A Cozy Christmas

We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and we wish you a Happy New Year!

Our first ever bike ride at the beach, cool and breezy.  Thankfully it was paved which made peddling easy.
Our first ever bike ride at the beach, cool and breezy.

Our Christmas was pleasant and relaxing. We spent most of the day crocheting coffee cozies, watching movies, snacking on deviled eggs and veggies while our little turkey breast cooked in the slow cooker.

I like to use my cozy when i have iced drinks too!
I like to use my cozy when i have iced drinks too!

If you haven’t cooked turkey that way, it is surprisingly moist, and super easy to clean up if you get the slow cooker liners.We had no idea there was such a thing until Sharon our RV neighbor told us about them a couple weeks ago.

This gal knows all the cool cooking gadgets!
This gal knows all the cool cooking gadgets!

Michele and Joe, the owners of Bay Hide Away RV Park treated everyone to a fabulous home cooked Christmas dinner last Wednesday!

Full Belly's and Happy Campers
Full Belly’s and Happy Campers
Michele knows how to throw a party!
Michele knows how to throw a party!

Yesterday we decided to soak up more of the town, we went to Century Hall which has a vast variety of art, antiques and crafts. Then we visited the Cedar Rest Cemetery that is located next to it.

A tree made of clocks
A tree made of clocks inside Century Hall

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Angel and doves are carved into the tree
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This is a tree stump from an oak tree that died during hurricane Katrina and has been carved into an angel
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This is posted at the bottom of the angel carving

Today, the forecast is rain; the plan is to stay inside and to soak up the opportunity to do nothing.

Guess I'll just stay inside and relax.
Guess I’ll just stay inside and relax while I listen to the pitter pat of rain outside

New Orleans

We made our first trip to New Orleans last Saturday, although the following Tuesday we had plans to go with a group here from the RV Park, Mitch, my man of steel, couldn’t wait. If you recall in my last post about the rust on the truck, and how we bought tools to work on Willy you know where I am going with this.  Mitch was sanding, forgetting the all important eye protective gear and later that day, he felt discomfort in his left eye. Initially, it wasn’t too bothersome and he forgot about it, until the next evening when he couldn’t ignore the pain any longer and asked me to look at his eye.  The second I shined the flash light on his eye, there it was, a little tan colored dot next to his pupil. No matter how much he tried to flush it out, it was still there.  By this time it was Friday night, what eye clinic will be open on a Saturday? Oh no.  Thankfully we found a place called EyeCare Associates, they’re open on Saturdays and could take him in.  Dr. Sumich was able to put numbing drops in Mitch’s eye, used a needle and pick out the little shard of metal from his eyeball in about 5 minutes. 

The metal busted and he had to take it out in two parts.  Can you see the dots? Me neither, they're that small.
The metal busted and he had to take it out in two parts. Can you see the dots? Me neither, they’re that small.

We were sweating bullets about how much the visit would cost, but  thankfully when we went to pay to the bill it was less than any of us had imagined.

On our ways to Kohl's from the eye clinic.  The Causeway, the longest continuous bridge over water in the world
On our ways to Kohl’s from the eye clinic. The Causeway is longest continuous bridge over water in the world
bridge
Lake Pontchartrain Causeway 24 miles long

Bay Saint Louis has a monthly event called Second Saturday; all the merchants in Old Town Bay Saint Louis from 4-8pm have snacks, little glasses of wine, eggnog (for the holidays), margarita’s and such, all free for shoppers. Seriously, you can walk around with drinks from shop to shop getting all these free goodies.  We had such a great time, and then met a group from the RV Park for dinner at Trapani’s in Bay Saint Louis, right down the street, (I recommend the shrimp scampi).  It was a great evening, and definitely a new experience for us in the shopping world.

The RV Park dinner gang
The RV park dinner gang

Our trip on Tuesday to New Orleans and the French Quarter was wonderful.  I even wore a hat for the special occasion and got a round of applause from the RV crowd when I showed off my outfit for the day, I think everyone thought I only had sweats and slippers until that moment.

