2018: Nov 4-10

This week we started out leaving Baton Rouge but started a bit later than expected. Being able to stop and rest when you are tired is one of the great advantages to traveling with your RV. We knew we were too tired to safely make it to our campsite so we pulled into a truck stop just off the freeway, asked management if we could park for a few hours and grabbed some much-needed rest before moving on. [youtube 

FIRST STOP: Rose Hill Cemetary, 8th St and 40th Ave, Meridian, Mississippi

gypsy-queen
Grave of Kelly Mitchell, The Gypsy Queen

On our way to Oak Mountain State Park, we passed through Meridian, Mississippi and stopped by the Grave of the Gypsy Queen. This grave of a Romany leader is hard to miss – it will be the one at the top of the hill, adorned with beads, trinkets and other offerings. When Gypsy Queen Kelly Mitchell passed away in 1915 due to complications resulting from childbirth, more than 20,000 people traveled to come and pay their respect.  Rumors that the coffin was made of gold and that gold coins were buried within the coffin resulted in the gravesite being disturbed on numerous occasions by grave robbers. It has since been reinforced with better materials and still attracts a fair number of visitors every year. Given our new nomadic lifestyle, we felt a bit like kindred spirits and felt that we had to visit ourselves. Legend has it that if you leave Queen Kelly a trinket, she will come to you in your dreams and solve all of your problems. Russ and I both left a small token but neither of us has seen her yet 😉 SECOND STOP:   Oak Mountain State Park (Campground) 33.3644572,-86.7081025

Teddy at Oak Mountain State Park
Our Little Guy Max “Teddy” at Oak Mountain State Park
Abbey in Oak Mountain State Park
Abbey loving our walks at Oak Mountain State Park

We lucked out and arrived during the peak of their fall foliage display! Oh, how I have missed the smell of autumn. I have included the GPS coordinates above to help get you directly to the campsite check-in office. Our navigation system directed us to the back gate, but I would recommend taking the front gate – especially if you have a big rig. The road to the back gate has a lot of low hanging trees and has a lot of sharp twists and turns. In addition, the back gate closes at 6pm whereas the front gate is open 24 hours. We stayed here for several days. During our time in the area, Russ met up with a friend – Brandon from Adventure Archaeology  Brandon lives in a nearby town and took Russ on his first bottle dig and let me tell you, Russ is so lucky I did not tag along on this one. They dug a hole more than 10 feet deep and I was a nervous wreck watching their video footage! The following day, they went metal detecting and while they didn’t find much they did find some really cool arrowheads. If you are interested in seeing their time “treasure hunting” – you can check out the videos here THIRD STOP: Largest Statue of Liberty Replica  33.4822465,-86.7072872

Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty Replica in Alabama

Standing at 1/5th the size of the original, Alabama has it’s very own Statue of Liberty, located in Liberty Park. Just a quick stop off of the highway it was a nice place to stop and have lunch. There is a parking lot but not incredibly big. FOURTH STOP:  Heflin, Alabama Cane Creek RV Park We stayed in Heflin for several days as well and had the opportunity to meet up with Heath from Treasure Mountain Detectors and Scott for some metal detecting in the area. Abbey enjoyed romping through the cotton fields and Russ found a 54 caliber mini ball and 1813 musket ball found in an area Andrew Jackson’s troops fought during the Creek War.

