The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Harley takes his role as navigator seriously!

Butte LaRose GTG

I belong to the Women RV Forum but I haven't been able to get to any of the larger Get To Gethers (GTGs) yet.  However, two of the members live in Butte LaRose and Abbeville so I wanted to stop and meet them on my way through on I-10.

Things are really hopping down there around the Butte LaRose and Breaux Bridge area. I missed out on the Carolyn, Martha, Nancy, Karen, and Sharon GTG last week since I was still in Florida but I didn't miss out altogether. After leaving Florida on Friday and spending two days in New Orleans, my son and I headed to Butte LaRose to stay overnight at Frenchman's Wilderness.
Carolyn Patinjones, and Martha (Acadianmom) were waiting at Carolyn's for us to call when we arrived. Not only did they show up to visit, they also let another friend in on the visit and Nancy also came by. Since my son was traveling with me, I have pictures, drum-roll please!!!!!, with ALL of us--including Carolyn--in them.

We had a nice long visit in my RV where everyone was overrun by the excited "Traveling Longdogs". Nancy already had plans for the evening but the rest of us decided that dinner out would be just the thing. Caroline had quite a few choices of dining places on her list but we decided that her favorite, the favorite of locals, would be our favorite.

The food was very good. Steve, Caroline, and Martha had the Half and Half (half crawfish etouffee on rice and half deepfried crawfish). I wimped out and had the hamburger after hearing that Sharon figured the rich food made her stomach rebel. Steve loves New Orleans and the food there but he said the Cajun style etouffee he ate at Crawfish Town was even better. My hamburger and steak fries were delicious too just in case you are wondering.
Half & Half
Burger and Fries

Great company, great food, and good conversation were enjoyed by all.
Carolyn (notice the camera glued to her hand) :lol:

After dinner, Martha headed for home as she lives well over an hour away. Caroline took us on a short tour. Next time, I want to have more time to see the area. We went by Cajun Palms RV Park where Sharon was holed up. We waved as we went by hoping she was able to sleep since her lights were not on. Initially I thought the park was too expensive but after seeing it, I would definitely stop if I had the grandkids with me and had enough time to make it worthwhile. They have a great water park type area that kids would love and since it is included in the overnight fee, it would be worth it.

Frenchman's Wilderness is very nice with lots of shade trees, parking sites that are spread out like a state park, a pool, a couple of playgrounds, etc.  Our only complaint was the voracious mosquitoes that appeared after sunset.  There were any in evidence during the daylight hours though.

The visit was too short but it was so nice to get to meet three other sistahs. Thanks Carolyn and Martha.

Visit to the French Quarter

After a walk and some relaxing time back at the RV Park with the Traveling Longdogs, we headed back downtown.  This time our goal was the French Quarter.  I took a few photos as we drove through the Quarter to get to the parking lot.  Usually it is a lot easier to get directly to the lot but an ambulance was blocking one of the streets so it took some twisting around the one way streets to get there.

This guy must have been roasting inside this suit because it was both hot and humid.

The decorative ironwork and plants hanging throughout the quarter are always beautiful.

After parking, we headed directly to Cafe' Du Monde to get our cafe au lait and beignet fix--always good and always available 24 hours a day.

Then we walked all around taking in the sights.  Rouse's is a rather well known specialty grocery store.

Lots of scooter transportation is used in the Quarter as it is easy to get around in something small.

This was one of the local street performers on this particular day.  He has a harmonica in his mouth while he is playing the guitar.

There are also some pedestrian alleys in the Quarter with interesting sights.

 These two performers stopped for a chat with each other.  The one in the right is all in gold including his skin.

Before leaving, we had dinner at Coops.  It is a very small bar where you would never think of going to eat.  My daughter-in-law always asks around to find out where the locals eat and she found this place the last time she and Steve were in NOLA.  There aren't too many tables and you can definitely tell almost all of the clientele are locals, some very colorful.  We opened the door and were told we could either sit at the bar or wait outside until they called us to come in.  We quickly took the bar.  Steve ordered some kind of special etouffee and I ordered Pasta Italia.  Both were fantastic, well presented, and delicious.  The kitchen was out the back door and I wouldn't be surprised if it was coming directly from some very fancy restaurant chef.  "Coop" is a huge bulldog that waddled in and sat by the back door.  By the time we left, the line outside was about 30 people long.  Try Coops if you want some good food and don't need all the fancy ambiance.  It's fun.

Visit to Mother's Restaurant and Lafayette Cemetary

Here we are on our way down Canal Street on the way to Mother's Restaurant for breakfast.

