3 of us set off for a walk along the beach. The beach was beautiful white soft sand just as it had been in Pensacola Beach. Unfortunately, our walk was cut short as it began to rain and by the time we got back to the RV it was raining very hard so all 3 of us were soaked. At least Rob and I could put on dry clothes but poor Jazz was not as lucky. She was damp for a good part of the day as with all the humidity, things did not dry quickly. The rain continued pretty well the entire day and the temperature began to drop drastically. At one point in the morning it was up to 79 degrees F. By 5 pm, the temperature was down to 40 degrees F. Unbelievable! Needless to say, we were inside the RV the rest of the day.

Friday morning was still cold outside but it was sunny so we walked over to the Outlet Mall for some browsing and shopping. We didn’t buy very much but it was a nice day for a walk anyway.

Saturday morning, we packed up the RV and were on the road by 9:30 am. We stopped on the way for groceries and by 10:45 am we had arrived at Panama City Beach. Yes, it is another “beach town” very similar to Destin. One of the main attractions in PCB is Pier Park which is right across the road from the beach. It is a mecca for entertainment, shopping,  fine dining, and fabulous fun in the sun.  They claim to have over 1 million visitors a year and to be well-known as one of the best places to visit along Florida’s West Coast.  Take a guess what one of the Restaurants in Pier Park was. You guessed it – Margaritaville!!  After wandering around Pier Park to see what it was all about we  returned Jazz to the RV and yes, we went to Margaritaville for lunch. We were able to sit out on the patio and it was a hot sunny day so that was great. But I have to admit, of all the Margaritavilles we have been to so far, this one in PCB was my least favorite. The food and drink prices in both Margaritavilles in Destin and PCB were quite high and this one in PCB just didn’t have that ‘fun” atmosphere that others have. But, we did have to check it out and now we know what it’s like.

Instead of staying in Panama City Beach, we decided to leave the commercial beaches behind and we headed further down the coast to what is called the Forgotten Coast – Mexico Beach. We arrived at Rustic Sands RV Resort on Saturday afternoon.

Stay tuned for more droppings about our time in Mexico Beach!

Our drive from Pensacola Beach to Destin. Is that snow on the ground - nope, it's sand
Our drive from Pensacola Beach to Destin. Is that snow on the ground – nope, it’s sand
Looks like a blustery winter day doesn't it
Looks like a blustery winter day doesn’t it
Looks like we are in a snowstorm but it's sand and mist
Looks like we are in a snowstorm but it’s sand and mist
We have arrived in Destin. This is HarborWalk Village
We have arrived in Destin. This is HarborWalk Village
Yes, another Margaritaville. This is in Destin.
Yes, another Margaritaville. This is in Destin.
Margaritaville is right on the water
Margaritaville is right on the water
This is in HarborWalk Village. See next picture of the tree
This is in HarborWalk Village. See next picture of the tree
The Magnificant Magnolia
The Magnificant Magnolia
Rob relaxing at Jimmy's place!
Rob relaxing at Jimmy’s place!
Us enjoying Jimmy's relaxing patio
Us enjoying Jimmy’s relaxing patio

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More at Jimmy's place
More at Jimmy’s place

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Rob trying to look like Jimmy
Rob trying to look like Jimmy
This is what Jimmy really looks like!!
This is what Jimmy really looks like!!
Rob & Jazz at Pier Park, Panama City Beach
Rob & Jazz at Pier Park, Panama City Beach
Yes, another Margaritaville!! This is in Panama City Beach Fl
Yes, another Margaritaville!! This is in Panama City Beach Fl
The Pier at PCB
The Pier at PCB
Kathy in Margaritaville at PCB
Kathy in Margaritaville at PCB
Boat Drinks Bar at Jimmy's, PCB
Boat Drinks Bar at Jimmy’s, PCB
Pier Park
Pier Park

 

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It took us 5 months but we have finally arrived in Florida!!!

March 1 – 4, 2015

We left Gulf Shores Sunday morning and after stopping to get groceries on the way, we arrived in Pensacola Beach Florida in the early afternoon. Pensacola Beach is another beach town and at this time of year it is very quiet with mainly snowbirds staying there. All this will change next week though when Spring Break begins for the U.S. colleges and we were told by many store and restaurant workers that they were gearing up for a very busy next 4-5 weeks of Spring Breakers taking over the town and the beach. Glad we won’t be there!! The beaches in Pensacola Beach are beautiful. This is the Emerald Coast and the beaches have beautiful white sand.

Pensacola Beach is located on Santa Rosa Island, one of the longest barrier islands in the world, Pensacola Beach has an old Florida feel with natural beaches, local hang-outs, first-rate fishing and historic Fort Pickens. Pensacola Beach has been named among the nation’s top 10 beaches by TripAdvisor.

The Pensacola Beach Pier is one of the longest in the Gulf of Mexico at 1,471 feet. Portofino Boardwalk features open-air bars and restaurants, shops, piers and shallow water for kids along Santa Rosa Sound. Visitors can access Gulf Islands National Seashore, the nation’s longest stretch of protected seashore, on both sides of Pensacola Beach, making it an ideal spot for biking, snorkeling or kayaking in the summer months.

