Sunday, January 31, 2010

The internet here in Convent Louisiana is less than stellar! We are staying at the Poche Plantation RV Park. I have lots of photos and lots to share, but it will have to wait till we have a better connection. We will be leaving here Tuesday, hopefully I will be able to 'catch up' sometime then........Having a fun and fabulous time here in the ole south! Just wish it were a little warmer.....LOL!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thought you might like to see just how tight of a fit our site was at St Bernard State Park
This is an overall view. The asphalt pads are nice, but a little on the skinny side.
Here is a view of Royal Street in the French Quarter. We did walk Bourbon St, but I didn't like it much.....a little dirtier, smellier, and too many bars and well you get the picture I think. Royal Street was much cleaner and the shops were nicer. Quite a few art and antique galleries which we enjoyed seeing.
This is our site at the French Quarter RV park. We do have a little patch of grass for the furballs towards the side and back. I have to say after all the mud and muck at St Bernards I do like all the concrete pavers. We also are enjoying full hook ups and a decent cable and wi fi system. The road noise in the early evening was pretty loud, but sometime around 9pm things quieted down and we both had a good nights sleep. We do feel very safe here at the park. It is gated and someone is on duty 24 hours.

Today it is back to the French Quarter to take in the French Market and flea market and hopefully ride the Trolley to the Garden District. I'm not sure if I'm going to have time for the cemetery, but I hope so I really want to get some photos of the tombs .....I know, I'm weird......but they are just so old and hold so much history!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yesterday was a very interesting day.....we did a little sightseeing and checked out a local rv park. We know we want to spend some time in the French Quarter and we have decided we are just to far away to try and do that if we stay here at the St Bernard park. We have furbabies and we just don’t like leaving them for long periods of time. Then there is the issue of the parking and the narrow French Quarter streets. The RV park is aptly called “The French Quarter” and it is within walking distance of the French Quarter. The visitor’s center is also off we went.

On our way to the Rv Park, we found Brad Pitt’s neighborhood. Apparently, Brad Pitt is building homes to help build back the area after Katrina. They were interesting....modular units.....with solar panels.....very modern looking. Signs of Katrina are still everywhere.......there are still hundreds of homes awaiting demolition or re construction. Many of these homes still bare the symbols left behind from search and rescue teams. You will see a large ‘X’ the date will be on top, to either side are numbers and letters identifying the search group, and finally at the bottom.....a number......a number that tells how many dead lay inside.......The people of New Orleans have suffered so much and many are still suffering....there is so much left to do here......

We finally arrived at the RV park. This is a small park and it is not in the best area of town. The park is gated and we were met by a very nice young woman at the gate who escorted us inside. The park is clean and well maintained and are definitely paying for location here. We have Camp Club USA and so we received a 50 percent discount on our first night, the second night was a full price rate of $69.00. That rate does go up.......expect to pay in excess of $100 per night for holidays and special events. She told us they were already booked for Super Bowl Weekend. I imagine folks who can’t go to Miami want to be as close to the ‘party action’ as possible.....and the French Quarter seems to be the place to be for that.

After the Rv Park we headed over to the visitor’s center. Now, we are armed with maps of the area, coupons, and tour information. I asked about parking and she showed us what was available. We decided to check it out. It only took about 5 minutes into our journey to know we made the right decision to stay at the RV Park. We could not believe how narrow the French Quarter streets are and the parking lots are not much better. We headed on out to the Garden advice.....TAKE THE TROLLEY! I couldn’t really sight see as I had my nose in the map trying to guide us through the maze of one way streets and no left turns and no right turns. The city is full of them. There are unexpected road closures and bridges are out and detours and OH MY! Billy did really well, but by early afternoon we had both had enough and headed back to the fiver.

We will move to the RV park on Wednesday.......I can’t wait to walk the streets of the French Quarter......I’m so drawn to this city, it’s history, architecture, culture, people.....they fascinate me. The adventure awaits and poor Billy is along for the may be a wild one! Poor Billy, ya know this really isn’t his ‘cup-o-tea’. He prefers a quieter lifestyle, but he loves me and so he diligently tags along.....letting the occasional moan “slip out” or giving me that ‘pained expression’.....sorry honey!

