Our last few days on DI

10/24-10/31

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The first time we were on the island, August 2020, this pier went all the way out. When we came back the second time we saw the damage here and in other areas that the last hurriacane, Ida, had caused. It was sad to see. 10 months later only a few planks had been added but that work looked like it was at a standstill.

The lighthouse was on an island but time has erased the island to nothing more than the rock it stands on.

I guess I love the island for it’s simplicity.

The locals want to keep it that way. They run their small businesses in a love/hate relationship with the tourists. Of course they need us desperately for their livelihoods but I’m sure deep down, they wish we would leave.

I don’t know the next time we will be through this way but I pray that the locals will continue to win and keep out the box stores and changes that will make this island unremarkable.

Because DI is truly a remarkable place…

DI never disappoints

10/24-10-31

The past two times we’ve been to DI we have been engrossed with exploring the island on our bikes.

Today we went to the Estuarium.

The Estuarium is on the East end of the island, just before the Ferry launch and Fort Gaines.

We walked down this boardwalk on its’ winding path. It was enjoyable just to take this walk and see the views unfold.

Then we went into the aquarium, it was so nicely done.

I took this picture over the top of the aquarium these turtles were in, it turned out very stylized even though I did nothing to the picture.

With my phone positioned over the aquarium we think the turtles thought it was time to eat and they were literally climbing all over each other to get to what they thought I was offering!

A baby alligator and a painted turtle, both just “chillin”.

I thought the turtle was really funny how it had its legs stretched out on the rock under the warming light. It’s shell was particularly beautiful with its redish pink edges.

There was a tank on a patio outside that held these guys. Wow, this was fun! There was a sign that said we could touch them “gently with two fingers”. We watched as they swam right to us and around the tank and back again over and over.

All you had to do was put your hand in the water and the manarays swam right into and under it, giving us plenty of opportunity to touch their velvety soft skin. So amazing!

Another thing I thought was just incredible, were the seahorses. Look at all the babies!

The babies were inside a separate area, I guess to keep them safe, but it looked like the mommy was standing by with her tail wrapped around so she could keep an eye on her offspring. (Ok, I don’t know that for sure, but it’s the story I wanted to believe) lol

At any rate the babies were so tiny, about a quarter of an inch. I think there were hundreds of them in the tank, I got lucky with a few right by the adult for the picture.

Here’s a couple more guys we thought were interesting. Who knew there were underwater spiders?

Then there was this crabby guy with his glowing shell and claws.

As we were getting ready to leave, I turned and saw this large unique fish and just had to get a picture of him, he looked like he was swimming right at me!

DI continued

10/24-10/31

It’s been so perfectly warm everyday. We’ve ridden our bikes everyday.

It’s such a fun thing to realize that there isn’t anywhere on the island we can’t go on our bikes, we don’t even have to “take” them to the place we will ride, we are at the place!

On previous trips we’ve seen this tiny inlet and the pelican has always been there. We’re not sure if it’s the same one or not but we thought it probably had a nest.

This time there was an addition. We always thought the water was deep but this boy was standing as if on top of the water.

Over and over he threw a small white net. As soon as the net hit the water he pulled it up again to swing it around his head and throw it again and again.

The pelican never tired of his watching but we did… we had places to go…and a sunset to find.

As we waited, the sky put on a magical show. We were not disappointed.

Sunset was at low tide, around 6:10 or so. We weren’t sure if this standing water was because of the tide being so low or if due to the last hurricane the sand had formed a ridge and rain kept this area wet but it added such a cool effect to the sunset, as the sky was reflected in the water.

The suns’ color changed from golden to orange and red. The sky was perfectly reflected in the pond. As we watched it continued to change.

I noticed someone down the beach looking up behind us and not at the sunset at all… I turned and was blown away!

The clouds behind us were putting on their own show! They looked like swirling cotton candy, it was absolutely breathtaking!

We turned back to the sunset and it had changed yet again.

