That gave us one week to cover 1,100 miles—basically a straight line from San Angelo, Texas to Eastpoint, Florida. This meant packing up and moving every day, which is most definitely not fun, especially when we’ve grown accustomed to at least a couple of nights—and more often several nights—in one spot. Sometimes, moving on is preferable (like when we’re trying to get ourselves out of Texas, and we’re camped near Houston. Otherwise known as Hell). More often, we have to pry ourselves away from an interesting spot we’ve discovered, promising ourselves that we’ll return. Our list grows longer with every trip. I suspect I’m going to be dragged out of this life lamenting, “But wait! There’s still so much to do!”
Here’s how the last week of our travels to Florida played out:
• Austin, Texas: 205 miles from San Angelo, TX. We spent two nights in Pecan Grove RV Park, a funky old trailer park right in the middle of town. Many people parked their RV’s there decades ago and never left—just landscaped, stuck in a few pink flamingos and neon palm trees, and called it home.
We walked everywhere from Pecan Grove—Zilker Park is a couple of blocks away, with miles of walking trails along the river, a botanical garden, and an herb garden; toured the Moody Theatre, home of Austin City Limits; and went both nights to the Continental Club, a 1957 dive bar that’s considered the place to go for live music—we peeked in and found the downstairs bar to be deafening and overly grungy, but the lounge upstairs was great—we enjoyed world-class jazz and a relaxing, albeit shabby, ambiance. The motto of the town is “Keep Austin Weird,” but we didn’t see anything weirder than is considered normal in Ashland. Except maybe the shop with Elvis memorabilia. We don’t have an Elvis store in Ashland.
• Tomball, Texas: 140 miles. We were trying our best to dodge the vortex of Houston and ended up in a private RV park somewhere slightly north of the city. It was hot, unbearably humid, the traffic is a nightmare, and we couldn’t wait to get out of there. If there was an easy way to completely avoid that part of Texas, we would.
• Lake Charles, Louisiana: 180 miles; stayed at Sam Houston Jones State Park—a decent state park, but muggy and buggy. And it rained. Ugh. Nothing is appealing in that kind of weather. I have no idea why certain areas of this country were ever settled. Eric wants to come back to the nearby Atchafalaya Swamp, where the birding is phenomenal. So are the mosquitoes.
• Tickfaw, Louisiana: 175 miles; stayed at Tickfaw State Park, a well-kept state park in the middle of a swamp. The boardwalk through the swamp is nice if you trot along at a brisk enough pace to stay ahead of the mosquitoes. We stayed here last year because it’s convenient, but one night is plenty long enough.
• Ocean Springs, Mississippi: 125 miles; stayed at Davis Bayou Campground in Gulf Islands National Seashore. It’s a lovely campground and only $15.00 per night (half price with the Senior Pass). But it’s first-come, first-served so you need to arrive early. Lots of nature things to do in the National Seashore (hiking, birding, kayaking) and the little town is intriguing. We want to return to do more exploring; we only had time to walk a few short trails.
• Silverhill, Alabama: 75 miles. Stayed at Blue Moon Farm for an event at The Frog Pond (www.thefrogpondatbluemoonfarm.com).
This was sweet, one of those wonderful serendipitous events that happen if you’re okay with unconventional camping experiences. This was one of many venues for the Frank Brown International Songwriter’s Festival, an annual event that we stumbled upon while staying in nearby Pensacola last November. Cathe, the delightful owner of Blue Moon Farm, invited us to park our trailer on the farm while we enjoyed an afternoon and evening of talented songwriters/musicians. We’re hoping to return; she hosts Sunday evening music events year-round (the cost was a mere $25 for 6 hours of fantastic music). (Here, a music clip from the event: The Frog Pond At Blue Moon Farm).
• Santa Rosa, Florida: 115 miles; stayed at Grayton Beach State Park. Pure white sugar sand beaches, miles of coastline, great birding, great biking, pretty little beach towns.
• Eastpoint, Florida: 105 miles. Finally arrived at my folk’s house in beautiful Eastpoint!