Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon Mostly Sunny and 77 degrees F

blooming in September 2014 (8 of 21) I have procrastinated writing a blog all day.  The month has been full, with both difficult and delightful moments.  I want to talk about the fun, but I do need to get the hard stuff out of the way. Often I think that people who share their feelings about life and the good and the bad things that go on are the best bloggers, the ones I like to read the most.  But it can be a fine line.  I read Mark’s moody musings with recognition, with “aha’ moments, and Al’s sometimes down days along with the good ones are part of what makes his blog good to read, real. I so appreciate the ups and downs of Sherry and David’s journey, and her willingness to share with us.

blooming in September 2014 (5 of 21) There are others who are more reticent, but magnificent photography and wonderful words describing exotic travels are a delight.  Now and then my favorite blogger and friend will let some musings slip into her detailed travelogues, and I always enjoy those moments.  As I said, a fine line.  I have stumbled onto blogs that are terribly tiresome, not because the blogger talked about how they felt about something, but maybe because they went on and on in a way that was …well…whiny and boring.  Needless to say, I don’t read those blogs any more.

blooming in September 2014 (15 of 21) I do talk about feelings in my blog, maybe more than some, not as much as others.  The surprise for me was my need to shut up and shut down when I had to deal with letting my cat Jeremy go.  It was and is hard to talk about it somehow.  Every animal owner knows the feeling of saying goodbye.  It happens to all of us eventually.  Even though I found I didn’t want to talk about it, I did discover that I needed to say it had happened, and the flood of condolences and support that came in was a good thing for me.  Thank you to everyone who made comments, and especially to MZB, a fellow blogger/friend who recently lost a loved pet as well, and sent long letters to assist me through the process.

Brookings_004 I miss Jeremy, of course.  Somehow I miss him even more in the MoHo.  He loved to travel because he knew we were all right there close together, he didn’t have to go crying around the house trying to find us.  In his old age, he hated being alone. He was either on my lap, on Mo’s shoulder, or riding shotgun on the dash whenever we were on a trip.  Still, nearly two decades with a cat is a blessing, especially a cat like Jeremy, so I won’t complain any more. 

Brookings_033 In case you are wondering, Abby is OK.  Not exactly fine, but OK.  She is still happy and eating and drinking and sticking to Mo like glue as usual.  We still have some time with her it seems.

Just a day after Jeremy went to cat heaven, my grandson Xavier was in another play, “The Skin of our Teeth”, at the Linkville Playhouse in Klamath Falls.  Daughter Deborah came over from Grants Pass to spend the weekend and go to the play with us.  It was a fine evening, and nearly 11pm when I pulled into the driveway back home.  I saw some movement on our porch, with dark hulking figures by the door, and started to panic, when a closer look suddenly revealed that the big hulking man on the porch was my grandson Steven!

Mt Scott family hike (3 of 91)-SMILE (1)From left: Deborah, Sue, Deanna, Mo, Steven, Jeremy, Axel, Melody

Daughter Deanna had picked him up in Moses Lake where he now lives and brought him to Rocky Point as a birthday surprise for me.  It was a great surprise, in addition to having Deanna here for a few days, I finally got to spend some time with Steven.  We have great shared memories of the years when I took him on work camping trips into the wilderness of Idaho when he was a teenager. This was the first time I have seen him since 2007 and since he returned from his second tour in Iraq. Even nicer, Steven was born on my birthday, so it was his birthday too!

Mt Scott family hike (18 of 91) What a great weekend we had!  I had previously requested a family hike for Sunday the 14th, choosing the Mt Scott trail in Crater Lake as a good place for a family trek.  I knew that Melody and my grandkids Xavier and Axel would be there, along with daughter Deb, but had no clue that our little family hike would include Deanna and Steven. Deanna’s husband Keith remained home to do some home time chores in Richland as they are waiting for delivery of a new semi to replace the one they currently own.  Deanna has some fairly horrendous stories about California emission laws for truckers, but I won’t go into that right now except to say that it has cost my trucker kids more than 100K in after market fixes and down time.

