This trip was planned to visit Washington DC which we’ve never visited and with hopes of good timing to see the Cherry Blossoms in bloom. It was planned with Brenda (Bill’s sister), Orval, (brother-in-law) and Zoey their 4-legged family member. It is our second road trip with them since their purchasing their first camper trailer last Spring.
We hit the road on April 3, 2018, the Internet is reporting that the Cherry Blossoms started blooming March 31 and should be in full-bloom by the end of this week. Unfortunately since we planned several stops along the way, we will not be arriving in DC until April 22, so may miss out on the beautiful flowered trees. However, there will be many other things to see and do, the Cherry Blossoms were just going to be a bonus!
Vicksburg, Mississippi – Ameristar RV Park (2-night stay: The first day we drove approximately 378 miles with originally planning to stay our first night in Bossier, Louisiana, we decided to continue driving to Vicksburg, Mississippi. Once arriving at Ameristar RV Park, we decided to stay 2-nights to rest up for the next stop on our itinerary. We had visited Vicksburg and stayed at Ameristar RV Park on our Florida road trip a few years ago, and it just happened to be a good place to stop-over on this trip too.
The Vicksburg National Military Museum (Vicksburg Nat’l. Military Museum) is a
must-see and we actually did the touring drive for our second time. It’s a 16-mile driving tour through a beautiful park, and there is a downloadable application for your mobile phone that describes each stop that is numbered along the tour and coordinates with the Visitor’s Map. The USS Cairo, the Union’s ironclad gunboat, is one of our favorite stops in the park. Since I started collecting Christmas ornaments from every state we visit, I purchased a beautiful ornament at the Cairo Museum. Although we attempted to find a nice restaurant with a patio to have Gabby and Zoey join us for a late lunch, after several attempts, learned most of the restaurants in the area close at 2 pm or do not have out-door dining. We dropped the dogs off at the campers and ended up at Boston’s Fish Supreme, a casual dining and all of us over-loaded on fried fish, fried shrimp, fried okra, french-fried potatoes and fried hush puppies, we were so hungry it wasn’t too bad.
Our second night in Vicksburg was spent Casino hopping, visiting the four casinos in the area: Ameristar, Lady Luck, Riverwalk and WaterView. We apply for a Player’s Card at each casino, most offer promotions for first-timers at their casino, offering free-play (usually $10.00). So we play our free-play and may add a little extra cash. Brenda was the first winner, leaving the first casino as a $6.60 winner, Bill was the second winner, leaving as a $33.40 winner, and Karen was the big-cash out winner at the last casino, winning $69.50; only putting in $14.00 of our own cash. As you can read, we are not big-stake casino gamblers, it doesn’t take much for us to brag with our small winnings and as long as we leave a casino without losing much more than $20.00; or even better, if we leave with a little winnings, we have fun.
Thursday, April 5, we’re driving to Lowndesboro, Alabama for 3-night’s stay.
Lowndesboro (near Selma), Alabama – Prairie Creek State Park/Campground (3-night stay)
What a very pleasant surprise, this park is awesome with moss-hanging from the trees, wild-flowers blooming all around, and a quiet river/creek flowing through the campground. We met the nicest family camping right next door who live in the near-by town of Selma. The two adorable young boys kept us entertained, Jaxson (7-year old) and his brother, Joshua (6-year old); Jerron, Dad, and Ashley, Mom. The boys fished on the pier by our campsite, causing Gabby irresistible excitement with hopes of getting to see a fish on their lines.
Jaxson told Bill he needed to “clean out his floppy ears,” when Bill said he heard a boat, Jaxson corrected him that it was an airplane, pointing up to the sky. We all got a good laugh! Jaxson said that’s what his parents say to him and he has to get Q-tips and clean out his ears. Joshua, asked what kind of dog Gabby was and then he said “now I am not saying a bad word, our dog is called a “Shih Tzu .” Their Southern Alabama accents were really cute and wishing we could have recorded them talking. The boys told us they saw an alligator laying on the bank close to our camper early our first morning at the campground, and their Dad confirmed he did see an alligator in the creek near the bank of our campsite. Jaxson knocked on our door one night after we had gone inside for the evening, inviting us to join his family for S mores. They had extended family (grandparents, uncle, cousins, etc.) join them Friday evening.
The prettiest day while at Prairie Creek was Sunday, 04/08, the morning we needed to pack up and head to Pine Mountain – F.D. Roosevelt State Park. The boys with Drake, their 4-year old cousin, were already fishing on the dock when we packed up and followed us out on their bicycles. Cute!
Pine Mountain, GA – F.D. Roosevelt State Park (3-night stay): This was a short 150-mile trip. We stopped in Opelika, Alabama at a Tractor Supply to refill our propane tanks. The weather being colder we have been running our heaters using up that propane. We arrived at another beautiful State Park at approximately 6 pm with our first time change. Yet again, still cold, windy with predictions of rainfall.
This park does not reserve specific sites, although they did take our reservations in advance for the number of nights and size site (15, 25, 40 ft., etc.), and we lucked out! The site sizes are color-coded by paint color under the site number which coordinates with the Park Map provided at guest services. We were able to secure two pull-through sites both with awesome views of the lake (Sites 101 & 102).
Monday afternoon ended up being a nice day and we took a walking tour through Callaway Gardens (Callaway Gardens). “Typically 1,000 or more butterflies flutter freely about in one of North America’s largest tropical butterfly conservatories. The Day Butterfly Center is a living, dynamic, glass-enclosed environment in which a variety of tropical plants nourish the residents and new arrivals emerge from their chrysalides, dry their wings, and begin their very first wing-beats.”
We had the joy of having a few butterflies land on us while in the enclosed garden, one on Brenda’s hat and one on my hand . . . it was a “Thank You, Jesus,” moment. Thanking Him for the beautiful little butterflies and the thrill of feeling their little wings on my skin. The gardens were just gorgeous and we thoroughly enjoyed the visit, check out their website because there is lots of activities in this resort community and there is sleeping accommodations, if you aren’t RV’ing. It is pet-friendly, except for the Butterfly Center, the Bird Show that is scheduled throughout the day or none of the indoor facilities allow pets.
We had a really nice dinner at the Oyster House. The outward appearance isn’t too appealing, but there were several cars in the lot and they were well-rated, so we gave it a try. Bill and I shared the combo bucket adding a lobster tail to our meal; Brenda had the pan-seared lemon pepper salmon salad which had a large filet of salmon. Orval had a shrimp and scallops basket.
The next day, Tuesday, April 10 was even a nicer day than the day before although a higher percentage of rain was predicted. The sun was shining and the temps were in the mid-60’s. We visited Warm Springs, just a short-drive from our campgrounds, with our first stop at Warm Springs Winery. Aubrey, our Sommelier, said he had a chemistry background and he and the owner, a retired Pharmacist, do all the wine-making. Aubrey offered several various options in pairing the wines and loves to cook, verbally sharing a few of his favorite recipes. We suggested he provide the winery visitors with printed copies of his recipes!
We also visited F.D. Roosevelt’s Little White House and the historic pool museum, located in Warm Springs. Enjoyed the evening cooking out at our campsite with the nice view of the lake and beautiful weather.
“This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24
Heading to Hilton Head, SC – Chapter 2 of this Trip . . . .
Learning that in Word Press, once it is published, you can not make revisions without it automatically re-publishing, making your followers read every little addition or revision. So, this long road-trip will have chapters so you may read only the new sections added. Unfortunately, you may have received a few notifications of updates to Hilton Head, but it will now be in the next chapter of this road trip along with a few new stops.
Bill, Karen & Gabby