Monday, January 30, 2012

Old South

SIGHTS:


ROSALIE MANSION Our Rating 5 out of 5 Tour Price $12. each
Built in 1820, right along the Mississippi River in Natchez, MS. This was an especially interesting historical building, because there were only 3 owners, the present Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Society being the 3rd. Because of that, the history told on the tour was very accurate instead of guess work.  The tour guide was excellent. I actually asked questions. Usually I'm very quiet.  But the tour was so fascinating, because the furniture, books, music, notes, were actually left over from the original families! They were not just antiques donated from various sources.
During the Civil War, this home was used as headquarters for the Union Army. Our Union head officer was very respectful of the property. Although he had to take over the 1st floor, he allowed the family to store their belongings in the attic and also continue to live in the home, but only on the 2nd floor.  Thanks to the respect of the Union soldiers, this family's heirlooms have been preserved for us to enjoy today.
When the present owners, DAR bought this home from the 2nd private family to own Rosalie, they allowed the 2 sisters presently living in the home to continue to live there on the second floor, until the last one died in 1958.
View of Mississippi from Rosalie Mansion


UNDER THE HILL Our Rating 1 out of 5
This is sort of equivalent to "the wrong side of the tracks". Up on the hill was where the well to do lived. Under the hill was level with the Mississippi River, so the businesses catered to the seamen who didn't stay in one place. So there were lots of bars, cheap inns, and women willing to show the men a good time.

Today, it is just a row of old buildings that are offices, and a couple of bars.

Isle of Capri Casino A floating gambling casino on an Paddle River Boat. Lots of slots, some tables, simple buffet upstairs. Not our thing.




FOOD/BEVERAGE:


OLD SOUTH WINERY Our Rating 2.5 out of 5 Tour & Tasting: FREE

Very small winery, with no vineyards. Grapes are bought, but that is not a bad thing.  Very casual, as in garage setting. We turned down the tour, but did try their wines. Average, nothing terrible, nothing great. We bought 4 bottles for the novelty of the labels and names representing the South.  I don't think any bottles were over $10.00.

VAT MAMA'S TAMALES Our Rating 2 out of 5
I guess I'm not crazy about Tamales. First time having them. So I'm basing my rating on the other items we had. Scott had a bowl of chili, which is rated average. The shredded cheese and diced onions on top added some needed flavor.  I ordered Nachos. I figured this was a Mexican restaurant, so the nachos shouldn't be those chips covered in cheese whiz type stuff you find at sports arenas. Unfortunately, that is what they were. Processed, melted cheese food with some added olives, peppers, etc on type. The added extras made is at least somewhat enjoyable. Would not return.



Sunday, January 29, 2012

Working too hard

I'm retired...I shouldn't have blisters on my hands!!
RV/CAMP: Spent the day around the campsite. Beautiful day at 70°, cool breeze, and very few fellow campers. I was able to just sit at the picnic table, listen to a book on tape, drink some wine, and do a couple of hours of counted cross stitch. Devin actually stayed quiet for the most part. He did entertain himself with some branches and leaves for a while, but still was being good.
video


We very rarely have campfires. Mainly my fault. I prefer to have them on cool mornings, so I can read in front of the fire.  Scott prefers them at night. I have to get my headlamp to read by the fire at night and there's usually bugs too. We gathered lots of dried wood throughout the campground.  Lots of downed trees. Stupid me with my "oh so delicate" hands :) didn't wear gloves. I came back to the site to organize the gathered wood while Scott continued his "manly" gathering of more wood.

I decided to break and/or saw the larger branches to make shorter pieces to fit into the fire pit. Then separate the wood into kindling, small branches, thick branches. Again, STILL not wearing gloves. Sure enough, I got a big blister under one of my fingers. Well, I tried to help.  Ya know, I'm just a fragile woman and can't do all that manly work. I think I've been reading/listening to too many Victorian Romance books!!! Or maybe it is visiting the plantations and seeing how the rich land owner's wives lived with the servants doing all the work.

Scott ended up making a lovely fire around 4:30pm, so we had maybe an hour of sunlight left. But the mosquitoes were out now.  I tolerated about 45 minutes and had to go in.

WILDLIFE: Scott again says he hears coyotes howling at night.

There are a lot of armadillos that Lyla is very quick to notice.  They must have a strong scent that the dogs can smell.  Since Lyla is deaf, she can't hear them rustling the leaves while they walk, but she sure knows there is one around before Devin or I notice.

We see lots of turtles in the lake. While driving along the gravel road to Longwood Plantation, we passed a small lake and there must have been a dozen turtles sunning on a fallen log.

FOOD: I've finished the Moonshine Jelly (My rating 2 out of 5) I purchased at Grapefull Sisters Winery Gift Shop in SC. This is a clear jelly, that is made with White Wine.  When I spread it on toast & peanut butter (my normal breakfast), it's fine. But to eat it plain, it does have a white wine taste. Since I don't like white wine....But if you are a white wine lover, this may be a nice jelly to try.

Scott made sauteed cabbage with adouille sausage again.  Mmmm, mmmm, good. The adouille we had this time was supermarket/packaged stuff. Yeck! It tastes like a slightly spicy bologna. Scott liked it better than I did. I guess after having Jacob's adouille, it's difficult to have any other.
Scott also made fresh green beans and marinated rib eye steaks. Very nice meal. Thank you honey.



