March 31, 2013

Grand Isle, Louisiana (Week Four)


We are still here on Grand Isle and continuing to enjoy our stay. The people are so friendly. Jerry has had a couple of fires that other campers have attended, and they solved all the problems of the world, too.

This morning we attended the Easter Sunrise Service on the back deck of Artie's Bar. We learned about it from the local newspaper. Guess you have to be a local to know where Artie's Bar is as the ad in the paper didn't give an address. Two other couples from the RV park also attended. One couple is from Wisconsin and the other one is from Duluth, Minnesota. 

People starting to gather on the back deck of Artie's Bar
that looks out over the Gulf,
waiting for the service to begin.

Looking out over the Gulf from Artie's Bar
this morning as the sun is rising on this Easter Day.

Then, when we arrived back at the coach, we found some Easter eggs underneath our steps -- put there by the owner's 12 year old grandson who has been visiting them all week. They went out fishing earlier this week a couple of times. Poor little guy, he said his arm was sore. No wonder! Three boats went out and they returned with 900 pounds of fish. I can't even comprehend that!

Eggs under our coach this morning.

Then, another camper from Switzerland brought over some genuine Swiss chocolates. They were delicious. And Jerry prepared his deviled eggs for all the campers in the park.

Jerry with his deviled eggs.

Earlier this week, we drove out to Elmer's Island again. We saw numerous pelicans diving into the water for fish. Here is a picture that I took and a video that Jerry took.

I had on my wide angle lens, so the pelicans seem 
a bit far away. But, check out Jerry's video below.
The video also includes clips of other footage Jerry
took on this island.

If the weather cooperates, we will start up the RV tomorrow and head off of the island for other adventures. We will miss this place and hope to make it back here again sometime.

Have a great Easter week, everyone!

March 24, 2013

Grand Isle, Louisiana (Week Three)

It's been a nice relaxing week on this island.

We made another trip on Tuesday off of the island and into town about 40 miles away. This time it was to get my tooth pulled. It was a lower back tooth that broke off about 8 months ago. And, it was an old (I mean from the 60s) root canal. The dentist worked for a good half an hour to get it out. Thought I would be in lots of pain afterwards, but I have had hardly any pain -- other than the surrounding teeth that caught the pressure she applied in trying to extract the tooth.

Then, on Wednesday, we had Michelle and Lanny (the owners of this park) over for dinner. Jerry made his roasted duck with orange marmalade glaze and Minnesota wild rice with bacon. Forgot to take a picture of them or the food, but will get one of them before we leave here.

Tried to catch some sunset pictures. Here they are.

Jerry continues to run on the beach every other day, but Chanti and I over-did it last Sunday. My left knee (which has had four surgeries in the past) has had it. And, Chanti's arthritis is also acting up. So we have taken it easy this week.

Have also had to deal this week with a credit card that was compromised. Now I have my new card, though, and am set to go.

Have a great week, everyone!

March 17, 2013

Grand Isle, Louisiana (Week Two)


What a lovely week. Beautiful weather -- in the 60s and low 70s. Walked the beach nearly every day.

Grand Isle, LA Sign

I accompanied Michelle (the park owner) to the nearest town about 40 miles away on Monday. Still can't believe all the water around here and all the bridges we have to cross to get off of the island. Michelle said that high winds can blow water in from the Gulf and cover the low lying roads to where the island residents can't get off of the island until the water recedes.

Then, on Tuesday, Jerry and I made the trip into the town (I think the town is called "Cut Off") to get our teeth cleaned as we will be gone from our regular dentist in California for two years. Also took Chanti in for her rabies shot which was due. So, all in all, it was a productive day.

On Wednesday, I drove again with Michelle -- but this time we went all the way to New Orleans (about 55 miles away) -- to attend a bead show at a hotel. Michelle is into beading. I bought some beads for a necklace that will be a reading glass holder when it is finished.  

Here are some pictures of the small get-together we attended last Saturday at the Louisiana State run oyster research farm. They served a delicious crawfish bisque that Jerry thought was out-of-this-world.

Hanging out with with locals:
Lanny, Jerry and Michelle (looking into the Gulf), John,
Sue, Andy and Karen hanging out on the porch.

Harvesting a special brand of disease-resistant oysters.

Watched the sun set from their porch.

Yesterday, we drove to Elmer's Island, a few miles away, and walked that beach. That island has lots of sea shells along the shore.

On the way out there, we saw this white rock embedded
in a tree. Must have happened with one of the hurricanes
that hit this area.

We stopped the car on the way back and walked the bridge that takes us back over to Grand Isle. These are the pictures we took from the bridge.

Coming down the bridge with Grand Isle
at the end of the bridge.

Grand Isle as seen from the bridge. Just imagine --
this whole island was 5 feet under 
water when Katrina hit it.

Have a great week ahead, everyone!

March 10, 2013

Grand Isle, Louisiana

First of all, we didn't go to Baton Rouge. Instead, we decided at the last minute to go to Lafayette, Louisiana. That's the beauty about this lifestyle. Nothing is really concrete. We go where the urge drives us at the time.

In Lafayette, we found the Acadiana Park Camp Grounds, a city park. So, maybe we were really in Acadiana. It was hard to find. But, give it to Jerry, for he didn't give up. I was ready to head on over to the KOA that we had passed earlier. So glad that we didn't because this city park was a gem.

Can you find us in this park???

Here is a closer look. Yes, we were in a flood area.
But, there was no rain in the forecast.

