Monday, December 31, 2012

Saturday, Dec. 29 and Sunday, Dec., 2012

rest of Friday.  Had more neighbors come over to say hi...nice welcome. 

Saturday, Dec. 29

Cleaned house, did laundry, Jerry did some research on the propane brick heater (why it's hard to light) and got fuel.  Back to the rig and put everything away.  Made sloppy joe's for supper.

Ron and Diana, Jerry's cousin and wife, arrived here about 5:30 PM!  Yippee.  A marathon drive from the Quad Cities.  Had welcome happy hour, dinner (including pumpkin pie - thank you Diana) and a fun visit.  So glad we're going to be together for a few days.

Sunday, Dec. 30

Need to deliver the boxes and quilts they brought with them that were gathered in the Quad Cities to be given to the Ft. Sam Houston Warrior and Family Support Center for wounded Afghan and Iraqui warriors.  We loaded the goodies into Ron's truck and took off about 11:30.  Found the right building after wandering around the huge base area (and we were only on the medical part of the base.) 

Received a warm welcome from Jennifer the director's assistant and Eve, one of the 60+ volunteers they have.  After showing them two of the 12 quilts which had been donated, Eve gave us a tour of the facility.  Prior to this 12,000' building being donated ($5 million plus $1 million in furnishings) they were seeing to the emotional and social needs of those being treated in a 1200' room in the medical center.  Thanks to an area construction company they now have state-of-the art family/cozy/warm area to be in.  This is for both the warriors and their families with places to watch tv, converse, cook together or just have a snack, children's play area, extensive library of books, video games, do crafts, a man-cave for big screen movies and tv shows and a gorgeous garden, outdoor play area for children, grill area for picnics and courtyard with misters and big-screen tv for outdoor gatherings.  WOW - they got input from many individuals before designing it..and it is so awesome.

After this, we drove to Gruene, TX (near New Braunfels) to our favorite restaurant, The Gristmill.  It was packed but we got a seat in the outdoor heated area right away.  Enjoyed a drink and awesome food.  After dinner checked out Gruene Hall (the oldest continuing running dance hall in TX).  They had live music but was just too crowded for us.  Headed home.  Jerry went over to see our next door neighbosr, Kenny and Carmen, who took after our lot when we're not around.  I did a quick hello and headed home to rest...still coughing but only when I'm talking, eating and drinking...which is pretty much most of the time unless I'm by myself...LOL!  A wonderful day!  Still chilly here, but we're coping just fine.

Sue and Diana showing them a quilt.

Eva, one of the volunteers accepting the quilt

The huge fireplace in the great-room.

The plaque on the fireplace designed by one of the warriors.  He has since gone on to be a very successful artist.

The entrance to the facility

Jennifer and Eva, volunteers

Front porch

Another view of the greatroom

Part of the tour was this hallway with all the volunteer's pictures

Part of the craft area is a mosaic workshop.  This was designed for burn victims and has been a very popular activity.  Wow - some awesome talent displayed!

Grill area



Ron and Diana at the Gristmill

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Thurs 12/27 & Fri 12/28

Thursday, 12/27

One of the four ferries running today

It was so windy even this pelican had a hard time flying into the wind to fish.

These are really huge boats that hold a lot of vehicles.

We're preparing to board the one on the right as the one on the left just filled up before us.

Made our way through Galveston.  Lots of huge homes along the way and a cruise ship docked at the end of one street

Stopped about 5 pm in Hollettsville, TX a small town.  Parked in the lot for the Benevenuto Italian Grill and Steakhouse.  Went in and had a lovely dinner and asked permission to stay overnight in their lot.  No problem.  It was a tad noisy from truck traffic, but didn't bother me any. 
Friday, December 28