Instead of biking, we did a lot of walking there. One of our missions while in Pensacola Beach was to visit Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Beach Hotel which we did. I have a goal to visit all the Margaritavilles  in places we drive through on this trip so the hotel was naturally on the list. (See pics). It really was a beautiful hotel. Unfortunately the Landshark Bar there is only open during the warmer weather so we were not able to get into it but we did have a drink at Frank & Lola Love Pensacola Bar and Restaurant in the hotel. It would have been great to have been able to spend a night in the hotel but guess that is just a good excuse to come back to PB someday without a RV!

On Monday evening, we stopped at a couple of bars before going out for dinner at a great restaurant called Hemingways. One of the bars was a restaurant called Red Fish Blue Fish. We entered into this open air restaurant through the side and just went directly to the Bar. As we walked across the patio, there was a group of people standing out there and we saw them look at us kind of funny but we didn’t think anything of it. At the bar, we ordered 2 beer. As one bartender poured our beers, another came up and asked us for our tickets. We said we didn’t have any tickets and we thought he must be referring to discount coupons or something. As it turned out, we had crashed a private event which had taken over the whole restaurant for the evening. When we realized this, it was too late. The Bartender said no problem, he wouldn’t kick us out. So we paid for our beers and went out onto their sand beach area and enjoyed our beers as we sat by their wonderful gas fireplace in lounge chairs. In hindsight, we should have went along with the guy who asked us for our tickets as he was all prepared to go and get us tickets from the reception person. Guess we are just too honest. (BTW – people continued to look at us strangely the entire time we sat there but we didn’t rush as it was so nice enjoying the fire – lol) We ended up returning to Red Fish Blue Fish the next night for dinner. That night it was open to the public.

Also while we were there we stopped at another local restaurant for lunch one day called Peg Leg Pete’s. Of course we had to try out their Seafood Gumbo and we shared a delicious Grouper sandwich. The great food just goes on and on……

On Wednesday morning, we packed up and headed down the road approximately 40 miles to our next stop,  Destin Florida, which is another Beach town – more of the same basically as we experienced in Pensacola Beach but Destin is much bigger in comparison. And yes, in case you are wondering, there is a Margaritaville in Destin! Whoo Hoo!

Will squawk in another day or two about our time in Destin.

We are at The Margaritaville Beach Hotel
We are at The Margaritaville Beach Hotel
Jazz and I at Jimmy's place
Jazz and I at Jimmy’s place
Still at Jimmy's
Still at Jimmy’s
The beach at Jimmy's place
The beach at Jimmy’s place

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Rob with Peg Leg Pete
Rob with Peg Leg Pete

 

Kathy enjoying a beer at Frank & Lola's
Kathy enjoying a beer at Frank & Lola’s
Parrotheads!!
Parrotheads!!
Jimmy's Landshark Bar and Grill. Wish it would have been open.
Jimmy’s Landshark Bar and Grill. Wish it would have been open.
The Pensacola Beach water tower is a beach ball!
The Pensacola Beach water tower is a beach ball!

 

 

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Sweet Home Alabama

Feb 26-Mar 1/2015

Our drive from Biloxi Mississippi to Gulf Shores Alabama took us through Mobile, Alabama where Jimmy Buffett was born and raised. I had wanted to stop in Mobile and go to the Carnival Museum as Mobile is where the first Mardi Gras was ever held and the Museum is apparently really interesting. Unfortunately, the museum is only open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and it was Thursday that we were driving through. So, we decided not to bother going into downtown Mobile and just drove through it and onto Gulf Shores instead. By the time we arrived it was late afternoon so after setting up we spent the evening just relaxing at the RV.

Friday morning Jazz received her weekly beauty salon treatment  and we researched how we could walk to the famous  LuLu’s at Homeport Marina which was about 2 miles from our RV Park. LuLu is Lucy Buffett – yes, Jimmy’s Sister!! We figured out how to get there and headed there at 3 pm to spend the afternoon and evening enjoying the live entertainment she has every afternoon.

LuLu’s first began as a restaurant with a tiny gift shop, a little sand for kids to play in, and a great view of the Intracoastal Waterway in Gulf Shores. Now, a few years later, the view is still unbeatable, but the restaurant is more than just that—it has become a true family entertainment destination.

LuLu’s apparently serves 4000 people a day during the summer season.  Imagine!!!  They have different areas in addition to the huge main restaurant like the BAMA BREEZE bar to wet your whistle, the SUNSET GRILL overlooking the marina, the FOUNTAIN FOR YOUTH to cool off the kids, the MOUNTAIN OF YOUTH, a  three-story rope climbing apparatus for the adventurous kids.  In addition to the live music daily they also have a huge retail store, and a large sandy beach area equipped with pails, shovels etc that Rob really enjoyed playing in!

LuLu’s is also well known for her great food and her Crazy Sista specialties.  Rob and I enjoyed her famous Seafood Gumbo and then we shared a plate of Shrimp and Grits which was absolutely delicious. It was a bowl full of what I would call Shrimp Etoufee with cheese grits in the centre. I never thought I would call Grits delicious but the way she made these cheese ones, they were. After dinner we called a taxi to take us home as it was dark out by then and we didn’t want to be walking along a highway in the dark. It was a very fun evening out! (See lots of pics)

The next morning, we headed out on our bikes and biked right down into downtown Gulf Shores which is a beach community. The beach was very nice but it was a breezy cool day so we couldn’t spend much time on the beach. We stopped at The Pink Pony Pub which was right on the beach for a couple of beer and sat and watched the waves for a while. We then headed back toward the RV Park but stopped on the way at Hog Wild BBQ for lunch. We shared a BBQ Plate of ribs and chicken which came with homemade potato salad and coleslaw. Everything was delicious. We sure are experiencing a lot of delicious food here in the south!

