Friday, February 24, 2012

Winter 2012 SE USA

We are headed south again this year. The plan now is to head south to Gulf Shores Alabama then down to Naples Florida with some stops in between. Then we are going to head up the Atlantic Coast to Myrtle Beach and Washington, DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival then work our way westward home by way of Sarnia.
 We got away on the planned date and only about a half hour later than planned at 0930. The temperature was -6C so considerably warmer than last years departure.The border crossing at the Grand Portage, Mn was uneventfull. We stopped at Rydens for fuel(3.599/gallon) and then headed southward. We stopped in Two Harbors, Mn for some groceries and coffee at Mcdonalds. Another gas stop in Duluth (354.9/gallon) and off to Hinkley, Mn. We arrived at Grand Casino Hinkley at 1410. We took the same site as last year - #175. It is right behind the washroom/shower building so it is quite convenient. We won't dewinterize the trailer for another few days so being close to the facilities is nice. Forecast low tonight is -10C. We took  the shuttle bus over to the casino for dinner and then back to the trailer for the evening.
Tomorrow we are off to Coralville, Ia to visit with friends for a couple of days before we continue south.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Saturday March 12 - Heading to the Coast

We were away from Fredericksburg a little after 730 AM. We arrived at Port O'Connor on the Texas Gulf Coast and were setup by 230PM. We are at a small campground of 43 sites of which the majority are filled by Texans on weekends. Very few people here this weekend. We have a site across from us where the people are from Kansas. We plan on staying here for a week and not doing a whole lot - probably a couple of day trips up and down the Gulf shore but not a whole lot more. The town has been destroyed by hurricanes a couple of times so there isn't a lot of commercial development here as of yet - they call Port O'Connor Texas' undiscovered gem. It sort of reminds us of Myrtle Beach in the 70's before it went crazy minus the commerical area.

Obligatory campsite photo

Newton is not supposed to be on the bed - he only stayed long enough for me to get a few pictures

Tuesday March 8, 2011 Off to Texas Hill Country

We were away by 10AM headed to Fredericksburg. We made a couple of telephone calls to secure campsites there and on the coast. I had also sent an email but was still waiting for replies. We were headed to Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park in Fredericksburg  We stopped at McDonalds for coffee and check our email (free WiFi at Ronnies in the States). I had an email from a campground at Luckenback just outside of Fredericksburg that also had a campsite but it was also only available for 4 nights. Spring break starts in Texas this week so things are going to get busy in some places.

We stopped in Luckenbach but that campground was not for us(Willie Nelson was  no where to be seen) so we continued with plan A and went into Fredericksburg. We tried using the GPS to get to the park - should be easy - plug address into GPS and follow directions. We would have needed a 4x4 trailer to make it across the fields to get to the park where it was taking us. Stop the truck and get the Woodals guide out and follow the parks directions - no problem.

The site was a bit narrow but the site beside us emptied after the first night so it wasnt bad and it backed onto green space. No free internet but cable TV. Cable TV if you have the proper adapter - they only had a cable coming out of our cable box with a male connector - normaly it is a female connector. No tv the first night but next morning I picked one up at the office.

We spent the next few days touring the downtown and surrounding area. Lots of shops on the main street to spend money on on things you didn't know you needed.

We spent a morning at the Enchanted Rock just north of the town. We climbed the 425 foot hight batholith. (you can Google that one yourself for your educational experience of the day). It is one of the largest Batholiths in the US.

We took Newton with us on the hike but left Jacqi in the truck - it looked a bit much for a 14 year old dog.

You can see a long ways from the top of 425 foot tall batholith!

Sunday March 6, 2011 Texas bound

Finally we have a plan - sort of. We are headed to Texas! We purposely went to the Interstate to cross into Texas to get travel information and a roadmap. When I had requested information from various states before the trip Texas was one of the states that sent nothing. Well we crossed the state line at Texarkana and wouldn't you know - construction everywhere - we could see the tourist information centre but we weren't getting to it this trip. Southward bound with the atlas and GPS. We ended up at Nacodoches Texas for 2 nights. It is supposed to be the oldest town in Texas. We took it easy and visited the historic downtown on Monday but quite a few of the shops were closed either because it was Monday or not not quite tourist season. We even managed to get a Texas roadmap at the local tourist information centre. (so a question - if I am in the US should I spell centre the Canadian way or the American way, hmmmm)  We did our laundry while we were here - there was a couple from Oklahoma there who told me what had happened to that ghost town we passed through a couple of days ago. It was hit by a tornado last year and pretty much destroyed - the town was being moved anyway - lead poisoning from the mine - this just sped the process up.