Mt Scott family hike (33 of 91) The fires in the west this year have been terrible, and the skies have been smoky for several weeks now.  On the morning of our hike, we still were under smoke from the 790 fire just 9 miles northwest of Rocky Point, and much more smoke from the huge Happy Camp fire just across the border in California.  I had so hoped for clear skies for our hike, but decided that we wouldn’t let the smoke get in the way of our family celebration.

Mt Scott family hike (41 of 91)If you look closely, you can see the trailhead parking area below

The weather was actually perfect, with cool morning air warmed up by the midday sunshine, not a cloud in the sky, and even with the smoky skies in the distance, once we were above 7,000 feet or so at Crater Lake, the air was clear.  Our hike wasn’t so much about the fabulous views of Crater Lake as much as a place to be together as a family and enjoy the outdoors doing something a little bit different.

Mt Scott family hike (52 of 91)

Mt Scott is the highest point in Crater Lake National Park, and the trail to the lookout at the peak is 2.5 miles each way, with a 1,200 foot elevation rise to the summit at 8900 feet.  Unlike some peak trails, however, this one is well graded without a lot of boulder hopping steps.  Perfect for all levels of hiking skill.  I loved it.  Just enough to get a good workout, but not enough to burn anyone out.

Mt Scott family hike (63 of 91)-SMILE (1)

Steven put photoshop on my computer so I could get everyone into one frame, but I haven’t tried it yet!Mt Scott family hike (67 of 91)After our hike, we continued around the Rim Road that encircles Crater Lake, stopping a few times to enjoy the views.  Probably due to the smoke, the park wasn’t especially crowded, but the lake blues were a bit subdued.  Even so, as I looked at the lake, I wondered out loud to Mo, “We live here, why don’t we visit this park more often!?”  I promised myself more Crater Lake hikes in the future.

Mt Scott family hike (85 of 91) With a two hour trip home after the hike, we were all starving, and I was happy that I had slow cooked the ribs all night in the oven.  All they needed was a quick glaze on the BBQ.  They turned out to be the best ribs I ever cooked.  That little trick in George’s recipe for the WeberQ, using sauerkraut between the ribs, makes for fall off the bone tender tasty meat.

Deb and Melody had to go home and back to work, but Deanna and Steven stayed for another two nights, spending a great day talking and sharing stories.  Steven was a computer security hacker for the Army, and had some great tricks and ideas for our computers that were really helpful.  He also had some rather interesting stories.  Whew!  The world can be a scary place. Mt Scott family hike (89 of 91)

Deanna took Mo and me (I sounds better, but nope…Deanna took me is the rule, right Sherry?) and Steven to a great birthday dinner at Lake of the Woods Resort, just 15 minutes up the highway, with a beautiful view of the lake from our table. Speaking of the highway, we at last have a name for our pass.  I often talk about going over “the unnamed pass” on Highway 140 to Medford.  I now have a name.  The highway department dubbed our pass “High Lakes Pass” and we now even have a sign at the summit!  Good name.  The Sky Lakes Wilderness is on the west and the Mountain Lakes Wilderness is on the east side of the road so High Lakes is a great name.

Birthday dinner (15 of 15)Birthday dinner (4 of 15)The final celebration for the week culminated in a trip over the mountain to enjoy a play at the Shakespearean Festival in Ashland.  What a treat it was to sit in the gorgeous Allen Elizabethan Theater for a magnificent production of “Into the Woods”.  The Festival is world class, and people come from all over the world to see the plays.  Mo and I have been to a couple of the plays in two of the other theaters in the past, but seeing a play on this famous stage was first for both of us.

osfNo photography allowed inside the theater, so I took this from the web

Best part of the story, however, was the seat choice.  The theater is an open air venue, with rain a rarity in Ashland this time of year.  I ordered tickets months ago, and even then the “best” (more expensive) seats were sold out, so we had to settle for row M, toward the back.  Lo and behold, it rained!  And those “best” ticket holders got all wet while we were completely protected by the balcony above us!  Amazing!  Even more amazing was the professional way that the cast continued the dancing and singing in those fabulous costumes with barely any acknowledgement that they were getting soaked as well.  Pretty incredible!

