Friday, March 23, 2018

Avery Island, Lake End County Park,Grand Isle State Park,Louisiana; Buccaneer State Park, Paul B Johnson State Park, Turkey Fork National Forest Campground, Mississippi; Service Park COE, Alabama

From Sandy Creek we headed east into Jasper and then south on Route 96 to Lumberton. We stayed one night at Village Creek State Park.  We were well aware of the damage to different parks from Hurricane Harvey, but we thought we were far enough from Houston to avoid major damage. Not so. Village Creek was mostly closed from damage and still has a ways to go before fully opening. It was a pleasant stay(the sites were not damaged) but the rest of the park had heavy damage from at least 15 feet of water. 
From there we headed east on Interstate 10 to Duson, Louisiana  and Frog City Park.  Yes, right off the highway, but very neat . Good spacing. Great people. And---a 50% Escapee discount for up to three nights.
A very busy overnight stop--not a destination, but we would stop here again.

From Duson, we head further east on Interstate 10 to Lafayette and then south on Route 90 to Avery Island, the home of Tabasco Sauce.

We had stopped here before and enjoyed. This time we find  improvements in the tour and sampled a great on site restaurant/deli.

Good pictures and instructive videos along the tour. 
They have red sticks(baton rouge) for pickers to be sure the peppers are exactly the right color.

Some very healthy plants in the greenhouse , red peppers and all.

The barrels are made on site. And also they have  their own salt mine.  A little salt in with the peppers and then salt covering the barrel head for protection for the three years

They mentioned over 100,00 bottles per day. But this day was already over 210,000.
That is a lot of hot sauce!!!
Nice to see the production line in action.

We had to try a sampler.
Absolutely delicious. 
Chicken Gumbo, Shrimp Etouffee, and Red Bean and Sausage over rice.
By the way, those are 12 bottles of different sauces.

Ours was basically the Cajun Pirogue Sampler.
The menu changes a little daily.
Avery Island was in New Iberia, Louisiana.
We continue down Route 90 to Morgan City for a County Park, Lake End Park that had good revues.

A very nice park with a walkway, well spaced sites, Spanish Moss, and views of Lake Palourde(clam). The lake is on the Intracoastal Waterway(not seen from the park)and also part of the Atchafalaya basin which is home to over 300 species of birds, 90 species of fish, crawfish, crabs, and shrimp.

From our site we can watch the fishermen on the canal.

We were also quite thrilled to see an eagle catching a fish on the big lake and then the next morning fishing right behind us on the canal( no luck). Then he rested right behind us and gave us time to catch a picture. Yea!

A pretty flower on the side of the canal.

Also a 4 foot plus alligator.
Not huge, but you know they are here.

The flowers are in bloom
Cheers to Spring!

It is a good sized park. Also included in one section are about 6 cabins which are for rent.  

From Morgan City. we head south on Route 90 to La Route 1. Staying on Route 90 would bring you to New Orleans.
Our destination is Grand Isle State Park. A long drive, but a wonderful park.
For some reason, we were expecting a parking lot kind of camping. 
Imagine our pleasant surprise to find well separated sites, palm trees, and grass.
At one time this park consisted of sites right on the beach.
Hurricanes, among other reasons, changed that.

A view of part of the park.

The old folks!
We were able to have good long walks in the park and on the beach(hard , level sand)

This fishing pier is close to one quarter mile long.
It offers good views of the Gulf and also a good place to watch ships entering and leaving the Mississippi River to the left

One of the smaller ships heading into the Gulf.

There are  still tenting sites right on the beach.

We took this picture from our Google maps on the phone to show where Grand Isle is. You can see New Orleans to the north(about 100 miles), The mouth of the Mississippi River, and then Grand Isle--way out in the water.

Eustis is amazed at this long, long bridge over the waters just outside Grand Isle. At least 7 to 8 miles long, the information indicates that this toll- elevated highway will eventually be 19 miles long for evacuation reasons.

It just goes on and on and on.

