Friday, February 29, 2008

Rambling

Sunday, Geri drove me over to Indian Pass, near Port St. Joseph. It is a pretty little area, not near as heavily populated at St. Joseph Peninsula or St. George Island. There is a campground worth investigating at some future time. The homes represent more of an old Florida style - not so boxy (or birdhousie looking) and just maybe one or two stories high and lots of screened in porches. They are further apart than others I have seen.

We drove along the beach looking for dolphins but did not see any. I scooped up some sand and shells for Sherry back in Dodge City KS. Across the way,
(Geri w/St Vincent in background)
is St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge and is accessible by pontoon boat. “It is a barrier island, triangular in shape, nine miles long and four miles wide at the east end and gradually forms a point at Indian Pass on the west end.”, says a brochure put out by the US Fish & Game Wildlife Service.

It was really a beautiful day, not blazing hot, nice breeze. We stopped at The China Garden in Apalachia and had a late lunch. By the time we both got home, we were ready for a nice nap - unfortunately Geri said she had a couple of chores to do though.

I have TV! Have watched only 1 night of TV while on the road and until now. I ended up buying some longer cable cord so I could reach the system hookup at another spot at the Campground. Mine apparently had been damaged when a tree fell on it sometime ago and was never fixed.

Watched some folks move 5th-wheel RVs around this morning - I know that’s real exciting - it was an excuse to spend a bunch of time outside. It has been beautiful out today, but according to NOAA, that will change tomorrow with a high chance of rain Tuesday. Laundry will get done Wed and then I head eastward for a day of seeing St. Marks Wildlife Refuge, stop at WalMart in Crawfordville to pick up some things and back home.

There is a mosquito that has spent the last several days with me and it has bitten me twice in the last 24 hours. I just cannot seem to make connection with the fly swatter.

Wednesday - it’s chilly today and suppose to get in the mid-30’s tonight. That’s cold for here. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of “nice” days I have had - either rainy, windy, cold, snowy. But, the temperature is higher than home though - for the most part. So that makes up for it. Yesterday I went over to St. George Island, in between storms, and walked on the beach for an hour feeling the energy from the wind and waves. Felt good and revived me and I slept good last night.

Watching the local channel has been interesting as there are a number of stories on the area. I have watched a segment on St. Marks Lighthouse, concern about the lower water levels in the Apalachicola River due to powers that be in Georgia diverting water to Atlanta, to a “discussion” going on about the change in the state line between Georgia and Tennessee, watching an oystering couple who have been oystering for over 20 years - he is a “tonger” and she shucks. This area provides 90% of Florida oysters and 10% harvested in the US; and, the concern about the lower water level in the Bay are of ligament concern for the ecosystem as well as for the economy of the area. I heard somewhere that there hasn’t been a decent shrimp harvest for several years. The recent hurricanes have hurt that industry tremendously. So this area has suffered substantially over the last few years.

Here is some interesting facts about oystering, from the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce:
“Apalachicola Bay encompasses the waters of St. George Sound and St. Vincent Sound, which provide an ideal environment for oysters. This 210-square-mile estuary is wide and shallow, averaging between six and nine feet deep at low tide. The estuary is dominated by the Apalachicola River, which provides nutrient rich fresh waters vital to the Bay’s natural productivity. Oysters grow rapidly in these waters reaching marketable size in less than two years. Apalachicola Bay produces some of the nation’s highest quality seafood.

“Tongers (traditionally called "oystermen") harvest the oysters today in the same manner they have for a century. From small wooden boats 20-23 feet long, using tongs that look somewhat like two rakes attached in scissor-style, the oystermen bring the oysters to the surface. The oysters are brought onboard and sorted on a culling board where they are separated by size. Oysters must be at least three inches in length to be considered legally harvestable. The oysters are then stored in burlap bags and shaded until they reach the shore. On shore, the seafood houses employ "housemen" who sort the oysters and package them for sale either in bags or boxes, or send them to be shucked, washed and sold in pints or gallons."


I have seen two Bald Eagles (or maybe 3) on this trip. One was in SW Louisiana and the other 2 (or 3) are here in the area. Geri has told me that there is a pair of Bald Eagles in the Apalachicola area. They are beautiful birds. I rarely get to see Bald Eagles on my trips and here I’ve seen several.