It would have been a great way to end the month, but instead we are going to end it with an even better plan.  We are off to Seattle and the San Juan Islands.  Just a short jaunt, because we know that the San Juan’s deserve much more time, but this will be an exploratory trip with a longer visit to come in the future. 

As much as I struggled with writing this blog, I knew I had better get it done before we get on the road and I have photos to process and stories to write about another new destination for us!  Onward.


Late Easter Family Time

Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon: Sunny and a predicted high of 74 F

Late Easter 2014_293 As beautiful as springtime is here in this part of Oregon, I still can’t bring myself to change the header photo to this blog.  I love seeing that image of Antelope Canyon.  There were many high points on our travels this past winter, but somehow the light shining into the darkness, illuminating everything with wild colors, is the memory I return to most often. 

It seems as though we experienced the essence of opposites during the trip, and the other memory that comes back repeatedly is the brilliance of every shade of green that we entered on Snake Creek in Florida.  Green water and red desert.  I can’t quite pick my favorite, and I guess I don’t have to. 

April has flown by with all the springtime chores that accompany the reawakening of the earth.  At last the tulips bloomed, the daffodils finished this month in full glory, only now beginning to falter with the warm days and still cold nights.

Late Easter 2014_335 I love Easter.  I have no clue why.  As a kid, it was the Easter Cantata at church, the new fluffy dresses, the Easter hats, and Easter dinner.  When my kids were little, I made Easter baskets for each one, going way over the top with my own creations filled with See’s Candy that I really couldn’t afford.  The actual day should be irrelevant, since we aren’t a “churchy” family.  However, this year we celebrated our family Easter a week late since part of the family couldn’t be around on the actual Easter Sunday. 

Big surprise.  It was a great family time, a lovely day, and yet, it did not feel like Easter.  I guess there really is something to the idea that people all over the world, in spite of their particular bent on religion, are celebrating Easter on that particular Sunday.  It was subtle, but we talked about it a bit.  We could feel the difference.           Check out the cat with his place setting! Mo left her chair to take the photo!

I still had all the Easter/Spring decorations up, with eggs and bunnies, and pastel colors everywhere, but we didn’t color eggs.  We didn’t have an egg hunt.  Somehow it seemed like a bit too much trouble. 

Late Easter 2014_311 Since Deborah has been living in the cottage in Grants Pass, she has enjoyed the friendship of wonderful neighbors.  Karen and Glenn have children and grandchildren of their own, but they are all a bit distant.  They have taken it on themselves to adopt my daughter, taking her to Sunday brunches, to outings at the Moose Lodge, keeping an eye out for when she gets home from work in bad weather.  Not bad neighbors to have around when you are a woman living alone as Deb is right now.

We invited them to join us for our celebration, and they decided it would be fun to drive their fifth wheel over the mountain to camp at the big house with us.  The weather and scenery between Grants Pass, just two hours away, and Rocky Point, is fairly dramatic.  They laughed and thanked us for adding a bit of snow to the spring mix for their entertainment.

Late Easter 2014_285 Mo opened up the cabin, and again a pipe was broken in spite of the heat we left on during the winter while we were away.  Mo fixed the pipes while I vacuumed out all the spiders accumulated on the ceiling and in the shower for my spider phobic daughter so she could relax and enjoy her little vacation time in the cabin.  Once the wood stove was cranked up, the cabin was warm and cozy for Melody and the kids.

Karen and Glenn had so much fun camping at our place in their older fifth wheel that they drove home and the next day bought a brand new fifth wheel!  Looking forward to seeing that one! 

It seems that the major focus of the non-Easter celebration was eating.  Deborah made a truly magnificent eggs benedict casserole, and we slathered it with at least a quart of hollandaise sauce.  Karen made another kind of tasty breakfast casserole, so we had two main dishes before the dessert course of fruit crepes, one of Melody’s great accomplishments.  She can even flip those thin crepes in the air like a pro.  Delish! 

Late Easter 2014_279 I had some Key Lime juice brought home from Key West and this was my chance to make a Key Lime cheesecake to share with family.  Yum!  We were all too full to eat much of it, so I had some to share with the Quilt group on Tuesday.  Perfect.  Now I want to make another one, cut it up into nice small servings, and freeze them.  Just for me.  It was that good, and made me smile as I remembered all the great Key Lime stuff to be found in Florida.  Still hoping to make some Key Lime hollandaise someday when I get around to it.

