Travels with Barrie and Val - The Big U Turn, Part 6


Wednesday, December 12th - Saturday, December 15th

As you know, we found a very small library in Carrabelle and Val and I were both able to send off our respective reports. I even managed to get off all my pics which takes quite a while as I have to wait for Hotmail to attach the pics from my diskettes.

But on Wednesday, the 12th, we left the HO Hum RV Park with the idea of driving along the 98 coast road to Panama City and getting an RV site there. Well, we just kept driving as we didnít really feel like stopping at Panama City. So, we kept on the 98 and went right along the coast of the Panhandle. The coastal towns were ok but we were quite impressed with SanDestin and Destin which were upscale areas. A lot of costly hotels and condos along with a lot of expensive cars. By this time we had decided to head for Summerdale, Alabama where there is an Escapees park. So we stayed on the 98 until we were almost at Pensacola, where we decided to take a short-cut up to the I-10. It did say ďtollĒ, but little did we know what the toll would be. A very nice road and bridge where the toll booths came up just over the end of the bridge. Cost. $10.00!!!! Thatís $16.00 Cdn using my 60% formula. I think thatís got to be the most expensive bridge I have ever been over.

We arrived at the Summerdale RV park . A very nice park with very large sites. Very wide paved roads with grassy sites, a club house, swimming pool etc. So we deciced to stay until the Saturday. During this period we visited the Gulf Shore area. Very much like the Panhandle but the beaches are all man made.

Saturday, the 15th came, and it was time to leave Alabama and head for New Orleans. We took the dreaded I-10 west. We had been warned by other RVíers and the I-10 and how it was a terrible road to take and to try and avoid it through Louisiana. The inside laneis like a washboard and the outside lane isnít much better. The road was actually ok until we started to get close to New Orleans and the warnings became true. But we had no choice but to stay on this road. The Airstream was like a bucking bronco, but still stable in spite of this bloody road. But the worst was yet to come. We had chosen a camp site that was within the New Orleans city limits. We thought this would make it easier for use to see the city, especially the French Quarter. The instructions in the Passport America (PA) book had said take such and such an exit and the campground was right across the road. This ďright across the roadĒ had been bothering me a bit because I thought, what if I get off the exit and the campground is right across the road but on a divided highway! Well, we went down the ramp for the exit and low and behold, there was the campground, across from the down ramp and on the other side of a divided highway. If I was just in the Windstar with no trailer, there would have been no problem, I would just go right and do a U turn at the first opportunity: but when youíre pulling a 34 foot trailer, it isnít very easy to do a U turn. The one thing in my favor was that it was a four lane highway, so I turned right looking for a good U turn spot. I found one just down the road that looked like I could manage. Val started to get really worried. ďYouíre not going to do a U tiurn there are youĒ? Yep I replied. Although I went up the curb a little, I did manage to do the U turn with no trouble once I had found a gap in the traffic. After that we pulled into the campground and it turned out to be a real dump! The worst one weíve been in so far on our trip! So I managed to back the trailer into the spot and get it up on some boards for levelling. Val came over and said this place is a dump, do you really want to stay here? Nope. So we put everything away and took off for a KOA campground in the west end of New Orleans (NO). It wasnít cheap, but it was a reasonably nice park . This would be a good spot to do our touring.

Sunday, December 16th - Thursday, December 20th

On Sunday, we took a city tour that we had arranged with the camp office. The tour company even picked us up at the campground and would return us after the tour. Would you believe it, we were the only two passengers and the bloody bus started chugging and hic-cupping on the way in. Sounded like some ignitition problem. So the driver took us to their depot where we changed buses. The tour was interesting but we didnít actually get into the French Quarter itself but merely went around the peripheries. A littledisappointing but we knew we would be going back later on. For those Foreign Service types that are reading this and have been posted in Paris and had dinner at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, then thereís a little surprise on this tour. Apparently, the Eiffel Tower did some renovations back in the early eighties and the restaurant portion was replaced. The old structure was sold to someone in NO and he moved it, lock stock and barrel, over to NO. Imagine our surprise when the tour driver asked everyone the following questions. Has anyone been to Paris? Yes we answered. No one else did. Has anyone been up the Eiffel Tower? Yes we answered. Has anyone eaten at the Eiffel Tower restaurant prior to, I think it was 1981? Yes we answered. Then he said, look to your right and thereís the Eiffel Tower restaurant that was in the tower before 81. Boy, was that a surprise. I think we ate there in 1975 with a couple of Australian friends. Small world.