Friday morning: Yesterday I did make it to WalMart and St. Marks Nat’l Wildlife Refuge, but had an unsettling night after the news about a “suspicious spot” in my daughter’s MRI mammogram she had had on Monday. She is a 2-year breast cancer survivor. I sense the prognosis will be a good one, but I didn’t realize how much stress I had put my body through until yesterday. So the day wasn’t enjoyed as much as it would have been otherwise.

I drove to Crawfordville first to take care of the things I needed from there - and to just see what new things were around. From there I drove over to the Refuge. Spent some time in the Visitor Center, watching a hawk and egret out back for awhile. I then drove out to the St. Marks Lighthouse and walked around, sitting and watching the waves do their thing, watched another egret and looked to see if I could see any alligators. A professional photographer, from Georgia, was there and we both tried to find some but neither one of us had an luck. I did see another Bald Eagle and 3 deer on the way out of the Refuge.

(Enlarge photo to see what sign says. Control burn in background.)
Since I like lighthouses, so naturally had to go see this one. It is no longer in service but was automated in 1960 with an occulating white light every 4 seconds. This one was built in 1820’s at St. Mark, FL, which served as an important port for the shipment of agricultural products grown in the area. In 1842, erosion threatened the lighthouse. A new tower was built further inland with the original lantern and illuminating apparatus placed on top. The original tower was torn down.

It played various roles thru the Civil War and had to be rebuilt after the War. In 1883, the tower was extended another 10 feet, raising it to its present height of 82 feet above sea level. The area around the Lighthouse is now incorporated into the St. Mark’s National Wildlife’s 68,000 acres. The Wildlife serves as a wintering habitat for migratory birds.

After getting home, I went over to Geri’s for supper and met Chuck, a former Casita owner and former Californian who is moving to Eastpoint. He recently purchased a fiberglass Oliver brand trailer and will be going up to Tennessee in a few days to bring it back here.

Today, I am just kicking back, have a new book to read, and then will go over with Chuck and Geri to St. George Island this evening to view the art work that is part of the auction Saturday on St. George. Tomorrow is their big Chili Cookoff so will probably brave the crowds and be a part of it. Temperatures are suppose to be in the mid to upper 70’s so that will be nice.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

My Daughter Needs Your Thoughts & Prayers

Juno is a 2-year breast cancer survivor. Tuesday, she had a MRI mammogram in Wichita and a suspicious spot was found. She visited her surgeon Wednesday and had a sonogram. Dr Kelly didn't see anything where the MRI indicated; but Juno will be returning to Wichita to have a biopsy done on the spot using the MRI. We should know something by the next day.

If you can send her a thought or a prayer over the next few days, I know it will be received by her and make her feel good from receiving your support. Bless you all.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Catching Up with Baton Rouge

Woke up to lots of fog this morning (Friday) and took a couple of pictures. This “laid back” life is getting really laid back. I sleep to almost 9 a.m., my first choice of what I want to do is “nothing”,. I am getting ready to take a shower after unsuccessfully trying to get my water heater to work; but I learned that when the propane tank gets low it has difficulty coming on so I switched over to the full one and it came on right away. Guess that is a job I should put on my list of things to do - fill the tank. I did get the dishes done this morning, heating water on the stove. My other job is to get this blog caught up.

Have a slight migraine and the humidity is uncomfortable; but, the sun is trying to come through, so that should brighten my sprits up. Yesterday, Thursday, I needed to get some walking in so I went over to Apalach and walked around the town. We had been having small showers so didn’t want to get out in the open (like at the beach)and then get drenched, so walking around looking in windows was my second choice. There isn’t really any beach to walk on on the Bay side so have to drive over to the Island for beach walking.

Day 3 - I managed to leave the campground at 7 a.m. knowing I had a long driving day ahead of me with a tender sit-down. I drove down to Paris, TX on US 271 all the way to I-20; then to Shreveport, LA; from there down I-49 to I-10 to Baton Rouge and to Jeri’s house.

Most of the road was pretty good, though am not a fan of concrete highways that bouncy bounce - especially like the ones in Louisiana. Going thru Shreveport was a nightmare as the highway on the bypass, etc. were awful. I stopped as soon as I could once I got out of the City to make sure everything was still in place after all that bouncing around; and, found I had popped a rivet above the cabinet that is above the refrigerator.

