thcamper
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Home of the WxToad

 

 
 
 
 

Homeward Bound

LA, MS, AL, TN, VA, MD

3 Mar 12: After more than two months in Texas, it's time to think about moving in the direction of home, although we have another 4-5 weeks before we need to be there. After our noisy night at Wally World in Beaumont, we headed down to Port Arthur and crossed the Sabine Pass into Louisiana. Our route took us along the coastline to Cameron.

 At Cameron we took another free ferry across the pass that leads to Calcasieu Lake. This was a rather interesting ferry - it loaded on the side. Cars came across the ramp on the left in this picture and then circled around the boat. At the other side of the pass, they exit off another ramp on the other side of the ferry. Bigger vehicles, such as our LD,park towardthe bow (stern?) and have to back up before exiting.

 la04

 

In 2005, Hurricane Rita roared through Cameron, destroying 80% of the buildings. Folks have bounced back, however, and the downtown area is full of new, stronger buildings. Cameron's raison d'etre is to serve as a base for support to all the off-shore drilling rigs. We saw signs for Halliburton and many other business, along with helicopters and support boats. East of town were miles of foundations of houses. A fair number have since rebuilt, either on pilings or on mounds of earth. But it was evident that a lot of folks called it quits.

Tonight we're at Abbeville City RV Park.

4 Mar 12: Just another day of driving today, from Abbeville across US-90 to New Orleans, where we're spending a few days at the NAS JRB New Orleans FAMCAMP. This is a brand-new facility that just opened in late December and is VERY nice. The Navy knows how to build great campgrounds.

7 Mar 12: I had a great test of my morality yesterday: we were in the Navy Exchange and I decided to buy a tablet-type computer. We also had a few other things in our basket by the time we got to the cash register. The young clerk rang us up and announced the total to be $77 and change. Liz and I looked at each other, and I asked hin if he were certain that was correct. He took the slip, looked at it and pointed to the amount "Yes, see, right here." I then told him that I thought he had missed something and pulled the tablet out of the bag and showed him the price. I thought he was going to faint! I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of a heated debate between a little devil sitting on one of my shoulders and a little angel on the other.

This morning we drove through New Orleans on our way to Keesler AFB over in Biloxi, MS, which we were using as a staging base for our move to Davis Bayou in the Gulf Islands National Seashore. No problem getting a site for the night. Out east of New Orleans near the MS line we passed a lot of get-away homes, and nearly every one of them had a unique sign out at the end of the driveway.

home002

 

home009

 

When we last traveled through here in 2008, the US-90 bridge at Bay St Louis had yet to be rebuilt, following its destruction by Katrina, but now the new bridge is open, which makes it a much quicker trip. Entering the Gulfport-Biloxi area, one still sees much evidence of Katrina's damage, but now the piles of debris have been removed and all the FEMA trailers are gone. There has been a lot of re-building, but there are still a lot of empty lots with oldfoundations and For Sale signs. Many of the grand old live trees that lined the median of the highway were destroyed, but rather than cut them off at the ground, they have been transformed into beautiful works of art depicting creatures of the marine world by Marlin Miller of Fort Walton Beach, FL. There are a couple dozen of these tree scultures from Biloxi westward to Waveland.

home018

 

home017

 

In Jones Park in Gulfport stands a replica of the old Ship Island Lighthouse. Liz snapped the picture of the bridge abutment and palm trees. When I first looked at the picture, I thought the trees were painted on the abutment, but after noticing that the leaves extend past it, I realized the trees were real.

home020

 

home025

 

8 Mar 12: We arrived at Davis Bayou CG in the Gulf Islands National Seashore about 1000L and found several empty sites from which to choose. This small park of 52 camp sites is strictly first-come/first-served and is very popular. We first visited the park last year and really enjoyed it and we had noted that to have any hope of getting a site, one needs to arrive before lunch. Sure enough, that was the case today - the 6 or 7 open sites when we arrived were all taken by 1400L. We signed up for one week - $56 with W/E hookups, and plan to extend our stay a second week, the maximum stay allowed. Then it will be time to get a little more serious about heading home.

