Month  1-Louisiana-Texas and the Must To Dos  in San Antonio

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As I sit here and write this we have officially been on the road for one month today.  Did it start out as planned?  The short answer is a big fat NO!! Today was the first day since we left St. Pete that we had any sun. Besides the lack of sun and basically crap weather, we got sick, got stuck in Louisiana because of the worse weather in Texas. We were grateful for Bayou Segments State Park for their hospitality while we were forced to stay.    However, we were finally able to leave our Louisiana home of 2.5 weeks and venture west. After a long, uncomfortable ride we made it to our home for the night in Beaumont, Texas.  I will never complain the roads in Florida again. I don’t think it would hurt them to  use a little concrete or asphalt every now and then. I digress, we stayed our first Harvest Host, Pour Brother’s Brewery. The beer as well as the hospitality was great and we spent the night in a level lot. Beaumont is a very cute little town and is home of the largest fire hydrant the is spotted like a Dalmatian.   We got up early and headed to San Antonio where we had reservations at and RV park.   We spent 4 days there.   

Honestly the weather was not great but for the most part it rained very little so we made due.  The first two nights we needed AC and the last night we needed heat.  The campground was interesting With its miles of trails and even had some elevation. The neighbors were horses, cows and chickens. On Sunday we met Deb and Larry (#gettin_there) and we went to Government Canyon State Park where we did a nearly 7 mile hike and saw dinosaur prints.  We highly recommend doing that if you are in the area. Then on Monday the weather was cold and blustery but we went to do the Missions anyways.  We went to all 4 that are run by the park service and went to Alamo. There was no charge to go in the Alamo like we heard there was, because We didn’t do the guided tour. We did not find the Alamo as impressive as all the others. After the Alamo we walked down to River Walk. We decided to do the river boat tour.  There was one other couple on the boat plus our guide.  It was so worth the $ 13.50 each we spent on it. 

 So the musts of to dos while visiting San Antonio are the Missions, take the cruise on the river boat and go to the Government Canyon Stare Park and check out the dino prints.  

Come back next week where I tell you all about Amistad National Recreation Area. Until next week give me a like and follow me. 

Till then,

Hope

Week Two of our Fulltime Adventures-NOLA, the Mardi Gras that Wasn’t, Record Cold Weather, and a Cold

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Week  two of our fulltime living has found us heading to NOLA for what was supposed to be our trip to see Mardi Gras but what we found is little festivities, record cold weather and one of us getting a cold. Where I left off last week was that we were heading to NOLA for Mardi Gras, where we knew that it would be different but would make the best of it anyways.  So off we headed from Mississippi in the rain and ended up at our campground just has the rain has stopped for a brief moment.  We are staying at Bayou Segnette State Park.  This is a beautiful park, with level, asphalt sites, some (like our first one) have a deck and the picnic tables are all on concrete slabs.  If the weather would have cooperated with us we might have taken our bikes off the back and ridden them, but that has yet to happen.  Being that the roads are asphalt we are able to walk around and not get muddy so that is a huge plus.  We are after all right on the bayou so trails off the asphalt will have to be eiher boardwalk or plan on getting muddy and soaked.  We settled in for our week here and to get some needed chores done.  The first priority was that Mike had an appointment to get the truck’s ac fixed, which he was there for a couple hours only to have to bring it back on Monday for an appointment when he could get to it as it was going to take 5 hours to fix.  Meanwhile, I started doing our weeks plus worth of laundry.  Two laundry rooms, each with two washers and two dryers in it.  

One nice warm, semi-dry day we went to Jean Lafitte National Historical Park.  Jean Lafitte was a pirate that interrupted his pirating career to fight for the United States in defense of New Orleans in the War of 1812. They have hiking trails  but as we are seeing in the southern states most of the trails were either damaged by the summer’s hurricanes or were under water due to the current non-stop rain, however, there was one trail that we could do.  The ranger told us no dogs allowed.  We left Eris in the truck and headed on this short boardwalk trail, that was basically just decking over the swamp, like maybe a foot above the swamp.  That is where we encountered a fairly decent sized alligator.  We were happy that Eris remained in the truck. After getting my NP passport stamped we went to the little community of Jean Lafitte.   In this little town they had a really nice hiking trail (all boardwalk) and a cute museum.  There was a movie in the museum that talked about the people of the area.  It was very reasonable and at the time of this writing it was $6.00, and worth every penny.  