NO is below sea level and the driver told us that it had more canals than Venice. But from what I could see, they werenít the same type of canals that one sees in Venice. Most of the ďcanalsĒ in NO were mostly empty and were there for flood control. But enough of this tour.

The next day, Monday, we went back to the French Quarter. The first thing we did was stop at Cafť du Monde which is really a popular spot in NO. Their specialty is coffee and beignettes sprinkled with great mounds of icing sugar. Also known as confectionary or, powered sugar. Thereís so much of this stuff served that it gets all over the floor and they have to clean the floor every so often.. (See the pics later) So of course thatís what we had. After the Cafť, we strolled through the French Quarter (FQ) taking in the beautifull old architecture of the buildings. We had to go down Bourbon Street and we seemed to hit it just right as the NFL Saints were scheduled to play the LA Rams on Monday night football and all the LA supporters were hanging off balconies and walking around with beer having a great time. We stopped in one bar and had a beer and took in some blues from a live band that was playing. After that we left the bar and were strolling along Bourbon Street when the Colorado State University Football team band came marching down Bourbon Street. There was an inaugural bowl game being played the next night. There must have been around 300 band members. All followed by parents and friends.

Now Val and I both enjoy eating out. And Val had read about this restaurant called The Court of Two Sisters. So we ended up having a meal there. The whole eating area of the restaurant is in a couryard under canopies of trees. The restaurant was great and so was the food.

We knew that one day in the FQ wasnít enough so on the Tuesday, we headed back to downtown NO to visit the D Day Musuem which opened in 2000. We would visit the museum and then go on to the FQ after. We ended up spending five hours in the museum. About and hour and a half of that was spent watching two movies, one on the D Day landings in Normandy and the other was on all the D Day landings they had in the Pacific War. Both were very interesting and very well done. The whole museum is really worth a visit and if anyone is ever in NO, I would suggest that this is one place you would want to visit.

After the D Day museum, we drove down to the FQ and, of course, we had to stop once again at Cafť du Monde for a quick cafť and beignette. While we were there, a Jazz Funeral came right by the Cafť. I asked one of the waiters who had died and he said that it was the owner of Mollyís restaurant down the road. It was quite the sight with the jazz band playing lively jazz music followed by a whole crowd of mourners. We were told that they will go out to the cemetary playing that kind of lively music, then after the cememtary, just the immediate family follows the band back through the streets. But this time the band is playing really slow music. Iíve seen it in a couple of movies like that. We were just lucky to see the funeral going by. I got a couple of picutures but they arenít that good because of the darkness. Iíll see if I want to include them in the pics email later.

After the Cafť, we once strolled through the FQ looking at the different stores that were open and eneded up at a brew house for beer and dinner. Then it was back to the campground after a busy day.

On Wednesday, the 19th, it was time to head for Dallas. We packed up took the I-10 towards Baton Rouge then picked up the I-49 towards Schrevport. We had to overnight at a little campground at 40 miles south of Shrevport for the night. The next day, the 19th, we continued up the I-49 and at Shrevport we picked up the I-20 which would take us to Dallas. When we got to the Texas border, we did our usual thing and stopped at the Texas Information Center where we picked up a whole pile of travel literature for all the places in Texas we would be visiting. Dallas, San Antonio, Port Aransus, Brownsville area, the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso. And probably a few other places thrown in. Thatís where we think weíre going to be! We eventually got to the Dallas area and then took the I-35 south from Dallas down towards Waco. After our experience in NO with the lousy campground, I didnít feel happy trying another city campground! So we pulled into the I-35 RV Park about eight miles north of Waco. We were checking into the campground when I noticed the lady had what appeared to be a French accent. I asked her if she was French and she replied she was from Granby. I told her I grew up in Montreal. She and her husband who was also a French Canadian had been living in Lousiana for the last 25 years and had only moved to the Waco area three years previously to buy this campground. It was quite a nice campground but they were still making improvements to it. Once he knew I was from Ontario, he came over and chatted to us for a few minutes. A very nice couple.