Saturday, January 28, 2012

Corn & Black Bean Salad Recipe

FOOD/BEVERAGE: Now that we are on the road and anything we mail order we have to pay postage for to go to Escapees and then postage again for Escapees to forward to us. A couple of years ago, I won a Keurig Coffee Maker at our rescue annual picnic Chinese auction.  I had no interest in it, but the little boy in Scott, had to open it and try it. Well, ended up I like the single cup idea, instead of having a pot and reheating in the microwave all the time and throwing out what was unused. Although as my brother, Robbie can attest, there were many times he would come to visit and want a cup of coffee and he'd have to ask if it was made today, since I would drink day old coffee, so not to waste.
My little Bro, Robbie
Back to coffee. I was ordering large quantities and variety of k-cups through COFFEE GIANT, which was the best price and free shipping. But now that we are on the road, I've had to pay top dollar at supermarkets for k-cups. I do have "KAPS" which enable you to use loose ground coffee in used k-cups. So I tried "Community" coffee Louisiana Blend, Dark Roast. I like it alot.  Strong and smooth. This coffee will definitely increase my daily cups for a while. I also have a "PERFECT POD HOLSTER" which enables you to use coffee pods in a k-cup type coffee maker. Ground coffee is probably the best price, then pods, then k-cups.

Scott went into Natchez to pick up some items for dinner and came back with lunch also.  He stopped at PIG OUT INN BARBECUE .  He picked up a serving of pulled pork and ribs. That came with bbq sauce in a separate container, Black bean & corn salad, as well as a small container of potato salad. This place is rated 4.5 stars on URBAN SPOON.  I have to agree with the reviews. It was a shame to put the bbq sauce on the SMOKED pulled pork. This pork has a wonderful smokey taste, with some pieces having a crusty edge and others just moist pull apart, can stop eating taste & texture. The bbq sauce covered up that great flavor.  The ribs were delicious. Not quite fall off the bone, but very tender, smokey and tasty. The ribs could handle the bbq sauce and added to the whole experience of the flavor. The bean & corn salad was refreshing & delicious. I make this at home and I do prefer mine although both are very good.  Mine has more cilantro & less jalepeno. Recipe to follow. Lastly, the potato salad was definitely home made. Very good, but my taste asked for more salt.
We'll be visiting here again and trying the brisket.

Courtesy of allrecipes.com

INGREDIENTS:
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 avocado - peeled, pitted and diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
(optional)
DIRECTIONS:
1. Place lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small
jar. Cover with lid, and shake until ingredients are well mixed.
2. In a salad bowl, combine beans, corn, avocado, bell pepper,
tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro. Shake lime dressing, and pour it
over the salad. Stir salad to coat vegetables and beans with dressing,
and serve.


SIGHTS/WILDLIFE: While walking the dogs just before sunset, again we saw all these buzzards. We're looking up into the trees and seeing many perched in a tree.  I counted at least 50 in one tree. The photo doesn't do the image of these large birds congested in one tree justice.


Some buzzards are still soaring overhead, while we're looking up to watch. Scott mentions, "We really shouldn't have our faces looking upward with these birds above us." and I add "Especially with our mouths open"


CRAFTS: Here's a photo of the slouch hat I crocheted with my Irish Setters Ryley & Pillsbury's spun fur.


NATCHEZ, MS 39120

RV PARK REVIEW:
Jan. 24 - Feb. 7, 2012
NATCHEZ STATE PARK Natchez, MS
$18./day Site #24
Our rating: 3 out of 5 Would revisit.
We arrived at NATCHEZ STATE PARK around 2:30pm. Scott reserved a pull thru. Wow! Really easy to park! But, it is one of the worst sites in the campground. We do not have a clean view of the woods or lake. There are either RV's or buildings in the way.


+ Water & Electric (50 amp) & dump station
-Verizon & AT&T cells no bars
+Verizon & Sprint internet OK
+Level paved sites
/1 washer & dryer (clean)
/ Bathrooms ok

But still a nice place. No time limit for your stay either. No AT&T cell service, but more important, we do get AT&T & Sprint internet.  Decent bathrooms, and 1 washer & dryer in good condition. There's a nice trail down to the lake.  I've really got to pay more attention to the details, such as the name of the lake, where we are in respect to other states etc.  I seem to just be living in the moment and place. Meaning, I'm at this campground and this is my own little neighborhood. No real desire to explore the actual towns. I'm very comfortable in the RV and walking the dogs, reading, and playing on the computer.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
RV: Just a short 2 hour ride from Baton Rouge to Natchez, MS. I kept mixing it up with Natchez, LA. I found a couple of restaurants I wanted to try and then realized they were in LA, not MS.
At the campground, on one side of the street is the campground and on the other side of the street is woods with signs stating hunting allowed.  So on Friday, the campground fills up a little bit with lots of hunters. You see young boys in camouflage and orange vests. This is a little bit of culture shock.  I try to keep away from areas for hunters.

There are flocks of buzzards in the trees. I assume they are waiting for the remnants of the hunt. When we walk the dogs, all of a sudden you hear "woomp, woomp, woomp" and the buzzards (smaller than turkey vultures, but larger than hawks) start flying. The "woomp" sound is their large wings pushing the air for flight.