Monday, January 25, 2010

We did have our trip across the Mississippi on the ferry Saturday. It was amazing to see the number of cars that can fit on that ferryboat. I think Billy counted around 30. It only takes a few minutes to make the trip across and surprisingly not much more to load and unload. Once we were on the other side we headed to Wally World to pick up a few groceries. The trip back across was a little unnerving as there was a heavy blanket of fog on the river. How the captain of the ferry knew where to go is beyond me.....guess they have instruments for that sort of thing! At any rate, it was spooky being out on that ferry surrounded by all that swirling water and mist!

Sunday we settled in. as I’m sure many of you did, to watch the football games. We are Colts’ fans so it was nice to see them win. The, I thought for sure they were going to lose. They just couldn’t seem to move the ball. Lucky the Vikings were having such a bad day with turnovers. The Saints and the will be interesting as I really like both teams. It was hard enough yesterday to see the sad faces of the losing teams......we have all been in their shoes to some extent and know what it is like to be on the losing side.......

Saturday, January 23, 2010

It was not easy, but we managed to fit into a site here at St Bernard State Park. This is a fairly small park and it is about 20 minutes away from New Orleans. The sites are well don't feel like you are sitting on top of your next door neighbor, but most only average about 50 feet in length. Our site is about 55 feet long and with the truck we just barely fit. Each site does have a fairly level concrete pad, but they are very narrow. They have had quite a bit of rain here, so the swamp is really swampy! We spoke with the camp host yesterday and they said we were lucky here......there is another state park close by this one and they are practically under water. I guess you sink to you knees in muck just stepping outside your rv! The cost with Billy's senior pass is a $8.00 per night and that includes 50 amp electric and water. Sorry no sewer hook ups here.

Now let's talk about the nightly entertainment....and it is free. There is a regular symphony of swamp critters performing here at the park every night. I think the orchestra consist mostly of frogs, but many different kinds. We've got high croakers (we affectionately call 'the screamers') and low croakers and every kind of croaker in between! They are loud! In fact, our Cosmo boy hid in the bedroom most of our first night here. He didn't know what all that racket was, but he didn't like it. Then there is the nightly visit from our Armadillo friend. I have only seen him once, but he loves to dig holes all around the fiver.....rather large holes.....the kind where you can easily turn an ankle. Mosquitoes, yeah, we got em! Not too bad though, I think the evening temps are keeping their numbers down at present. You are never alone here in the can just feel all those 'night eyes' on you where ever you go!

Yesterday, Billy decided he needed to have the truck looked at again. That dang engine light is coming on and off. So, off he went......7AM to see the wizard! Not knowing how long this would all take.....I stayed home with the furballs. Around 10AM, Billy calls.......he can't get to the dealership. He can see the dealership, but no matter what direction he goes.....he just can't get there! Road construction, no right turn, no left turn, road closed, traffic out the wa-zooo......well, you can imagine his frustration level. All this and he was with out his nag-igator to boot! Long story short, he came home. He called the dealership and they completely understood.....told him to try again on Tuesday. Apparently, traffic and construction should be better that day. We'll see!

We plan on laying low this weekend.....the Saints and the Vikings do battle here Sunday. I think we will try to take the ferry across to the west bank of the Mississippi. It is free to ride over and a dollar to come back.......

Thursday, January 21, 2010

We did survive the rain, thunderstorms, and flooding here in Mobile. We pretty much spent the day in the fiver yesterday. We did venture over to a Chevrolet dealer because we had a check engine light on the truck. Billy spoke with one of the techs and he felt it was our locking gas caps that were causing the problem. The truck seems to be running fine. Billy changed out the caps, but apparently it may take as many as 9 or 10 engine start ups to clear the light. Time will tell and don't ask me why the locking gas caps are causing the problem. It has do with the "pressurized system" whatever the heck that means....LOL!