Unfortunately, I somehow missed getting a photo either inside or outside of Mother's.  It certainly isn't fancy.  You stand in line, order your food, then sit down at an available table where the waitress picks up your ticket and later delivers your food.  But watching the crowd is interesting and the food is good.  We somehow lucked out, got a spot in a parking lot right behind Mother's, and only had 3 people ahead of us in line.  By the time we were at our table and our food was being delivered, the line of people waiting was out the door.

A Few Facts About Mother's:
"Mother's Restaurant specializes in authentic New Orleans home cooking.  For almost 70 years, Mother's has maintained its position as serving the highly rated po'boy sandwich in the Crescent City.  Historically, the po'boy refers to the sandwiches made from hot gravy and scraps of roast beef ladled onto French bread and sold to "poor boys" from the back doors of restaurants.  Mother's is well known for producing "the world's best baked ham."  The time honored family recipe produces a ham which is tender and sweet; the glaze results in crispy, caramelized black ham - the most sought after item on the menu.  

Established in 1938, Mother's originally catered to the employees of surrounding businesses which included coffee warehouses, meat packing plants and wharfs.  As the neighborhood changed, so did Mother's clientele.

Hurricane Katrina entered the Gulf of Mexico August 24, 2005.  The morning of August 28, a mandatory evacuation of the city was ordered.  We secured the restaurant, inside and out, to the best of our ability.  Katrina actually missed New Orleans, turning and crossing the Mississippi River at Buras, LA in the early hours of August 29.  While spared a direct hit, the damage from its enormous tidal surge was tremendous. Levees along the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, the Industrial Canal and the Intracoastal Waterway were over topped and/or breached, causing widespread flooding to 80% of the city.

Returning to Mother's in mid-September, primary damage was to the roof and resultant rain damage inside as well as the inevitable spoiled food due to lack of electricity.  Roof was easy to repair and a disaster relief company was hired to bring the restaurant to hospital grade.  Employees from the early days of ownership were located and brought back to live in 9 FEMA trailers located in the parking lot behind Mother's.  15 October, Mother's reopened with the first customer being Vice Admiral Thad Allen, the head of the disaster relief effort in New Orleans.  The menu was limited and hours were short but everyone was glad to be back and to have us back."

So, give Mother's a try if you want a simple good meal in New Orleans.

Next, we headed out Magazine Street towards the Garden District.  Magazine Street is an interesting collection of eclectic shops.

Our destination was Lafayette Cemetery No 1, the oldest cemetery in NOLA.  Burials in NOLA are above ground in most cases due to the water levels and there are some really old crypts in here.

These very old stones were on cubbyholes in the wall surrounding the cemetery so they obviously must hold cremated remains due to the size.  We also came to the conclusion that many of the crypts must hold cremated remains since a small structure listed 20 to 25 people who died over a long period of time.  Just as we arrive at the cemetery, a female guide was telling a couple some of the history.  She said they just started and did we want to join her tour which would last about 2 1/2 hours.  We didn't have that kind of time so declined.

Twenty minutes later, city workers came along and told us the cemetery was closing immediately, later saw the 12 pm on an entrance sign.  Professional 2 1/2 hour tour started 20 minutes before closing---hmmmm????  Glad we didn't get taken in by the "professional".

This tree has obviously been around for a long, long time.

Right across from the cemetery is the Commander's Palace, a famous New Orleans restaurant.

There was also an old rink converted to shops, bookstore, and coffee house on another corner.

 We traveled down St Charles Street on our way back.  I highly recommend a trolley bus ride down St Charles to take in the Garden District and the neat houses there.  You can also take a city bus down Magazine St, walk up a few blocks to St Charles and take the trolley back or vice versa.  The streets in New Orleans are atrocious, not only crowded but in really terrible shape.  We were glad to be in the F250 instead of a smaller car based on the road surfaces in this area.

NOLA - Pontchartrain Landing

I hadn't originally planned to go to New Orleans on the way home but it is one of Steve's favorite places to visit and we had the time and two free nights at Pontchartrain Landing RV Park through the Tents for Troops program so...

By the way, Tents for Troops is a neat program where a number of RV parks give free camping nights to active duty military members and their families.  If you know a military member who likes to RV or camp, please let them know about it.  Anyway, we arrived at Pontchartrain Landing at 8:00 PM.  We were met by an attendant who seemed a little surprised by our RV but led us out to a site on the point near the Navigation Channel.  It had full hookups but the landscaping wasn't quite done.  After he guided us back into the site, he disappeared only to reappear a few minutes later.  Apparently, the staff thought we would actually be in a tent which is kind of funny when you know this is an upscale RV park.  So they had located us on the point where there is an open area with plenty of room for tents that has not been fully developed yet.  He had called his boss who immediately told him to move us to a deluxe pull-through site instead.  We actually liked where we were since it was a bit less crowded for the Traveling Longdogs so he said he'd tell his boss we were already set up.  They just wanted to make sure we were well taken care of, a great way to show appreciation for our military members. We spent the evening relaxing and enjoying the park Wifi and cable TV along with a walk around the park and a very short stint in the dog park.  The furkids thought it was a bit too hot for running around.

