I heard morning’s early dawn before I saw it. From around our coach came feathered sounds from the tree tops. Some were familiar sounds while others were not. I recognized a pair of Hoot Owls and the knocking of a nearby Woodpecker. A Cardinal discovered our rig’s side mirror and had quite a time with itself flustering about with the reflective image it found there. When I stepped out with Pheebs Thursday night we heard a couple Hoot Owls close by and with the aid of our flashlight were able to see them both. Yep, it’s a pretty nice spot we’re in here.
THIS CARDINAL WAS SURE ENTHRALLED WITH ITSELF IN OUR RIG’S MIRROR
SPOTTED THIS ELUSIVE SUWANNEE SWAMP GATOR CLAMBERING INTO THE RIVER THIS MORNING
THOUGHT AT FIRST THIS WAS AN ALIMAGATOR IN THE RIVER BUT NOPE, JUST A PIECE OF FLOATING WOOD
BENT TREE KNEES
I SEE A LONG NECKED CYPRESS WOODCRANE BIRD DINING ON SOME PASSING LEAF FISH:))
Following a nice morning walk we loaded two weeks of laundry into the Jeep and headed south to Old Town. Last time we did laundry was in Sierra Vista Arizona so we had us quite a load this morning. Our nice camp hosts here at Gornto Springs County Park had told us Thursday afternoon where to the find the laundromat and by golly we found it right where they said it was.
‘HEY MOM HOW’S ABOUT BRUSHING THE DOG TODAY’
‘AHHHHH, THAT FEELS SO GOOD’
We’ve been to some nice laundromats while traveling over the years but this one in Old Town was the nicest. Recently renovated it has all new machines and the lady there (Jody) was very helpful with all our questions about the area. For anyone traveling and dragging a boat load of laundry with them I would certainly recommend ‘An Old Town Laundromat’ at 26656 SE Highway 19 Old Town Florida.
THE OLD TOWN LAUNDROMAT
PHEEBS AND I OUT FOR A WALK AT THE LAUNDROMAT
PHEEBS AND I ALSO MANAGED TO SNAG US A QUICK JEEP WASH IN OLD TOWN AS WELL
AND WE STOPPED IN TO SAMPLE SOME BOILED PEANUTS THIS MORNING TOO
We had us a look at another County Park a short distance from Old Town called Hinton Landing. Four sites available here with electricity and water. Nice spot on the Suwannee River beside a spring. We’ll keep this site on file for possible future stops.
ON OUR MORNING WALK I AT FIRST THOUGHT THESE WERE TRILLIUMS IN THE BUSH BUT ON CLOSER INSPECTION I COULD SEE THEY WERE NOT
As I’ve said, we do like this older area of Florida and it’s on our list as a place we would return to and scout out further. As readers know we are not city folks or people who need to be near all the big box stores or glitzy beach stuff. Traffic is light here on area roads and we see lots of dirt roads leading off out into the countryside and of course for Pheebs and I that is important. With beaches not being a priority for us we’re quite satisfied with the slower lifestyle pace found in the area where we are. It has given us something to think about over the next 7 or 8 months.
A FLOWERING SHRUB AT THE LAUNDROMAT
We were back to the rig before noon and were both relieved to notice the welcome coolness of our shady spot. Today was not as hot as Thursday and for us that was a pleasant bonus. And oh now nice to have such sweet sounding birds chirping right outside our window. Oh my and you should hear all the little Spring Peeper Frogs tonight.
AND I NOTICED THE LITTLE CARDINAL WAS BACK BUT THIS TIME ON SOMEBODY ELSES MIRROR
I don’t know why the following font changed color but it did and I’m too tired to fuss with it. Think it was about mid afternoon when a car pulled in and we met two of the nicest people, Rebecca and Paul Baxter from up around Buffalo New York. They are staying in an RV Park near Mayo north of where we are. Paul has been a long time blog reader and when he saw we were camped in the area decided to pop over and say hello. Like I have often said in my posts I am always nervous meeting new people but some folks have a knack of putting me at ease and these folks easily did that today. They, like us are scouting out the area for possible longer stays in the future. We may just see them again:))
OH-OH I THINK SOMEBODY CRACKED A FUNNY
SOMEBODY MUST HAVE SAID ‘POSE FOR THE CAMERA BOYS’
TRYING TO GET PHEEBE TO POSE
The camp hosts here at Gornto are really nice folks as well and tonight they dropped off some fresh caught fried and battered Mullett fish for us. Kelly really liked it but me not so much. I had a bowl of Special K cereal for supper. Now that’s my kinda eatin.
HERE’S OUR CAMP HOST CATCHING US SOME FRESH FISH FOR SUPPER TONIGHT
THIS IS THE GORNTO SPRING WHICH FEEDS INTO THE SUWANNEE RIVER TO THE RIGHT
PEOPLE SWIM IN THE SPRING TO THE LEFT AND THESE BUOYS ARE TO PREVENT ANYONE FROM BEING CARRIED OUT INTO THE RIVER
BOATS PASSING BY ON THE SUWANEE RIVER
Our final Florida destination will be right in Sarasota Florida itself where the main purpose of our Florida trip is to visit Aunt Jean. Fortunately for us we have a really nice place to stay for free and it’s the same place we stayed when last here back in October of 2016. More about that when we get there in a few days.
GROANER’S CORNER:(( Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than ten years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.
"How old are you?"
"I'm four and a half."
You're never 36 and a half . . . You're four and a half going on 5.
You get into your teens; now they can't hold you back.
You jump to the next number. "How old are you?"
"I'm gonna be 16." You could be 12, but you're gonna be 16. Eventually.
Then the great day of your life; you become 21.
Even the words sound like a ceremony.
You BECOME 21 . . . Yes!!
Then you turn 30. What happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk. He TURNED! We had to throw him out. What's wrong?