Not surprising to see many newer elevated homes.
Think Hurricane Katrina and we are south of New Orleans

Ours is an older Rand McNally GPS. It is larger than those for an automobile-easier to see from a distance on the dash.
This shot shows just how much we are over just water for many miles coming out of Grand Isle. 
This GPS also shows us every turn on our trip , upcoming restaurants and gas stations(mostly on interstates), current highway or road, city,county, and state, and whatever the next intersecting road might be---all with just a click.  One of the nicest things traveling around the country is the feature that automatically notes the legal speed limit and your speed. It will audibly sound when you stray more than a few miles above the speed limit.
We have found many small towns where the speed limit changes every block--it seems--sometimes purposely to trap out of towners.

Shrimp boats on the river. An easy trip out to the Gulf.

Not too many houses.
But quite a number of those are quite nice.
Continuing on Route 1 to Route 90 to Route 310 to Route 10 east.
Route 10 allows you to choose Route 610 across the northern section of New Orleans to avoid a lot of traffic. 
Passing along the south of Lake Ponchartrain and into Mississippi.
Amost immediately, we exit onto Route 90 east towards Buccaneer State Park in Waveland.

While most of the sites are not on the Gulf , some are. And it is a quiet day, so we take advantage.

A very popular park with a huge waterslide by the road and a good sized pool in the main campground.
Our site was close to the water park, closed this time of the year. When it is open, we would probably recommend looking for a site in the main campground.

From Buccaneer east on Route 90, a good portion of the highway is a scenic highway right along the beach.
Some newer houses , all built for newer hurricane code.
We had traveled part of this section back in 2010
At that time we saw many empty lots as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Good to see all the newer building on those lots now.

Route 90 goes by some wonderful, hard white sand beaches coming into Pass Chirstian.  Also a find is Shaggy's harbor Bar and Grill.
Jan had a wonderful Grilled Shrimp and I had the Daily Fish Special which was Redfish. 
Oh, and we also had to try some local raw oysters.
Very tender and tasty --about twice as big as Wellfleet oysters.

Looking out from the restaurant to the Marina.
Some of the houses are real mansions.
But they are all on the other side of a divided 4 lane road.
Still great views of the Gulf.

Some of the housing is a little more medium income.

Coming to the end of the beach, scenic drive as we enter Gulfport.

From Gulfport, we head north on route 49 towards Hattiesburg and Paul B. Johnson State Park

Definitely a full stop while we check out this overflow from the lake. Yes, that is the road we will need to cross.
Turns out to be pretty shallow, so away we go.

A beautiful park.  Seems to have good fishing with lots of good spots for shore anglers.

Some sites have great shoreside views.

Over to Route 59 north to Route 42 east above Hattiesburg.
This time we are heading for Turkey Fork National Forest Campground in the Desoto National Forest.

This is a highly rated campground, but very quiet since it is somewhat rural.

More spring bushes flowering.

Jan is enjoying the view from her table turned desk.

Azaleas we would guess. 
And many homes on the road have quite a row of them.

We have followed Route 42 to Route 45 north out of State Line and then Route 84 east to Service Park COE just outside of Coffeeville, Alabama

Another great rating online and for good reason.
The sites are extremely clean, well spaced, and large. 

This view shows how separated the sites are.

And everything is along the Tombigbee River which flows to the Mobile River and into Mobile Bay

Some large pleasure boats.
This picture is from our window.

Jan heads out to see the barge heading south.

Being pushed by the Bobby Joe James tugboat.
This river is a lot narrower than the Mississippi River at the Tom Sawyer Campground in West Memphis, Arkansas.
The river turns seem to be quite a challenge.

We will finish with a big laugh.
This picture is from Christine. She found it amongst the pictures up north.  We will give you a hint. The person on the backpack is the only child around.
Yes-you guessed it !
Jan and Bruce and Sean in 1975 at Camp Eaton in York , Maine.
That is Gramma and Grampa Maggs' trailer in the background.
This is right across the street from Long Sands Beach in York.
What were they wearing?
What were they thinking?????