Saturday, April 27, 2019

Nothing Like A Great Cup of Coffee...

I woke up early in the morning at Delta Down Race Track and Casino. I made some coffee using my Aeropress  bought just for this purpose. No hookups, no problem as I boiled some water on our gas burners and made some really good, rich coffee with it. As I sipped the coffee I looked outside and could see I was  just in time to watch the horses warming up on the Delta Downs racetrack shortly before sunrise.

After breakfast we left Delta Downs and after a little over three hours we pulled into RV Haven an RV park in our former hometown. It’s hard to believe we haven't lived here since 2011 when we sold our house and hit the road in March of that year. A lot has changed in this town over the past 8 plus years but we look forward to re-exploring our old haunts and the new businesses that have opened recently.

We had a nice surprise upon our arrival to the park as we received a message that friends we first met in Bryan Texas in the late 1970’s were at our park. These friends we knew in High School and then again in college when we were both living in a 12 by 60 mobile homes. Now some 40 plus years later we are both in mobile homes, albeit the mobile homes are RV’s and our circumstances are much improved. A full circle moment!

We previously visited Marshall and Debbie while we were out west visiting their hometown . They live in the tri-cities area of Washington State and when we visited the first time I think Marshall already had the RV “bug.” A few years later he bought a beautiful 2017 Tiffin Phaeton and they have been on their first extended travel since retiring.

Of course we had to take them around town and show them a few of the sights as well as partake in a few adult beverages. We met up with some other friends at a local eatery called Wings and More and had a great time enjoying our “Big Willies” which are basically a glass of beer on steroids.

They were only here a little over a week and the time sped by. One last place we took them to visit was the Bonfire Memorial. It memorializes the 12 students who died building the annual bonfire prior to a heated rivalry football game with the University of Texas. Marshall also graduated from Texas A&M University and wanted to see this moving memorial of those Aggies who lost heir lives unexpectedly in 1999.
We learned that Marshall and Debbie love RVing as much as we do so goodbyes were a little easier because we know we will likely see them many times on down the road! 
NOTE: We are now in College Station Texas until mid-May… 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Last Weekend at Betty’s and Moving On…

Our last weekend at Betty’s was a blast just like all our weekends at Betty’s are. One event we enjoyed was when Calvin & Donna Touchet came over to the RV Park on Thursday and prepared a Cajun Spaghetti dinner. The dinner included salad and rolls so everyone else brought a dessert. The food was fabulous.
After the dinner and happy hour most of us headed over to Sounds on the Square in Abbeville for the free Thursday music series. While the music on this night wasn’t Cajun or Zydeco the band Bayou Beats was still enjoyable. It was also very nice to sit amongst the large and majestic live oak trees draped in resurrection fern and festive lighting. It made for a very relaxing evening. 
Our last Saturday we attended the black pot cook off at Touchet’s  Bar. Anytime we see there is one of these food type events I am there. I love the way the Acadians prepare their dishes and a black pot cookoff meant there would be plenty of different style of food to try. With a $5 entry there was unlimited sampling at the 30 plus booths and for entertainment, three different bans played that day. 
We sampled Cajun stews, Sauce Piquante dishes, etoufees, jambalaya,  a gumbo, egg and crab stew, shrimp n grits, rabbit, alligator and many more dishes with wonderful flavors. I sampled every dish and can only admit to not liking only one of them. Boy was I stuffed when I went back inside to listen to the bands play.
 We listened to a lot of great music that afternoon with each band donating their time to support the Cajun Culture Association.  One of the fund raisers was a 50-50. For those that don’t know this is where you buy a ticket for say a dollar and half goes to the charity (Cajun Culture Assoc) and the other half goes to the winning ticket drawn later.
When they drew the winning ticket we were told the ticket holder had to be present to win and no one claimed the winning ticket. After a few minutes it was announced they would draw another winning ticket and as they announced the winning number Sharon screamed out as she had it! She made her way through the crowd to collect the money ($351.00). We donated $50 back the Cajun Culture Association and spent another $40 on rounds but still came home with a tidy sum.

