We left Stone Mountain about 10:00 am on Sunday and landed in Montgomery, Alabama a little over three hours later.
We’d come full circle! We started full-timing on April 27th 2011, at the Capitol City RV Park while Michael finished out his Army career. We lived at the park for about 16 months before we hit the road. While we lived there we were in site 2 and this time we were placed in site 15A, which is a new part of the park that was constructed just after we left. It was pretty cool that the owners remembered us after having been gone for almost 6 years.
We stopped in Montgomery for two reasons. 1. To visit one of Michael’s ex-coworkers from his 3-year stint at the Reserve Center in Montgomery. 2. To visit with my good friend who used to run the ceramics ship at Maxwell Air Force Base.
Sunday afternoon we met DJ and his wife, Sharon, at the Irish Bred Pub in downtown. DJ and Sharon hope to, one day, full-time as well…but they still have one child left at home (senior this year) and want t wait until he is out of the house and has started college.
We had a really nice visit – discussing RVing, some of our favorite places we’ve visited over the years and their time together with the 426th Engineers.
Michael and I split two meals (fish & chips and Shepherd’s Pie) and really enjoyed both of them. It had been a while since we’d had either and they hit the spot. The restaurant was closing early as they said the weather was supposed to get worse (it had been raining). They stayed open just for us and once we were done eating they started putting chairs up on the tables so we took that as our cue to leave.
Monday afternoon we met my old ceramics mentor for a late lunch. Lucy managed the ceramics shop on Maxwell Air Force Base for many years until it was shut down due to budget cuts a few years ago. I spent a lot of time at the shop during the three years we were in Montgomery and really enjoyed myself. I also got to know Lucy quite well. She is one of the sweetest people I know. At 82 years old she is still working…but now at the gym on Maxwell, where she works the front desk. She has more energy than Michael and I combined!
We met at Martha’s Place which is new since we moved away but Lucy said it was one of her favorite places….so that’s where we went. The little stinker paid for our meals before we even arrived! We had such a good time visiting with Lucy and it was hard to part ways when the time came as Lucy kept having to get ‘just one more hug’ from each of us. Lucy has a very strong southern accent and it can be very hard to follow what she’s saying at times…especially when she gets excited (which she was during our visit!) so by the time we went our separate ways…I was exhausted from having to concentrate on what she was saying!
Tuesday was a travel day. We traveled roughly 215 miles to Moss Point, Mississippi to our friend Steve & Nonna’s home. They were gracious enough to allow us to park in the yard for a couple of days while we visited. It had been nearly 6 years since we last were together so we had a LOT Of catching up to do!
Steve made a delicious chicken stew for dinner (I contributed some nice, warm biscuits) and we visited around the table until shortly after 8:00 when we retired to our HOME (that’s for you, Steve!) for the night. Michael did some work on a project he has going for PTB and I did nothing but relax (and write this blurb!)
On Wednesday Steve and Nonna took us into Biloxi to visit Beauvoir (the last home of Jefferson Davis). The home is on the gulf and has beautiful views of the water. Currently it has a busy road between it and the water but I’m sure that when Davis lived in it there was nothing between it and the gulf.
There is a small museum and Presidential library on the grounds that we wandered through first. This was the first Presidential library Michael and I had been in and it was kinda disappointing…very very small. The museum was very small as well and didn’t really have much to grab my attention.
We toured the home with about 20 other people or so. The house was damaged during Katrina but has been renovated to look as it did before the hurricane. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the home, the property and Jefferson Davis, himself….but…she was very ‘wooden’ (Steve’s words) making listening to her very painful. We’ve definitely been on better tours and had better guides. Oh well.
Afterward we stopped a the Country Gentleman in Gautier for an early dinner. We were hankering for some seafood being so close to the gulf. Steve and Nonna recommended this place because they had a great deal on a seafood platter for two. It did NOT disappoint! We shared a platter laden with fish, shrimp, crab claws, oysters, stuffed crab, hush puppies and fries.
While we’d never had oysters before we gave them a try and decided we didn’t need to ever try them again…just not our thing. For me, I think it’s more of texture thing as well as my head said ‘no, no, no’. I wasn’t a big fan of the stuffed crab but Michael gobbled his up. Everything else was delicious and for $27.99…you can’t beat the price!
