Saturday, November 23, 2013

Westward Ho!

We left Collier-Seminole State Park on Sunday morning. We were hoping some of the other campers would clear out before us to give us a bit more room for our exit. We were not disappointed and we made the sweep just fine. We hitched up and pulled out around 9:30.

The day's drive was all interstate because we wanted to get further north to Bradenton to set up and watch the last Nascar race of the year. We accomplished that goal and set up in a very nice Encore park called Manatee. It is close to the interstate and reasonably priced with Passport America.

We set up a breakfast date with Terry's colleague and his wife from his working days . They live in Valencia Lakes near Bradenton, Florida. What a beautiful place! We drove over in the morning and met them at their house. The community has everything retirees could possibly want with a lot of activities and pools, ball courts, garden plots, dog walks, etc. It is really reasonably priced for the amenities, but as you know. . . we like to change the scenery around us every few days. LOL We hopped into their golf cart and drove over to the clubhouse where we ordered breakfast from the Bistro. It was very good and we sat outside near the pool and enjoyed our breakfast. Afterwards we were treated to a tour of the grounds by Shaun and Jennifer. It really is a nice place with plenty of facilities and activities for the senior set. I could be comfortable there, but it is too far from any of our kids. We went back to the house and we got the tour of their lovely home. It is very nice with lots of extras. As with most senior communities, the lawn and all the grounds are kept perfectly manicured by a crew and they don't have to do anything. Very nice.

We eventually made it back to the motorhome and found we had a call from Terry's classmate who lives in Bradenton. We met Suzie and her husband the last time we were in the area and wanted to hook up again. Stan was out of town on business, but we met Suzie at Starbucks and spent the afternoon catching up with her family and other people she and Terry went to school with. A great time.

We left Bradenton on Tuesday morning and drove north about 330 miles. We spent the night west of Tallahassee, Florida, in a small campground that just caters to overnighters. It was pleasant enough and was nice and quiet. We left the next morning and spent the night at Waveland, Mississippi. I don't know if our kids remember this park. They certainly would not recognize it. We were probably here the first time about 25 years ago. We had one of our older Class C motorhomes and towed our Dodge Colt. I know they probably remember the saga of the broken timing chain on the Colt over in Bayou LeBatre. That was a night I thought we would all going to be murdered and no one would know. But we weren't, we were actually taken good care of by a Cajun who drove us to the airport to rent a car, then had our Colt repaired at the shop where he worked.

But that's another story. We stayed at Buccaneer State Park then. Over the years, the park added a water park and maybe a wave pool. Then Katrina happened. Bay St. Louis, just down the road, took the main hit from Katrina and all the homes and businesses here were totally wiped off the map. The bridge at Pass Christian was damaged and part of it missing. The state park was demolished as well. We were back through here a couple years later and the only change we saw were the addition of FEMA trailers all over the place. A bit of rebuilding up on 90, but not much else. It has to be terrible trying to recover from such devastation.

But, things are different now. The park has been rebuilt. All sites past the gate house are FHU with 50 Amp. Many bathhouses available. . . all new. . . all elevated. In fact, everything built in there is elevated, including all the power centers, etc. So the likelihood of total devastation like they had before from Katrina is not likely. Another storm would cause damage, but it looks like the plan is to be able to recover more quickly. All the roads are paved, all the sites are paved. We had no trouble getting Phaeton Place in. There are some sites we wouldn't try, but for the most part, big rigs have plenty of sites available. The water park is rebuilt, the wave pool is rebuilt, but those were not operating when we were there. Not sure they are quite ready, but things are looking up. So if you are in the area, be sure to stop by and patronize this jewel in Waveland, Mississippi. We paid $24 for FHU, 50 Amp, good power. Bathhouses are very nice and clean. The park is gated and has a live-in on site manager. There are W/E sites available out front which are ocean view for $35 if you prefer. Since we were just there for overnight, we parked back in the park. The best way to get there is to take Lakeshore Drive off 90 on the west end of Waveland because that road is wider and the railroad track is flat. There are some new houses going up, mostly on east of the park toward Bay St. Louis. The Firedog Saloon is gone, though. It was destroyed by the hurricane and I hoped they would rebuild, but it appears to have been torn down.

Once we left the state park, we headed on over to cousin Gary and Jo's in Zachary, Louisiana. Any time we head across country on I-10 through Louisiana, we have a mandatory stop here. It's always a good time with family and this time is no exception. We met Kolt last night, the newest member of the family. He's six months old and has his two older brothers to look up to. A cold front is coming through today. . . it's already hit the Rio Grande Valley, where we are headed tomorrow, but it still is better than the freezing weather up north. So tomorrow we hitch up and head out. . .

Till next time. . .


1 comment:

Nan Talley said...

The colder weather "up north" is getting colder and colder. Be happy that you are not in Indiana right now.

Two more weeks and we are outta here!