Escapees Mail Forwarding Service has been working out great. I just send an email and they send a packet of mail to the local Post Office via General Delivery.

I'm amazed at how much time I spend on the computer. This is what I do:
Record keeping and application processing for A&B Eng Setter Rescue.
Play Freecell
Play Zuma
Check emails
Follow links from emails, which include knitting, crocheting, RV fulltime, RV mods, audiobooks recommendations, free kindle book downloads, free ebooks, yahoo groups, blogs, billing.
Looking to where to travel next.
Search for things to do & places to eat at present location
Cruise on Ravelry, in forums, new patterns, friends activity
Blogging
Read others blogs
Scanning into the computer, craft magazines brought from home, so I can purge them.
Keeping spreadsheets of campgrounds, restaurants, sights, books, budget.
Read digital magazines.

Scott finally cleaned/organized "his" side of the RV basement.  He was not making good use of the space and couldn't get to many things. I'm proud of his accomplishment. I wish I had taken a before photo.  He downsized from large tubs to small tubs, reorganized drawers, found some items he didn't know he brought.

DOGS: Took a really lovely walk along the lake with the dogs. It feels like a fall day in NJ today, which I love.  The sun is shining, but there's a chill in the air and the need for a jacket. Our 8yr old English Setter, Lyla has perked up on the walks. She really seems to enjoy the sights & smells. There's a prance to her walk. Of course, Devin is always up for a walk, no matter where.

We had blessed relief from squirrels and other small creatures while at Farr Park. That made Devin much calmer. When he would look out the window, there wouldn't be little scurrying creatures for him to get all excited about. Here in Natchez, there are lots of squirrels, so Devin is back to running from window to window and trying very hard to hold back his barking. We end up having to close all the blinds until he settles.

Devin is getting my hopes up that he may be settling down.  The past two days he's found his spot on our king sized bed and has relaxed for quite a few hours during the day without coming into the living room &  nudging my arm to go out.  It's been a pleasure to take him out when I want to instead of when he wants to.


He's also starting to pick up some endearing habits. Up until very recently, he was just a dog. I felt no real connection to him. But I'm seeing that he does want to please and he is listening more and he has found his special spots in the RV. Yes, he can have multiple specials spots even in a 35' RV. He has started the habit of laying his head on my arm when he wants something, instead of nudging. He's hard to resist when he does that. He also now waits to take our napkin after dinner.  Lyla licks the dishes, Devin wants the napkins.  Sometimes he'll gently, stealthily take the napkin with just the very edge of his mouth & once he has it, tear it up. Ryley loved tearing up the napkins also.

FOOD/BEVERAGE: We stopped at Natchez Market, advertising fresh produce, so we assumed this was a farmer's market, but no, just a small supermarket. Since being in the RV, I haven't been having as many sweets because it's difficult to sneak snacks in this small space, unlike when at home in NJ, I had a lot more alone time.  I'm not losing any weight though.  I finally needed a cookie fix. Picked up some Coconut Pecan Cookies at Natchez Market. OH.....MY.....GOSH! YUMMY! They're like a butter cookie with coconut and pecans. They're NOT like macaroons, which are pretty much all coconut.  We'll be making a trip back there before our next stop to stock up!

Scott made another Mickey recipe, Daube. It's a beef roast slow cooked in a tomato gravy. At least Mickey's Daube is like that. Either way, it was delicious. Sort of like a very hearty & meaty spaghetti sauce. We did serve it over pasta. This is a keeper.

I've been enjoying Black Opal Cabernet Merlot wine from Australia.  It may be my new favorite, depending on price. My go to wine is usually Bogle Merlot, which is priced anywhere from $9.99 to $14.99.  I am by no means a wine expert and not even close.  I just go by what I like and I very rarely spend more than $15.00 for a bottle of wine. I tend to not like the oak residue taste from some reds and I don't like a strong aftertaste. I really can't explain what I do like, other than I like dry RED wines.
Scott enjoys sweeter wines. He's a Port wine drinker and fruity wines.

BOOKS: Currently reading Long Lost by Harlan Coben.

AUDIO:
Finished Iron Mountain by John Hart, Narrated by Scott Sowers My rating 4 out of 5
About 2 brothers who lived in a terrible orphanage, with much violence. Their lives change when 1 is adopted and the other runs. Then story is picked up again as adults. Murder, mystery, love.
Narrator Scott Sowers did a great job.  He performs southern accents tremendously and his female voices are well done without sounding odd.
Currently listening to The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley.




Monday, January 23, 2012

Goodbye Baton Rouge, LA 70808

RV: We'll be leaving here tomorrow. I'm kind of sad to leave. We didn't do too much while here, but I just loved the relaxed setting of Farr Park. What a treat to be able to relax & watch the horses. I would definitely camp here again. Although, I don't see us returning to this area..

DOGS: We brought our setters back to the Burbank Ave. Dog Park.  A really great park with very friendly people.  I spent some quality time petting sweet Irish Setter, Katie, we had met previously. She brought back all my memories of our Pillsbury, who passed last year. He was a wonderful dog.

RECREATION: I'm new to geocaching, so I will simply state we found two geocaches within walking distance of Farr Park.  Scott found one and I found the other.
Geocaching is a good excuse to take a hike. You use a GPS to find certain coordinates, where a box is hidden in the woods.  You can leave a memento, or just write your name and date you found it.  Then you can go on line and enter your find.

