Magnolia Beach is the perfect get-a-way and place for boondockers. You can drive directly on the beach with no fees. The first time we camped here we cautiously drove onto the shell based beach. We thought for sure we would sink in. No it didn’t happen. Rigs bigger than ours had gone before us. There are public restrooms and picnic tables available. The waters entry is shallow and there are no strong currents to worry about so it makes a great place for children to swim.
The view is mesmerizing and relaxing . A variety of rigs park here but with lots of space for anyone.
Biking is fun
Using our electric assisted bikes is a big part of our travel pleasure. Our bikes work like standard peddle bikes but can be used with assistance of the electric motor. Our bike are Ariel Rider bikes.
RENE ROBERT CAVELIER
CAVELIER born in France and came to Canada in 1667. He founded a first settlement near Montréal and led several expeditions on the Great lakes and the Ohio and Illinois rivers. In 1862 he completed an exploration of the Mississippi River. On July 24th 1684 LaSalle sailed from France to establish a colony of the month of the Mississippi River however he ended up arriving in Matagorda Bay here in Texas on the 15th of February 1685 and established Fort St Louis. Honest return to Canada on March 19th 1687 unfortunately met his demise and was murdered.
We love staying on this beach and would have stayed longer but it’s time to move South so in the next update will share pictures of our trip down along the coastline right to Brownsville where we get to stay for the month of December and celebrate Christmas and New years with our friends Dave and Rose.
We enjoy tracing through history down the Natchez Trace. This 444-mile parkway follows a Native American footpath from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississipi. It’s our third time down this road and we look forward to discover more jewels.
Why do we take this route? It’s slower than the main highways 55MPH/90KPH with no commercial traffic. The well paved road is beautiful and we really like the views along the way.
Double Arch Bridge
The Birdsong Hollow and Double Arch Bridge is located on the Natchez Trace Parkway at milepost 438.
The bridge was completed in 1994, the double arch bridge that spans Birdsong Hollow received the Presidential Award for Design Excellence in 1995 for its innovative design that rises 155 feet above the valley. The bridge carries Trace travelers 1,648 feet across the valley and Tennessee Highway 96.
The bridge can be viewed from two locations we only viewef from just north of the bridge. There is a parking area with a view of the bridge and the valley below. Just south of the bridge is an exit ramp that takes you down to Tennessee Highway 96.
Our next stop was at the Meriwether Lewis Campground.
Meriwether Lewis was an American explorer, soldier, politician, and public administrator, best known for his role as the leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery, with William Clark
There are three campgrounds along this trace and we get to enjoy every one of them on this adventure.
Dispersed Camping is the term given to camping on public land other than in designated campsites. This type of camping is most common on national forest and Bureau of Land Management land.
All camping must take place within designated campgrounds. The Natchez Trace Parkway does not allow dispersed camping. Those who are biking the Parkway may be interested in the bicycle-onlyand equestrian-only campgrounds along the Natchez Trace Parkway.
In the Grinder House, the ruins of which are still discernible 230 yards south of this spot, his life of romantic endeavor and lasting achievement came tragically and mysteriously to its close on the night of October 11, 1809.
Piney Grove Campground
Because of repairs to the Natchez Trace Roadway we had to take a slight detour and headed to Piney Grove Campground to spend the night. Just north and west of the Trace we had a great two evening stay. We had the opportunity to do some biking and hiking through the campground.
The Sunken Trace
Back on the trace again we stopped at a couple really interesting places including a section of the original Trace which has sunken down below the ground level.
Sunken Trace – Preserved here is a portion of the deeply eroded or “sunken” Old Trace. Hardships of journeying on the Old Trace included heat, mosquitoes, poor food, hard beds (if any), disease, swollen rivers, and sucking swamps. We walked this sunken trail and let our imagination carry us back to the early 1800’s when people walking 500 miles had to put up with these discomforts and where a broken leg or arm could spell death for the lone traveler.