Continued on small roads in TX towards our lot north of San Antonio.  Went through Shiner, home of Shiner Brewery (Shiner Boch is one of fave's.)  but we didn't stop by.  Seemed like a lovely small town with pretty churches and a beautiful city party all decorated for Christmas and with a large nativity. 
Made it to New Braunfels - Camping World to dump our tanks about 12:30 pm.  Talked to a couple of gals.  One works for State Farm as an Ins. Adjuster and was saying how many areas they drove to in their RV to do adjusting....way too many disasters.
When they are at home in Kerrville, they come once a week to work at CW to clean out the tanks of used RVs they purchased for resale.  They have a machine called Total Wash or something like that which uses a power washer to clean the tanks so the sensors inside the tank reflect the true status of how full the tank is. 
Arrived at our Little Ranch lot about 2:30 pm.  Decided our cleared area isn't large enough to easily navigate around with our larger rig, so called Jan and Ken and got permission to stay on their empty lot next door (which is larger and all cleared and for sale.)  Jo and Pete, neighbors, came over to greet us and then we got settled in.  Was a beautiful sunny day with high of 62.  So nice to see the sun after so many gray, cloudy days. 

I am so grateful that today I finally am feeling more like myself after two sinus infections.  Like crawling out of a hole after being foggy for 5 weeks.  Thank you, Lord!  Hope it continues.

Crossed over onto Galveston, Island on one of the four huge ferries running this am.  They have two ferry docks on each side - very busy port.  Watched huge oil tankers and humongous container ships plying their way up and down Galveston Bay. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tuesday, Dec. 25 and Wed. Dec 26

Tuesday - Merry Christmas.  Very windy - 30 mpr gusts.  We were going to head west and find a nice restaurant for dinner.  Tornado watch, high wind advisory.  Think we will stay put and watch the pelicans feed.

My day started very interestingly.  Spilled part of a cup of coffee on the kitchen counter and while trying to hurry to mop it up, spilled a half-glass of water.  Egads.  Then a while later, got up from my chair and my left leg was numb...should have stayed in bed.  Jerry was a good nurse and brought me ice, etc.  It was better by afternoon.

We rocked and rolled in the rv but were cozy and fine.  Still in the 70's but a cold front is causing this rucus and it's going to turn chilly.  Finally by 3 PM the sun came out and the winds diminished with the sun setting. 

Wednesday, Dec. 26   
Took off for parts west about 11 AM. On highway 82 in the very SW part of LA.  In Cameron, LA on the LA/TX border at the Gulf, it's interesting to see huge government buildings and high schools up on stilts.  We took the free (55 and up - otherwise $1 for vehicles) ferry across the Sabine River into TX.
We're first in line as soon as these trucks unload from the ferry.
While on the ferry, the man in the pickup next to us started talking.  He told us that the reason the water level dropped 5' overnight in the bayou where we were parked the last few days was the cold front pulled it out into the gulf.  Never heard of that - will have to google it later.  He also said to watch for pink dolphins in this area...????  Never heard of them...Didn't see any...was he pulling our legs? 

 As we're driving along the coast, we can look out into the gulf and see 11 oil platforms way out.  Had quite the head wind so kept the speed at 55.  Stopped for the night at the end of the Bolivar Peninsula at the Ferry Crossing.  Will cross over onto Galveston Island in the morning.

The gulf shore in TX

A new bird for my list  but what is it?  Some kind of heron?

A ship near Port Arthur

Busy river

Example of thousands of stilt houses along the gulf coast in TX - on our way to Galveston on Bolivar Peninsula.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Monday, Dec. 24, 2012

 Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012 was a travel day.  Got on the road about noon and traveled Hwy 90 west.  Through miles of messy timber, then acres of dockyards, boat-building areas and oil-platform manufacturing.  Then the landscape changed into sugar cane fields and homes on stilts since we were as low as -54' below sea level.  Clouds hung low and the humidity equaled the temps - probably mid-70's. 


Rice fields

One of the many bayous in this part of the world

Sugar cane ready to be harvested

Stopped around 3 PM in Iberia for lupper - small Seafood Connection diner with 5 tables, but very busy even at that time of the day.  Obviously a local hangout.  (Had tried 3 other seafood restaurants listed on our Nuvi but they were all closed.)  Glad we came to this one, though as the food was exellent, home-made and not expensive.  Jerry had homemade onion rings and a shrimp po-boy.  I had the grilled shrimp salad and it probably had 50 small shrimp on it - grilled in cajun spices - yummm. 

