Christmas on the Coast

With Christmas only a few days away and our next move on Wednesday we are winding down our stay here at Buccaneer State Park. The park itself was completely destroyed in Hurricane Katrina with winds of 160 mph and water surge of 30 plus feet.

The park has recovered nicely from the hurricanes and I can only imagine the draw it has for families in the warmer months with the water park.

The sites are nice and big and have concrete bases. The restrooms are newer, although I did have to complain about some housekeeping concerns. They have a great laundry and when in season a camp store and game room.

Besides having the waterpark, they have disk golf, a nature trail, picnic areas and playgrounds.

The beach here is not so great. Because it is in a sound they get all the sludge from the freighters with no way to circulate it back out to the Gulf of Mexico. I asked about the rust looking sand and was told it was residue from the red tide.

Tracy and I drove down to Gulfport one evening and walked around the Harbor Lights Winter Festival. John has been fighting a terrible cough so he missed the light show. The dancing trees were fun to watch.

After the light show we caught the 6:45 showing of Bohemian Rhapsody at the movie theater. I enjoyed the movie and would recommend all Queen music lovers to see it as well.

Driving through Pass Christian at sunset was spectacular. The moon was rising in the east while the sun was going down in the west.

Here is a Christmas tree made out of crab baskets.

As you drive the scenic route there are carvings in the trees left from the wake of Katrina. There are many of the once beautiful live oaks that were transformed into the sculptures. Dayton Scoggins, international award winning chainsaw artist from Mississippi, Marlin Miller, award winning wood sculptor from Florida and Dayle Lewis from Indiana sculpted marine-related objects out of the dead trees. Here are just a few.

After John was feeling better we decided to get out and do a bit of exploring in Kiln, Mississippi. We started off with a hike at the McLeod State Park.

During our hike we came upon an old Cemetery. Some of the head stones were very old with hand etched inscriptions.

After our hike we visited the oldest beer brewery in Mississippi. The Lazy Magnolia. At the ripe “old” age of fifteen years it is the oldest. The story is, no one thought they could have a brewery so they never asked. When the owners of the Lazy Magnolia asked and their research couldn’t find anything in writing stating there was a law against it, they were given the go ahead by the state. Oh my this cherry beer was so good we got some for later!

Did you know that Brett Favre went to high school in Kiln? He did, and the field is even named after him along with a statue in his honor.

When asked where his childhood home was, we were told and given directions to the “Broke Spoke”. Huh?

Actually his childhood home was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina.

As we were getting ready to leave we saw people gathering at the roadside. When asked what was going on they said it was a firetruck parade. So naturally we aren’t going to pass up a parade! Glad we stayed because the big fat man himself was riding on one of the firetrucks.

It was such a beautiful day and the skies even showed us a starfish.

That night there was the “Cold Moon” the full moon in December and it fell on the winter solstice.

Tracy and I stopped to enjoy the sunshine at the beach in Pass Christian. You could walk way out on the sandbars. The beach was covered in oyster shells.

Me standing out on a sandbar.

Tracy on another sandbar.

Tracy enjoying the sun.

On the nice evenings we usually gather for a fire. This was our Christmas Eve fire!

Merry Christmas from me and my girls.

For our Christmas celebration today we went to the Silver Slipper Casino about two miles from camp. We went for the seafood buffet and a little gambling fun.

This was the fourth round to the buffet for John!

And dessert of course!

We were so full when we left, but we left happy and a little lighter in the pockets. John won $24 and I won a free buffet after we had already been there.

OK! Moving day! We are headed to Sam Houston Jones State Park in Lake Charles, Louisiana. What a day it was too! So here is the shake down of our day…..

We left earlier than expected and I felt rushed, then I felt like I had forgot to do something all day.

My phone was going crazy with texts so I had to pull over to read them all and then inform my siblings what was going on. Not good news, prayers please.

Then John’s transmission was reading hot so we stopped at a rest area and had to check on that. He will see a dealer about it now.

My croopy cough is starting to get worse 😦

Pulled off to gas up at Walmart and it was busy of course. I was waiting on the absent driver of the car at the pump, because when your pulling a camper you want to pull away from the pump clean, she finally arrived and pumped her gas. She got in and I started forward and this stupid @#$%^ pulled in! Oh I was hot! My window was already down (because it was 68 degrees today) and I let her know what I was thinking with a few choice words while I inched in and gave her no choice but to have to back up. The nerve! Should have got out and beat her arse. I could have took her too!

Ok, now everyone says Michigan drivers are the worst next to Tennessee drivers, but the drivers in Louisiana are BAD.

Road conditions for a twenty mile stretch of I-10 was cray cray bad and everyone is driving 65 to 70 mile an hour.

We finally make it to our destination and we don’t have full hook up like we were told when reservations were made months ago. No other sites to move to either. Tracy has a really small black tank so she will most likely have to hitch up and dump after about five days, then come back and have to unhitch again.

Everything in our campers, which had previously been secured, was all over the camper floors because of the terribe road conditions on I-10. So we got that taken care of.

To top that off the electricity was out until 7 P.M. and Tracy has no 12 volt to her camper so she had to use her lantern.

