Traveling from Texas to the Mississippi Gulf Coast

We have been doing more “destination traveling” than “journey traveling” lately.  We prefer taking it slow and easy with no clear destination in mind and following good weather.   However, we had made a date to spend time with grandchildren and to take a short break from road journeying. We were looking forward to seeing everyone.

We did take our time.  It took us three weeks to come from Austin Texas to Biloxi Mississippi.  On our way here from Austin, Texas we were just ahead of the floods, but caught plenty of rain.   These geese were frolicing in the spillway near Lake Tawakoni State Park.

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From Lake Tawakoni we drove to Louisiana’s Beaver Dam, run by the COE which offers great discounts for seniors with a Senior Pass type of travel cards.  That is always a good deal.  We then headed another 200 miles to Mississippi’s Roosevelt State Park for a couple of nights stay after a 200 mile drive.

The weather was still rainy and drab, so we didn’t do much and did not get any photos of the camp.  It was a nice quiet park and we would have liked to have stayed longer.  Perhaps next time on our way through this part of the country.

Onward, we drove south, stopping for a few days in another Mississippi Park;  Paul B. Johnson State Park.  We have learned that there are a few states that give discounts to seniors regardless of state residency.  Some parks in Louisiana and Mississippi do so.  It varies in the amount of discount, but we appreciate any discount.

To enter the Paul B. Johnson State Park one must drive through a roadway spillway.  It was not a problem, but it did take us by surprise.  The storm clouds were gathering just as we were arriving.

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We had better weather the next couple of days  and we took the first opportunity to get our kayak out and paddle the lake.  We had some trouble with the winds spinning us in a 360 degree circle, so we headed to shore.  While carrying the kayak back to the camp, we realized that in our hurry to get into the lake for the first time this year, we put our seats in the kayak backwards! The skids were on the front of the float and not in the rear.  We giggled all the way back to camp.  We were just a bit over excited and got careless.

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This little guy waddled over to see if we brought picnic snacks for him on the island break.

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While near Hattiesburg, we took a trip over to Camp Shelby.  We had planned to tour the Military Museum, but it was closed for renovation.  We did walk the grounds and admired the aircraft and tank displays.

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It was educational for me.  I had no idea of the high tech that our military had back in WWII and then the Vietnam Era.  The equipment was well labelled and gave a history of where it was put into service and how it served.

We are now parked at Davis Bayou Campground in the Gulf Shore National Seashore.  It is a small campground and we made reservations early.  At $11 and night with the senior card, it is a bargain.  Just a mile or so from Ocean Springs and not far from Gulfport or Biloxi, one can feel nature all around and listen to the sounds at dusk in the nice sized sites and yet be in the grocery store or a restaurant  in minutes.

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There are lots of activities to do here.  The first thing that we signed up for was the Kayak 101 Tour where we improved our skills of which end is front, how to properly use a paddle singly and in tandem.  We saw an Osprey nest with young ones and observed feeding time. We were introduced to the bayou grasses that feed the inhabitants and heard the calls of various birds that I did not know existed.  It was led by knowledgeable and experienced tour guides.

Today we walked trails, saw alligators in the bayou, lizards in the trees showing off their  red throats to the lady lizards and greenery such as the devil’s walking stick.  At the pier, our grandson took this fine photo.

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We will be here another week and plan to take a more extensive tour of the Bayou on a park skiff and to have a family cookout.

Boomerville, our first !

We have a Bucket List of things that we want to do while traveling and the Quartzsite RV and Tent Show was on that list. It is a group of mostly senior citizens rving around the country who stop in Quartzsite as if it were a Woodstock week-long event.   I thought of gray-haired hippies often in million dollar rigs.  Continue reading

More RV Home Projects and Then Some

As fledgling full-timing Rvers, we are constantly learning different ways of doing things to make life easier and more comfortable while we travel.

We spent a couple of weeks in Sequim, Washington at the Elk’s Lodge, while I recovered from a dancing toe injury:  We were two-stepping at the local Elks Lodge when I managed to get my new pedicured foot under Phil’s cowboy boot. IMG_20150901_084355804  We actually had to leave the hall and head to the ER about 17 miles away in Port Townsend where they were able to surgically remove the big toe nail. It looked awful for a week or so, but I am fine now. Thanks to the good care by Phil. He was very attentive and kept the ice bag ready 20 minutes every hour.