Yes, I am wearing one of my hats.
Yes, I am wearing one of my hats, and in that “go” cup is a $3 strawberry daiquiri for the walking drinkers here in New Orleans

Our first stop when we arrived was Café Du Monde, the original French Market Coffee Stand since 1862.  It was so busy, and it was only a Tuesday!

sign

One thing to consider if you decide to go here when visiting, is use the restroom before you arrive.  They only have two restrooms and papa and I spent at least 15 minutes in line when we arrived, plus they are located right next to the work station and in the back where they are doing dishes.  You end up standing right in the way of the workers as they are flying by you trays full of coffee and beignets.  To put it in perspective though, as one of the ladies in the group said, “just be glad they have indoor plumbing”!

Do I really have sugar in my hair?
Do I really have sugar in my hair?
Do I really have sugar in my hair?
Do I really have sugar in my hair?

I really enjoyed my first beignet, it was a delightful yummy surprise, the powdered sugar ends up all over your face, clothes and hair and is just part of the experience.

Famous coffee and beignet
World famous coffee and beignet

My second one was even yummier because by that time I had relaxed a little from the fiasco of waiting for the restroom.  We all moseyed along though all the shops, so many shops, and the farmers market for hours and still didn’t see everything they have to offer in the French Quarter.

The touring crew
The touring crew
Dad thought the building would be more interesting
Dad walked at least 3 miles during our visit to the French Quarter!
We could have spend a whole other day looking at stuff
We could have spend a whole other day looking at stuff
The Catholic Church at Jackson Square
The Saint Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square

Some of the shops are odd little novelties, specializing in voodoo and they prohibit you from taking pictures.

They didn't say we couldn't take a picture of their sign
They didn’t say we couldn’t take a picture of their sign

They also have people in front of the Catholic Church at Jackson Square that will predict your future and read your palm too. We walked a little faster past those booths and just enjoying listening to the musicians along the way.

Jackson Square
Jackson Square

One group that was playing invited me to come sit with them and get a picture.  I ended up buying their CD, the Jackson Square All Stars.

me with the Jackson Square All Stars
me with the Jackson Square All Stars

We also walked down Bourbon Street; we had to walk a couple blocks down when we got to the street sign to get a picture of it because some of the Bourbon Street signs had been stolen.

Bourbon St.
Bourbon St.

horse

Looking down Bourbon St.
Looking down Bourbon St.

We had lunch at Café Maspero’s, and I experienced true Jambalaya, the rice was too soft but the flavor was good, and I would have liked to have more shrimp.

Jambalaya
Jambalaya

Papa got the shrimp plate and I kept sneaking bites from his plate.  Mitch got a Muffaletta; which is Ham, salami, and pastrami piled high on a seeded Italian roll topped with melted Swiss cheese and an olive salad. It is a massive meat sandwich, but Mitch said the olive salad overpowered the rest of the meal.

Michele (on dad's left) was papa's date for the day and kept him on his toes
Michele (in middle) was papa’s date for the day and kept him on his toes

As we headed out from the parking lot, knowing it would cost more than a few dollars to park, (since it was near the French Quarter) we were all taken aback when the girl with blue hair in the booth said $18.00.

A band playing near Bourbon St.
A band playing near Bourbon St.

We listened to the newly purchased CD all the way home, and it’s definitely the sounds of New Orleans.  There is nothing like music to ignite and invoke a feeling of a time in ones life or an experience and take you right back to it.  I look forward to listening to it later in life to remind me of the great day we had.

The famous Pat Obrien's Bar
The famous Pat Obrien’s Bar
horse
Statue at center of Jackson Square

Mucking Around in Mississippi

We’ve been here in Mississippi now for more than a week, and not much has happened.  It’s been rainy, cool and just a bit blah.  Mitch and I have been playing scrabble, watching some old movies and just piddling around. Papa has been keeping occupied with his word search and hasn’t done much metal detecting due to the cool weather. We did purchase some tools to fix the rust on our truck. Willy had rust before we left, but it has gotten really bad! Did you know that things rust super fast down in this part of the country? Well they do!