What changed? You BECOME 21; you TURN 30.
Then you're PUSHING 40 . . . stay over there. You REACH 50.
You BECOME 21; you TURN 30; You're PUSHING 40; you REACH 50; then you MAKE IT to 60.
By then you've built up so much speed, you HIT 70. After that, it's a day by day thing. You HIT Wednesday . . .
You get into your 80's; you HIT lunch, you HIT 4:30. My grandmother won't even buy green bananas. "Well, it's an investment, you know, and maybe a bad one." And it doesn't end there . . .
In the 90's, you start going backwards. "I was JUST 92."
Then a strange thing happens; if you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. "I'm 100 and a half!"
A nursery school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of kids home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children fell to discussing the dog's duties. "They use him to keep crowds back," said one youngster. "No," said another, "he's just for good luck." A third child brought the argument to a close. "They use the dogs," she said firmly, "to find the fire hydrant."
CAMPED ON THE BANKS OF THE OLD HISTORIC SUWANNEE RIVER ABOUT A DOZEN MILES NORTH OF OLD TOWN FLORIDA ‘OMG’ even I could hardly believe it but there I was Tuesday night outside in the Walmart parking lot with shorts on and no shirt. Not even my hat did I have on. ‘OMG’ I think that is even worth another ‘Oh My Gosh’. MY GROOVY SOCKS AND YOU CAN TELL FROM THE TAN ON MY LEFT LEG THAT IS THE ONE i USUALLY HAVE DANGLING OUT THE MOTORHOME WINDOW WHILE DRIVING:)) It was already 70F at 7 a.m. this morning so I knew we were in for an uncomfortably hot and humid day. Predictions were for 90F and we later reached 86. With so much humidity in the air everything is damp in the morning including the ground. If one happens to be parked in a sandy area that wet sand sticks to shoes and has a habit of finding it’s way into the Motorhome. What a mess it can be and that is the problem we had the Pine Lake RV Park. LOOKING OUT THE RIG’S WINDSHIELD THIS MORNING I SAW A HOMELESS PERSON SLEEPING ON THE GRASS It was an easy 55 mile scenic drive for us this morning. Scrambling around on our computers first thing today we came up with what finally looked like a suitable out of the way campground for us. Located 12 miles north of Old Town and 12 miles south of Branford right on the banks of the Suwannee River we headed for Gornto Springs Park. OOPS, MAKE THAT TWO HOMELESS PERSONS….A HIM AND A HER Leaving Perry about 9 we made our way down highway 27 to Branford where we picked up highway 349 south towards Old Town Florida. It was a mixture of sun and cloud today. Wasn’t long after leaving Perry we began to notice the landscape changing and I immediately took a liking to the change. More agriculture with large green fields, farm fences, horses and cows. Gone were the unending rows of pine trees lining the road. We could look across some of those farm fields for a good mile or more and the area reminded me of Huron County back home around Bayfield Ontario. Liked it way better here than the bushy landscape we had seen further back in the panhandle. This area seems to be an older part of Florida and that suits us just fine. After all we’re far more comfortable hanging out with the Clampetts than the Rockefellers. COUNTRYSIDE IN THIS AREA REMINDS ME VERY MUCH OF BACK HOME AROUND BAYFIELD ONTARIO A LOT OF PINE TREE LOGGING AROUND HERE BUT ALSO A LOT OF NEW PINE TREE PLANTING AS WELL TURNING OFF THE HIGHWAY TOWARDS THE CAMPGROUND WE NOTICED THIS LARGE IRRIGATION SYSTEM Not knowing what to expect we wheeled off highway 349 and headed in an easterly direction back in about a mile and half to the campsite. A few minutes later we pulled into Gornto and liked it right away. There we were right on the banks of the Suwannee River with only one other RV and a horse trailer in sight. Big old Oak trees and lots of shade gave this small Park a homey feel. Nobody around except the owner of the newer Motorhome so we talked to him for a short bit. Nice fellow. We decided to stay and pulled ourselves into one of the two pull through sites. Could have parked a hundred feet closer to the river but I liked the spot we had under the big trees. Put our coach levellers down, popped out our two slides and un-hooked the Jeep. ‘Finally’ a place we like. Might hang out here for a few days, maybe longer. It’s $20 a night and we have electric and water. In this humidity we definitely need A/C so we’re happy to have electricity. We can run our A/C without using electricity by running our generator but we prefer the quieter electricity if available.
FOUND US A NICE SHADY SPOT UNDER THESE TALL LIVE OAK TREES THIS IS SURE OUR KIND OF QUIET PLACE ALRIGHT NICE TO BE AWAY FROM ALL THAT COAST TRAFFIC WE WERE ABLE TO SIT OUT FOR ABOUT HALF AND HOUR BEFORE THE HEAT AND HUMIDITY GOT TO US AND WE HAD TO RETREAT INSIDE TO COOLER AIR Although we have never been to this area physically we have been here before via Google Earth as far back as 2011. After a severe kidney stone attack landed me a Tucson Arizona hospital and a follow up Cat Scan alerted me to the fact I had a fairly large kidney stone problem it prompted Kelly and I to overreact to the situation and consider buying a place in Florida where we would be closer to home in case of emergencies. It all seems rather silly now of course but we did go on-line and start looking at a bunch of properties right around the area we are now in. Old Town, Williston, Chiefland. Can’t remember why we picked this particular area to look but we did. There was a lot of affordable places for sale at the time and we did do some serious thinking about it. I think at the time we were beginning to tire a wee bit of our RV lifestyle. A year later we bought the house in Congress Arizona.