I have been quilting on the fabulous new Bernina in the mornings when it is too chilly to be outdoors, and then going outside for gardening time.  The greenhouse needed some spiffy work, and the soil was a bit hungry so I added some organic manure/compost to the raised beds.  Mo and I will get the roof back on today, removed over the winter to keep it from caving in due to the weight of the snow. 

Late Easter 2014_348Late Easter 2014_353Still working on the photo project, importing all my photos into Lightroom and publishing them to my SmugMug website.  I think my most favorite feature of the SmugMug site is the ability to sort and organize my photos into folders and sub folders.  Unlike Google, where there is no ability to do that, it makes it so much easier to find stuff.  With thousands of photos on Google over the last few years, I really hate having to scroll down and down to find something from long ago. 

On Smug Mug, I can go to a fold called “Holidays”, down to a folder called “Easter”, and then find each celebration listed by year. I have chosen to keep family celebrations private unless you have the link, however the photos from our trip are “public”.  SmugMug also has a feature that keeps people from grabbing my photos with a right-click.  Pretty nice.  The website was recently updated and I am still trying to learn about all the features.  It sure does make it a lot easier to share photos and to find them online.  Also, SmugMug doesn’t mess with my photos the way Google does.  (PS.  I just noticed that I have TWO logos on the lower right of these photos.  Hmm…seems as though I did it once in Picasa and then again in Lightroom.  As I said, I am still learning!)

Late Easter 2014_296 Mo ordered a VuCube portable satellite receiver almost five months ago from Camping World, and it was an excellent price.  We had hoped it would be delivered in time for our winter trip.  Nope. Mo’s willingness to wait saved her a couple of hundred dollars.  It was finally delivered a few days ago, and yesterday we managed to figure out how to hook the thing up to the TV in the cabin.  It is now working great with our extra Direct TV receiver, and the next job will be to figure out how to get it all hooked up in the MoHo.  Since the rig was built prior to 2007, our TV isn’t digital, and there is an input for cable but not for satellite.  Also, with a smaller rig like ours, we have to figure out how to add two more boxes that require a power outlet to the TV which is built in to a fairly tight space.  Stay tuned.

I did finally manage a day in the MoHo to get her all spiffy again after three months of wandering.  Deep vacuuming, polishing and carpet shampoo were part of the mix.  I found myself sitting in the lovely sunshine at the dining table, feeling as though I was right at home again.  Time to go on another trip!Late Easter 2014_345

In a few days, we will head west to the our favorite campground at Harris Beach State Park.  As much as I loved the Florida beaches, Mo found herself missing the wild rugged Oregon Coast.  We thought about traveling upcoast toward Florence to camp at Tugman State Park, but the weather may be a bit iffy, with rain and wind predicted for a few of our days, so we might just sit tight in our favorite place and enjoy the wild coastal weather without adding a bunch of extra driving to the menu.

We will be back in time for another celebration, this time a Mom’s Day brunch in Grants Pass with Deborah, and Melody and the kids coming over from Klamath Falls to celebrate with us.  More food!  Good thing I am getting outside most days to garden!


02-22-2014 to 02-26-2014 Days in Key West

Current temperature at Sigsbee NAS Campground 83F Humidity 74% Partly Cloudy

Key West_049At the moment, we are holed up in the MoHo with the generator on and the air conditioning running full blast.  Being in the dry camping area at the NAS Key West (what used to be called Sigsbee Field) the air conditioner is imperative, even with our lacy shade trees overhead.  At the moment Mo is trying to get our CO2 sensor to quit beeping.  We don’t have a special stack for the generator as suggested, however even if we did, all the other generators going at the moment in these tight quarters might set that sensor off anyway.