Stopped at the Rac-Trak station to top off our tank at $3.59/gal...and especially since we were heading into no-man's land.  J got the first $15 free as somehow that much was on the pump when he started pumping!  Never had that happen before, but we'll take the 4+ gallons. 

Then the scenery were flooded rice fields (Iberia is home of a rice-processing plant which we toured last time we were in this area.)  Thousands of small black birds were in the fields having a feast.

About 6 pm - getting dark - need to find a place to park.  Stumbled on a boat launch area adjacent to a wild-life nature refuge.  No signs not to park here, so we got set up.  We're right at the curve of a large bayou.  And just a few feet away is the gravel entrance to the nature refuge.  Didn't need to cook since we had lunch/supper so late yesterday afternoon.

One of the many bridges over rivers, canals and bayous

Sugar cane harvesting equipment

Monday, December 24, 2012

Another foggy, humid morning, but I'm not complaining (no frost, snow or cold!)  About 9 am got my water, camera and took off down the gravel road towards the nature refuge.  Found a family fishing about half-way down.  They were from around here, obviously Acadians, and were very friendly.  She was trying to get crabs to crawl into her basket and he was fishing for catfish or redfish.  (He used mullet which he caught in the pond across the road for bait) and she was using some kind of nasty-sounding part of a pig for bait for the crab.)   The lady explained that no-one should go hungry around here as there is an abundance of seafood and fish.  She would take the crab meat that she harvests and make a stew or similar dish.

About a half-mile down to the end of the road, I found two men fishing... totally different techniques.  They had shrimp nets that they would fling into the water, wait about a minute, then haul them in.  Small fish and shrimp would then be dumped into a large plastic bucket.  The other man was using a fishing pole to catch blue crabs.  He showed me how to tell the difference between a male and female crab - the markings on their underside are different.  They come from about 100 miles away - up near Lafayette about once a week to fish here.

Got to see my first Roseate Spoonbill - not too close up, but did get a photo.  Lots of blue heron, white egrets, Brown and American White pelicans and cormorants.  A few ducks and nondescript birds also inhabit the area.  I did NOT encounter an alligator though they are around this area.  Thank heavens!  I dreamed about running into an alligator on the gravel road last night...Egads. 

Roosevelt Nature Refuge

My roseate spoonbill

Egret and cormorants fishing

Pelicans fishing at the inlet

The inlet into the bayou from the big lake.


Blue crab

Pelican scratching his neck!  LOL

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A week has passed.

  December 17-20

Well it's been an interesting week since I blogged last.  We did absolutely nothing Monday - Wednesday.  I was still suffering with a headache and coughing and Jerry was just keeping me company.

Thursday, December 21 I rested a bit so we could go to the 16th Annual Spencer Bohren concert at Snug Harbor.  (The main reason we came to NOLA in the first place.)  Had bought our tickets 12/1 so were set.  Took a different bridge over the Mississippi River - $1 toll (Crescent City Bridge) and it was jammed with rush hour traffic.  However, we left early because we knew it would be busy.  Arrived (after a few scenic mis-calculations) on Esplanade - heading south.  What an amazing neighborhood (think we were probably in Fouberg Marigny).  Low overhanging live oak trees, narrow streets, amazing NOLA style homes with front porches all decorated.  Mansions with huge Christmas trees all lit, columns wrapped with red ribbons, lots of colorful wreaths with baubles on doors and windows.  I can't begin to describe them...but trust me - amazing.  Then turned onto Frenchmen Street (home of many restaurants, jazz clubs and poky places)  Would have loved to have arrived early to time, I guess.  We had never been in this neighborhood which is right to the East of the FQ.  Fascinating. 

