Indian Pass Campground

Indian Pass Campground
Indian Pass Campground

Thursday, March 21, 2019

03-20-2019 Crossing the Country

Current Location: Peregrine Pines Family Camp, USAFA Colorado Springs, Colorado

Full moon clear at 29 degrees F at 4:00 AM

The days are starting to all run together.  When traveling east on I-10, crossing Texas, it seems like it goes on forever.  I can’t remember how many days it took us to get across that state, but I am sure it was at least four.  What I have discovered, is that the name of the state doesn’t matter, one state, five states, whatever, it takes days and days to get back west.

1620 miles, 5 days driving, with one down day in Palestine, AR, looks like our 300 mile per day routine is about right with a little bit extra

When we left Okefenokee, our main focus was heading home, taking I-40 back west as an alternative to I-10.  It helps to have a bit of different scenery, new landscapes to wake up the eyes and heart.  I know there are many sights we haven’t visited along the 10, but my ache to see new sights is waning a bit as our trip exceeds two months.  I am sorta ready to be home.

The annual Home Show in Eufaula, Georgia would have been a fun stop if we weren’t in travel mode

We left our little campground in Albany, Georgia on Thursday morning the 14th of March, traveling west and north.  Our original plan included driving toward Nashville, where we had a reservation at Arnold Air Force Base for two nights.  We thought it might be fun to see a little bit more of Nashville than we saw back in 2007, and to continue west toward Memphis.

We did have an important destination.  My mother, deceased in 1952, was born in Palestine, Arkansas.  I have spent several years attempting to track down my mother’s father and relatives on that branch of my family with little success.  With the help of Ancestry DNA tests, I discovered that I truly do have family connections right there in Palestine.  We had been invited to park at my cousin Rita’s place as long as we wanted.  Our visit will get a post of its own, but that will come next.

My cousin Rita and her husband Johnny in Palestine, Arkansas

No matter where you travel this time of year, weather can get in the way of the best laid plans.  The huge “bomb cyclone” that hit the upper Midwest was coming east in a long red, orange and yellow band that stretched from the lower southwest corner to the upper northeast corner of our route, spawning flooding, and scariest of all, tornados.  There was no escaping it. Should we hunker down and wait somewhere for it to hit us, or simply drive fast through it and hope it misses us.  As my daughter Deanna said, you are moving and the tornados are moving, no matter what you do, it is a crap shoot.

We decided that we should take the most direct route possible to get to Arkansas, skipping the sight seeing and cancelling the Nashville reservations.  All I had to do when calling the office was mention the tornado watches we were traveling through and we got a full refund.  Nice.

Our goal on the 14th was to simply get through the line of tornado watches.  We crossed Georgia in lovely sunshine, entering into Mississippi and some of the most kerthunkety roads we have traveled since I-10.  We passed Montgomery and Birmingham, navigating the freeways without much trouble.  I thought a lot about the important historical locations in both of these cities.  I have read great stories about visits to both cities and wished I had the weather, the time, and the energy to stop and spend some time appreciating the changes we have experienced in our country since the early days of the Civil Rights Movement.

Did I mention I was a bit burned out on city sights?  I found myself a bit glad that I had the excuse of tornado warnings to keep us moving north and crossing Mississippi in record time.  I joked that there would surely be a tornado shelter at the Cracker Barrel.

There were only a few scary moments, as we watched the swirling black clouds north of Birmingham building, and fought the erratic wind gusts.  The sky never did turn green, and the warning system app never sounded an alarm for tornado conditions going from watch to warning.  There were a few intense downpours, but no hail, for which I was extremely grateful.

That night, once again we overnighted in the free parking lot of a Cracker Barrel in Tupelo, Mississippi, safely on the other side of the tornado watch.  Nickie teased that we must love Cracker Barrel food, but not so much.  We do love their free parking lots however, and so far at each one we have used, the lot has been quiet.  In Tupelo we were the only rig in the lot, as we were previously in Florida. 

On the morning of the 15th, we continued north and west, crossing the Mississippi River mid day and arriving at my cousin’s place early afternoon.  We stayed two nights, and as I said, the story of that visit will come in another post.

Lots of high water on the Mississippi Delta

On Sunday morning, the 17th, once again we pointed the rig west along I-40, crossing Arkansas and most of Oklahoma before settling in once again at another Cracker Barrel, and another night alone in a quiet parking lot.  There were a lot of hotels surrounding the restaurant, but it seemed perfectly quiet and safe, even on the fringe of a big city near the airport.