Key West_033Jeremy decided to add to the humid, quite warm ambience of the MoHo by adding something of his own.  Albeit in the cat box, still requiring a nice kitty bath to make it all ok again.  Very indignantly, he is trying to lick himself dry now.  Nice to be able to not worry about him catching a cold.  The last few times I have given him a bath in Mo’s collapsible bucket he seems to enjoy it, at least for the most part.  I think his favorite part is getting all swaddled up in the bath towel and cuddled until he is at least partially dry.  He doesn’t complain.

the Overseas HighwayThis is our second full day in the campground, having arrived in late afternoon on Saturday.  The campground office was closed, but after reading several accounts of the procedure, and an emergency call to John (our recent new friends at “Our Trip Around the Sun”, we had an idea where to go and how to proceed.

Within minutes of calling the phone number posted on the office door, a campground host showed up in his little cart and went over the process of signing up officially on Monday morning and led us to what was to be our site for the weekend.  We were tucked back in a circular area with several rigs around us, all running their Honda 2000i’s to ward off the heat.  I guess one of these generators will power a 30 amp rig, but it takes two to power up the big guys with 50 amps.  Only planning on dry camping for 5 nights, we were content to use the generator on board the MoHo.

Key West_065Camping here is an experience at what is most definitely an inside culture of folks who know how to do it, how it works, and those who don’t.  Lucky for us, most of the folks know how to do it, and we have communicated enough with blog friends who have camped here that we had a basic understanding of the rotation system and didn’t give our host too much trouble.  He wasn’t so lucky with some folks arriving just before we did, with a lady waving her arms and looking disgusted trying to wangle a better site on their first night here.  We did know better than that, and Walter, the host, told us that the rotation at the moment is about 4 weeks with more than 200 rigs signed up on the rotation list.

Trumbo Annex, at the Coast Guard facility down the road, is completely full with long time sites that have been filled since Christmas.  We were told there is no chance of getting into that part of the family camp.  Dry camp in this part of camp is mandatory rotation, but with only five nights here, that isn’t an issue for us.  Tired from our journey across the keys, and the traffic and surprising heat and humidity, we settled in with the air conditioner and the generator going full blast. 

Key West_058We had a bit of a hiccup with the generator, being set for high elevation, and no doubt a bit moist from all the humidity, it coughed a bit and died.  Unsure what the problem was and with darkness falling, Mo decided to wait until morning to check the oil and the altitude adjustment.  All was fine after that, but our first night here was a bit of an adjustment for us as well.  With normally balmy temperatures in Key West, we weren’t expecting mid 80’s and little breeze.  From what I have learned, it happens sometimes, but not usually this time of year. 

During our evening walk around the campground, we ran into the camp host and asked what exactly you had to do to draw one of those primo waterfront sites.  He said, “Well, I have one coming in tomorrow that is too big for the site, so you could move in there after ten AM”.  OK then!

Key West_055We went to sleep pretty tickled, got up early to go explore town and get our bearings in the car before our scheduled move.  Back at ten sharp, we checked the site as instructed, and with it empty, we made our move.  No sooner had we dropped the jacks and opened the slide that another camp host arrived to tell us, “Sorry to tell you this, but you have to move.  This site has come up in rotation and you can’t be here.”

Key West_064Instead of staying in our very hot, very fume filled site however, Buzz led me to a shady site that was a bit smaller and was right by the garbage cans.  Oh thank you for a small rig.  Garbage cans or not, this site is shaded with two lovely, lacy trees that are actually nasty invasive species that are overtaking the Keys.  At the moment, with the shade from those trees, we can sit outside in our site and enjoy the cooling breezes, and the MoHo doesn’t get all that hot during the day with just the Fantastic Fan running and the windows open. 

sigsbee 002There are several hundred RVs on site at this moment, and as I said 200 or so are waiting to rotate into a full hookup site.  Generators are allowed to run between 7am and 11pm, and there is a dump and water station.  We learned that if you try to dump during the dark there is a $15,000. fine.  Yup, you read that right.

With all the complexity, it might seem easier to just go to a regular RV park, but at the current rate of $147 per night at the local KOA, and no other parks around, we decided that paying $13.00 per night to camp here was worth it.  Thus far, after about half our five day stay, we have used about 1/4 tank of gasoline to run the generator.  Pretty inexpensive digs to stay in Key West.sigsbee 004

Next post:  Some of the more delightful aspects of staying and visiting in Key West and why we decided it was worth it.