Amazingly we found a place to park just across the street from Snug Harbor.  I was glad as it was only 5:30 PM and the wind was already chilly.  Got a wonderful seat in the restaurant section right in the window so we could people watch.  The decor was festive and low-lit with tiny blue candleholders on each table.  We had time to enjoy our adult beverage and dinner as the doors for the concert didn't open til 7.  We finished and headed to the back of the restaurant to get in line for the concert...we were first.  Chatted with the hostess.  Pretty soon w heard someone tell the hostess that some people weren't going to be able to come to the 10 PM show and would donate their 2 tickets...well that's all J needed - Can we have them?  We've driven all the way from Iowa and have paid for the 8 PM show!  Sure...Yippee.  Soon, Spencer and his wife, Marilyn came and greeted us and took Jerry into the show area to save our seats and two for their friends traveling from Atlanta - front row right corner.  The venue was small and intimate.  Probably about 50 small wooden tables with the same blue candle holders and stainless aluminum? chairs around.  Christmas lights on the balcony with greens added to the festive stage decor of palm trees superinposed with a light on the Snug Harbor sign. The stage was probably 30 x 15 and crowded with instruments including a baby grande piano.  Spencer told Jerry as they were chatting that he had been there all afternoon setting up as he brought about 15 of his own instruments for the performers to use as it would have been a nightmare and a slow show if all had to move their own stuff up before their performance.  (15 yrs of experience is worth a lot!)  Finally the show started and it was so fantastic.  Musical friends of Spencer's and two of is 4 children performed.  He usually accompanied them either singing or playing an instrument or both.  Very talented musicians from bass guitar to alto sax and a trio with drums, string bass and guitar played a variety of music.  Each guest did 2 numbers, except for his son, Andre, who played Beethoven (1st show) and Chopin (2nd show) numbers which were astounding.  Such talent to make those fingers fly and to do justice to these magnificent composer's music.  His daughter, Corinna (from AZ - manages a ballet Company's 10,000 costumes) did a duet with Spencer - very sweet.  These musicians all donate their performance at this annual event (Spencer does provide food and drink for them along with a tray of Marilyn's Christmas Cookies).  The second show started about 25 minutes after the first one ended and was equally amazing.  Both shows ended with the number, Mamba New Orleans Christmas and they passed out jingle bells to the audience to ring and sing along.  Fun. 

Even though I wasn't up to snuff, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening...(with enough drugs in my  Home about 12:30 PM...way past my bedtime!  LOL

Friday, Dec. 21
Woke up feeling awful and my ears starting to hurt, so got on the internet and found a walk-in clinic.  Got in right away at 10 and back out by 11:30 - not back for a WIC.  Another (or continuing) sinus infection.  This time got better drugs (z-pak), more cough syrup with codiene and non-drowsy benedryl (to dry me up.)  This was a new idea to me and when I ?? the Dr. he said, well it is an anti-histamine.  Well, I did know that and knew it would help keep from producing the histamines, but didn't know benedryl had drying up capablilities.  Nice to know info since I can't take the sudafed-type drugs.  He was kind of a jerk, though.  Looked in my ears and just shook his head - a mess he said.  I said, "infected?"  I can't tell.  (Well, I know I have weird ears, but he was kind of rude about it.)  He said, well you have such a small face, I understand ...blah blah.  At any rate, as he was leaving the room he asked if we had been enjoying our stay....duh - I've been sick...   Well,  enough.  Picked up my prescriptions at Walgreen's, grabbed a fast-food grilled chicken sandwich and went home.  We both took a nap as it had been a short night.  Picked up the RV a bit to get ready to move on Sat.

Sat. Dec. 22

We got on the road about 12;30 PM yest. after dumping tanks. Ran along southern area of LA - Highway 90 and then LA1 - small highways through the heart of Acadiana.  Sights ran the gamut from beautiful mansions along the many bayous we followed or crossed to tumbledown shacks and boarded buildings. Houma is a beautiful area.  So many waterways, bayous, canals, fishing boats, houseboats tied up, many bridges - some pontoons, all drawbridges.   Most homes around here were not on stilts or raised so this area must not flood. 