The rest of the afternoon and evening we relaxed and got ready to head out the next morning to our next destination – Pensacola Beach Florida. Stay tuned.

We have arrived at LuLu's!
We have arrived at LuLu’s!

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Aerial photo of LuLu's
Aerial photo of LuLu’s
Rob playing in the sand
Rob playing in the sand
Crazy Sista is LuLu's trademark
Crazy Sista is LuLu’s trademark
Waiting for the taxi
Waiting for the taxi
Rob drying out his jacket in the breeze down at Gulf Shores Beach
Rob drying out his jacket in the breeze down at Gulf Shores Beach
Gulf Shore Beach
Gulf Shore Beach
Great BBQ
Great BBQ
The Intercoastal Waterway at Gulf Shores
The Intercoastal Waterway at Gulf Shores

 

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Biloxi MS- Still Rebuilding from Katrina

Feb 23-26

On Monday morning we left New Orleans and Louisiana behind and after a short 85 mile drive we arrived in Biloxi Mississippi.  Monday afternoon and evening were “quiet time” after a very busy weekend in the Big Easy.

Most will recall the devastating hurricane that hit the Gulf coast back in August 2005 – Katrina. From our recollections, it seemed like New Orleans received all the press but Katrina had a very wide and destructive swath that covered 100’s of miles of coast from east Texas to Florida.

The weather had cooled considerably since NO, but we had already decided that Tuesday weather was to be the best (low 50’s with sun) so we headed out in our bikes to explore the coastline that belongs to Biloxi. We dropped into the new and very large visitors center for an hour in the morning which provided us with a good sense of the destruction that had occurred when Katrina hit. This stretch is still rebuilding after 9 years. Lots of real estate signs on ocean vacant land that once had homes and business’. As we would soon discover, most of the places we visited had only reopened in the past year or so. We went to a “re-opened seafood restaurant for lunch. It is now built on massive cement and iron stilts, I’m guessing 20-25′ in the air. They even put in an elevator as it’s that high up. Good food, good view. We then headed further down Beach Boulevard to a Marine and Seafood Industry Museum and spent a couple of hours there until their closing at 4:30. This area of the Gulf (The Emerald Coast) is called the Seafood Capital of the World. I can’t say if that’s true, but the roots of this area are all seafood and they also had/have a long history in boating and ships. Two notable items were the Nydia – a restored sailing racer from the late 1800’s and the invention of the automatic shrimp peeling machine. It replaced the work of 75-100 people. (see pics below)

Wednesday was a wet and cold day, so it was just one to laze around the “house” for the day.

Thursday morning we were on the move again, but before we left Biloxi we intended to tour Beauvoir – a National historic site about 1 1/2 miles west. Beauvoir means “beautiful view” in french. It was built back in 1848. It’s 3rd and most significant owner was Jefferson Davis(JD) – the only President of Confederate States of America. I will keep the history lesson short! Through the mid 1840’s to around 1860, JD was in the US House of Representatives and also a Senator for Mississippi. The year 1861 was when the American Civil war began(the south started it). Prior to this, several southern states (?) seceded from the Union. It was JD’s decision to return to Mississippi where he would become the Confederates 1st and only President. After 4 years of war, the confederates (the South) lost and surrendered. I’m not sure they have accepted this yet. JD was imprisoned for two years and all but one of the confederate soldiers where allowed to rejoin the Union and get their citizenship back – JD was the exception.  His citizen would finally be restored almost 115 years later by Jimmy Carter in 1978.

He bought Beauvoir in 1879.

After his death(1889) and that of his wife and children, Beauvoir was turned into a retirement home(estate) for veterans of the Confederate. Over a span of 40+ years, over 1,800 would retire here and some died here – a cemetery on the 80 acre property has almost 800 gravesites. During this time several additional housing buildings were constructed. The property in the back also has a large animal range for sheep, goats, miniature horses, peacocks and a Zebu. (you can look it up)-Pic below. The main house was severely damaged by Katrina and was just restored again in 2014.

After our tour and walk around, we headed off to Alabama – about 110 miles today.

For those in the frigid north – I hope you are out looking for that darn groundhog right now!!! Stay warm, Spring is only 22 days away….

Who new....a Canadian was sent to start the colonization of the Mississippi Coast in 1699
Who new….a Canadian was sent to start the colonization of the Mississippi Coast in 1699
A restored Sailing racing legend - the Nydia - built in 1896
A restored Sailing racing legend – the Nydia – built in 1896
The Nydia
The Nydia
An automatic shrimp peeling machine-designed in the mid 1940's from a high school students idea - his father said to him " you will be rich if you find a machine that peels shrimp"
An automatic shrimp peeling machine-designed in the mid 1940’s from a high school students idea – his father said to him ” you will be rich if you find a machine that peels shrimp”
Many carvings from Oak trees that didn't survive Hurricane Katrina in 2005
Many carvings from Oak trees that didn’t survive Hurricane Katrina in 2005

