grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Sunday, November 30, 2014

07-30NOV14 - Houma, LA (with a camp trip to bayou segnette state park)

Thursday morning, 06NOV, after spending two great days with our friends Chuck & Anneke Guldenschuh, we left Tickfaw State Park & headed to Dixie RV in Hammond, LA, to have them look at our dash AC system.  After sitting around all day we learned the magnetic clutch on the new AC compressor was bad & it looks like we may need an entirely new compressor.  After all day at Dixie we had to drive from the RV facility to our daughter Rebecca & husband Raymond’s house in Houma, LA, after sunset; during the drive we learned how bad our front lights were.  Something else to add to the “to do list”.  Since it was dark we had to park the RV in their driveway using flashlights for hand signals, because Corrie couldn’t see Dan’s hand in the dark.

Friday afternoon Dan headed over to Polar Aut-O-Air to discuss the warranty on the dash AC compressor they installed last year.  We make an appointment with Polar’s owner to bring the RV in next week, for them to trouble shoot.  Not much is done the next week with Dan fighting a cold, medical appointments & Corrie xmas shopping.
Thursday, 13NOV, we take RV to Polar Aut-O-Air; & then head off to more medical appointments.  Dan who rarely gets sick has been under the weather for the last week, so for the first time in forever he will go with prescriptions to cure his ailment.  When we pick up the RV we learn that the problem may have been just a loose compressor belt not the magnetic clutch?  Since we have been without dash AC for almost a year, Polar’s owner extended the compressor warranty by six months.

Friday, 21NOV, we head to the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux, LA, a part of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve.  Jean Lafitte Park & Preserve is unique in that it is spread over six different geographic locations in Louisiana – New Orleans, Eunice, Lafayette, Thibodaux, Barataria & Chalmette.  See below BLOG entry for our visit to the New Orleans French Quarter Visitor center back in FEB11.  We had planned on visiting the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center on Monday, 10NOV, to take one of their weekly bayou boat tours, but it was cancelled because they didn’t have eight paying customers.  On this particular tour you get a long boat ride of Bayou Lafourche, with a lunch & tour at Madewood Plantation.  It was great day, except the boat ride back into a headwind!

Sunday, 23NOV, we headed into New Orleans for Cirque du Soleil’s “Varekai”.  First stop was at the “Butcher” deli right next door to one of our favorite restaurants “Cochon” (that we discovered in February 2011) for lunch.  Then it was off to Varekai.  We have seen five of these Cirque du Soleil productions, but the last one was way back in October of 2007 (how time flies?).  We are big fans of Cirque du Soleil, & highly recommend seeing one of their “shows” if you haven’t!  In our opinion Verakai was good, but not as great as the previous five we have seen, still worth seeing!

Monday, 24NOV, around lunch we fired up RV & headed to Bayou Segnette State Park to “camp” with grandson Jaxson.  We had talked about doing this with Rebecca & Raymond previously; but this was a good time to actually do it because Jaxson’s daycare was closed all week for Thanksgiving.  After setting up camp it was off to the playground, followed by a short hike & then smores around the campfire.

Tuesday morning Dan made a Mickie D run for breakfast.  Then it was off to the Barataria Preserve Trails section of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve.  Unfortunately the visitor center is closed on Monday & Tuesday thanks to never ending federal budget problems.  While there we hiked most of Bayou Coquille Trail (2 mile round trip) before Jaxson ran out of energy.  Then it was back to the RV for late lunch & the movie PLANES (apparently one of Jaxson’s favorites?).  Late that afternoon we re-started the fire for a dinner of marshmallows & hotdogs.  Jaxson already wants to go home, but we showed the movie FROZEN to distract him & then tried to put him to bed; which did not work.  So Dan volunteered to stay up with Jaxson, who finally falls asleep laying on opa on the couch sometime after 11:30PM.  Wednesday morning was the short drive back to home in Houma, LA.

Thursday (turkey day) in the morning Dan headed out with Raymond, Rebecca & grandkids to tour replicas of Christopher Columbus’s vessels the NINA & the PINTA.  The organization that sponsors the vessels does not have a replica of the SANTA MARIA because its draft would preclude it from visiting inland ports; & most of their port visits for fund raising are shallow water ports.  As it is, the NINA is to scale but the PINTA has been enlarged to allow social events below deck (AC has even been added to the PINTA).  One fact Dan didn’t know was the crew lived on deck the entire voyage, because below decks was for storage of supplies only!  A great Thanksgiving turkey dinner was at Joe & Tasha’s, with contributions from Corrie & Rebecca.

The last day of November, Sunday, Rebecca, Raymond & the grandkids headed out to get a xmas tree.  Then the rest of day was spent getting the house xmas lights strung; & after dinner decorating the xmas tree.  A real challenge with Mason trying to help:)!

