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January 2012 - February 2012:


January 1, 2012:                    The start of a new year and a time for reflections. We have now been on the road for 14 months and living in the trailer for 15. So far, we have traveled through 10 states, camping or overnighting in 8. Illinois and Louisiana were traveled through but not camped in, although we have done a lot of shopping and traveling in Louisiana since it is only 12 miles from our winter campground for these past two winters to Slidell, Louisiana. Therefore, we sort of claim Louisiana as a camped-in state, even though not exactly accurate. The map below shows where we have been. Can you name the states?



Right now our plan is to continue our stay in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi until mid-February. Then we intend to travel East through Alabama and Georgia, with a possible side trip into Florida where Julie's mother is staying for the winter. About mid-April we will start to travel up the East Coast at least to Delaware before moving inland again to get to our Summer campground in LeRoy, New York. Of course, like all of our plans, everything is subject to change several times and could never happen the way we envision. Next year, we want to come down on the west side of the Mississippi so we can see those states. Depending on finances, instead of coming back to Mississippi for the Winter, we make a right turn in Louisiana or Arkansas and travel West through Oklahoma or Texas (or both).


January 8, 2012                     I told you last month about the campground here in Mississippi being voted #1 in the Woodall's poll. Today, the owners unveiled a new sign, replacing our hand-lettered sign, which did not survive the first rain.


Proud owners Joe and Michelle Richard stand next to their new sign. They're also planning for their March Hawaiian cruise. Michelle is planning extra "happy" pills (muscle relaxers) to keep Joe calm on the plane rides.


January 13, 2012:                  [Odometer 255626]    Today we took a trip to Robertsdale, Alabama, which is just East of Mobile. We checked out several campgrounds and found one we are interested in staying at when we head East in February. Last year we traveled as far as Ocean Springs, Mississippi, but this is the first time we crossed the line into Alabama when traveling along the coast.


I am hoping that we will get to tour this ship when we are camping in Alabama. It is a decommissioned battleship now used as a tourist attraction.


A church we saw in Mobile. The South has all sorts of wonderful buildings (as do most other parts of the country).


West Entrance to the George Wallace Tunnel under the Mobile River. For more information, refer to "Did You Know."


Per Julie, "The light at the end of the tunnel!"


January 15, 2012:                  Our life would be much duller if it were not for the company of JoJo and Taz who supply love, companionship, and comic relief.


Taz decided she definitely wanted her bed in the middle of the aisle. "If you won't move it, I'll do it myself!"


We never exceed the speed limit in te park. With or without leashes, we always try to be on our best behavior (except when we're just "being dogs").



January 17, 2012:                  Julie and four other women from the park went for a "painting" night with a local artist/instructor. Each of the women used acrylics (a new medium for Julie) to paint a crab on a pre-sketched canvas. This is Julie's crab with its Mardi Gras beads.




January 23, 2012:                  Early this morning I received a phone call from the fraud division of my bank. They were questioning a number of charges against my debit card which did turn out to be bogus. Someone had charged almost $700 for Skype usage and classified ads. It will not cost me anything, I just have to make a fraud claim tomorrow after the charges get posted. My card was cancelled and they are sending me a new one by Federal Express that I should get on Wednesday. While having to change my card information wherever it is used is a pain, it is good to know the bank is looking out for me. I would have found the bogus charges when my account started having overdrafts, but this way the bank was proactive and it makes the whole affair go much smoother. It also cuts off the thief before he or she can charge more items. The weird thing about this is that I had just had a discussion with a couple of the other campers a few days ago talking about use of credit cards on the web and theft of same. I was hit once before many years ago when someone in the Philippines hacked one of my credit card numbers.


January 24, 2012:                  Today we went to lunch at The Buttercup, a small-town older style restaurant in the old Main Street area of Bay Saint Louis. After lunch, we went to visit the "Angel Tree." This is an old oak tree less than a block from the Gulf of Mexico where three people survived Hurricane Katrina by clinging to its branches. It has now been transformed as a chainsaw carving along with many other trees we showed pictures of last year. I have included more information on these trees and specifically the Angel Tree in the "Did You Know? page of this blog.