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Even the mushroom around here rust! haha I joke

And the humidity; let me tell you, it is HUMID! Now, I went through basic training in San Antonio, TX in the middle of June, so I know humid.  But here is Mississippi it’s a whole other world of wet!  One day, right after we arrived it was still warm out, with a 100% humidity and they weren’t kidding.  Inside our RV, everything had dampness to it, the sofa fabric feels wet, the calendar has curled  and Milo’s fur was total frizz.  I found it a bit bothersome, but at least it was warm…then it rained.  The kind of rain that one would write home about, or post about.  It was as if God had grabbed the ocean like it were a bed sheet, threw it into the sky, and pulled it back down making it more of a waterfall than rain.  Never have I experienced that much water from the sky at one time in my life.  I wondered if it would begin to flood and we would be washed out into the ocean that is only 3 miles from us. We made it through the crazy rain, papa’s place didn’t leak (yahoo!) and then it got cold. Since then, it’s been pretty cool, lows in the 30’s and highs in the 50’s.   Not that I’m complaining, I know back home it has been in the single digits, it’s just still cooler than I would like.  Guess you can’t have everything in life, but I’ll keep on trying 🙂

all over the grounds here at Bay Hide Away.  It is caused by crawfish, also called crayfish or mud bugs.
all over the grounds here at Bay Hide Away are these odd dirt mounds. It is caused by crawfish, also called crayfish or mud bugs.

We were planning to go to New Orleans this week, but the weather wasn’t cooperating and it’s now planned for next Tuesday.  We had a sunny day and decided to venture out to see what we could from the brochure we were given when we arrived.  We went and saw Guinness Book’s World’s Largest Rocking Chair in Gulfport.

World's Largest Rocking Chair, located in Gulfport Mississippi
World’s Largest Rocking Chair

Fed some super friendly and somewhat demanding ducks, and visited a local folk art museum about Alice Mosley.

The duck pond foul
They will run to you if they know you have food, and it always makes me smile to watch a duck run

We had talked about going to an antebellum (learned that word today, it means before the Civil War) house.  I just haven’t found one yet that seems to encompass the entire truth of that time period, the suffrage and awfulness of what was endured for those enslaved.  The few I’ve looked up seem to be commercialized and romanticized, without addressing the whole of the past.

Made it to Mississippi

Things only break when you use them, or need them, or…. ok really whenever! What could possibly have gone wrong now you ask?  Well, the latest problems come in two parts; let me tell you how it all went down.

Frist I would like to share some of our favorite pictures we took before we left beautiful Grand Isle State Park.

if you look real close you can see a fin!  there were dolphins all up in the water!
If you look real close you can see a fin! There were dolphins having breakfast as we walked by.
The dock at Grand Isle State Park
The dock at Grand Isle State Park
Looking at wildlife from the dock at Grand Isle State Park
Looking at wildlife from the dock at Grand Isle State Park
The Coast Guard off the beach at Grand Isle State Park doing training
The Coast Guard off the beach at Grand Isle State Park doing training
Grand Isle Post Office
Grand Isle Post Office
All the houses on the Isle are like this because of flooding
All the houses on the Isle are like this because of flooding
Sunset at Grand Isle State Park
Sunset at Grand Isle State Park

As we were loading up to leave our isle of paradise, I was getting the dogs stuff together, papa was doing a second round to make sure we didn’t forget anything and Mitch was raising the front of the trailer with our automatic jack so we could hook it up to the truck when all of the sudden; WHAM!  The whole thing gave way and the front of the trailer came down with huge force.  Thankfully no one was hurt. Mitch, being so prepared and wise in his forward thinking had gotten a bottle jack before we left and with some finagling he got the trailer lifted.  Now, I needed to find someone to work on it before we get to our next destination.  Seriously, we have spent more time with mechanics and such since we’ve left than anyone else along our travels.  We found a place on the north side of New Orleans, squeezed our way into their shop and 30 minutes later they say, you’re gonna need a new one, we don’t have one and that’ll be $60.00.

