"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Saturday, May 1, 2021


Kiln, MS
McLeod County Park

It was a very short 85 mile drive from the SE corner of Louisiana to the SW corner of Mississippi.  McLeod County Park turned out to be a real jewel of a find.  It sits right on the Jourdan River. The loop in the front is more open but the loop in the back is right on the water.
We were very happy to leave behind the heat and humidity and arrived to much cooler weather with no humidity.  Pure luck I'm sure that our next few days here would remain like this.
It's a beautiful park that the locals flock to.  Very popular since you can tie your boats, kayaks and jetskis right up in front of your site.  We lucked out with getting, once again, what we feel is the best spot in the place.  R7 sits by itself with no sites around it.  It had it's own cove and tiny private beach with sugary, white sand.  FHU's for $26.  The only downside I'd say is the roads through the campground are narrow as are the poured concrete pads to park on.  Luckily Steve is a champ at backing in and it didn't take long to settle in.

View out the back.
What's that... music??  Why it's an ice cream truck, er, van.  I haven't heard that sound for many years.
They are adding more campsites and it won't be long before R7 will have neighbors across from it.
It was still early and the weather was so nice we slid the kayak in right at our spot.

So many boats of all sizes.

We found an offshoot of the main river and had a quiet paddle most of the way.  The wild Magnolia's are just starting to bloom.  They are as big as a dinner plate.
River markers posted along the way.  There are miles of river out here to enjoy.
It was very calm and the reflections of the Cypress, Magnolia and Pines were pretty.

Heading back after a long day on the water.
Enjoying the nice evening.  No bugs either!  Loving it here!

We watched boats come and go then called it a night.

Good thing we spent yesterday on the water because today was supposed to be stormy.  We have been very lucky as these huge thunderstorm producing hail and tornados have been skirting us each time.  Just outside of the campground sits Stennis Airport.  We heard that military planes practice here and run every hour.  We must've gotten lucky again as we only saw 3 the entire time.
Our first stop was the Lazy Magnolia Brewery next to the airport.  They had a great thin crust pizza we sampled also.  Steve loved the beer.

We then drove 20 minutes to the coastal town of Bay St. Louis.  It was very cute and strangely quiet.  Not many people about or businesses open except a few restaurants.  You can see it's a very popular tourist spot but not many people around.  After walking around we chose to have dinner at Tripletails once I found out they have Royal Reds!  The music was blaring from the 3rd floor but the restaurant is on the 2nd floor.
View from the balcony.
We split the dinner as there was plenty for both of us and we even brought some home.  If you don't know what Royal Reds are, you must get some if you're in the gulf states.  These huge shrimp are deep red before they are cooked and taste more like lobster.  They are tender and buttery.  Mainly found in the deep waters off the Florida panhandle to the Mississippi coast around 1500 feet deep.
After our yummy dinner we walked the beaches.  Again, almost no one in sight.  We had an ice cream and walked the powdery sand.  The gulf is a murky brown instead of the emerald green not too far east.  Not sure if this is normal or from all the recent storms that here in the bay.

On our way back through town we came upon this statue of Jesus and the Stations of the Cross near a seminary.  We stopped so we could walk around and visit. 

The 14 Stations of the Cross depict Jesus Christ on the day of his Crucifixion. (Those CCD classes paid off.)  This was off a main road but I bet almost no one comes here.  I love old history like this.
Later that evening another storm was coming through and made some of the most colorful skies I've ever seen!  The picture below is about 15 minutes later.

The sky was glowing with purples that I don't think I've ever seen.

Then came the reds.  Wow!  It's like the song, Smoke on the water, and fire in the sky!
Oh and by the way, I've been busy finishing my first picture.  My friend, Tina, gave me this Italian coloring book of one of my favorite actors!  I have to say though, the pencils are supposed to be erasable, but they don't erase everything!  ;-)   
Molte Grazie, Tina!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Louisiana, It's the FOOD!

Abbeville, Louisiana
Palmetto Island, State Park 

Time to leave Texas and the Houston Skyline and head into Louisiana.

Yes, we do!
We're in the lush, green of southern Louisiana where we'll meet up with Placerville friends, John and Tina, who we haven't seen in over a year.  Above is the one of the many rice fields with traps.  Not only do they get rice, but they trap those mudbugs/crayfish/crawdads! 
We're almost at Palmetto Island State Park and you notice more and more houses built up on stilts to protect from the flooding they often get.  We arrived Thursday after a 5 1/2 hr drive we arrived.
They've added a big alligator to the entrance of the campground.
John & Tina and their new (to them) 5th wheel.  It's very nice!
50/W/Dump.  Our usual spot, 1065.  We think it's the best!  They keep this campground super clean.  It's very tropical, lush green, private and sites are large and spaced out.  The free laundry is now $1.75.
We all set up and caught up a bit then headed right back into town to fill our freezers at Heberts.  
Heberts Specialty Meats (pronounced AYE bears) is the BEST!  They are home of the original Turducken, Deboned Stuffed Chicken, Andouille, Etoufee, Gumbo and Boudin!!  We filled up with our favorites, Jalapeno Mash Potatoe Stuffed Chicken, Alligator Sausage and Boudin Balls.  Oh So Yummy!  We spent over $100 and John & Tina had a nice haul too.  They cooked us up some fresh Boudin Balls and we ate those on the tailgate in the parking lot.  SO GOOD!  The next morning Steve and John went back for more!  This place is a MUST! 

