Friday, June 18 – WHEW! What a long day! We left Houston at 7:30 a.m. with a U-haul trailer attached to the Jeep. It's moving day for Kelly, our oldest daughter. She's moving from Palestine, TX, to Katy, TX. That's about a 200 mile move. She'll be teaching in the Katy ISD next year. We miraculously got everything in the trailer in one trip. The girls were skeptical, but Paul pulled it off. We did get to experience rush hour traffic in the Houston area by the time we loaded everything up and drove down I-45. What a mess! After loading everything in a storage unit across the street from her new apartment, we returned to our campground North of Houston by 7:30 pm. Did I mention that it was in the high 90s?!? Man, were we tired!
Saturday, June 19 – Heading down to Carrie's place in Houston today for a visit. Part of our visit is a stop at IKEA so Kelly can check out some furnishings for her new apartment. The IKEA story began in 1943 in the small village of Agunnaryd in Sweden, when founder Ingvar Kamprad was just 17. Since then, the IKEA Group has grown into a major retail experience with 123,000 co-workers in 25 countries/territories generating annual sales of more than 21.5 billion euros. Each store has over 95,000 home furnishing, a restaurant, Bristo/Exit Cafe, and Swedish Food Market. The food and prices are great. We scouted out the place the other day and really thought their furniture was very nice, young style, and reasonably priced.
After IKEA, Carrie treated us to lunch. It was excellent pizza and beer. We then went over to Carrie's house to visit before returning to the campground. It's sad to say “Good-bye”, but we know we'll be seeing her again in September. She's cat sitting Kelly's two kittens while Kelly visits Ohio. That should be exciting!
Sunday, June 20 - We are heading toward Ohio this morning. We won't be there until July 1, but we're moving in that direction. Our first stop is the Coushatta Casino in Kinder, LA. The campground is called Red Shoes Park. The first band of the Red Shoes only had 80-100 tribes people who settled in the lower Louisiana area. Hundreds more Coushattas followed Red Shoes and soon the tribe established a new political and social system that preserved its traditional way of life.
This is a very nice campground! Huge sights, clean restrooms, nice pool, plenty of grassy areas, paved roads and concrete sights. This was our shortest day....only about 3.5 hours. This sets us up for our longest day of the trip which comes tomorrow.
Besides RV sites, they have Chalets. These are very nice individual units.
After getting set-up we went to the pool for a couple hours. I think it's HOTTER here than in Houston....just not as humid! After dinner, we went up to the Casino to check things out and try our luck. Okay......here's the results: Marsha won $7; Paul lost $15; Kelly lost $8....over-all -$16.....shoot! We really had a lot of fun!!!!!
Monday, June 21 – We left the Coushatta Casino at 8 a.m. and headed East on I-10 through the AWFUL Louisiana bumpy Interstate 10 corridor. Wow, is that road a mess!
Picture of Mobile, AL
We went through our first tunnel.
We had a long haul to Rainbow Plantation in Summerdale, AL. This is an Escapee Park near Mobile, AL. We plan on being here two days. It was pouring when we arrived and the site was a mess. We are not very impressed with this park. So far, I am disappointed with the Escapee Park System. This park is way off the beaten path and very difficult to get to. Gravel interior roads and grass camp sights. The club house is way on the far side of the park in the residential area. The pool is nothing to shout about and the bathrooms leave much to be desired. The campsights are a generous size and there are some trees scattered among the camping area.
Pool…doesn’t look like they take very good care of this area.
We drove down to Gulf Shores to see what damage the oil spill has done. You can still swim at the Gulf Shores beach.
Paul enjoying the clean sand at Gulf Shores.
We saw trucks from all the major networks and local TV stations at the Gulf Shores beach. It looks like they may be expecting oil any day. Normally, the price to park at the beach is $5, but there is a temporary waiver on this. We think officials are trying to encourage people to come to the beach.
Kelly and Paul sitting on one of the many benches at the beach.
But just down the road 3 miles is Orange Beach and there is NO swimming premitted. What a beautiful beach that is being devastated by this oil. There is a definite oil presence. The sand is stained.
When you look down the beach, the difference where the high tide stops is very evident. Look at the brown sand versus the white.
No one is on the beach. This is so sad!!!
That’s Kelly on the edge of the oiled sand.
The containment booms are in the bay with oil showing on the orange paint. You can see the ships within a mile of shore, working to contain the oil.
The black is the oil.
Paul picked up a large bird feather that was definitely oil stained and even smelled like oil and left a greasy film on his fingers.
There was also an eerie lack of the usual birds that normally fly around the beach. There were signs warning people not to swim in the water.
We also notice a tremendous number of vacancies in area condos, and hotels. Very few people were on the beach and very little traffic was in town.
A sad time for these people relying on the tourist trade to make a living. At least the TV satellite trucks were filling the parking lot and rolling up and down the beach highway. There were lines of people being hired to work the clean-up crews. These crew areas had plenty of new trucks, tractors, 4-wheelers, and huge dumpsters filled with the bags of tar balls.
We did decide to spend the day on the beach tomorrow, instead of our planned sight-seeing adventures. We better take advantage of these beaches while we can! We certainly won't be swimming. Surprisingly, we did see some people in the water at Gulf Shores....mostly wading.
Thanks for stopping by. See y’all again real soon.