Our last happy hour at Betty’s was a festive one as several of us were leaving the next morning. As a result many of us broke out partial bottles of booze and everyone had a shot or two to help us lighten our load for travel day.
 The next morning came and it was time for us to go after many hugs to the group. We had  an appointment in Abbeville for a pair of new tires on the front of our RV before going on down the road. I researched tires and decided to replace my Goodyear G670’s with Toyo 122’s. With our newly installed Toyo tires we hit the road and even on the bumpy Louisiana roadways we noticed how much smoother our ride was. I think we are going to love our Toyos and at half the cost of the Goodyears we will also pocket some money.

An hour and a half later we pulled into our overnight stop at the Delta Downs Racetrack and Casino…
NOTE: We are now in College Station Texas until mid-May… 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Po Boys, Boudin and Gino!!!

As our month was quickly coming to a close we found ourselves cramming in all the fun we could here at Betty’s RV Park. We love the happy hours and the companionship at this park but we also love delving into some great Louisiana culture and music.

With that in mind a small group of us drove to Lafayette Louisiana for some fun at the seventh annual Acadian Po Boy Festival for an afternoon of good music and good eats. We saw several bands play as we walked the row of booths trying to decide which to sample.

Entry into the festival was free and Po Boy tastings were $3 each. With over 30 vendors there was no way we were going to try them all. There were every kind of sandwich you could imagine from the traditional shrimp po boy to crab cake, meatball, or hamburger. It was fun to see the different creations.  Our favorite place for shrimp po boys was one of the vendors so we just had to have Olde Tyme Grocery’s po boy last. Man that was some good eating!

Afterward we headed over to Touchets bar near Maurice LA where we met up with most of the rest of the people staying at Betty’s RV. We always have a great time listening some Cajun music and mingling with the very friendly locals at Touchets.

Another day, another festival. This time is was over to Scott LA for their annual  Boudin Festival. Yep, you guessed it… good food and great music. I love me some good boudin and I didn’t leave disappointed as I bought the best boudin balls I have ever had at this festival.

While the food was great our main reason for attending this event was that Gino Delafose and the French Rockin Bookie Band would be playing. We listened to the early band while we were eating all the great boudin. But it was finally time to hear Gino play and it was worth the wait. His high energy zydeco music was fabulous. The only disappointment was that they had to cut their time short since some bad weather was moving in the Scott LA area.

We headed back home and the rains did eventually come. That just gave us time to plan our next adventures…

NOTE: We are now in College Station Texas until mid-May…

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Some Great Hikes in Acadiana LA...

Image may contain: plant, tree, grass, outdoor and nature

There is definitely a lot of social activity here at Betty’s every evening so we have to plan our countryside excursions to be back in time for the 4:30 happy hour. The places we love to go are all less than a 40-50 minute drive and offer a little solitude in our otherwise hectic lifestyle at Betty's RV Park.

Image may contain: tree, outdoor and nature                Image may contain: plant, flower, nature and outdoor

One such place is Palmetto Island State Park. Entry into the park is $4.00 unless you are over 62 and well, we are… It pays to be an old fart sometimes because free entry in Louisiana State Parks is one of the perks of old age.

Image may contain: one or more people, tree, plant, outdoor and nature                 Image may contain: flower, plant, nature and outdoor

There are several trails within the park but some are labeled primitive and when they say primitive they mean it. Picture yourself on a mostly indiscernible trail filled with palmetto fronds blocking the way. While pushing your way through the thicket of palmetto fronds you have to continually search for not only poisonous snakes but you also have to remain vigilant about looking for signs of the trail itself.

               Image may contain: plant, flower and nature

Another neat place we like to go hike is at the Acadian Nature Preserve in Lafayette LA. This little gem offers a lot of elevated boardwalks allowing hikers to enjoy the area without having to get their feet wet. One day we took Jim and Nanc along for this hike since they had never been there. However, before going we just had to stop at Olde Tyme Grocery in Lafayette for one of our favorite shrimp po’boys.

