Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hilton Head/Savannah Ga

As mentioned in our last post - we arrived in Hilton Head
yesterday afternoon and are staying here for a few days over
the Easter Weekend.

Our new home is the Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort & Marina

Our timing was perfect in several respects...

First - Thursday night my MIFI (internet device) decided to
stop working leaving me stranded and unable to work.
I hate when that happens.

Second - My truck has been due for an oil change and I didn't want to push
it all the way home without getting it done soon if possible.

So after we arrived yesterday I was able to find a Verizon store and replace
my MiFI.  The Verizon store was only about 4 miles from were we are staying.
The guy there was on top of his game and 15 minutes later I was out the door.

Then this morning I went to a Ford Dealership nearby for new filters
and 13 Fresh Quarts of Rotella T6  5w-40 Synthetic Oil.   
The Diesel is a hungry machine and must be fed...  
I like to feed it the best I can buy as it will cost me less in the long run.

The Ford Dealer was only about 10 miles from the RV Park.
I was in...  and out...  in about 40 minutes....    Sweet!

Just like that...  both jobs done and we are back in business - no muss, no fuss.

Our current locale - while an RV Park - its not too shabby for living life large.

We have a nice side and back yard.

A very pretty Resort on the Intracoastal Waterway with lots of Mature
Live Oak Trees and landscaping.   We have a couple hundred
cable channels, and garbage is picked up at the end of the driveway.

There is a Marina here with services plus dockage.

All of the lots here are privately owned and the Resort manages them for the owners
so we are actually renting someones' space that they might use during the year.

Perhaps they come in the summer to enjoy one of the two pools.

Or just the tropical/residential feel of the neighborhood.

This morning after I finished up the last of my service calls, I got back to the Rig,
picked Kate up and we headed about 25 miles into Savannah, Ga to
see the sights.

First we headed down the hill to the water front and strolled along all of the
Old buildings.

Savannah is a busy seaport.

Up the hill in town there are numerous small parks,
many are surrounded by stately mansions.

The Presbyterian church steeple peers thru the spanish moss.

Meanwhile some familiar faces peer back at us.

We stopped at a local English Style Pub for a late lunch.
Kate had a Prime Rib Sandwich with Potato Salad and
I had a burger with Potato Salad and a Draught Dark Guiness Stout.

After lunch it was time to hit the trail back to the RV.

Its now cocktail hour/blogging hour.
The birds are chirping, its about 75 degrees, sunny and dry.

I'm sitting here with a cold cocktail, a working internet connection,
and a truck with fresh Rotella....

Not too shabby for the East Coast.

Friday, March 29, 2013

East Shore ACOE Campground & Technical Glitches

Leaving New Orleans behind, Yesterday (Thursday 3/28) we drove another 
5 hrs east, arriving at our next port around 3pm.

We drove out of Louisiana, Thru Mississippi & Alabama and settled into
a really nice Army Corps campground just north of 
Chattahoochie, Fl.

Leaving Fountaineblue State Park I had to be careful driving
thru the Live Oaks as many of them would have hit the roof,
perhaps taking out an air-conditioning unit.

5 hrs later we were settled into our prime site at East Shore Campground.
Site C22

The picnic table and view beyond.

A view of the campground from the other side of the loop looking back
towards our site.

Meanwhile, this morning Gracie hurt her left foot trying to jump
into the truck as we were getting ready to leave.

She's been limping so Papa decided to feed her up on the couch and
let her rest a bit.

This morning she seemed fine and was not limping but tonight she
is limping again.   Hopefully she'll heal up or we'll take her to the
Vet when we get home.

Last nights sunset and a family enjoying the view.

The East Shore Campground has moved up onto our must visit again and
spend some time list.  

Today we moved further east and now are at a luxury RV Resort on
Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.

We'll stay here for a few days before moving on.

More on our current digs in tomorrows blog.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Big Easy

Veni, Vidi, vici..
I came, I saw, I conquered.

