Green Jays, Tamales, Texas Brush Country, Sabal Palmetto forests, “javelina rats”, Cotton rats, Wood rat nest, Ebony Tree seed pods, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Estero Llano Grande State Park, Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Nuevo Progreso, Rocket Ranch, Sabal Palm Sanctuary
I know we are far enough south as I am finding ads for Tamales on Facebook! We arrived at the RDLPSP just ahead of a cold front and spent the first three or four days in cold and cloudy conditions. Our first impression is we like it here, three host and a young woman is our supervisor, and she is very easy to get along with. I have read about “Texas Brush Country” and this little park seems to fit that description. Along with eight miles of trails here that wind around a resaca of the Rio Grand. <Resaca: the dry channel or the former often marshy course of a stream>.
After exploring the park we have found there to be a shortage of birds other than Green Jays and yard broke Turkeys. Must be the dry season as the resaca is for the most part dry. The few wet areas have a few duck and a few Cara-cara’. But for the most part a very interesting place for a day tour. We found ourselves out an about the area visiting other parks to feed our Birding interest. Brownsville has a lot of resacas and if you find one with water there is most likely birds around it.
Spent and afternoon riding around the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Where we found a group of Alligators that made our day.
Estero Llano Grande State Park has a large area of ponds and has a number of wader birds. We also have explored the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge witch also has ponds and water birds. We have also checked out the Sabal Palm Sanctuary. Nice old Mansion and several mails of trails around a forest along the Rio Grand.
We wondered into the Rocket Ranch one day looking for birds and found this really unique campground right on the Rio Grand River. If you have a Fully Self Contained RV and understand the process of Dry Camping this place is very nice. They have a nice web site and if you don’t have a rig they have Classics little Rigs setting on the banks of the river you can rent. Just a few miles from the beach and Space X. Tell Maddie that Lois and George sent you.
US90, Breaux Bridge, Chez Jacqueline – French restaurant, TX290, Somerville TX, TX77, Magnolia Beach, Victoria, Resaca De La Palma State Park
Another tradition is Breaux Bridge and Scrimp Po’boy, but this year we came on a holiday. So our usual shop was closed but we found Chez Jacqueline Café open. Great Coffee and Doberge Cake and a great Breakfast the next morning.
As we came by Houston we took a detour to visit our friends that have retired in a little town called Somerville TX. Dick and Lois set us up in a pull through site with electric and water and just ten foot from Ms Lois’ kitchen. I put on four pounds in two days!! We took them out to one of the many cafes in the area near their place, that was quite an experience in itself. We had a great time with them and plan to make this little piece of Texas a regular stop over.
Made it back to our favorite beach site, Magnolia Beach. Another tradition we don’t pass by. After the swamps of Louisiana you have to have your sunglass’ when on the beach. Wind was cold this year so we continued to move on south to Brownsville. Took a gig at the Resaca De La Palma State Park. Hoping we can work on our birding photography here.
Café Du Monde, Fontainebleau State Park, Slidell, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Covington, Lake Pontchartrain, Camp Salman Nature Park, Tammany Trace
We have had another wonderful month at Fontainebleau State Park. December has proven to be cool and wet so we are head south again. The park has some wonderful old oaks and has given us a chance to work on our landscape photography.
It took us two days to cover the Tammany Trace bike trail but it was well worth it. On the north end of the trail are two small towns Abita Springs and Covington. Great little areas to explore on a sunny afternoon. In the middle of the trace is Mandeville a town on Lake Pontchartrain with lots of antebellum homes, shops and restaurants. Then to the east end of the trace is Slidell and Camp Salman Nature Park. Great view along the Bayou Liberty water way. O have I mentioned Cafe Du Monde? Chicory Coffee and Beignets since 1862. Another tradition we have to indulge when we are near New Orleans.
We where hiking on Boy Scout Road in the Big Marsh WLR and from a viewing stand overlooking Lake Pontchartrain we could see New Orleans in the mist of a rainy morning. If you’re familiar with the area you can get your bearings looking on the left side of the photo is the Crescent City Connection Bridge.
Spent our last week with a visit from my Sister and her Husband. Had a great time showing them around the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain and some of our favorite places to visit when we are in Louisiana.
Village Church-Lutheran, Tammany Trace Bike Trail, Crawfish Mounds, New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain, Middendorf’s, Mandeville, Madisonville, Covington,
Found our spot at FBSP and we are back in the south with the Live Oaks and Spanish Moss. The trees never seem to stop being amazing. We took a day off and set out riding our bikes on the Tammany Trace Trail and found the little towns of Covington and Abita Springs. Fun afternoon exploring the streets and the trail. I would also recommend the Mandeville lake front and most of the town is very nice for bike riding. Several little bars and restaurants.
The Park is setting on Lake Pontchartrain, and has very nice sandy beaches. On a sunny afternoon the park is full of amateur photographers setting up there props around the trees taking pictures of there clients. There are several miles of trails and a board walk out over the swamp. They offer cabins on the lake and they have Yurts that are for the very basic campers. One such basic site you can only get to by canoe.