Jeff Busby Park
This is one of the three free parks in Natchez Trace Parkway. It was very busy when we arrived here and almost all of the sites were filled. So we double parked with our friends.
We proceeded back to the Natchez Trace after a construction detour and stayed outside the national park. The bridge crossing took us across the Tennessee-Tombigbee.
Tupelo Bald cypress Swamp
A short drive and we get to see this beauty! Water tupelo and bald cypress trees can live in deep water for long periods. After taking root in summer when the swamp is nearly dry, seedlings can stay alive when the water is deep enough to kill other plants.
This trail leads through an abandoned river channel. As the channel fills with silt and vegetation, black willow, sycamore, red maple, and other trees will gradually replace the baldcypress. The change will take several hundred years.
This was our second time visiting the french camp historical village. It appears maintenance has been rolled back as there were needed unattended repairs. Construction of the Colonel James Drane house began in 1846 using a water powered saw. The foundation and framing are secured with wooden pegs and the ceiling with squared nails. Moved to this location in 1981, the house is now owned and operated by the French Camp Academy. You are invited to visit the Drane House. The information station is in the 1840 Huffman Log Cabin. A sorghum mill adjacent to the cabin operates during the fall sorghum season. The Colonel James Drane home which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Louis LeFleur first traded with the Choctaw Indians at a bluff now part of Jackson, Mississippi. About 1812, he established his stand 900 feet to the northeast on the Natchez Trace. Because of the storekeeper’s nationality the area was often called “French Camp”, a name retained by the present village. LeFleur married a Choctaw woman. Their famous son who changed his name to Greenwood Leflore, became a Choctaw chief and a Mississippi State Senator. For him are named the city of Greenwood and the county of Leflore.
A stone memorial marks a stage of the Natchez Trace at French Camp. The first highway opened through the lower south by the treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830 between the American government and the Choctaw Indians. The surrounding country became a part of the state of Mississippi. Here Andrew Jackson’s Tennessee and Kentucky commands rested on their way to join him in his coast campaign in the War of 1812, during which second struggle for American Independence, Mississippi took a heroic part. Presented to the town of French Camp by the Mississippi Daughters of the American Revolution, November 10, 1915.
Rocky Springs Campground
The Town of Rocky Springs near the end of the trace is evidence of a once thriving community.
First settled in the late 1790s, the town grew from a watering place along the Natchez Trace, and took its name from the source of that water – the rocky springs. In 1860, a total of 2,616 people lived in this area covering about 25 square miles. The population of the town proper included three merchants, four physicians, four teachers, three clergy and 13 artisans; while the surrounding farming community included 54 planters, 28 overseers and over 2,000 slaves who nurtured the crop that made the town possible – cotton. Civil War, Yellow Fever, destructive crop insects and poor land management brought an end to this once prosperous rural community.
After a short stop at the Natchez Visitor Center we headed across the mighty Mississippi on the Natchez–Vidalia Bridge.
We headed to a Corps of Engineers Campground on the Steinhagen Reservoir. The sun was setting as we were arrivingat our sites.
We had a beautiful campsite and decided to pull Harvey right into the site so we could have a fantastic view of the cypress trees.
It was time once again to do the laundry so we went into Jasper,Texas to do some shopping and our laundry.
Our campsite was located at one end of the park or friends were at the other end so we headed 2 km ride every time we wanted to go visit. We really enjoy our bikes for this purpose. They are electric assisted when we want to but because the campground was pretty level we’re able to pedal without using the electric motors most of the way. We did get to enjoy the electric assistance some of the time.
We moved to Sandy Creek and got an equally wonderful campsite with a boat dock right beside us. We were treated to some fabulous sunsets and had another great few days stay at the lake.
After we moved we got to travel around on our bikes and go for walks in this beautiful paradise.