By 3:30 I'd had it - first day in a month with no nap and I had been up since 5ish. J pulled into a huge marina area with probably 200 boat trailers attached to their pickups... Also it said "swamp tours" and he was intrigued. Inquired at Bob's and no boat tours - no customers. Bummer, but for $10 we could park here. Kind of high for getting nothing except some brown grass, but he knew I needed to rest, so he took it. Bless his heart, we had a beer and some soup for supper and he didn't even complain. (The beer even tasted good to me so I must be getting better!) First one I've had in probably a month.

Jerry's getting so good at setting up our tv satellite.  Most often he guesses the satellite direction and he just sits the dish  down on the ground, screws in the cables and it links! Whatta guy. Didn't have such good luck with propane heater, though. Hadn't used it since October, and it didn't want to start. When I got up this am, it was going, so don't know what the problem was.  Will travel again tomorrow....wandering slowly toward's our lot in Spring Branch, TX...need to be there by 12/30, so we're not in a hurry.  Enjoy the poky little towns and byways. 
No pix this time...sorry!  Now that I'm feeling better, I will actually feel like taking some...was terrible being such a vegetable for so long!  (Not sure what that makes me now...!  LOL) 
My new year's resolution is going to be not to hug, kiss or touch anyone or anything so I don't catch another virus!  Or to invest in a huge bottle of hand sanitizer!  LOL
Want to wish all of our family and friends who travel along with us a Merry Christmas.  Please enjoy your time with family and friends, (give them an extra tight hug this year),  Christmas Eve services, caroling, and all the fun things that go along with the holiday.  We are grateful that Jesus was born and came into our lives. 
God Bless and Merry Christmas to you all.  Love, Sue & Jerry

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Monday, stopped at Foley, AL at the Lambert's Cafe - Home of the Throwed Rolls.  This is one of three restaurants they have and the only one we hadn't been to.  Always yummy yeast rolls and dinner.  Always managed to bring home half!  Arrived at the park about 5:15.  Parked in the dark.

Tuesday,  Day of rest.

Wednesday - Did six loads of laundry here at Bayou Segnette State Park...2 washers and 2 dryers - free.  One dryer doesn't work only about half speed, so it was slow going, but I "got 'er done".   

Friday we drove to Mandeville, LA (50 minutes north across the Lake Ponchetrain causeway.)  Found the Dew Drop Dance and Social Hall, formed in 1895 and still standing strong.  Parked the truck and walked to the Rusty Pelican for shrimp po-boys.  Were very good!  Back to chat with the folks setting up.  6:30 was the concert by Spencer Bohren, our favorite blues artist.  Has a nice visit with his wife, Marilyn and Spencer before the concert.  They had thrown all the windows open so those sitting in lawn chairs outside could hear, so it got really chilly inside.  So glad I had packed about four layers!  Concert was informal and awesome, of course.  Back home about 10:30.

On the tree outside the 1895 building.  Next door is a Baptist Church and the church ladies prepared food to serve at halftime.

Spencer Bohren warming up.


Saturday, December 15, we went Algier's a small town near the park and caught the free passenger ferry across the Mississippi River.  Walked to the French Quarter, all through the French Marketplace.  Shared a muffaletta (round bread packed with cold cuts, cheese and olive salad.)  Then topped it off with freshly made praline's.  Jerry's was a coconut one.  They were a decadent treat!  People watched around Jackson Square and then caught the ferry.  Back home around 5:30 pm.  A beautiful sunny day - about 73 degrees.

 Sunday, a day of rest. I seem to be able to do about every other day with my virus still hanging on. Coughing is much better but energy level isn't up to snuff yet. 

NOLA skyline from ferry.

Along the Moonwalk area on our way to the French Quarter.  This was the Natchez; playing the caliope and preparing to depart on a cruise down the river

Looking down one of the streets around Jackson Square.  Great people watching

Famous street scene.

Looking into Jackson Square

Looking west in front of St. Paul's Cathedral - another of the streets bordering Jackson Square