Monday, March 18, 2013

Rockport Visiting

Once we got past the shoe-horn fit in our site, spent way too many hours fiddling with our little portable satellite dish, and got the Castle reasonably clean and organized, we were ready to get to the visiting.

This is our site, and yes, those trees are every bit as close as they look!  In fact, there is a branch just a few inches from the window behind Jim's chair. Yesterday, a confused squirrel evidently saw another squirrel sitting on a branch right in front of him and tried to jump over to join that squirrel on the other branch.  Trouble was, it was his own reflection, and he jumped right into the window.  Scared the squirrel - and Jim!

Our Amarillo friends, Vickie and Don, are still here, but will be heading back home Wednesday morning.  We've been spending quite a bit of time with them while they're here.  Yesterday we rode the ferry over to Port Aransas and met them for lunch and a little shopping.

When we got back home, Janna called and said Michael was awake and they were out for a ride.  They stopped by for a short visit, not nearly long enough, but we did make plans for them to come over for a dinner soon.  For my readers who don't follow their blog, Michael is working on an oil drilling rig construction project in Ingleside.  Janna is spending a lot of time working in her quilting studio which is set up behind their motorhome over at the Palms RV Resort.

Today was our day to get caught up with laundry, grocery shopping and more house cleaning.  I got in an hour or so of line dance practice as well.

There are other friends here at The Drifters, Pat and John from Colorado Springs.  Jim and I both worked with Pat at Colo. Spgs. Utilities and we all retired around the same time.  Now she and her husband John are full-timing and have spent the winter here.  We've visited with them briefly since we've been here;  I know we'll be getting together again before we leave.  I did stop and visit a couple of times today as I was walking the dogs.

This evening, we went back over to ICW RV Park to a shrimp boil hosted by Roy and Judy.

That's Roy standing, their friend, Tom in the blue hat, and Jim with his back to us:

Roy and Tom might have been watching the shrimp boats heading out for the night:

While we were waiting for this feast to be ready,

I wandered around and found some interesting things to photograph:

Judy and Vickie enjoying the conversation:

Buster was getting tired:

And the sun wast about to set:

So we said our good-nights and came home to rest up for another day of fun and visiting tomorrow.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Travel Days

Does anyone remember the game where you build some sort of structure and drop a little silver ball that rolls down a gutter, drops into something that knocks a thing-a-ma-jig loose that trips another little gizmo that swings a something or other and finally that little silver ball is supposed to end up in a little cup or something?  That's kind of how our travel day went today.

First, though, yesterday was a picture perfect travel day.  We left Bayou Segnette State Park  and traveled to the Gulf Coast RV Resort on the west side of Beaumont, Texas, no hassles, no problems.  We stopped for fuel once along the way and got in to Beaumont in time to have a restful afternoon and evening.

Back in Texas:

This morning started off just fine, we left at the right time to go through Houston after rush hour.  I'd researched the route through Houston and knew that we needed to stay in the left 2 lanes so we could transition to US 59.  No problem, traffic was not all that heavy and we made it though Houston right on schedule.

But somehow, just on the other side of Victoria, I got us navigated off the "right" road.  No biggie, it just added a few miles and minutes to our day.   Then we went through Refugio, and someone  pulled out right in front of us, Jim had to slam on the brakes to avoid smashing into him.  OK, we got through that, got to Rockport and got checked in at The Drifters Resort and drove to the back of the park to our assigned site.  Oh boy.  Talk about needing a shoe-horn to get us into the site!  We scraped a little black paint off our back passenger side slide topping cover, but we got in.  A couple of neighbors came over to assist with watching various corners of the Castle to make sure we weren't scraping anyone's pick-up trucks, and that we got into the site.  It required some maneuvering to get in between the trees to where we could put our slides out, but we're in.  We did have some evidence of "contents shifting" inside from our sudden stop earlier, but nothing major.

Satellite reception?  Nope.  Too many Live Oaks around us.  But by the time we got parked, it was time to get ready to go to Vickie & Don's place where they are staying next to other friends Judy and Roy over at LCW RV Park on Ransom Road, so we didn't mess around with trying to set up our little satellite dish.  Roy was frying up a mess of Red Fish for dinner.  We had a great time visiting, and dinner was excellent.  Vickie and Don have just purchased a new-to-them motor home, and this is their first outing with it.  They'll be here about a week before they need to get back to Amarillo.

Tomorrow morning, we'll set up our little portable satellite dish and see if we can figure all that out.  I'll also finish getting the Castle set up and do some house cleaning.

Our friends Pat and John are just across and down a few sites from us here at The Drifters.  Jim and I worked with Pat at Colo. Spgs. Utilities and they are now retired and full-timing.  We hope to spend a little time with them, as well as Janna and Mike, Rollie, and Vickie & Don and Judy & Roy.  I think we'll stay busy for the next couple of weeks here.  The weather was much warmer today, although a bit windy.