View looking from our patio towards the clubhouse.  The pool is on the high area next to the open patio.  The waterfall flows out of the pool and you can just see the hot tub in front of it.

Plan was to head into the French Quarter in the morning.

Heading Back to Texas

 I guess all good trips must come to an end so it is time for me to head back to Texas.  No need to rush though.  This is going to be a great road trip; my son Steve is going to be traveling with me and he is the world's best traveling companion.  Time for a rest break?

If you have ever been in this part of the country, you may have heard of The Shed restaurant.  The original Shed is in Ocean Springs, MS just off I-10 at exit 57.  You can't see it from the road but it's there 1000 yards north.

"The Shed’s not a fancy restaurant, as a matter of fact, it’s not a restaurant at all….it’s a full fledged JOINT….The Shed is an Experience, a Destination to enjoy! ShedHeds bring their families, sit around the bonfires, hug their kids, and eat the best darn BBQ on the bayou. (Of course… it’s the only BBQ on the Bayou). On Friday and Saturday nights the sounds of live Blues radiate from the stage bringing with it the essence of old school, down-home southern, tacky charm.
The Original Shed is located in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Within the last two years The Shed has not only grown in size but there are now five other Sheds in the Southeast covering a five state area from Louisiana to Florida.    No cookie cutter franchise going on at The Shed!  No two Shed’s are alike.  They all have their own personality though keeping the ambiance of the Original Shed while masterfully keeping the quality and quantity of their nationally award winning Shed food."  Read more about the Shed story.

This is a unique place and the food is good. The Shed has been featured on Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" and Food Network Challenge "Bama Que" as well as Southern Living Magazine.

Right next to The Shed is Camp Journey's End RV Park & Campground just in case you want to spend the night.  It's not exactly inexpensive but looks nice and the staff was very friendly when I stopped in.  There are music events next door so it's a good place to park and join the fun.

We ate an early dinner and headed on down the road to New Orleans for our first night's stop.

Women RV GTG - Panama City, FL

I am a member of the Women RV Forum.  Sometimes there are Get To Gethers (GTGs) across the country. So far I haven't made it to one of those but I was about to meet another member of the forum from Panama City for a mini-GTG.

Alice and I met at the Panama City Mall Starbucks for coffee.  Let's just say we had to move out of the sun 3 times and finally go inside when the heat and humidity got just too unbearable.  The photos was taken inside with me holding the camera so don't expect much.

It was a great morning and I had a wonderful time getting to know Alice.  She drives a big Class A she calls "The Rolling Repair Bill" and loves to geocache.  Next on her list of adventures is a Shuttlebike, a bike on inflatable pontoons.  She is just a tad paranoid about alligators so I can't wait to see the pictures of her on the Shuttlebike coming from another GTG in the near future.  You go, Alice!

Rosemary Beach, Seaside, and Destin

Saturday morning the house seemed rather quiet so we decided to head out for some sightseeing.  First we drove to Rosemary Beach where we had lunch outside at Wild Olives. 

The food is a bit pricey but very good.  Steve had a fancy hamburger, Helen had a pizza, and I had a roast beef sandwich.

Rosemary Beach is a summer resort kind of place with some shops and restaurants in addition to summer condos and cottages.  We walked around the main area after lunch.

This quaint little building is the post office.

We drove along the coast with Seaside as our next stop.  Do you remember the Truman Show where you could see what Jim Carrie did every minute?  That is Seaside with all the white picket fences.  I understand that they are required as part of the architecture.  The shopping area was also interesting.  There was a whole block of small airstream trailers that were serving food.  They don't look like they move around like they do in Austin.

We continued west along the coast.  One thing that was a little disappointing was that we could rarely see the beach and the ocean like we could when we went east along the coast to Apalachicola.  Here there were houses or cottages packed in.  There were quite a few state parks along our route; however, we didn't have time to stop and check them out.  What we could see from the road looked good. Hwy 30A joined back up to 98 near Destin.  One of the places advertised on our route was Gator Beach.  Good thing we had a GPS to find it.

Hmmm!  Not exactly what we imagined when we thought of Gator Beach.

Turns out that Gator Beach is a free alligator show in a restaurant/bar called Fudpuckers.  That's right; Fudpuckers not Fuddruckers.

 A guest from the audience was asked to help out with the show.

These are the celebrities.  The guy from the audience didn't get anywhere near these big boys.  They had a baby alligator that he touched and with whom he had his photo taken.

What the heck, it was free and you got to see them as close as I wanted to see them.  Headed back to Panama City and a little rainshower along the way.