THE SWUANNEE IS A VERY CLEAN SPRING FED RIVER AND THE BROWN SURFACE TEA COLOR I THINK IS CAUSED BY THE LEECHING OF TREES INTO THE WATER OLD CYPRESS TREES LINE THE RIVER BANK KELLY SAID THE WATER FELT COLD WHICH SUGGESTS IT IS SPRING FED AND YEP WE HAVE CUTE LITTLE GECKOS HERE And a big thanks to all the folks who through emails and comments have suggested places for us to stay and things to do. We are keeping a separate file for all this info should we decide to return to this area at some point. We still have a lot of looking around to do. WE’RE RIGHT ON THE BANKS OF THE SUWANNEE RIVER GROANER’S CORNER:(( A husband and wife were driving down a country lane on their way to visit some friends. They came to a muddy patch in the road and the car became bogged. After a few minutes of trying to get the car out by themselves, they saw a young farmer coming down the lane, driving some oxen before him. The farmer stopped when he saw the couple in trouble and offered to pull the car out of the mud for $50. The husband accepted and minutes later the car was free. The farmer turned to the husband and said, "You know, you're the tenth car I've helped out of the mud today." The husband looks around at the fields incredulously and asks the farmer, "When do you have time to plough your land? At night?" "No," the young farmer replied seriously, "Night is when I put the water in the hole." ---------------------------------- So this old man is walking down the street in Brooklyn. He sees a young boy sitting on the street in front of a candy shop, shoving sweets in his mouth as fast as possible. The man walks up to the boy and says "You know son, it's really not healthy to eat all that candy." The kid looks up at him and says, "You know my grandfather lived to be 97 years old." The man replies "Oh and did he eat a lot of candy?" The kid looks at him and say’s, "No, but he minded his own damn business." ======================
WALMART IN PERRY FLORIDA SOMEWHERE NORTHWEST OF GAINESVILLE
It was under cloudy warm skies we began our travels this morning heading ourselves in a Southeasterly direction. We have begun our slow slide down the west side of the Florida Peninsula. Shortly after getting ourselves on the road we entered into our very own back home Ontario time zone. Nice to have our inner body clocks finally back to normal again.
GREAT FLORIDA HIGHWAYS AND IN THE PANHANDLE THIS IS WHAT MUCH OF THE SCENERY LOOKS LIKE
We were both glad to be moving on again. For $16 a night with full hook-ups our stay at the Pine Lake RV Park north of Fountain Florida was a nice break from our travels across the Southern States last week. We do miss our towering mountains, cooler weather, and wide open spaces here in the Florida panhandle but we’re slowly adjusting. Next time back in this area we’ll check out the Destin/Pensacola area. Don’t know how we missed it a few days ago but we did. We may slide home through that area next month.
MOVING FURTHER SOUTH THE SCENERY FINALLY STARTED LOOKING MORE LIKE ONE WOULD EXPECT IN FLORIDA AND NOT NORTHERN ONTARIO
With today’s cloudy overcast it turned out to be a nice driving day so no need for sun visors. Must say I am impressed with these smooth Florida highways. Nice compared to some of the roads we were on a week or two ago. When we get up in the morning we’ll be back on those nice Florida roads and we’ll see where the day leads us and those roads take us………………..
OUR LITTLE OVERNIGHT WALMART RV COMMUNITY AND THAT’S US ON THE FAR RIGHT….WE WERE THE FIRST ONES HERE…..THERE’S A DOZEN RIGS PARKED IN THIS CORNER OF THE LOT
With no particular hard destination in mind today it just so happened we ended up in Perry Florida. Kelly noticed there was a Walmart in Perry so needing a few grocery items that is where we headed for. And we’re still here. Found us an Okay spot in their lot and decided to call it an early day. There’s a nice Thrift Store nearby so we walked over and I ended up with a pair of khaki shorts and a couple groovy orange short sleeve shirts. Oh and some wild ‘new’ socks. Kelly got herself an armload of goodies as well.
SURE IS NICE TO BE PARKED ON CLEAN PAVEMENT INSTEAD OF DAMP SANDY DIRT
GROANER’S CORNER:(( A man sits down at a bar and orders a double martini. After he finishes, he peeks inside his shirt pocket, then orders another. After he finishes that, he again peeks inside his shirt pocket and orders another double martini. The barman says: "I'll bring you martinis all night but why do you look inside your shirt pocket before you order a refill." The customer replies: "I'm peeking at a photo of my wife. When she starts to look good, I know it's time to go home."
Police Chief: As a recruit, you'll be faced with some difficult issues. What would you do if you had to arrest your mother? New Recruit: Call for backup!
Cloud cover first thing today with the Sun finally began breaking through about mid morning. Decided to lay low and hang around the rig. Sunday’s 6 hour day trip was tiring so we didn’t stray too far and I stuck pretty close to our overhead A/C unit, my recliner, and little green fan all day.
Spent a big chunk of our time this morning on computers and phones trying to find State Parks or campgrounds along our route ahead for the next little while or so. We have to be out of our spot in the morning so we’re scrambling to find our next destination. We are so used to going wherever whenever we please that this structured way of doing things has definitely thrown us a curve not to our liking.
GROANER’S CORNER:(( "How was your golf game, dear?" asked Jack's wife. "Well I was hitting pretty well, but my eyesight's gotten so bad I couldn't see where the ball went." "Well you're 75 years old now, Jack, why don't you take my brother Scott along?" suggested his wife. "But he's 85 and doesn't even play golf anymore," protested Jack. "But he's got perfect eyesight. He could watch your ball," his wife pointed out. The next day Jack teed off with Scott looking on. Jack swung, and the ball disappeared down the middle of the fairway. "Do you see it?" asked Jack. "Yup," Scott answered "Well, where is it?" yelled Jack, peering off into the distance. "I forgot."
Despite being in an RV Park with so many people close by it was a very quiet night and I had the best sleep in a long time. How nice to not have rumbling trucks going by. And I must admit it sure is nice being hooked up to water and electric for a change. On our walk this morning not a creature was stirring not even a mouse.