Our campsite backed onto a little stocked pond. We could see the occasional fish jump.
We had spotty Internet at the campsite but we used it to make a plan for the next week or two. We are headed to Texas Hill Country Fredericksburg for 4 nights and then to the Gulf Coast after thatn

March 5, 2011 Trailer Repairs and back to Arkansas

We got away reasonably early - by 815 but on pulling out I noticed a doo-hickey spinning in one of the trailer tires. We sought out an RV dealer and found it was the jiffy lube thingmabob had popped out. Just needed to popped in - there was no damage. While we were there we got the plug for the water heater tightened down - didn't have a deep socket with an extension so when we de-winterized the trailer last evening I only hand tightened it. We would have gotten our right rear turn signal/running light/brake like fixed then too but he didn't have the correct bulb. We were on the road in about 15 minutes. Down the road to Wal-mart where we got the proper bulb and fixed the rear light.
It was a driving day heading south - still no real idea of where to go but when we were an hour west of Hot Springs Arkansas we made a detour to the east. We were here a few years back and said we would come back if we were ever in the area - well we were in the area. We ended up at the same KOA (expensive night). Turns out it was race week and some sort of regional basketball tournement week so the place was busy. We went down to the historic district and wandered around the shops and gardens we missed the last time out. The plan had been for Marla to have a spa again like last time but it was closed for the day and wasn't open on Sunday. Next time perhaps???

Friday, March 4, 2011

March 4, 2011 Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma

The fifth wheel pulled out about 530AM Marla tells me - I didn't hear a thing. We were up and on the road by 8AM heading south. Rain was in the forecast so we wanted to be by Kansas City before it started. Kansas City Missouri or Kansas was a bit of a non-issue as there is a good by-pass. It warmed up to 19C briefly but mostly stuck around 16C. Once we got through Kansas City we drove south to Pittsburg Kansas. There is a fried chicken place called Chicken Annies that we wanted to go to again but unfortunately it is only open for dinner and not lunch.

So we stopped at Wal-mart for groceries and made lunch and ate in the trailer.

We headed south to Oklahoma and passed through the remnants of a town - it looked like it was being demolished - definately no one living there anymore. We were occasionally on parts of historic Route 66 a couple of times over the next hour or so - nothing special.

We stopped in Grove Oklahoma for the night at Cedar Oaks RV Resort on Grand Lake O' Cherokees. We have a full hookup site tonight so it was time to de-winterize the trailer. The washrooms/showers won't be open here for another couple of weeks so we definately need to use the trailer facilities.

The rain held off most of the day but as I was doing the hookups it really started to come down. We had thundestorms rolling in off the lake for ahwile. No pictures today - maybe in the morning.

A late dinner and a bit of travel planning in the evening. We still haven't decided whether to head to the Gulf Coast first or head inland and tour before going to the coast. I guess it will depend where the warm weather will be tomorrow! It's going to be chilly the next couple of nights - down to plus 1C.

March 3, 2011 Heading further south

We were up early in Hinkley.It had warmed up overnight to -8C.  Good shower facilities. Breakfast at Macdonalds (again!)and on the road.
A large motorhome was leaving as I was headed to the shower and 2 of the permanent(?) campers were heading out for the day. We had a good run through the Twin Cities - what little snow/rain there was had passed by the time we got there.
Then straight south through the rest of Minnesota.
We stopped at the Iowa Welcome Center to pick up a new road map and walk  the dogs. The Iowa Welcome Centers have free wifi as well! We had lunch on the run to save time.
We stopped again at the Missouri Welcome Center to pick up a road map and some camping info for the trip back.
We stopped at a town called Eagleville about 8 miels inside Missouri and stopped for the night at the I-35 Campground. We were the only ones there for the first couple of hours but just at dusk a 5th wheel pulled in. The main washrooms/shower house aren't open yet but the owner gave us a key to the office where they have a washroom, shower and laundry facilities they use in the winter. It got up to 16C during the day - not bad a 24 degree temperature change from the morning.