Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Mississippi ~ Pass Christian

Pass Christian

On December 18, 2018 we said good-bye to our friends Peggy and Paul and headed west to Pass Christian, MS.
A short uneventful drive just like we always wish for. Pass Christian RV Park was home for a month. This is the second time staying here. The first time was in January 2018 on our way to New Orleans.
This is a small no frills park with mostly permanent residents. It is well maintained and there are bathrooms and a laundry room. We were in Site 2, a level gravel pull through with grass and a picnic table. Sites are about average width. There is no WiFi but our Verizon signal was strong. We paid $16.00 a night with their monthly rate and Passport America discount.

Lots of dogs in the park and Mielikki loved making friends with them. One morning when we came outside we discovered that through the night the ants had been busy and built an ant hill inside this cone! Shortly after this picture was taken we got rid of them as they were red ants - and boy do they hurt when they bite.

There are lots of places for dog walking as there is very little around here. Nancy and Mielikki got their 2 mile walks in most every day. There are a number of dead end roads that have no houses on them - some where nothing was ever built and others where houses were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. Of course water and birds everywhere and we loved the faded and vine covered stop sign. One day Nancy's hip was bothering her and she didn't bring her cane so she found a large stick to use but Mielikki thought for sure it was for her! Yes, Nancy finally gave up and let her have it.

One of the best parts of staying in one place for a month is that it gives us time to work on projects. We have been on the lookout for a new table for months and being cheap we didn't want to spend a fortune on a new one. So every Good Will, Salvation Army, Habitat and Antique store we passed we would stop and look.
Well, we finally found one at a Salvation Army in Gulf Port. It is the exact size we wanted and it was only $60. Taking out the old table was much easier then we thought. We now have so much more room for cooking, crafting and anything else.

In fact Nancy put it to good use right away and covered our boring dining chairs. She had a tablecloth from her friend Sarah who passed away a few years ago and it is the perfect weight and color for chair covers.

We celebrated Christmas here with our tradition of going to the movies. While the houses in the area didn't have a ton of light displays there was a Light Show put on by the Island View Casino.

There were some fun holiday items. A giant Sandman on the beach and a Crab Cage Tree in Pass Christian.

 A whole neighborhood street in Bay St Louis had wooden Christmas Cards on their lawns. What a fun idea.

We had a mix of weather while here lots of sunshine but also plenty of rain and foggy days. The rain we could do without but we do love the fog. We walked to the end of the Libby Milner Roland Pier in Gulf Port.

One of the foggy days made it very hard to see the bridge that connects Pass Christian and Bay St Louis.

We also enjoyed a number of sunny days on the beach as well. Mielikki loves the beach. She searches for seaweed and driftwood as much as Nancy does.

Our new friend gave us quite a show one night.

Even though the day of the kite show in Long Beach was a little rainy there were still a lot of kites in the air. It is so much fun watching them float about.

The Visitor Center in Bay St Louis is in the historic L & N Train Depot. A beautiful Mission style building.

One half is a small history museum. The Mississippi Blues trail goes through Bay St Louis and they have a wall dedicated to blues musicians. There are cases with local artifacts and Hurricane information. The shores of both Bay St Louis and Pass Christian are lined with carvings like this angel. Carved from trees destroyed in the hurricane. The link at the beginning of the blog has lots of pictures of them.
The upper right picture is of a Hurricane Ball, these unusual balls have been found all over the world's coastlines and are composed of plant fibers native to whatever coastline from which they were generated. They are apparently created through continual and strong wave action common in hurricanes. This area was a popular place for Pirates back in the day, our Captain tried to sneak away with some gold.

The other section is dedicated to a Mardi Gras Museum, local participants of previous parades have loaned their beautiful costumes to the museum.

picture from the internet - her
beloved beagle was always
at her side.
The second floor is where you will find the Alice Moseley Folk Art & Antique Museum. Miss Alice as she was called started painting at 65 to help relieve some of the stress of caring for her mom who had Alzheimer's. She was 79 when she moved to Bay St Louis, she came here for an art show and fell in love with the town. The link will take you to the website for the museum and her history along with pictures of her paintings.
You are not allowed to take pictures in the museum, but we did get a picture of the house she lived in which is right across the street from the museum. We bought this print with a rainbow over Bay St Louis for our niece Lillian who loves this town.