The next day we dropped Eris off at doggie daycare so we could go to the French Quarter.  The weather turned cold and was still gray out.  We got a ferry card which is good for 5 days and was $18.00 each.  We took off from Algiers Point and got dropped off at Canal Street.  Walking distance to everything we wanted to go to.  The $36.00 we paid for the passes would have been one day’s parking price in the Quarter so worth the money and parking at Algiers Point is free and unlimited time.  It was definately a different vibe than years in the past where we went (we went after Mardi Gras too), buildings weren’t nearly as decorated and the crowds were thin.  While there we went to the Louisiana State Museum, another reasonably priced thing to do, at the time of this writing was $7.00.  The downstairs display was dedicated to Katrina. It was a  great depiction of what happened during Katrina and to see the destruction and the loss and all of the inequities that came out of it was heartbreaking.  (FYI Katrina came in as a catagory 2, then increased to a 3 and then a 5, honestly if we were here we wouldn’t have evacuated either for a 2).  After seeing that we went upstairs for some fun-that display was all about Mardi Gras, so it was a nice way to end our tour at the Louisiana State Museum.  

The following day we took Eris to the Doggie Daycare again.  We asked them to cut her nails while they had her and of course they said no problem.  Not only did they cut them but they were bored so they painted them purple to get her her ready for Mardi Gras.  We highly recommend Shampooch. Reasonable prices and they love their guests we could tell.  Since we took her there we headed back over on the ferry, it was a dry day, which came far and few between, still ugly looking but at least it was dry, cold but dry.  We headed to Mardi Gras World.  Upon arriving at Mardi Gras World we were greeted with King Cake.  We learned more of how the floats were made and more history. We had no idea that a good portion of the accessories on the floats, ie the Scooby Doo’s etc. are made out of styrofoam.  It was worth the $20.00 we spent on it.  (If you go look for groupons).  After our great tour we headed back to the French Quarter for lunch and a stop at Cafe Du Monde for some beignets.  Again I got to say it was weird to see no bars open and less decorations and less people for what has become Mardi Gras 2021.  

Sunday our first nomadic Valentine’s Day was spent driving over the longest continuguas bridge over water in the WORLD-Lake Pontchatrain Causeway.  It is nearly 24 miles long over water.  Honestly, it was boring.  Not much to look at, especially since it was cloudy and gray.  However, we did have some fun on the other side, we went to 2 state parks, Fairview-Riverside  State Park and Fontainbleau State Parks.  Both are beautiful.  What I find weird is when hiking, you are clearly in swamp country yet the trees in the woods are all hardwood.  

On Monday, Mike left on this frigid morning to get the ac in the truck fixed.  Hard to believe that it is so cold and we were ever going to need the ac again.  The day started off cold and got colder.  While he was sitting in the frigid garage for 5 plus hours waiting on the repairs to be made it was sleeting outside.  I was not there to nag him so of course he did not put a hat on his head and now he has a cold.  (Side note-we did go and get Covid testing done just to be sure it is just a cold).  Honestly we were really ready to leave here after 4 days and if we didn’t have the appointment to get the truck fixed we would have left, but am grateful we did not as the big storm was coming and really bad where we are heading.  We attempted to get some insulation for our underbelly for the impending freezing temps and none was to be had.  So we just put on our electric heaters and opened our kitchen cabinets and hoped for the best.  We did fill our water tanks.  While it was freezing out we were toasty inside as the weather deterioated around us.  Tuesday (Fat Tuesday) there was nothing happened.  Staying off the streets is what was best for everyone.  It was super cold, so if there was a year that the parades didn’t happen it was good that it was this year.  