BOOKS: Scott finished reading THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins, on his Kindle.  He read it in 2 days. He loved it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dive bar

FOOD: Yes, we went to a dive bar...for the food...although the Bloody Mary Scott had was very good. Just a couple of miles from the campground is the Brightside Bar & Grill. I read reviews and although they did call it a dive bar, they also stated that some of the food was really good. Hmmm.
We decided to go to Brightside for their Wednesday special of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans. This is a little bar with about 10 tables, lots of TV's, dart board, & video games. Some seats at the bar were well worn, well really a mess with the foam exposed from the ripped vinyl.  Locals there were very at home and interesting to eavesdrop on.  The barmaid and our waitress was showing a customer her Christmas present, a shot gun almost as tall as her.  She was so excited and made the cocking action of readying the gun, as someone up north would play an air guitar.
On to the food.  Scott did indeed order the Wednesday special and I ordered a BBQ beef PoBoy. Scott was presented with a large thick hunk of meatloaf, which looked good. Also on the plate were mashed potatoes covered in gravy and green beans. Scott tried the green beans first and said they were good. I tried them and all I thought was canned mush. Then we tried the meatloaf. I thought it was pretty good with a nice bite to it. Scott loves mashed potatoes and really isn't very picky about them. I on the other hand only want REAL mashed potatoes. Scott thought the mashed potatoes were real, I did not.  All in all, Scott enjoyed his meal. My BBQ beef PoBoy also came with onion rings.  A pleasant surprise was I think the onion rings were home made.  They were thinly breaded and quite good. At first glance at the PoBoy, I felt they were stingy with the BBQ, but on the other hand, it was easy to eat with my hands (no utensils given to me), and no beef falling out of the sandwich. The BBQ was sweet & tasty and the PoBoy bread was fresh & light. My meal was good, but not enough to want to return. Our meals were $6.50 each, so I guess worth it for the price.
We both felt quite out of place with the locals there. We felt like we were intruding in someone's home.

SIGHTS: Here's another view from our Farr Park campsite. From our front door is the horse field and through our back living room window is what you see below.

Here's the Mississippi River from the paved bike path that goes all the way into the city of Baton Rouge.  We could have ridden our bicycles to the USS Kidd, if we had wanted to. Speaking of bicycles...




Left rear, my old road bike
Right read, Scott's Diamondback
Front, Debbie's Schwinn

How can we still be accumulating "stuff" when we live in an RV? While purging our NJ home, Scott gave up his bicycle. I wouldn't give up mine.  I kept my road bike that I used for many years for many charity bike rides. Mine is very lightweight and coasts beautifully. In 1993, I introduced Scott to the Charity rides when we first began to date. 
I was introduced to long distance riding in College. We were called "Winning Ways". I attended Northeastern Bible College, in Essex Fells, NJ. Since this was a religious college, our purpose of the 13 day  bike ride from North Jersey to Maine and then back, was to spread our "Winning Ways of Life" aka Fundamental Christianity to the "lost". We were welcomed by churches who fed us with pot luck dinners donated by the congregation.  I had a great time and an unforgettable experience. FYI, I am no longer involved with the Baptist Church. Probably my parent's biggest disappointment in me.
While I have completed quite a few charity rides, Scott was new to the experience.  We registered for the MS 150. That is a 150 mile bike ride over 2 days to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. The route was from Atlantic Highlands, NJ south to Cape May, NJ. We would sleep overnight in a school gym. Scott prepared himself for this adventure, by riding 10 miles a day around his town (very flat).  He felt prepared. I knew better.
First day of riding, we took water breaks approximately every 15 miles. Mostly flat terrain, but the wind was horrible and made some sections along Route 9 miserable. At the end of the first day, we arrive at the school and we get off our bikes and I ask Scott how he's doing. I will always remember this moment. He gets off the bike so stiffly, with such a grimace on his face. Scott is not a whiner, but, he whined stating he doesn't think he'll be able to ride the next day.  He thought his thigh muscles would be sore, but never expected his knees to ache so horribly. I can still remember the strained look and defeated way he spoke. I laughed!!! and yes, I said, "I told you so!"
After a night's rest, he couldn't let me, a girl one up him. So on the bike he returned.  We both finished the route and survived with no ill effects and a great memory was forever established. I still tease Scott to this day about his whining about his never experienced "pain like this".
Back to present day. So while in NC, Scott purchased a hybrid (street & dirt) bike.  He's very happy with his "Diamondback Edgewood LX".  I am limited on where we can bike ride together.  My road bike has thin tires for pavement, and cannot handle any road surface except paved. 
I have finally realized that for the RV lifestyle, I must give in and admit that a hybrid is what I should have also. So I dug deep into my frugal pockets and as my father once told me "spend, spend, spend". That was not in an encouraging tone, but in a tone of tsk, tsk, that spending was a bad thing. I bought a Schwinn Lady's Midmoor. Consumer Reports rated it a best buy for a hybrid. I liked the one reviewer on Amazon that said something like, now that I'm older, I no longer want to be bent at a 45° angle riding a bicycle. Notice the red & white bike in the photo above.  It has the curved handle bars that you lean over and have to bend even further to shift and brake.
I haven't had a lady's bike since I was a child.  It's nice not having to lift my leg over the bar.