We decided to leave early in the morning to avoid any traffic and any tie ups at the border crossing however there wasn’t any and at 4 o’clock we drove quickly out of Detroit, south bound without incidents.
Neither of us like or enjoy driving in the dark and that combined with the fog that was laying low over the land made it a little bit uncomfortable, however as the sun broke and our kids began calling us to check in how we were doing we were increasingly excited. Our day was picking up and we knew that soon we would be at the home of our friends Sharon and Todd. We also we’re looking forward to seeing our traveling companions Dave and Rose would also meet us.
We got to stay with Sharon and Todd and we’re spoiled to pieces with their hospitality.
If it wasn’t the cooking and food they shared it was the walks together through their beautiful property, the camaraderie around a campfire, the paddle boat ride on their pond or just the time spent chatting about missed times together.
It was a double bonus for us because our friends Dave and Todd joined us and we introduced them to Sharon and Todd. It was a great time however we ensured that we kept a social distance and it was hard because we really missed these folks.
Sharon and Todd have a beautiful lit Forest Trail that we got to do at night and we got to enjoy immensely during the day as well.
There’s always time for reflecting on the water and on your friendship but it’s really the fun times that you have. Well we had fun times all the time were together. Just because there’s an outhouse doesn’t mean you have to go by yourself, well we had fun together and it was a great time with the group of friends.
Well all good things have to lead to more good things and was time to say goodbye to Sharon and Todd and head on our way to Nashville Tennessee.
A great time was had by all even with the social distancing.
And finally we hit the Natchez Trace our third time to travel this amazing North American beauty. The longest national Park in the USA. And here we get to do it with our friends Dave and Rose.
With our arrival and not just trace it opened up a whole new few days of traveling together and a whole bunch more of adventures …. next time.
It’s really quite amazing how time flies but then in some ways how it drags on. With the anticipation of the opening of the Canada USA borders we dream of the adventures ahead. So here we are back blogging our adventures.
Many times were asked are we excited for our trip ahead and when we reflect on the trip we see it as individual steps. And each day that passes we have great experiences and the ability for us to go and visit others, our friends and family before we go on to the next adventure.
So we’ve tried to capture below our first set of adventures as we launch into the 2021 adventure.
Well today started out as an awesome day. Our hosts for the past week Keaton, Maddie, Wanda and Justin not only entertained us but ensure that our RV look presentable as we hit the road. Keaton pressure washed our RV and cleaned our car.
All good things must come to an end and we left Blenheim Ontario and headed to Windsor for an evening of boondocking with Boondockers Welcome. We were fortunate enough to stay on a host property about 15 minutes from the bridge to the USA.
It’s always great to visit the city but our stopover in Windsor was particularly great. We’re treated to an amazing dinner and visit with her friends Elizabeth, Luis, Claudia and Adamo. They spoiled us with dinner and a gift at LoneStar restaurant only. It was only a short 5 minute drive from where we had our rig parked!
3:30 am departure
With the alarm set and ringing at 3:00, that is 3:00 a.m. we put up from a great sleep we’re having got dressed and got ready for the day.
Our first challenge was to move Harvey out of its parking spot and connect Lily to our towing bar. We’ve done this many times but we still take great care and connecting the car and the RV together. We have to do this on the street because the space that we’re in is a little tight for that. We then do a complete check of all the compartments to ensure they’re locked and a check of the lights and signal lights. With everything okay we head out towards the Ambassador Bridge and our transit to the United States of America.
Nothing out of the ordinary occurred along a route and we arrived after about a 15 minute drive. There was one single car in front of us that took about 2 minutes to clear customs and then it was our turn.
An Unusual Custom
The best way to describe our interaction with the border control officer is to recount the dialogue with him.