MISTY MORNING WATERS NOT FAR BEHIND OUR MOTORHOME THIS MORNING
NO ALIMAGATORS IN THIS POND, JUST TURTLES
Although the RV’s seem packed in pretty tight to us this is still a nice RV Park once one gets out for a walk around. Behind our rig is a nice open grassy area for Pheebs and a short distance from that a nice pond. No Gators!! An easy wide walking trail leads through stands of tall pine trees. A soft mist hung in the morning’s still air and oh how I like to hear the sounds of birds in the trees. Hard to see them but I could hear them.
NICE WIDE WALKING TRAIL
Hadn’t had the Jeep off the rig’s tow bar since hooking it up at Janna and Mikes a week ago so this morning off it came. With maps and phones in hand we three all piled into the Jeep and headed south down highway 231 to Panama City to see what we could see. I think there are more ‘Dollar General stores and Churches of all kinds here than there are leaves on the trees. I guess my question is, why so many Dollar General Stores and why so many Churches??
WE WONDERED WHAT THESE VERY SOFT DELICATE SPONGY THINGS ON THE GROUND WERE
WE GROW THIS VERY SAME TYPE OF MUSHROOM IN OUR YARD BACK HOME IN BAYFIELD ONTARIO
WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THESE SINEWY LITTLE SPIDER LIKE PATCHES ARE ALL OVER THE PLACE….THEY ARE IN THE TREES, ON THE GROUND, EVERYWHERE
Panama City was waaaay bigger than what I had figured and it soon swallowed us up. Never saw so many McDonalds. Traffic swept us out to the west end of the city but it was the east end of the city we were aiming for so we had to U-turn ourselves and retrace our steps back along highway 98. We could see ocean front close by to the south of us so we deeked off 98 and down some back streets until we found a spot to pull over and go stick our fingers in some real salt water. Even Pheebs got the bottoms of her paws wet. I’m glad she’s not a water dog that goes barreling into every body of water she sees. Makes things easier all way round.
SLIPPING AROUND A FEW PANAMA CITY BACKSTREETS WE FOUND OUR WAY TO THE WATERS OF THE GULF
THIS WAS OUR FIRST BEACH ENCOUNTER
KELLY CHECKS THE GULF’S WATER TEMPERATURE AND TELLS ME IT’S WARM
THOUGHT THIS LITTLE SHELL WOULD MAKE A NICE SOUVENIR BUT WHEN WE PICKED IT UP THERE WAS SOMEBODY LIVING INSIDE SO WE CAREFULLY PUT IT BACK
LITTLE GIRL PLAYING BY THE SEASHORE
We did actually have a few destinations today with one of them being a place called Mexico Beach. We also had some other campsites to scout out as well. We have actually slowed ourselves down here in the Florida Panhandle for a reason. We’re looking around and getting a feel for things in case at some point our beloved South-western States become a too distant destination for us. I’ll have more to say about this in another post. It’s cooler in the Panhandle than further South and with neither Kelly or I liking heat and humidity anymore a moderate winter climate is a must. Staying home for the winter is still a priority No-No situation so we have to think seriously about our future winter options. We plan to check out a few spots just over the Georgia border in a few weeks as well.
Heading east from Panama City we travelled through the large Tyndall Air Force Base home to the F-22A Raptor. I was really hoping to catch a glimpse of the low flying Raptors near their base but since it was Sunday they weren’t flying.
We liked Mexico Beach a lot more than Panama City simply because it is much smaller and not manically crazy with hordes of traffic. Spotted a public pier so pulled in and I went out to the end of it for some photos while Pheebs and Kelly stayed in the Jeep. While waiting she met a couple from Orillia Ontario.
I’VE ALWAYS LIKED THE BIGGER BOLDER COLORS PEOPLE SOMETIMES USE ON THEIR HOUSES AND BUISNESS’S
THESE ARE ALL RENTALS JUST STEPS AWAY FROM THE WHITE SANDY BEACHES NEAR THE LONG PUBLIC PIER
KELLY EXPRESSED AND INTEREST IN SEAFOOD SO BEFORE LEAVING PANAMA CITY WE STOPPED AT MCDONALDS AND I HAD A FISH SANDWICH…..IN MEXICO BEACH KELLY GOT A SHRIMP PO’BOY SANDWICH
THESE ARE BEACH FRONT RENTALS
Been many, many, years since I last seen the long wide white sandy beaches of Florida so I thoroughly enjoyed looking along the beach fronts bordering the big blue Gulf Of Mexico with it’s huge towering cloud formations overhead. The only time I ever enjoyed swimming in water that didn’t feel freezing cold to me was back in the mid 80’s south of Puerto Vallarta Mexico at a place called Mismaloya beach onetime.
TOOK MYSELF FOR A NICE WALK OUT THIS LONG PIER
WIDE WHITE SANDY BEACH TO THE WEST
THIS SURFER WAS THE ONLY PERSON I SAW IN THE WATER
I’m really liking these warm pre-dawn mornings as opposed to those cold desert nights. Nice not having to have heat on in the coach every night too. We rolled out of the Mississippi Welcome Center and John C Stennis complex this morning at 7:35 heading further east on I-10.
I WAS SURPRISED AT I-10’S LITE TRAFFIC AND AT TIMES IT SEEMED LIKE WE WERE THE ONLY ONES ON THE ROAD
Because it was Saturday traffic was lite and of course that is always a bonus no matter where one is. We had clear dry roads, warm temps, and a semi-sunny sky with big fluffy cumulous clouds. I am certainly enjoying this new scenery for a change. Nice to see so much greenery along the roads and great expanses of water again too.
We rolled right on through Mobile Alabama without any problems. Last time coming through Mobile the other way I remember traffic as being very heavy. Anyone traveling I-10 through Mobile will pass through the underwater tunnel which is kinda groovely spooky.