RV: More spending...Scott purchased an18 gallon, THETFORD SMART TOTE , portable sewer tote. We've been staying at so many State Parks that don't have sewer.  We can do fine for one week, but since we are slowing down and want to stay 2 weeks if we like the place, we have to be very careful with our black tank use. With this portable tote, we can relax more and not HAVE to venture out to the campground bathrooms so often. I suppose a review will be coming after we've used it a while.

BOOKS: 
Finished November of the Heart by Lavyrle Spender My rating 5 out of 5.
A woman's Victorian romance, but like Pride & Prejudice, this is about love trying to break the class differences.
Started Grace Point by Anne D. LeClaire All I know is it's a Mystery.

AUDIO: 
Finished The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. My rating 5 out of 5.
OH MY GOSH! I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! I did not listen to it because of the movie that is coming out this year. I found out about the movie AFTER I purchased the audio book. I found out there are 3 parts, so I have ordered the next 2 in the series. 
Scott is more a fan of the sci-fi/futuristic than I am. I couldn't stop listening to it.  I listened while walking the dogs. The dogs enjoyed the book also, because they got much longer walks.  I listened while walking to the camp bathrooms and listened while in the bathroom too!
This is about a sort of country, that has 12 "states". Every year kids between the ages of 12-18 are entered into a lottery.  24 names are picked (2 from each "state"), to participate in "The Hunger Games". They are put in a huge arena (sort of like "Survivor") and they have to be the last one alive to win. A very sick "game", but makes a great story.  The author centers on one player and does a great job of explaining the player's state of mind and puzzle solving. I highly recommend this book!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sightseeing in Baton Rouge

SIGHTS: We visited the Magnolia Mound Plantation today.  What a great tour guide. She is a volunteer and you could tell she was enthusiastic about history. We were the only 2 on the tour which lasted about 45 minutes.  I hated history in school and barely passed.  But to tour and see and then be informed makes history real.
A little tid bit we learned...The phrase "sleep tight", came from the way the old beds were made before springs. Ropes were wrapped around the wood frame of the bed. These ropes held up the mattress or padding you slept on. Eventually those ropes would loosen and the bed would sag.  So the ropes had to be tightened to make the bed more firm again, thus "sleep tight".
I get very emotional viewing the old photos, and seeing our history via restored buildings, ships, etc.
While at Magnolia Mound Plantation, we saw where the slaves lived. The owner of this plantation was one of the "better" slave owners, if you can call any slave owner in those terms.  He at least, let them work for their freedom and in his will stated that they would be freed and he left money for them all to get started.  Of course after his death, his will was contested, but after I believe 8 years fighting it out, his will was upheld.
I never can get used to the fact of slavery.  How dare anyone force a person to be owned & abused.  We've come a long way. Now we are fighting to have our pets as dependents instead of possessions.

We also toured USS Kidd, which is a destroyer.


I have to give credit to a past boyfriend, who although mentally very abusive (I could have been on the Oprah show), did give me an appreciation for the military.
Again, I'm on the verge of tears seeing how our soldiers have to live in these destroyers, carriers, submarines & out in the field. First they are risking their lives for our country, and they don't even have decent living conditions! My gosh, how dare anyone fault these men & women just because they don't agree with the politics.
Trough style toilets
Dad, did you have to use this type of bathroom when you were on the Carrier Saigon during the Korean War?

It's disgusting that the ACLU fights for the rights of prisoners, when our soldiers don't have those same comforts. Oh, don't get me started. I'm stepping down.
This is a great way to learn history.  I always thought home schooling was a questionable education, but oh my, to bring kids along and travel the US for one big history lesson would be wonderful. They would learn and it might just stick.

On our way to the USS Kidd, we spotted a couple of children "sledding". The temperature was about 70°, so how could they be sledding? Check out the fun below.


They are using flattened cardboard boxes to slide on the grass hill.

RV Mods: Scott added an extra antenna to our existing RV antenna. A "WINEGARD WINGMAN". This is suppose to increase pick up performance of the over the air reception. Scott hates going up on the roof, but a man's gotta do, what a man's gotta do, to get better TV reception.

FOOD: Finished up the  "FROG JAM", I had bought while in NC.It is made with Figs, Raspberries, Oranges, & Ginger (name from the initials) plus sugar & pectin. Delicious. Figs & Raspberries being the main flavors.
Scott made chicken and adouille gumbo & also adouille with cabbage, a couple of days ago.  Damn, he's a good cook! The gumbo was a little spicier than I'd like, but I think that is from the sausage. But otherwise, delicious.  The sauteed cabbage was absolutely wonderful. That will hopefully be on our menu often. Scott was able to imitate this New Orleans cuisine thanks to Mickey being so generous. Unfortunately, we can't share the recipes unless Mickey gives the ok.
But, as a consolation prize, here is a link to a GUMBO RECIPE that is similar.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Dog Park

RV: A couple of cold nights 29° & 34°, then warms up during the day. Between our two electric heaters and the propane RV heater, we are toasty.
We're really enjoying Farr Equestrian RV Park. Very quiet with only 4 or 5 rigs and all keeping to themselves. Since the bathrooms are decent, we've been trying to use them so we can stay another week here.  It's lovely sitting outside and seeing the horses right in front of me in their natural state.  I've never seen horses play with one another, and also roll around in the grass. Then to see 25 horses all galloping to the trough for hay.  Very cool.  I really love it here.
Huge stable building

View from our RV
DOGS: We've gone to the local (10 miles away) dog park maintained by BREC. I think that means Baton Rouge Equestrian Center, but not sure.  It has over 100 parks it maintains, which include, the horses, RV, water park, sports parks, dog parks, plantations...
Anyway, we went to the Burbank Dog Park in Baton Rouge. Beautiful park with a pavillion for shade, benches to sit on, lots of poopy bag stations & garbage.
The only down side is there is a section that became flooded with the recent rains.  Great at first, but then it is slowly drying up and below is the result.