Just down the road from our campground was our favorite place to have breakfast. Daddyz in The Pass. Good food and great service, Heidi was our waitress just about every time and we miss her smiling face. She always gave "Santa", as she called Les and Captain a hard time!
There mural was the perfect place for a Captain selfie.

We found all the Roadside Oddities the last time we were here. On that visit the Giraffe and Elephant in Gulf Port were dressed for Mardi Gras. This time they are decked out for the holidays.

We learned about the Abita Mystery House from Roadside America. It is in Abita Springs, LA. John Preble was inspired by the Tinkertown Museum in New Mexico. We visited there in October 2016

The museum is in an old Standard Gas Station, or at least the unique gift shop filled with all kinds of fun trinkets is. 

The museum itself is contained in numerous buildings behind the gift shop. They are each filled to the brim with everything you can imagine. 
The sign at the front door lets you know the type of people they don't want, the ceiling of the gift shop is covered in circuit boards. Nancy was wondering if any of them came from Circuits DMA, where she worked back in the 1980's. Tin men and Robots could be found everywhere. 

There are showcases filled with tiny vignettes of towns, circuses and more. Some are animated and all will make you chuckle. 
Teri the three faced dog-seal-dog is one of them. 

Every inch of the walls are covered with pictures, hand painted signs, license plates and even bottle caps, old phones and tools.
Nancy's mom had pictures very similar to the ones in the upper right picture. There were also a number of shadow boxes filled with all kinds of crazy things.

The grounds outside were as wonderful as inside.

The "body" is inside the airstream 


Aliens landed in one section. There is a whole shack dedicated to Hot Sauce.

Alligators and other creatures could be found lurking around every corner.
Buford the Bassigator
Buford is the creation of Dave Kelsey and John Preble. Using the measurements of a real alligator head and a bass fish they created this friendly guy. He is made of plywood, chicken wire, fabric and beach balls for his eyes. Then covered in fiberglass to create the textured skin. 

After all of that excitement we needed to wet our whistle and what better place than the Abita Brewery. We enjoyed a flight and great conversation with the bartender.

What is claimed to be the worlds largest Ronald Reagan statue stands in a park in Covington, LA. That statue is 10-feet tall and sits atop a 6-foot pedestal. Covington had been a Democratic stronghold for a century. Then hard times fell on the town during the oil bust while Reagan was in office. Seems strange but the town turned Republican and in 2008 the statue was erected.

We will leave you one of the beautiful sunsets we enjoyed during our stay.

Next up Crystal Beach, TX

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to you!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Traveling with bikes
It is amazing the things there are to make RVing life easier.
We purchased a Mulli-Use Ball Mount and Hitch Receiver at Harbor Freight.
We also had to go back and purchase a new ball as the one on our existing hitch did not fit. So check the size of everything before you head to the store.

This now allows us to attach our bike rack to the top portion and our tow-dolly to the ball.
We also have bike covers that we use that are not shown in the picture.

We had actually stopped taking our bikes with us because prior to this we had to put the bike rack on the back of the car when moving from one place to the next and then take it off once settled in so we could get into the back of the car while out and about. Then we had to repeat this for every stop. This is so much easier.

Note: On one of stops we realized that you cannot attach the tow-dolly to the ball while the bike rack is attached. So make sure anything you are towing is attached before you put the bike rack and bikes on!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Alabama - Foley and the two stops to get there

Stone Mountain, GA

On November 15, 2018 we said good-bye to Asheville, yes Nancy shed a few tears. The drive to our first stop on the way to Foley, AL was of course in the rain.
We stayed at the Stone Mountain Park Campground in Stone Mountain, GA. It is just outside of Atlanta. This is a huge park with over 200 sites, a golf course, hiking trails, amusement park, hotels and of course Stone Mountain. What is claimed to be the worlds largest high relief sculpture is on the side of Stone Mountain. It depicts three Confederate figures of the Civil War. President Jefferson Davis, and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J "Stonewall" Jackson. You can take a train ride, a sky lift or hike to the top of the mountain. We stayed only one night so we did not explore any of this, but we do plan on going back for a longer stay.
We stayed in Site 393, a sideways pull through with full hookups, lots of shade trees and pretty private. The view of the lake was a nice surprise, bottom picture below. There were plenty of places for dog walking and even though we only stayed one night we did explore the grounds a bit. We paid $15 with our Passport America discount, but there was also a $20 park entrance fee.

