June 7, 2007
Camping in the Woods
This is worse than yesterday's photo! We got a really late start today because of some business back home. When we were finally able to leave we pushed through to Effingham, Illinois. The campground is on a lake and really beautiful. We were lucky enough to get a site right on the edge of the woods and the trees are filled with birds. Maybe tomorrow morning I'll get a few photos.
Roll on Mississippi-June 6, 2007
We left home this morning at nine to begin our trip. There was a lot of last minute packing and running back inside for items. Our drive today was pretty straightforward, all on I-55. We’ve parked for tonight at the Tom Sawyer campground in West Memphis, Arkansas. This is a terrific campground, one I’ll certainly visit if we come this way again. It’s set on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi with long pullthroughs, very important for Breland after a long day of driving. Each campsite has trees and picnic tables and benches line the river bank. It would be perfect if the wifi were a little faster!
Our camper is parked right on the river. The river traffic here is very different from that in front of my house. There are no big ocean going vessels, just barges and a few small boats. We watched a bald eagle eat a fish on a sandbar on the river, easy to see in our binoculars but too far for the camera. Tomorrow we plan to drive a few hundred more miles north.
The photos on this blog will definitely not be high quality, I fear. Sometimes it will have to be a grab shot in between setting up camp and cooking dinner.
When we left Louisiana the redbud trees had lost their blossoms and were already covered in leaves. All through Mississippi and Alabama the trees were in their full bright pink glory. I was starting to worry that we might be too late to catch the trees in bloom in the mountains. I shouldn't have worried. As we entered Tennessee the trees were only beginning to bud. I'm looking forward to the flowering trees, especially the dogwood.
We spent last night at Fort Desoto State Park in Alabama. The campground was beautiful and filled with birds but we were only there for a few hours of daylight. I wanted to stay longer to photograph the falls in the area but we had reservations further along. We pushed on today to the Smokies. I've never been here in Spring before.
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
We left Sunday for a trip that will last a few weeks. Our first stop was Breaux Bridge, Louisiana so that we could photograph the birds at Lake Martin for a couple of days before we set off for a longer trip. We spent the night at Poche's Fish-n-Camp, a very interesting place to birders and fishermen. The RV park is set up along several very large catfish ponds. With your RV space rental you get the right to keep all of the fish you catch. We haven't fished yet but there's been many catfish and sac-a-lait brought in by other campers.
Right down the road from the RV park is a restaurant that has crawfish etoufee on the menu daily. Yum!
January 27, 2007
Dauphin Island, Alabama
We spent a week on Dauphin Island in Alabama at the campground there. This large campground had space for over 100 campers and was almost filled with snowbirds. The license plates were from Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Kentucky and New York, along with a sprinkling from Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Some of the couples told us that they'd been wintering there for up to 13 years. The recreation room provided a large kitchen, fireplace, books, and games. Mardi Gras parades passed in front of the campground last weekend and this weekend.
It was a beautiful place, with a half mile of sugar sand beach and adjoining the 164 acre Audubon Bird Sanctuary. We walked miles of trails each day, along the beach and through the wooded sanctuary, following paths through wetlands and around the lake. Trawlers and luggers brought in fresh fish, crab, shrimp and oysters to the dock near us.. The local seafood market sells the freshly opened oysters and peeled crabmeat and will steam your shrimp for you.
The only downfall was the lack of internet access. I have to do something about that soon! I have a lot of catching up to do.
January 20, 2007
Our second trip in Go Home II is one to the Alabama coast. We wanted to stay at the Dauphin Island campground but there are two large Mardi Gras parades on the island this weekend so we are staying just a few miles from Bellingrath Gardens until Monday. Breland and I visited the gardens today, spending several hours walking through and admiring the many camellias and flowering trees. We'll move Monday to Dauphin Island on the Gulf of New Mexico.
Bayou La Batre is just a few miles from our campsite. The availablity of fresh seafood and the large number of birds here is a real draw. We're surrounded by snowbirders. I think we may be the only southerners.
Breland did an incredible job of managing that big rig through many miles of traffic. We crossed into New Mexico and pushed on to the Leaburg State Park. Our site had an incredible view of the Organ Mountains. Go Home met a friendly poodle and didn't even notice the rabbits hiding in the shrubs.
We set off for our destination, the Birdwatchers' RV Park in San Antonio, New Mexico. I stopped in Hatch to pick up some red chili enchiladas for Breland. Here's a picture of chilis drying on the roof of one of the many places that sell fresh chili in Hatch.
Sunset at Leaburg State Park, New Mexico
We spent our third night on the road at the Leaburg State Park right above Las Cruces, New Mexico. It's a beautiful place to stay, with a picnic pavilion and firepit at each site. The RV sites are on a hill overlooking the dam. I would have loved to linger for a couple of days but we had to press on to our final destination.
The sunset is reflected in our travel trailer on the left. A retro Avion trailer is straight ahead.
Caverns of Sonora RV Park, Texas
Our children have been a bit concerned about us traveling by RV. They're worried that I'd hate the typical crowded RV park. Here's a photo to reassure them :-) By 6:00 p.m. there were three other RVs sharing this park with us. I saw 25 deer at one time, several prairie dogs, and another couple saw a javelina. No loud music, no screaming kids or ATVs, just peace and clean air.
Louisiana for 12 Hours
I flew home from New Mexico on Thursday and, less than 12 hours later, started driving back to New Mexico with Breland and Go Home. It is our first long trip with the RV. The original plan was to leave early in the morning but I had to be home for just a little while.
The truck's transmission needed a 500 mile towing break-in period and we were only able to travel 50 MPH. By the time we got to Houston we parked the RV, got a hotel room, and set the alarm for an early start the next day.
The photo is of a tour boat on the Atchafalaya Spillway near Lafayette, Louisiana.
Cloudcroft, New Mexico
The town of Cloudcroft is a small town catering to skiers and summer vacationers. It is over 9000 feet in elevation. Within 10 miles of the town are numerous overlooks, trails and canyons. Herds of elk and deer wander the mountainsides. Wild turkeys are everywhere and I even saw two bobcats in my rambles.
Cloudcroft is only 25 miles from White Sands National Monument. You can see White Sands, over 4000 feet below, from several overlooks on the road to Sunspot http://www.nso.edu/,
the National Solar Observatory.
I've worked near here over several days in the last month and stayed at The Lodge at Cloudcroft for much of my time here. This historic lodge is supposed to be haunted by Rebecca, a beautiful red-headed ghost. Rebecca, a chambermaid, disappeared after her lumberjack lover found her in the arms of another. So far I've slept here undisturbed.
The lodge has an excellent restaurant and a view down over the Tulorosa Basin below and to the Organ Mountains 90 miles away. The best spot for breakfast and lunch in town is the Jamocha Bean, a coffee and sandwich shop with comfortable couches and a cheerful staff.