HEADING STRAIGHT FOR DOWNTOWN MOBILE ALABAMA
NEAR THE DOWNTOWN AREA I-10 CURVES TO THE RIGHT AND DISAPPEARS DOWN INTO THE GEORGE WALLACE TUNNEL UNDERNEATH THE MOBILE RIVER
AT LAST A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
BREAKING OUT OF THE TUNNEL TO THE EAST WE ENTER UPON A LONG BRIDGE SPAN ACROSS BLAKELEY ISLAND AND MOBILE BAY
WE WERE SOON SOCKED INTO A FOG UNTIL WE REACHED THE OTHER SIDE
LEG STRETCH AT THE I-10 EASTBOUND FLORIDA WELCOME CENTER IN PENSACOLA FLORIDA
One of the great advantages for boon-dockers like ourselves in the Southwest is the availability of BLM lands to freely camp on. Whether set up for a lengthy stay or just an overnighter lands are readily available to simply pull in off the road and shut things down. Just as in Southern Ontario back home we are in lands now that basically offer no free BLM areas to camp on while traveling so we are having to get into this whole RV and State Park reservation thing which of course is something we are not used to doing. Overnight prices for some these places are huge along Florida’s panhandle coast and of course site availability is virtually non existent at this time of year.
Had noticed earlier this morning while checking our maps that there was a Walmart and Crackle Barrel located in a place called Crestview Florida right on I-10 so we made Crestview our destination. Cracker Barrel was a few blocks before Walmart so in we went.
COMING OUT OF CRACKLE BARREL GUESS WHO’S ON THE DASH:))
We had thought of overnighting at Walmart while trying to find a place to stay over the next few days. Don’t think there was a flat spot in the whole parking lot for an overnighter so we stayed only long enough for half a dozen phone calls regarding a place to stay. Finally located an RV Park that amazingly enough had a spot for us. We didn’t know this was a long week-end for the American folks (Washingtons Birthday) so every campground was booked up. The one we located was another hour and a half drive east on I-10 so off we went. What a beautiful looking day it turned out to be and yes Florida I did notice how smooth your I-10 stretch of highway is. What a treat after some of the stretches of poor road we have been traveling on these past 5 or 6 days.
We much prefer State Parks over RV Parks but with every State Park in the area being full we had no choice but to find us an RV Park and preferably somewhere in about the middle of the Florida Panhandle. And by golly that is just what Kelly found. We are at the Pine Lake RV Park in Fountain Florida just a few miles north of Panama City. Coincidentally we are parked right beside an older couple from Oakville Ontario. No idea how long we’ll stay here. Maybe just tonight, maybe longer………..
‘OMG’ CAN YOU BELIEVE THE ‘BAYFIELD BUNCH’ ARE ACTUALLY PULLING INTO A CROWDED RV PARK…..NO WE CAN’T BELIEVE IT EITHER:((
FOLKS ON THE RIGHT ARE FROM OAKVILLE ONTARIO
HEY, THIS AIN’T NO DARBY WELL ROAD!!
OUR RIG IS EASY TO SPOT….IT’S THE DIRTIEST ONE IN THE PARK WITH ABOUT 5,000 MILES OF ROAD GRIME ON IT…AND WE WEAR THAT ROAD GRIME PROUDLY I MIGHT ADD
GROANER’S CORNER:(( Bubbles and Barbie, two blonde sisters had promised their Uncle, who had been a seafaring gentleman all his life, to bury him at sea when he died. Of course, in due time, he did pass away and the two blondes kept their promise. They set off from Clearwater Beach with their uncle all stitched up ina burial bag and loaded onto their rowboat. After a while Bubbles says, 'Do you think we're out far enough, Barbie?' Barbie slipped over the side and finding the water only knee deep said, 'nope, not yet Bubbles'. So they row a little farther.... Again Bubbles asks Barbie, 'Do you think were out far enough now? Once again Barbie slips over the side and almost immediately says, 'No, this will never do, the water is only up to my chest.' So on they row and row and row, and finally Barbie slips over the side and disappears. Quite a bit of time goes by and poor Bubbles is really getting worried when suddenly Barbie breaks the surface gasping for breath. 'Well is it deep enough yet, Sis?' 'Yes, finally. Hand me the shovel.'
“I have problems with math but with chemistry, I have solutions.”
