Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Two new stops, Meridian, MS. and Tuscaloosa, AL.


With the weekend over we left Hattiesburg, MS and drove a short distance NW over to Meridian MS. Our next stop was at a park called Bonita Lakes RV Park and this would be our first visit to Meridian. While the park was okay the town of Meridian has seen better days. There was not a whole lot to see unless you like dilapidated buildings mostly boarded up and abandoned.


While we haven’t escaped the hot weather we are seeing more wildflowers in bloom. This is likely due to the fact we are also seeing more rain. We have been fortunate in that the rain has fallen at times we aren’t out and about. 3

The best thing about the campground in Meridian is that it is nearly right across the street from Bonita Lakes Nature Park. There is a seven mile trail around a large lake and a shorter trail which encircles a smaller lake. Bonita Lakes is the gemstone of Meridian!


We set out onto the seven mile trail which we found to be in great shape. It was mostly shaded which was wonderful in the HOT temperatures. We experienced climbs and flats in a densely wooded mixture of hardwoods and pines. It was a really nice hike with many peeks at the lake through the forested canopy. We only planned to hike about three miles due to predicted rains so we hiked to a point on the lake and returned the way we came.


The next day we packed up and moved for a first time visit to a COE Park named Deerlick Creek Park. We chose this park for its proximity to Tuscaloosa, Alabama which is a place we never visited before. We wanted to check out this college town and explore both it and the University of Alabama.


Deerlick Creek Park is well off the beaten path but only about 20 minutes to Tuscaloosa. There is some nice hiking in the park and a bike trail. It was happily another heavily wooded park on a lake with some huge sites. While many are near the water, the water can mostly be reached only by descending a steep embankment.


Our visit to the University of Alabama was a highlight of this trip as it was way more impressive than either of us had imagined. The southern styled architecture and the large trees made our exploration really wonderful. Again we needed the shade on this hot day.


No trip to the university would be complete without a visit the the famed football stadium where many a National Championship has been won. There is a large stature of their elephant mascot nearby which was worthy of a stop as well. What a nice and very walkable campus. We were so glad we decided to visit..


Tuscaloosa has a lot of positives for a future place for us to settle down. We talked about some of the negatives and positives. We’ll keep it on the list. To add intrigue to our quest to find a place to land, on our last night in Tuscaloosa a hackberry emperor butterfly kept landing on me. I don’t know if this was an omen or if I simply made a new friend…


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Fontainebleau SP and Hattiesburg MS…


We packed up the RV and headed east to our next stop near Mandeville LA at Fontainebleau State Park. Fontainebleau SP is one of our favorite parks to stay at in Louisiana. The park offers nice sized sites in the woods with hiking and biking opportunities.


We hiked the trails in the park that meander through the Pine-Hardwood forest and lead to the picturesque pier at the end of the trail. The pier is one of the highlights of this park as it sits over the northern end of Lake Pontchartrain. At Happy Hour it is always fun to stop in Mandeville at the Old Rail Brewery for a cold one.


Our next stop after Fontainebleau SP was a stop in a new (for us) town in Mississippi. We will spend a few nights in Hattiesburg MS at the Forrest County Multi-Purpose Park which is basically your typical fairgrounds site but this one does have sewer hookups as well.


As many full-timers know securing weekend spots while traveling is getting harder and harder so stopping at off the beaten path places like fairgrounds can fill the need for weekend campsites. Here we are able to have full hookups, just outside of town  for only $20 per night which is pretty hard to beat.


Adjacent to the campground is Forrest County Lake which allows fishing and hiking within its confines. Better yet there is a boardwalk/pier bisecting the lake making for some fun gazing into the water, watching sunsets or simply enjoying nature’s reflections.


We walked into the woods on the other side of the boardwalk several times and there were numerous (unmarked) trails scattered all over the place. It would be easy to get confused of your whereabouts if you aren’t paying attention. Each day as we walked back and forth on the boardwalk we would engage in conversation with the local fishermen. They admit to catching fish here but we didn’t see a single fish caught in  the three days we were there.


Hattiesburg MS is an interesting town as it has a mixture of areas that look like they are on the upswing yet there are many other areas that look impoverished. We did find a nice disc golf course that was heavily wooded and quite challenging. It was here we found our first freely suspended basket which made for an interesting challenge.


The downtown area is reflective of the town as a whole. Some nice, and some not so nice areas can be found. We were looking for a brewery downtown but the building was so poorly marked we nearly missed it. We were certainly glad we found the place (Southern Prohibition Brewery) because their beer was both exceptional and very affordable.


We didn’t have a single beer that we were disappointed in and we met some nice people at the bar. Sharon was chatting with one fellow who was delighted to learn we were fulltime RV’ers as his mom was about to undertake such an adventure. We gave tons of tips for his mom and he was so appreciative that he gifted us four different beers from a mixed case he had bought. Wow, it really pays to be nice to people…


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Lafayette LA treats, Disc Golf and a Betty Visit!


Waking up in Vidor Texas to witness the sunrise over the large pond at the RV park while enjoying my cup of coffee was a great way to start this travel day.After breakfast we packed up and tested everything before leaving. Our towed vehicle lights are still not working properly so I had to re-wire the 7-way plug and clean it up. I got them working but I am going to need to replace that 7-way plug with a new end.


We hit the road and a few hours later pulled into Duson, Louisiana at Frog City RV Park. This was yet another good Passport America park honoring 50% off their regular price. We have stayed here before and after setting up I had to walk over to the truck stop nearby and buy some Pepperjack Boudin Balls. Man were they good. We love being back in Louisiana because the food is awesome.