10 Mar 12: We first discovered Davis Bayou last year and really enjoyed it. The campground itself is very pleasant and there are lots of places for walking, some of which give one the opportunity to see bayou wildlife such as water birds and alligators. There's a small pond just a short distance from the campground where an alligator can be found every day taking the sun. I've never seen an alligator with a brown back before.

home026

home028

 

11 Mar 12: Friends Tom and Jennifer from Maine arrived today for a few days. We've forgiven them for their choice of a Born Free over a Lazy Daze, but at least Jennifer is a big fan of the WxToad's Musings. <VBG>

21 Mar 12: Our two weeks at Davis Bayou is about over - we hit the road northeastward tomorrow. Hard to believe that our junket is nearing its conclusion. Guess we'll just have to start planning the next one.

We certainly have enjoyed some summer-like weather here at Davis Bayou. Temps have been around 80 the entire time. With the heat eventually comes severe weather, and we're facing that this evening and overnight. We're in a tornado watch area for the next few hours and we're starting to hear faint rumbles of thunder in the distance. Tomorrow is not supposed to be a great day, so we're not looking forward to driving - we may shorten the day's goal of 150 miles if warranted.

22 Mar 12: Such a lovely day for travel - 135 miles of gully-washers and heavy thunderstorms. On the plus side, I guess it was good for cleaning the LD top to bottom of salt picked up while lingering along the Texas coast. Now the rig is just plain dirty! Made it up into Alabama today, stopping for the night at the COE's Service Park near Coffeeville. Y'all owe me a an A+ for dedication to duty this afternoon: despite the heavy rain I went out to take the pictures for the WxToad's review of Service Park.

28 Mar 12: For the most part we've been making slow but steady progress toward home. After our overnight at Service Park, we went on to Deerlick Creek COE Park near Tuscaloosa for a night. Next stop was the Army's Redstone Arsenal FAMCAMP, a spot we have stopped at previously. We then said farewell to Alabama, moving on up into Tennessee to a stop at Chester Frost County Park north of Chattanooga. We discovered this gem of a park three years ago. In fact, it was there that we came across the ad for a Lazy Daze Rear Bath and made the deal to buy it, sight unseen. We were lucky - the rig was exactly as described and has served us admirably in the three years since. We originally planned to spend just one night, but Liz offered to pay for a couple more - the weather was delightful and we had a great site. Leaving Chester Frost this morning, we moved up to Cherokee Dam TVA Park northeast of Knoxville.

As usual, we've been sticking to the lesser roads as much as possible, which gives us much more time to enjoy the springing forth of spring. The dogwoods and azaleas are in full bloom and are quite spectacular.

A thought on purchasing gasoline: at a gas station a few days, there was a large, conspicuous sticker on the pump saying that the credit card companies impose a $75 cap on purchases with one swipe of the card. Someone is not being honest here, as we have used the same card many times on this 7-month trip and on numerous fill-ups it's gone well over $75. One time last fall I put in $125 of gas and the pump hadn't shut off even then.

30 Mar 12: Slowly but steadily we're plodding on towards home. Yesterday we made it another 80 miles to Warriors' Path State Park in Kingsport, TN. A nice park that we've stayed at before.

wapa21

 

Both yesterday afternoon and again this morning we heard a tapping-on-metal sound that we couldn't quite place. When I went out to unhook in preparation I found this robin hopping up to peck on his reflection in our wheel cover.

We always enjoy our trip up through Tennessee and western Virginia - spring is usually bursting forth, with lots of green and flowers. It's also a very rural area with lots of picturesque farms and abandoned homes that must have a tale to tell.

home031

 

home030

 

3 Apr 12: Home again. Ugh. At least we made it home without paying over $4.00 for gas - the highest we paid was $3.89. Total cost of gas was $3495. We were gone 207 days and have now spent 2017 nights in our Lazy Daze. We covered 9045 miles in our 7-month odyssey. Total cost of campgrounds was $2431 or an average of $11.74 per night.

As for stops the last few nights: after Warriors' Path SP in TN came a night at Stony Fork USFS campground near Wytheville, VA. We wanted to stop at Camping World in Roanoke and ended up spending the night there. Although it's free, it ain't cheap: between CW and the Gander Mountain store across the lot, we spent a lot more than we would have at a snazzy resort park.

From Roanoke we cruised up the dreaded I-81 through the Shenendoah Valley and then cut across to Thurmont, MD and the Manor CG at Cunningham Falls SP. Final stop last night was our usual - Mahlon Dickerson County Park in northern NJ. Another great winter's adventure comes to a close.