I went to urgent care, got a shot and meds. I feel fine except for this croopy cough and I will live, too mean for anything else!

John has no cell service and was not happy. He is on T-mobile not Verizon or Straight Talk.

It has started to rain and there is no end in sight for days.

Such is a bad day in the life of a fulltime RVer.

There were two highlights though! We got Starbucks today and….

Did you know there is a billboard on I-10 stating that Billy’s Boudin has the Biggest Boudin Balls????? What???? I guess it’s a cajun thing. Never had it and after looking up what they were I am not about to try it. Ewwww

Last night the power went off again at 10:45 p.m.. It was warm here and I had the fan on but when the electric went off I opened both windows and there was a nice breeze. I didn’t sleep much due to the sounds coming from the bayou across the road. There was wildlife making noises I had never heard before.

Got up and out of bed at 5 a.m. and took the girls outside before the storms moved in. The guys were still working on the electric so why not! After a shower and quick trip to Walgreens the storms came through and the girls were content on my lap under a blanket listening to the rain and wind.

After the rains subsided we went to town for lunch at The Brown Bag Cafe.

The food was wonderful and the service was awesome! Tracy had a gyro, John had Gumbo and I had potato soup. Definitely would go back again!

With our bellys full again we set off to explore some of Lake Charles. We visted the Southwest Louisiana Information Center and it was one of the finest I’ve visited.

They had had a gingerbread house contest over the hoiday and here are a few of the displays.

The building itself had colorful artwork of different sorts.

And a couple of these guys!

After getting the materials we needed for sightseeing in the area, we headed for the Historic Calcasieu (cal-ca-shoo) Parish.

The Governors Mansion Circa 1930 is now used as different venues and catering.

These homes are located on Broad, Kirby and Pujo Streets and were all built from 1885 to the 1920’s.

My personal favorite!

The old Post Office circa 1910

The Masonic Temple circa 1919

The First United Methodist Church circa 1926

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception circa 1913. Sorry for the work truck in front but the church is getting a roof repair.

The inside was stunning.

Before heading back to camp we stopped to see the USS Orleck (DD-886). A gearing-class destroyer in service with the United States Navy from 1945 to 1982 and then became a Naval Museum here at Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Today was a real adventure. One of the things we wanted to do was the Creole Nature Trail. We started our trek at Adventure Point where we met Will.

Will gave us all the information that we needed to have a great experience.

Here is Will giving Tracy information for our trip.

Here is Tracy playing interactive music and having fun doing it!

As we begin our travel to the south towards the Gulf of Mexico the sun tried its best to shine through the clouds and soon we found our way across the Intercoastal Waterway.

After we crossed the Intercoastal Waterway we found ourselves in Hackberry, Louisiana. Hackberry is home to some of the first oil wells drilled in Louisiana. Outside of town is a plant that liquefies natural gas.

We first stopped at the Blue Goose walking trail. We took the girls with us and took the hike but didn’t go all the way back.

We then stopped at the Wetlands Walkway, a 1.5 mile walking path with an observation tower. We didn’t see a darned thing but got a good walk in.

Next stop “The Cajun Riviera” which was actually Holly Beach. Thanks to Will’s guidance we knew where to pull off to do some shelling.

It wasn’t your typical beach area but we did find some Sharks Eye, a Common Baby’s Ear, a small Conch, a Hay’s Rock Shell, one half an Angels Wings, pretty Oyster Shells and a couple other very nice shells and sea glass!

Now our trip heads east where we will ride a ferry across the Calcasieu Ship Channel.

Along the way we spot a couple of Egrets, a Pelican and two Rosaete Spoonbills (the pink birds) all together!

At the ferry the birds flying above were awesome.

Now in Cameron, Louisiana, which has had its share of three major hurricanes, we are in search of the Cameron Jetties and Fishing Pier. Will told us we may see dolphins here playing and he was right!

Will showed us a picture of the rare pink dolphin that has also been spotted here. This is a picture from google since we actually did not get to see it.

We also spotted the White Pelican, actually a bunch of them.

And a shrimping boat.

On the final leg of our trip we turn north and head up and over this interesting bridge that crosses the Intercoastal Waterway again.

We soon reach the Pintail Wildlife Drive & Boardwalk. With the Government shutdown we weren’t sure we could get in but it was open.

As you drive in your first sight is of all these different species of birds out on the marshes.

The drive itself is three miles long and don’t drive no more or less than 5 mph according to Will if you want to see an alligator.

The Great Blue Herron.

A beautiful Little Blue Herron.

An Egret hunting lunch.

Cormorants and Ibises

A turtle sunbathing.

An American Wigeon and mate.

And the moment we have been waiting for, drum roll please…….The Alligator!

Not just one several.

Can you find the one in this picture? Hint: just its head

As we finish our three miles the birds take flight.

So that does it for this weeks adventures.

I hope you all had a great Christmas with family and friends and here’s to wishing you a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year in 2019.

2 Comments

  1. Luv the tree carvings, head stones, gingerbread houses & pics of the ship! Too bad u didn’t get to see the pink dolphin 😢 luv u sis! HAPPY NEWYEAR & travel on!

    Like

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