An RV moment. Those of you that have rvíd will understand this little segment. When we were unhitching the Airstream, I had a little accident. My hitch has two anti-sway bars and two torsion bars. The anti-sway bars stop a trailer from swaying when being towed. The torsion bars distribute the weight evenly between the trailer and the tow vehicle so that the trailer and tow vehicle are level and thus the traler tows much better this way. Well. I have an iron bar, 1/8 inch steel, that I use the get the chains from the torsion bars up to the bracket that holds the chains. It then has a safety pin through the bracket so that the bracket will not slam down. Anyone know whats coming up??? So I had used my iron bar to release the bracket on one side of the hitch and was now on the other side. I had hold of the iron bar and was placing it on the sprocket that sticks out from the bracket so that I could east the tension off the torsion bar and then remove it from the hitch. As I was placing the iron bar on the top of the sprocket, the bar flew out of my hand and right onto the big toe of my right foot! Believe me, the pressure on that bracket is something else and when that bar hit my toe, yikes!!! I yelled out a profanity which will not be repeated here and then bent over to get used to the pain. Which hung around for five or so minutes. Needless to say, my toe swelled up and eventually went different colors of blue. So I had to hobble around with a very pronounced limp. More on this later in this report.

Thursday, December 20th Ė Thursday, December 27th

On Friday, the 21st, we headed back in to Dallas to see the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza where Kennedy was assasinnated. Thereís a memorial to Kennedy nearby. A very plain square with the memorial on the inside. Itís open above. Iíll try and include a pic on this along with the Dealey Plaza pics. While we were at the memorial, a Vietnam Veteran who was acting as a guide, started talking to us asking us if we needed any info etc. When he found out we were Canadian he said, ďDo you know how Canada got itís name?Ē We played along and said no. So he said ďC eh A eh N eh A eh D eh A eh.Ē He must have served with some Canadians in Vietnam! Needless to say the museum, which is in the old Texas School Book Depository (TSBD), was very interesting. In the lobby of the museum, you can rent a cassette player to take on the tour. No cameras or video cameras were allowed. They had to be left with the security guards. You then take the elevator which takes you to the sixth floor. It only goes to the sixth floor. Once there, you can see the different exhibits on Kennedy and his life leading up to and including the assasination. The area in front of the actual window where the shots were allegedly fired has been sealed off with plexiglass. But they have put all the boxes in front of the window as they were at the time of the assasinnation. I looked through the window near the corner window and had a look down at the assasinnation route. He was assasinnated in November of 1963 and when I looked out the window, the tress below were still in leaf. Val said they were some type of tree that does not seem to lose itís leaves. She thought it might be a form of oak tree which was indigenous to the area. But my point is that it would have made the shot from the windown even more difficult as the shooter would lose the car in the trees then have to pick it up again and re aim. Another question that has nagged me all these years is why the shooter did not shoot when the car was coming towards the TSBD. But when looking out the other window, itís possible that the angle looking down from the TSBD was not good. I was not totally convinced up to this point that the shots even came from the sixth floor window, but looking at the model of Dealey Plaza that the FBI had made up for the Warren Commission, I am now convinced that there was indeed a shooter in the sixth floor window. And he probably was the main shooter. But I am also convinced that there was another shooter at the grassy knoll. I think this shooter was probably supposed to back up the other shooter and give the coup de grace as he was much closer to the Elm Street than the sixth floor shooter. But all in all, Iím glad we visited the museum.

Thatís all we did in Dallas, so on the Saturday, the 22nd, we left the RV park and headed south on the I-35 for San Antonio where we planned to stay for a week and spend Chrsitmas. As we travelled down the I-35 we noticed two things. First of all, the volume of traffic was unreal. Quite heavy and unabatting. From Waco, the I-35 goes down to Austin, the state capital then down to San Antonio. When we got to Austin, we were held up for 30 minutes just because of traffic. And on a Saturday! The other thing we noticed was that theI-35 is basically a four lane divided highway with a service road running along the whole length of it right down to San Antonio. The exits were just off to the right where they joined up with the service road. The people on the service road had a give way sign to cars exiting the I-35. But the service road is two way!! At day this is not too bad, but at night itís down right deadly. We had found this out when we went towards Waco from the I-35 RV park at night. The exists are not lite up at all. The only exits that are lite up are the ďnormalĒ ones that occur at normal road junctions. It wasnít this way at all on the I-20 when we were travelling from Louisiana to Dallas. It was a normal interestate with no service roads. Only in Texas!! One more thing, the rest stops on a lot of the interstates in Texas were created during the 1930ís as a part of President Rooseveltís plan to get the country out of the depression by creating work projoects. And of course, these rest stops were just one part of the whole plan.