The rest of the month was spent:

---dealing with a string of illness probably started by Dan
---playing Yahtzee & a card game called Phase 10
---Dan BBQ’ing pulled pork
---Saturday, 22NOV, Rebecca & Raymond’s dryer breaks, it is decided to replace both the washer & dryer

---family dinners including Joe & Tasha in attendance
---xmas shopping including Black Friday shopping (including small business Saturday & cyber Monday)
---“camp” fires in the back yard
---taking batman to the local playground

Sunday, November 9, 2014

01-06NOV14 - Tickfaw State Park, Springfield, LA (visiting w/guldenschuhs)

Saturday, 01NOV, Corrie & Rebecca headed to the annual local crafts fair at Southdown Plantation, leaving Dan to baby sit.  Sunday morning Rebecca & Dan took Jaxson & Mason for a walk in the nearby Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge.  Even though the Refuge has thousands of acres, there is only one short nature trail; unfortunately 99% of the Refuge is only accessible by water (ie boat).

Tuesday (election day) morning, 04NOV, we headed to Tickfaw State Park near Hammond, LA, to meet up with our old friends the Chuck & Anneke Guldenschuh.

Followers of our BLOG know that Chuck & Dan served together in the Coast Guard starting in 1979 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.  Our paths have crossed repeatedly (even serving together again in Rotterdam in 1995/97); & as fulltime RV’ers since 2006.  See below BLOG for our last visit with them.

After setting up camp & snacking, we headed to a Roadside attraction Dan had read about - “Dr Charles Smith’s African-American Heritage Museum & Black Veterans Archive”.  As the website Roadside America states:

“Years of steady work have again transformed Dr. Charles' yard into a folk art mass, used by him as a springboard for lessons in black history for anyone who stops by and wants to listen. "People don't really pick it up until you talk to them," said Dr. Charles. "Then the whole picture comes clear, and everything reads like a book."

Although well into his seventies, Dr. Charles still has the two-fisted forcefulness of a Marine, with strongly worded opinions on everything from race to politics. His museum covers some very unpleasant topics, but he's so earnest and big-hearted that it all somehow doesn't seem so bad.

"When you get back in your car and think about it," said Dr. Charles, "You go, 'Well, shee-it, he's right! He's got a lot of balls for saying it, but he's sure right."”

Check out the below internet link for more details & location.

After that we had a walkabout in Hammond’s very nice looking downtown.  Then it was back to their RV for dinner & Mexican train dominoes.

Wednesday morning we all headed over to the state park’s Nature Center.  This was a very nice facility with educational displays and an outdoor boardwalk trail (on the walk we spotted a water moccasin).  Then we all drove to Baton Rouge, where the first stop was for lunch at Poor Boy Lloyd’s.  Lloyd’s is a Baton Rouge institution famous for their PoBoys, only open for breakfast & lunch.

Then we walked a couple of blocks to tour the old state capitol building; formally known as “The Louisiana Old State Capitol Museum”.  Outside the museum we discovered a WWI French boxcar, which was part of the 1949 Merci Train.  Over four year ago we ran across one of these in Albuquerque & as we said in our 27MAR10 BLOG – “This is another of those small pieces of USA history that is extremely interesting but unheard of.  The Merci Train was a French reply to the 1947 USA Friendship Train put together by Drew Pearson.  We won’t bore you with the details, but encourage you to check it out on the internet.”

The below internet link will tell you where the Merci Train boxcar is located in your state.

The museum’s building was the Louisiana Capitol Building from 1852 to 1932.  The interior of the building has been beautifully restored with many stain glass windows; & the museum has many displays showing the various “capitols” of Louisiana, starting with the Spanish conquistadors to present day Governors in Baton Rouge.  This being Louisiana, a large portion of the displays deal with Governor Huey P Long (aka The Kingfish).  Long was a bigger than life Louisiana Governor (& eventually US Senator) who was planning to run for President, when he was apparently assassinated in 1935.  (We say “apparently” because the exact circumstances of the shooting are not clear; & he may have been shot by his bodyguard & that was covered up?)  A very interesting museum!  Then it was back to their RV for Mexican train dominoes, dinner & more reminiscing. See their BLOG for their spin on our visit/time together:

Thursday morning, 06NOV, we said our good-byes & headed to Dixie RV to have our dash AC looked at once again!  Dan had called Dixie back in mid-October: but they had no service appointments available & put us on waiting list.  After sitting around all day we finally learn that the magnetic clutch on the new AC compressor is bad & the whole unit may need replacing!  Since the unit is less than one year old & probably has less than 20 hours on it, Dan plans on seeing if it is covered by any warranty at the repair facility that installed it when return to Houma?