Devin loves to go running through the water, whether it's muddy, algae, or clear. Of course he hates the bath he has to endure when we get back to the RV.
We entertained the other dog owners as Devin romped around splashing mud all over. They were all laughing and glad it wasn't THEIR dog in the mud. That's ok, paybacks are a...
Devin found plenty of dogs to rub off a little mud on.

We met a sweet older Irish Setter name Katie. Of course it brought tears to both Scott & my eyes. Reminded us so much of sweet, sweet Pillsbury.

Our rescue ambassador, Pillsbury

Katie, Irish Setter at dog park




Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom

My Mom's birthday today.  My Mom has not only been a good Mom, but also a fun friend to hang out with.
Here's Mom celebrating her birthday!
...NOT REALLY! That IS my Mom, but she's just being a good sport and isn't afraid to make fun or herself.
I love you Mom.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

BATON ROUGE, LA 70808

Just a short ride of 1.5 hours from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. We are currently at FARR PARK EQUESTRIAN CENTER & RV PARK, in Baton Rouge, LA
We were met with muddy roads, flooded fields, uneven sites, cloudy sky and a loose pitt bull mix dog roaming around.
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RV PARK REVIEW:
Jan. 10 - Jan. 24, 2012
FARR PARK CAMPGROUND Baton Rouge, LA 70820 $20./day Site #D2
Our rating: 4 out of 5. Would revisit. Would have received a 4.5 if they had sewer and a 5 if they had sewer & 50 amp.
+ Water & Electric (30 amp) & dump station
+ Verizon & AT&T cells worked fine
+ Verizon & Sprint internet worked fine.
+ Clean bathrooms
+ View is wonderful. 25 well kept horses grazing out in the fields nearby.
+ Long paved walking/bike "trail" along the Mississippi River. Goes from campground to city of Baton Rouge.
- No laundry
-Small sites, but since was practically empty the whole time, we had plenty of room. There is no definite lines between sites.
-Not level (so what, that's what levelers are for)
/Some shade, mostly open field
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PETS: The loose puppy definitely put a bad taste in my mouth for our stay here. I instantly became quite depressed. Just brings to light the hopelessness of all the dogs, cats, etc. that need good homes. Animals need to be spayed & neutered as young as possible.
There is no need for them to go through their first heat or have a litter of puppies. Search the internet and I'm sure you can find a video of a dog or cat giving birth, so you can show your kids the miracle of birth.
I don't care that you have friends that have already "spoken" for the dogs. Because your dog had a litter, that is 4, 6, 8, dogs that won't be adopted from a shelter or rescue, because you were irresponsible and let your dog have pups. Those friends could have adopted a dog already in this world, waiting, bored and lonely for someone to adopt them.
I didn't expect to get on a soap box, but the loose dog is a "right in my face" moment reminding me of a sad part of human kind. But also, that is why I spend so much time on my computer making sure that the applications from the good people who want to adopt are processed.
For the record, so I don't get hate mail.  If you show your dog for confirmation and he/she proves to be a good standard, I understand breeding to keep the quality of the breed standard.
Too bad it's only 11:30am. I could use a glass of wine to calm me. Shhh, don't tell anyone, I couldn't resist.
What a difference a day (& glass of wine) makes.  By 10am, the sun is out, the muddy roads are starting to harden, and the loose dog has found a home! One of the campers whistled for the dog and he came right to him is a very submissive stance. The camper took his belt off to use as a leash. The dog had a collar but no tags (STUPID!). He looks to be under a year. Seems very sweet. The camper brought him to the office and  instead of expecting them to say we can't take him or we'll bring him to the pound, the staff got excited and said we have plenty of horse people here. Someone will adopt him. And sure enough, he was taken home.
So a sweet formerly homeless dog has been saved, the sky is blue, I found a nice bike trail...RV life is good.

BOOKS: Finished Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown. My rating 5 out of 5. I have been having a run of listening to & reading above average books.  I know there has to be a disappointment in the future. But I'll savor the joy of my current reading material. Fat Tuesday, had murder, mystery, love, suspense. Hated and loved the characters, which is a good thing. Nothing worse, than not feeling anything for the characters.
Will begin today November of the Heart by Lavyrle Spencer

AUDIO: Finished How to Flirt with a Werewolf by Molly Harper. My rating 4.5 out of 5. I'm a little embarrassed to rate it so high.  It's really just a easy, lighthearted read/listen.  I seem to be caught up in the whole vampire/werewolf rage.  I love reading books and learning the authors idea of this supernatural world.