We arrived at the Stone Creek RV Park, about 20 miles north of San Antonio (SA). The park is right beside the I-35 on the service road. But the service road at this point is one way. The plan was to stay for a week, take in SA and itís sights and also to just hang around and not do too much. But we took two trips into SA. On the first trip we did our usual city tour and then went to see the Alamo where ol Davy Crocket, Jim Bowie, Col Travis and just under two hundred other ďTexansĒ were killed by the Mexican General Santa Anna. Texans consider the Alamo as their rallying point for independence from Mexico. Looking at the plaques in the Alamo revealed a startling statistic. Most of the defendants were not Texans. A lot of them were from England and Ireland. I only saw about three or four names from Texas. A lot from other States of the Union. Interesting what?? After the Alamo we went down to the River Walk which was another of Rooseveltís work projects. It has a lot of restaurants along the canal which is what it really is at this point as the River Walk comes off the SA River. There are a number of upscale hotels also along the River Walk as well. We liked the River Walk somuch that we went back on Xmas day and had our Xmas dinner at the Hilton Hotel which is right on the River Walk. See pics. The pics didnít turn out that great as we took the night shots from a boat tour along the River Walk and of course it was moving so the lights are blurred. But it gives you an idea of what itís like. Itís actually very pretty with all the lightsfor Chiristmas on the trees.

On the Wednesday, Boxing Day, we went to see the movie Lord of the Rings. Iím a bit fan of Tolkien and his trilogy and had been waiting for an opportunity to see the movie of the first book, The Fellowship of the Ring. I thought the movie was very good as it followed the story as closely as a movie can follow any book. Very good special effects and the battle scenes were very graffic. Maybe a bit too graffic for kids? When the movie ended I turned to Val and said, that was great. She said, it was terrible! She found there wasnít much of a story and she thought it was far too violent. I told her to read the books but I donít think she will. She doesnít like those kinds of stories. What can I say!

The weather had started getting colder with highs in the 50ís F and lows in the mid 30ís F, so it was time to get further south. During our stay in SA, we were humming and hawwing about whether we should go down to Port Aransus (PA) near Corpus Christie (CC) or go straight down to the Rio Grande Valley near Brownsville and Harlingen. We had heard varying stories about PA, good and bad. But the only way to find out was to go ourselves. So on the Thursday, the 27th, we headed down the I-35, then the I-410 around SA and then onto the I-37 which would take us almost to PA. The trip took about five hours including a free five minute trip on a ferry to get on to PA which is on an island. We checked into the Surfside RV Park which turned out to be a nice park with concrete pads and roads. $118 for the week as we plan to stay here until January 3rd when we will move down to near Brownsville and the Mexican border.

Thursday, December 27th Ė Thursday, January 3, 2002

Itís a five minute walk to the beach and, what a really nice beach. Itís so wide you can drive your car on the upper portion of the beach as the sand is packed down. There were a number of RVís parked there for the three day limit. They had their generators going, noisy, and their solar panels out, quiet! It was a beautiful sunny day. That first night we went out for some seafood at a local restaurant. Val had shrimps, as this is a very big shrimp fishing port, and I had fish. Very good. Nice and fresh. Of course, the next day we were driving around the town, which is small but interesting, and we saw this seafood restaurant right on the harbor. Well, we couldnít resist it, so we went and had lunch. We both had fish and chips. $5.99 each plus beer of course! Good meal with a nice view. So Friday and Saturday were both nice days but the weather turned colder on Sunday and as I write this on New Years Eve, the weather has gotten quite cold. The high today is only going to 44 F with a low of about 37 F. But this is the winter. But on Thursday we head for the Brownsville area, so maybe it will be a bit warmer there. Iím told itís about 5% warmer down there.

