Thursday, February 25, 2016

Florida is HUGE! Trip report - last.

At least if you are in the south end and want to leave via the western end of the panhandle; it's REALLY a long way!  So anyway we finally decided to leave the country rv park outside Homestead, FL.  We had intended to drive up the east coast enjoying the beaches.  But, you know, it was cold and nasty so we (mostly me) didn't want to waste time on the beaches.  My wife is from California so beach time isn't very important to her.  And cold beach time just didn't do a thing for either of us.  Bottom line, let's get on I-95 and boot-scoot.

So we trucked up to Fort Pierce before we stopped.  Again there was a cafe attached to the park so we ate there rather than cook.  I can't honestly say I remember it but we both lived so I guess it worked!  We had some trouble figuring out our route from here and finally decided to head over to I-75 and move north.  Our next stop was Alacha, FL.  It is a small town just north of Gainesville with not a lot going on however we needed some time to just talk about the remainder of the trip.  For that it was perfect.

We decided to spend some time in New Orleans then basically head for home.  Complicated, huh.  So off we went the next morning crossing Florida ending up in Holt, Fl just northeast of Pensacola.  Holt had a nice little park called River's Edge RV Park.  It is mostly a fishing camp since it IS on the banks of the Yellow River.  And the entire park is sand so I was rather happy we have 4-wheel drive on the truck not that we needed it; it was just reassuring.  The park certainly isn't fancy but the woman running it was pleasant, it was quiet and level.  You can tell, we are tough to keep happy!  So the next morning we were off to New Orleans.

We stopped at a park called Pontchartrain Landing.  It is a combination of rv park and marina; I didn't actually notice the marina because it was across the way.  The park is in kind of an industrial area where at least one of the boatyards looks like it is totally dead.  In fact there seemed to be a couple half-finished 100+  foot yachts in one of the sheds. 

Doesn't that just look like two or three lawsuits just standing there?  The park has a cafe on site that we checked out.  The one employee totally ignored us so after a few minutes we left.  Chatting up your regulars may work some places but not with us.

The one tremendous advantage the park has is that they provide free bus service to the French Quarter.  When we traveled it was into town at 10:00 and back at either 16:00 or 20:00.  Of course you could go in at 15:45 as well if you wished.  We just wanted to spend the day so took the early bus.  It worked out really well!  I never realized that Mardi Gras isn't just a day in New Orleans; it starts in late January and continues until the actual day.  That managed to make the trip very interesting:  i.e. traffic was horrible!  It was SO GREAT not driving down there and not having to find a parking place!  We went down; enjoyed the day and went back to the rig.  Easy for us; horrible for the driver!  We enjoyed the food, the people watching and even did a little shopping.  We just said 'no' to the $11K antique diamond necklace.  The tourist city is lovely; just lovely.

I must admit that I hadn't expected to find people in costumes!  The various groups can't parade much in the French Quarter but they can meet!  The bemused tourists wander between them trying to figure out what's going on.  It's kind of strange.

There was also this balcony - you can enjoy the party from above!  By the hour!

It is also about time for people to start getting drunk.  We were happy to be leaving on the 16:00 bus because already things were getting odd.  And who doesn't love being around a bunch of drunks who are wearing costumes?  Hmmm, I'm thinking that's most of us!  At least those of us over about 25!

We stayed in New Orleans one more night mostly because we needed a break.  I did really exciting stuff like visiting the local Winn Dixie!  LOL  Two thoughts remain with me.  First, it is a very poor city with a lot of people just getting by.  Secondly, while many of the drunks in the Quarter were white, the city seems heavily black.  It's still the South and segregation may be gone but don't bet your last dollar on it.

We left town and drove down towards Homma, LA.  We wanted to check out that area.  We didn't really stop but enjoyed this agricultural area so near New Orleans.  We rejoined I-10 and ended the day at Frog City RV park in Duson, LA.  What can you say about a name like that?  Well, it was a nice enough park so we enjoyed our stay.

Hopped on I-10 again and headed west to Houston, TX then Junction, TX.  We were in travel mode and stopping was ok but we prefered not to unhook the rig!  The park was quiet but the cable tv didn't work even after one of the employees took it apart; the wifi was really slow; the site was level but had a hump in the middle where our tires were.  That left our door about 4 feet off the ground and we only have 2.5 feet of step!  That last one was a doozy!  However, Junction had a lovely bbq place called Lums within walking distance.  I've got to admit, it was excellent food!  They claim to have won many awards and I can see it.  Nice food!  It's a very plain place with gas station attached but the food is there! 

So the plan here was to stop in Van Horn, TX; then Lordsburg, NM, Phoenix, AZ and a final stop in Las Vegas.  Van Horn was kind of cool  - also physically cool.  It was 17F (-8C) in the a.m.  Grrr!

They were proud of the place.  Unfortunately the cable didn't work not did the wifi.  There was a cafe that we skipped in the evening but tried in the morning.  Glad we missed the evening shift!  The cook could only do one ticket at a time so there was a long wait.  The food wasn't quite what we ordered but we didn't have patience to send it back and the server was rude.  Who needs that?  I did like their trash cans!
So the next stop was at the Journey RV Park in Lordsburg, NM.  It is an ex-KOA and you can see why it's an 'ex'.  First there was the neighborhood - not good.  Then there was the small matter of the electricity.  We were given a list of how much power various things draw.  We blew the circuit breaker four times during our stay.  That would be ok if we were using lots of electricity but we hadn't blown a circuit breaker the entire trip.  When it must be the customer's fault - it's not.  I definitely cannot recommend the Journey RV Park in Lordsburg.  Sorry about that!

So we hit the road for Phoenix.  It was exciting driving through Phoenix in rush hour but we managed to find the Sunflower RV Resort in Surprise, AZ.  Sunflower is another park intended for long term visitors.  It had over 1,000 spaces!  We parked in one of their very-temporary spaces.  They have about 500 rules; I'd love to never be anywhere like that again.  But, it was on the north side of town so we got out of there easily in the morning. 

It was another long day but we ended up back at the Las Vegas RV Resort again.  Just like last time you get a nice level secure space in Sin City.  It is near Sam's Town so well off the strip but nice spaces and inexpensive. 
The park only allows certain vendors into the park but one is Red Rock RV Cleaners; we asked them to wash the rig.  They charge $2 a foot so it's not too expensive.  Doing the roof is $20 more.  They do a nice job and I'd recommend them.  The next day we managed the 60 miles back home.  And darned glad to see it!  Travel is great but so is home.

Have a good one!  There will be more news before long.  Take care.

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