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More Oak carvings
More Oak carvings
Katrina memorial - over 50 lives lost
Katrina memorial – over 50 lives lost
Many large casinos in Biloxi
Many large casinos in Biloxi
A Biloxi sunset
A Biloxi sunset
Biloxi's "iconic" lighthouse signifying it's resilience from many storms over the past 160+ years- built in 1848 using a cast iron shell lined with brick
Biloxi’s “iconic” lighthouse signifying it’s resilience from many storms over the past 160+ years- built in 1848 using a cast iron shell lined with brick
"Beauvoir" - means beautiful view in French. Home of Jefferson Davis- only President of the Confederate States of America
“Beauvoir” – means beautiful view in French. Home of Jefferson Davis- only President of the Confederate States of America
Beauvoir-A view from the porch out to the Gulf of Mexico-think of Katrina's 21' storm surge
Beauvoir-A view from the porch out to the Gulf of Mexico-think of Katrina’s 21′ storm surge
painted ceilings look like real moldings
painted ceilings look like real moldings
Sitting rooms
Sitting rooms
Portrait of Jefferson  Davis(JD)
Portrait of Jefferson Davis(JD)
Bedroom of JD's daughter in main house
Bedroom of JD’s daughter in main house
An original patchwork quilt of JD's circa 1880
An original patchwork quilt of JD’s circa 1880
A Zebu
A Zebu

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A reconstructed arch-the original one in the front was lost to Katrina- this one is the entrance to the cemetery on the property
A reconstructed arch-the original one in the front was lost to Katrina- this one is the entrance to the cemetery on the property
Grave of the Unknown Confederate soldier
Grave of the Unknown Confederate soldier

 

 

 

 

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N’Awlins – Lots of Sights AND Sounds

Feb 20-23

Friday morning we packed up at our last stop in Cajun country with a 135 mile trip ahead for the day that would put us in New Orleans(NO). Our friends John and Wendy were leaving the frigid temperatures of Toronto with a scheduled landing in NO around 8. The park we were staying in was fairly new (around 2008) and it also had a marina. It was north of the French Qtr.(downtown) by about 15 minutes by park shuttle. So it was very convenient. It was also gated with security which is a good thing in NO.

When we left, the day was overcast in the mid 50’s. The drive would turn out to be a tiring one for Kathy as she was driving and encountered high winds and rain, not to mention many bridges (some quite tall and long) and causeways. Weather improved and cleared as we neared NO. As it was a short drive, it provided us lots of time to clean and prepare the quarters for our guests. The flight was slightly delayed and we greeted them at our front gate shortly after 9:30pm. We spent a couple of hours catching up on news, family’s, etc..

They were staying in NO until Thursday, and with us for the first 3 nights so we would be spending quite a bit of time in NO on Saturday and Sunday. We have been to NO before, but they had not so we sort of acted like tour guides. For those that have never been to NO, it has a lot of history, character and as the title said, sights and sounds. It’s quite easy to sit and observe the people and music coming out of numerous venues or just walk the French Qtr. area and along the banks of the Mississippi River. Over the two days we did a fair bit of both.

Saturday morning, after a large breakfast we met the shuttle for a 9:45 departure from the park, with temps allowing for short sleeve shirts. The shuttle was basically 10am, 4 pm and 8pm. If you stayed in past 8 pm, you would have to cab it back. Due to needing to care for Jazz during the day, we had already planned to go into the French Qtr. twice on Saturday. When we arrived shortly after 10am, the Qtr was quite busy already especially at the famous Café Du Monde – with two lineups 50-75 people deep to taste their beignets. We didn’t join the line, as our guests could try these during the week when the lines would be much less. We did however take a look at how they are made peering in a back window with the bakers inches from the window. For lunch we managed to find a place that wasn’t too busy. A couple of nearby Oyster bars both had significant lines ups outside. In my opinion, I don’t think oysters are worth that kind of a wait! The balance of the after noon was just walking the various streets and taking in the sights and sounds. We were back to our pickup area for 3:45 and shortly before the shuttle arrived, along came a wedding parade right in front of us. There were 6-7 musicians leading it with the Newlyweds and approximately 75 guests following waving napkins. ( memories of Kathy’s 50th in Key West – not sure who’s idea this napkin thing is??)

We arrived back to the RV for a few hours of respite as we were going to take the 8 pm shuttle back in for dinner and check out the night life and music on Frenchmen Street into the wee hours. This area is slightly out of the French Qtr. and is noted for good bands and 2nd lines. After leaving the shuttle, we no sooner got onto Frenchmen Street and there was a 2nd line playing on the street. A 2nd line is usually a group of high school aged kids, maybe a little older playing a variety of instruments to the crowd for tips. The last time we were in NO, we actually witnessed two 2nd lines “dueling” with their music! We finally were able to find a dining option that worked as there were not many in this area. Following that we spent a few hours listening to bands in Café Negril and then at the Apple Barrel. Lots of fun was had by all arriving back home by cab early Sunday morning!

Sunday morning we were up and a little tired but soldiered on to make the 10 am shuttle again. The weather was excellent that morning allowing us to wear shorts. We had some of Kathy’s banana muffins before leaving, so the first order of business was to find a place for breakfast, which we did right down by the Natchez steamship. We did some walking then found a crowed area that is used by buskers(street  entertainers) and took in a good gymnastic type show put on by 5 guys who have been doing this for 25 years.

After this we wondered over to Bourbon Street and managing to find a great corner spot on a second floor balcony that provided sunshine, food, drinks, along with many sights and sounds from the street below. Oh ya,   they had a TV where I could keep tabs on the Daytona 500 race. All was good.

