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.
Sunday, April 25, 2004
Thursday, April 22, 2004
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 MoveOn.org "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
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
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!
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
Friday, April 02, 2004
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