Saturday morning Tina, John & I took a bike ride through the park and the Vermillion River that flows through it.  With all the heavy rain and flooding they've had lately, the river was muddy and full!
We were scrounging up firewood when we spotted a nice little bundle along the road, courtesy of the park cleaning up after the storms.  John became our Wood Sherpa.  Notice his beverage of choice.  I guess it's 5 O'clock somewhere even though it's only 10am here!!
After our bike ride we piddled around on our own for a few hours.  After Steve finished with work we took John and Tina to meet a friend of ours cousin.  Randy & June are super sweet, fun people that live in Abbeville.  Randy runs a huge, fancy machine shop.  Since John recently retired from machining, we figured he'd love to see Randy's place.  He has some VERY large machines they use to make parts for the petroleum industry among others.   It really is impressive and gave John a chance to 'talk shop' for a bit.
Then it was off to Shucks for dinner.  Abbeville is one of those places you EAT your way through!  Sure the campground has hiking, biking, kayaking, but first and foremost, it's all about the FOOD.  A couple of other places to eat at are Richard’s (pronounced REE shards) which specializes in crayfish and froglegs.  Poche has some great food too.
Shucks is known for their oysters and bread pudding.  Fresh oysters, charbroiled and stuffed, is a great starter.  Even Tina was a champ and tried one.  Are you having flashbacks Jim?  You make your own sauce from various items.  Tina chose to enjoy hers on a cracker.
Then we all chose various seafood dishes.  Above is Steve, Randy and June.  Sorry guys, it's the only picture I took.  After dinner you have to get their famous Bread Pudding in Warm Rum Sauce.  We always get one to freeze to enjoy later.  We also made a short visit to see our friends family while were there.
A visit with Angie, Bobby, Me Steve and Kim.  Kim is our good friend from back home, Mike's, Mom.
We saw this interesting looking RV parked next to us.  Anyone know what kind?

On Sunday we took a little day trip around the neighboring towns.  We stopped in a couple of places and then our main stop at the Parish Brewing Company.  They all commented how surprised they were that they loved all the beer.  And they sampled quite a few.

We took a nice tour through the spotless brewery.

On the way back we stopped in at the Old Masonic Cemetery to grab a geocache.  John used to be the Master of the Placerville Masonic Lodge in 2017. We all enjoyed the history of this old place.

They had some really unique gravesites.
That night we all sat around another fire and played with the color stuff that we had a packet of.

Sunday had the best weather so we saved that for our kayak outing.  The water was high so we could get back much further than previous years.

Steve spotted this very young Alligator sunning himself.  He never budged as we paddled past.

It was a tunnel of green!

With the current pulling us along we lined up and it felt like we were on a Disneyland ride.  If you can't see the kayak video above, click HERE.

Duck, John!

If you don't see our encounter with Mr. Gator above, click HERE.
(he really isn't that close as it seems)
This medium sized guy just swam on by.  They really don't let you get too close and we wouldn't want to anyway.  It was a great paddle and we spent hours on the river.  It started to get hot and humid so we returned to clean up and then head back over to Randy and June's as they invited us over for a BBQ on our last evening.  He grilled up some Sticky Chicken and Tina and I each brought a dish to share.  More laughter and fun before heading back to camp.
Thanks Randy and June for another great visit!

Monday morning we were all up early.  We're heading east to Florida and they are heading west back to California for a bit.  Sorry to see them go but we had so much fun with them!  They really enjoyed getting to see some of the "real" Louisiana.
It was a foggy morning driving out of Abbeville.  Until next time!

Springfield, LA
Tickfaw State Park

It was a short drive to the other side of Louisiana where we had 5 days to just relax and digest all that wonderful food.
Passing Baton Rouge.  I have to say they are finally getting I-10 into a smoother highway.
Tickfaw State Park is really out of the way and not much around here. We had hoped to do some kayaking but with recent floods the river was a bit dangerous and a fallen tree blocked the marina put-in.  It was just as well as the temps were in the low 90s and the humidity matched that.  The only time we could spend outside was briefly in the late morning and early evening when the mosquitos weren't out yet.  We mostly stayed indoors in the A/C.
W/50/dump, site #23.  The campground is small, very well kept and quiet.  Long back-in sites with decks and tables.  $1.75 laundry room that was very new and clean.

We cooked one of our Dirty Rice Stuffed Chickens from Heberts for dinner.
We tried a short hike but those mosquitos were hungry!
These crazy Cardinals are so territorial.  They are always trying to attack their reflections in the windows of the truck and trailer.
One very short evening enjoying the beautiful and loud sounds of Louisiana before the skeeters chased us back indoors.  Listen to their beautiful song HERE.

Are you ready for us Mississippi?