Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Monday, April 27, 2015

Happy Hours and Festivals

Bonjour a tous, French for Hi all,
So we continue to immerse in this wonderful Cajun lifestyle. It is festival time here, I think they have a festival for anything you can think of.  We had big plans on hitting three of them this weekend, plans that were changed by Mother Nature but we made the best of it.
 Friday we had planned to do a brewery tour and  lunch at the Etoufee Festival in Arnaudville. We found out just before leaving that they only do tours on Saturday and the festival would not start til 5.
 Oh well we would still do a tasting and have lunch somewhere. Eight of us made the drive and along the way decided on The Little Big Cup for lunch. We did have a bit of a order snafu but the manager stepped in and free desserts later and many apologies we were all smiles.
 Next up was the Bayou Teche Brewery. We enjoyed a few samples in a friendly atmosphere. While there a storm rolled in and forced us to wait it out (darn). It was quite the timing as the storm had produced good sized hail and wind gust that dumped two semis on there sides on the nearby freeway. We closed out the evening at Betty's famous happy hour meeting a new group that had pulled in during the day.
 Saturday everyone got up and at 6 am we headed to Breaux Bridge for the CafĂ© Dez Amiz Zydeco breakfast. A real experience you need to be there good and early if you want to get a the first seating. Quite the place and site to see the dance floor jammed at 8 in the morning.

Tom, Linda, Nanc, Jim, Merlene, Dan, & Wendy
 Kinda neat when they ask where we are from and we say Washington, California, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
 Plan next was to hit a big International Festival in Lafayette but rain again caused us to change plans. We then hit the local jam session which was still a lot of fun.
Jim, Nanc, Merlene, and Dan
 Sunday-- (no time to sit around idle here) we headed off to Church Point for Cajun Woodstock. A newer festival that supports St Judes. We met up with Tim and Renee again.

Tim and Renee with daughter and granddaughter
 The festival was a bit of a letdown to us as the band that had the prime afternoon slot was a rock and roll. Not a bad band but just not the music we wanted to hear while in Louisiana. We left and headed back to happy hour-oh darn again.)
 Thought I would include a nice note we got from friends we had met in Arizona. Thanks Glenna!
Hi you two,
It seems to me that you’re having toooo much fun down there in the south!  Came to this conclusion after just reading your last two blogs.  Fine, friendly, fun people are always found where there’s RVing.  So glad  you’re enjoying and storing up memories.  Ten – twenty years down the road you’ll be able to re-visit all the fun places from your Rocking Chairs!   Winking smile 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Cajun Fun Part II

 Hi all,
We had a special treat the other day, we got to hook up with a couple we met our first year at Custer State Park. Tim and Renee (from California) had went through orientation with us our first year. We only spent two months working with them but had a lot of fun.
 They had been off the road for a bit to take care of house issues but were just getting back to it. As they were heading east and us west we found we could meet up in Louisiana. Tim has family in Lafayette only about 25 miles north of here.
 So Monday we got together to do some touring about. They met us at Betty's and after a bit of catching up we took a drive to Avery Island to tour the famous Tabasco Factory. Tabasco brand pepper sauce is produced at the same place it was invented in 1868. And the company is still run by descendants of Edmund Mcllhenny.
 After the tour we headed to New Iberia for a nice lunch. It was great to catch up and we plan to get together again before we part ways.
 Well no time to rest yet, on Tuesday the gang at Betty's was invited to a cookout by Dave one of the local musicians that frequents the jam sessions. Not a typical Cajun cookout a bit different the menu was to be eggrolls. Daves friend Linda cooked us an amazing stir fry. Then heated up oil in the wok for about 300 handmade eggrolls. And this for a group of people that they barely know.
 A couple from Washington had just pulled in to Betty's and were told to unhook and follow along. Talk about getting thrown into the fire.) We had a great afternoon of food, drink, and some great stories.
 Wednesday Wendy and I took a drive back to New Iberia to tour Konriko Company Store and Rice Museum. We took a tour of the 102 year old mill that still produces a big staple to the Cajun cuisine.
 One interesting item is how the rice is now planted. They actually drop the seed by airplane into a flooded field. After a short time they drain the field allowing the rice to grow. They later flood the field twice more to drown out the weeds. This saves using harmful toxins as these same fields produce the crawfish that is so dearly loved here.

 Thursday we just took a drive through Palmetto State Park. A nice park that has camping, cabins, along the Vermillion River. We walked about and decided this would not be the place for daughter Amanda. Why you ask, we saw a bunch of snakes. This place is surrounded by water and swamp. They were in the water, on logs, and on land. I just can't imagine anyone tent camping here. It is a pretty park I guess that is why the gators like it. ) Sorry I like state parks but I think I'll sleep better at Betty's.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cajun Fun