While I recovered with ice and a raised foot in the recliner, rented movies  and several novels, Phil tidied up the incoming water connection system that we use.

He was not pleased with our messy system where the filter flip-flopped on the ground and hoses were scattered.  We had used a bucket system for a while but it didn’t have the stability that this system gives.   Using a plastic inexpensive footstool, he drilled or cut holes to fit our filter and a pressure gauge.

Water inlet system tidy up

Water inlet system tidy up

The footstool gives a stability to the heavy items and keeps them off the ground.  He also was able to install the two valve faucet allowing him to add a hose for various options.  A neighboring RVer had built this system for his RV and we promptly borrowed his idea.  He didn’t mind. RVers are like that, they share good ideas!

The other project was returning a blue flame propane heater to AMAZON as we could not get it to stop leaking propane.  It was a small leak, but the odor was offensive to me and of course any propane leak is very dangerous.   We ordered another type of propane heater, this one is smaller and so far it appears to be leak free.  It is a Mr. Heater Big Buddy 19000 BTU, radiant heater and I do like the way this type of heat feels like rays of Sun.  We do not sleep with it on and we still keep a window cracked to be sure there is plenty of fresh air available.  We also updated our propane leak detector system as ours was over 10 years old.  I think the rule of thumb is 5 years to replace them.

Mr Heater install

Mr Heater install

We like camping in National Parks and Forests from time to time and it seems that the prettiest sites are often boon docking or dry camp sites.

The mornings and evenings can get chilly this time of year in the northwest.  It is just starting its’ stormy, rainy season and temperatures are cooling down.  The recent rains are much needed in this area and we have enjoyed the raindrops falling on the roof.  So far, they have been gentle and the winds mild.

While we were still in Sequim at the Elk’s Lodge, they were having a dinner.  The lodge provided the meat.  Guess what the meat was.

                                           BEFORE AND AFTER

Our next stop will be in Oregon to add one more AGM battery and one more solar panel.  The extra battery will bring the 200 Amp Hours to 300 Amp hours and the new solar panel will up our Wattage from 160 to 320 to charge the batteries.  That should complete our off-grid solar system install that we started last March.

Phil cut open a spot between the two AGM batteries installed not long ago, re-cabling the batteries and replacing the solar wiring with heavier wire   to add efficiency to the system’s charging capabilities.

It is a small solar system comparatively, but we feel it will meet our limited needs.  We don’t camp off grid a lot but when we do, we want to be comfortable.  We will let you know how it works!

Troll Haven

Troll HAaven Entrance

Troll Haven Entrance

Another day trip into the surrounding area of the Olympic Peninsula near Port Townsend, Washington brought us to the whimsical site of Troll Haven.   It is only about a mile off of highway 101 near the Puget Sound on a farm road.

At one time it was the summer home of a wealthy businessman who fashioned this residence complex after the Hobbit Tales to entertain himself and his friends.  He is long gone and it now is another private residential farm with part of it used as Luxury Accommodations and Special Occasion Events, such as weddings.

The fence posts leading to the property were carved with figures from an imaginary kingdom.

We enjoyed walking the public areas and took a few snapshots just for fun. It is a hoot The parking lot was open for parking and signs notified visitors what parts were open to the public and what parts were private and not to trespass.

It was interesting to see the strange figures, the mystical artwork and the colors that cover the buildings.  I still wonder what he was thinking when he built this place……..

Sequestered areas with a coastline  and many more statues of the fantasy are on the market for resale previously listed for $200 Million, now reduced to $13 Million.

We left Troll Haven and drove a few more miles west to Sequim (pronounced “Squim”), Washington.  On the way, we stopped at John Wayne’s Marina.  I have no idea why it is named that.  We walked the marina and admired the many sail boats docked there. Things were quiet today since it was midweek.

At Sequim, we had a lunch of fish and chips and I must say it was delicious. Fish cooked close to shore tastes so much better than weeks of being frozen and then sold to be cooked.   Sequim had a nice downtown with specialty shops.  We just don’t have room for anymore special items.

We picked up a few groceries and fuel and headed by home to the Chimacum SKP RV Park.  All in all, a nice day.