Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mardi Gras-Gulf State Park Style

With Fat Tuesday still a week and a half away and gulf communities having parades left and right, Gulf State Park decided to have their own Mardi Gras celebration at noon today. Anyone wishing to participate was invited. The rest of the park just joined in on the fun and enjoyed the candy and beads thrown at us Smile

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And one more…I saw this truck as we were walking through the campground and couldn’t resist snapping a photo Smile

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That’s it for today!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sleeping with the Windows Open!

We’ve been able to sleep with the windows open for the past couple of nights.  I love being able to do that and am taking advantage while I can. Soon, it’ll be too warm.
The forecast for Friday was for rain so I had tentatively scheduled a day of house cleaning. It just seemed like a good thing to do. It started raining during the night or early morning hours and by the time we got up this morning, the sun was shining, the birds were singing and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. A reprieve!
The temps were in the mid-70’s, so we decided on a hike down the road, across the highway and onto the beach.IMGP1887 It was spectacular!
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Gulf State Pier
We didn’t walk out on the pier. They wanted $2 per person to “sightsee”. We figured we’d seen water off a pier before and this one couldn’t have been that different :)
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It was a beautiful walk with just enough of a breeze to keep us comfortable as we walked and walked and walked :) Eventually we got really hungry and headed back for lunch. We clocked 6.1 miles according to the pedometer  I picked up the other day. It actually seemed like more, probably because much of it was in sand on the beach. That stuff can be difficult to walk in sometimes!
After a couple of ham sandwiches, Rick took the top off the Jeep and we went for a drive. We drove down Beach Blvd until it dead-ended, turned around and went in the other direction. Before we knew it, we were in Florida!
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The state line is just a few miles down the highway. We headed back to the campground deciding to leave our Florida exploring for another day. It was a very nice day but we are both pooped and just a little sunburned :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores AL

We left Isaac Creek COE park on Tuesday morning and headed south arriving at Gulf State Park around 1:00 PM. This is a huge place right across the highway from the beach :)  They take no reservations this time of year and to get a site, you have to show up, put your name on the waiting list and wait. At 2:00 PM they start calling names, first come, first served. Tuesday was the first day in several weeks that there had been more than 5 or 6 spots to open. They had 9. Lucky for us! We started at # 11 on the list. As it turned out, we ended up at #7 because some of the folks on the list didn’t come back for the drawing. Most of this parks 497 sites are reservable starting March 1st so the longest we’d be able to stay was 6 days. We had to be out by March 1. Very disappointing as we had hoped to stay for a month. Fortunately, there were also some waterfront spots that are always first come, first serve with a max stay of 14 days. There was one left when I got to the counter :) IMGP1878 IMGP1875 IMGP1876 Although it was pricey, we are on the canal in a large pull-through FHU (full hook up) site. AND, we have the only tree!! :) Our neighbors are jealous :)IMGP1877 
After getting settled in, we took a walk to the other end of the property where there is a very nice and large campground store. I was looking for hot dog buns. It was going to be a very simple, easy dinner for us :)  Not a bun to be found, but we did enjoy an ice cream bar on our way back…fuel for the trip :) We didn’t see any alligators on this walk, but they must be common. These signs are all over the park.  IMGP1879 They won’t have to tell me twice!
We spent Wednesday supporting the local economy and left Camping World, Walmart and Bed, Bath & Beyond with some of our retirement funds :)
Next up: Hiking across the highway, the sand dunes and the boardwalk and exploring the beach. Stay tuned…

Monday, February 21, 2011

An Unwelcomed Visitor

This is the little guy that made us crazy this morning. IMGP1872 Rocky Raccoon was trying to get into the engine compartment of the coach! We tried to detour him with the water hose but he wouldn’t leave the area…very territorial…and kept trying to sneak back underneath. When I went to take his picture, he decided to be shy and turned away from me! I was grateful he didn’t get inside (more visions of the movie “RV”), but we were concerned he’d do some serious nibbling damage on the engine wires if we stayed there. He definitely let us know he wasn’t leaving and we didn’t want to tick him off too much in case he was rabid, so we checked with the campground host and arranged to move on the other side of the campground. Not as many trees, but closer to the lake. IMGP1873 It’s still a nice spot but we’ll only use it until tomorrow. We are packing up and moving down to Gulf Shores in the morning. Looking forward to some beach walking :)

While getting set up in the new site, Rick cranked up the antenna and did a search for TV channels just for the heck of it. We were both surprised when the search showed results!IMGP1874 A whole 8 channels! Guess that’s the end of our quiet, peaceful evenings :)  They certainly aren’t a bad thing once in awhile and I would certainly never stay away from a beautiful spot because of no TV. Now, no internet, that might be a problem for me :)

 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

We Found Flip Flop Weather!