See you in New Orleans.....ya all!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This is the USS Alabama. She is quite the sight!
This is really scary.....Billy at the wheel of the submarine!! LOL!!

Yesterday we toured the USS Alabama. It was stunning. I was absolutely awestruck at the size of the ship and it's history. My Dad was in the Navy and I really don't know much about that.....I was so very young at the time. Seeing this ship makes me want to know more about my Dad's time in the Navy. So, time we are together....I want to hear all about your Navy Days. We were also able to tour a submarine and many planes were on display as well. I was amazed that we were allowed to go through both the ship and the sub on our own. There are very few areas that you are not allowed to wonder through.....It really gives you a sense of what it must have been like living on the sea. If you are in the area, I highly recommend taking the tour. It is a powerful moment in life. I could almost hear the crew as we went through the ship. I felt a great sense of pride for our country and it's people! We watched a short film while on board and one of the crewman made a statement, "They said we were the luckiest ship on the seas.....It wasn't luck, WE WERE GOOD!"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

We arrived at Shady Acres in Mobile Alabama around 3:45pm yesterday. We gained an hour by entering into the central time zone. One of those moments in life where you can actually 'relive' an hour of your life. Unfortunately, was not much we could do different as we were just 'driving down the road' on I 10. So far the trip has been uneventful and that is just the way we like it!

Shady Acres is a nice little RV park and it is close to all the action in Mobile. It is certainly not a fancy park, but the folks here go out of their way to make you feel welcome and answer your questions. The sites are somewhat narrow.....I think we might just be able to get our awning out, but that is it. We have a back in site on gravel with plenty of length for our fifth wheel and truck. Their cable and internet are super and included in your $20 per night with Good Sam (regular $22 without discount). They do have a laundry room and bath area. We would definitely come back here again. We plan on spending at least two maybe three nights here to take in some of the Mobile Alabama sights.

Last night we went out to eat at the 'Original Oyster Bar'. It was nice, but the food was a little disappointing. It is kinda on the same level as a Red Lobster and we just felt it could have been a bit better. Today we are heading to the USS Alabama. You can take a tour of it and a submarine. From there we will probably do a little exploring to see what else we might want to check out.

One last note.......DAD.....I'm afraid the dreaded "cold from Hell" has found where I live. I came down with it far it is not so bad and I'm hoping I fair better than you and Uncle Jim did with it. I know it will have to 'knock me down' to get me down as there is too much I want to see and do right now to give in to it!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Today was travel day for us. We are finally on our way to the Rio Grand Valley in Texas. Along the way, we will be stopping for a few days to check out New Orleans. We made it as far as Perry, Florida today. We landed in a KOA right off Hwy 19. KOAs are not the norm for us, but we did not have much to choose from in the area and it was getting late in the day. We have a pull easy in and easy out! Both of us are currently in our respective easy chairs watching the Jets beat San Diego.

Last Thursday we went to the RV Show in Tampa. We had a great time and met up with more RV Dreamers for a nice chat. We did come away from the show a little poorer. Many of you know we have an air bed made by Bear Beds. Well, for the second time in as many years we have sprung a leak. The warranty is a joke as you have to prepay for the new air chamber....then pay to ship the old one to them.....if they find your leak to be a manufacturer's defect, they refund the cost of the chamber, but not the shipping. You are stuck with shipping on both the new and old air chamber. So, when we stumbled across a booth with another brand of air beds on display we had to investigate. What a difference! You could see the quality of their beds. We looked inside and out, asked a million questions, and then took a "test" drive right there in the booth. SOLD! We are now $1995.00 poorer! They will call us when the bed is ready and then ship to where ever we are.......and we don't have to pay the shipping or sales tax. The company is called, "Custom Comfort" and they don't have a web site. They are making a custom size for us "70 by 80" so it will fit perfectly! I sure hope it is perfect at that price! LOL! Time will tell.

Friday night my Aunt and Uncle came by the marina and we all went dancing. It seems a local singer that my Aunt and Uncle knows was performing at a bar near off we went. We had a great time. I can't tell you how long it has been since I was on a dance floor. The band was fabulous and did a lot of "oldies".....none of that "head banging" junk!