Julis Caesar wrote those words in BC47 to describe his short war with
Pharnaces II of Pontus...

Today it described our assault on the City of New Orleans.

We hit the ground running this morning and
by 0730 we were on the road headed across the Lake
Pontchartrain Causeway (at 25miles, the worlds longest bridge) enroute
to New Orleans and our destination - The French Quarter.

Having done my research ahead of time - I had decided to park the truck
up near the Tulane Medical Center where I knew it would be easier to move
around in the big beast and find parking.

I had google earthed a few places ahead of time and by 0830 we were parked 
($2.00 for all day vs $20 in the French Quarter if I could find a spot)

A short 2 block walk to Canal St and we picked up a streetcar to take us on 
the 10 minute ride down to the French Quarter.

Our First stop by 0900 was Cafe DuMonde for some good dark, strong
European Style Cafe (just the way we LOVE it) and a trio of
Beignets each.    What a great way to start the day.

After cafe we walked around the FQ for a while taking in the sights and sounds
killing some time before Kates Surprise which was a 10am appointment.

At 0945 we were outside the New Orleans School of Cooking and
we turned into the building for our 10am cooking class.

Our class covered Cajun/Creole Cooking tips and specialized on
Gumbo, Jambaylaya, Bread Pudding, and Pralines.

The instructor was this animated older woman and the demonstration was a blast.

Of course we got to eat the meal when done...

I make a pretty mean Jambaylaya to start but we both picked up some neat
tips, tricks, and ideas to mix it up a bit.

The class and the meal were alot of fun and delicious.
Kate was thrilled so the surprise was a big success!

On the way out we stocked up on Cajun spices and green chili hot sauces...

After the school - it was now 1230 so we headed of to see some of the sights before
heading back to the north shore.

It's hard to visit the French Quarter and not see the St. Louis Cathedral.
Named after King Louis of France and a nod to New Orleans French heritage,
the Cathedral has the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating
Cathedral in the United Stated.
FYI a Cathedral (derived from the Latin "Seat") is the seat of a bishop
serving as the Central Church of dioceses.

Looking across Jackson Square with the Cathedral in the background.

In the center is the Cathedral
On the left is the Cabildo - where the Louisiana Purchase was signed.

This was the site of todays self portrait.

I never get tired of visiting churches and seeing the awe inspiring artistry
contained within...  An added bonus is that as of yet I still have not
been struck down by lightening on any of my visits.

In 1967 the Cathedral was elevated to the category of Minor Basilica 
by Pope Paul VI and in 1997 it was visited by Pope John Paul II.

It serves over 6,000 parishioners.

Outside the Cathedral it is back to New Orleans...
 Here in the Square a New Orleans Rag Time Style brass band mixes
with the Old and New Architecture...
A mixture that is typically New Orleans.

It's a vibrant and colorful city.

Around every corner...  a colorful surprise awaits.

By 3pm it was time for us to make tracks back across the Lake as we had
a couple of Doodles who've been in the RV since 0730 patiently
waiting for our return.

One the way home we made a couple of quick detours, first was
a quick stop at an Albertsons for some needed groceries, then another stop
at the Saia Meat Market in Mandeville for a couple of Rib Eyes and some
Boudin Blanc Sausage.

The Boudin Blanc Sausage is a particularly Cajun treat and we grabbed a
bunch of links to throw in the Freezer for another day when we
feel the yearning for a quick return to
The Big Easy.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Escape from Texas

After 2 weeks in the Lone Star State today at 10am we
crossed the border into Louisiana.

We had intended on staying another two nights in Sandy Creek, and that
certainly would have been fine as it was a great campground, but I
had plans for Kate in New Orleans....   a big surprise...  but you'll have
to wait for tomorrows blog to see about that.

Yesterday was a down day at Sandy Creek.  Other than my work, we
pretty much just took it easy.   We took the Doodles for a long walk along all of the
campgrounds loops along the lake.