Due to the continuing impending doom (the bad upcoming weather) we have changed our plans and asked to stay until Friday, we had to move sites but they are very accommodating, we had to empty our tanks anyway so it was good.  As I write this we have another bout of crap coming our way but by Friday it should warm up to the upper 40’s and hopefully we will be free to move about the country and should be in the 70’s by next week.  If we have to be stuck someplace at least this is a nice campground to be stuck in and we still have electric and water.  

All and all we are trying to make the most of it and are happy to be just together and enjoying this crazy adventure together.

So until next week, take care, stay warm and stay safe…..and we will hopefully come to you from Texas.

Hope and Mike

PS, If you like this, please like it, share it and follow us…..

Week One of Fulltiming

We left St. Pete, our home forever to start our next adventure on Tuesday, February 2, 2021. We headed to the cabin for two nights.  We were able to get the utility trailer emptied before we left.  The cabin has always felt to me a great place to escape the city.  It dawned on me that while our mailing address is in St.  Pete our home is wherever we park it and our sticksnbricks is the cabin.  We got up early to extremely cold weather and unloaded the utility trailer, with Annette’s help and closed up the cabin for the next 9 months.  First stop was Topsail Hill Preserve State Park for  two nights.   

Topsail is beautiful with full hookups and concrete or gravel pads.  Nice size sites. Walk-in tent sites and cabins  mixture of bungalows and mobile homes.  The best part is its trails and proximity to the beach.  There are shuttles to go to the beach or you can just walk. It, of course, was raining almost the whole time we were there and when we left.  We were smart this time and put our chairs away before the rain. It was a beautiful first stop and we highly recommend this park.   We decided to make Friday’s our find our local craft brewery. We found Grayton Beer Co this week and were not disappointed.

We went through Alabama onward to Mississippi. We had reservations at Shepard State Park.  Nice enough site, but very uneven, gravel sites.    Apparently though they don’t clean the campsites between guests. We picked up a trashbag worth of trash left by others. There is 28 sites and a really new bathhouse.  There are some interesting hiking trails.  Deep woods and 1000 feet away is marsh land.Beautifiul in it’s own way.  The storms of last summer really paid a toll on this park.  There were picnic tables which we could tell were swept in by storm surge and thrown into the trees, plus a lot of “floatable”, ie cups etc., were washed in way up on the trails. We can tell alot of improvements are happening in this park.  They have a new ranger station which will also house a gift shop/campstore, which should be opening soon, they have a new boardwalk, which probably replaced something that was there but probably destroyed.  The trails have been maintained but I imagine there was more markings on the trail which is still missing.  There is an archery range, some of them only Catness can hit I am sure.  There is disc golf course, which looks pretty intense, a dog park, some primative camp sites.  All and all we enjoyed ourselves here.  The campground makes you feel like you are still camping.  The days were mostly nice and evenings even nicer.  We also got to put another state sticker on our map.  

We went to our first national park of this trip.  It was Gulfshores National Seashore.  Quite beautiful.  The visitor center was still closed because of Covid and some of the trails were destroyed in the storms.  The campground was open and I was able to get my National Park Passport Book stamped.  

While in Mississippi we also saw Buffett Beach, obviously we had to stop and get a picture of it.

The odd thing I find with all the marshes I would have thought we would have seen some wildlife, except for the stupid snake we really didn’t see anything.  

We are spending  4 nights here and tomorrow we head to NOLA.  When we picked 2.2 as our date to take off it was to attend Mardi Gras, well all the fesitivities for that have been cancelled.  But we will find plenty to do I am sure, not to mention just some basic life items.  First thing first is to get my credit card replaced.  Before we even left Florida my card got jacked.  So we immediately called Chase to have another one issued.  I called Bayou Segnette State Park, (our LA park) and asked if they would accept mail for us.  They said they would so hopefully when we arrive it will be there.  We also need to get the ac in the truck fixed, not that we have needed much ac now but we will soon, so we made an appointment for that this week, and while Mike is dealing with that Eris and I will hang at the campsite, get some work done and do laundry.  I don’t know how much help she will be. We will go to some of the things we wanted to see the last two times we were there but didn’t get to do.  We will have fun there for sure.  Then it is off to Texas. 