Our dismantled electric jack
Our dismantled electric jack
The threads inside of the electric jack were coming off
The threads inside of the electric jack were shreaded

We ended up loading up all the parts and driving off searching for a parts store.  As we merge onto I-10 Mitch see’s that the trailer brake control says “WARNING: OVERLOAD: NO BRAKES”.

This is our trailer brake component in the truck
This is our trailer brake component in the truck

There we are, our first time in New Orleans during rush hour traffic, surrounded by beautiful buildings, a historic culture that I have longed to experience and in the distance I see a steep bridge.  My body instantly starts to react to the panic that I am feeling, tears begin to build in my eyes, my throat feels as if I just swallowed a handful of cotton balls and my fear is racing faster than my mind can process.  Is this it? Are we going to die? Can the truck handle stopping the load on it’s own going down this hill? What about all the people on the road with us? Oh dear Lord, I am not afraid of dying, it’s experiencing pain and I just don’t want to be done living yet! Yes, I over reacted, we are still alive, we made it to our next destination safely, but for the duration of the drive, tears stained the pavement (ok, I exaggerate).  I tried to remind myself of a movie I saw the other day about how fear is caused by the imagination of what is to possibly happen and if you just experience life as it comes there is no fear. I think Will Smith is in it and he fights aliens. I can’t remember the name of the movie though. It didn’t work, I was still afraid.  I am the queen of mental dramatics when it comes to fleeting thoughts of impending death! (Hi its Mitch and I am proofreading this and I really want to say that I totally agree, my wife’s drama thoughts of impending death is an understatement!! Unless she re-reads this she won’t know that I slipped it in :)) Yes, of course it could be worse, things can always be worse.  Looking at the bright side, through my snot clogged nose I tell the guys I would rather be miserably petrified in this moment with them, than to not have them in my life. Of course the wording isn’t exact of what was said, but my heart was sincere and I redirected my perspective once we began traveling on level ground.

We made it to our destination, which will be our home for the next month here at Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. We are staying at Bay Hide Away RV Park and Campground. It is my most favorite park we have stayed at yet, and I am not the only one, they are voted #1 favorite RV park in North America!

 Bay Hide Away RV Park and Campground
Bay Hide Away RV Park and Campground looking from our campsite

Wonderful people, great place and best of all, papa can metal detect!!  We had to stay attached the first night because we still needed our jack to be fixed and were referred to Advanced Mobile Home and RV Supply in Gulfport, Mississippi. The previous mechanic and the RV Park said they were really good. Yesterday morning, Wednesday Dec. 4th we arrived before they opened and as they drove up to work, they didn’t even go inside.  They came right over to us and got to work!  It was really wonderful the attention they gave to us once we told them of our situation.

Our new electric jack
Our new electric jack

They installed the new automatic jack and found that our brake system wires had never been set up properly. The mechanic said it was amazing that we ever had trailer breaks.  The wires were supposed to be hooked up directly to the batteries but someone had actually routed them a different way. Another miracle we were experiencing and didn’t even know it!

We got settled into our new spot yesterday, made some new friends while unloading and went to the lighting of the Christmas tree at the gathering spot last night here at RV Park.

The lighting of the Christmas tree
The lighting of the Christmas tree

We have gotten to know our neighbors here better in two days, than most places we’ve lived in for years! The people remind me of the characters on the movie Steel Magnolia’s.  Their welcoming attitude, love of life, laughter, fun, their laid back disposition and of course all the different accents. It’s wonderful to be a part of this little community of people.

We are on the right and our awesome neighbors on the left
We are on the right and our awesome neighbors Sharon and Johnny on the left

Today papa went metal detecting and has already found 12 cents, some weights and a couple toy cars and that was only right out in front of our trailer.  He’s got acres to cover!

papa's finds of the day so far
papa’s finds of the day so far

Our plan is to stay here for a month, actually experience New Orleans (0nly 40 miles from where we are staying), visit some of the historic site in the area, learn more about this part of the country and explore Mississippi while we are here.

oh, by the way… that movie I was referring to was “After Earth”.  I just looked it up.