Abbey in Cotton Fields
Abbey in the cotton fields

ISSUE #1 While in Heflin, we had a bit of trouble-shooting to do as well. On a morning where the outside temperature dropped to 37 degrees, we woke to a very chilly trailer. Russ went and checked the propane and realized it was empty. He ran down to a gas station that was close by and exchanged our tank for a new one and hooked us back up. Before he went out with Heath for the day, he asked me to check on the propane tank throughout the morning because he thought there was still a smell surrounding the tank. Everything seemed to be working fine, but when I checked on it a short time later, I noticed the smell he mentioned. It wasn’t incredibly strong but as I pulled my hand away, it hit the hose that connects the tank to the trailer, at which time I heard a loud hiss. I couldn’t see any obvious tears or bubbles so I grabbed a cup of soapy water and poured it over the area. Immediately I saw bubbles right along the area where the hose meets the metal. Now that the problem was identified, Russ went in search of a replacement hose. There was a Camping World close by but it didn’t open for several hours, so Russ went to Lowe’s. Then he went back to Lowe’s. Then to Camping World. Lesson of the day: either take the part you need to replace with you or make sure you get the right size the first time!

Lowes
Russ on one of his many trips to Lowe’s today!

ISSUE #2 Still reveling in fixing the propane tank situation, we realized we were celebrating a bit too soon. Coming back from a walk, we noticed the SmartJack blinking. Russ finally fixed the “flux capacitor” by taking the cover off of the back of the unit, unplugging it and plugging it back in again. We don’t know what caused it, but just in case it was due to water entering through the touchpad, we now cover it (albeit with a plastic bag) and are looking into buying something that looks a bit more attractive. Not that we want any more issues, but there is a sense of pride and accomplishment when we figure out issues when they arise. Russ is proving to be quite the handyman now!! NEXT: On our way to Tennessee!

2018: Oct 28-Nov 3

As you travel along I-10E from Texas into Louisiana, it is hard to miss signs for boudin balls and cracklin’s.  Sign after sign touts that theirs is the best. I didn’t have a clue as to what either one was – I had to google it.  By the time we arrived in Baton Rouge, the billboards had done their job. We would not be leaving Louisiana before we tried some.

But before we get there….

Russ and I were so proud of ourselves! Hitching up Teddy to the truck gets easier every time we do it.

The ride into Baton Rouge was beautiful. The sun was out and a fortuitous traffic delay allowed us to get off the freeway and take an alternate route that led us down picturesque pathways.

Byways of Louisiana
Taken from a bridge in Rosedale, LA
Henderson Lake
On the I-10E passing Henderson Lake, LA

Another detour just off the freeway in Beaumont, Texas was to see a massive fire hydrant. This wound up being a part of the Fire Museum of Texas. Wynell (a.k.a. the nicest woman in Beaumont!), came down from her office in the museum to check out our Teddy. Russ gave her a tour and she reciprocated by bringing him into the museum and even introduced him to the Captain who had just finished up a school tour.

The museum is free (donations welcomed) and only two minutes off the freeway. There are several parking lots close by and we had no problem finding a spot to fit our rig. Definitely worth a stop if you are close by.

Note: The Fire Museum of Texas is located at 400 Walnut St in Beaumont, Texas and is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Abbey and Billie’s favorite spot so far!

While in Baton Rouge, we stayed at the Baton Rouge KOA. We splurged and ordered pizza from Papa Johns one night – which was delivered right to our door! Can that be done at all campgrounds? It will be fun finding out.

A friend in the area, EJ, gave us a few recommendations on some things to see. Here are some pictures and there is more in the video (at the top of the post – if you didn’t watch it yet, check it out!).

Boudin Balls – Boudin is a pork sausage made with rice and seasoning usually stuffed into a casing. For boudin balls, they remove the casing, roll it into balls and deep fry them. 

Our first try to get them was a bust. The location made them, but only for their catering menu. We did, however, get to try alligator there!

Our second try was a success. It was served with some type of horseradish sauce. Russ liked it but I preferred mine without the sauce. They were good! Russ was also able to try straight-up boudin when he went out metal detecting for an afternoon with EJ and he said the boudin was amazing. Oh! And cracklin’s? I found out those are pork rinds!

Russ was also able to get out and go metal detecting with EJ and Dwayne (a.k.a. Yoda). If you want to see their “hunt” check out this vid below!

Are you interested in metal detecting?

Check out The Complete Guide to the Best Metal Detectors !

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