Saturday was spent in recovery mode from all that Friday night dancing.....I think we got in bed around 1am Friday. Been a great week here in Tampa at the marina.....we will sure miss everyone!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Back at the marina and it has been a busy couple of days. We were able to get the hot water heater fixed. We managed to get the flow meter apart, cleaned, then put back together.......and "bingo!" we have hot water. The only problem is I don't think it is getting hot enough.....we'll see how the next few days go.

Last night we met with some fellow RV-Dreamers at an Olive Garden here in the Tampa area. It sure was good seeing everyone and we had a great time. One of the highlights of the evening was meeting "Filmore" Doug and JoAnn's poodle. He is such a character and it was clear he enjoyed all the attention from us. You can read follow Doug, JoAnn, and Filmore on their blog "Living Our Dream".

Going to be a busy day today. We will be getting ready and heading over to the RV show today. We have never been to the show here in Florida before and I'm looking forward to the day.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Today is moving day.....back to my Uncle's Marina in Tampa. Saturday and Sunday here at the park brought the coldest temps we have seen here in Florida. Saturday it never made it out of the 30's and we never made it out of the fiver. We were warm and toasty and only ventured out for the furballs to do their business. Sunday was about the same, but I think the temps reached into the 40's, but the wind was really blowing! We opted for another cozy day inside.

Our on demand hot water heater is still on the fritz so that will be our first order of business.... once we reach the marina. The first place Bill called no longer works on the units. I sure hope we find someone here in the Tampa area that can repair this thing.....I'm really tired of heating water on the stove! Check out here is 11am and I have a lot of things to have a good one everyone and stay warm....

Friday, January 8, 2010

Pelicans at the "Pier" in St Pete
Beautiful beach as seen from the top of Fort De Soto

Just been having too much fun.....even in these somewhat colder temps here in Florida. Last Wednesday we headed down to John's Pass. For those of you not familiar with John's Pass, it is a nice little touristy shopping district in St Petersburg. There is a nice boardwalk out by the water and lots of great restaurants. We did some shopping and Billy managed to find himself a pair of awesome flip flops. Too bad it is too cold to wear them at present. Next, we found this fabulous little herb, tea, and spice shop and purchased some great we just need to stay home long enough to try them out. We finished the day with a nice meal at Bubba Gump's Shrimp house!

Thursday we headed over to the Fort here in De Soto Park. Lots of interesting history there and as you can see a great view of the beach from the top of the fort. Next, we headed to "The Pier" in St Petersburg. Once again we found some nice little shops to peek around in. We had a map of the area with some coupons and I managed to find this quaint little restaurant called "The Garden". The coupon was for 1/2 off one meal. It was in an historic building and actually had a garden area where you could eat outside. To cold for dining under the big oak tree, but we had a cosy booth that overlooked the courtyard. The food was wonderful.

Friday....moving day! We are enjoying our stay here at the park so much that we decided to stay through the weekend. We did have to relocate to another 144 which is a nice pull through. We are having some problems with our on demand hot water ain't working! So, we are boiling water at present. We plan on heading back to my Uncle's Marina on Monday and hopefully we can find someone in the area to take a look at it before we start making our way to New Orleans!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Here we are at Fort De Soto Park and yes, we have internet! Our Verizon card is working great. Our cell phone is ATT and that signal is marginal, but it is there. The phone does show that it is also receiving a 3G signal, but I have not tried the internet on my phone as of yet. The above photo is of our campsite. You can see there is not a lot of width, but we have 3 slides and still have room to walk around in back. This particular site is about 60 feet long. The sites are rather close together, but you have a lot of foliage on either side for privacy. You might be able to hear your neighbor from time to time, but it is rather difficult to see them. Our site and the others we have seen are level and you will be sitting on some hard packed sand and crushed shells. The road back to our site was somewhat narrow and foliage on either side, but we made it just fine. Not all the sites are this large, so I recommend taking a look at the parks web site. From the web site, you can go into online reservations. There most of the sites have a photo and description. There are some pull thurs, but most are back in sites. This is a very popular book your spot early!
This photo is of the shower and laundry facilities. You can click on it to make it a bit larger. There is one washer and one dryer located outside the building....$1.00 each. The biggest surprise I had was the bath house is 'open air'. There is about a foot gap between the walls and the roof. Guess we will not be bathing at the bath house, since the temps here have been in the low 40's and 50' cold for outdoor bathing!