Image may contain: food

With our bellies full we headed out to the park. As we wandered along the boardwalks it was apparent that this area was quite dry. The river which flows through the park was very, very low. We stopped at bridge and chatted with a park volunteer who pointed out a few water snakes below the bridge we were on.

Image may contain: plant, flower, nature and outdoor                   Image may contain: plant, tree, bridge, outdoor, nature and water

We really enjoyed Jim and Nanc’s company on this hike but before we knew it, the time was approaching 3:30 so we had to get our butts back to Betty’s. This nice easy hike in the Acadian Nature Preserve was just the serenity in nature we needed before another raucous happy hour back at the park.

                      Image may contain: plant, flower, tree, outdoor, nature and water

The park we most frequent is Palmetto Island State Park since it is the closest so here is some more about it. This time of year the Louisiana Blue Flag Irises are beginning to bloom in the swamps. Another neat one to see is one only found in this area as it is a reddish form of the blue flag, the Abbeville Iris. It is quite striking in the swamp.

Image may contain: outdoor                Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor, nature and water

The trail we like best wanders past a lake and then continues over to a short boardwalk into the swamp. We spotted a lot of turtles sitting atop the fallen logs soaking in the sun to warm up their cold blood. We even spotted a few alligators lounging in the thick marsh vegetation trying their best to appear as floating logs hoping some prey might get close by for a tasty snack. This last time we visited, a great horned owl flew in and landed close enough for us to admire him with our binoculars.

Image may contain: plant, flower, nature and outdoor                    Image may contain: tree, plant, outdoor, nature and water

While we love our springtime flowers in Texas better, walking among the Louisiana flora and fauna in the spring reinvigorates our souls…

NOTE: We are at Betty’s RV park until April 16th before continuing on toward Texas…

Saturday, April 6, 2019

An Epic Birthday Party!

Image may contain: 9 people, including DanandMerlene Goan, Jim Tidball, Penny Lundgren, Sharon Hinton and Kathy Schlueter Ashburn, people smiling, outdoor

There are some things that happen at Betty’s RV Park which bring out the creativity of those staying there. Mardi Gras is a biggie but so is Betty’s Birthday. While Betty always asks that no one do anything special for her that simply isn’t going to ever happen. There is no park in America where the RVers love the park’s owner as much as they all do here in Abbeville. Betty is such a gem…

               Image may contain: 2 people, including John Hinton, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

This year the birthday plans were underway to construct a “MASH post” as I call it. This post would have arrows attached to it with information about people, where they are from and how far it is to their home. This was to be Betty’s surprise birthday gift from her RVers.

Image may contain: food

Others were decorating and hanging tarps on the outside of Betty’s happy hour patio as a cold front was making an unexpected appearance at the appointed time for Betty’ party. With tarps up and the patio decorated all we needed was for the birthday time to arrive.

Image may contain: one or more people and indoor
Yes it was quite chilly although it was at least not raining as had been originally predicted. The band members arrived as people were gathering under the patio and the tarps along with a few heaters kept everyone inside warm.
Image may contain: 7 people, including Cordell Theriot and Penny Lundgren, people smiling, people sitting and table

Betty’s aunts were present including her Aunt Lillian who will be 102 years old just a few days after Betty’s birthday (man they have good genes in Acadiana) Shortly after everyone got seated the crawfish arrived and were ready to be served to those who chose to indulge in such a Cajun delicacy.  Man were they good and Aunt Lillian, even at 102 could peel the crawfish faster than I could!

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage

Betty was also thoroughly enjoying her birthday dinner and after dinner the music started up. An unexpected appearance of Judy Bailey (a fabulous vocalist) was the icing on the cake as she even sang her song “Betty’s RV Park” as Joe, Dave and Kristy provided the music.

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage, playing a musical instrument and guitar

People were dancing, chatting, laughing and chowing down on crawfish. Penny and Steve brought out some party hats and crazy glasses which added to the fun. The party lasted into the wee hours and everyone present had a a blast. Another Epic Birthday Party at Betty’s RV Park!

NOTE: We are at Betty’s RV park until April 16th before continuing on toward Texas…