A view of the lake.

Sandy Creek is really a nice spot.  The sites are huge, well separated, and
like most ACOE campgrounds there is a playground and group facilities.
A big plus is that it is very remote...  translated into super quiet.

Towards the end of one of the loops.

This morning we packed up camp - was on the road by 0800 and made a stop
at McDonalds in Jasper, Tx for some breakfast yummies...
Only our second McDonalds Breakfast stop this trip.

But first I had to get a few parting shots behind our RV of the mist over the lake.

The Cypress reflects in the early morning light.

Leaving Texas behind, Our route eventually dropped us back down onto I-10 
and took us east across the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge
 which carries I-10 across the Atchafalaya Basin.

The Atchafalaya Basin is the largest swamp area in the US.
   Situated in southern Louisiana,
It measures about 20 miles wide by 150 miles north to south.

The Atchafalaya Basin Bridge is an engineering marvel and is one of the longest
bridges in the world (#14) 18 miles in length.

The twin spans continued arrow straight for 18 miles
carrying us thru the ecologically diverse and amazing environment.

Forested swamp lead to Bayou, which turned to river, which turned to
open water and back again as we crossed.

Our destination for the next two nights was Fountaineblue State Park,
situated on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain.

Our new campsite.

We took a stroll with the Doodles down to the shore of the Lake.

In the distance on the horizon you might be able to make out the
Lake Pontchartrain Causeway crossing over to New Orleans.

Much of the parks infrastructure was damaged or destroyed during Katrina
so a lot of the buildings here are new.

We took a self portrait out on the pier.

Walking back to camp thru the Live Oak Trees adorned with Spanish Moss.

We are now situated in striking distance for a whirlwind tour of
New Orleans which must take place tomorrow, for Thursday
we are off again headed further east on I-10.

From here - a 1/2 trip across the 24-mile long Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
(the longest bridge in the world) and we are in New Orleans.

We have a 10am mystery appointment in the French Quarter.
An exciting surprise for Kate awaits us there.
But the details of that will have to wait for tomorrow nights blog.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sandy Creek Park

We awoke this morning to a strong northerly wind that had picked up
early in the morning after the passage of a strong cold front.

The RV was shaking and the temp and humidity had dropped from 
the high levels where it had been.

We started to pack up camp in anticipation of a 10am departure for our
next stop on the eastern migration.

One item of early morning interest was the condition of the campsite next to us
occupied by folks who had arrived yesterday and set up a pretty large assortment
of "stuff"..  all sorts of ornaments, tents, lights, flamingos...  etc.

With the winds gusting over 30 I fully expected to see most of their stuff gone,
scattered to the winds.

Fortunately for them - most of their stuff remained although some was blown down.

We got our camp packed up and by 1030 were leaving the park.

Carolyn & Wayne got this shot of us leaving the park.

You can see the palm tree straining against the wind.

Our new location is in Extreme eastern Texas close to the La border.
Really out in the Boonies of east Texas.

We are at an Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE) Park, on the shore
of BA Steinhagen Lake about 11 miles west of Jasper, Tx.

Like all of the other ACOE parks we've visited, the sites are large
and quite suitable for large rigs.

We are tucked back in the trees.

Our back yard...

There was a warning at the entry station about Alligators...  Huh?

We're a far way from our recent haunts in the desert that's for sure.

Inside the RV - as soon as we stopped Kate pulled out a book
and Gracie found a Lap.

Our plan is to spend tonight and tomorrow here and then on Tuesday
continue to push east with our next stop just outside of New Orleans.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dinner in Matagorda

Kate & I went out for dinner tonight with our new friends
Carolyn & Wayne who are also staying here in the Park.

I think that Kate and I have been out to dinner
a wee bit too much on this trip.

Tomorrow we hitch the wagon back up and continue our Eastward Migration
about 4 hours North East of here to one last campsite in Texas.