1-22-2014 Sam Houston Jones State Park, LA taking a slow day

Current Location: Belle Chasse NAS LA  Current Temperature: 32 and “ice pellets”

Sam Houston SP_035After our busy short week at the NAS near Corpus Christi, wonderful visits with friends, and trying to see as much as possible, Mo and I both were ready for a bit of down time. When planning this trip, I had the sense that might be the case and I wanted a park that could be a resting place about half way between Corpus Christi and New Orleans that wasn’t far off our route.

Sight unseen, and with no friends leaving campground reviews, Sam Houston Jones State Park turned out to be a perfect choice. The distance from Anahuac NWR wasn’t long, just a short leg on our journey east toward New Orleans.  We are getting close to the day when we will board a cruise ship heading for the Caribbean….hopefully the current cold snap won’t extend all the way south to Belize and Honduras!

Sam Houston SP_008We arrived early afternoon and with reservations arranged for a site with electric and water there was no concern about space.  Once there, however, we decided that the space on the end row, number 33 was much more to our liking than site 27 I had chosen online right in the middle.  There are sites big enough for large rigs in the central area of camping loop B that have full hookups with sewer, but we didn’t need sewer for just two nights.  There is also a dump station nearby.  There are two very large, “premium” sites that have long, level concrete pads close the the rest room building. 

Sam Houston SP_007Seems as though there is some kind of dutch oven cook-off coming up, but we didn’t know that, and the minute we arrived a very loud, very verbal, very intrusive gentleman in an electric scooter came over to tell us how to hook up, where to put the motorhome, how to put down the jacks and how to hook up the water.  He just kept talking.  Mo said to me, “I do NOT want to stay here”, so I went back to the office and arranged a move.

Within minutes, we again had our privacy and silence.  Whew!  The site was perfect for us, even though the water faucet sprayed all over the place.  Mo simply put a rag over it to contain the spray, and we unhooked it at night.  Needed to do that anyway since temperatures were dropping below freezing due to the Arctic Polar Chill Thingy coming south to Louisiana. 

Sam Houston SP_016I reserved two nights so that we could have a nice afternoon and then one entire full day doing absolutely nothing.  What a perfect place to do that.  The daytime temperatures weren’t too bad even with the cold nights.  I spent most of our day off writing and processing photos while Mo sat outside in the sunshine enjoying her book. 

Sam Houston SP_029In spite of our commitment to do nothing, we couldn’t resist going for a walk around the expansive park.  Although the sounds of Moss Bluff, the small town nearby, are evident, the park itself is beautifully quiet.  There is something quite haunting about Louisiana bayou country.  The water is everywhere, the cypress, even without their leaves, are fascinating with their little knees all around.  The thought that there are poisonous snakes in the underbrush and alligators hiding on the muddy banks of the waterways makes it a tiny bit threatening, but not too much.

The park is encircled by the meandering Calcasieu River. There is a boat launch to the river, and nearby there was a large swamp/pond that was completely dry, and with all the wetness in other parts of the park, we never quite figured that out.  No alligators here, that is for sure! Sam Houston SP_023

On our way back to our campsite, we took the leaf covered Orange Trail around the perimeter of the park for an easy  1.6 mile walk.  The trail winds through the forest  and emerges  at times for views of the huge Louisiana homes that line the banks of the river across from the park.  Late afternoon sunlight filtering through the dripping Spanish moss on the barren cypress trees was reflected in the water of the swamps.

Sam Houston SP_037One of the greatest things about the park, that would make us return, were the roads and paths that were perfect for biking.  Of course, on this, our do-nothing day, we didn’t even take the bikes off the rack. The campground bathrooms were pretty darn sweet as well, with plenty of room and privacy, and lots of hot water.  For some reason on this trip, I seem to be using campground showers more than in the past.  It just seems easier sometimes and letting that hot water run forever when I am tired is a huge luxury.Sam Houston SP_030

Jeremy loved this spot, and spent a lot of time exploring close to the campsite, enjoying scratching on various trees and balancing on the cement culvert barriers.  Abby could hang around off leash and was completely protected from view by the angle of the parked motorhome and car.  We had a nice solid picnic table, and wonder of wonders a campfire ring!  Even more wonder, we could actually have a fire.Sam Houston SP_044

I don’t think I mentioned that Mo found some really good firewood in the middle of nowhere when we were boondocked at Joshua Tree.  Yup, that was a month ago.  We have carried that firewood in the Tracker the entire time, dribbling dust and bark on all our stuff, but it was worth it when Mo started up our evening campfire and we ate dinner once again outside by the warm flames.