We had such a nice time with Steve and Nonna…such gracious hosts with a beautiful home and yard. We absolutely love it there. Steve recently retired and they are planning on hitting the road very soon to visit family and see and do things they weren’t able to do while Steve was working crazy hours at the shipyard. We’re so excited for them!
Thursday we up and moved 200ish miles west to Breaux Bridge, Louisiana where we settled into a site at Poche’s RV Park. Our site was a bit on the tight side, but Michael backed in like a champ. Our living room window overlooked a large pond that I hoped will produce some alligators! LOL (no such luck!)
We spent three nights at Poche’s…most of that time was spent relaxing. However, on Friday we drove about 40 miles south to Avery Island, home of the Tabasco Factory. This place had been on my wish list for quite a while and I was happy we finally made it!
The tour is self-guided so we took our time wandering through the museum and grounds where we were able to check out a mini greenhouse with a few pepper plants and the storage facility, which stores hundreds of barrels filled with pepper mash. We also went into the blending building which is filled with the aroma of peppers and vinegar…prompting some coughing from some people while it didn’t appear to bother others.
After checking everything out we went back to the general store to purchase a couple of t-shirts as well as a couple of bottle of the garlic Tabasco sauce. They offer samples of their sauces as well as a couple of other products they offer (pickles, okra, green beans, ice cream, etc – all made with pepper sauce, of course!). About the time that we got into the store, two bus loads of kids arrived making it hard to get around in the store so we got our things and fled.
Here’s a LINK to a pretty interesting article about Avery Island.
Before heading back home we stopped for an early dinner at Bon Creole in New Iberia. A small, nondescript place with excellent reviews they serve a few different plate lunches, po’ boys and gumbo. Michael and I decided to split a shrimp po’boy (shoulda got a half and split that!) and each ordered a cup of chicken and sausage gumbo.
The food was outstanding! The po’ boy was stuffed to overflowing with shrimp and the bread was really yummy. While the po’ boy was really good…the gumbo stole the show for me. It came with a small cup of rice and a small cup of potato salad, neither of which we knew. However, we’d been told, a few years back, by one of our oil field guys, that you must have potato salad with gumbo. What an excellent addition…not a lot…just a little. Like the po’ boy…we were stuffed and couldn’t even finish our po’ boy.
We took a scenic drive home and when we arrived home we pulled up a couple of chairs and enjoyed sitting in the ‘back yard’ along the pond…just relaxing and enjoying the breeze.
Before we knew it was Sunday and time for us to hit the road again….but just a short drive of 88 miles…this time to visit, Andy & Joanna, our Heartland family! We were originally going to attend their rally (they’re the Louisiana Chapter Leaders) this past March but we had to change our plans and cancel. We had really been looking forward to seeing them so when we knew we’d be traveling through their area we made plans to stop at their park (they’re fulltimers too) for a quick overnight visit.
We got settled into site 18 at Whispering Meadow RV Park and then walked down to Andy and Joanna’s place to visit for a while before heading out for an early dinner. They took us t Pat’s of Henderson, which turned out to be an excellent choice.
We both chose menu items we’d never had before – Michael went with red snapper and a cup of crawfish bisque and I ordered a crab dinner (crab gumbo, crab etoufee, crab stuffed green pepper, crab boulette (kind of a deep-fried crab meat stuffing ball) and soft shell crab). We both really enjoyed our choices although I had a really tough time with my soft shell crab…it took me quite a while to finally try it as you eat the shell and all and while it actually tasted really good I couldn’t get past crunching on the shell. I absolutely LOVED the crab etoufee…rich and creamy and full of crab…oh yes.
Andy got a crawfish etoufee dish and let me try it…pretty darn good! Joanna ordered fried alligator insisted that we try it….good thing we did….it was really good! Tasted ‘just like chicken’! We had a really enjoyable time chatting as we enjoyed our meals.
Back at the park, we sat outside our place continuing our conversations until it started getting a bit late and time for Andy and Joanna needed to get their daily run in before it go much later. We said our goodbyes and exchanged hugs as they had work in the morning.
We’ve had an absolutely wonderful week being able to spend time with friends along our journey back toward Texas and now we look forward to five days in Houston…with more friends. We are SO blessed!