Follow along for our adventures, you never know where we will be, we certainly don’t…..

If you like this give it a like and share it and follow us.  Thanks,

Until next week,

Hope, Mike and Eris the LowRider Camperhound 

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7 DAYS Till Freedom

As I write this there is only 7 days to our take off date. When this posts the countdown will say 5 days. We will be ready. We have reservations at our first campground on February 4. Eris the lowrider camping hound and I have been adjusting well to my retirement. Mike is finishing up one last job and then we will be moving his shop up to our part-time homestead. We will have to make a few trips up and back to get the job done. But we are thinking the last possible night in St. Pete will be Monday. Maybe earlier but we do have a few trips to the cabin to make for his shop.

We will be down to one vehicle as I am sitting here watching my Kia get it’s last oil change from me at least and she will be going to a new home on Thursday.

Another surreal feeling is that this Wednesday will be our last “run” night from 3 Daughters at least until November. Prior to Covid we used to run with Fit to Run the last Wednesday of the month. We would meet with our friends. After the world stopped spinning that was one of the big things we missed. So our friends, who we were quarantining with, would meet us at 3D and we would walk and do nearly 3 miles every Wednesday.

Another thing we will miss is our family nights held each week at my uncles. Of course these all started after it was safe to get together in small groups. Our last one will be on this Thursday until at least the end of November.

This month started with a mini trip to Atlanta to see Shan and Christian and went up with Jes and Chris and grand pups. While up there we celebrated Jes’ 30th birthday and went sightseeing of course. Went to Helen, Anna Ruby Falls, Nora Mill Granary, Fernbank Museum and Atlanta Botanical Gardens. While the weather was cold, it was beautiful out. The gardens were beautiful and I can only imagine how beautiful it is in March/April when everything is in bloom.

Needless to say we are getting excited. No more alarm clocks and new adventures coming our way.

Enjoy the pics below…

Until next time,

Hope

HAPPY NEW YEAR- WELCOME TO 2021

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As I reflect on the year that none of us will forget, 2020, all in all it was mostly good for us.  Let me get the bad overwith, in March I lost my job, which I got another job quick enough, then in March we all know what plagued the world.  While speaking to someone on the other side of the country we were all doing the same thing, praying nobody we knew or that we wouldn’t get Covid.  All the while we were moving forward with our plans for our 2/1/2021 departure date.  In January I wrote in my dayplanner that on December 28, whereever I am working, to put my notice in (I actually wrote it that way).  The rest of the bad is that my father in law, a sweet, sweet man, became sicker and was in a hospital bed (at home-thank you Hospice) since July and passed away at age 98.5. He is missed but we all know he is in a better place.  My uncles got Covid but thankfully made a speedy recovery.  That’s all I got for the bad, while I miss hugs of my family and while masking up  is a pain, I do it for the better good.  

Christmas we spent our last year as homeowners in our backyard with family. It was great. Didn’t have as many people as we normally have but it was great just the same. Honestly it was the most relaxing year I ever had. We did a hobo dinner cooking over an open fire. We kept the fire going for warmth. It was a chilly year. Shan and Christian came down so the only ones we were missing was my son and daughter-in-law.

We picked 2/1/2021 as our shove off date so we could go to Mardi Gras, that of course as I write this is cancelled.  That’s ok we will plan on it for next year.  This year while we have our reservations we will just have fun in New Orleans anyway. We plan on heading west, stopping and seeing our besties,  who spend the month of July in Washington and a stop in Yellowstone and finishing in Savannah to do a half marathon in November, (assuming it will happen), spend the holidays with family and then back out.  

