Thursday, May 30, 2019

Ho Hum --- Three days camping on the beach

Roger here...   We spent four nights in a quiet paradise on the Florida panhandle near the town of Carrabelle, just east of Appalachacola.  

Ho Hum RV Park...

I have had this small RV park on my radar for several years. They advertise a quiet, rural, dog-friendly atmosphere right on the beach.  When I checked in, the friendly lady told me that our site, 55, was the...

... best site in the park.  She was telling the truth.  We were parked in the sand right on the beach with amazing views right outside our door.  

Dianne took the following photo of our campsite  with her back to our small beach.  

Two swings were constructed adjacent to our site. 

The swings were in a public area for all to use, but they were certainly convenient for us.

Ho hum....  The perfect place for Dianne to do sudokus.

Ho hum... the perfect place for the dogs to flake out.

Ho hum...  the perfect place to sip a glass of wine during quiet happy hours.

Daily walks on the beach...

Intriguing walks tempted us just to the right of our small beach.  The narrow un-manicured beach stretched on for miles.

What do you see in the photo below?

Bandido --- the Chameleon Dog
There were always interesting sights along the way.  These tree roots provided a walking challenge.

This crusty buoy drifted to different spots every day.

Bandido loved wading in the calm shallow water.  

Dianne snapped a picture of me returning from a walk in the photo below.  I am the blue dot on the beach.

The campground fishing pier was always visible as we approached our campsite.

Fun in the water...

The water was shallow in several spots along the beach.  It was also warm and sandy.  It was too tempting not to kick off our shoes and wade.  

Poquita had never really been in the ocean before.  She was afraid during a trip to South Padre Island a few months ago.

This time she had a blast, as long as Dianne was nearby.

Bandido had no fear and loved it.  He would have taken me all the way to St. George Island (in the far distance) if I had let him.  

Poquita went far enough away from the shore to actually swim.  She seemed to love it, as long as her mommy was nearby.

Dianne's Teensy Weensy Trailer Tips...

I found this nifty toothbrush and bathroom cup holder when I was searching ideas for traveling in the trailer.   We only have ONE sink (kitchen).  The tiny bathroom is just behind the kitchen sink so when we open the bathroom door we can just grab our toothbrush and cup, turn around, and brush our teeth in the kitchen sink.   Our Sonicare toothbrushes take up a lot of space and there is no drawer in the bathroom.  This hanger saves space in our tubs and makes them handy.   These get taken down when we break camp and stowed in the tubs for travel.   Regular toothbrushes hang snugly in the holder, but the brush head on the Sonicare is small enough that it requires a rubber band (or stretchy bracelet as in our case) to keep them hanging securely.  

Watching the wildlife...

There was so much to see.  I had never before seen living conchs walking along the shore dragging their shells.  Fish flew out of the water.  Pelicans dove into the water.  A willet entertained us daily as he hunted for tidbits.  The Louisiana heron in the photo below was especially fun to watch...

... especially when he was hunting.

This very large, and very green katydid became my friend one afternoon.  He seldom left my side as he landed on my hand, walked on my arm, and relaxed on the dog bed.

Gorgeous sunsets...

No words are necessary with these photos.

Yellow Flies...

The only irritation disturbing our time here was the daily appearance of the yellow flies.  They were quite the pests at sunrise and sunset.  I do not have a picture of them, but they were fairly large and persistent in seeking our blood.  They were not bad throughout most of the day, but the morning and evening swatting was miserable.  In our ten years of RVing, the only pests that were worse were the mosquitos at the Corps of Engineers park on Leech Lake in northern Minnesota.  They were worse.

We discovered that they did not like wind, even artificial wind.  Surrounding ourselves with fans was helpful.  Nonetheless, they did a number on Dianne's legs.

We were told that they only appear during the months of May and June.  We will not be returning in May or June.

We are currently visiting my brother and sister-in-law at The Villages in Florida.  There are no yellow flies here :-).  More about that in the next post.

Pet Picture of the Day...

Chameleon dog on the Beach

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Reunion in Baton Rouge

Cole and Tucker (in the Drew Brees shirt)

Roger here...  Dianne and I made a special stop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on our way to Florida. We were able to spend quality time with Amanda's (our younger daughter) dear friend, Jennifer, and her family.  About a year ago Jennifer had told me that she wanted us to see her boys.  This seemed like an ideal time.  

We arrived in Baton Rouge the day before the reunion during the early afternoon.  