Yup a collector of sunsets…

Dauphin Island, Alabama

10/24-10/31~

On not a lot of sleep (should I add we are CB’d out for awhile) we are on our way and so excited! The view coming to and up over the bridge to the island gives me so much joy!

We commented as we saw the island unfold before us that it felt like “going home”

I loose track of time…I don’t know what day it is…

I’m up to enjoy the sunrise, how can anyone sleep when this is happening!

Pelican’s Nest is a very tiny campground, 12 spaces, almost directly in the middle of the island and across the road from the beach.

We are so happy to have the spot right next to the pool. Our patio faces the pool so no one is in front of us and we feel like we’ve won the jackpot!

As far as things to do on this 13 mile island, the biggest thing, and it costs nothing

…is to relax.

However, we did get up from laying by the pool and explore a bit. ;p

We went in search of new friends. We rode our bikes to the Bird Sanctuary and walked around, I actually found the trail on AllTrails.

We didn’t see many birds, even though they’re supposed to be migrating right now, but this guy has been around for awhile…

The path winds through the sanctuary and out onto the beach, almost to say “tada!” it was just beautiful.

It was a great walk and perfect weather, I think it was about 75 degrees… perfect.

I was going to say “I’m a collector of sunrises” but honestly, I love sunsets just as much.

What’s not to love…God’s the Master Painter!

10/21~24

10/21~Aux Arc COE, Ozark, Arkansas

You never know what you’re going to see going down the road at 60-70 miles per hours.

Yes, the water tower was collasping on crumbling legs. In contrast I found the very solid and strong looking cross comforting.

We arrived around 2pm, check in wasn’t until 4pm and check out was at 3pm. We’d decided to just drive in and see if we could park at the boat ramp until it was time to go to our site.

The office was closed, we stood around looking like we didn’t know what to do, hoping someone, preferably a camphost would come talk to us. No one came. We drove to our site. No one was there.

We decided to unhook the car and Paul backed the MH with the dolly attached right into the site. Good Job Paul! We had an extra 2 hours at our campsite which we thoroughly enjoyed, we even had a campfire and enjoyed the evening!

Now, we HAVE to make reservations online, (instead of just driving in and getting a spot) there are lots of different websites depending on whether its a COE, State Park, National Park, Private Park, KOA and you have to set up accounts online for each one. This site was reserved on recreation.gov. We are lucky if we can see one picture of the site to help us choose it and so we know what we get to look at while there. This site is a keeper! On the Ozark Lake, although it looks like a river, it’s a really nice water view.

Oddly the sites on the water side shared a central driveway with a site forking off on either side. When we pulled in we didn’t have anyone sharing our driveway and the other sites were far away. So it made for a nice peaceful evening…

Until the beggers came.

The first one was very thin and golden colored. The next one was also thin and long, black with some brown markings. Off at a distance was a white and black one. They were very cautious and polite. Once I said, “kitty, kitty, kitty” the gold one advanced, then layed down about 10 feet from us. We sat by the campfire enjoying the heat as the golden kitty closed its’ eyes, it was enjoying the heat of the fire as well.

We have a tree right next to where we’re sitting, the black and brown one eventually layed down with its’ back against the tree. A safer, warmer spot for it, I’m sure.

The white and black one never came close.

It was getting dark, I didn’t have my phone with me, so no pictures. We enjoyed their company and although we knew we shouldn’t tried to share some bits of our sandwiches with them. The gold one was much quicker, the black and brown one got a nibble.

Then we noticed they were gone.

And so the next morning were we. Goodbye Aux Arc COE.

Such a strange name I’m adding what the website had to say about the name:

“Aux Arc” is the name that orginated with French explorers when they mapped the territory. The term means “the big bend”, decribing the bend in the Arkansas River. Over time, the name was simplified to “Ozark”, thus the name for the Ozark Lake. Aux Arc Campground sits on the shores of Ozark Lake in the picturesque Arkansas River Valley.

10/22~We traveled about 245 miles and pulled into another Cracker Barrel in W. Memphis, Arkansas for the night. It’s so nice, when we park at Cracker Barrel, we know there will always be a spot large enough for our 26ft motorhome and our dolly and car which adds another 12ft. We parked and by the time we went inside for an early dinner it was 4:30.