I had thought of sending the Mayor of Shreveport and Governor of Louisiana a charge for the time of replacing the rivet. Many, many years ago I and the kids traveled back to Baltimore MD to see my folks in my brand new car. When we hit the Pennsylvania Turnpike, everything got jarred so bad. Before I left to come back home I had an alignment done as the car needed it. When I got home I sent a copy of the alignment bill to the Governor of Pennsylvania asking for reimbursement or fix the dang Turnpike! No response, but about 10 years later I traveled on the Turnpike again, again to visit my folks via car, and imagine my surprise when I found the whole dang length I traveled was beautiful! Didn’t want to pay the alignment bill but fixed the Turnpike instead - see the power of the word is mightier than the sword! I know, I know, don’t ruin my story. The kids are tired of hearing it though, I bet.

On the way down, saw my first cypress trees and commercial crayfish farms. I got in at Jeri’s around 6 p.m. and she fixed a wonderful dinner of spinach greens and turnips and interesting spices. It was so good but I forgot to get the recipe and I hope she still has it to send to me. She also makes a good pimento cheese spread. I slept in a real bed that night and just stretched out.

Monday, Jeri took me down to New Orleans so I could see a couple of parades on Mardi Gras Eve Day. I enjoyed that and participated in the putting the hands up to catch the beads and trinkets.

I am still trying to get use to all the bridges and the length of them. The first long bridge I went over is the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge (west of Baton Rouge) and is 18.2 miles long. I will have a picture of the St George Island bridge from Eastpoint, in my Flickr set, as soon as I get a few more pictures. The St George Bridge is a little over 4 miles long, as I remember.


Tuesday, Jeri drove me down to SW Louisiana towards Cameron and Holly Beach. We went west on I-10 to where the LA Visitor Information Center is and then went south to Catahoula, to St Martinsville, New Iberia, then SW to Avery Island and the Jungle Gardens, back to New Iberia. Traveled west on State 14 to Abbeville, south on State 82 to Forked Island, west to Pecan Island, over to Grand Chenier, Cameron, Holly Beach and north State 27 back to I-10 and eastward to Baton Rouge.

Hurricane Rita came onshore in 2005, not too far west of Cameron. It is very evident that it did and how long it takes to get life back again. There is a lot of evidence of new homes and businesses going up, but still a lot of slabs where houses use to be. Some had FEMA trailers on them, some had personal trailers on them, some just had slabs where the home use to be. Back before Katrina, a lot of homes were built on slabs because it was cheaper, but since that and later hurricanes, homes are built on stilts raising the house 12 to 14 feet (some much higher) above the ground or flood plain. Most houses are built so that storage, parking area for vehicles and boats, maybe a screened in patio area are located underneath. I did see one house that had it’s garage area up with the house. This was very unusual. And, of course the fishing areas for shrimp and oysters were devastated and hit the area economically too. It is good to see life coming back.

One place we went to is the Avery Island Jungle Garden , started by McIllhenny of Tabasco fame. We did not tour the plant but did go through the Jungle Garden. Even at this time of the year there were some flowering plants. The Spanish Moss hanging off of the trees was beautiful and photographic. Here I saw my first alligator. He even swam up close to me so I could take his picture! I didn’t stay around long when he got to the edge of the pond. McIllhenny built Bird City to save the egrets from extension. Their plumes were being used to adorn my ladies hat way back when. I could see why they were used as when the birds would preen themselves in the wind you could see the “feathery” look. I have some pictures under my February 6th entry.

From Avery Island, we followed the highway along the coast. At Cameron we went out to a point where it was foggy and saw some pelicans. As we were watching the pelicans, I noticed something moving in the water and when I looked closer they were dolphins. Those were my first dolphins out of captivity. Was cool watching them, up and down, up and down. Then Jeri and I noticed the small group of 6 or 7 pelicans were in a semicircle and dunking their heads down under the water at the same time and on cue would come back up together. Almost like a water ballet.

I learned what a chenier is at Grand Chenier. A chenier is, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica Online, “a beach ridge and is the Louisiana French term for the oak tree belts that mark the distribution of the ridges in the Mississippi Delta region. In that area there are several sets of cheniers, each separated from, and slightly unconformable to, the next.”

Jeri wanted to go over to Holly Beach to make sure the beach was still there as she had heard that it had been washed away during Rita. It was there and she was relieved to see it. From there we headed back to Jeri’s.