While we were in PA, we visited the local bird sanctuary in town which has a boardwalk out onto the water. There were some snowy egrets, white and brown pelicans, a grey heron and lots of ducks. There were also some ducks that had beaks like birds but dove under water to feed. They would really speed along under the water for about 20 feet then surface. Really neat to see. There are also two resident aligators which we didnít see. Apparently, they keep the nutrena population down. Netrenas are large rat like animals with long thin tails. A little smaller than a beaver. But they eat the roots of some of the local plants so the locals look upon them as pests are are not unhappy that the gators use them as a food source!

We also took a trip off the island to another bird sanctuary called the Aransus State Wildlife Sanctuary. Itís about an hours drive north along the coast just past Rockport. Theres a driving tour that can be taken. The day we visited the Sanctuary, it was quite cold and we didnít see many birds. However, we went up a very high tower for viewing and saw two whooping cranes. Itís the only flock in existence. They spend the summer nesting in Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta and then fly down to the Sanctuary for the winter. Interesting.

Corpus Christie was nearby, but we didnít bother going into town. We just wanted to hang around and not do too much during our time in PA.

Thursday, January 3rd Ė Thursday, January 10th

Time to leave PA. We left PA on Thursday, the 3rd and took a route through Corpus Christie on the Interstate which connected us to the US 77 going to the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). The trip was uneventful and we arrived in Harlingen at the Encore RV Park and booked in for a week. There are quitea few Canadians down here, mostly from Ontario and Quebec. A very nice Winter Texan campground with all the facilities for people so they can just stay in the campground. There are different things to do such as sewing classses, a complete full woodworking shop which was really well equipped, a billiard room with about 12 tables including two full size snooker tables, a very nice pool with a very large hot tub/spa, (they had early morning aerobics in the pool) a large building for dancing (square, line, round and ballroom with lessons) and entertainment, about 20 shuffleboard courts, several horseshoe pits, computer room with three computers. a card game room with about eight proper tables, library and last but not least a tv room with a large screen tv with surround sound! Ok. I know this will not appeal to everyone, and it certainly doesnít appeal to Val and me, but we went there for the campground because itís a nice campground with garbage collection right at your site which I havenít come across before. A reasonably large site although Iíve been in a lot of rv parks with large lots. But the one thing that we noticed in this park, and for that matter in most parks weíve been in since the summer, is the age of the people. I would say that 60% of the them are in their 70ís. Some are even in their eighties! The rest are mostly in their 60ís with about 10 to 15% in their 50ís. So we feel a little out of place quite a bit of the time! But weíve met some really nice people on our travels, mostly in our age group, early 50ís to early 60ís. God!! I feel old when I say that!!!! So though this rv park is nice, we donít usually participate in the kind of activities that they have available. If I was in a place for the winter, I might want to take up woodworking or get into billiards, but Iíd like to do that with people around my age!! Anyway. I digress.

Harlingen turned out to be a bit of a dump. A lot of crummy looking houses with a lot of old delapidated cars. Have we heard this before. Iím a little disappointed with south Texas. I thought it would be a little more prosperous than this. But without trying to sound racist, there are a lot of Latinos/Mexicans here and they usually seem to be at the lower end of the living band. They are usually the ones driving the crummy cars and living in the crummy areas. Of course, there are many affluent Latinos/Mexicans, but they are in a minority.

On Monday, the 7th, we took a trip to Progreso, a Mexican border town. It took about 30 minutes to get there from our rv park. We parked just by the border and walked across the Rio Grande River. What an eye opener! There were woman on the Mexican side with long 20 foot poles with plastic buckets attached on the end that they would hold up to the side of the bridge against the chain link fencing of the bridge hoping to get a few coins thrown to them by visitors crossing over. They were on both sides of the bridge, going into and out of Mexico. Once across the bridge, we went through Mexican customs. What a joke! They didnít even look at us and we just walked straight through! We were in Progreso.