The reason we try to travel less than 300 miles a day is because you just never know what will happen. It seems that everywhere we go, roads are torn up and being worked on. This of course causes delays, lengthening our travel day.

Then there’s the stop for gas which some days doesn’t happen at all. We are really enjoying our 55 gallon gas tank which gives us a range of 550 miles or more! But still we try to stop in the middle just to stretch our legs.

10/23~ We cheated and went into CB for breakfast. We ususally do a dinner or breakfast per stop, not both. 🙂

On the road by 9am about 220 miles and we will stop at another CB in Pearl, Mississippi for the night. Not all CB’s will let you stay overnight, that’s another thing I like about the app I use for planning, it tells you if you can stay or not.

We’ve seen several crosses on the road, this one has the crown of thorns. We were amazed at how large not only the cross but the crown must be.

10/24~ As we are leaving the Pearl, Mississippi Cracker Barrel I’m reflecting on the fact that this was the least amount of money we’ve spent camping to date. For a whole week, well 5 days, we have spend $9 for overnight camping. It would have been $18 which is still a great price for Aux Arc COE but our America the Beautiful senior pass gets us half price. (we won’t mention what we spent at CB) lol

Around 900 miles, we know the cost to “travel fast” for us is weary bones, but the pay off bought us a week on the island.

10/24~ Dauphin Island here we come!

We found this little gem of an island last year. We were going to take the travel trailer along the gulf coast stopping at all the beach campgrounds we could find. So many were closed because of covid, and what was open was booked or more than we wanted to pay.

A friend mentioned Dauphin Island, we’d never heard of it so I checked it out. We managed to get a week in August, boy was it hot! But we fell in love with this quiet little place, it’s 13 miles long.

Then we decided to come back for the month of December on our way out to Yuma, Az.

Dauphin Island holds some special memories for us, we celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary there. We also made some new friends, one, you know who you are, I’m sure will be lifelong.

We’ve been everywhere, man

10/19-10/21~ Paul and I chuckle and say this to each other every now and then because from being totally stationary for about 45 years we are now on the move across the country. We’ve seen alot, but there is so much more to see, we aren’t done yet.

We’ve crossed the country on I10 and back with our travel trailer and now I70 and I40, we have hopes of crossing again on I80 and I90 as well as taking in both the west and east coast at some point. Pretty ambitous, right? lol

I use an app called RVparky, this is our route since April and going into June of next year.

Each red balloon is a place we stopped for the night or longer.

Last year we crossed the country for the first time ever on our way to Yuma, AZ for the winter in our travel trailer. Many blogs were written about that trip. I hope you get a chance to read them, it might be easiest if you go all the way to the first one, which is the last one, lol

This year with a bit more experience and a much nicer home to travel in we are adding to what we learned last year.

Everyone travels differently. We tend to travel slow and are taking time to just … breathe.

We enjoy riding our electric assist bikes, that’s usually the reason we pick a place to stay more than one night, so we can ride our bikes. We like the occasional hike and walking around a campground, city or park. We just aren’t real big on sight seeing, that might be due to Covid, we aren’t sure.

After leaving Santa Rosa Lake State Park, which was a great bike riding park, we drove 173 or so miles to our “overnight” destination, which was the City of Hereford, TX RV park.

You are probably wondering, what’s in Hereford, TX?

It’s a free full hook up campsite on 2 lovely little lakes, actually there are 5 sites. Here’s a couple pictures.

We were able to pull into the site sideways, hookup to water, electric and sewer without unhooking our car from the dolly. Score! 🙂

We got parked, hooked everything up, had a bite to eat and took a walk around the lake. After sitting at a picnic table and enjoying the sunset we called it a day.

10/20~ It’s a long travel day for us, we plan on driving around 348 miles, we usually drive around 60 miles per hour, (better gas mileage) it will be about 6-7 hours of driving.

