It's just over 1,000 miles from Winnie, TX to Ft. Pierce, FL. We're determined to make the best of it. Today we made a major dent in the drive making it to Mississippi.
First stop for the day; lunch at Mulate's Restaurant in Breaux Bridge, LA. It's widely reported to be among the very finest Cajun restaurants anywhere. The doors open in 1980 "dedicated to the preservation of the traditional food, music and dancing of the Cajun people". In the evening they have a band and dancing. You can camp overnight in their parking lot if you want.
Carol had the Zydeco Salad which is made from lettuce, bell peppers, tomato, andouille sausage, baked duck, shrimp, blackened catfish, eggs, Zydeco green beans and a special house dressing. I had the Barbue a la Mulate's. A specially seasoned catfish fillet topped with etoufee sauce, served with a stuffed potato, jambalaya and cole slaw. Two wonderful lunches. The bill was just $20. Not bad for a quality meal. They have a wall covered with a list of famous people who have dined there. It's very extensive.
We made it tothe MS Welcome Center at about 4:30 with the idea of simply staying the night there. I went inside and started looking around. We've driven I-10 through MS dozens of times. MS & AL are simply two of those "drive through" states we had to endure to get some place else. The brochures all about the Gulf Coast were intriguing so we decided to head south on US 90 to Bay St. Louis and follow it all the way through Pascagoula where US 90 meets up with I-10 once again.
Since it was a long driving day, we headed for our first "campground". The Hollywood Casino in Bay St. Louis. There is a full service campground associated with the casino but they have nothing we don't have already. Why spend $25 for nothing? It's us and three other motorhomes in the parking lot tonight, including a Prevost. The view from our "site" is very nice. Grass & some large oak trees. We joked about the oil refinery view, and smell, from the city campground in Three Rivers, TX. That campground serves as our standard for the worst campground ever. Going forward, we'll probably say "Well, at least it's better then Three Rivers". Gopher was able to play a little stick tonight. I'm sure she enjoyed that after a long driving day.
The casino runs a free shuttle from this area to the casino. We ate dinner in tonight, finishing up leftovers from last nights dinner in Winnie, TX. That's two excellent Cajun meals.
Tomorrow we explore Hwy 90 through MS.
We drove along US Hwy 90 along the Gulf Coast from Bay St. Louis to Biloxi. This area was hit very hard by Hurricane Katrina. There are still some destroyed, and apparently abandoned, structures here & there. The beaches are very nice in this area. A fine, white sand. We would visit this area again.
On the way through Alabama I finally stopped at Battleship Park. Every time I've driven on I-10 I looked at the USS Alabama (BB-60) and said, I need to stop there. I finally did. Besides the Alabama, there is a WW-II submarine, the USS Drum (SS-228).
I coming down with a cold and just didn't feel like spending a lot of time walking around and just wanted to get off the road so we continued on to the Pensacola Beach area. Plan "A" was to camp at the Gulf Island National Seashore. Spring Break is in full swing around here. Everything is jammed full. As I was guessing, so was the campground. As it turns out, that was good. We belong to the Escapees. Members can subscribe to a web site called Days End. It's a listing of free or inexpensive camping options. It showed a parking area directly on the Gulf that had designated RV spaces and allowed two nights free camping. Can you just imagine!! Here we are, it's just us once again camping right on the beach during the height of Spring Break. It's not quite as nice as Texas where we were parked right on the beach, but it's a better site then we could have found anywhere else.
Today we drove first, to Apalachicola. It's been a good twenty years since we've been through the Destin/Panama City Beach area. The growth amazed us. It's Spring Break of course, but the traffic as solid from Ft. Walton Beach until about Mexico Beach. After that, it became the rural Florida we remembered from years ago. Drove through SanDestin. Brought back memories from many years ago. Jennifer & Maureen joined us in SanDestin when they were in college.
In Apalachicola there was another Lazy Daze parked in the city marina. A couple from Illinois. They had wintered in FL and were on their way home. We drove around town for a while before winding up at Papa Joe's Bar & Grill for a really great seafood dinner. Tomorrow we head home to get back on our healthy, if not sometimes boring, diet. One last extravagance.
The city wanted $30!! to just park in the parking lot by the marina. We decided to continue on and are now camped in the city park in Sopchoppy. Beautiful river & oak tree views. $15/night for full hookups. That's more like it.