There are waterfront sites, but they fill up fast. DH says one could probably put up a tripod satellite for tv or internet facing the gulf, but anywhere else and you are outta luck. We were able to pull in the major tv stations on our antenna.

Yesterday we walked down to the dog park and the dog beach. It was about 4 miles round trip, but there is a nice wide paved pathway for biking or walking. You can also drive and there is a parking area. The dog park has two large fenced in for small dogs and one for large. Just past the park is the beach area. Fabulous! Our dogs loved running free up and down the beach. They had never seen waves before so both of them were a little intimated by the movement of the water. Needless to say, we were all pretty tired by the time we were back at the fiver. Today we are heading over to check out John's Pass....a touristy shopping area. I was there many years ago and am looking forward to seeing it today. OK.....that is the scoop on De Soto park....any questions.....leave em in the comment section or email me and I will try to get back with the answers in tomorrows post. Oh yeah.....we are in site 125. This place is beautiful!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Wow! What a weekend.....the party just went on and on!

The party actually started the night before New Years Eve. The family was altogether at my Uncle's Marina getting it ready for the party. We set up case of rain, brought in food, set the tv in the gazebo for watching the upcoming games, and literally 'set the stage' for karaoke. My aunt has a fabulous karaoke system and we actually do set up a stage with lights and everything. She has two for those on stage and one for the audience. She even provides the way of hats....for those that wish to sing in disguise......which is always a good thing! LOL!

New Years Eve Day the rest of our guest were moving see in order to attend the party you must spend the night at the marina. Both my Aunt and Uncle want to make sure everyone is safe. So, we have motorhomes, fifthwheels, toy haulers, boats, tents, and pop up campers......a regular camp ground. The weather that evening was perfect. We had a campfire, lots of singing, lots of drinking (which of course helped with the singing) and lots of fireworks. Although I generally do not drink....I did have my first shot that evening. Yes, I'm 52 years young and had never done "shots". Some friends had brought this board that looked like a ski, it had 3 shot glasses each about a 6 inches apart....we filled them with Tequila. I was on one end, my Dad was on the other, and a friend in the middle. Down it went.....and I was really surprised at how smooth it was....not bad at all. Apparently, we were drinking some really high dollar Tequila called Patrone. That went down so well that I ended up doing another with my brother......what a night! It didn't take me long to hit the karaoke stage....and no I'm not sharing photos...."what happens at the marina, stays at the marina"! Anyway it was a long evening, it was 3am when I finally fell into bed.

We were up by 7:00am....and breakfast was ready by 8am. A friend that attends the party always fixes breakfast for everyone the next day. We had bacon, eggs, and croissants....mmmm good!

The party continued through New Years Day.....Unfortunately the weather changed and it was cold and rainy. We still managed to have fun with a big campfire that evening. But....some of us were smart enough to go to bed early that night.....I was in bed my 8:30.

Come Saturday, most were packing up and heading home. Lot of hugs and goodbyes as we saw folks leave for home. We are here through Sunday, so we helped with the clean up. Sunday evening we attended an Open House for my cousin. He and his gal just bought a home. It was very nice, once again the party was, drink, and be family knows all about that!!

We are heading to De Soto park today and we will be in site 125. So, please if you are in the area come by and say 'hello'. We will be there through Thursday, but Tequila......LOL! I'm not sure if we will have internet or cell phone if you don't hear from me for worries....I'll be back and I promise to share lots of info on the park and photos!

Friday, January 1, 2010

I'm in recovery mode today......I'll tell you all about our New Years celebration, once my head clears a little. I hope everyone is having a great New Year.....