We picked up the shuttle for the 4 o’clock return to the park and enjoyed the next couple of hours outside in the sun! John was coming down with a cold and it was getting the better of him so some bed time was in order. The girls went for a hot tub and I just sat and enjoyed the weather and had a chat with a neighbor beside us that was from Orillia. I BBQ’d that night and we had a good time chatting that evening.

Overnight rain would set in and the warm temps would disappear with Monday’s high predicted to be around 50 deg. We bid farewell to our friends as they took the 10 am shuttle down to the French Qtr. to spend 3 nights in a hotel and do some of their own sightseeing.

By 12 noon were had packed up and were on our way for about 85 miles to Biloxi Mississippi.

From the perch, that’s it for now.

 

Wedding parade
Wedding parade
We were lucky to witness a Wedding Parade on Toulouse Street - we assume heading to the reception - supposedly these are common
We were lucky to witness a Wedding Parade on Toulouse Street – we assume heading to the reception – supposedly these are common
Wedding parade
Wedding parade-guests waving napkins
Iconic downtown French Quarter Catholic Church
Iconic downtown French Quarter Catholic Church
OK, which bar to next?
OK, which bar to next?
Bourbon Street Balcony for a libation enjoying the warm 75 deg sunny temps
Bourbon Street Balcony for a libations enjoying the warm 75 deg sunny temps
he is walking his dog; she is showing a tourist her snake
he is walking his dog; she is showing a tourist her snake
Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street
The aftermath from Mardi Gras
The aftermath from Mardi Gras
Someone found some new parrot earrings
Someone found some new parrot earrings
Balcony party
Balcony party
A local "trolling" the streets
A local “trolling” the streets
3 very thirst boys
3 very thirsty boys
Most corners were like this
Most corners were like this

 

Enjoying time with our friends John and Wendy in NOLA
Enjoying time with our friends John and Wendy in NOLA
Sunday morning-out for breakfast - yes, we ate too!!
Sunday morning-out for breakfast – yes, we ate too!!
A "2nd line" - a common sight on Frenchman Street later in the evenings - usually high school kids playing for tip money
A “2nd line” – a common sight on Frenchman Street later in the evenings – usually high school kids playing for tip money
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Down on the Bayou

Feb 16-19

Monday morning we woke to warm weather (65 deg) which was the same as we went to bed the night before. This was soon to change as Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday was around the corner. We left Cajun Palms  around 11 not having too far to go and took a lesser travelled route south through St. Martinsville and New Iberia ending up in Abbeville for the next couple of nights. We arrived around 1 and the weather was still sunny in the high 60’s with a warm breeze. By dinner time the temp had dropped to the low 40’s and went into the mid 30’s over night.

We had a reasonable internet connection, so that allowed us to catch up on a few things. Without cable, Breaking Bad episodes for that night and the next was our evening “TV” entertainment. The aerial did pickup a couple of channels, but none of the shows we were interested in.

Tuesday we awoke and stayed in for the morning until around 12:30 waiting for the temperatures to rise. Fat Tuesday is basically a state holiday which we found out once we had walked 1.5 miles into town. As Tuesday tourists, we were pretty alone in town as most had gone to other nearby towns and cities to watch the many parades occurring. We walked around the downtown area for an hour or so, saw some of the tourist sites and fortunately the one restaurant we wanted to go to was open – Shucks! (that’s the name of the restaurant as they are known for their oysters). This was to be our big meal for the day and it was. Oysters “shuck-e-fella”, gumbo (Kathy’s seafood, mine smoked duck and andouille sausage), pan fried shrimp and crab cakes. Yep this filled us for the night. Back home by 4ish for a few games of Rummikub.

Wednesday, we woke early as we had a couple of planned sites to visit nearby. We would relocate to a new park for 2 nights in New Iberia – about 15 miles away. After picking up some supplies at Winn Dixie, we headed to Jefferson Island. This is not precisely an island but it’s one five salt domes in the immediate area. This one is several thousand feet deep and rises above sea level by about 75’, unlike the rest of Louisiana. I will try to keep the following history short. Joseph Jefferson in the mid-1800’s was well known for portraying the character Rip Van Winkle. He was a playwright and actor using Washington Irving’s short story. For 40 years he toured the US, UK, Europe and Australia with his play. He bought property and built the 10,000 sq ft house in the picture in 1870. After his death in 1905, the next owner purchased the property and soon after realized the salt dome could be mined. Jefferson Island Salt mine was opened shortly after and remained until 1980. Shortly before that time, the owner of the day had constructed a new lakeside home beside Lake Peigneur very close by to the Jefferson Estate. In November 1980, Texaco Oil was in the immediate area drilling for oil or gas(??). Drilling deep, they found and open vein of the salt mine and shortly after the small lake began to sink with a brand new 150’ waterfall occurring. This was the last day for the mine as the water soon left the lake taking down barges and 65 acres of surrounding property including the owner’s new home. Water from a neaby lake filled the new lake up to soon have a much larger lake,  see the chimney that remains sticking out of the water with the house below. Fortunately there were no losses as miners were in the mine at the time. Something to google if interested. We had a great tour of the grounds and a private tour of the mansion as no one else was there – just us and the guide. The property was really nice with flowering camellia bushes all around the property. Lunch in the RV at Jefferson parking lot before the P.M. tour.