I started 2020 with a project of 52 Weekend’s to remember-well that took a hault because of Covid, which gave us more time to work on the cabin, camper or the house. We continued with our plans, spending most of the time working on the cabin, camper, or the house. To make it easier to work on the house we moved into the camper, started to box up, get rid of and get ready for a garage sale. I think it was somewhere in August that our kids came over to help us with cleaning up the Irma tree (huge tree that was toppled over during Irma) as we were preparing to put our house on the market, when they showed interest in purchasing the house. Which we finally closed on December 28, 2020, the same day I quit my job.  I have 3 days (including today) and I will be retired.  We will eventually have to go back to work, which will look different then what we are doing now, we are planning on doing some workkamping and have already applied already to Yellowstone 2022.  

As I sit here on my last Wednesday of my career I am looking forward to a healthy, happy and adventuresome  2021 and that I wish the same for everyone.  

The first picture is my wonderful father-in-law, who is missed but is in a better place.

The balance is Christmas.

Next week I will be back on to location and places to see blogs.

Until next time,

Hope

Get ready for Part 3 of Pinellas County Parks-Fort Desoto

Let me start but by apologizing for the tardiness of this blog post. I have previously blogged about Ft. Desoto but as a campground review. Now let me tell you why I love this park. The campground not so much (ok just management) anyway the rest of the park is beautiful and my fav beach always, always has been and always will be.

Since I was a kid we would go to Ft. Desoto on the boat and spend the day. Also, many family gatherings would find us there. Seeing relatives that we would see here at Ft. Desoto and at the annual New Year’s party at my parental’s home. Relatives would come up from Sarasota to go to these family gatherings. As a teenager I would go and do teenage things. As an adult I would take my children there weekly to go to the beach. Now my daughter takes her pups to the dog park often and probably more often coming up as our plans involve them as well. More about that in another blog post.

There are picnic areas and miles and miles of white sand beach.

In about 1000 to 1500 A.D. the land was once the home of the Tocobaga Native Americans. Construction of the Fort began in November 1898 and was completed in December 1906. The post was active from 1898 to 1910. Not surprisingly mosquitos were (and still are) a constant problem in the summer. In May 1923 the fort was officially abandoned. In September 1938 Pinellas County bought the area for $12,500. What an awesome deal for residents and visitors. On December 21, 1962 the toll road was completed and it enabling island visitors to go by car. The park was dedicated on May 11, 1963.

It is worth the trip if you are in the area and is mecca for outdoor activities.

Beautiful beaches

Let me tell you about my home town/Part or should I say Park 2-John Chestnut Sr.

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This is another great Pinellas County Park that should be on everyone’s bucket list. There is a lot of wildlife to be seen. Deer, alligators, racoons and many birds call this beautiful park home. This 255 acre park is situated on Lake Tarpon, it has a boat ramp and canoe launch and landlocked canoe trails. It has miles of nature rails, including many boardwalks. This park was built with cooperation of the US Army Corp of Engineers and it is located near Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs. There is plenty to do in this park. Between the softball fields, the 13 picnic shelters, dog park, horseshoe pits, boatramp, canoe launches with a canoe trail and and two playgrounds, nature trails and of course the chance to see deer, alligators and birds, and many more wildlife and foliage you will not be bored.

The location of your next adventure is 2200 East Lake Rd., Palm Harbor, Florida, bring a picnic lunch and plan on spending the day being surrounded by beauty and if you are lucky you may spot a deer. So be sure that if you are in the Tampa Bay area to add this location to your bucket list.

Until next week,

One of the beauties

Hope

Let’s Me Tell You About My Home Town/County Parks…Part 1-Florida Botanical Gardens

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Pinellas County is the location of my home town, St. Petersburg, Florida. I’ve been calling St. Pete my home town for 44 years now. St. Pete was put in the top 10 of large cities ( even though I would consider it medium). Pinellas County consists of many towns/cities and 20,000 acres of parks and preserves, 4 preserves, 2 botanical and historic parks, and 15 county parks.