Wednesday, Jeri had some work to do, so I drove up to St Francisville, an old plantation town. I took their “walking tour” driving around it and saw some lovely and cute properties that had been restored. The grounds of the Episcopal Church were beautiful. After lunch at a local restaurant (I had a delicious BLT with bean sprouts and avocado chunks), I drove out to the Rosedown Plantation and took the tour of the house and grounds. I previously posted a picture of the Rosedown. From there I went over to the Oakley Plantation, a different style more in line with an Islands flavor. I missed the 4 p.m. tour, so just walked around the grounds and took pictures there. They are in my set on Flickr.

When I got home, Jeri took me out to dinner at a restaurant where I could hear some live Cajun music - Jeri I forgot what kind you said it was. It wasn’t Zydeco. The zydeco style is what I am use to and the old Bob Wills style of music. I enjoyed the evening.

To bed early as Jeri had an early morning appointment in New Orleans and I had to get on the road.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Just a brief report of Today's Visit

to the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve. This is part of the National Estuarine Research System and this particular one was established in 1979. I saw all kinds of shells, skulls, birds, took the Nature Trail and learned about the plant life in the different "communities".

There is the Floodplain Forest which has a mix of hardwoods, pines and willow thickets (they are starting to bloom and the bees are just going crazy). There is the Wetlands and Open-Water Habitats which includes fresh water marshes, salt marshes, river, pond and lake, open bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Upland Habitats includes sandhills covered with pines and scrub trees and then there are the Barrier Island Habitats, such as St George Island. And, if you are a bird watcher, you have it made in this area. The Red Cardinals and Robins are in abundance right now. I have seen lots of pelicans and Turkey Vultures gliding on the updrafts.

I drove back over to Port St Joseph to look at the downtown area. It is one block off the highway and is quaint. Really no buildings in the downtown over one story high. On the way back home, I was getting hungry for a nice big juicy steak; and, since I needed some groceries anyway I stopped off at the local IGA store and included a big T-Bone in my grocery cart. Baked a potato, fixed a little salad and grilled that steak. Oh, was it good. Now I am catching up on reading all the literature I picked up today. I'll finish posting the other half of my pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Sound of Surf, ahhhhhhhh

Sometime during the night, the winds started, gently rocking the trailer from time to time. Kind of like I was in a cradle. Due to storms coming in from the Gulf, we have had winds all day kicking up the waves in their travel across the water. Periods of sunshine would grace us with sparkle off the water and opportunities for picture taking.

Last night a couple from Branson, MO pulled in next to me with a 5th wheel Scamp fiberglass trailer. He and I visited this morning about places and trailers and I learned a few things about mine, thanks to him. He is a NASCAR lover and had been to Daytona for the races down there this week - been going for 25 years he said. They were going to be spending a couple of nights on St George Island before heading home.

Geri picked me up around 10 this morning and we drove first over to St George Island and went to the State Park. The waves were beautiful and surf had a sound that I love. She explained how the dunes on the Gulf side of the Island had been washed away by Hurricane Dennis’ (July 10, 2005 with a direct hit at Santa Rosa west of here and where I spent my first night in Florida) eastern edge of the hurricane. Much of the sand had been washed into the St George Sound and had to be dredged out. She was pleased to see that the Gulf side dunes were working their way back into the pretty dunes.

I took lots of pictures of waves - using my continuous shooting ability with the camera - catching a cycle of waves. On the Sound side of the Island are lots of pine trees and large dunes and that is where we found the campground. Looks like a fairly nice place and is pretty full. When I checked Reserve America yesterday for availability, there was very little available for several days at a time. I was
hoping to be able to spend a couple of nights there before leaving this area. I did see more opportunities over at St Joseph Peninsula SP and may consider that.

I thoroughly enjoyed our trip out there and it was refreshing and invigorating. I’ll probably take another couple of days here and there, before leaving, and just go out and walk the beach and lose track of time. That will be good exercise for the gluteus maximus and other attached ligaments around the tailbone.

From there, we went to see dwarf cypress trees. These trees are documented to be over 150 years old but only reach a mature height of around 15 feet. They are also referred to as “miniature” or “hat-rack” cypress. This particular stand of trees is found at Tate’s Hell Swamp, which is part of Tate’s Hell State
Forest
, which covers over 200,000 acres in Franklin County and southern part of
Liberty County. A boardwalk has been built so one can walk out into the swamp to see the dwarf trees as well as see the hydrology restoration program that is taking place.