Our first day we drove over to play some disc ‘Pa” Davis Park. We had never played at this park even though we have spent a lot of time in the Lafayette, LA area. The course was really nice and best of all it had a lot of shade making for a great disc golf day in the heat with temperatures in the upper 90’s.


After disc golf we stopped at our favorite wine store in Lafayette called Marcello's. The owner has a few restaurants in Louisiana and sells all of his “leftover” wines here resulting in some great bargains. This is the only wine store we stop at where we always have to use a grocery basket to load all of our finds. This trip was no exception…


We also stopped at Rouse’s Grocery store which is a Louisiana specialty stop and  tends to have all of the Cajun delectables. I love their homemade sausages and Cajun prepared meats. This trip we found some fantastic looking bacon wrapped chicken thighs stuffed with cream cheese and jalapenos all spiced with a Cajun seasoning. We bought these and cooked them in the air fryer for dinner. They were so good we bought more before we left the state.


Normally we stop at Betty’s RV Park when coming through this part of Louisiana but since we had to stay in College Station TX for two months we weren’t able to stay our normal month with her as she is officially closed until September. However, since we were close to the park we called Betty to arrange to meet her at happy hour. What fun we had!! It was so great to see and chat with Betty again even though we weren’t staying at her park.She is as lively as ever and seemed really excited about her summer vacation plans.


Before leaving this area we had to stop in at the Old Thyme Grocery and get, in our opinion, the best shrimp po’ boy in the USA. This po’ boy was no disappointment as we enjoyed each and every bite while washing it down with Envie craft beer made by Parish Brewing in Louisiana.


We love this area but it’s time to go once again…

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Music, Disc Golf, Mexican Food and Time to Go!


We are finally wrapping up our stay in in College Station. We spent two months here so I could have my eye surgeries. While they haven’t completely healed yet we decided it was still time to go. The jury is still out on whether or not I will ever have crystal clear vision as I still have an annoying amount of double vision in my far sightedness which I have been told should go away after all swelling abates.


In our last few days we continued our morning walking ritual to check on our nest of swallow chicks. They have now all fledged and another pair has started a nest nearby. Life will indeed continue when we leave town.


We also played a little more disc golf at our favorite park. There is some water hazards on this course and we had to fish out a few discs before finishing our last holes. We also attended one more outdoor music concert this time featuring a Hispanic Band called the Sunny Sauceda Band who was as lively as any Zydeco band we have ever witnessed. We loved their music and we also loved having our boiled shrimp dinner with our Happy Hour beer at the park before the music began.


Prior to leaving we had to visit one of our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant in downtown Bryan. Cheese enchiladas at Casa Rodriguez never fails. We also stopped for one last Carne Asada taco for lunch at Coco Loco’s Mexican restaurant. And before leaving Sharon added a new hat to her collection so I am sure you’ll see more of it in future blogs. I on the other had needed a Whataburger malt before heading east.


Travel day finally arrived and we packed everything all up. After sitting two months of sitting we hoped everything would work as it should. Well, it did and so we hit the road before ten for a rather long (for us) 170 mile trek to the east. A little over three hours later we pulled into Vidor Texas for a one night stay.


Boomtown RV Resort is just off the highway but with all the heat we are sure we won’t be hearing any noise since we are sure the A/C’s will be running non-stop. The park is a Passport America park so we will receive 50% off the nightly rate. It sits on a large scenic pond which was really see as we enjoyed happy hour at our rig.


This is a one night stop, something we don’t do very often but since there is little for us to see in this area we simply left our CRV connected in order to more easily hit the road in the morning.. I not sure that we have ever spent one night AND had our car stay connected in eleven plus years we have been traveling, but there is always a first.

NOTE: We are now eastbound and will stop in Duson LA next…

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Our Austin House Sitting Gig!


We originally only planned to be in College Station for one month but after my first eye surgery it was obvious we needed to extend another month. As a result we have done all the things we wanted to do and still had a long time to be in College Station. So what did we do?


Well we found another house sit to beak up the monotony.  We had been planning to take a day trip over to Austin Texas (another town we lived in for a while) but after  some searching online I found a great house sit in Austin.


The beauty of housesitting is YOU choose which houses and pets you want to sit for. You apply and hope to be selected. This one was in a high rise condo on Town Lake right in the center of downtown Austin.


We applied for it only to be told that they had already found a sitter for the condo. Sigh, back to the drawing board. We always have believed if it was meant to be it would be… Well, a day later we received an email via Trusted Housesitters from the Austin condo people saying that their sitter had to back out so the couple invited us to take the job!


We agreed, packed our bags and drove the 100 miles west over to Austin. Finding the high rise condo in downtown Austin through some construction was a bit confusing but soon we were winding our way up through the parking garage. We were met by one of the condo owners who gave us a tour of the condo and the building’s facilities.


She introduced us to Mooch the cat and Ginger the sweetest most laid back dog we have ever been around. Once the owners left we went back to our car for our bags  and settled in for our 5 night stay in downtown Austin.


The view from the condo’s patio was no doubt one of the best views one could have in the entire city of Austin. Looking down to our right we could see the pool on the tenth floor, Front and center was a panorama of Town Lake looking into Congress Avenue’s famous “bat” bridge sweeping over to a great view of the downtown skyline.


Well the five days went by fast and we never ever once drove the car because everything we wanted to see and do was within walking distance from the condo. We toured the Texas state capitol building, toured the University of Texas campus and walked all around downtown Austin.


We had a blast visiting Austin once again and really enjoyed the furbabies we house sat for. With us not having pets anymore it is always a treat to have the opportunity to love on these pets.. Mooch and Ginger were a delight to take care of and to provide belly rubs or ear scratches whenever needed. Another successful house sit is now under our belt and we both really look forward to the next one…


NOTE: We are now eastbound and will stay in Vidor TX for one night…