Sunday, April 25, 2004


Our Bus Behind Tracy and Clarice's Collection

Clarice, Tracy and Rocky at the Backyard Fire Pit


Clarice, Tracy and Johny B

The Buses All Together


Johnny B Through The Looking Glass

23 April to 25 April, 2004. This place has electricity, water, good showers and a lot of counter space around the sinks. We got an decent signal there. There are alligators there too. It rained several inches on Monday- some surrounding areas got as much as 10 inches of rain on Sunday alone! A nearby dam even broke.

We met Kathy who was a little down on her luck but was working and living at the campground. She brought over some crab from a nearby crawfish / crab boil and Rocky estimates that he ate $50 worth of crab (at restaurant prices). We also had an old friend stop by and had a great time. Early one evening, I walked less than a mile down the road to meet Kathy at a local bar but just as I got there, she was leaving for another job she got on the spot. It was nice to see her with renewed energy and income. I stayed at the bar (The Harbor?) anyway and had a great time.

26 April, 2004. We also met Tracy who was working in the entrance station. She collects VW buses with her roommate, Clarice. We totally hit it off with them. We went to their house on Monday afternoon, had some drinks and spent the night parked in their driveway. We ordered pizza and built a fire in their fire pit out back. We discovered that Clarice and Rocky have nearly the exact same idea- to open a VW bus oriented campground on the Mississippi River. We think they would be the perfect business partners. Tracy has administrative experience with the State Park system and both of them have construction, painting, and VW experience. Rocky and I are very excited about the new potential.

Thursday, April 22, 2004


Can You Believe We Found A Balcony To Hang On! JB and Homer

Rocky and Johnny B, Bourbon Street

Johnny B Near Bourbon Street Enjoying The Music

Homer and Lydia, Bourbon Street



Fontainebleau Beach

Johnny B at Cafe Du Monde

Lydia and Homer Enjoying Beignets at Cafe Du Monde

16 April to 22 April, 2004. This place is on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain. Lake Pontchartrain Bridge is the longest bridge in the world (from what we've learned). This park has electric sites, showers, a pool that opens after Labor Day, a beach, and tall tall trees. It's a very nice place to camp. $12 with power and $10 without. We saw deer, mink, armadillos and lots of tree frogs. Homer (Ian) and Lydia showed up and we've been camping with them ever since. Racoons are everywhere and they really started freaking me out when they kept sneaking up to the campsite and surrounding us. When I think of racoons, I think of rabies. Lydia finally got her wish and sprayed one of them with the hose. The weather has been awesome here.

17 April, 2004
We went into New Orleans today with Homer and Lydia. Our first mission was to go find the "Bake Back The White House" Bake Sale. We searched most of the Park area near Lake Pontchartrain, almost giving up a couple of times, but somehow we got Lydia on a mission! After having Ian check Yahoo Maps, we were able to make it. The sale consisted of a few people with their baked goods and great attitudes! And a great cause!

From the bake sale, we went to the French Quarter. We didn't know The French Quarter Fest was going on, but we went and there it was. We started at the Cafe Du Monde and had Coffee with Chicory and Beignets, Then shopping for those little Voodoo items you always somhow need, but can never find anywhere else. Then off we strolled to Bourbon St. to drink Hurricane after Hurricane....... We took lots of pics with our new $20 pen-sized digital camera!

Needless to say, the Fest was a blast!

We are still on the lookout for a houseboat and really liking Louisiana.

Thursday, April 15, 2004


Lydia and Homer


6 April to 15 April, 2004. It was nice to finally get across Texas into Louisiana. Every site here has electricity and clean water. There are also very hot showers here. Louisiana State Parks accept the National Parks Golden Access Pass so we're paying half price, $6 / night. You can collect dead and fallen wood here for bonfires. It was cold and rainy for the first week but the storms have passed and it's getting warmer. There are flocks of geese here that never shut up and will chase you and nip at you if you get too close. The geese even got one little boy on his...(well, you get the idea). There are also very bold squirrels here that have actually jumped in our van while we were in it. They, and the geese, are used to getting handouts here. The campground is surrounded by a pond / swamp and apparently, there are quite a few alligators lurking beneath it. We haven't seen any but other campers had. We keep expecting to hear a goose get pulled underwater by a hungry gator but from what we've learned, the gators are well fed on fish and don't bother with the very fat, very well fed geese or humans here. Most of the campers we've met here want to hunt and eat the squirrels (even more than eating the geese). There were many large crawfish boils going on during Easter weekend and everyone got their turn bringing us samples of their generations-old recipes. There are some true down home good old southern boys here.

We've met many cool people here, including Davie and Sandra who are in their 50's and members of a BDSM Club. They're actually some of the most normal people you'll ever meet. Davie's a wine drinker and Sandra doesn't drink alcohol at all. We hung out with them for the first few days and then moved to a tent site because all the developed sites were reserved for the Easter weekend. We were still camped near their RV and spent some more time with them. They just pulled out today but we may meet back up with them at Niblett's State Park a few miles west of here.

We also met James (Ol' Gator) and his girlfriend, Marie. They've got a rebel flag flying above their tiny tent but for them, it is merely a symbol of freedom and family history, nothing more. One of the geese got a good nip at James' four month old puppy. James was involved with Special Ops in the Army and did many undercover missions in Laos and Cambodia. He also did 7 years in prison for assaulting a Peace Officer but we won't go into that. We've spent several days with them and we're getting together for tacos and hamburgers later this afternoon. James is one of the most politically informed people I've met in the past year. He has many theories about the current state of our country, some of which we agree with. We also met Ian (Homer) and Lydia from Canada.