Coming back home, we stopped and had “lupper” (lunch/supper) at a local place. I ordered a cheeseburger and the waitress asked me “If I wanted to go all the way” on the burger (everything). Took me a moment. Geri ordered blackened shrimp and she let me try just one. It was sooooo good and spicy but even that one piece caused me to have a minor reaction. Oh, but it was sooooo good! Though my reaction wasn’t bad she saw how fast it works. We came home and I put my head down to sleep, which is a common side effect of my reactions. I slept for 3 hours.

Not really hungry, so will have a bowl of cereal for a night snack. The wind is still blowing and there is a 90% chance of severe thunderstorms tonight and 70% thunderstorms are likely tomorrow for the area. I see there are tornado warnings out for areas of Alabama and Georgia. I hope and pray those folks make it through the night okay - a nighttime tornado is scary.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Back Tracking, Day 2

Heavens to Betsy, I slept until 9 a.m. today - course I went to bed two - three hours later than usual, when I travel. I stayed up until 10 p.m.!

Back to getting caught up. My route for the day took me from Arkansas City to Ponca City OK on US 77; then east to Pawhuska on US 60; south for a short stink on OK 99; then SE on OK 11 thru Barnsdall to Skiatook and over to US 75. I headed south on US 75 through Tulsa and got on the Indian Nation Turnpike at Henryetta to Hugo, then across the state line to a Corps of Engineer Park at Pat Mayse Lake - just about 15 miles north of Paris, TX.

Okay, it wasn’t that easy a drive. It was a long drive and thankfully the roads in Oklahoma were great and smooth most of the way. The Turnpike was great and cost only $6 for the 3 axles for the whole way. I had realized at some, point after I got over the shock of crashing hard, that I need to put cold packs on the tailbone from time to time to get the swelling down. Since I don’t have any freezer space in my trailer refrig, I got a bag of ice and kept it in the ice chest on the back seat of the truck. Once I used the bag before I got to Arkansas City and used it once before going to bed, threw the bag back into the ice chest and went to bed.

The next morning I went to get the bag to do my sitting thing and no matter how much I pounded on that bag of ice it wouldn’t break up very much. Picture me trying to break this bag of ice up with a hammer and holding my back side with the other hand. Wasn’t a pretty picture. In fact, just using the bag of ice was comical, now that I look back. That bag of ice hurt when I sat on it! So I got another bag. I went through almost 2 bags of ice going across Oklahoma; and, sitting on a bag of ice probably created a bunch of questions in peoples minds. I tried to shield myself from inquiring eyes as much as I could as I would plunk the bag of ice down on the floor of the trailer at the doorway and then sit on it for what ever length of time I could stand. It was just too hard to climb up at this point and just easier to sit down on the floor at the door. Getting up into the truck was even painful.

I stopped at the rest area on the north end of the Turnpike and again at the south end to “ice sit”. I did in between too and just kept praying someone or a HP wouldn’t stop because I was stopping on the side of the road that was clearly labeled every mile as for “emergency only”. It was an emergency!

I wasn’t making very good time and knew that Sunday was going to be a long day driving. I had planned on getting into Baton Rouge between 4 and 5 p.m. on Sunday. So most of the time I was in a mini-hurry. I made it as far as the campground at Pat Mayse Lake Saturday night. I really wasn’t being very observant, but as I learned from living in Oklahoma there are beautiful hardwood trees on the eastern side of the state and quite colorful in the fall. And, here at Sanders Lake there were many hardwood trees too. The campground was nice though probably not one I would stay at “in season” as the spaces are close together.

I paid my $6.50 for full hookups and proceeded to settle in as much as possible. On one of my trips outside (there were getting to be too many at this point), a gentleman came over and told me he use to be a Casita owner. He is from Dallas and he and his wife and 2 or 3 big dogs decided that the Casita was too small and he bought a fairly new Airstream to accommodate all 4 or 5 of them. But, HE missed his little Casita.

While it was still light out I did a slow walk around the trailer and was aghast at all the rust spots that had showed up on the frame after the first day’s travel thru all the salt/brine that was on the roadways in Kansas. My heart just sunk. And, the trailer and truck were filthy, just awful. I hooked up the hose the best I could and squirted all over the trailer as much as my little behind would let me - the underside was reaaaaaaallllllly rough. Guess I have a rust removal project to do sometime. No, not attempting it now.

Geri and I are taking our cameras tomorrow (Sunday) and going somewhere to shoot pictures. We both decided the dishes can wait. Good night.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Back to Current, for now. . . .