Our accomadations for tonight will be at a Cracker Barrel. If you are driving all day, don’t want to deal with hooking up and need a great hot meal. CB is your bet, behind every Cracker Barrel are usually about 3-8 RV parking spots, where you can park for free for the night.

After a good breakfast with great company and a wonderful fireplace, we headed towards our nexts night stay.

On the road by 8am we are on our way to Cadillac Ranch on Route 66.

We are passing mile after mile of flat land where cotton looks like it’s about harvest time, it almost looks like snow! (sorry I said that 4 letter word) ;p

We had hopes of catching all the quirky stuff on Route 66, but we didn’t start where the road starts in Chicago, so it was pretty hit or miss.

Cadillac Ranch is in Amarillo, Texas. I took these pictures with the sun so they didn’t turn out but the pictures everyone sees in media come from professional photographers I’m sure.

Just like the picture on the side of this trailer, which sold $6 can’s of paint so you could leave your mark.

Cadillac Ranch was invented and built by a group of art-hippies imported from San Francisco. They called themselves The Art Farm, and their silent partner was Amarillo billionaire Standley Marsh 3. He wanted a piece of public art that would baffle the locals, and the hippies came up with a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin.

Ten Caddies were driven into one of Stanley Marshs’ fields, then half-buried, nose down, in the dirt (supposedly at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza). They faced west in a line, from the 1949 Club Sedan to the 1963 Sedan de Ville, their tail fins held high for all to see on the empty Texas panhandle.

That was in 1974. People would stop along the highway, walk out to view the cars–then deface them or rip off pieces as souvenirs. Standley and The Ant Farm were tolerant of this public deconstruction of their art–although it doomed the tail fins–and eventually came to encourage it by allowing people to “leave their mark” on the caddy’s with spray paint.

This article goes on quite a bit further. Blah, blah, blah…

We parked our MH along the side of the road, just a car or two were there. We walked out into the field, past the truck and trailer who were capitalizing on this so called landmark. The sun was in our eyes so the colors were not visible. Taking a picture of the truck and trailer was my way of showing what this once was.

I guess my pictures show what it is today. Demolished and diminished. Probably being held together by layer after layer of paint.

When we got back to the MH there were at least twenty car’s and MH’s parked to view this “iconic” piece of America.

At this point I have to say, we are disappointed by the “Old Route 66” drive. So much of what “was” has been distroyed. Sure, there’s Winslow and a couple other places in the west but most “iconic pieces of America’s route 66 history” I think are seen from Chicago thru St. Louis. We didn’t feel the need to say “we drove the Old Route 66 from start to finish”

But who knows, as we cross the country many times in the future, we might cross Old Route 66 and see something we hadn’t seen before…isn’t that what travel is about?

Santa Rosa Lake State Park

10/16-10/19~Our favorite places to camp are state parks and COE’s and if the two are combined it’s even better. 🙂

We were here for 3 days and except for some extreme winds (but not the worst we’ve endured) it was a beautiful stay.

The road into the park was really long and went by a dam, Lake Santa Rosa was low but still beautiful.

We rode our bikes several times, it was easy to go 5 miles on well paved roads with no cars.

On the second day I was treated to a beautiful sunrise and a visitor…

On our last full day we took in the 3 mile round trip hike along the shoreline.

We passed other hikers who didn’t seem to be working as hard as us. We later learned if we had started at the opposite end of the trail it would have been mostly downhill.

We enjoyed the hike, although at the 439ft gain Paul said that would be like climbing stairs in a 44 story building! Good grief, no wonder we we’re tired!

We didn’t make the 3 miles, although if we had turned around and gone back, it would have been almost all down hill. lol

It was perfect weather for a hike. Later I made smash potatoes and sausage on the blackstone and we sat in the sun and read.

It just doesn’t get any better than this… or maybe it does.

Below is a picture of my planning app, we are actually at number 29 and in 5 days will be at number 35.

Leave your guess of where we are headed in the comments! 🙂

On our way to Santa Fe

10/14-10/16~Here we go now!

Camel Camel got up too early, after going to sleep too late, and was a grouch all morning.