Happiness is wearing your flip flops again!

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Yes, I KNOW I need a pedicure! No one likes winter feet :)

We arrived at Isaac Creek COE Park in Alabama on Thursday afternoon. This is a beautiful park off the beaten path on the banks of Lake Claiborne & the Alabama river. The sites are nicely wooded with a generous buffer between sites. The pads are all concrete with a separate patio area with grill, picnic table, lantern post and fire ring. There is no TV signal here and a very weak cell signal. Our internet works but s-l-o-w-l-y. This is very much a place to enjoy nature and catch up on our reading.

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We made ourselves comfortable, Rick pulled out his new grill,

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and I haven’t had to cook since we got here! :)

Our weather has been fantastic! Sunny and ~78° every day. The one thing that has been a bummer in this search for warmer weather is the bugs and mosquitoes! They just love me. I had a chance to try out my newest toy while sitting out enjoying happy hour with our neighbors, Ervin and Judy, last night. I had read about this in a newsletter I get from Dale’s North Mound in Willard, WI and thought it would be worth a try. It’s called a ThermaCell Mosquito Repellent appliance.

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It’s a cordless device that runs on a butane cartridge and has a insect repellent “mat” inserted into the screen on the front. The butane heats the mat, the mat produces something that bugs and mosquitoes don’t like and they LEAVE! It says to allow 20-30 minutes for results after lighting but I noticed a difference almost immediately. This thing is my new best friend :) I will stay busy buying refills, no doubt, but it will be so nice not being eaten alive :)

The park and the surrounding area are all nice, flat and paved, so Rick has been able to do some Trikke riding and get some exercise in.

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Once he finishes a few miles on the Trikke, he comes back and gets me and we go for a nice long walk. Today, we walked down to the Claiborne Lock and Dam on Claiborne Lake. This lake encompasses over 60 miles of the Alabama River. The locks were completed in 1971 for barges traveling the river. It doesn’t appear that many barges come through here. We haven’t seen any since arriving. There are many opportunities for water recreation here though, so it appears to be a very popular place for campers and boaters alike.

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After a nice dinner of brats on the grill, we settled in to watch “RV” for the umpteenth time :) Every time I see that movie, I see something new. I also laugh harder the more I learn :)

Having no TV signal isn’t so bad.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Double Yolks

While shopping at Walmart the other day, I noticed that a dozen jumbo eggs were 10¢ cheaper than large. Ok, no brainer for me :) Something I hadn’t seen in many, many years was a double yolker. It made me want to use up the dozen quickly to see if I could find another :)

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And a few days later, I did!

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It brought back more childhood memories.

Can you tell it doesn’t take much to entertain me? :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

One Month Anniversary

One month ago today, we left North Carolina to head south searching for warmer weather. We are still searching :)  I am not complaining. I know plenty of people in much worse shape. I hear spring is just around the corner :)

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In honor of our one month anniversary, we are having this:

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It’s not delivery…but it doesn’t taste half bad…especially when paired with this :) 

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Join us in a toast…the weather may be uncooperative but the lifestyle is wonderful. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What is the Plan?

"What are your plans?" This is a question we've been asked by everyone we meet. "Where are you going?" "What places are on your list?"

With the exception of our appointment at Red Bay for the coach mods, we really didn't have a plan. Still don't.

We left Okatibbee yesterday, not because we had a place to be, but because it looked like the only rain-free day this week. No sense traveling in the rain if you don't have to! About 3 hours later, we pulled into another of Mississippi's beautiful state parks, Flint Creek Water Park in Wiggins.  I could get used to this :)

Our site at Flint Creek:

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Wiggins is a little town about 35 miles north of  Gulfport. It's close enough to easily drive to the coast for the day. Flint Creek is right on the water, quiet and beautiful. We'll stay here a few days until we're ready to head to the next place.

Once we set up, we took advantage of the sun and 73° temps and went for a walk through the campground snapping pictures along the way.

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We met some of neighbors. One couple lives right on the gulf coast but come up here frequently to get away. They were heading home to wait out the nasty weather coming in before taking off again to tour as many state parks as they could in Mississippi. Another couple, Bob and Mary, told us they've been coming here for 10 years every winter. They are from the small Wisconsin town of Medford, not far from where I grew up! Small world. Ten years ago, they headed to Florida for the winter, got lost, ended up here and fell in love. They've been coming back ever since :)

The conversations with both couples included "Where are you going from here?" We have a pretty good idea of our next stop, maybe, but after that, who knows?

How about you? Do you have a plan? Or do you just wing it? Is it necessary to have a  plan?