BCO: shut it off Kathy passes our Nexus cards to the officer BCO: you are Kathy where's Paul Kathy leans back Paul leans forward from the passenger's seat BCO: where you going Kathy: Arizona BCO: why Kathy: vacation BCO: what do you work at? Kathy: we're retired BCO: you can't go on vacation from doing nothing, you're going on a trip BCO: when you returning Kathy: April BCO: how much money do you have? Kathy: we have xxxx BCO: Combined? Kathy: we have xxxx Canadian BCO: unlock the side door Paul gets up, unlocks the door and foolishly opens it BCO: I DIDN'T TELL YOU TO OPEN IT! Paul closes the door and stands bewildered as the BCO opens it and enters BCO: sit down! BCO flashlight in hand opens one covered shines a light in, opens fridge looks at the contents and looks in the freezer. BCO: do you have anyone else's belongings in this vehicle. Kathy: no BCO exits the vehicle returns to his booth and hands Kathy our Nexus cards. BCO: bye BCO quickly slides his mirrored window closed Kathy starts the rig and drives off!
The positive side of all of this was we were welcomed with signs saying “welcome back” and “free tolls”. They’re crossing took a maximum of 10 minutes and we were on our way to a new adventure that was ahead of us. No lineups no hassles and not even a question about vaccinations or proof thereof. The adventure continues The Best Is yet to come!
Love our perked coffee. We have the challenge of making coffee in the morning and not using our Keurig coffee machine. To use that machine we had to start the generator because our inverter is only a thousand Watts and the Keurig coffee maker is 1500 watts. So we bought a percolator and it only took me three quarters of a pound of coffee to get it to the point that we love the coffee. Here’s a quick video of our success.
Just a quick update we’re having a great time here in Arizona. We thought we’d share our camping location here in the desert. We camp on BLM land which is bureau of Land management. This land is owned by the United States government and that’s by the people of the United States. We are fortunate to be guests and able to use this land. Here’s a quick look at our campsite from this morning.
Well we’re more south but the weather is certainly not yet that warm. Today we’re going to head from Athens, Louisiana to Rocky Springs Campground.
Athens is located in the north west corner of Louisiana. The village was named after the ancient city of Athens, capital of Greece. No resemblance though. The nearby welcome centre is quite a landmark. We were fortunate to stay at a BoondockersWelcome host home here in Athens.
The stop is located as a rest stop right off the I10, offers travellers complimentary coffee until noon and has a great piece of art work inside.
We decided to take a night at Roosevelt State Park in Morton Mississippi.
The park was conveniently located outside of Jackson Mississippi and just before an entrance to the Natchez Trace at Clinton. Great park with all services $17 USD all taxes in.
It was a cool night however our furnace kept us nice and warm as did our IKEA comforter.
All sites were back in so we disconnected Lilly and backed Harvey into the snug space.
In the afternoon we decided that we would stop in at a city camp park in Lafayette Louisiana.
The Acadiana Campground Park is a nice little park nestled on the edge of a Lafayette housing neighbourhood. Although the sites were back in sites with only one pull through which was occupied they were of a good size to fit our rig.
To our surprise was a park within a park.
The Acadiana Nature station is a cool and I mean cool place to visit. The evening temperature here while we’re here was in the freezing range.
We weren’t aware of what time the station would open in the morning or what time we’d be leaving so we took advantage of the 30 minutes that it remained open while we’re here and gave it a quick tour.
Perhaps it was our quest to live like Robinson Crusoe but we love the construction of the nature stations office.
We took a quick walk on the wooded boardwalks through out the woods we headed back to Harvey and had a great dinner and sleep.
