Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Shreveport to Somewhere, Texas

Driving on the interstate is...oh wait, I already said that. Did I mention the weird loop effect? The same trucks and vehicles passing by over and over again, feeling like being on a treadmill? That's okay. The sounds of different pavements is a strange song, like someone playing with a vibraphone, no melody in mind. 

There isn't a lot in the state campground department near I20 West, so  I'm winging it. A weird kind of fun.

A home being built right outside the entrance to Poverty Point.
I don't think Poverty is the by-word here. 

Why I stayed on the interstate
The whole reason I stopped in Shreveport was for oysters. But the place I went didn't do oysters at lunch. The other place I went only did fried oysters. That's okay, it was a good place to stop for the day/night and somewhere out there my oysters are.

There is a website that tells where free camping places (or rather, parking places that allow rv's) might be found, all over the US. One was the El Dorado Casino, in Shreveport. It sounded a lot more interesting than a WalMart parking lot and hey, where can you feel safer?

The woman I talked to said they had room, so there I was. A super nice guy running the valet service said I was really supposed to be across the street in parking there 'but I'm the supervisor and you're fine right where you are, I'll keep an eye on you.' Wow, Casino guy, thanks!!

I had my own little park on the river! It was wonderfully bizarre.

This place is huge

AND!! a bridge to look at

I'm standing in the side parking lot of the casino; the bridge starts right there

The covered entrance roof

Lots of lights and color changes and...what is this?
I lost 3 dollars to the slots (98% return guaranteed! I obviously set up the next person, no doubt) and my debt to the casino felt paid up. 

Sweet night lights.
Across the river must be the mall of supersize me. It starts with Outdoor World and stretched a good mile or so. I'm glad I was on my side.

Down the way from my parking spot 
A round, glass sided building that looked abandoned is next to the casino. I didn't notice it until an evening walkabout. It was like being in an abandoned amusement park. I'd wondered earlier why there was no river walk sort of place and there it was. No people around, some lit areas, bridges going everywhere, cool sculptures. Strange and wonderful.

This fountain was making water music in the night
There was also a big amphitheater sort of thing

Terrible photo but the battery died before I could use my flash on it.
This is only a small section of it.
The parking lot was quiet this morning so it seemed like a good time to take off. The Little Turtle That Does got me onto the interstate and merged into traffic. She does give a bump of speed when absolutely necessary and merging into traffic from the left side is that sort of necessary. 

Here at the Texas Welcome Center, charging my camera battery and using the free wi-fi, planning out the next section of the trip. The blue road, Highway 80, isn't such a great road and Dallas is the next big object in my way to get around with the least white knuckle grip. 

See you on the other side! 

Have a work it Wednesday! Do something warrior-like (in the brave way).

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Poverty Point to Shreveport, Louisiana

Cabin leaving Deerlick Creek Park
When I first saw the name Poverty Point, it was more because it was in the area I wanted to stop driving for the day. Plus it was a great name. I entertained myself thinking it would be exactly the opposite of Poverty Point, instead a Louisiana lagniappe. But beside the fact that it is a World Heritage Site, which should make it exciting - and to a digger of history it no doubt is quite exciting - it does have an impoverished feel to it. The water of the reservoir doesn't even seem to beckon wildlife, except for a few cormorants on a dead tree. The grass is stiff and dry and the paths seem to be badly laid out...sort of not where you want to go but rather, where someone decided walkers should go. Which is basically sort of nowhere. 

How amazing that I got to see some of the eclipse! 

How pontoons get around on land

I was afraid to stop here
Maybe it started with the woman in the booth. No eye contact, no smile, no welcome in any way. Trust me, at the park campgrounds, that is not the norm. Joking, welcoming, informative people working really hard for crap pay usually start out any camp time with a grin. Not this sour faced woman. Maybe she was having a bad day, or a bad life. Hey lady, it's not my fault!

There was a man in there, another ranger, who was friendlier. He explained that if you have a pass of any kind (disability, annual park, etc.) and happen to be from Florida, they can't honor it. Because Florida won't honor Louisiana's. So if you have a pass with i.d. from many places I do not have i.d. from, good for you. This is a political tit for tat that is ridiculous as well as one I'm sure the average person has no idea about. Which is why I'm tattle telling on them here. Florida politicians, that is.

Bye bye, Alabama!
Driving across Mississippi yesterday (yes, a whole state! from Alabama to Louisiana, woohooooo!) on the interstate was...interesting. Truck drivers beat out bad people by my own personal rating system that says 97.3 percent of people are good people. We just notice the rest a whole lot more. With truck drivers I'd say 98.7 percent are excellent, careful, considerate drivers. That means that they pull out to pass me from not right up my exhaust pipe and pull back in far enough ahead that I don't get caught in the weeble wobble slipstream. Of course, sometimes they have to do that. Those statistics don't count. 