Heading back towards New Iberia, we now were enroute to Avery Island. If you have a bottle of Tabasco nearby, take a look at the front label. This is where they come from.  Tabasco has a fascinating history. First of all, Avery Island is another one of the salt domes mentioned above and was the first salt mine in the United States and continues to operate today. This is the one and only Tabasco plant in the world. They supply over 100 countries from here producing 700,000 bottles per day, four days a week – so the math – 130 to 140 million bottles per year!

Edmund Mcllhenny invented it here in 1868 and the company continues to be owned and run by direct descendants to this day. How do they make it and keep up with those volumes? (I’ll keep it short). It started with Edmund using peppers he grew on the surrounding property. Now they only grow around 30 acres of peppers here strictly for seeds. They have many farmers in Central and South America that they send seeds to and Avery Island salt (part of the recipe and process) that supply 99 % of the peppers needed. The farmers are supplied and the pickers us a Le petite Baton Rouge – a little red stick which is painted the red that the pickers match to the peppers to insure they are picked at the exact right colour. There strict process is to grind the peppers into a mash on the same day they were picked with Avery Island salt. The mash is shipped to Avery Island from the south and put into used wooden barrels obtained from Jack Daniels and other whisky makers where it is aged for 3 years! After this it is blended with vinegar (and ??) for a 28 day mixing period. They are then bottled and ready to shipped around the world. They now have many types of pepper sauces, steak sauce, chili sauce, etc.. We even sampled some Jalapeño ice cream and another one was a chipotle flavor – interesting….

Thursday morning was cool again with sunny weather in the mid 50’s expected by noon, which it did. Today we got the bikes out and biked into town (less than 4 miles one way). First off was a visit to the Konriko Rice Company, which is the oldest rice mill in the US still operating as it did when it began in 1912. The same process’s, techniques and equipment (most of it) remains unchanged. One change is they now us electricity which they didn’t have in the beginning when they used steam power. They have rice growers within a 40 mile area from the facility that supply enough rice during season so they produce about 40,000 per day during high season.  During the tour we learned that these farmers actually have two crops on their land – rice and crawfish…..whaaaaa?!!?! Yep, they seed their fields in  April/May using a crop duster airplane. Shortly after, they flood their fields with more than a foot of water. The rice crop takes about 4 months to grow, when they drain the fields and allow the rice plants to dry and brown (like wheat) then it is taken off by combine. I’m not sure of the timing of the next crop – crawfish, but the season peaks with the largest crawfish in April/May. The crawfish live deep in the wet soil under the rice crop and then the farmer uses baited traps to harvest the crawfish. Very interesting. Now we know what all these coloured tops throughout flooded fields where when we entered Louisiana last week! We continued on to the Historic downtown area looking at all the old and larger homes.  For those that read mystery novels, James Lee Burke with his Dave Robicheaux mystery series uses this area as inspiration for his books. He spent summers here with his cousins who lived on Main St., fishing in the Bayou Teche.

Now that’s something to Squawk about, eh!

Off to New Orleans tomorrow to meet up with our long time friends, John and Wendy flying in from Toronto for some Jazz, Blues, Cajun food and good times! (not to mention some warm weather)

Oh, by the way, once we are in New Orleans we have to pronounce it as “ N’Awlins”.

Jefferson Island - name after actor and artist Joseph Jefferson
Jefferson Island – name after actor and artist Joseph Jefferson
The Jefferson Mansion - sorry no indoor pictures allowed
The Jefferson Mansion – sorry no indoor pictures allowed
300 + years old Oak trees with Spanish moss
300 + years old Oak trees with Spanish moss
Lake Peigneur-much large since 1980
Lake Peigneur-much large since 1980
Cameillia Bushes
Cameillia Bushes
Flower with honey bee
Flower with honey bee
The remains of one of the owners home - chimney showing above water
The remains of one of the owners home – chimney showing above water
Entrance area in front of house that sank in the lake
Entrance area in front of house that sank in the lake
Tabasco tour
Tabasco tour
Tabasco plant - the one and only
Tabasco plant – the one and only
Hot, hot, hot....
Hot, hot, hot….
700,000 per day/ 4 days a week
700,000 per day/ 4 days a week
Pepper mash mixing
Pepper mash mixing

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Gardens at Jefferson Island
Gardens at Jefferson Island
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It’s Mardi Gras time Ya’ll!!

 

Feb 13-16, 2015

Immediately upon our arrival at Cajun Palms RV Resort just outside of Henderson, LA on Friday it became clearly evident that we were outnumbered with anyone that wasn’t from the State of Louisiana. About 95% of the people camping there that weekend were locals and they all came very prepared for a Mardi Gras party weekend. And the majority of the locals had their own Golf Cart with them which they planned to decorate for the Mardi Gras parade the RV Resort was having on Saturday. Many of the Golf carts were high end with chrome wheels, great stereo systems blasting away as they gravel ran around the park with their coolers of beer, custom colours etc. Everyone was sporting flags, banners etc from LSU (Louisiana State University). They are all huge supporters of the Universities football and baseball team. We saw Purple and Yellow everywhere!

Where we are is in the heart of Cajun country. Southern Louisiana is made up of Cajun and Creole sects of people. There are significant differences between the two. The Creole world is traced back to the Spanish word Criollo which means local or native. It is said that Creole people have urban origins whereas Cajuns have rural origins. Cajuns are known to be more religious, clannish and live private lives compared to the Creoles. Cajuns are of Acadian descent. Acadians were French people who settled in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia when they originally came to North America. The English threw the Acadians out of Canada in 1755 and they moved to Louisiana where they mixed with other cultures which led to the new ethnic group “Cajuns”. The state of Louisiana is broken up by Parishes as opposed to Counties like in other states. This is because most of the state is predominantly made up of Catholics.