INSIDE THE JOHN C STENNIS SPACE CENTER Despite being parked only a few feet from the Mississippi Welcome Center exit road we slept fine even with big 18 wheeler trucks gearing up going by. Like cars some of those diesel bangers are nosier than others. CARS AND TRUCKS GOING BY ON THIS EXIT ROAD CAN BE DISTRACTING BUT WE MADE OUT OKAY I DIDN’T STRAY TOO FAR FROM MY FAN THIS AFTERNOON Our day dawned under a gray cloud cover but how nice to step out first thing in the morning to warm temperatures. Of course pay back will come for that later in the afternoon when the hotter air becomes sticky for me. YES I DID USE THE HOT AND STICKY WORDS Decided to take a travel break and stay put for the day. The John C Stennis Space Center is right here close to the Mississippi Welcome Center so figured while we’re here I might as well go have me a looky see what that Space Center is all about. Could have walked over except for a closed gate blocking a flooded walkway. We drove the Motorhome around and parked in their huge parking lot. PARKED IN THE JOHN C STENNIS SPACE CENTER PARKING LOT FOR A FEW HOURS THIS MORNING MAIN ENTRANCE A ROLLS ROYCE TRENT 1000 ROCKET ENGINE THAT WHITE SPACE CAPSULE IS ACTUALLY THE ORION IMMERSIVE THEATER MOCK-UP OF INSIDE A SECTION OF THE SPACE SHUTTLE VERTICAL SLEEPING CHAMBER AT LEFT AND THE CENTERS 2 FLOOR OPEN CONCEPT AT RIGHT The Center opened at 9 so of course I was there at 8:45 pounding on the door. Okay, forget the pounding part but I was there early and it was open so luckily I was into the building about half an hour before the big noisy explosion happened. The Stennis Center is very oriented to children with a lot of interactive exhibits. This is a newer center still growing and with time I’m sure they will have more and more things added to make it even more interesting for adults. GERMAN ROCKET SCIENTIST DR. WERNHER VON BRAUN’S DESK AT LEFT AND BELOW THIS FRIENDLY STENNIS STAFF MEMBER EVEN HAS AN ALLIGATOR ON HER DESK WHICH I DIDN’T SEE UNTIL I EDITED THE PHOTO BIG CAFETERIA FOR STAFF AND VISITORS ALIKE….EVEN HAD BURGS <<< I WAS ON THE SECOND FLOOR WHEN I HEARD SUDDEN HIGH PITCHED SQUEALING NOISE COMING FROM THE MAIN ENTRANCE BELOW This is an open concept building and I was up on the second floor taking some photos of the floor below when all of a sudden there was this rush of exaggerated noise coming from the lobby area. It welled up onto the second floor rebounding off the walls and ceilings. The noise was a high pitched squealing and shrieking and I instantly knew exactly what had happened. I had seen the line of school buses pulling in about 10 minutes earlier. By the sounds of the hollering and yelling I easily estimated about 847,352 kids had come bursting through the main doors into the building all at the same time and the manic little Aliens were running amok everywhere. That was it for me and I had to quickly get myself out of there. NO PEACE AND QUIET OUTSIDE EITHER Making my way back down to the first floor I somehow managed to escape the building unhurt. If I thought quiet refuge was waiting outside I was sadly mistaken. There was another 300,000 yellers and screamers outside!! Made my way to the far end of the parking lot where our Motorhome was parked and took a break. ‘OH DAD YOU ARE LOOKING SOOOOO STRESSED, DID YOU SEE A BUNCH OF SCEAMING KIDS OR SOMETHING’’ YES PHEEBS THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I SEEN AND HEARD AND I AM NOW FRAZZLED!! I had signed up for a bus tour of the Stennis Space Center’s big rocket engine test sites so I was the first one to the bus at 10:50 to get the best seat, which I did. I was absolutely mortified to think that the bus might fill up with screaming kinds but luckily it was just a bunch of slow moving Seniors like myself. MY FIRST RIDE ON AN OFFICIAL NASA VEHICLE LOOKS LIKE THIS ROCKET IS POWERED BY A FORD F650 ENGINE I HOPE WE CAN REACH THE MOON IN THIS LOOKS LIKE WE HAVE OUR CREW ABOARD AND THIS HERE’S OUR BUS DRIVER GUY SOME OF THE ROCKET ENGINES AND PARTS ARE SO HUGE THEY CANNOT BE TRANSPORTED BY ROAD SO THEY COME IN ON BARGES UP THIS CANAL THIS WAS THE MAIN TEST FACILITY BACK IN IT’S DAY FOR THE BIG SATURN 5 ROCKET ENGINES SPOTTED SOME MILITARY TYPE PERSONEL The bus driver was also the tour guide pointing things out as we drove through a couple security gates into the Space Center proper. There are branches of 5 Universities in here, and the center employs about 5,000 people and it has it’s own infrastructure. Gas stations, restaurants, garages, fire department, medical center, etc. The Stennis Center is the second largest Nasa facility covering a total of 215 square miles. Florida’s Kennedy Space Center covers 230 square miles. HAD TO CLEAR A COUPLE SECURITY GATES THIS FOOTBALL FIELD SIZED ROCKET ENGINE TEST TOWER WAS LAST USED JUST TWO WEEKS AGO AND IT’S BEING EXPANDED THREE OTHER ENGINE TEST FACILITIES The bus tour lasted about 35 minutes and we were back to the Stennis Space Center’s main building. A/C had been going full bore on the bus so when I stepped off out the bus door I was nearly bowled over by the hot Mississippi air. It was a warm walk over to the far end of the parking lot to where the rig was. Kelly had the door and all the windows open with a nice breeze flowing through. She had done a lot of cleaning.
Luckily traffic noise quieted down in Walmart’s parking area and sleep wasn’t a problem. Four other RV’s in the southwest corner of Walmart’s parking lot. A warm comfortable night and nice to not have heat on in our rig to keep warm. Could hear Crickets chirping outside and I liked that. We were in the huge Parkdale Mall complex in Beaumont’s north end and lucky for us not far from I-10.
BIT OF A FOGGY START THIS MORNING ON I-10 EAST
Isn’t it amazing what a good night’s sleep can do and we both woke up feeling a whole lot better than we were feeling when we went to bed. I should probably not be writing posts when I’m tired and cranky. On those days maybe I should just say we had a marvelous day and everything was wonderful.
IT WASN’T TOO LONG BEFORE WE WERE OUT OF TEXAS AND INTO LOUISIANA
BIG BRIDGE OVER THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER
FOG FINALLY LIFTED AND WE HAD US SOME BLUE SKIES AGAIN
I-10 GOES ON FOR MILES AND MILES ABOVE THESE LOUISIANA BAYOUS
STILL SEEMS TO BE A LOT OF FLOODING IN THIS AREA
WONDER HOW MANY ALLIMAGATORS ARE HIDING DOWN THERE UNDER THAT GREEN STUFF
With frogs chirping in the water ditch beside us we pulled out of the Walmart parking lot at 8 a.m. Garmin Gertie had us eastbound on I-10 in less than ten minutes with an accompanying light fog. I was surprised at how light the traffic was on I-10 and that kind of set the pace for the remainder of the day.
Toyed with the idea of taking highway 12 which runs parallel to I-10 on the north side but with the Interstate running along so smoothly we decided to just stick with it. A few construction zones but nothing too serious.
