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Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Travel Tidbits

We left on schedule from Florida on April 12. First time in three years we've actually departed on the scheduled date :-). Yay for us!

Our first stop was Topsail Hill State Park in Santa Rosa Beach Florida. This was a beautiful full hookup campground on the white sand beaches of the Florida Panhandle. I was so excited to actually score a site in this hard to reserve campground. Sadly, it rained the whole time we were there :-. We did get a short break in the weather one day to walk to the beach (about a half mile walk) and it looked beautiful, lurking in the dense fog. We also took a drive to Destin and walked the waterfront for awhile. It sure looks like it would be a rockin' place in the summer!
Our site at Topsail Hill State Park, Florida


We had originally planned to head to Vicksburg National Park for a couple of days, but with the awful weather forecast to continue, and flood warnings up for the Mississippi River in the area, we decided to scrap that idea and stay along the coast. Not that the weather was going to be any better, but no flooding was imminent.

We ended up getting a site at the Davis Bayou Campground at Gulf Islands National Seashore in Ocean Springs MS. It's a small campground with electric and water sites only. The best part of this change was meeting up with some Amazon friends, Fran and David Smith. While it was rainy again, we did take a nice walk with the dogs from the campground to the Visitor Center, stopping along the way to see the alligator in the bayou and exploring the waterfront area. We also stopped in the Visitor Center, watched the movie and perused the exhibits. If the weather was nice there are several boat excursions available taking you out to the barrier islands for further exploration. It definitely goes on the list for another visit.
The bayou as seen from the Visitor's Center
This gator barely moved for the 2 days we were there,

Fran and David entertained us one night by taking us to Biloxi to the casino row and dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and Casino. It was sad to see the devastation along the waterfront Biloxi had sustained due to Hurricane Katrina, especially all the old antebellum plantations that had been destroyed. We did have a good time chatting with Fran and David, and wish them an excellent summer working at Hatteras Sands in the Outer Banks, NC.

After leaving Ocean Springs, we had two horrendous driving days through Louisiana on I10, I49 and I20. These have to be some of the worst roads we travel over. We overnight-ed in Natchitoches LA at Nakatosh Campground, and it really was way down on our desirable campsite list. Right behind a truckstop, no management on site. The only virtue it had was easy on/off the highway.

We then landed at Lighthouse RV Park in Melissa TX. We stay here while visiting Al's sister Sue and her family. Again, it's a no-frills campground off Hwy. 75, but only ten minutes from her house. We stayed there two nights, and endured a pretty strong thunderstorm the first night. The next day was pretty nice however, and we spent the day at Eisenhower State Park on Lake Texoma.  The park is very nice, with a large lake, several campgrounds, a small beach area and lots of hiking trails. The trails were extremely muddy from the recent heavy rains, so we passed on any hiking, but did try some fishing.

Beach area at Eisenhower State Park

Al's niece Kim, her boyfriend Frank and son Max

Trying their luck at fishing...no catching though :-(.

From Melissa we had a pretty long drive across to our next big stop, Grand Canyon National Park. We broke it up into four legs, stopping for one night in Amarillo TX, (with dinner at The Big Texan), then two nights at Santa Rosa Lake State Park in New Mexico, then one night in Gallup NM before finally landing at the Grand Canyon.

Santa Rosa Lake State Park was very nice, with a small electric/water campground and a couple of primitive campgrounds, on Santa Rosa Lake. It was a nice place to crash for a couple of nights. The weather was nice, for a change, and there were some nice hiking trails that we explored.

Our site at Santa Rosa Lake State Park. I like the covered picnic table :-).

We went for a hike along the Shoreline Trail.

A view of the dam and observation tower.

Headed down to the shoreline

Honey was ready to cool off!

All in all, it was a three mile hike. Quite enough for us since we are not used to the elevation yet.

The view from our campsite.

We had a pretty nice travel day from Santa Rosa to Gallup, but the next day as we headed into Arizona and the Grand Canyon, we had on and off showers all the way, as well as some hail as we headed up into Flagstaff. At least it was very small hail :-)! At Williams, AZ we turned off the highway and drove another hour north, finally arriving at Grand Canyon National Park. I had made a reservation a couple months ago at Trailer Village RV Park, the only full hookup campground right at the South Rim. So that is where we currently are. A recurring theme, the weather is terrible :-0, it's cold, raining and will be some snow tonight! We may not do too much hiking, but we are getting out and seeing what we can. That post will have to wait, and Monday we are supposed to finally see the sun. I plan on getting outside and getting some pictures then :-).

These elk created an elk jam on the way into Grand Canyon National Park.

6 comments:

  1. Those Elk jams are a lot more fun than regular road jams:)

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  2. You guys are really booking it across the south. Have a fun time at the canyon :)

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  3. We feel your pain...the weather that is. It has been very wet on the coast as well. Sure hope you get some beautiful weather to enjoy your time at the Grand Canyon...it is so amazing!!!

    Safe Travels!!!!

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  4. I loved Davis Bayou in the Gulf Islands. Wish I'd known you were going there I'd have recommended that you go to the Amazing Walter Anderson Museum in Ocean Springs. If you go back, read up on Anderson and don't miss it. Our weather has been crappy here too. Rain Rain nothing but rain. It even rained on our Dogwood Parade. Hope you get some nice weather for the absolutely wonderful Grand Canyon. I am VERY envious.

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  5. I didn't know there were Elk in the grand canyon. I love Destin!

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  6. Hope the weather calms down soon. Our summer is going to be spent at my Brother in-laws farm in MO, close to KU Medical Center, Med issues. We will be following your adventure this summer. You must do Vicksburg and Natchez Ms sometime. Great State park right in the middle, Lake Bruin SP in Louisiana.

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