CaptureTwo nights and a day of nothing were just what we needed before continuing east.  Thursday morning dawned gray, with some predicted rain, but the hard freeze didn’t materialize and the coldest temperatures were in the low 30’s.  I think we left the Lake Charles area just in time because today there has been freezing rain and sleet and even snow right behind us.

Atchafalaya_014The trip to New Orleans was a simple one.  I had no desire to repeat the route along US 90, that goes through Avery Island and into New Orleans along a southern path.  In 2007 we followed that route, and I used the blog to remind us that it was long and bumpy and that we never wanted to repeat it.  Instead we traveled the also bumpy I-10, but at least the speeds were more acceptable.

Both Judy and daughter Deanna had mentioned the Atchafalaya Bridge that crosses the Atchafalaya Basin, and the Atchafalaya Visitor Center as something not to be missed.  They were so right!!  In fact, we were so aghast at the wonder of that bridge that we actually missed the quick turn into the visitor center and had to continue several miles before we could exit and turn around.  This gave us the chance to cross part of that engineering challenge three times!

Atchafalaya_023The Visitor Center was in a bit of turmoil, with new septic systems being installed and new kiosks.  When I walked in the big doors on the wide southern porch, my mouth dropped open in amazement.  I don’t think I ever heard the word “Atchafalaya” before, and knew absolutely nothing about the Atchafalaya Basin.

The Atchafalaya Basin is the nation’s largest river swamp, containing almost one million acres of America’s most significant bottomland hardwoods, swamps, bayous, and backwater lakes.  This is the heart of Cajun Country, and I learned the difference between Cajun and Creole, and watched the movie in the round theater about the ecologically rich swamp that surrounded me. The place caught my heart deeply, and yes, I do want to return. 

Atchafalaya_022No matter what, if you are on I-10, crossing this amazing bridge, stop at the visitor center.  Surprisingly, the center had extensive information about the Atchafalaya Basin, but nothing on the construction of the bridge.  Searching the internet, I found that to build the bridge, they first had to build a canal that could open the swamp to transport of vehicles and materials.  The bridge is 18.2 miles long.  The view is of vast wet swamplands, breathtaking in their beauty and wildness.

Within a few more hours, we arrived easily at Naval Air Station at Belle Chasse, on the Westbank side of the Mississippi River just a few miles south of New Orleans.  I had read about this campground when Erin and Mui stayed here when it was brand new and it is a perfect location to stay while we take a vacation from our vacation.  The campground is clean and simple, with once again, huge private bathroom showers, a great laundry, and quick access to base amenities.  The very best part of this campground, however, is the “away” policy.

The collage below is of some of the vignettes at the Atchafalaya Visitor Center01-22-2014 slow day in Louisiana

When we leave for our cruise on Saturday, we have only to pull in the slide and disconnect the hookups.  We can then leave the rig parked here for the entire length of the cruise for just $1.00 per day.  Yup.  You read that right.  A buck a day to store the motorhome.  The fur kids will be staying at a nice doggie and kitty condo back in New Orleans while we take an animal break.  And yes, I am looking forward to that, sorry to say.  Every parent needs a break from the kids now and then.

We spent this very cold, rainy day organizing for our cruise and readying the MoHo for a break from us. I probably will be offline until we return the first week of February. 

Later:  We just dropped Abby and Jeremy off at the Canine Connection in Uptown New Orleans.  Seems like a great facility, and they were all so good at meeting the animals and helping us to feel safe about leaving them there.  I am really delighted with or choice for a boarding facility. 

With a suggestion from Elijah, Kenny’s assistant here at the park, I found and downloaded a Mardi Gras Parade app to the iPhone and it seems there is a parade today on the Westbank…right on our way to the hotel where we will overnight before boarding our ship tomorrow.  So, again, see you later.