Friday, May 31, 2024

Trip Begins Tomorrow

Location: Heart of Haynesville RV Park; Mansfield, Louisiana

I shove off tomorrow with storms predicted for tomorrow and the next couple of days. I've done this several times over the years and most of the times it worked out just fine. It takes me about 15 minutes to gets things ready to travel inside of Liberty and then another 15 to 20 minutes of outside work. Since the weather forecast predicts storms at random times, I will have to find about 20 minutes of no rain, or at least light rain to hitch up and hit the road. I did it once in a heavy rain while wearing a rain poncho and that wasn't fun. I won't have to do that tomorrow since I will be able to leave anytime between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm with plenty of time to spare. The storms are predicted at the campground as well, so I may be setting up camp in the rain. I hope not. 

Storms hit this campground yesterday evening with a tornado passing within 1/2 mile. There were some straight line winds and heavy rain hitting Liberty broadside. It was bad enough that rain was being forced through the vent stack of my refrigerator. I had to sop up about a gallon of water. It was in the top 3 of the worse storm I've ridden out in my RV. Not as exciting as "rocking and rolling" during a storm at sea in the Navy, but close. 

I have reservations made all the way to the Rally in Goshen, Indiana. I had to modify one due to tornadoes/storms taking out 3 COE campgrounds near Rogers, Arkansas. I had reservations at one of those so I had to change to another one. Everything happens for a reason so we will see. 

I'm looking forward to the trip since I've been stationary for two months. Strangely, my excitement level is only about 80% of what it has been in the past. (geez,,, calling out a percentage of excitement. Is my engineer mentality showing????). I don't have any planned exploration for the three days at the first campground and plan to just ease into traveling again. Like a shakedown cruise but without the hand grenades being tossed over the side. Some X-sailors will know what I'm talking about. 

This is a boring post, but I wanted to make it to document the start of the trip. Hopefully, they will improve once I get on the road and get in a traveling frame of mind.

I can't do a post without a picture. The one I've chosen for this post is from the California coast probably back in the early spring/late winter of 2015. I liked it a lot so I added some words to it. 

A solitary walker on a deserted California beach early in the season with still a nip in the air. I wished I knew what she was thinking when I took the picture. I added the words because that phrase is what I was thinking about at the time. 

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe, I'll Cya down the road.   


Monday, May 20, 2024

Route & Shove Off Date Chosen; 20 Reservations made

 Location: Heart of Haynesville RV Park; Mansfield, Louisiana

As I said in my last post, I've registered for the big Forest River International Rally in Goshen, Indiana. It begins August 11th and lasts one week. That established my long range destination. The next step was to choose a date to leave Louisiana. While typing this post I was reminded of the term 'shoving off' from my old Navy days. I would imagine some old Coasties that used to RV may be familiar with the term also. Since my campsite rent here in Louisiana is due on the 1st of the month, there seemed to be two possible dates, either June 1st or July 1st. To break that tie, I went to Accuweather and noticed the fore-casted temperatures for the end of May around here were in the low 90's. It appears the warm and humid summer is getting here quicker than normal. So, June 1st was chosen. 

Between June 1st and August 11th is about 70 days. On this type of trip, I usually average about 3 to 4 days per campground so that means I will need to make reservations at about 20 campgrounds just to get to Goshen. With so many stops, I have found that most of the time if I find a nice campground, I can usually find something to explore or will accidentally find a "wow" moment within about a 50 mile radius. If not, I'm only there for 3 to 4 days, so I'm not being too lazy by just hanging out at the campsite. This may sound backwards about finding a campground first instead of things to explore. Oh well, if things start sneaking up your backtrail, it is best to do some things unconventionally.

Corps of Engineers (COE) campgrounds continue to be my favorite and first choice. My Allstays program on my laptop locates them for me. Google Earth will then be used to choose not only the best COE campground in an area but, most of time, the best campsite. If the campsite is visible from above, Google Earth will also tell me approximately how level the campsite is, its dimensions and cardinal direction of the campsite. That is how I've been able to chose campsites with the setting or rising sun coming in my door or back window. The web site, "" will usually give me pictures of the COE campsites. This all sounds complicated, but it really isn't, after you get used to it. 

The route I've chosen has 14 COE's and 6 State Parks. I wish I could have stayed in COE's for the entire trip but they rare or non-existent in Indiana, northern Illinois and Ohio.

