Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wildlife at Sam Houston Jones State Park

We went to see the wildlife feeding earlier than last night. Last night our four families were the only ones there. Tonight we had our son's family in addition to the others from last night. However, there were a number of other families there too. The wildlife came out in large numbers too.
The kids were excited to feed the raccoons and deer. The older gentleman who feeds the wildlife showed up shortly after we got there. The raccoons knew what he was there for and came to greet him.

Adam had several raccoons that came to take the treats he had to offer.
The deer kept their distance but a few came close enough to
eat what we had to offer.

Dylan found that several raccoons were brave enough to nearly eat out of his hand.

Many of the raccoons were content to stay at the woodline and eat the corn and feed that the older gentleman had brought. As darkness feel about all one could see was the eyes of the raccoons and deer.

One buck kept vigilant watch on the whole scene and stayed at a distance.

We counted over twenty raccoons and at least a dozen deer. It was an evening to be remembered! I am sure that the kids and grandkids will encourage us to come back again soon.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sam Houston Jones State Park

We arrived yesterday at Sam Houston Jones State Park near Moss Bluff, LA (just north of I10 & Lake Charles). My nephews and their families were taking "shake-down cruises' with their new campers and Barb and I needed a break. This is a beautiful park! We have three sites in a row. When we got here we discovered that the next site down was occupied by friends, Russell and Bertie. Can you imagine four sites in a row with families from Oberlin, LA? Most sites are very shady and wildlife is plentiful. Squirrels run around on the ground and climb the trees and deer and raccoons visit frequently without fear. The RV sites are located on connected paved loops so the kids enjoy riding their bikes, exploring nature, and playing. It is a very safe setting where you can sit in the comfort of your lawn chair and relax while watching them play. There is a nice playground at the end of one of the loops.

The park is situated along the Calcasieu River. Scenic swampy areas around the park sport cypress trees draped in Spanish Moss. Ducks, geese, and other birds can be found enjoying these areas. The filtered sunlight of sunrise and sunset make a stroll along the walkways and trails especially enjoyable.

The kids found plenty to do and enjoyed their camping trip as much as the adults. They rode their bikes and explored the edges of the woods that bordered the campsite. They found bugs and butterflies as well as the other wildlife that abounds in the park.

There are wonderful trails to take a leisurely walk, including a nature trail with numbered posts to mark plants and trees of interest. There is a nature center that has scheduled programs for visitors to enjoy.

Even the ducks enjoy a good picnic along the river!
Close to dark we went to a place in the park where an older gentleman feeds the raccoons and deer. The kids were excited to see nearly a dozen deer and half a dozen raccoons. The raccoons came close and would take offers of food out of your hands. There was not enough light to get good pictures. We will go back tomorrow evening, but will go early enough to get pictures.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Get Away Weekend - Taking a Break

We left Friday for Vidalia, LA. Our local Good Sam Chapter was meeting there at River View RV Park. When we got there we already had three rigs from our chapter there. The park is right on the Mississippi River. Tug boats can be heard in the background as they labor under the load of barges that push up or down river. It was hot!! The temperature was in the mid 90s and you could cut the humidity with a knife!

After setting up, most of us went
inside to soak up some AC. Several of us went to a nice restaurant, the Sandbar, at the foot of the bridge going to Natchez, MS. Barb and I had a great Cajun steak with grilled shrimp. We later went to the park's "club house" to set up so we could play games and just visit. Attendance was low this weekend, only six rigs, with several recovering from surgery and four couples exploring the Maritime Provinces.
Along the levee to the east of the RV park is a great walking trail with a super view of the "Big Muddy". North of the park is a visitors center that gives information on the local area. We didn't have time to check it out but several said it was worth the time to stop there.

The friendly campground host and his furry companion stopped by to say hello!

The tugs were busy moving goods up and down the river. The solo tug either has the day off or is hurrying for another load of barges.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Very Busy Preparing for Future Travels

Well we have been very busy the last couple of weeks. Our son, Jared, and his family have decided to try living in our house for a year while we try out fulltiming. We are trying to meet a Dec. 1st timeline for them to move in. We plan to travel for two or three months at a time and then come back home. We have a concrete slab, RV cover and utility pole here in the yard that will be our home base.
They will take care of the house and property while we are gone and we will help out when we are back. If we are both happy with the arrangement after a year we will continue fulltiming and they will buy our house. Meanwhile, Barb and I are sorting through nearly 37 years worth of things. It is funny how things that a few years ago we couldn't part with now have little value. We met with a contractor today to get some work done on the house that we have been trying to get done. We need to finish putting new siding on the house and have a true master bedroom and bath built. Since the rooms in our house are small, they will push out the wall on one bedroom and also the utility room to make a master suite. With this short of a timeline and the weeks lost in my recovery, we are going to need help to get things done. When we leave for the HitchHiker tour to the Smokies, International rally and tour of Lincoln’s birthplace the second week of September we will move into the fiver for good. It will be easier to work on the house without us living in it!

Tomorrow we will go camping with our Good Sam chapter to take a break from the work here. The club is going to Vidalia, LA, just across the river from Natchez, MS. I will try to post some pictures from the campout in the next couple of days.