I haven’t done too much the last couple of days - Wed I emptied my holding tanks and that was enough for the day. Ye ole sit down is still determining how much I do in a day. When I start to get that tingly feeling in the “sit-down”, it’s time to take it easy (keep those thoughts clean now).

I walked around downtown Apalach a little bit in the afternoon. I spent time looking in windows mostly (not much for buying things anymore at this time in my life, but it’s fun to look) and then had a late lunch at a Mexican place. Since I have seafood allergies, I have to be much more careful here where I eat as I don’t know for sure if the same or different utensils, grills, etc. are used to cook all the seafood and non-seafood. Even if I am told different utensils are used, I play it safe and fix my own meals. Apalach is full of antique stores of all kinds, some are specific and some are eclectic - those are the fun ones. There is one that is “funky junk”. Considering all the recent hurricane destruction I have been through, it amazes me there are so many “old” buildings from the 1800’s still around. Must be the luck of the Apalachians!

Thursday morning I got the laundry done, then headed over to St George Island and drove from the west end to the east end. I didn’t tour the State Park - that’s another day. If, and that’s a really, really big IF, I had the money to live along the coast there has got to be trees in my line of sight, then the ocean or bay! Give me something to look at beside a boring ocean! Oh, probably there are pretty sunrises and sunsets from time to time, and a few big waves coming your way during storms, but white beaches that stretch for miles, a huge pond out there and lots of other houses like yours on stilts. And, the prices - there are soooooo many properties for sale - you can tell the difference between the “rentals” and for sale signs. You’d better have good knees too to get up into your house, lots of stairs!

Today, Friday, I drove over to St Joseph. That area has an interesting history in the making of Florida as does Apalach. Apparently, there has been strong rivalry between the two towns for many eons. I started at the Constitution Convention State Museum in St Joseph, where St Joseph was selected over Tallahassee (then territorial capital) as the site of the state’s Constitution Convention. A couple of historical sites are Here and Here .

I then went over to St Joseph Peninsula State Park. This was my “beach day”. I drove through the two campgrounds and definitely liked the one with the pine trees - big surprise huh? I did see two Casitas there. Didn’t catch where one was from but the other was from Wisconsin. I did sit and watch some pelicans for awhile. Interesting bird. I did walk along the white sandy beach too. Waded in the Gulf waters, picked up sea shells, watched the birds (sandpipers and gulls) doing nothing. Was relaxing. You can’t climb the sand dunes as they are “under construction” (in other words being preserved). On the bay side, there are fresh and saltwater marshes. The ocean water wasn’t really as cold as I thought it would be.




Had a nice scenic drive home, sat with a glass of wine and watched the sun set from my trailer, fixed supper and now working on today’s report. I still have some back tracking to do and that’s my project for this weekend; plus, get my pictures caught up.

PS. There's the pelicans and the birds doing nothing. Plenty of seashells and lots of white sand and NOTICE: no people!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Back Tracking . . . . .

Well, where do I start? Let’s get the “unfortunates” out of the way and move onto the positive aspects of this trip. Unfortunately, I left my laptop's power cord at Jeri’s in Baton Rouge; and was unfortunate in finding one that would work until the original arrived here in Eastpoint, FL

Unfortunately, I delayed the start of my trip 2 days due to a nasty blizzard headed right for the area of Kansas I would be spending my first night - in the southeastern part of the State or even in northeastern Oklahoma. The night before leaving, I unfortunately left my brand new cell phone in the pocket of a pair of pants I was washing. It went thru the washes, spins and one rinse before I remembered. My daughter found a suggestion on the Internet to put the phone in some rice to soak up the moisture. In 30 hours, I had a working phone, albeit the home page screen blinks at me and the battery doesn’t hold up as long - but it works just fine.

Just 60 or so miles from home, a brown long-neck bottle comes flying at me from a passing truck (personally owned), right towards the passenger side windshield. Oh no. Fortunately, the windshield wiper arm deflected the bottle off of the windshield. Unfortunately, the arm was bent and the blade came loose. But fortunately, I carry an extra armature and blade.

