Saturday, October 29, 2011
2011-33 Mississippi to Florida
Campground: Lakeview RV Resort, Biloxi. Passport America ), $16 per night (2 night max, but I asked for 3 and was granted it. Full hookups. Concrete streets and pads. Very neat and clean, though sites are relatively close. All pull-thru’s.
Campground: Gulf Islands, Davis Bayou Camping National Park campground (east of Biloxi). I didn’t stay here, but would def. consider on my next stay in the area. 1st come 1st served. $16 reg. $8 senior rate. Water and elect.
Campground: Fort Pickens, National Park. $20 reg. $10 Senior rate. Water and Elect. Reservations recommended. Barrier Island camping at it’s best. Scruffy oak hammock setting. The trees look pretty weathered after all the hurricanes in recent years, but within walking distance of gorgeous sugar white sand beaches for miles and miles.
The casinos and hotels have rebuilt. The wreckage of Katrina has finally all been removed. Vacant lots and empty pristine beaches await the traveler. Biloxi has built a huge visitor center across from the lighthouse. An impressive building with huge (9 foot) doors even to the restrooms. Static displays of life in the area fill the exhibit rooms. A large theatre room on the second floor shows a 10 minute film on Biloxi. The film is visually first rate but only has three words spoken throughout the presentation… “Welcome to Biloxi”. Apparently there isn’t that much to share or talk about except pretty scenes of the Gulf of Mexico, sailing and smiling people.
I’m staying at Lakeview Rv about 15 minutes north of town, though I discovered Davis Bayou campground (see listing above) and would more than likely stay there next time around. Though from Lakeview I’m only about 5 minutes away from a shopping area with the Super Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and good chain eateries right off of hwy 10.
Of course Biloxi is noted for all their casinos and I did stop in two of them. However, I was intrigued to find out that a new Art Museum had open (partially anyway) called the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. It was designed by famed Architect, Frank Gehry. A mix of 4 different styled buildings done in his most unique design. It’s only been open for one year, with two more in the building phase. The 4 pod building is not opened yet, so I look forward to coming back and seeing this structure completed.
It houses a local potters art, George Ohr. Much of his work was shunned by the critics of his day. His work was packed away and only recently has come to light. Amid much praise for his work of course. A special exhibit by Herman Leonard, a photographer covering the Jazz era was on display. What an exciting exhibit of black and white photography covering the like of Luis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra. All with moody back lighting with wisps of smoke curling up around the artists. Jazz music playing perfectly in the background.
There’s even a re-creation of the House built by Pleasant Reed. The original was destroyed in 2006 by Katrina. One of the first blacks to own property and build a house after the Civil War. Helping to capture the history and life in Biloxi during the late 1880’s.
Nice to see ultra modern architecture next to an historically recreated building. Reed even paid a $2 a year poll tax to enable him to vote in local elections and often did manual labor for the city to pay his property taxes. Never giving in or giving up.
Santa Rosa Island
Lucky, lucky, lucky. 135 miles on down the road and I’ve arrived on Florida’s Gold coast. Pensacola Florida. Santa Rosa Island. Glistening blue water over the Pensacola Bay Bridge. Sugar white beaches that go on for miles.
I’m spending 5 days on this barrier island. Touring Ft Pickens, walking along the beach. Last night I walked out to the waters edge and watched an awesome sunset along with just 3 others. A huge red ball of fire slowly sinking into the Gulf of Mexico. I could almost hear it sizzle as it sank into the water and then with one final blurb, it was gone. Just the sound of the surf as we all headed back to our campsites as darkness quickly envelope the night.
The next day I drove back onto the mainland to go pick up my mail from my mail forwarding service, American Home base (Good-Sam’s). My replacement for my remote control unit came in and I couldn’t wait to program it for the camper. My Montana has a remote control for the slide outs, stabilizers, awning and security light.
Oh and I stopped in the local Escambia County Library to get a library card. I wanted to make sure I had it before my Kindle arrives later in Nov. I’m looking forward to downloading E-books to the future Kindle. And they told me I could download Audio books as well and put them on my Droid smart phone for playing while I’m in the truck driving down the highway. How cool is that? The gal that signed me up for the library card had also lived in Orlando. She recalled the fun times she’d had there. Telling me in a whisper the time she was kicked out of the Parliament House (a gay bar) for swimming nude at midnight in their swimming pool. We laughed about the good times before Orlando became too big and outgrew itself.
More Repairs: Then I went to take a shower the other day and darn it if the shower faucet won’t redirect the water to the shower head. And I’m down to my last month of a one year warranty on the camper. I’ll have to schedule repairs for later next week when I get further into Fla. Sure hope this is the last repair for a long time. I must admit, I’ve been a bit disappointed with the number of times I’ve had to bring the U.S. made camper in for repairs. Guess I was spoiled by my Canadian built Titanium’s that I’ve previously owned. Fortunately after finally getting the bad tire replaced, all the vibration issues have ceased and the camper in traveling beautifully without everything coming loose.
And of course now that I’m back in Florida, I have to start having more seafood. In Pensacola, there’s an old restaurant called Halls Seafood. It has that old 50’s look to the round booths, fish tanks and captains chairs with heavy lacquered tables. The waitress told me to order off of the dinner menu because any dish that had an * next to it was only $8.95 for seniors. I ordered a $16 dinner for the $8.95 price and got lots of shrimp, bay scallops, baked potato, really great hushpuppies and a salad. What a deal.
And speaking of deals, as you may have noticed, I’ve taken advantage of staying at a number of Gov. campsites, like Army Corp reservoir campgrounds and National Parks for half price. That senior discount card is really coming in handy. I was able to keep my monthly camping fees down to an average of $13.73 a night. My best month ever. And of course I also used my Passport America half price club membership quite a bit this month as well. My good friend Al told me he and his wife Maria spent a high of $68 one night on a recent camping trip. Yikes, I think I would have had a cow if I’d paid that much.
I’m already missing all my Desert Trails Friends in Arizona, but Florida has called me once again to spend my winter here. With the warmest regards, wishing you many happy travels.
and you know, more photo's on my PICASA site.