Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Florida Bound From SPI

     We departed SPI on Saturday 2/25/17, and our first stop was just up the road in Port Aransas, and the Padre Island National Seashore. We arrived without incident at the Port A RV Resort, newly opened resort property located a short distance out of Port Aransas.  The park was well groomed and under new management, and seemed to be doing quite well.  The sites and roads are paved, with lots of grass around.  The sites were a little tight, but we were only there for a few nights, so that wasn't an issue.  We ventured into town after setting up, and stumbled into a bustling marina area.  There was adequate parking available, and we enjoyed a stroll along the waterfront, watching massive seagoing vessels passing through the channel, causing waves that sent the shoreline fishermen scrambling for higher ground.  Those that weren't paying attention, received a nice drenching which woke them from their daydreams.  In the marina we found numerous fishing boats, sailboats, and an occasional trawler that reminded us of our time with Capt. Chris.

 As the sun set and the temps dropped enough to warrant an extra layer, we headed over into town for dinner.  We stumbled upon a "family style" restaurant displaying an all you can eat shrimp special, called MacDaddy's.  Inside we found a cozy bar displaying multiple beer taps, and I figured this was going to work just fine. It worked so well, that we returned the 2nd night and enjoyed another delicious meal.  
     Our second day in Port Aransas led us to the Padre Island National Seashore, the main reason for our visit.  After passing through the unmanned front gate, we stopped at the Visitor Center to get our bearings and see what the park had to offer.  Padre Island National Seashore boasts 60 miles of beach which is completely accessible by vehicle, and of course we couldn't pass up the opportunity to wander south on the beach and enjoy a picnic on the shore.  We drove south about 10 miles and it started to get pretty lonely.  There's nothing but beach and sand dunes, and occasionally a car or truck would pass us.  We had several campers come from further south, and the trucks were loaded down with fishing and camping gear.  Everyone looked like they had a good time.  Even this Ranger!

    We thoroughly enjoyed Port Aransas and the bustling marina area.  We do seem to like having boats around.  Traffic through and around Corpus Christie was easily managed, and the highway to north to Beaumont was quite pleasant. After a quick overnight near Beaumont, we continued east on I-10 across Louisiana and Mississippi into Alabama. If you have never driven across Louisiana, you're in for a real treat.  LA has some serious issues with their highways!  They are some of the roughest roads we've found in our journey, and they really give the rig a pounding.  Amazingly, the roads look like they're in pretty good shape, but the seams in the roadway about every 8 feet, just pounded us.  Some engineer made a serious mistake designing the roadway.  And LA has no rest areas along the I-10 corridor, so you'll find the welcome center in Mississippi is a busy place!
     We intended to stop somewhere along the coast in Alabama since we had heard of the wonderful beaches there.  Unfortunately, again this year, we are traveling during Mardi Gras season, there were no available sites along the coast unless you were willing to pay over $100/night!  Yipes!  So Debbie got busy hunting an overnight stop near Mobile, and we stumbled onto a couple of jewels that I want to mention.
     Our first stop was All About Relaxing RV Park, in Theodore, AL.  It was an easy drive south from I-10 into the park, and we found our site and every site surrounded by blooming flowers and decorated for Mardi Gras.
A chalkboard on each site welcomed us, which was a nice little touch.  The  park has 41 sites, and there's a heated pool, and immaculate laundry facility on site. All the sites are paved, and when we experienced satellite trouble from a tree on our site, management stepped in and moved us.  We do like to be able to watch our news stations!
     The following day we meandered around Mobile Bay and enjoyed visiting Dauphin Island and the Gulf Shores.  We found many beautiful parks around the bay, and many boasted some magnificent views of the coastline.
 We also found beautiful beaches, with white sand that felt like powder in our hands.  It seemed like the beaches were just getting ready for the summer season or the spring breakers coming, so I don't know what they are like during the winter months.  The locals told us the weather is a little cool Jan & Feb, and the area comes alive during the summer season.
       From Mobile, we moved east just a short distance, and Debbie found another gem at Twin Lakes Camp Resort  in Defuniak Springs, AL.   This gated RV resort, located along the shores of 2 lakes, is a beautiful park with numerous paved waterfront sites.  The azaleas were in bloom throughout the park, and parking among the Florida pines made us feel right at home.
The ladies at the front desk were more than  helpful, and asked Debbie whether she preferred to see the sunrise or the sunset.  And the site we were assigned afforded us the opportunity to enjoy both.
 Down on the tip of the peninsula, the park has built 2 tent structures overlooking the water which are designed for the ultimate luxury in tent camping.  Inside we found a nice comfortable bed, a claw foot tub, and soft seating that opened up to a front porch on the water.  Of curse, they're not as comfortable as Big Red!  
      We slowed our pace a little and enjoyed 2 nights at Twin Lakes, and I was able to get a little fishing in from the boat launch.  I had another successful day at fishing, as the fish did not bother me!  Thankfully we're not dependent on my fishing for food!
      Now we are settled in at Sun-N-Fun in Sarasota where we will enjoy all the offerings Sarasota has to offer for the next month.  We definitely looking forward to catching up with some old friends and making some new ones.  We're going to get over and check out the game if disc golf which looks pretty interesting, and getting into those bogo's over at the pool.  Plus we'll be spending a little time out on the gulf enjoying the weather and taking in a little fishing.  It should be an interesting month.  

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