 We passed Death Valley (Louisiana State University's football stadium) on the way to our RV park.  As we passed the stadium I continued Dianne's education of collegiate athletics by quizzing her on LSU's school colors...

... and mascot.  She is so appreciative of my efforts to improve her knowledge :-).  
(Dianne:  ((eye roll))

We were truly in Tiger country.  Baton Rouge has a spirited atmosphere.  Purple and gold and tigers were everywhere.  

We spent the afternoon catching up on travel chores... laundry, cleaning, rearranging the storage in the SUV, pre-cooking breakfasts, etc.

Dianne's Teensy Weensy Trailer Tip:

I found one of the most useful tips just a week before departure by reading an RV article.  I had just enough time to order these collapsible crates from Amazon to get them before we left.  When we are parked, we have various things sitting out or hanging that would either fall or scratch the walls during travel, like the coffee maker etc.  These collapsible crates (I use two of them) are perfect for when we are breaking camp.   All I need do is quickly set up the crate, put the items in the crate on the floor, and voila' I'm done.   When we arrive at camp it's just as quick and easy to set the items back in place, fold up the crates, and stash them in the car to use on grocery day.  The photo shows one crate collapsed after emptying, plus its mate still full:

Back to the Reunion....

The next morning  Dianne took advantage of the huge swimming pool at our RV park to continue her regular morning exercise routine.  She swam and walked laps in the pool for an hour.  Poquita and Bandido had a view of the action from the Airstream.  

Roger says they never left the window while I was gone -- D.

During the late afternoon we drove to Jennifer and Mike's (her husband) beautiful home.  Her parents (Sherry and Kim) were there, as were their sons (Tucker and Cole).  What a great family!

Dianne, Sherry, Kim, Jennifer, Mike

Jennifer and our daughter, Amanda, became friends in elementary school and remained friends through high school.  Even though they live hundreds of miles apart, they still connect to "catch up" in each others' lives.   Jennifer spent so much time in our home.  She was indeed like our third daughter.  She was a clever, intelligent, funny little girl and has grown into a clever, intelligent, wonderful (still funny) young wife and mother. -----D.

Her mom, Sherry, was very active in the schools where I was a principal.  Dianne and I considered her and Kim to be our friends.  Those were special years for all of us.

Lots of stories.  Lots of laughter.  Lots of warm feelings.  It was as if we had just seen them the day before.  It was so much fun to reminisce with them.  

The last time we had seen them was at Jennifer and Mike's wedding in New Orleans, and what a wedding it was.  They were married in the iconic New Orleans Cathedral.  We danced to the reception on Bourbon Street behind a small jazz band.  Here is a link to the blog we wrote at that time:  

Jennifer's New Orleans Wedding

Back to the present...  After spending time at their home
we all went to a local Cajun place for dinner. I got to sit next to one of the coolest young kids I have ever met.  

Tucker (in the black and gold Drew Brees jersey) showed me his watch while I talked with Mike.  He showed me all the games that we could play and insisted that I push the correct buttons.  When our food came, he said, "Oh, you got the crawfish etouffee!"  When I asked how he knew what it was, he said, "I am a Louisiana boy!"  What a hoot!  (Like mother, like son -- D.)  Before we left, Cole popped up next to me from under the table to make silly faces.  I smiled throughout the entire meal.  What a great job Jennifer and Mike are doing with these happy boys.  

We hope to get together with them again in the future since we do pass through Baton Rouge from time to time.

On the Road Again...

After two nights in Baton Rouge, we packed up and moved down the road toward Florida.  The drive along I-10 was uneventful, as I like it.

We both got a chuckle when two trucks with flashing lights and oversized vehicle signs pulled in front of us and stayed with us.  It was as if they were escorting our teensy-weensy trailer.

Since we got an early start, we stopped at a nice rest area near Biloxi, Mississippi for a picnic.  We normally munch on finger food in the SUV.  This was a nice change.  We are spending the night near Pensacola.  Tomorrow we will travel to a cool little campground near Apalachicola, Florida situated on the beach.  

Pet Pictures of the Day...

Bandido here....  Mom and Dad got us to this campground right after they stopped for their middle day meal that we don't get!  All we ever get is a couple of treats :-(

Anyway, we had time to chill with mom and dad in the shade on our outside bed that dad gripes about moving around.  It was a nice calm time.

Hey!  Somebody's grillin' somethin' over there!