I took this at a rest stop where they advise rv's to park with trucks,
something I thought was very badass like (in the good way).
So I took a photo. Obviously I do NOT see me and the Turtle
in anyway close to reality.
I am a truck like a sparkler is a bomb.
Crossing into Louisiana there is the bridge you drive on, very nice and the other bridge, that almost made me drive slightly off the road. In the middle of the driving bridge is the Louisiana state line sign. Not a good time to take a photo. So I'm stealing this one. I don't know who took it but I'm guessing it was someone on foot. 

Such a gorgeous bridge!
On one side is Vicksburg, for you Civil War history buffs, which I am not. ""Vicksburg is the nail head that holds the South's two halves together...Vicksburg is the key" You can read all about it here

In the park, I...parked. There weren't many people here as the season has slowed down with summer's end. 

There! The Turtle is normal sized again.

What a surprise. Sure, I'd love to walk this trail.
From what I gather, bears are rarely seen. So rarely in fact that they ask you to report any bear sightings. I had nothing to report.

This is why Poverty Point is a World Heritage Site
There is a joke in my family about places that exist that we can't go. Sometimes it's because of expense. Sometimes it is because something else is happening. Sometimes it is just closed. That seemed to be happening here. All the places I wanted to go were closed. Including the road to the actual mounds at the Site. Ah well, those natives aren't going anywhere anytime soon, maybe I'll check them out another time. Or you can, and tell me all about it.

Like that

I yelled at him not to jump, things get better!

These were some of the cabins. But a sign said I couldn't go there. 
I'm pretty sure this strange one showed up for Teresa on her birthday.
Sunset last night

In the park literature, they say these are bear proof trashcans. No way.

When I went to do laundry, this was the reading material
WHAT is the deal with bears!
Now I'm in the Shreveport library...or a branch of it, debating what comes next. The interstate is an air bubble of speed and monotony, but it is fast - well, fast for me. Because it was raining most of the morning I stayed on it, knowing I'd be concentrating too hard on blue roads to see much for stopping. But now there is blue in the sky. Maybe it's time to find some oysters!

Have a time traveling Tuesday. Do something trueheartedly.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Deer Lick Creek Campground ~ Alabama

Sometimes you win the campground lottery and Deerlick Creek Campground is one of those times (probably the best thing I've ever personally seen the Army Corps of Engineers do). I asked the lady at the office to choose a spot for me, something 'near the water'. She certainly did!

When I saw the spot, I was grinning so much it was not even scary to back in here.

Each campsite has a 'patio'.
That thing that looks like a shower is a hook for a lantern
or whatever you think needs hanging up.
Because there would be a two hour or more difference driving blue roads or interstate, I took a leap (because the Turtle is driving so well now, knockin' on wood) and chose the interstate. What a great road!! I 59 is lined with countryside - farms and fields and hills. The only slightly nervewracking part was going through Birmingham, but by keeping in the middle-ish of three or four lanes (avoiding mergers and exits losing a lane) I came through it without quite being white knuckled. On the rest of it, though the speed is 70 and I keep it around 60 (hooray, new tires!), it's easy for people to get around me. It's all good and I'm over my fear of interstates!

A few yards ahead of my site are some steps leading either up or down to the Black Warrior river (factoid I didn't know, The Black Warrior River is named after Chief Tushkalusa, also the namesake of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In Choctaw, tushka means “warrior” and lusa means “black.”). Of course I chose the river trail.

Happy feet, good hiking sandals. They grip! They work!
As soon as I got to the bottom, this beauty came by. Don't show my houseboat!

There are a lot of dams and locks on this river. This one is not far.

A bit more trail like than the last place. I did old lady walking and didn't get hurt!

Catchplace for wood debris. And a friggin' plastic water bottle.

Nature's steps get an assist

Subtle purple

This butterfly and a yellow one too fast to shoot stayed with me for most of my walk

Have I mentioned I wish I was a geologist?

Water - it's powerful

I don't know what this is/was but it's cool looking

There was a fair amount of boat activity, all sorts of boats
About 3:30 this morning I woke up thinking an alarm was going off. It was a boat going down the river, really fast. I could hear it for miles, from a dull roar to a whining mosquito sound far in the distance. At home, that would mean one thing, here, I don't know what it means.

Dinner on the patio
I was hoping to drive out of the cloud zone, but at moonrise, there was still big cloud cover. After a good phone call, I went out again and there she was! A little more than half gone with the eclipse. Flashlight in hand I headed back down to a dock on the river to see better. The sky was still cloudy but around the moon was a big clear circle. The Universe can be so kind!

Good night, moon
As soon as the moon was completely gone, the clouds moved in again. I saw the barest tinge of light as it began to reappear but that was all. Time to head back up. I could happily live with that. 

This morning is grey and not so quiet, with a bulldozer working on the other side of the river. Oh! It's Monday! 

Have a meandering Monday. Do something maximizing.