It was rainy and foggy the day we arrived, but we woke to clear skies and sunshine the next morning.
The difference in the view of the mountain was quite drastic.

Hope Hull, AL

Moving fast we headed out on November 16, 2018 to Montgomery South RV Park in Hope Hull, AL. As the name suggests it is south of Montgomery, AL. This is the third time we have stayed here. The first time was June 2016 and the second time was January 2018. Both of those were longer stays. This was a one night stop, we were in Site 28, a gravel pull through with full hookups. We paid $36.00 a night with our Good Sam Discount. The park is well maintained and there is a large field for walking the dog.

Foley, AL

This is our second time staying at Magnolia Springs Hideaway Campground. The first time was in January 2018. We arrived here on November 17, 2018. All of the sites are back ins, they are building additional sites and some of those will be pull throughs.
We were in Site 38 this time and loved it. Cement pad for parking and picnic table. Full hookups and plenty of shade trees. The way the site is positioned we also had some privacy.
We paid $13.30 a night with a combination of the monthly rate and Passport America discounts.
The park is well maintained and very quiet. There is a clubhouse with lots of activities planned just about every day. The bathrooms and laundry are clean. WiFi was good and Verizon signal strong.

She is the worst at playing fetch - which can be a good thing! 
The dog park is good sized and of course Nancy and Mielikki found lots of other places to explore.

There is a large empty field that is perfect for off lead running and there were tons of mushrooms and weeds for Nancy to discover.

Stinkhorn Mushrooms

Of course we had rain! But it does make for some great picture opportunities.

Mielikki had a blast dragging around giant sticks, but getting all the sticky seedpods brushed out afterwards wasn't nearly as much fun.

Foley is a rather large town but it is surrounded by cotton fields. While most had been harvested some were still full of cotton.

Our favorite place to eat was at the Foley Coffee Shop, great breakfasts. Nancy had to chuckle at the ad for David Wilson (the name of her brother who passed away at 15). Her whole family was in the construction business so Masonry seems about right!
We enjoyed a number of dinners with our friends Peggy and Paul. Nancy and Peggy went to high school together in Michigan. It was so much fun spending time with them.
There city park was all decked out for the holidays.

While we are taking it a bit easier and not sightseeing every day we are still out and about and having fun.
Mobile was less than an hour away so we spent a couple of days exploring it.

The Mobile Botanical Gardens was our first stop. The gardens are just outside of downtown and only $5.00 a person to get in.
The entrance to the gardens is through the gift shop, members were busy decorating for Christmas
Plus, they are dog friendly and apparently cat friendly as well, Mielikki was sniffing one of the bushes like crazy and this resident cat jumped out and quickly put Mielikki in her place!

The area consists of 100 acres of seventeen special gardens and 35 acres of it dedicated for a longleaf pine forest. This land was originally all longleaf pine but was logged in the early 1900's. There are trails that take you through all of the gardens, even though it was December there was still plenty to see.

Lots of flowers in bloom, many different types of Azaleas and wildflowers.
One of the foot bridges takes you across a river of ferns. It was absolutely breathtaking.

Another foot bridge takes you across a goldfish pond with a small waterfall, where we found a friendly grasshopper. There were plenty of places to stop and rest and enjoy the stillness.

There is a labyrinth being constructed, and they have a maze made from hedges that we got lost in!
Fall color and spring like plants all in one place.

Of course we checked out the Magnolia Cemetery, it was established in 1836. Many  governors, congressmen and mayors have been buried here. There is a large Jewish section dating back to 1844. Unfortunately most of the headstones are so worn that you can't read them anymore.

As always we found beautiful angels. One headstone with a pointing finger with the saying "Follow Me My Mother". Not sure what that means. The depiction of Jesus resting his hand on a child's head always tugs at our heart strings.

In the Jewish section there were a number of headstones that had a pitcher carved on them.This is a traditional symbol found on a man's grave, signifying a Levite, who was responsible for cleaning the hands of the Temple Priest before he performed his Priestly duties.

The Mobile Museum of Art is right next to the Botanical Gardens. While we did not tour the museum inside we did explore the Art Park that surrounds it. The museum and park are surrounded by a large lake, which served as Mobiles water source until the 1950's which is why nothing was developed around it. It makes the perfect setting for the art park and the city park that is across the walking bridge. It was a very tranquil scene watching the pelicans floating along and diving for food. Almost all of them were diving at the same time, it was like watching synchronized swimming.