Twenty five miles from New Orleans this is a pretty good spot to hang out while visiting the city. Lots of sea food in the area. And I have to promote Middendorf’s Catfish. They have the original location on Hwy 55, at Akers and a new location in Slidell. Don’t miss it!
MS 15, Philadelphia, MS 19, Meridian, MS 11, Dunn’s Falls Park, Hattiesburg, Mississippi Blues Trail – Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll, MS 98, Columbia, MS 575, Progress, Osyka-Progress RD, Osyka, MS 51, Amite City, Joyce WMA Swamp Walk Akers, Middendorf’s Manchac
Fall in the Pine Belt
Weather seems to be following us south. After a day in any one location we find gloomy and rainy weather to come. If you know My Lois you know we are still smiling looking forward to warmer weather tomorrow. Stopped by Dunn’s Falls Park, they have a water fall and an old mill that we found to be nice to take some photos and visit the grounds for an hour or so. We know we are south again when we see “Middendorf’s”. If we are with in a hundred miles of this place we cant resist there Catfish. So after we took our “Anytime we are at Middendorfs” we walked the Joyce WMA Swamp Walk. First year for us there was water in the swamp.
The Old Days
MS 9, Ackerman MS, MS 15, Headwaters Trail, Cabin Lake Trail, Chata Trail, Noxubee Hills Outer Loop Trail,
Found a great little campground at the Tombigbee National Forest just three miles south of Ackerman, MS.
Had big plans for riding bikes, there are lots of bike trails here in this forest, but with gloomy weather we had decided to keep warm and comfortable watching the weather in Missouri having snow and we are chilling in northern Mississippi with sixty degree weather. While waiting out Hurricane Zeta in New Orleans.
MS 8, MS 9, Eupora, Natchez Trace, Jeff Bushy Campground
Making our way south we crossed the Natchez Trace and pulled up to the Jeff Bushy campground. If you haven’t been here it is a wonderful pine forest. Did the Little Mountain trail here, its very nice. Watching guys on motorcycles come in on a rainy afternoon and next day setting at picnic table in there rain coats eating breakfast reminded me of many days in boot camp standing up to a table in the woods in pack and in the rain trying to eat my eggs before they got completely submerged in rain water. Its been rainy and gotten cool here so not much talk about. Will add more next week.
Leaving out of Missouri we found ourselves in rainy and gloomy weather. So we didn’t waste anytime getting south of Memphis. Where the weather was wonderful and sunny. We then got off of the big road and found a little stretch of MS 315 just east of Batesville, and headed south to Water Valley. What a short but wonderful drive. Passed by Coffeeville and found ourselves a great campground on the edge of Lake Grenada. Every since I discovered Grenada in the 80’s, I have always had to stop in this region just to hear the girls talk with a southern bell flavor. We got ourselves a campsite at the North Abutment COE campground. Great spot and nice people with the “Southern Draw”.
We also found the Mississippi Blues Trail while riding the town of Grenada, and the homes of Magic Slim and Magic Sam. Weather was great for our time here, 60’s at night and 80’s in daytime. We did a long day bike ride to the town of Grenada. Also went on what turned out to be a five mile hike and would up with Lois falling in a huge hole next to a creek we where trying to cross. But the Lord was with us and only found ourselves exhausted and Lois has a swollen knee. Seems the more adventures we get the more we realize where not kids anymore.
The first frost has hit Missouri and reminded us we don’t want to stay here. Headed to New Orleans for the rest of this year. We have had another long month with Mr. Bill and the Crew at Lake of the Ozarks State Park. It has been a great time but the longer we are on the road the more we like moving more than setting. Haven’t rode our bikes this month but plan to get back on them in New Orleans. We are still taking pictures and having a great time with Photography.
At the campground we found the Deer are very friendly and if they think you will feed them will come right up to you. Since we didn’t ride our bikes here we found several hiking trails in the area. The Haha Tonka State Park has several great trails, the Castle ruins, a Spring and a Natural Bridge trail that where great. We also found the Lake Ozark State Park to have several trails we liked, one of which was the Rocky Top Trail in Osage Beach. The Swinging Bridges area is also worth a visit.
We also found the ruins of an old church and a Bank building over looking the Osage River in Tuscumbia. Definitely worth a look.
Wouldn’t bored you with all our photos but we found a lot of neat stuff to take pictures of in the area. Photography is another great pass time we have discovered with our travels.
I hope to get off my buff and start writing more post now that we are moving again.
Well we are on the road again. Over the last five months we have taken the time to reorganize the basement and remodeled the shower. Said good by to our utility shed with Chest Freezer, Full size Fridge, Washer/Dryer, forty gallon Hot Water Heater and the conventional Shower. It don’t take much to make Full Timers feel like there Living Large.
Need to get a few Doctor things done, fix a broken windshield, inspections and visit Vista Grande a couple times so we will be here for September.