Monday, January 9, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA

I'm not impressed...
For young people, looking to party? Great place!
But, I am older now and prefer to drink in the privacy of my home.  I don't like crowds and I don't like touristy areas.  So, New Orleans is not the place for us.
We thought we would be here during a slow season, but ...
1. We were here over New Year's. New Orleans was rated the #1 place to be for New Year's Eve.
2. After New Year's came the Sugar bowl. How was I to know? I don't follow football.
3. THEN, after Sugar Bowl was the college game of Louisiana Saints against Alabama Crimson Tide.
So the campground has been busy off & on with lots of purple and tigers everywhere.

 NEW ORLEANS: On Tues, 1/3/12 we took the Algier's Ferry into New Orleans. That's the way to go.  Free for passengers, $1. for cars.  So, why take the car into New Orleans and try to find parking?
First thing we noticed were how small the streets are.  We expected a wide avenue to enable all the Mardi Gras celebrations.  Bourbon St. is just a narrow long street, overcrowded with bars, touristy stuff, strip clubs, prostitutes.  Many clubs had live music which was a tempting draw. Great for people watching if you can stand the crowds.
2nd thing we noticed was all the tour guide shops. They try to look like they are a New Orleans Tourist Info center when really, they are just pushy salesman trying to take you on a tour.  We did find a very nice Nat'l Forest info center in town. There, they had a free street map, history of New Orleans, a movie about the Mississippi River, etc.
3rd was all the restaurants claiming authentic creole cuisine & New Orleans Pecan Pralines. Just too overwhelming. Couldn't tell which would be a good place to eat or which was just hype.  As far as Pralines, I'm not impressed, especially at $2.49 per praline.
We did try to go to CAFE DU MONDE for the famous beignets, but there was a line around the corner. Not worth it for fried bread.

They had horse drawn carriage rides around town for $15.00 each. I heard quite a few people saying it was a great tour.  I'm just not comfortable using the horses, not knowing how they are cared for or how long they are worked.  They looked in good condition, but what do I know. My knowledge is from the show, Animal Cops in Houston.
We walked to the French Market and was overwhelmed by all the produce and food, but did not purchase anything. There were outdoor seating cafe's with live music. That was really nice.
Scott was hungry for lunch, so we stopped at Montrel's (1000 N. Peters). Although looking at Yelp & Urban Spoon, it is not rated well, we were very happy with our food & service. We ate a light lunch here.  The service was outstanding, the bloody mary's perfect with added touch of olives and pickled string beans, and the food delicious. Scott had File Gumbo and I had bread pudding with praline sauce.

There are quite a few massage parlors in town, one of which I was very tempted.  There is a mall type group of stores right on the waterfront. A 30 minute foot massage was $36.00. I was tempted. If it was a 20 minute food massage for $26.00 I would have had my shoes and socks off immediately. Also, we had to make the ferry. While in this mall, lo & behold was a satellite Cafe Du Monde store.  So I was able to order my 3 hot beignets. Delicious, but I think funnel cake is just as good.
The New Orleans area always seem foggy.  Between the regular fog in the morning, there is also the fog of misty smoke from all the marsh fires.
We won't be making our home in the New Orleans area.





RECREATION/FOOD:  We made a return visit to Mickey and her A&B adopted setter, Indy. We returned the EMPTY containers that Mickey had filled on the previous visit with her delicious authentic creole meals.  We did not expect another meal, but Mickey again over fed us and we really enjoyed and appreciated the experience.  This time she made Pasta Gumbo, which is made with pasta instead of rice. And also sauteed/fried cabbage with andouille. The cabbage soaked up all the flavors, unlike the boiled cabbage the we make in NJ.
She again loaded us up with many containers of delicious meals.
We said next time we visit, she'll have to conduct a cooking class. With that she showed us some of the needed ingredients for authentic New Orleans cuisine.  Creole seasoning is a must as is gumbo file (fee-lay) & gumbo roux
From Wikipedia: Filé powder, also called gumbo filé, is a spicy herb made from the dried and ground leaves of the sassafras tree (Sassafras albidum),[1] native to eastern North America. It is used in the making of some types of gumbo,[1] a Creole and Cajun soup/stew often served over rice; other versions of gumbo use okra or roux as a thickener instead. Sprinkled sparingly over gumbo as a seasoning and a thickening agent, it adds a distinctive, earthy flavor and texture.[2] Filé can provide thickening when okra is not in season.[3] Filé translates to "string", suggestive of the powder's thickening ability.[2] "Filé gumbo" is famously mentioned in the classic country song by Hank Williams Sr.Jambalaya (On The Bayou), as it is considered a staple of Cajun cuisine.[4]
Mickey told us where to purchase the best (in her opinion) adouille. So off to LaPlace, LA we went to JACOB'S. This is where her family has purchased adouille since she was a little girl.  We picked up Andouille: (AWN-DOO-EE) Our signature product, is a type of smoked sausage in which choice lean pork is cubed rather than ground, seasoned with a little more salt, red pepper, black pepper and garlic, then stuffed into a larger beef casing. It is then allowed to hang in the cooler over night to cure, then it is heavily smoked over aged pecan wood for a unique tasting, fully cooked sausage. It is excellent to use for seasoning gumbos, jambalayas, beans, and many other dishes.
Tasso: (TAH-SO) 95% lean pork roast, sliced then seasoned and smoked. Great as a seasoning meat in many dishes, or as a ready to eat snack., 
Boudin: (BOO-DAN) A sausage where lean pork, liver, rice, salt, black pepper, red pepper and green onions are cooked, mixed together, then stuffed into a casing. This creates a delicious pork and rice dressing ready to heat up and eat. 