There are a number of sculptures along the paths and many trails through the park.

The look of this large iron sculpture changed depending on what side you were standing on.
Not sure if the bike is meant to be an art piece but it is strategically placed at the entrance to the walking bridge.

The "clothes pins" blow in the wind, the horse made us think of a jester and don't know if you can read the bible but it would make a nice place to rest and think about God.

Guessing this pair of shoes are not art but the placement of them in the leaves was very nice!

There is an island in the lake and large metal dinosaurs have been placed among the trees with cutouts of people that look so human you expect them to wave at you. Unfortunately the sun wasn't cooperating with picture taking

We also thought this was a real person painting!

The Mardi Gras Park in downtown Mobile sits on the corner where the very first Mardi Gras Parade was held. On Shrove Tuesday, February 25, 1868, the Order of Myths (OOM) gathered here at 8:00 p.m. to start the parade. There were four wagons, each depicting a scene from Lalla Rookh, a Thomas Moore romance set in Persia. Between each wagon OOM members rode on horseback dressed as Persian warriors

The perimeter of the park is lined with statues of parade kings, queens, musicians and jesters.

A few other Roadside Oddities we found were a Russian Sub outside the Oyster House Restaurant, a Giant Fish and Elvis outside the Bluegill Restaurant all in Mobile and the Metal Fist is outside a VFW Hall in Spanish Fort.

Dauphin Island is south of Mobile and almost exactly due west of our campground as the crow, or seagull flies. We drove through Mobile to get there and then took the ferry across the bay to get back home. What a beautiful litlle island. Of course you have to cross a crazy high bridge to get to it. One of Nancy's favorite things - not!

Our first stop was the beach at the west end of the island. We walked quite a ways on the gulf side and had the whole beach to ourselves, with a windsurfer on the bay side.

Nancy always likes to write Happy Trails in the sand and of course Mielikki loves to help!

Second stop was the Indian Shell Mound Park. The park, also a bird refuge dates from the Mississippian Period (1000-1500). Native Americans visited the shell mounds for centuries. Archaeologists learned that these mounds were occupied according to a seasonal schedule, most often in the late winter and spring.

The mounds, top right picture, are made up of layers of oyster shells, charcoal, fish bones and potsherds. . The moss and vines were pretty amazing and there were some beautiful old trees.

Our favorite stop was the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. It is a beautifully preserved 137-acres of maritime forest, marshes and dunes, including a lake, a swamp and a beach. There are six trails, most around a half mile. They are a mix of wooden boardwalks and sand, plus handicap accessible. You do need to be mindful of alligators, luckily we didn't see any on our hike.

Mielikki really wanted to go in there
We only saw a couple of birds, but we could hear lots of them in the trees. The grass lining the boardwalk was the brightest green we have ever seen.

As we were leaving Nancy spotted this quilted heart hanging in one of the trees. It is part of the I Found A Quilted Heart program. Nancy leaves painted rocks behind so this was super fun to find. What a great idea for those who sew!

We love ferry rides. This one gave us lots of birds, waves and took us closer to oil rigs then we have ever been. Plus, we passed a boat called E.O. Wilson!

Pensacola, FL was about 40 minutes away and offered shopping that wasn't in Foley. We visited the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum. The first lighthouse was built here in 1824. It was 40-feet tall and sat on a 40-foot bluff. It  was used until 1858 when the second and current lighthouse was built closer to the water. It stands 150-feet tall with 177-steps to the top. It is still in use today.

The gift shop is located in what was once the Keepers home.

We found a few Roadside Oddities. Two Spaceship Houses, the one on the top right is a rental. The Giant Roller Skate sits outside a now defunct roller rink.
The Indestructible Cross is named this as it has survived numerous hurricanes and tropical storms. It commemorates the first religious service in the Pensacola area. A mass was celebrated here on August 15, 1559. The Feast of the Assumption was held by the Dominican Friar who accompanied Tristan De Luna.

Next up will be Pass Christian, MS. Looking forward to some beautiful sunsets.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to you!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~  Keeping track
This campground, like many others only allow so much electrical usage per month and then you pay for whatever you use over that.
In order to keep track of our usage we take a picture of the meter the day we arrive and then another one a month later, which in our case is usually the day we are leaving.
The date of the photos shows on our phones so there is no question as to how much we have used.