What a dump! There are stores on both sides of the street all selling the same, mostly tacky stuff. Blankets, a lot of silver jewellry, tee-shirts etc. There are people walking down the sidewalk trying to sell sun screens for the window of your car. I donít know how they make a living. They have painters there that paint table tops and also satellite dishs with different landscape scenes. But they do it without any brushes. They use plastic bags and pieces of cardboard that they put in the plastic bad and use that something like a spatula. The paintings were quite good and they were doing good business. I have seen some of the satellite dishes in the RV park in Harlingen. After walking around, we had lunch in a restaurant to try Mexican food again. Still not impressed. Very bland with no spicyness at all. A local Texan in the rv park, told us that as we head west towards El Paso, the food gets spicier and better. Weíll see. After walking around for a couple of hours and having lunch, we headed back across the bridge. The US Customs asked for id and I showed him my passport. ďA CanuckĒ he exclaimed. Yep I replied. ďAnything to declare?Ē ďNo, I didnít buy anything.Ē ďOk. Have a good day.Ē And that was it. And that was our ďdayĒ in Mexico. I was told by another rver that you have to get away from the border to discover the real Mexico. All of you guys out there that have been to Mexico or have been posted there can probably attest to that. Anyway. I donít know if weíll bother crossing the border again while we on this current trip. But we may well go down into Mexico with a caravan. Iíd feel better doing it that way. But thatís another year and another story!

Actually, we had tried a Mexican restaurant in Harlingen when we first arrived here. It had been recommended to us by the rv park office and they said it was the best one in town. It turned out to be the usual bland meal. So the meal in Progreso was no different.

An RV moment. One thing we have noticed while we have been here is that the food prices in the supermarkets are the same here as anywhere else weíve been. A cauliflower was $2.99 US! Thatís $4.80 Cdn!! Lettuce, tomatoes etc. are no different. But citrus fruit is much cheaper. The meat isnít much different in price either.

We spent another day checking out an RV park in McAllen which is about 30 miles west of Harlingen. We had met a couple from North Bay when we were camped in Ottawa and they recommended this park, the Citrus Valley RV Park. It was ok, but nine miles out of town. After that, we were thinking over moving there after Harlingen, but we wanted to check out South Padre Island (SPI) before we made any reservations. Don Graham, ex-EL, had told me that he spent the winters down here and raved about the place. Other people we have met on our trip havenít been as impressed so we had to find out for ourselves before we booked anything for the coming week. So we drove over to SPI and crossed over the bridge where several people had been killed last September when a barge crashed into the bridge and brought down a whole section with one or two cars as well. Apparently, the bridge was repaired in record time and was open again in November. Thatís quite impressive! We got onto the island an headed for the Isla Blanca County RV Park was is located at the southern tip of SPI. It was in a great location with easy access to the beach and there were some good size RV sites along with some sites that were not so big. So we drove along the island and were suitably impressed. No tatty areas. Thereís a lot of building going on and everything looks modern. We headed back to the RV park office and asked for a site for a month. The best we could get was a site for eight days! They are totally booked up as there is only one other RV park on the island and that is one of the resort parks that are really expensive. So we booked for the eight days. And we got one of the bigger sites.

Thursday, January 10th Ė Sunday, January 27th

On Thursday, the 10th, we left Harlingen and went over to SPI and set up in the Isla Blanca RV Park. The weather was great, 83 F. We went for a walk to check out the beach. What a great beach, which of course runs the whole length of the island with hotels and homes going right down to the beach. But in the RV park, there are no hotels etc. as they are not allowed in a county park. This looks good. Maybe we can stay longer if this place checks out ok and we can get on a waiting list in the RV park office. Weíll see how it goes here.

Well. Friday the 11th and the weather has turned cooler. Weíre in the mid 60ís F but itís sunny and cloudy. So we decide to do some grocery shopping and guy some other stuff. Thereís also a three day craft show going on in the convention center so we decide to check it out. Free admission. We ended up buying some tee shirts and Val bought an unusual jean type waist cost that has lattice work on the front. $29 US. Not bad. I bought some drill bits and other odds and ends for $3. After that it was over to Port Isabella, which is on the other side of the bridge from SPI, to Wal Mart. Bought some odds and ends plus a new portable gas barbeque. Then over to HEB, which is the major grocery story chain here in south Texas. Equivalent to Loblaws in Canada but I think Loblaws has the edge. Boy is it windy here. Almost every day weíve been in south Texas, the winds have been blowing anyway from 20 mph to 40. The locals say thatís the way it is in south Texas!