 

Homeward Bound

LA, MS, AL, TN, VA, MD

3 Mar 12: After more than two months in Texas, it's time to think about moving in the direction of home, although we have another 4-5 weeks before we need to be there. After our noisy night at Wally World in Beaumont, we headed down to Port Arthur and crossed the Sabine Pass into Louisiana. Our route took us along the coastline to Cameron.

 At Cameron we took another free ferry across the pass that leads to Calcasieu Lake. This was a rather interesting ferry - it loaded on the side. Cars came across the ramp on the left in this picture and then circled around the boat. At the other side of the pass, they exit off another ramp on the other side of the ferry. Bigger vehicles, such as our LD,park towardthe bow (stern?) and have to back up before exiting.

 la04

 

In 2005, Hurricane Rita roared through Cameron, destroying 80% of the buildings. Folks have bounced back, however, and the downtown area is full of new, stronger buildings. Cameron's raison d'etre is to serve as a base for support to all the off-shore drilling rigs. We saw signs for Halliburton and many other business, along with helicopters and support boats. East of town were miles of foundations of houses. A fair number have since rebuilt, either on pilings or on mounds of earth. But it was evident that a lot of folks called it quits.

Tonight we're at Abbeville City RV Park.

4 Mar 12: Just another day of driving today, from Abbeville across US-90 to New Orleans, where we're spending a few days at the NAS JRB New Orleans FAMCAMP. This is a brand-new facility that just opened in late December and is VERY nice. The Navy knows how to build great campgrounds.

7 Mar 12: I had a great test of my morality yesterday: we were in the Navy Exchange and I decided to buy a tablet-type computer. We also had a few other things in our basket by the time we got to the cash register. The young clerk rang us up and announced the total to be $77 and change. Liz and I looked at each other, and I asked hin if he were certain that was correct. He took the slip, looked at it and pointed to the amount "Yes, see, right here." I then told him that I thought he had missed something and pulled the tablet out of the bag and showed him the price. I thought he was going to faint! I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of a heated debate between a little devil sitting on one of my shoulders and a little angel on the other.

This morning we drove through New Orleans on our way to Keesler AFB over in Biloxi, MS, which we were using as a staging base for our move to Davis Bayou in the Gulf Islands National Seashore. No problem getting a site for the night. Out east of New Orleans near the MS line we passed a lot of get-away homes, and nearly every one of them had a unique sign out at the end of the driveway.

home002

 

home009

 

When we last traveled through here in 2008, the US-90 bridge at Bay St Louis had yet to be rebuilt, following its destruction by Katrina, but now the new bridge is open, which makes it a much quicker trip. Entering the Gulfport-Biloxi area, one still sees much evidence of Katrina's damage, but now the piles of debris have been removed and all the FEMA trailers are gone. There has been a lot of re-building, but there are still a lot of empty lots with oldfoundations and For Sale signs. Many of the grand old live trees that lined the median of the highway were destroyed, but rather than cut them off at the ground, they have been transformed into beautiful works of art depicting creatures of the marine world by Marlin Miller of Fort Walton Beach, FL. There are a couple dozen of these tree scultures from Biloxi westward to Waveland.

home018

 

home017

 

In Jones Park in Gulfport stands a replica of the old Ship Island Lighthouse. Liz snapped the picture of the bridge abutment and palm trees. When I first looked at the picture, I thought the trees were painted on the abutment, but after noticing that the leaves extend past it, I realized the trees were real.

home020

 

home025

 

8 Mar 12: We arrived at Davis Bayou CG in the Gulf Islands National Seashore about 1000L and found several empty sites from which to choose. This small park of 52 camp sites is strictly first-come/first-served and is very popular. We first visited the park last year and really enjoyed it and we had noted that to have any hope of getting a site, one needs to arrive before lunch. Sure enough, that was the case today - the 6 or 7 open sites when we arrived were all taken by 1400L. We signed up for one week - $56 with W/E hookups, and plan to extend our stay a second week, the maximum stay allowed. Then it will be time to get a little more serious about heading home.

