Thursday, December 31, 2015


After about six weeks in Florida, we finally departed the sunshine state on Wednesday and crossed over the border to Alabama.  We decided for a scenic route so we headed into Mobile's historic district.  The main street was really lovely, with big old trees and big old historic homes lining both sides of the street.

Wish I had better pictures of Mobile to share!  It was a pretty area.

Our destination was DeSoto National Forest, near Gulfport, MS.  We found the Big Biloxi Recreation Area, our home for the holiday weekend. Having a senior pass has truly paid off, and at this campground our discounted rate was $13/night for electric and water at our site.  Always feels like a luxury having electricity.  With the skies so gray and the on again, off again rain, our solar panels wouldn't be bringing in much power.  There's something to be said about being able to have lights on in the cabin!  Without electric, we are very conservative with our electricity consumption.

We arrived at this campground on Wednesday to find another small teardrop here, a Little Guy.  The owner, Jim, came over to say hello and we chatted for a while about our trailers.  Nice man and we plan on doing tours of our trailers!

One of the many highlights of this lifestyle is the people interactions.  On our way to MS, we stopped at a rest stop and ended up meeting a couple traveling in an RV as well as a truck driver.  We spoke with these folks for close to a half hour, standing by the teardrop, and gave our friends a tour of the trailer.  People have the funniest reactions to the tear, as they see the interior and outside galley.  Usually, folks can't believe that there are two of us sleeping inside, until they see the queen size mattress!

Thursday we found a great restaurant for breakfast (and returned there again yesterday for lunch) called the Port City Cafe.  We had a wonderful experience there.  On Thursday, we ended up with a great waitress who was so friendly and interested in our travels.  We chatted during our couple of hours there as if we were old friends.  And at the same time the couple at the next table joined in and it was again so nice and fun.  When we left we all shared hugs!  I love experiences like these!  It makes us appreciate our nomadic lifestyle and the fleeting people bonds we are privileged to have.

Overall, our teardrop "Katie" has not presented any problems, thankfully.  Recently, I was on the Camp Inn forum and Steve posted about a leakage problem he has encountered with his teardrop.  It had to do with water being kicked up from the tow vehicle and getting into the front storage box on the trailer. So, I decided to check our storage box and the adjoining wall in the cabin.  Lo and behold, we were having the same situation.  In the cabin on the wall was a wet spot and in the storage box was moisture. The storage box floor has a couple of small drainage holes and apparently our car's mud flaps aren't agressive enough to prevent the water from spraying up toward the box.  Something to look into. We are also considering duct tape to cover the holes too.

The weather has been wet and chilly.  Nighttime is in the low 40's and right now although the thermometer says 53 it feels chillier.  It is still gray, wet, and breezy.  We're back in winter jackets and layers, after wearing shorts and sandals less than a week ago!

On Sunday, we will leave for Louisiana and travel around looking for Cajun food and Zydeco music!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Tornado Watch

We are in DeFuniak Springs in Florida, all the way west in the panhandle near the border with Alabama.  Our goal was a campground in Conecuh National Forest, north of interstate 10, but we began hearing weather reports of severe thunderstorms for last night and today (Sunday night and Monday).  So we took a motel room at an inexpensive and not so luxurious Super 8!  It is clean and comfortable, though.

Today it has poured, but now it is quiet.   A while ago, a voice blared from my phone suddenly, telling us there's a tornado watch in effect.  That got us to tune into the Weather Channel, where we learned that the county we're in (Walton) is under this watch.  Hoping it doesn't go to a warning!!  It is a bit unnerving after seeing all of the devastation from yesterday's tornadoes and storms.  Even eastern Texas, where we are domiciled, hasn't been spared.  And that's where we're headed.  

Yesterday, we left St. Joseph Peninsula State Park with some reluctance.  We tried to extend, but the park was sold out.  What a lovely spot to stay, and we will be back!  On Saturday, we left the peninsula to visit Port St. Joe, a small town about 25 minutes away.  This was actually a trip down memory lane.  In 1994/1995, Michael and I cycled, loaded with our camping gear, etc., around the U.S.  We cycled route 98 through the Florida panhandle, a coastal route.  One day we ended up reaching Port St. Joe, and daylight was running out.  We needed to find a place to camp, so we stopped at the police station to ask if there was a campground nearby.  The police officer we spoke to at that time informed us that there wasn't a campground in the area.  Then he surprised us by offering a place for us to sleep at the police station!  They had "transient" rooms on the second floor, and we were invited to spend the night.  Clean sheets, a clean bathroom, it all worked out well for us!  We did listen to sirens through the night, but all in all it was fine, and made for an interesting story to tell!

We found a cool place to eat for lunch.  Michael ate Appalachicola raw oysters and loved every bite!  I ate cheesy grits and they were yummy.  The place was rustic and appealing.

This cool chair had to be photographed:

Well, off to watch more weather reports!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas in Paradise

This year we have missed the typical hub-bub of Christmas.  We avoided shopping due to crowds and the associated mania!  With no TV, we haven't been home bound watching the holiday classics.  We won't have family time.  And as much as these things are a part of this festive time of year, we aren't lonely or sad...because we are celebrating Christmas in paradise!

The Gulf of Mexico

We awoke early this Christmas morning to an amazing moon set over the Gulf.  The moon was a pale orange and full, making for a beautiful way to start the day.

The white dot over the RV is the moon setting.

We arrived here at Saint Joseph's Peninsula State Park yesterday around 4pm.  After checking in we pulled into our campsite and tiny as it is, we have no neighbors yet, so we feel cozy, but not crowded!
We look out to the bay beyond the palms.