January 28, 2012:                  Today, Crash and Smash held a bash! Crash and Smash are the nicknames for two of the nicest people I know. They earned their nicknames by the unfortunate way they arrived at Bay Hide Away. Their fifth-wheel trailer was T-boned as they were trying to cross I-10 from the welcome center to get onto I-12 heading for their reservation spot in Alabama. A tire was blown, one axle was crooked, and the trailer was a mess. They were able to hobble down with two wheels rubbing against each other (one rotating up, one down) and landed at the campground in the middle of the night. During that night and the next few days, many of the campers helped them get straightened out. Once the insurance company totaled out their trailer, they got a replacement and the campers again pitched in to help them move from one trailer to the other. This bash was their way of saying thank you. They bought beef and pork and cooked it in their infrared deep cooker (sized the same as a turkey deep fryer only it uses no oil). Everyone else brought a dish to pass and we had a great time.


Crash and Smash (Jim and Judy). They never did go to Alabama.


The Bash!


Carving the meat. Note the cooker in the right foreground.


Julie captured some pictures just for you, Monica. This is the front view.


Back View.


Side View


This was our camp site this winter. We had the camera out, so I snapped a picture.



February 8, 2012:       It seems like much of our activities center around food. I guess that's what seniors do, or maybe it's campers. Anyway, every Wednesday during Mardi Gras season we get together for bingo and King Cake. Some people (many people?) really get carried away for Mardi Gras.




February 9, 2012:       Today Julie took a trip into New Orleans to visit some stitching shops while I stayed home with the dogs. Later that evening, we went out to supper at a local restaurant called "Ricky's."


The New Orleans Superdome, home of the 2013 Super Bowl. This is where the New Orleans Saints play football.


Note the Iron Work.


The fence and the garden beyond were both beautiful. Look at the blooms in February.


The ceiling fans at Ricky's redefine ceiling fans. The main blade rotates as the fans mounted on them push the air. All of the ceiling fans were like this.



February 17, 2012:     [Odometer 256575]    We left Mississippi today and headed for Robertsdale, Alabama, approximately 30 miles East of Mobile. We are at the Azalea Acres RV Park. When we checked out the park, it seemed nice and quiet. Unfortunately, the real fact is quite different because there is a new shooting range nearby. It is a constant war zone during daylight hours. We are planning on being here a month and are not yet sure where we are going from here. Originally, we planned to go up the East Coast, but now we are considering going to the Memphis, Tennessee area to see if that is a suitable location to settle in.


Passing through Biloxi, Mississippi.


We're at a rest stop so Dad must be tired. May I drive? May I? May I? I've been practicing being a copilot.


Entering Mobile, Alabama.


One of many bridges that span parts of the Gulf and the neighboring Bayous all along the southern coast.


A view at the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama.


Our camp site at Azalea Acres. Parked right behind us are Bob and Lenna Garlitz, who were also at Bay Hide Away with us. The couple behind them is from Ithaca, NY and are heading for Louisiana to a Habitat for Humanity build. We recommended Bay Hide Away to them for a way stop.


February 21, 2012:     Our campground is nowhere near anything. There is a convenience store about 1 mile away where I got a gallon of 2% milk (the only kind they carried) for $5.94. Needless to say, I will not be doing a lot of shopping there. Other than that, we are about 8 miles from Loxsley, which does not have a lot in it other than a very large farm market. We have not visited it yet, but will when we have a little more fresh food storage room. The transformer for our cooler overheated and I was afraid of using it because of a chance of fire. Therefore, we threw it out and ordered a new one that should be in soon.


The other larger towns around us are Robertsdale itself (about 12 miles), Spanish Fort (West toward Mobile) and Foley (South toward Pensecola), which are each about 22 miles in the different directions. On the road from here to Loxsley we passed a huge cotton field left standing from last year after it was harvested. We took some photos and a couple of samples of opened cotton pods. I for one never realized that cotton grow in pods. They sort of remind me of the milkweed pods we played with as children.


Cotton Field


Cotton Pods


February 26, 2012:     I spent the last few days working on floor repairs to the trailer. When it rains, especially when it pours, if the trailer is not tipped enough toward the slide-out side, water tends to leak past the seal, down the slide, and onto the floor. Over time, this has caused the composite floor to weaken. To minimize weight, the trailer was built with no cross beams under the floor. I bought three 12 foot 2x6 pressure treated boards and used them to cross brace the floor. I really did not like adding the weight to the trailer, but it was a choice between that and breaking through the floor.


New floor joists under the trailer. Bob Garlitz helped me with the work. We lived with the trailer tipped up high on the front end for a few days so I had enough room to crawl underneath to work.