Florida to Texas

Sent on June 21, 2015

I just got your email a little while ago, and was kicking myself, when I went back to see what the last update you had was. How was your caravan? Lovely, I hope? Relaxing? Sunshiny?

Since the below email is a bit dated, now, I’ll tell you, it leaves off with Youngest and I in Pensacola, while DH flew off to work. We ordered pizza and took lots of bird photos and enjoyed some down time there, and when he returned, we swam in the site’s teeny tiny pool.

After Pensacola, we drove through Alabama and just as we arrived in Mississippi we ran into engine trouble. We were crossing a river over a not very steep bridge when the RV just…lost power and started spewing black smoke. We managed to just get across and into a rest stop on the other side, where we arranged for a tow to the nearest RV repair place in Moss Point, Mississippi. We didn’t expect to stay in Mississippi, but well, the universe had other plans, apparently!

We stayed there for two nights, plugged in to power but not enough – we use a 50 amp power plug, and they had us set up with adapters and into the wall socket in the garage, which was, I think, 20 amp. So we could only run one air conditioner and if you forgot and plugged something in or tried the microwave, the circuit would go, and DH would have to go in and flip the breaker. It was then that we started daydreaming about a hotel, but I do admire DH’s stubbornness, and well, it would have cost money, and we weren’t sure how much the repairs would be. Turned out we only had faulty O2 sensors, and they were fairly easy to replace, we just had to wait for the parts, which is why we spent two days in the lot of Mike’s Truck and Trailer repair shop.

The positives – we borrowed a truck from the owner (who was very accommodating – people in the south are just so darned nice), and went to a barbecue place called, “The Shed,” that had an outdoor seating area. Which meant Milo got to come, and beg for scraps under the table…much to DH’s chagrin. The food was amazing! Barbecue beef brisket that was so tender it almost melted in your mouth! At night, the small marshy ditches on either side of the road near us provided us with a cacophony of frogs. They were very amusing – they sound like little tiny bicycle horns. We looked them up and determined they were green tree frogs. You can hear them here:

http://www.enature.com/fieldguides/detail.asp?recnum=AR0015

Now just imagine about 500 of those all at once. Milo was very nervous about going pee when we walked him due to the amount of noise going on out there.

After we got our parts and were back in ship shape condition, we headed off for Sam Houston Jones State Park, in Louisiana. We spent two nights there, and the first night, as we were setting up, I saw a weird cat jump across a small creek in the trees, and when I was trying to describe it to DH, he said, “Sarah. That was a bobcat. Did you get a photo?” No. No I didn’t, of course, because I was just staring at it trying to figure out what it was! So silly. It was a lovely state park, though it rained a lot while we were there. While in Louisiana we went to a pie shop called, “Anna’s Pies,” which was listed online as having the best pies in Louisiana. I called to see if they were open, and an older lady answered, and said, “This is Anna.” When we arrived, it looked like a little warehouse type building, and inside was a cross between a very large kitchen and a living room, with Anna sitting in a recliner with an apron on. Talk about your home cooking! The pies were excellent – we had lemon, blackberry and apple, but only tiny individual pies. I guess you need to call ahead and order the full size ones. We also stopped at a place for something called “Boudin Balls,” because their sign proclaimed they were “the best” cracklins and boudin balls (lots of that, as well as the “world famous” claim on billboards on this trip!). The cracklins were just fried up pork fat, which DH loved. Boudin is a pork sausage, and Boudin balls are pork sausage covered in a batter and deep fried. The crisp batter was quite spicy, so DH ended up eating most of those too. I suspect our continued food tourism will impact our waistlines if we go on at that pace. I suspect it already might be.

From Louisiana, we went to Texas and stayed at Huntsville State Park, where it rained almost every day. It was absolutely beautiful there, though, and I finally got some photos of cardinals as well as some of the many ravens wandering about and clustering on the grass in little raven gangs. I managed a photo of a red headed woodpecker and Youngest and I both took way too many photos of the little bunnies who seemed not to care about human presences at all. We could have stayed longer – there were so many trails – but the rain got old, and we were starting to track Tropical Storm Bill, which was flooding parts of Texas, including Huntsville. So we moved just a bit up the road to an RV park in a town called Bryan, Texas. It was another boring RV park – paved pads, all landscaped, another teeny pool, and the guy who ran it was the most stereotypical Texan ever – and quite possibly one of the nicest people we’ve met. He told us, “People say all Texans ride horses and own guns, and one of those things isn’t true. Not every one of us has a horse!” He recommended a steak house a short walk from the park, so DH and I went out and had a date night on our own at the place. DH ordered a small Tbone steak and was presented with a steak larger than his head. I had the meat loaf, and it lasted me through that dinner and two more meals, it was so big. And it was quite cheap, too!

From that RV park we went on to the I35 RV Park, which is right on the highway, but boasted large fields for the dog to run in and a free made to order breakfast. How could we resist? We’re there now. It’s pretty close to Waco, Texas. There are goats here, chickens, a lovely pool, and a couple of ponds. Milo went jumping towards one last night when we walked him and didn’t realize it was water – you’ve never seen a dog turn around and jump out of anything so fast! Then he rolled himself all over the grass in protest. So we had to take him to the “Dog Washing Station” and clean him up, as the ponds don’t smell very nice, with all the swampy stuff around them.

We seemed to miss the worst of the storm – we’ve been watching the weather, and we just skated right along the west edge of it. Whew! It’s been thundering a bit today, and we had a heavy but brief rainfall earlier.

After this we move on to Fort Worth, near Dallas, Texas, and DH will be flying out from there to New York for a race. Youngest and I will be staying at a park called “Treetops RV park.”

It’s all been going well. We got some books for Youngest – a Stephen Hawkings book to read, a study guide for his high school diploma, and books on psychology and philosophy, his favorite subjects. But the Stephen Hawkings book is the one he’s loving the most. He’s also turned into quite the shutterbug – he finally uploaded his photos to his computer, and there were 1500 pictures on the camera!! For DH’s birthday we picked him up a newer handheld Canon camera, and he’s been taking more photos as well.

Take care, and again – so sorry for not keeping you updated!!

xo

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