The weather all weekend was hot and sunny so it was great for all the outdoor celebrations planned. Friday night there were many campfires going and big groups of people around them. Rob did his best to try to get invited to someone’s campfire but it didn’t happen.

Saturday was parade day to celebrate Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday in English and the term refers to Carnival celebrations beginning on or after the Epiphany and ending on the day before Ash Wednesday. It reflects the practice of the last night of eating rich fatty food before the ritual of the Lenten season.

The first Mardi Gras parade we attended was the RV Resort’s Golf Cart parade at 2 pm (see pics). There was over 40 decorated golf carts in the parade and everyone riding on the carts threw beads, candy and toys in typical Mardi Gras fashion. All of us including Jazz gathered lots of beads (see pics) and had a great time.

Once that parade was over it was time to move on to another parade. Rob and I grabbed a cab and went into the city of Lafayette which was about 17 miles west of our RV park. We wandered around the downtown for a bit and then parked ourselves at a bar right on the parade route named Artmosphere where we had dinner and libations until the parade came by at 7:30 pm. Then it was time to go out to the street to collect yet more beads of course and be part of the festivities. I had made up a sign to hold up at all the floats as they went by (see pics) and my sign brought us more attention than we would have received just standing in the crowd. We caught so many beads at that parade that we had to put most of them in a bag as there were far too many to wear around our necks. The parade lasted for about 45 minutes and had many colourful and festive floats as well as several local marching bands.

The Parades at Mardi Gras are always put on by a Krewe which is a group of people who belong to a service group in the area. They use their own money to decorate the floats, buy the beads, candy etc to throw at the crowd. The parade we saw on Saturday night was put on by the Krewe of Bonaparte. (see pics) As in many other cities and towns in Southern Louisiana, Lafayette actually has several different parades each hosted by a different Krewe throughout the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras.

After the parade ended we walked around a little but more and then returned to the RV Park.

Sunday was yet another parade day, this time in Henderson Louisiana which was just a 2 mile bike ride from our park. It started at 12:30 pm so Rob and I biked into town just before noon. It seemed that the whole town and all their cousins showed up to line the main street to watch the parade. The town itself had a population of approximately 1500 people and looked very red neckish to say the least. The parade lasted half an hour at best and yes, we collected still more beads! After the parade I actually met the Mayor of the town who welcomed me and gave me some more beads and a “get out of jail card free” in case I needed it for later. Fortunately, I didn’t have to use it! Lol

Sunday night for dinner we walked over to Crawfish Town USA which was a huge restaurant just in front of our RV resort. There we dined on a Louisiana Crawfish Festival Platter which included Fried Crawfish Tails, Crawfish Boulettes, Crawfish Etoufee, Boiled Crawfish, Seafood Gumbo, Salad, French Fries and Bread pudding for dessert. (see pic) Everything was delicious. As we had never eaten Crawfish before we asked our waitress for a lesson as to how to eat the boiled crawfish. She showed us what to do and we gave it a try. We were obviously struggling with how to do it and were noticed by a local couple who greeted us warmly and gave us further instruction. We had a very nice evening and dinner and we were very stuffed when we left.

Monday morning we packed up and headed further south to the city of Abbeville where we are staying until Wednesday. We will then go the city of New Iberia which is all in the same general area of Acadiana and we will be there until Friday. Lots of exploring to do over the next few days so better get going.

Squawk at you later in the week!! Happy Mardi Gras!!

 

 

 

This is the delicious dinner we had at Crawfish Town USA
This is the delicious dinner we had at Crawfish Town USA
Valentines Day at our RV site. It was VERY hot and sunny. Just waiting for parade time.
Valentines Day at our RV site. It was VERY hot and sunny. Just waiting for parade time.
Getting ready for the Golf Cart Parade at Cajun Palms RV Resort
Getting ready for the Golf Cart Parade at Cajun Palms RV Resort
Another Golf Cart float
Another Golf Cart float
Jazz waiting for the Golf cart parade to begin
Jazz waiting for the Golf cart parade to begin
Here comes the parade. Time to catch beads!!
Here comes the parade. Time to catch beads!!
Look at all the beads I caught!!
Look at all the beads I caught!!
Jazz caught lots of beads too!!
Jazz caught lots of beads too!!
Krewe of Bonaparte Mardi Gras Parade in Lafayette on Valentine's Day evening
Krewe of Bonaparte Mardi Gras Parade in Lafayette on Valentine’s Day evening
Another float in Lafayette parade
Another float in Lafayette parade
My sign worked very well! Lots more beads (too many to wear so we had to put most of them in a bag!)
My sign worked very well!
Lots more beads (too many to wear so we had to put most of them in a bag!)
Us with a Mardi Gras Mascot at The Blue Moon Bar after the parade
Us with a Mardi Gras Mascot at The Blue Moon Bar after the parade
A float in Mardi Gras Parade in Henderson LA on Sunday afternoon
A float in Mardi Gras Parade in Henderson LA on Sunday afternoon
Another Henderson parade float
Another Henderson parade float
More floats and of course, more beads!! lol
More floats and of course, more beads!! lol
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Beaches and Oil

Feb 7-13

Saturday, we left the Horses on the Beach just after 11 am on Padre Island, Tx. Our next destination was Jamaica Beach on Galveston Island. We soon where heading northeast and a causeway away we were on Mustang Island, where Port Aransas is located which is another tourist/summer resort. Due to the nature of the land in this area, causeways and ferries are a necessity. The ferries all run 24 hours a day and are free as they are part of their road system. Port Aransas was the first – only about 1/3 of a mile across an inlet.

