The West 2019 Part 4: The Long Road to Arizona

Driving to the West

This is one of those where the journey is better than the destination. For this leg of the trip I drove nearly non stop from Fairview Riverside State Park in Louisiana to Gila Bend, Arizona. I tried to make at least one of my overnights, and one of my fuel break as much of a destination as possible. I reality the real destination will be on next weeks video in which I revisit Quartzsite, and attend the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous.

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Buc-ee’s

One of the quasi-destinations of this trip was Buc-ee’s. This gas station / convenience store chain epitomizes the “everything is bigger in Texas” stereotype. Besides more fuel pumps than I could count, there is a large market with souvenirs, prepared food, groceries, all in large quantities and great variety.

Schreiner Park

The other highlight that comes to mind was Schreiner Park in Junction, Texas. It is a very pleasant and quiet park next to a river. The best part is that you can dry camp for free for up to three nights. They do have a playground and bathrooms.

Schreiner Park. Junction, Texas

Of course the main attraction of this particular segment of the trip was the landscape.  The ever-changing scenery as you depart from the swampy flatland of southern Louisiana and traverse the Texas plains. Still in Texas we go from Hill Country to the Chihuahuan Desert. Even the desert undergoes transformations as we continue west. The soaptree yucca of Texas and New Mexico, gives way to the Saguaro and Cholla cacti of Arizona.

Quartzsite, Arizona

Here’s a map illustrating the route I took. On the next one we’ll spend some time in Quartzsite and Phoenix, before continuing to Lake Havasu and beyond.

Continue reading The West 2019 Part 4: The Long Road to Arizona

Living the RV Dream Episode 93 – Travel Plans and Your Mail

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Serendipitous Breakfast in New Orleans

The West 2019 Part 3 – Serendipitous Breakfast in New Orleans

Jackson Square, New Orleans

As I continued on my relentless journey to the west, eventually I arrived in Louisiana. I was originally planning to overnight at a friendly Walmart, but as I got to the Welcome Center, I procured some information about the local state parks. It so happens that the state park I chose, Fairview-Riverside, happens to be barely an hour away from New Orleans.

Fairview-Riverside State Park

Located on the bank of the Tchefuncte River and dotted with Spanish moss draped cypress and oak trees, Fairview-Riverside was a pleasant surprise. There are two main trails, one along the river, and one on the swamp. Both are accessible by wooden boardwalks.

Lake Pontchartrain

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, at 22 miles long, is the longest continuous bridge over a body of water in the world. For a long time I had wanted to drive across the lake, so I was very excited that change brought me here. There is a $5 toll one way into New Orleans.

New Orleans

Click image for video

Taking advantage of my limited time, and after paying a whopping $12 for two hours, I decided to begin my day by having coffee and beignets at the famous Cafe du Monde. I spent the rest of my short morning touring some of the main landmarks, mainly Jackson Square, the Saint Louis Cathedral, Bourbon Street and the Mississippi River. As time ran out I made a beeline for the state park, hitched up and continued towards Texas.

Map

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Mobile Bay: Dauphin Island, Bayou La Batre, and USS Alabama

Driving to the West 2019 – Mobile Bay: Dauphin Island, Bayou La Batre, and USS Alabama

In today’s video we visit the Mobile Bay area. This is the second installment of my 2019 trip to the west.

Camping

I decided to stay at the Escapees Rainbow Plantation, which is located in Summerdale, near Fairhope, on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. It is priced right at $23 for members which ends up being about $25 after taxes.

Video

Here’s a link to the video.

Driving to the West 2019 – Mobile Bay: Dauphin Island, Bayou La Batre, and USS Alabama – click image for video

Mobile Bay Ferry

After missing the Mobile Bay Ferry the last time I was here, this time I decided to do proper research. The ferry costs $15 for passenger vehicles, and in the winter time runs every 90 minutes. The schedule and more information are available at the website.