Hi all,
We left Alabama with plans on spending a few days near Lake Pontchatrain, La. With rain storms predicted later in the day we thought there would be a dry window of time to drive a few hours and set up. We were wrong or actually the forecast was, we drove right into a super heavy rain. The sky at 10 am was as dark as night. After getting pounded by rain that slowed traffic to about 30 we pulled off the freeway to wait it out. Luckily it did lighten and we were able to get back on the road in about 1/2 hour. We then pulled into a rest area and had a visitor center rep call the park we were aiming for and ask how things were as I was afraid the roads may be flooded. They reported that most all the sites were pretty much under water and the forecast was just more rain.
 Time to change plans, Wendy had found a private park that was also a Passport America park so we could get some discount. Lakeside Rv Park just outside of Livingston, La sites were all concrete pads which sounded better than mud. It is a decent park with a private lake that holds bass, catfish, and bluegill. I tried a bit and landed a couple bass, it was just nice to fish.
who's the bald guy?? oh me
 So while there we checked out a big Bass Pro Shop just down the road a few miles. It is one of the biggest and  has a very Louisiana flavor.
 Friday was moving day again and after some night rain we got off to a dry start. We only had a little over 100 miles to get to Betty's RV in Abbeville, LA. On the drive Betty called us to check on our arrival and include us in a pizza party at happy hour later in the day. And so it begins.)
 If you haven't heard of Betty's RV it is a campground like no other. It doesn't have the frills that you might find in some  fancy RV resorts but what you find here are people who truly like to have a good time and are willing to join in the comrade. Happy hour happens every evening at 4:30 where sharing  adventures or planning new ones is a big part. If you are new to the area and want to know what there is to do the group will set you on course. Many times the group does things together and is well known in the community. One thing that is done pretty regular is attending the Saturday afternoon jams. They play a mix of old country and Cajun. They are held weekly alternating in venues in nearby towns Erath and Maurice.


What happens at Betty's you never know
 This week the jam was held at Erath and although we didn't have a big attendance those of us there had a great time. I know that Wendy and I danced more than we have in a long time.
 Sunday was leaving day for a couple of the gang and the group usually has a nice farewell see ya down the road goodbye.
 Sunday's happy hour was a crawfish feast that Betty had arranged. We ordered in the crawdads and I must confess Wendy and I have never had a plate of crawdads. I guess it is just not something you get everywhere. OK my second confession here I You Tubed a video of how to eat them. I didn't want to embarrass myself to much. Although all you have to think is twist, rip, tear, peel, eat, and repeat.)

 Not to worry we told the group and they were totally helpful assuring we got the most form the mud bugs. Wendy and I both enjoyed the meal and will definitely do this again.
 Side note: one of the couples (Jim and Nanc) we had met before here that also write a great blog http://runningdownourdream.blogspot.com/ got a article in Nick Russells Blog. Nick Russell is well known in the RV community and the publisher of  The Gypsy Journal, congrats to them.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Strawberry Fest

Hi all,
Well the week started off good, we had a couple nice sunny days at the Gulf Shores beach. There was a pretty good spring break crowd here. We first parked in the main public parking but Wendy seemed to be getting bad vibes from there. We then drove down to the State Park parking area and found it more family friendly and less crowded.

 I wasn't going to tell yall this story but I guess I will. The first day I was driving in and the lady taking our parking fee ($6.) asked if we would get the senior rate, not one to cheat I said not quite yet. The second day Wendy was driving in and a different lady just said 3 dollars. Well Wendy handed her the money but as she got her pass she said we got the senior rate because of the passenger (me). I told Wendy I was totally insulted though Wendy just wouldn't stop laughing. I guess the old grey beard pays off.
 After a couple sunny days we took Friday to just browse some of the outlet stores. The prices seemed awful high or else I'm just to cheap. I must have been in a cheap mood because supper was then CiCi's buffet and we had a half off coupon.
 Saturday we found another festival, a strawberry fest in nearby Loxley. A fundraiser for the elementary school and ARC of Baldwin county. Though rain was in the forecast it seemed the afternoon would be dry, it actually was and we had a nice time. They had a decent sized craft sale and rides for the kids. There was also a stage with live entertainment which we sat and enjoyed. A band called Mustang Sallys from Nashville was the main act. Consisting of some great young musicians and a lead female singer.

 One thing was it was a alcohol free which didn't bother us, beer and shortcake  just don't go well together.
 And then the rains came, the last two days and a lot of rain in the forecast. But you all know you just can't change the weather. Our plans are to pull out in the morning (Tuesday) and camp at a state park in Louisiana for a couple days before heading to Betty's.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Goodbye Florida

Hi all,
 Time to put in the travel cd and hit the road. Our stay in Florida is over and just as it is starting to warm up. .
 We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed helping Amanda and Pat get all settled in to their new place. We teased her a bunch about the sweat camp she is running all in good fun. She has promised weekly garden reports and we for sure will see more baby goat pics whenever.

My last project a kids see-saw

 We had a good Easter with Wendy cooking ham and fixins on Saturday and plenty of leftovers for Sunday. We got to watch the Wisconsin Badgers pull one humongous upset knocking off undefeated Kentucky and sadly lose to Duke in the championship game. 
 As we left we were to stock our freezer with chicken she had gotten from employee sales. We couldn't help leaving her a new friend in her freezer.
holding a note saying eat more beef
 So we made our first stop at a favorite of ours the Rainbow Plantation in Summerdale Alabama. It is just north of Gulf Shores and will give us a week to get reacquainted with the beaches, weather permitting. This is our third stay here as it offers reasonable rates and we enjoy the area.
Spring in full bloom