A handy new innovative connector for connecting your water hose to the rig and also a less frustrating connector for those tiny frustrating cable TV connectors can be seen over at Mike’s blog at Phannie and Mae.
I WONDERED IF THIS GUY KNEW HIS BUMPER WAS COMING OFF
Meant to thank readers for suggestions regarding alternative routes around Houston Wednesday. The route Dizzy suggested is the same one I had been looking at. Dizzy lives somewhere east of Bernham but our GPS (Garmin Gertie) took us north up 105 to Navasota. That’s a nice area you live in Dizzy and I liked the homey look of Bernham when we went through and I did leave a reply to your last comment on our blog:))
WELL I GUESS Y’ALL KNOW WHERE WE ARE NOW
Think it was around 10 this morning west of Lafayette Louisiana when we spotted a Cracker Barrel sign. Hadn’t crackled ourselves since heading west late last December so we weren't long in throwing the anchor out for a Crackle Barrel stop. Great breakfast as usual and it wasn’t crowded for a change. Pheebs got a chance to run around on some real grass as well.
YEP IT WAS CRACKER BARREL ALRIGHT
NOT AS HUMID TODAY AND WITH WARM TEMPERATURES ACCOMPANIED BY A COOLING BREEZE IT MADE FOR A PERFECT WEATHER DAY
EVERYTIME WE GO TO CRACKER BARREL WE ALWAYS LEAVE WITH ENOUGH LEFT-OVERS FOR ANOTHER MEAL
It was early afternoon when we began thinking about where to pull in for the night and seeings how the state of Mississippi was just ahead we decided to check out the John C Stennis Space and Mississippi Welcome Center. Luckily they allow overnight parking and have half a dozen RV pull through sites, There’s another area for trucks as well but it’s far enough away to not be a bother, However trucks and cars leaving that area drive right by the RV pull through sites so it can be very noisy whenever a truck rolls by a dozen feet away. Other than that it’s a nice pavement and grass area with shady trees, picnic tables, and garbage receptacles. We might just stay here for a second night, haven’t decided yet.
HEY WHAT THE HECK IS THAT OVER THERE?? TURNS OUT IT’S THE JOHN C STENNIS SPACE CENTER
MISSISSIPPI WELCOME CENTER ON EASTBOUND I-10
WE HAVE US A NICE SCENIC SPOT WITH CRICKTS, FROGS, AND A FEW CHIRPING BIRDS
MISSISSIPPI MUD OUTSIDE OUR DOOR BUT I’VE GOT THE PROBLEM COVERED:))
PICNIC TABLE ON OUR SITE
TO BAD ABOUT THE CENTER’S EXIT ROAD BEING SO CLOSE
To say our Motorhome and Jeep are a huge mess would be putting it extremely mildly. Neither one of those vehicles have ever been so full of salt, desert dust, and road grime as they are right now but today at least I was able to gather up enough energy to clean some of the windows and mirrors on both vehicles.
GROANER’S CORNER:(( Negotiations between union members and their employer were at an impasse. The union denied that their workers were flagrantly abusing the sick-leave provisions set out by their contract. One morning at the bargaining table, the company's chief negotiator held aloft the morning edition of the newspaper, "This man," he announced, "called in sick yesterday!" There on the sports page, was a photo of the supposedly ill employee, who had just won a local golf tournament with an excellent score. A union negotiator broke the silence in the room. "Wow!" he said. "Just think of the score he could have had if he wasn't sick!"
A woman was trying hard to get the catsup to come out of the bottle. During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her four-year-old daughter to answer the phone. "It's the minister, Mommy" the child said to her mother. Then she added, "Mommy can't come to the phone right now. She's hitting the bottle."
Q. Who was the greatest comedian in the Bible? A. Samson. He brought the house down.
A thickening fog began settled in late Tuesday afternoon around 5 o’clock. Can definitely feel moisture in the air. Not to often temperatures come up in the night but it was definitely warmer this morning than last night. Not a pea souper so off we went about 7:40 a.m.
As we rolled out of the Kerrville Rest Area onto I-10 in the drizzly mist the increase in traffic from the past couple days was the difference between night and day. And that traffic just kept up for most of the morning and and our previously peaceful travels simply deteriorated real quick.
THIS BASICALLY SUMS UP OUR MORNING DRIVE
No, thankfully we did not go through Houston so we took the second option and decided to go North around Houston as well as San Antonio. We exited off I-10 at Bourne and immediately became immersed in the areas cramped up morning rush. Somehow managed to get through Bourne heading Northeast but traffic didn’t get any better and we fought it hard all the way to Giddings Texas. Because of the drizzly mist in the air we didn’t get much of a chance to enjoy the Texas Hill Country scenery we were hoping to see. Hills and dales, twists and turns, and on and on it went.
No point in me trying to tell you what highways we took but I can tell you we went through Bourne, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Bastrop, Paige, Giddings, Ledbetter, Brenham, Navasota, Montgomery, Conroe, Cleveland, Moss Hill, and Sour Lake to Beaumont. Some of those were little bergs and easy to get through and some like San Marcos and Conroe were a royal PITA. But we hadn’t got to Cleveland yet and that’s where the day really fell apart for us. Cleveland chewed us up and spit us out. Somewhere in our pre Cleveland journey we decided we would overnight in Cleveland’s Walmart. Well good luck finding that and when we did it was the smallest Walmart parking lot we’ve ever seen and making our way through there was like maneuvering an aircraft carrier up the Bayfield River back home. Plus there were a lot of planted trees with overhanging branches to watch for. Then we saw the sign……No RV Parking!! %#@!!!&** Okay back out onto highway 105 and turned East. About 200 yards later 105 ended at a T-intersection!!!! @%!!&*%
‘I HOPE DAD GETS US OUT OF ALL THIS AWFUL TRAFFIC SOON’
Before Cleveland we had stopped at an easily accessible McDonald in Giddings and took ourselves a half hour break with a couple coffees and a bite. The fog and drizzle had been with us all morning but when we rolled out the east end of Giddings the drizzly fog ended and for the first time we were able to have ourselves a good look at the countryside. Noticed right away how much it looked like our Huron County area back home and with the rolling hills I really liked the area….despite all the miserable traffic we had encountered up to that point. From Giddings roads seemed to be better and with the exception of Cleveland and Conroe (what a traffic zoo that place was) we found the second half of our journey easier that than the first half.