Again, there were nice walking paths in the woods.

And bridges.

We stayed there for two nights at only $15 a night with 50 amp electricity and water. Then, on Monday, March 4, we drove to Grand Isle, Louisiana. We drove down on Highway 49 which was terrible. In fact, Jerry's muffler came loose, and he lost his special rear license plate on the RV when we crossed a bridge that we should never have been on. But, the good old GPS told us to go that way -- and we did.

So now that we made it, we are hanging  out on an island in the Gulf that is about 54 miles straight south of New Orleans ("as the crow flies").

This was the last of the many bridges we took
to get to Grand Isle, Louisiana.

Coming off of a bridge you can see where
one of the hurricanes that affect this island 
took out part of the road.
(These pictures were taken from the RV.)

Guess you'd say that we passed through lots 
of swamp areas.

Grand Isle is small, about 6 square miles. It's population is about 1,300, but can grow up to 20,000 in the summertime with the tourists. It is the fourth largest fishing area in the world with 280 species of fish. Being in the Gulf, it certainly gets affected by the hurricanes, including Katrina, Rita and Gustav in the past. The island is long (about 7 miles) and only a half mile to a mile wide. It has a Subway, one grocery/appliance store and two gas stations, plus a few other small businesses - no banks.

We are staying at the Island House RV Park.
It is small with only about 20 sites. It's owners
(Michelle and Lenny) are wonderful hosts.

Nearly every house is raised on stilts, 
including mobile homes. (Pat and Bill, 
how about moving here???)

And, every house has its own name. This
one is: "Good-bye Tension. Hello Pension."

Some of the other names that we saw while walking around the island are: "It's Our Dream," "Good Enough," "Worth the Wait," "Past Time," "For the Good Times," "Poverty Point," "Somewhere in Time," "Recovery Room," "Therapy," "Making Memories," "Crab Rehab," and "Dream Come True."

You can go down to the docks and buy the real deal -- fresh Louisiana caught shrimp right off of the boats for $4.70 a pound. 

I used one of my twice a month fish meals for this!

Yesterday (Saturday), the Island had its First Annual 5k run for charity. 101 participants turned out for the race. Jerry, who is a runner (having run the LA Marathon 6 years in a row) and put on a number of races himself over the years couldn't believe the age break-down of the race. There were two categories: age 30 and under, and age 31 to the grave.

Jerry running in the Grand Isle First Annual 5k.

Can you believe that a 70-year old actually
came in third in the latter category? He was
so proud of his current personal best and rightly so.

The beach is a short walk from the RV park.
It goes on and on for 7 miles. We've taken
2-4 miles walks on the beach and look 
forward to many more.

We plan to hang out here for a month or so, until the weather improves in the lower states. The temperature has been in the low 60s with a bit of breeze. Michelle just invited us to an oyster event and dinner tonight on the island. We said that we will go and check it out.

Even though we thought that we would have nothing to do on this little island, there is always something going on. More on that later.

Have a great week ahead, everyone!

March 1, 2013

Sam Forse Collins Recreational Center, Texas

We stayed at the South Toledo Bend State Park in Louisiana until Tuesday (Feb. 26). While there, we continued to  enjoy our stay in the woods and near the water.

Full moon seen through the trees in the park.

 We discovered a number of nice cabins that people
rent in the summer time. Great for large family
get-togethers. All of them were empty at this time.

The one hiking trail that we had not walked was the Eagle Nest Hike. So we did that, too, one day.

The Eagle Nest Hiking Trail was not paved,
but winded through the woods along the water.

There was even a bench in the middle of the woods on which to rest.

A couple of nights, we had beautiful sunsets.

On Sunday, Dave and Dorothy took us out to a Japanese restaurant for a delicious brunch. It was along the lines of a Benihana Restaurant (though it was not one) where the chef performs all kinds of tricks with his knives while preparing the meal in front of us.

Vegetables, shrimp, red snapper, beef and scallops on the grill.

And here we are, sitting back after finishing the meal.

On Monday, Jerry turned 70 years old. He celebrated by preparing the meal for the four of us. He loves to cook -- if you haven't gathered that by now. He made tri-tip, something Californians are familiar with, but have to get a special butcher to get it for you here in the South. 

Then on Tuesday, we packed up the motorhome and drove a distance of three miles across the border from Louisiana to Texas. We are now within a mile of Dorothy and Dave's place. The Sam Forse Collins Recreational Center is located right on the reservoir. It is free, but you can only stay four days. There are no hook-ups. They do have large showers, though. We basically have the whole park to ourselves, with the exception of one guy who spent a couple of nights here. 

Parked at the Sam Forse Collins Recreational Center.

We don't know what kind of birds these are, but
thousands of them come together in a flock and 
settle on the grass around us. You should hear the
symphony they create with their chirping.

The cliffs along the reservoir in this park.

We are joining Dorothy and Dave tonight for a deep fried cat fish dinner at a restaurant. Not me. I will find something else to eat. Just to update you on my vegan diet. On March 6, I will have been on this diet for a year. In the last couple of months, I have modified my diet a bit to where I will now eat fish twice a month. I had fish on Sunday, so I will not eat it tonight. Plus, if I'm going to eat fish only twice a month, I have to be selective.

Tomorrow, Dorothy and Dave will join us on the coach for coffee and caramel-cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Then Jerry and I will pull out of here and head towards Baton Rouge. We really enjoyed the last two weeks here with them.

Have a great weekend, everyone!