|On Monday, March 28, 2011, we left our winter home in Mission, TX. We had five or six people come by to say good-bye as we were hooking the Jeep up to the motorhome. After about 250 miles we stopped near Ganado, TX for the night. Tuesday we drove through downtown Houston to catch I-10 and headed straight east. The drive through Houston was not as busy as I had anticipated, so that was easy. We stopped that night in Lake Charles, LA. Wednesday we had a little shorter drive along I-10 to New Orleans. There are several sections of the interstate that travel through a bayou or swamp areas and the highway had to be supported like a bridge above the water. These bridges ran for miles and one of them was 18 miles long. That would be a difficult way to build a highway with pillars or post about every 50 to 75 feet in swamp water. When we arrived in New Orleans, we stopped at the Pontchartrain Landing RV Park. Thursday, we drove the Jeep into the French Quarter, which was about 5 miles from the RV Park. There we started our bus tour of the city. We saw and heard the stories and history of New Orleans. We made a short stop at one of the cemeteries to see how the deceased are placed in family crypts or vaults. If the deceased did not have a family vault they were placed in an opening in the walls surrounding the cemetery. No crypt or vault can be opened until the last entered body has been there at least one year plus one day. Anytime after that, the next body can be added and the last body is shoved aside to allow the next body to be placed inside. No graves can be dug in the ground because the city is at or below sea level and the graves would fill with water. The bus driver took us through one of the better areas of the city, which was flooded by Hurricane Katrina. A few abandon houses were still there with a watermark, three-forth the way up on the house. Most of the houses in this area were rebuilt and inhabited. After the bus tour we arrived at the boat dock of the Steamboat Natchez. We were treated to a Steam Calliope Concert, boarded the boat, had lunch and a two hour cruise down and then back up the Mississippi River. This boat is truly driven by steam power and passengers are allowed to visit the engine room. Of course, I did. It was interesting to see the two steam powered pistons driving the paddle wheel and also the hydraulic powered rudder in operation.
Friday, we drove the motorhome along I-10 again and than a short drop south to Pensacola, Florida. We stopped at the Emerald Beach RV Park where we requested and got a beach side parking spot. This RV Park has its own sandy beach area. (See the photos)
Saturday, we drove the RV back north to catch I-10 and headed east. The drive this day was through a thick forest area that reminded Carol of the drive we made in Canada on our way to the northern part of Nova Scotia. The panhandle part of Florida is thick with trees and pine trees and you cannot see houses or towns and sometimes not even the west bound lanes of I-10. There are gentle hills and curves, very few billboards and not much else to see. It is a nice drive but in some ways it is sort of boring because there is nothing to look at except trees. We stopped for the night at Tallahassee, FL.
Sunday, we again headed east on I-10 until we met I-75, which is one of two North/South arteries for Florida. I-95 sort of goes along the East coast of Florida and I-75 sort of goes along the West coast. The further south we got, on I-75, the trees lessened in numbers and had more palm trees mixed in with the other trees. We stopped for the night in Bushnell, Fl. at the Red Oaks RV Resort. That was a huge resort that had a two-page map and probably had 800 plus sites. One section was for permanent mobile homes and other sections were for regular RVs. We were put in the short-term section with full hook-ups and cable TV and with our Passport America discount it cost $17.50, a great deal.
Monday we continued south on I-75 but were slowed by an accident, which reduced us to stop and go traffic. It took us 45 minutes to go 7 miles. Our final destination for a while was Bonita Lake RV Resort near Naples, FL. This will be our home for the next 12 days while we attend the Winnebago guided tour of this area, Everglades and Key West.