Monday, January 4, 2016

Southern Tier Travels

We tend to be pretty loose with our planning.  So when we left Florida recently, we knew we'd cruise through Alabama this go-round, stop in Mississippi and Louisiana, and plan on arriving in Livingston, Texas (our domicile) for a January 10th camping reservation.  Well, plans unexpectedly changed...

We did spend four nights at Big Biloxi Recreation Area in DeSoto National Forest as noted in our last entry.  That was Gulfport, Mississippi.  But, we were excited to move on to Louisiana as we loved two previous visits there (by loaded touring bicycles in 1995, and on an auto road trip in 2000).  This time we were heading on Interstate 10 to Lafayette, Cajun central!  Then to Baton Rouge and west to Texas.

The ride to Louisiana was nothing spectacular, but we had some nice scenery here and there.

We decided to do a Walmart "campsite" in Lafayette last night -- a 24 hour super center, like many we have stayed at along the way.  

Now, we haven't really been 100% relaxed at Walmarts, unless there are other RV's there; then we're in numbers sort of thing.  Last night we arrived before sunset, and ate supper in the car, waiting for dark to climb into the teardrop, Katie.  It's actually fairly bright in these lots due to the many lights.  But, we feel less conspicuous waiting for dark to go into Katie.  

Our routine is to park on the fringes of the parking lot, required by Walmart.  We also look to be in view of the market entrance, since other entrances are locked at the 24 hour stores, but the market entrance is open all night.  Since I typically get up in the night to use a bathroom, I want a direct walk to the store entrance.  Yes, at 3am I am traipsing through the parking lot!  Not too many people are shopping at that time, but there are some!

Anyway, we fell asleep around 8:30pm or so, but awoke to a thud on the camper around 11pm.  From a dead sleep, we were both sitting up, wide awake.  Michael looked out his window at an SUV parked by us, with a young guy standing outside of his vehicle with his hatch open.  Michael opened his door, and the guy started yammering about our bikes locked on the rack on the back of our car.  "Oh, is that a mountain bike?  Is that a beach bike?"  Funny, I remember his exact words.  Michael evidently startled the guy, who probably thought we were in the store.  The guy lit a cigarette and climbed into his car and drove off.  Michael got out to take inventory and the car and bikes were fine.

After that we hardly slept.  We realized we thwarted a robbery.  It was scary.  We noted this morning that one item was missing, a wooden stool Michael had made years ago.  It came in handy on our travels, and it was outside between Katie and the car last night.  Who knows why, but this creepy guy stole it.  So, that made us leave first thing this morning, as we wanted out of Dodge, er, Lafayette.  And I don't think there are too many Walmarts in our future.

But things happen in weird ways.  Still in Louisiana, but off to the side of the road, we were checking our map for the ride, and a man pulled over in his truck to see if we needed any help.  We told him all was well, and he gave us a thumbs up and went on his way.  So, we had a taste of two different types of Louisiana citizens on our quick stopover.

We reached Texas, the Lone Star state, this afternoon.

As many of you know, we have no physical residence, other than Katie.  So we are "domiciled" in Texas.  We are members of the Escapees RV Club, based in Livingston TX, where we are now.  We contracted with them for their mail forwarding service, and they have given us a mailing (street) address. Our car and Katie are inspected and registered in TX, we are registered to vote here, etc.  Domicile means you're intending to settle there some day; we are not obligated to do so, however. 

Escapees has a huge campground here and we will be here for the rest of the month.  We will take day trips around to bird and hike, I have a flute circle nearby to go to, and as usual, our plans are somewhat loose!