TUCKED IN BEHIND MCDONALDS IN GIDDING TEXAS
A TIRED LITTLE TRAVELER
We had not planned on going as far as Beaumont Texas but after our overnight plans in Cleveland were thwarted we decided to push on to Beaumont and find us a Walmart spot for the night, No Rest Areas along the way and due to recent heavy rains there was a lot of flooding so there were no thoughts of finding a little patch of dirt along the way to pull over. It would have been Stucksville.
AMID TODAYS CALAMITY WE DID SEE SOME PEACEFUL RURAL SCENES
Anyway, just in the nick of time coming into Beaumont Kelly found a Walmart on our laptop and that is where this post is coming to you from. We pulled in here about 4:45 late this afternoon so it was a loooooong and very tiring day for all of us. Oh and to rub a little salt into our traveling woes our dash A/C isn’t working…..and it’s humid here in Beaumont:((
A FEW THINGS SEEN ALONG THE WAY
HOPE THEY’RE NOT PAYING THIS GUY TOO MUCH,,,TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT HIS SIGN >>>
Had it not been for our GPS today guiding us through all those highways and towns we probably would not be here tonight. I don’t know where we’d be. Maybe still hiding out behind McDonalds in Giddings seriously contemplating our whole RV future.
WOULD SAY THIS IS ONE OF THE NOSIEST WALMARTS WE HAVE EVER OVERNIGHTED AT
A LOT OF STANDING WATER IN THIS REGION OF TEXAS
So here’s my Houston advice to myself should we ever happen to pass this way again. Not likely!! I think the best way to get through Houston Texas would be to do it early on a Sunday morning. We find Sunday mornings less stressful with less traffic. The Houston go-around to the North is a looooong one and it has it’s own traffic woes along the way. So as far as stress goes it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other………….
GROANER’S CORNER:(( Have you heard about the guys who drove their pickup truck into a lumberyard? One of them walked in the office and said, "We need some four-by-twos." "You mean two-by-fours, don't you?" the clerk said. "Let me go check," replied the man, and he went back to the truck. "Yeah, I meant two-by-fours," he said, returning a few moments later. "Alright. How long do you need them?" The customer paused for a minute to think and then finally said, "I'd better go check." After awhile he returned to the office and said, "A long time. We're building a house."
Summer vacation was over and the teacher asked Little Johnny about his family trip. "We visited my grandmother in Minneapolis, Minnesota." The teacher asked, "Good, can you tell the class how you spell that?" Little Johnny thought for a few seconds and said, "Actually, we went to Ohio."
In Monday night’s post I guessed there were 20+ RV’s parked in the Fort Stockton Walmart lot. Dressed warm against a cool wind I later took a walk around and counted exactly 21 rigs. Seems to be a popular place for traveling RV folks.
OUR BELOVED SOUTHWEST MOUNTAINS ARE LONG BEHIND US BUT WE STILL HAVE TEXAS BUTTES AND MESAS
ACCORDING TO THE WEATHER REPORT IT LOOKS LIKE WE ARE GOING TO BE UNDER CLOUDY SKIES FOR AWHILE
Despite the number of RV’s close by with the potential for noisy generators all night it never happened and we had a restful sleep. With a Walmart gas bar on site we took advantage of that to top up our tank first thing this morning. Swinging up onto I-10 East we swung around to the other side of Fort Stockton and popped into a Love’s gas bar and topped up our propane tank as well. It was about 8:30 when we hauled ourselves back up onto I-10 and away we went.
I’m sure folks on the East Coast would find it hard to believe if I told them there are many times on I-10 when I can look far ahead or behind and not see another vehicle. It’s one of the beauties of the West. Way less traffic, way less people.
NOW THIS IS HOW I LIKE TO SEE AN INTERSTATE…..’EMPTY’
SURE WAS NICE SEEING GREEN TREES ALONG THE ROAD AGAIN
AT THIS REST AREA WEST OF SONORA KELLY BREWED UP SOME COFFEE AND FIXED US A COUPLE HOT DOGS…..HEY McDONALDS YOU GOT NUTHIN ON US GUYS
A high thin cloud cover diffused our morning Sunlight and ahead we could see the leading edge of a large cloud mass across the horizon. With an East wind a-blowin we knew we would soon be under it. Sooner came later and it was as if someone had turned a switch and dimmed down the big light in the sky. Temperatures dropped and the day took on a solemn look. Other than that it was a fine driving day. Dry pavement, no rain, and very little traffic. Groovy:))
Toyed with the idea of running up through Fredericksburg but the idea didn’t seem to catch on with either one of us. We’ve been up that way before. Kelly read some good reviews about a Rest Area east of Kerrville Texas so we set our sights on that and we rolled in there around 1:30 this afternoon and shut er down. We sure haven’t been traveling the big distances like we used to but that’s Okay we’re not in a big hurry. Must say I am enjoying some fresh new scenery for a change and that is working out just fine for me.
GROANER’S CORNER:(( A small two-seater Cessna 152 plane crashed into a cemetery early this afternoon in central Poland. Polish search and rescue workers have recovered 300 bodies so far and expect that number to climb as digging continues into the evening.
Why does the bride always wear white? Because it's good for the dishwasher to match the cooker and the fridge.
Knock Knock Who's there? Oslo! Oslo who! Oslo down, whats the hurry!
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