Before coffee or breakfast we took a walk on the beach.  What a way to start the day!

Back at the campsite, we perked some coffee and ate our breakfast.  We had some company too!  This beautiful cardinal hung around with us for some time!

Eurasian collared dove

At this time, the sun has disappeared and clouds and light fog have rolled in.  Yesterday, as we drove route 98, toward the peninsula, we encountered a lot of fog which obscured much of the gulf views.  But, it was beautiful nonetheless.  We ate pizza at this dock yesterday enroute to the state park:

Much to our surprise, an adult bald eagle flew in to join these black vultures.  He was too far to the left to get in this picture.

Other things that caught my eye...

The pink marks our route; we are east of Port Saint Joe, where we will pick up mail tomorrow.

Nice to follow these routes! 

We celebrated with chocolate!

Wakullah river

Just ate an early lunch...toasted baguette, olive oil and garlic, fresh tomato, and ricotta.  Yum!

Michael is starting to prep for baked ziti (yes, this man can cook anything anywhere!) for today's Christmas dinner.  And, we bought a bottle of wine to celebrate!  

Getting a fire started, making coals in the Solo stove

Everything is in the pot!

Coals on top too, to get the ziti to bake evenly.

All of our family and friends are in our thoughts today, and we wish a Merry Christmas Day to all who are celebrating!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Packing Up

Tomorrow, Wednesday, we will be departing Ocala, and heading to the Tallahassee area for the night.  This is after we get our rear brakes and shocks replaced on our 4Runner.  We found a good shop to do the work.  Our goal is to then depart. Tallahassee Thursday morning and spend Christmas Eve and Day in the Port St. Joe area.  On Saturday, we'll pick up our mail forwarded from Texas and continue to work our way west.

I researched camping locations for mid-February this morning.  We will be there to celebrate my sister, Harriet's birthday, and my sister, Linda, from Tampa will be in too.  Debating between rustic camping in the Coronado National Forest, or camping at a RV park within the city limits.  Upside of the RV park is hot showers and laundry facilities.  Even though it isn't too scenic, it may win over the forest.  It puts us near a lot of attractions, birding locations, and hiking, so if we have any down time,  we will have something to do.

Back at Ocala, the tent is already packed away as rain is predicted.  But, we've enjoyed our morning coffee sitting outdoors, before getting back into packing.  A huge locust kept us entertained!  

Interesting but creepy at the same time!

Sunday, December 20, 2015


We're convinced that dangling Spanish moss set the precedent for Christmas tree tinsel.

The moss is really not moss, but an air plant or epiphyte.  Watching the plant drift back and forth in the breeze is mesmerizing.  I should have posted a video...

Vultures...Michael and I never thought we'd be so enamored by turkey and black vultures.  Here, we are!  Kettles of them soar in and out of view every morning when they leave their roost, and again when they return around 5pm.  They are graceful and quiet as they circle up and down and all around, searching for thermals or a perch in the trees surrounding the campground.  Too bad they eat a creepy diet of carrion!

Good night!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Beautiful Evening Ocala National Forest

The evening is precious.  As afternoon melts into dusk (or prevening as Sheldon calls it on the Big Bang Theory), the peacefulness of this time takes over.  About 45 minutes ago, with the light waning, about a dozen dragonflies flew above and around us, consuming the many mosquitoes.  They were so effective, we didn't need mosquito coils.  But, like clockwork, as it darkened the dragonflies vanished, and we are dealing with the mosquitos again.  But, it doesn't ruin the evening.  

That's the waxing crescent moon, if you can't tell!  It is so pretty in reality, like a big smile in the sky.

Crickets, frogs, and cicadas are making music in the otherwise peaceful night.  The campground where we are only has about 14 spots, and only about 5 are occupied.  We have been here almost a week, but will stay until next Wednesday (Christmas eve eve), when we have an appointment to have our rear brakes replaced, and new rear shocks installed.  Once that is taken care of, we will head to Port St. Joe, where we have mail awaiting our arrival.  That's where we will pass our Christmas Day.

Earlier this afternoon, a beautiful thunderhead cloud passed through.  The sun backlit it and it was majestic!

It was a pretty warm and humid day, again.  Yesterday we hand washed laundry and everything was still wet this morning.  But, we awoke to sun and strung a line to hang our clothes to dry.  Michael just told me that tomorrow's temperature will hit 84 and cloudy.  Tonight we will sleep to 68 degrees, apparently a record high temperature for a "low".  By Friday night, we will sleep to 39 degrees!  Crazy.

Michael was super food happy today.  He cooked fresh catfish for breakfast, shared with him by another camper, Tom.  And for dinner he made a cheeseburger. My diet was a lot less interesting.

I will say I am thankful that Walmart carries baked teriyaki tofu (Walmart?!), that is quite good, so I did have a tasty lunch.  But, Michael ran into town to CVS a while ago, and ended up picking up some Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and we ate it during the dragonfly escapades which was especially great!

Today was a busy phone day for me, dealing with health insurance, prescription refills, etc.  See, it isn't all birds and scenery, traveling full time in our teardrop!  Got to attend to those boring, but critical life details!

But, I digress!

The evening -- prevening -- is now nighttime.  The dusk insect and frog chorus continues, the moon shines brightly, and momentarily, the barred owls will start calling back and forth to each other.

Just heard that first owl call!  Hoooo...

Monday, December 14, 2015

Odds and Ends

Just wanted to share some miscellaneous photos!

So many black & turkey vultures, soaring with grace!

Sunlight hitting the tree top!

Our galley and "living room" (tent).

Coffee is served...almost!

Beautiful bright green moth with pale orange spots. Photo doesn't do green color justice!