Hopefully, our little silver ball has dropped into it's place and we'll not have any further mis-adventure!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

French Quarter and Food

Bayou Segnette State Park is located on the West Bank of the Mississippi River, so going to New Orleans requires crossing the river.  There are two bridges, but there is also a ferry service.  We've been across both bridges, so yesterday we took the ferry, which is free.  Parking the car cost $5.00 for the day.  The ferry runs every 30 minutes from Algiers Point on the Westbank to Canal Street in the city.  Our mission for the day was to see the French Quarter, eat Beignets, and have a Muffaletta for lunch.

This is a view of the French Quarter from the ferry landing:

I confess we cheated on the Beignets, Cafe DuMonde is always packed with long lines, and were really hungry by this time, so we stopped at another corner joint for our treats:

From Decatur Street looking up one of the side streets, this is a good example of the architecture in the French Quarter:

And another beautiful building:

More street view

A few blocks more along Decatur, we came to the Central Grocery, where the "original" Muffaletta is sold:

With long lines typical here, the clerks and food preparers have a good system going.  The sandwiches are made so quickly the line moves fairly fast.  There is an area in the back of the store with stools and benches where you can eat.  We didn't see anyone shopping for groceries, seems most people just come in for the sandwich.

Here's a half sandwich.  I managed to eat half of this.  What's in it and why is it so special? I looked it up on, and this is what they have to say:

"Central Grocery is home of the muffuletta, one of New Orleans' great sandwiches. A circular loaf of soft Italian bread is sliced horizontally and piled with salami, ham, and provolone, which are in turn topped with a wickedly spicy melange of chopped green and black olives fragrant with anchovies and garlic."

Works for me, it was delicious!

Along Jackson Square, the day was warming up and more people were out and about:

We wondered what Vampires might find in this boutique?

We spent another hour or so wandering and shopping in the Quarter. Rosalie wanted us to visit her shop, and we'd pre-arranged for her to pick us up and take us to the warehouse where her shop is located:

The shop is the first one at the front of the warehouse where she has some light coming in for her plants, plus she'll get more traffic coming by:

She's packing up a gift I purchased:

We needed to get back to the dogs, so after our quick visit to the French Quarter and Rosalie's shop, she drove us back down to the ferry and we were able to get home and spend a couple of hours taking a break.  I got Mr. BoJangles and Jasmine out for our walk, they had their dinner; and we drove back to the city for a dinner at Elizabeth's with Rosalie and her brother, Rick and sister-in-law Viv.  We had yet another great meal and wonderful company.

Our visit to New Orleans is coming to an end for this time, and we are fixin' to head on down the road today.  We'll take two more days to get to Rockport.  Tonight's destination is Beaumont.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New Orleans - Homes and Gardens

The first event today was to make our way back across the big river to have lunch at Rosalie's house.  On the way, we stopped to get some of the gunk washed off the car from yesterday's rainy travel day.  With our GPS, "DD" programmed and checked, we drove across the Huey P. Long Bridge and in just a few minutes arrived at our friend's house. The last time we visited was a couple of years ago, and she had recently moved into this house.  Now she's recently started a small business which involves a plant and gift shop stocked with "found" and "re-purposed" items.  She's quite creative in making something beautiful and artistic from almost nothing.  She repots plants into many different types of containers and sells them in her shop.  Her business, "New Orleans Green" is a certified green business.  She's having a lot of fun with it, but is still paying the bills with her educational consulting business.

This is a corner of her creating room:

Here she is fixing a soda for Jim - see the stove?  She bought that when she lived in California, had it shipped to this house in New Orleans.  She loves that stove!

This is one corner of her back yard.  Inside the brown shed,

is a supply of containers for her plants:

After we toured her home and yard, she served our favorite - her homemade Red Beans and Rice!  Absolutely delicious, as always.

After lunch, we left Rosalie to prepare for a meeting and took ourselves on a walking tour around the Garden District.  Driving along a New Orleans street:

Beads!  There were a lot of beads in many trees, but they really took over this one:

The streetcar on St. Charles Avenue:

We saw so many beautiful homes and took so many pictures, I had a hard time choosing what to share. This one is distinctive because of the fence - the wife of the original owner missed her cornfields so much that he had a fence built in the shape of cornstalks:

A close-up view of the fence:

 More gardens:
 An interesting wreath!

Beautiful home!  I'm not sure this house was even "on" the tour!

I loved this porch, it was so inviting, I almost walked up and sat down for a glass of iced tea.  I wonder if they would have minded?

We saw many historic homes, including the one in which Confederate President Jefferson Davis died, several houses owned at one time by author Ann Rice, Actor John Goodman's home, and so many more!