Saturday the 12th, and the weather has turned slightly colder. Just like in Port Aransus when we arrived the weather was great and then turned cold. Thatís the way itís been going here, but not as cold as PA. Itís supposed to get warmer, mid 70ís F, on Monday. So today we are spending in the Airstream doing inside stuff such as typing up this report which I guess Iíll have to get out this week from the library in Port Isabella. I also have to transfer the jpegís from the digital camera and sort out the ones I want to send off with the report.

By the way. For anyone who is interested in spending some time down here in a motel or hotel, the prices weíve seen so far have been from $29.99 US up. But that is for a Super 8 type of motel which doesnít have any amenities. Thereís a Holiday Inn and a Raddison here as well, but itís a condo, along with tons of condos. The condos start as low as $469 US a month and go up from there. We met a couple the other day from Ontario who were staying at a condo right on the beach with their patio looking right out onto the beach. It was a two bedroom and it cost $1600 US a month. He said that the one bedrooms were a little cheaper. But at least that gives you an idea.

Well, today is Tuesday, the 22nd and we have found another site and moved to it on the 18th. People book sites here a year in advance! So we have this site until the 28th. We thought of trying to stay a little longer, but I think itís best if we start our westward journey. Itís been south south south so far in our trip and we can now finally get to start going west!

Weíve been enjoying the great temperatures here. Mostly in the high 70ís and mid 80ís. But Iíve never seen a place like this for the wind. Iíve mentioned this before but boy. Imagine a bad wind storm in Ottawa, one that takes down branches and that,s what it gets like here ever few days. The wind was so bad, that our satellite dish kept going off the air for a couple of seconds due to the dish itself being jiggled by the wind. And I have the three legs of the tripod staked into the ground along with two containers of water hanging from the triipod for more stability!

Weíve been out to eat and drink a few times. Thereís a little oyster/shrimp bar about a two minute walk away right down by the water. Not on the beach but a great view of the different boats going out through the channel. They also have .75 cent beer!! Val would have a quarter pound of shrimp and I would either have two hot dogs, .7 cents each, or a bowl of chili. We just sit there at the bar and look out through the large open doors and the water traffic and chew the fat with other patrons. Great little place. Might go there today as we havenít been there for two or three days.

Another thing about SPI, is the humidity. The weather comes and goes. One day itís around 75 F with very little humidity ad then the next moring you wake up and can hardly see anything because of the fog. And the humidity just rolls in off the sea. All our clothing is damp. Just like it was up in Nova Scotia when we were near Peggyís Cove. Just itís very bearable. Especially when one thinks of the weather up north! But watching the weather on CJOH, I see that you guys have been having a really mild winter. Figures. We leave town and you get the great weather!!

An RV moment. Remember that toe back in Waco? Well, itís still botherng me. When it happened, I couldnít do my daily walk anymore, and I havenít been able too until I got to SPI. I havenít been wearing shoes, just sandles. We walk on the beach every day for about an hour and a half and I take off my sandles and go barefoot. I can almost walk normally barefoot and, itís getting to the point where I can almost walk normally with sandles on. Iím going to stay out of shoes as long as possible, but might well have to as we go west where the weather will be somewhat cooler. Oh yes. I keep my feet well clear of that bracket when I unhook now!

But life goes on here in SPI. We enjoy the beach and the weather has been pretty good. I wonít be able to send this report out until we leave here as the library does not allow any diskettes in itís pcís. So weíll have to find a place somewhere along our route going west. Probably the next place we stop for a week.

After moving steadily south since we came into the States on November 2nd, weíll start our westward journey tomorrow morning, Monday the 28th. Itís been really great here, going to the Oyster bar for shrimps and beer and taking in some of the local restaurants. But the most enjoyable aspect has of course been the beach. We just love being next to the sea. So the next time we see the sea, it will be the Pacific Ocean and that wonít be for a number of weeks. Weíll head for Big Bend National Park in West Texas and visit some of the towns in the area then go on to El Paso which is right next to New Mexico. That will be our last town in Texas, but weíve been here since well before Christmas and thereís a lot more to see yet. Weíre hoping to fit in San Diego, Los Vegas and the Grand Canyon then back up to the Pacific Coast Highway in California up to Oregon, Washington and finally BC. Weíll see how much of that really pans out.

Weíll see you on the next report.



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