We arrived around 5 pm (after 240 miles) at Jamaica Beach RV Resort and happened to miss a shuttle bus taking people to the Galveston Mardi Gras parade that evening. We would make up for that later – stay tuned!  It’s located about 12 miles from the city of Galveston and is about 80 miles south west of Houston. Once we hit the beach, it didn’t take long to realize this is one destination for some of the oil industry workers and executives to spend their weekends and summer. There were lots of beautiful and many large home on the beach. All homes in the area are built on stilts for hurricanes and potential flooding.

After a long day driving, time for a cold beer and some relaxation. Flank steak on the Q for dinner and a soak in their brand new spa. They actually had an infinity spa that was 12’ x 30’ – biggest “hottub” we have ever been in – all by ourselves! (see pic)

Sunday morning Jazz and I explored the park then headed over to the beach for a walk (and a run) – shorts and flip flops with lots of sun and mid 70’s. A perfect morning walk. After returning to the RV Kathy and I got the bikes out and headed back to the beach for a bike ride along the beach admiring all the beautiful and unique homes – again, on stilts. (see pics) For lunch we ended up at a small local diner for a cup of Gumbo each and split a Shrimp PoBoy.

Monday morning with warm sun and nice temps. , it was time for a long two hour walk on the beach returning home around 1 for lunch. Once again, being a Monday tourist is great as there are few people around. After lunch we packed up our beach chairs and books and headed back to the beach for some rays for a couple of hours.

Tuesday plan was to bike over to the bayside of Galveston Island called the West Bayou. It was only about 1.5 miles away. Once again, evidence of oil money over here with more nice homes and some inland “water streets” for their back yards. (See pics.) The beach side was breezy that day, so after the tour we decided to spend the afternoon sunning at the RV.

Wednesday, we left this area heading to Beaumont Tx. At the end of Galveston Island is the City of Galveston and their harbor. Another ferry ride was required to take us over to Port Bolivar. Today’s total drive was much shorter at around 80 miles. This area was primarily a stopover point and it’s nightly rate was 50% with our club membership. We weren’t too close to many things, but we were able on Thursday for lunch to bike about a mile or so to a Pappadeau Seafood Kitchen. This is primarily a Texas chain geared towards Cajun cooking. For lunch the place was big and it was packed. Kathy had some Blacked catfish and Shrimp etouffee. I went for the frogs legs – half deep fried, half sautéed as suggested by the waiter. Everything was real good. The manager found out this was our first time at their restaurant, so some King cake (mixed with cheese cake) was offered up complimentary. Yum, yum (see pic)

The Beaumont/Port Arthur area didn’t have much that we were interested in, so Friday morning we bid farewell to the State of Texas and headed east into Louisiana. As is normal practice, we didn’t take the direct, fast route to our next destination. We decided to take the Creole Nature Trail through the bayou’s and swamp lands. Most of the way, there wasn’t a lot to see but there was virtually no traffic either. Beyond the nature trail, the oil and gas industry was prevalent throughout the area. Oh and there was another short ferry ride required at Cameron La. Our lunch stop was in Lake Charles for some BBQ. We tried our first brisket with unlimited sides as we were newbies. (Dirty rice, corn on the cob, mac and cheese, baked beans) and toast. We split one “plate” at a cost of $10.50 and were full.

We got onto the freeway for the final leg of the day and it was noticeably busy with Mardi Gras traffic. (more on Mardi Gras in the next blog). With the congestion on the freeway, it was bound to happen and about 20 miles from our destination, traffic backed up and stopped with an obvious accident ahead. We decided to get off and take some back roads which turned out to be a good idea as we heard a few hours later that there were still problems in that area. We arrived at our site around 3pm – Cajun Palms RV Resort between Henderson and Breaux Bridge, LA. Of all the places we have stayed, this place is the closest to being a “resort” by definition. Over 300 sites, a couple of fishing ponds, two large pools a large waterpark, mini golf, cabin rentals, on and on….

Anyway, that’s all the squawking I have for today!

 

Galveston Harbour
Galveston Harbour
Our complimentary King Cake at Pappadeau Seafood
Our complimentary King Cake at Pappadeau Seafood
Jimmy Buffett is everywhere
Jimmy Buffett is everywhere
Flappin and beakin
Flappin and beakin
The infinity spa at Jamaica Beach park
The infinity spa at Jamaica Beach park
Nice to have one of these backyards!-no grass to cut
Nice to have one of these backyards!-no grass to cut

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Bayside home on inland waterway
Bayside home on inland waterway
Yep another sunset
Yep another sunset
Grandeur on stilts!
Grandeur on stilts!

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Another one
Another one
Jamaica Beach
Jamaica Beach
One of many large beach houses
One of many large beach houses
Another RV park on the beach-all with sun/observation decks
Another RV park on the beach-all with sun/observation decks
Oil and Gas country
Oil and Gas country

 

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