That's the route I've chosen. It is about 2,000 miles of towing which means an average of 100 miles between campgrounds. I have reservations locked up except for the last two. I'm still debating with myself which ones those will be. I'm waiting for a good vibe to hit me. 

This is the second descent sunset I've gotten since being back home. Yeppers, the picture is taken while looking out my doors. 

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe, I'll Cya down the road.


Thursday, May 9, 2024

Which Direction? & Random Thoughts

 Location: Heart of Haynesville RV Park; Mansfield, Louisiana

I've been back at my home-base since April 1st which is about 5 weeks. I've seen one doctor, did a little RV maintenance and a few visits with grandkids, kids and X-wife. Some of you readers may be shocked that I've visited with my X-wife, but we are friends. There isn't a lot wrong with that and it only makes be a little bit crazy for being friends with her. But golly-gee Batman, it is hard not to be friends with someone that you were married to for 28 years and raised three children. Oh well, my hope for ya'll with X's is that if you can't be friendly, at least be respectful because life is short.

I got lucky in getting my old campsite. I drains well, is level side to side and a view of the west out my door.
It is sad that I've only gotten one descent sunset out my door since I've been back.

There has been a few "strange" storms since I've been back. One storm blew a tree onto the slide-out of this RV in the campground. I haven't heard if anyone was hurt or not. It is only a few campsites from where the RV burned down when I was leaving on my last trip. Bad ju-ju in this part of the campground.

After five weeks in one place, even home-base is a long time for me. I don't have a bad case of "hitch-itch" yet and that has me a little concerned. I've registered for the very large Forest River RV Rally in Goshen, Indiana. This will be my fifth year to attend. It is scheduled to begin on August 11th and last one week. My plan is to leave here on June 1st before the heat sets in and take my time getting to Indiana. I'm having trouble coming up with a route to take.

For those who wanted to see some Cypress trees with Spanish moss, here you go. This is Clear Lake which is a local lake.


This is looking out at the Red River from the boat ramp near Lock & Dam #5. I'm still disappointed that the Corps of Engineers didn't build any campgrounds when building the L&D's on the Red. 

You can tell you've been a fulltime traveler for too long when you start thinking about things like,,, "I could head out west to see the Rockies, then swing east through the Badlands of the Dakotas and maybe go through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan before dropping down to north east Indiana for the Rally." Then I start second guessing by saying, I've been to all of those places and do I really want to repeat? Or, "Maybe I could head east to the Outer Banks of North Carolina then up to Pennsylvania to check out the changes to the Flight 93 Memorial since the last time I was there before swinging over to Indiana for the Rally". Except for the Outer Banks, I've been to all of those places too. 

If I leave on June 1st, I need to start making campground reservations soon. After doing a quick review, I discovered the National Park campgrounds on the Outer Banks, the Indiana Dunes and Sleeping Bears Dunes park in Michigan do not have electricity at the campsite. In the summer, that is a big NO for me. Maybe in the off season, but not the summer. So that was a big disappointment. I looked at some private campgrounds near those National Parks but was shocked at the prices. Most started at $50.00 per night. Wow, I might do that for one or two nights in a very special place but not for 5 days or so. I then checked out some state parks and found the price for them had also went up since the last time I had stayed in that state. After looking at 3 or 4 states, the average price starts around $35.00 per night. For those of ya'll that are wondering, I can routinely get a great campsite with a perfect view and location at a Corps of Engineers campground for an average of $11.00 per night. I'm afraid that is going to change though and sooner or later, people like me will be priced out of traveling around the country. 

I still have the freedom to go where I please, whenever I want to go. I will never take that for granted because I know one day I will have to permanently park Liberty and hang the keys to Freedom up. I suspect that time will come suddenly and without much warning. That will be a tough time. It will be the opposite feeling of extreme freedom that I got when I first got my drivers license as a teenager. I am not looking forward to losing my Freedom and will hold on to it with both hands. Like Dylan Thomas wrote, "Rage, rage against the dying of the light". 

I started this post a few days ago and I still haven't began making reservations. Thoughts have crept into my head about postponing departure date until July 1st but when I look at the weather forecast for here in July and see 95+ degree days, I quickly revert back to June 1st. I am still "iffy" about the route but am leaning to heading up through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan then the Rally in Indiana. 

I will post my route with reserved campground in my next post.

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe, I'll Cya down the road.