Lake Mead N.R.A.

Lake Mead N.R.A.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Making it back to Florida

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. My fellow bloggers know how it is, the further behind you get on the blog the harder it is to sit down and catch up!
Okay so let’s catch up. We left Sulphur Lousiana on April 10th and traveled with Paul and Paula to Mandeville, Lousiana and Fontainebleau State Park . We weren’t able to get two sites together as we arrived without reservations. In fact, we were separated by about 4-5 sites. Supposedly there were only four sites available when we arrived. However, on-line there were over 30 sites available the day before! We paid $20 a night for three nights with 50 amp. electric, water and WiFi. However, there wasn’t a sewer hook-up.

Fontainebleau State Park site 50
We spent three nights in Mandeville which gave us a chance to visit with my brother, his wife, niece and nephews. We also spent a day wandering the streets of the New Orleans French Quarter with Paul and Paula.

New Orleans French Quarter
Cafe Du Monde
Moving along, we traveled to Milton Fla. and Avalon Landing RV Park for another 3 nights. We paid about $39 per night minus a 10% GoodSam discount for waterfront sites with full hook-ups and WiFi. The park is small but beautiful and we’ve been here twice before. We had reservations so we were able to get two sites together. While there, we were able to visit with our dear friends, Rocky and Gloria and Paul got to catch up with an old Coast Guard buddy.  

Rocky and Gloria enjoying the afternoon with us.

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t fully cooperating as we had a lot of wind but, we were still able to enjoy the beautiful beaches. The bugs were biting in the evening and were a fitting welcome, back to the State of Florida.

Paula and Paul on the windy Pensacola Beach
Our next move was to the Silver Star Ranch, home of our dear friends, George and Bonnie. Paul and Paula traveled with us for the last time on April 16th (more on that later). Just two miles from the ranch, my TST Tire Pressure Monitor System went off alerting me that the right rear tire on the fifth wheel was loosing air and down to 89 PSI. (cold PSI should be 110). I continued traveling slowly on the county road to the ranch as Paul and Paula kept an eye on my leaking tire. Once on the ranch we got Paul and Paula parked and then moved my rig over to the equipment barn where George removed the tire after loosening the lugs with his air impact wrench.  We discovered a large metal object stuck in the middle of the tread.

Paul and Paula's rig at the Silver Star Ranch.
Paul and I loaded up the Goodyear RST G-rated tire into his truck along with the spare and headed to a local tire shop in Bronson, Fl. The shop repaired the tire and I had them swap the wheels between the spare and the repaired tire thus, making the repaired tire the spare. This was at a cost of $45.
Back at the ranch, we replaced the tires and got parked alongside George and Bonnie’s home. The timing couldn’t have been better with regard to the tire issue and arriving at the ranch.

Sunrise at the Silver Star Ranch.  Our rig next to the house.

The horses, Prince, Ruger and Doc.
We spent two beautiful days on the ranch with Paul and Paula before they had to leave us and head north. We had been traveling companions off and on since July of last year and we already miss them. We've become great friends and we plan to see them again down the road. It’s a lot more comforting traveling with others as opposed to being out on the road alone. However, we were doing it alone before we met and we’ll get used to doing it alone once again.
Paul and Paula ready to leave us.
After Paul and Paula left, we spent a few more days on the ranch and called around the Jacksonville/ St. Augustine area looking for a campground that could take us for a month or more. Our plan was to spend some time with our daughter and son-in-law. Our first choice was Stage Coach RV Park. So, Joyce called but was told that our Boxers would not be welcomed as they are on “the aggressive dog list”. We were shocked to hear that knowing that our boxers could only lick someone to death! So after several more calls we found a campground, Frog Hollow Court Mobile/ RV Park that would take us for a month with our Boxers. However, there was a problem with the site as the previous occupant got his motorhome stuck in the sand trying to pull out. After a few days, the park called us and told us the site was ready as they had brought in coquina rock and limestone to fill in the site. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Travel Day to Sulphur LA and Sabine N.W.R.

Easter Sunday, April 8, we decided was a good day to make a run at traveling through Austin and Houston. We figured that we would have the best chance of avoiding traffic and thus smooth sailing.  So we got going at about 8:30. We said our good-byes to Les and Sherry and thanked them for our wonderful time at their park, Cottonwood Creek RV Park. I must encourage those that read this blog to try their park if you're in the Austin, Hill Country Area. If you like quiet, small parks with a friendly social atmosphere, then you will feel at home. 

Because of Easter Sunday, the traffic was minimal as we traveled along 290 and then 71 to the interstate and through Houston. Having experienced pulling the rig through Houston a couple of years ago on a weekday, I didn't want to relive it!
We made good time and arrived at A+ Motel and RV Park in Sulphur Louisiana after a brief fuel stop where I paid $3.99 for diesel.  We arrived and got checked in around 3:00. We paid $56 for two nights with a Good Sam discount to include 50 amps, full hook-ups and cable in a pull through site #11. Paul and Paula got the site next to us, site 12. We have been to this RV park before so check out the blog of our first visit for more pictures. We tried fishing in the small pond with no luck and then settled in for the night.
On our previous visit we had enjoyed the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge Wetland Walkway and wanted Paul and Paula to experience walking amongst alligators in the wild.
So, the next morning, April 9th we took a trip down to the walkway. 
Sabine NWR Wetland Walkway

We estimated a 5 ft. American Alligator

Another 5 Ft. American Alligator
We enjoyed the mile long walk but were forced to apply liberal amounts of bug spray as we were almost immediately attacked by mosquitos! The wetlands surround the walkway and the gators can be seen in the water or close to the walkway on the banks. After viewing several small alligators, we jumped back into the Jeep and took a ride down the Creole Nature Trail to check out the beach. We ended the outing with a late lunch at a local restaurant treating ourselves to Boudin Balls, chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, collards and beans! Afterwards it was time for naps and relaxing by the pool!
The next day will find us continuing East to Fontainebleau State Park, Mandeville, LA.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hamilton Pool Redux

Cottonwood Creek RV Park
Texas Blue Bonnets
It's been a sad a traumatic week for our traveling friends, Paul and Paula. One of their two dogs the pug, Zeva suddenly and unexpectedly became ill. They took her back and forth to the local veterinarians and then to a veterinary neurologist 52 miles away who diagnosed the small 2 year old pug with Pug Encephalitis. Against the odds they tried a medicine regime which only worked for a couple of days. Soon it became evident that they had done all that could be done for her and the best course of action was to put the dog to rest. 
Kramer and Zeva
Sheri and Les the owners of Cottonwood Creek RV Park, offered to have them bury Zeva in the "back forty". So we dug a small grave which Paul and Paula decorated with rocks. A sudden sad and tragic end for Zeva "the Diva".  Kramer will have to fill the void.
Today we tried to put the tragedy of the past few days behind us and visit one of our favorite places, Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve. It was a bit of an overcast and humid day with storms expected but it was still beautiful. This was our third visit in three years to this county park and we always enjoy it.

Paula and Paul

We had a great time at Hamilton Pool and the short hike out to the Pedernales River. We worked up an appetite and afterwards drove in to Bee Cave for an Italian lunch at Mondolo's. When we got home, we experienced a brief rain and small hail storm. At the same time, Dallas was hit with one or more tornadoes!
Things are really winding down for the summer here at the park. More guests have moved on and the place is looking pretty empty. We plan to hit the road on Easter Sunday, April 8th and head east towards Florida with a few stops along the way. In a few weeks we will have to say good-bye to Paul and Paula who will continue east with us before turning north towards Massachusetts from Florida.