Dauphin Island

On the other side of the bay we encounter Fort Gaines and Dauphin Island.  Here I had an early lunch at the Sunset Grill. I had a very substantial and tasty shrimp po’boy. It is a lovely beach town that I hope to visit some day again, in the summer preferably. From here I decided to go a little further north. I stopped briefly by Bayou La Batre, filming location where one Forrest Gump became a shrimp boat captain. Time was passing me by rather quickly, so I decided to make a beeline for Mobile and visit Battleship Park.

USS Alabama

The pièce de résistance here was the USS Alabama. The World War II legendary battleship is nowadays a museum. It is exquisitely presented with sound effects, props, somewhat creepy mannequins, and lots of historic information. This self guided tour is a must if you are in the area. I think I would recommend it even if you are not into this sort of thing. The park also features the USS Drum, a submarine, also from the World War II era, also not to be missed. There is an aircraft pavilion and several planes, tanks, and other exhibits on display outdoors.

This is when time ran out, and I decided to drive through the heart of town as day turned in night.

Map

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Living the RV Dream Episode 92: RVX, and your mail

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Driving to the West 2019: The Beginning

The much anticipated road trip to the west has begun. Since I live in South Florida, I must first drive north before driving west. It is going to be one of these uneventful tedious drives first on I-95, then on I-10. I am going to try and make it interesting, at least the segment going north.

Merritt Island

After I spend a night at the Walmart in Titusville @diztraveler joined me for a quick excursion on the Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, in Merritt Island. We also visited the manatee viewing area at the Haulover Canal, although the manatees where no show. I did see a pelican. After that we said “until next time” and I continued north.

Jacksonville

A little over an hour later I arrived at Jacksonville, and meet up with Randall and his family and he did an excellent detailing job on both Minitini the Trailer, and the Colorado. They both needed one badly.

Driving to the West

As the day started coming to an end I turned onto I-10 and truly started driving to the west, into the sunset. After a long break at the rest area located in the Osceola National Forest, I continued pushing west, into the dark night. As fatigue started setting in I decided to spend the night at the Walmart parking lot in Tallahassee, Florida capital.

In the morning I continued west, almost non stop until I reached my destination, the Escapees Rainbow Plantation in Summerdale, Alabama.

Bird Watching in Eastern Central Florida: The Journey North, then West – Click to watch

Here’s a map of this road trip

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Relaxing Weekend in Lake Okeechobee, Florida

Relaxing Weekend in Lake Okeechobee, Florida’s Inland Sea

On the last weekend of December 2018, we decided to spend a weekend in Okeechobee, Florida. Also, this would be a great opportunity to make sure trailer and truck were ready for my seven-week-long trip to the West. This week I finally got around to releasing that video.

Relaxing weekend in Okeechobee, Florida (click image to access video)

For many years I had been intrigued about Florida’s inland sea, Lake Okeechobee. It wasn’t until we bought Minitini, the Trailer in 2014 that we decided one day to go see it, as part of a longer trip to Orlando, Florida.

This time we decided to spend some time in the small town which is the lake’s namesake. We opted for the KOA, as they are usually well maintained and are easy to book with the mobile app. This was one of those types of RV parks, which kind I don’t like anymore, where your sewer hose sits right next to your neighbor’s picnic table. We got to enjoy the crowded pool and the lounge a little bit before deciding to explore the town a little bit. It was very calm and warm in late December, but it is one of those towns where there isn’t much to do if you don’t own a boat or are into fishing. We still managed to have a good time at the relatively close Seminole Brighton Casino, and even came out ahead.

Overall a nice relaxing weekend and a great shakedown trip before the long trans-continental trip.

The following is a map of the route from Miami to Okeechobee.

Living the RV Dream Episode 91 – Lessons Learned on the Road

In this episode I discuss lessons learned from the road and read a mail with several questions about RV life. Also a rant about my truck 

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Living the RV Dream Episode 90 – Wrapping up the trip

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Living the RV Dream Episode 89 – Zion National Park

Angel’s Landing / Zion National Park0089

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Original music soundtrack and other merch available at http://freeinmyrv.com

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