Our first overnight was at the Tilbury North Enroute rest stop. It turned out that a lot of trucks and RVers had the same idea. Capacity crowds made it feel like a campground.Heading to the Ambassador bridge, connecting Windsor with Detroit, we were reminded that there are only 17 intersection traffic lights between Detroit and The Ontario/Quebec border. All of them within site of the Ambassador bridge in Windsor.We approached the CBP gates and were redirected to the only gate for RVs our size. Unfortunately, while towing a car (toad), using our Blue Ox towing system, we are unable to backup haRVey. The friendly traffic folks had to stop all lanes of bridge traffic so we could do a full circle turn back towards Windsor and line up at the full RV body scan booth. The scanners are those big yellow boxes down the sides of the driveways. After a friendly onboard visit by the border patrol officer and a chat about his assignment and travel tips while posted in El Paso, Texas we were on our way south.Our trek south along the I75 through Michigan has to be the roughest road outside the I10 in Louisiana across the swamp and the rock roads through the Arizona desert.We were relieved to see the Welcome to Ohio sign overhead and the extreme road conditions change. We continued our journey we took a short lunch break and time out to purchase of our Cricket phone plans in Madison Indiana.After an hour driving on narrower than comfortable county roads, due to our quest for adventure, then we arrived safely. It was a year ago that we stayed with Sharon and Todd at Reflections.It’s easy to see why we visit this Boondockers Welcome.We had the opportunity to go hiking with our friend Todd. It turned out to be a great 2.7 mile hike around the lake.it was a great hike and I got to see some great little growths on trees.Even some little people in the forest.We both had a really great visit and we’ll look forward to coming back to seeing our friends but it was time to hit the road as the weather is cooling off and with rain forecast that could be snow.We took the day to drive from Indiana, through Kentucky, Tennessee and Boondock in Athens, Alabama.Saturn 1B Rocket in Elkmont, Alabama.Installed in 1979, the 224′ / 68 metres tall Saturn 1B was a forerunner of the Saturn 5 launch vehicle for NASA missions. It boosted unmanned Apollo modules and a few orbital trips.Next time we head south and west. Mississippi here we come!
Earlier this year we installed the Valor TPMS – Tire Pressure Management System in haRVey.
Up until now, the method of checking our towed Toyota car Lilly was a handheld tire gauge. This was only happening from time to time.
We took Lilly to Rick’s Auto repair in Rodney Ontario for installation of sensors inside her tires.
Nick the technician did a great job getting the clamps and sensors installed. I had the opportunity to help with the installation. After a quick balance of each of the tires they were reinstalled.
Each sensor has its own corresponding chip and identification. I ensured that each chip was marked with the corresponding tire position LF LR RR and RF.
The next step was the placement of the chips into the Valor command module.
It was a quick call to the north American distributor Don and I will step through resetting the computer. It was a piece of cake and just like that Lily was reporting temperature.
Now now as we travel down the we will constantly have a readout of the pressure on each of the 10 tires. If the pressure or temperature changes outside the parameters we will be alerted giving us plenty of time for us to pullover and avoid a costly accident.
Were glad to have this safety measure in place as we head on down the highway.
A challenge with living full-time in our RV is connecting with friends that visit our hometown. We were thankfull to have a visit with Tammy and Mike from The Netherlands.
Our travels together took us to Erieau Ontario to see the higher than normal water level of Lake Erie.
It’s always terrific to spend time together getting the best pictures is an adventure in itself.
A day of adventures is never complete without a walk on the Port Glasgow beach a a visit to a favorite of ours, Tall tales cafe
We had the opportunity to craft a story, collectively with the kids about the Niagara River monster. A definite tall tale! The tallest tale teller of all went to our great friend Mike!
With our home base park closing at the end of October we were invited to stay at our friends Bob and Simone in Dutton Ontario.
We had a great stay with them and we’re very thankful. a great staging point for us for water and to fill up our propane at the local Rona.
We had the opportunity to visit Strathroy and have Lunch with our friends Tena and Grant.
They always have tips and are happy to dream with us on what the upcoming trip may have in-store. Thank you dear folks.
Aftera quick trip to pick up haRVey we were on the way to our first night stopover at Tilbury Enroute rest stop. It appeared from the number of neighbours that we had at night they had the same idea.
We were up and ready to roll leaving at 6:38. With clear roads and warning of snow showers later this week we are heading south.