Shortly we will be on the road and have really cool locations and experiences to talk about, but while I’m still here I should talk about the beauty of what exists in the place I currently call home. While I can’t wait to leave I realize that we have some of the bests all within miles of our home. We have some of the best breweries, the best bicycle friendly city, a great rail trail, the best city and county parks and the best beaches, of course I’m a little biased. However, hopefully this will spark you to check out the places I talk about or maybe add them to your bucket list.

I’m gonna start with Florida Botanical Gardens. This place is so beautiful and I can’t believe I haven’t been there before. I may have been there before but this was the first time going with friends to just take photos.

Florida Botanical Gardens is 182 acre garden. The address is 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo. The hours are M-F 7-5. They have annual events of course this is 2020 so some may be cancelled. There is a gift shop and visitor’s center, however they are closed on the weekends. Dogs are welcome. While we were there there was quite a few.

Where we entered the garden we started out on the boardwalk and the first thing we said was how we couldn’t believe that we were still in the city. We continued on to a bridge going over the water with little overlooks. There are sculptures that are pretty cool.

One of the many boardwalks
One of the sculptures
The priceless moment when you get to hang with your besties:)

The weather on the day we were there was one of those perfect days, the ones that sells real estate in Florida. There was a yoga class happening in one of the gardens. What a zen place for that. There are benches all over to relax and take in the views and to ponder life. While we don’t have geysers there were a few fountains in the most beautiful setting.

Nancy chilling in one of the beautiful areas.

There are some fun areas as well. Trees decorated with faces.

Fun trees

Gardens wouldn’t be gardens without flowers. So enjoy seeing what I saw through my lens.

I hope you enjoy my view of the gardens and add the Florida Botanical Gardens to your bucket list. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, it is totally free.

One more thing if you like the article it would be appreciated to like it and subscribe to my email list and you will be notified of my blogs as they come out.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for next week where I will show another local park.

Until next week,

Hope

The Freeing Feeling and Not Having an Achy Breaky Back

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Let me tell you it is so freeing to get rid of stuff. While downsizing is difficult we are getting closer. That’s exactly what we did when we had our garage sale we downsized and it was so freeing. While it was a lot of work and I personally don’t even like garage sales we had a successful one and then donated the leftover stuff to Goodwill.

Garage sale- a success

Not too much else happened except while we (Joyce, Vince and I) were selling our belongings in the front, Mike, Jes, Chris, Nick, Mark and and Nya were in the backyard breaking up the floor of the shed and cutting some more overgrown brush. I sold the couch so now the living room is empty. We only have a few larger items left to sell and if we don’t we will take to the property. Our poor pup is confused and nervous about what is going on. We haven’t been staying in the house since the beginning of August but she would stay in there while we were at work. Now poor thing has to sleep in our old bed. Now the room is completely empty except for the tv which will go to the property maybe this weekend.

Moving into the camper fulltime brings me to my next point- my achy breaky back. The mattress that came with our camper mmm how should I put this… was pure crap. Every morning I’d wake up with a sore back. So we ordered and received a mattress from Mattress Insider. It is so nice to be able to sleep through the night and to wake up and not be in any pain. One of the best upgrades. Thank you Mattress Insider.

Beautiful new mattress
Old garbage mattress in the living room, on it’s way out the door.

Thank you everyone who helped with the garage sale and the backyard and thank you Mattress Insider for a good night’s sleep.

Check out next weeks where I will be talking about some of the Pinellas County Parks.

Until then take care,

Hope

Just a quick update…..

This past weekend was a rainy, crappy day, what we wanted to was sit in the camper and just watch the day go by. But what ended up happening was we decided to get ready for this weekend’s garage sale. we spent hours in sorting stuff between garage sale, giveaway, and trash and pricing everything. How does one accumulate so much stuff?!?It was a very satisfactory day and we felt accomplished and productive. So hopefully, everything goes this weekend and what doesn’t will mostly get donated.

That’s all I got for this week. Have a great week and I’ll see y’all next week!

Hope

The way we wanted to spend our day!
The way Eris wanted to spend the day!
The way we spent our day… getting ready!
The end of the day, Eris a little stressed and needy!!