The road lay out in front of us seeminly forever, it’s going to be a 358 mile day and Camel Camel is now in time out for a bad attitude.

The drive was longer than normal for us but Paul was in the mood for a “long haul”, lol We saw a lot of fun things along Route 66, here are a few I managed to get pictures of…

That’s what happens to your car when you try to take home a chunk of petrified wood! lol

Traveling down Route 66 we saw the famous or infamous, lol, Wigwam Motel. The teepees are the motel rooms for rent, there were so many old cars around too! (you might have to enlarge the pictures to see)

We are actually spending two nights at Rodeo de Santa Fe, in New Mexico. We could have stayed any number of places but this place had FHU for $25 a night, it was quite a steal. When you just need a place to unhook the car and keep the MH safe while you’re out exploring all day, what better place than a rodeo field with a locked gate.

So off we went for a day in Old Town Santa Fe!

Let me just say, if you are going to Old Town Santa Fe, you want to be rested. The roads are all one way, usually the wrong way and very narrow. Parking is hard to find, we tried to figure out the Meter system, but it was lost on us. We finially found a lot to park in for $10 for the day.

These roads were used when donkey’s carried handmade items to the market which was the central market area on the Santa Fe trade trail.

Santa Fe is the oldest capital in the US, founded around 1607 and it’s America’s second oldest city.

New Mexico is the “Chili Capital of the World”

These long strands of red chili peppers were found all over the Plaza. Shops sold all different lengths of them.

Once we found a place to park, we went to the information center and got a map of the area and found out that we could go into the Oldest house and Oldest Church in Santa Fe for free. We also learned about The Miraculous Staircase at Loretto Chapel.

So we took off down the Old Santa Fe Trail…

Of course the blue door and window frame were not cira 1600 but now defined the entrance into a gift shop as part of the oldest house.

We went left on entering, we were in the orginal house. It consisted of two rooms, both had adobe fireplaces. They were very small and mostly used for cooking but did provide some heat as well. The rooms were small, dark and had thatched wood ceilings. There was a ladder but no opening, we thought perhaps at one time bedrooms were on the second level, now closed off. It was certainly amazing to be in a house of this age, we could feel its’ history.

The Chapel was simple and small but well maintained. Enlarge the picture with the sign, it’s interesting.

There were several artists sitting in front painting or sketching, it was inspiring, but I didn’t have a sketch book with me…

Further down the road we came to The Loretto Chapel which housed The Miraculous Staircase.

For more than 100 years the Loretto Chapel is best known for the legend about its “miraculous staircase”. As you sit in the Chapel you hear the story behind the staircase.

The Loretto Chapel, fashioned after Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, was built in the 1870’s to serve the Loretto Academy, operated by the Sisters of Loretto. It’s believed to be the first Gothic structure west of the Missisippi. But the Chapel had a design flaw: there was no way to get to the choir loft from the chapel. Many carpenters were called in for advice, but all came up with the same answer: because of the height of the loft, a conventional staircase would take up too much room in the chapel below. It was a question of using a ladder or rebuilding the balacony. A ladder would prove too difficult for the Sisters, with their long robes, and rebuilding would be too costly.

Seeking divine guidance, the Sisters made a Novena to their patron saint, Saint Joseph the Carpenter. As legend has it, on the ninth and final day, a mysterious carpenter arrived to design and construct a circular staircase to the choir loft. The tools on his donkey were just a saw, carpenter’s square, a hammer and tubs in which to soak the wood.

His “miraculous staircase” contains 33 steps in two full 360-degree turns. The staircase has no center support, nor is it held up from its sides.

(At the time it was built it didn’t have a railing. The railing was added at a later date by another carpenter.)

When the staircase was complete, the carpenter disappeared without seeking payment.

It was stunning…

As we walked down the streets and headed back to the Plaza there were people selling all kinds of things, it’s a very colorful and active place.

And of course we had to have some chocolate! I thought these signs were a hoot!

I loved the architecture of the city, I just had to take some pictures along our way.