10 Mar 12: We first discovered Davis Bayou last year and really enjoyed it. The campground itself is very pleasant and there are lots of places for walking, some of which give one the opportunity to see bayou wildlife such as water birds and alligators. There's a small pond just a short distance from the campground where an alligator can be found every day taking the sun. I've never seen an alligator with a brown back before.

home026

home028

 

11 Mar 12: Friends Tom and Jennifer from Maine arrived today for a few days. We've forgiven them for their choice of a Born Free over a Lazy Daze, but at least Jennifer is a big fan of the WxToad's Musings. <VBG>

21 Mar 12: Our two weeks at Davis Bayou is about over - we hit the road northeastward tomorrow. Hard to believe that our junket is nearing its conclusion. Guess we'll just have to start planning the next one.

We certainly have enjoyed some summer-like weather here at Davis Bayou. Temps have been around 80 the entire time. With the heat eventually comes severe weather, and we're facing that this evening and overnight. We're in a tornado watch area for the next few hours and we're starting to hear faint rumbles of thunder in the distance. Tomorrow is not supposed to be a great day, so we're not looking forward to driving - we may shorten the day's goal of 150 miles if warranted.

22 Mar 12: Such a lovely day for travel - 135 miles of gully-washers and heavy thunderstorms. On the plus side, I guess it was good for cleaning the LD top to bottom of salt picked up while lingering along the Texas coast. Now the rig is just plain dirty! Made it up into Alabama today, stopping for the night at the COE's Service Park near Coffeeville. Y'all owe me a an A+ for dedication to duty this afternoon: despite the heavy rain I went out to take the pictures for the WxToad's review of Service Park.

28 Mar 12: For the most part we've been making slow but steady progress toward home. After our overnight at Service Park, we went on to Deerlick Creek COE Park near Tuscaloosa for a night. Next stop was the Army's Redstone Arsenal FAMCAMP, a spot we have stopped at previously. We then said farewell to Alabama, moving on up into Tennessee to a stop at Chester Frost County Park north of Chattanooga. We discovered this gem of a park three years ago. In fact, it was there that we came across the ad for a Lazy Daze Rear Bath and made the deal to buy it, sight unseen. We were lucky - the rig was exactly as described and has served us admirably in the three years since. We originally planned to spend just one night, but Liz offered to pay for a couple more - the weather was delightful and we had a great site. Leaving Chester Frost this morning, we moved up to Cherokee Dam TVA Park northeast of Knoxville.

As usual, we've been sticking to the lesser roads as much as possible, which gives us much more time to enjoy the springing forth of spring. The dogwoods and azaleas are in full bloom and are quite spectacular.

A thought on purchasing gasoline: at a gas station a few days, there was a large, conspicuous sticker on the pump saying that the credit card companies impose a $75 cap on purchases with one swipe of the card. Someone is not being honest here, as we have used the same card many times on this 7-month trip and on numerous fill-ups it's gone well over $75. One time last fall I put in $125 of gas and the pump hadn't shut off even then.

30 Mar 12: Slowly but steadily we're plodding on towards home. Yesterday we made it another 80 miles to Warriors' Path State Park in Kingsport, TN. A nice park that we've stayed at before.

wapa21

 

Both yesterday afternoon and again this morning we heard a tapping-on-metal sound that we couldn't quite place. When I went out to unhook in preparation I found this robin hopping up to peck on his reflection in our wheel cover.

We always enjoy our trip up through Tennessee and western Virginia - spring is usually bursting forth, with lots of green and flowers. It's also a very rural area with lots of picturesque farms and abandoned homes that must have a tale to tell.

home031

 

home030

 

3 Apr 12: Home again. Ugh. At least we made it home without paying over $4.00 for gas - the highest we paid was $3.89. Total cost of gas was $3495. We were gone 207 days and have now spent 2017 nights in our Lazy Daze. We covered 9045 miles in our 7-month odyssey. Total cost of campgrounds was $2431 or an average of $11.74 per night.

As for stops the last few nights: after Warriors' Path SP in TN came a night at Stony Fork USFS campground near Wytheville, VA. We wanted to stop at Camping World in Roanoke and ended up spending the night there. Although it's free, it ain't cheap: between CW and the Gander Mountain store across the lot, we spent a lot more than we would have at a snazzy resort park.

From Roanoke we cruised up the dreaded I-81 through the Shenendoah Valley and then cut across to Thurmont, MD and the Manor CG at Cunningham Falls SP. Final stop last night was our usual - Mahlon Dickerson County Park in northern NJ. Another great winter's adventure comes to a close.