I am a nervous ninny when I start out on a trip, stopping every few hours, or on particularly rough roads, to check to make sure everything is secure - especially my new microwave which is just a tad smaller than the previous one and didn’t fit as snug. I had stopped for lunch in McPhereson, wanted to check the inside and so upon entering the trailer (the 16 ft does not have a pullout step and --unfortunately for me, I didn’t put the step stool down) I lost my balance, slipped or something and backwards out the door I went landing on the coccyx (tailbone to most of us) first and hard on the concrete parking lot. Then the back, the shoulders and the head. Fortunately (ah here is another one), my head landed on a small snowdrift and cushioned the blow. Wished it had done that down at the other end of the spine and for my ego!

The headwind from the south was awful and combined with the snow slush on the road, I was not getting very good mileage. Fortunately, it was a south wind and not a cold wind from the north. The weight on the trailer and in the bed of the pickup was the same as the previous trips (in fact a tad bit less), but I guesstimated it was the new tires which are heavier than the original tires, but same size. I like the new ones much better as they are quieter. I didn’t know that my wiper blades made a slight clicking sound when they are on! And, I am very glad I had them put on for traction on the wet and slushy pavement.

The first night at Arkansas City, I did very little to set up - hooked up the electricity so I could have HEAT and use my new electric blanket! That little bit was pretty much an effort as it was. A older couple on their way home to Canada, pulled up next to me; and later in the evening there was a knock on the door. It was the Mister with a big bowl, of what his wife called Soup for the Soul and it was to help me feel better (apparently the campground owner told them of my plight). Believe me it was delicious - a real smooth and creamy potato soup, with white Northern Beans, pieces of bacon and onion and peas. Ohhhhhh, that was so nice of them and wassssss so gooooooood. Well,that’s my first night.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I Made it, I made it!

Hi family and friends. I am in Eastpoint Florida! Sorry I haven't posted any of my adventures to fill you in; but, it will be coming. Circumstances have kept me from doing too much each day and I will explain that in another posting. Not posting too much for right now as, you see, I left my power cord for this laptop at Jeri's in Baton Rouge and she is going to overnight it to me on Monday. But, am doing good.

Apalachicola FL is a cute and quaint little town that is going to be fun exploring, as well as St George Island. Here is the latest distinction for Apalachicola: it has been selected by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to be one of America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2008. Here is the Chamber's website for more info and exploring.

Until after I get my power cord and with pictures too.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Spring is Just Around the Corner, for Those of You in the Snow










Enjoy these pictures of SPRING!

Just enjoy the plant, animal life and an old plantation (recognize this plantation?)I'll fill you in later.

I leave Thursday for Florida. I want to thank Jeri (bottom right) for her hospitality and a really wonderful time here in Southern Louisiana. Thanks to her, I have a deeper appreciation and understanding of Louisiana - it's people, cultures, heritages, customs and a desire to come back and explore more (but not in the summer!). Thank you Jeri.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Oh my, Mardi Gras is really something






Jeri and I spent the day in New Orleans. She drove me around to different areas of the City and we saw the re-construction that has taken place since Katrina and we saw what is in process and what hasn't been done. We saw more that has been completed. She took me down part of the French Quarter, drove past other areas and then went to her daughter's house near St Charles St, where one of the 2 parades for Mardi Gras Eve would go by. It is really something and is a show watching the spectators set up. Am including some pictures of what we saw here.

The first picture shows the "parade ladders" with decorated seats on top; 2nd is one of the trees that "grow beads" this time of year; 3rd is a float on a wagon (only allowed) and is from the second oldest parade (since 1882)-the Krewe of Proteus; 4th is a float from the Krewe of Orpheus started in 1994 by Harry Connick, Jr.; and 5th - it is tiring wearing all these beads! Hey, Sherri and Sarah, I have a few beads for you!

For more informations about the history of New Orleans Mardi Gras. Here are some FAQ about Mardi Gras that I didn't know.

I'll have more later. Jeri and I are getting ready to head to southwestern Louisiana and take The Creole Scenic Byway tour - one of the oldest National Scenic Byways.

Monday, February 4, 2008

I Haven't Forgotten You Family, Friends and Readers

I am here in Baton Rouge, LA at Jeri's. I had a number of "unfortunates" to get here; but I also had some "fortunates" that went along with the "uns".

Am working on some notes and will get them posted asap. Tonight it's to New Orleans, tomorrow we go to SW Louisiana to take the Creole Nature Trail (http://www.creolenaturetrail.org/), one of the first National Scenic Byways. Thursday morning I'll leave for Florida and get into Eastpoint sometime Saturday afternoon.