Santa Fe was fun, but now… down the road we must go

Winslow, continued

10/12~ Homolovi State Park

The enormity of this place is mind boggling and we love it!

A beatiful campground, wide open spaces and wild donkeys! Who could ask for more?!

They are as curious about us as we are about them.

We were riding our bikes in the park, the roads were perfect. No traffic, paved and just fantastic views that never stopped.

This campground was the site of several Homolovi villiage ruins. They are almost gone now, as time has taken its toll, but a few pieces of pottery could be found. These shards were set on rocks for all to see and warning signs said not to take them. We were happy to see how many flat rocks had pottery pieces on them.

We wished we could stay longer but there’s just so much more to see..,

This was my favorite kind of bike ride road!

We took the drive from the campground to the Petrified Forest. If you go to Holbrook and take off on 180 you come in the south entrance, then you can meander up and then across 40 into the Painted Desert and the loop takes you back to 40, it was a fantastic day for this drive and so beautiful!

We saw a lot of things, from Petroglyphs to chunks of petrified trees and always the view was endless…

The old car sat on what was part of the orginal Route 66, but is now a part of the park.

How Wood Becomes Petrified (copied out of the National Park Service booklet)

A log is petrified when all of its orginal plant material is infilled, or replaced by minerals. Approximately 216 million year ago, these trees died and fell into a river. They were buried beneath layers of silt, mud, sand, and volcanic ash, which protected them from decay. Mineral-laden ground water percolated through the layers, carrying silica from the volcanic ash and other trace minerals. The silica, or quartz, crystals slowly bonded with the cells of the tree replicating the organic material in perfect detail. Eventually, silica replaced the wood material. Now this petrified forest is not made of trees, but of stone.

The petrified logs’ brilliant colors are due to trace elements that seeped into the wood along with the silica. Iron provides bright yellow, orange, rich reds, orchre, and black. Manganese causes blue, purple, brown and black, and the graceful fern-like patterns.

As stunning as the Petrified Forest was the Painted Desert was even more so.

If was great scenic drive and something you just have to experience to be awed by the vastness and beauty of these places.

Winslow, Az

10/10~

So we made the long drive from Camp Verde to Winslow, Az, it was an hour and a half. lol

If you grew up in the 70’s you might know about a Eagles song that goes something like this I think . “Standing on the corner, in Winslow, Arizonia what a fine sight to see, a girl, my Lord, in flat bed Ford pulling up to take a look at me. Take it easy, take it eeeeaaaasssssy”.

And Winslows’ corner became famous and a must see for traveling tourists. The statue is of Glen Fry the singer of the song.

And of course this is part of Old Route 66.

We had decided to take Route 66/40 back to Georgia from Arizonia, it’s only part of the iconic highway that starts in Chicago and goes all the way to California.

I heard the cashier, as we were paying for a postcard, explaining it to someone and then she said, and the town just added the other guy later, we don’t know who he is.

I thought that was really funny and I also realized, maybe not everyone knows about “Standing on the corner”

It’s no secret we like small towns best, and Winslow is small.

I can’t tell you how delighted Paul was to find out that the “Sipp Shoppe” had chocolate Malts!

10/11~ Another Route 66 stop was the Meteor Crater (more bucket list for Paul). He remembers seeing in magazines all about it and wanting as a child to see it. So, here we are.

I thought it was very nicely done, with a Discovery Center and Museum. They also had a 4D Movie Theater. And a 80-seat widescreen theater showing “IMPACT, The Mystery of the Meteor Crater” I won’t tell you what the mystery is incase you decide to check it out someday.

We were up high on the walkway looking down at the Crater.

Later during the movie we learned that what we were looking at was a whole large enough to hold 20 football games played simultaneously on its floor, while more than 2 million people watched from the side slopes. It just didn’t look that big to me, wow!

This guy greeted us as we came into the courtyard entrance. We were up pretty high, the above picture is a picture of a viewing window that looks out over the desert to the mountains. Don’t you think it looks like a framed picture?

10/12~ to be continued, there’s so much to see here!