So, all in all, I could have skipped the actual city of New Orleans. But, best to have seen and not been impressed than to have never went and always wondered.

CRAFTS: Finished the COMBINATION SUMMER HAT made with Ryley & Pillsbury's spun fur. I really like it. Just an light every day hat to be a little different.

BOOKS: Finished Genuine Lies by Nora Roberts. For me, I rated it 5 out of  5. I believe this is a girly book. Murder, mystery, romance, living the life of the rich.
Currently reading Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown.  This author has never let me down and this book continues her winning streak with me.  I picked the book up at the laundry room here at the campground. Very cool to be reading a book set in New Orleans, while I'm in New Orleans and have learned some of the terminology used in the book.

AUDIO: Finished Double Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. I rated  4 out of 5. This starts out so odd about a serial murderer, who is made out to be a "good guy" and his every "normal" day life. Once I sort of accepted &  got past that contradiction, I really started to enjoy the book & the suspense.
Currently listening to How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper.  Narrator is perky and really massacres the male voices, but this is a completely entertaining story.

DOGS:  I've been able to see quite a lot of beautiful sunrises, thanks to Devin's insistence on going out to see what going on at first light.  I don't mind too much.  Scott & I have made a deal.  I wake up at the crack of dawn and take care of the dogs, while Scott gets to sleep in.  But Scott has to stay up to at least 10pm to take the dogs for their last walk.  It works out beautifully.  Scott hates getting up early in the morning, but I don't mind.  And at night, I want to go to bed when I want. I hate having to stay up, especially on the cooler nights and go outside. I'd much rather be snug as a bug in a rug under the covers in bed.

NJ: We have a contract on the house.  We got the price we were hoping for. Of course there hasn't been the inspection or the CO applied for yet. Wish us smooth selling! The house has only been on the market for 2 months.

Monday, January 2, 2012

WESTWEGO, LA 70094 (near New Orleans)

RV PARK REVIEW: 
We are currently staying at BAYOU SEGNETTE STATE PARK. Nice enough park.
Dec. 29, 2011 - Jan. 10, 2012
BAYOU SEGNETTE STATE PARK Westwago, LA 70094
$18./day Site #98 & Site #58
Our Rating: 4 out of 5 Would revisit.
+Large flat sites, some have wooden decks
+Water & 50am Electric (Dump station)
+Most sites back up to wooded area
-Sites not private, but large enough to make up for it.
/Verizon internet worked, but slow
/Camp Wi-Fi VERY slow
+AT&T & Verizon cells worked
+Free Laundry (surprisingly clean & functional)
-Bathrooms need repair. Doors don't latch, no toilet paper
-Doggie bags at playground, but were empty.
Very large sites which are nice even though there is nothing (but space) separating the sites.
Many sites have a wooden platform for the picnic table, which is a nice touch.
Since Scott convinced me we can slow down some, we decided to stay here a little longer, so we can enjoy the Creole cuisine. Unfortunately, we can't extend our stay at the same campsite, so Thursday we'll move about 500 yds to another site, & stay an additional 5 days.

VIEW: Nice view outside our window. Just woods.

FOOD & PETS: I contacted a recent adopter from the rescue I volunteer for, Above & Beyond English Setter Rescue, that lives within 5 miles of where we are staying, hoping to find a dog park or set up a play day for our setters. What a welcome we received from Mickey!!! We started out stopping by for coffee and to let our setters play together. Then it jumped to Red Beans and Pork Chops. By the time we got there, it ended up, Iced Tea with fresh lemon, Chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, then Red Beans & Rice with Paneed pork chops (sort of like southern fried chicken, only pork chop), coffee and dessert!
What a day to remember! Mickey was such a "Mom". She insisted on feeding us and then gave us leftovers to take home, which will feed us for at least 2 more days!
OH MY GOSH! This food was DELICIOUS! While eating the leftovers in the privacy of our RV home, we both just sighed with contentment while eating this Louisiana home made cuisine.
This day was also a treat for our setters.  We met "TX Indy" who Mickey adopted just about a month ago.  Indy & Devin played, and played and played.



CRAFTS: Finished my Sweet Memories Shrug made with Lyla & Ryley & Pillsbury's spun fur.  Now making a Slouch hat out of Ryley & Pillsbury's fur.

BOOKS: Finished Messiah by Boris Starling Rated: 5 out of 5 Serial murder mystery.
Now reading Genuine Lies, by Nora Roberts.  Very good so far. Girly mystery romance.
Picked up about TEN books at the book swap in the laundry room at the campground.

AUDIO: Still listening to Double Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. So far so good...a little odd. Serial murder.

RECREATION: Haven't been doing much. The one hour time change had messed me up. Devin is now getting up at 6:30am instead of 7:30am. He doesn't pay attention to the time change.  I ended up taking a long nap yesterday.
We've just been walking the dogs around the campground and along a levee? Scott tells me that we are 3 feet BELOW sea level.

Our Travels