They've been on the road since August, 2001 in their Dodge Ram that they totally customized. We're going to meet them at Fountainebleau State Park on the other side of Louisiana and share a site with them. They're low on cash and we like to help whenever we can. We also had an old friend visit our site one evening and had a great time. We're having a lot of fun here.

Sunday, April 04, 2004


4 April, 2004 (04/04/04). This place is a dump. $35 per night after taxes. There are other motels in town that look even worse. There are also more expensive motel chains in town that are probably a lot nicer but we're watching our money pretty closely. Rocky is fixing the shower with a pair of plyers like he does at practically every motel we stay at. They should pay us when we stay at these crappy motels. The cable has about 80 channels but the beds are hard and we had to get the owner to turn the heat back on. These motels never have remote controls for the TV- it makes clicking your way up to channel 60 or 70 a real hassle. I'm seeing weather reports of tornadoes in San Antonio so we definitely made the right decision to stay here tonight instead of heading into the San Antonio area. And we're getting orders processed here even though we don't have wireless internet service.

5 April, 2004. We slept at a rest stop... We are now just trying to cross Texas. Our attempts to find a campground here have been fruitless. They either don't have the envelopes to pay, or flooded so bad that they have no electric or water!

It's raining

Today, our goal is to make it across the Galveston Island Ferry! In the rain and high winds. The Bus catches a lot of wind under the luggage rack, the seal is missing. More rain. So we made it to the first island just west of Galveston, the van is all over the road. We stopped several times before to avoid the winds. Made it to the gulf and finally got to watch the waves again! Its been a long time in the desert.

The Galveston Island ferry was cool. There were rough seas, but we made it. We stayed at a Picnic Area just east of Galveston. Woke up and made our exit from Texas.

Saturday, April 03, 2004


3 April, 2004. We never even found out if there were electrical sites at the Amistad National Recreation Area but we don't think so. Definitely no showers. Camping was $2 per night with our National Parks Pass (half price). We saw deer and jackelopes. No rattlesnakes, mountain lions or bears here. They had well constructed "developed" sites (cement picnic tables with an awning). We were cold all day driving to Amistad but it was warm when we got there just before sunset. This place is pretty far south, still near the Mexico border. We threw away lots of stuff and got more organized. It stormed pretty hard during the night and by 8 am, we were in a huge thunderstorm that blanketed nearly all of West Texas. The winds were gusting at 55 mph so we just got a hotel in Del Rio, 8 miles up highway 90, instead of battling the dangerous driving conditions.

Friday, April 02, 2004


2 April, 2004. If you ever find yourself in the middle of nowhere Texas, go see the Marfa Lights. They're focused, star-like lights that brighten and dim and sometimes even move past each other. Some of them are always in the same place. Apparently, researchers have gone to great lengths to associate the lights with traffic from highway 67 or the mica in the rocks but it just doesn't add up. Besides, the lights were first seen in rthe 1880's so traffic can be ruled out. We camped out at the Marfa Mystery Lights Viewing Area 9 miles east of town for free. One of the plaques informed us that it was local high school students who made the Viewing Area possible. it was well constructed with large bathrooms (no running water). The toilets were "recycling toilets" that composted the waste in the machinery below the building. There are also 3 mounted viewing binoculars set up for free. We're going to email someone there and recommend that they install a donation box. We would have donated a few bucks and I'm sure lots of other people would too.

Two beat-up buses packed with Mexican High School Students arrived. One bus was all boys and the other was all girls. We exchanged several "Buenos Noches" with some of the adult chaperones. I don't think any of them spoke any English. The kids were hootin' and hollerin' up a storm. It eventually drove all the other visitors away. They were having a riot, chanting what sounded like "Meeko, Meeko, Meeko" and then erupting into cheer. Flash cameras were going off like crazy whenever one of the lights would appear or brighten. They didn't stay very long. We saw lots of bikers (motorcyclists) pass through. It was very windy and cold. This is also where the movie "Giant" (starring James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson) was filmed. I think james Dean's fatal car accident happened here on highway 90 during the shooting of Giant. We also saw some Antelope. The area is surrounded by Antelope Valley. We had a blast there.

Thursday, April 01, 2004


1 April, 2004. We got a very nice room on the 7th floor for $45.99 (around $54 after an ouitrageous amount of taxes). There was coffee in the room, an ironing board, a hair dryer, a safe and very comfortable beds Oddly enough, the water in the our room (# 712) was too hot. It took several minutes, on full cold, for the showere to be bearable. Even the toilet water was uncomfortably hot. The room included a free 30-minute long distance phone call which I used to call my mom. It turns out that my brother went to Las Vegas, NV to get married less than a month after I left. Overall, we were pretty happy there. We also got a free shuttle to the walking bridge that leads in to Juarez, Mexico. 35 cents to cross the bridge. And the hotel will pick you up until Midnight. We took advantage of that too.


1 April, 2004. We walked and walked and walked through Juarez. The Juarez Market was closed so we found a few bars and had a few beers. The 40 ouncers were $3, the 12 ouncers were $1.20 to $1.40 USD each. The traffic lights may as well not even exist there- no-one obeys them. People constantly run in front of cars and buses and the cars and buses are halfway into the intersection before the light changes. Lots of poeple missing limbs there. We got $16 dollar cartons of Marlboros (one per person with a $4.20 tax on each carton). Still a great deal (realtive to today's outrageous prices). After crossing back over the border, we went to a bar just a few blocks from our hotel. We had another old friend visit us at the hotel too and lots of fun again. We have plenty to smoke for the next week or two.