At the end of the tour is one of New Orleans famous cemeteries - there was a lot of action there today!  Seems they are filing an episode of the TV show, Vampire Diaries here.

The tour completed, we headed back across that big river again, and back to our own special home-for-now at Bayou Segnette State Park.

Tomorrow - more adventures planned!

Monday, March 11, 2013

First Travel Day of 2013

Yes, the wheels are still round!  We managed to get ourselves together and on the road at a respectable 9-ish this morning.  First stop was at the Rainbow Plantation Office to pay out.  Escapees parks are a little different, we don't pay up front to stay there.  Instead, we pay at the end of the month, and when we leave.  The rate at the Plantation is $95 per week plus electric - 11.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

Our second stop was up the road in Robertsdale at the Gulf Shores Home Center where we got our onboard propane tank filled - 23.5 gallons worth.  We found out during this stay that Alabama has a law that propane trucks are prohibited from filling RV propane tanks unless the RV is tied down.  We ended up buying and setting up a 40-pound stand alone propane tank this winter so we could take that and get it filled and not have to unhook the motorhome and drive it over to Robertsdale to fill the onboard tank.  It worked out fine for us, and we're storing that portable tank with our friend, George, who has a house at the Plantation.

 By the time we got to Loxley, it was raining.  I guess we were lucky that it wasn't raining when we got up and left, or when we got propane.  We had a rainy drive to New Orleans,

On Interstate 10:

Across Mississippi:

Into Louisiana:

Across Lake Ponchartrain:

but by the time we got to downtown and took the turnoff to come across to the Westbank area, the rain had stopped.  I wanted to take pictures as we came by the SuperDome, but I was too busy making sure Jim was in the correct lane to change highways!

We're now settled in for the next few nights at Bayou Segnette State Park.  We met our friend, Rosalie, for dinner this evening at a very good restaurant, the Sun Ray Grill, and made plans for what we'll do in the next couple of days while we're here.  I first met Rosalie when I worked for the school district in Colorado Springs in the 1980's.  She's moved around the country several times since then, and has settled back in her home town, New Orleans.  We had a good visit.

This is our first visit to Bayou Segnette, it's a nice state park with water and electric hook-ups.  This is Spring Break time, so there are many families here, I think the park is almost full.  I know parts of it were closed last fall as a result of Hurricane Isaac, but it seems most, if not all, of the campground sites are open now.  I didn't get pictures of the campground yet, but I will before we leave.

It was hard to leave this morning, and I already miss Alabama, but we're also glad to be back on the road!  And we're also very glad that our first 2013 travel day went smoothly - even if it was wet.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hope The Wheels on The Phaeton Are Still Round - It's Time To Go

Well, that was a quick six months!  It seems like we just got settled in and started having fun, and already it's time to get going.  We'll be pulling up the jacks tomorrow morning and heading towards New Orleans for a few days of visiting with our good friend, Rosalie.  Then it will be on to more adventures down the road.

We've had some fun times here at the Rainbow Plantation!  Way too many to go into detail, but here are some of the highlights:

A Christmas Parade with "Santa"

A lunch on the beach with a group of friends, with some lounging around afterward in the restaurant's great beach seating:

The Big Event - Mardi Gras! Peggy and Mike Everingham were here to enjoy the festivities, and there's Jim standing behind Darrell and Judy Patterson:

Darrell was crowned King of Rainbow Plantation's Mardi Gras:

We got to do a tiny bit of line dancing at one of the Mardi Gras parties, here are Barb, me, Ann and Joan doing the Cowboy Charleston around the room.

The theme this year was the Roaring Twenties, and here are Janet and Al Whitney portraying a gangster and his gal:

 I'm not sure anyone ever found out who was hiding in this scarecrow costume!

Line dancing has been an important part of my time here.  I facilitated the Tuesday/Thursday classes which have been designed for people who've had a little more experience with line dance to continue improving their skills by learning new dances.  We have had a great time, and the class showed their appreciation with a little going away party after our last class this past Thursday.

 Starting In the lower center and moving clockwise,  is Joan, Ann, Renee, Madonna, Me, Muffy, and Donna.  The class presented me with a very generous gift card to a local favorite grill - Big Daddy's, where I had my birthday party.  I'll miss this group!

 In addition to these classes, I talked a few of the ladies into joining me at the Foley Senior Center on Wednesday afternoons for another line dance class, and I attended a Monday evening class in Fairhope several times.  I'm looking forward to picking all these classes back up when we come back later next fall.

We had a few days where our RV site became "lakefront" property and we had the opportunity to catch up on reading, napping and a few inside projects.

But in spite of some cooler, wetter weather then we might have wished for, it's been a beautiful time here in Lower Alabama.  Of course, we didn't do everything we thought we might, maybe next time!

We're looking forward to our return to the Plantation, but we're also excited about new adventures coming up.