This time we decided to succumb to the big country breakfasts that they are famous for.  Mo had French Toast for the first time on this two month trip, and I had some kind of great scramble thing, with biscuits and fresh squeezed orange juice.  We don’t eat out a lot, and this was our first breakfast out on the entire trip. 

Texas Rest Areas are sometimes as big as everything else in Texas

Our lovely breakfast kept us satiated through the rest of Oklahoma into the Texas Panhandle toward Amarillo. We haven’t traveled the Panhandle since 2010, and we were still unsure if the weather was going to cooperate with our plans to turn north toward Colorado.  There were inklings of snow in Colorado Springs, and if that continued, our plan was to spend the night in Amarillo, and continue west toward Albuquerque.

Gorgeous informative displays at the Gray County Safety Rest Area

Checking the weather, messaging with Erin, and looking at options for routing, we finally decided that it would be OK to make the journey north.  Instead of stopping in Amarillo, we continued north along highway 87 toward the little town of Dumas, Texas.  Using All Stays, we found the Dumas City Park, called Texhoma Park, a free camping spot with free electricity.  Free?  yeah, it really is free, with a limit of 24 hours only.  There is a donation box if you wish to help keep the place available, but we didn’t use it. 

Once again we were almost the only rig there for the night.  Our only company was a gray RV with signs all over it in Spanish, basically advertising their travels from Chile to Alaska.  I did a bit of sleuthing, I found a photo of the same rig on Facebook, and ended up messaging with the person who posted that photo who had seen them in Chile.  Crazy world.  He and I did some more hunting, and actually found the Facebook page of the family, who have been on the road for two years. 

I had a lot of questions about that entire process.  Do they have to get visas for each country they pass through? Their facebook page says they are supporting themselves by selling things, but how do they do that in the US? It is a mom and a dad, two kids and a dog. They left their ordinary lives and ordinary jobs of teaching in Chile to travel all the way to Alaska.  I guess the RV dream is everywhere.

When we woke up and planned a leisurely 200 mile drive to our next destination, we were shocked to see that the plug-in voltmeter  was showing 18 volts and we were on store! It dropped down to 14 part of the time, so we really didn’t understand what was happening.  We tested a few things before deciding that we needed to find some help.  I found a mobile RV repair guy, Bob’s Mobile RV Service, who was back south of Amarillo, but he was so kind and helpful.  He said it could just be the meter itself, but that driving between 14 and 15 volts might not be a problem to get us to a repair service.  He then made some calls and set up a visit for us at the local Ford Dealer.  What a sweet guy.  He even called back a few hours later to be sure that we were OK. If you are ever in the vicinity, and need help I would highly recommend his service.

After driving to the small Ford dealership in Dumas, we waited a couple of hours for a technician to check our batteries, and alternator. Everything was fine, and as Bob had suspected, it was our voltmeter that had failed. The Ford dealer didn’t charge us for the service and we were on our way just a few hours later than planned.  Nice that we had a shorter mileage day ahead.

Eroded limestone at a rest area near Two Buttes, in far southeastern Colorado

Speaking of the RV dream, I am definitely not a full timer.  We have been traveling for 2 months now, and it has been wonderful.  I am so glad we can do it.  I am also so glad that we are heading home.  I have lost a bit of the excitement, and the thrill of exploring new places has taken a back seat to the thrill of once more getting back west.  The thrill of returning to our little town, and our green lovely acre, and our comfortable home is overshadowing the thrill of seeing more brown barren trees and brown barren grass on the high plains of the United States.

The Texas Panhandle isn’t completely flat.  We might have liked to explore Palo Duro Canyon, the Grand Canyon of Texas, second largest canyon in the United States

Following the snow predictions for the east side of the Rockies, we knew that it would be cold but not snowy for a night at John Martin Reservoir State Park.  We stayed at this park back in 2010, even spending an evening kayaking.  It was September then, not March, and wasn’t as cold. We knew the temps on this night in March were going to drop to the 20’s.  I discovered by pure chance that the park is now reservation  only, and made a reservation at the last minute as we drove north.  When we arrived, signs on the posts said do not occupy without a reservation, but same day reservations were allowed. Only problem, there is limited cell service at the park and one would have to return to the little nearby town of Hasty to attempt to get service.

Once at the park, my choice of a site seemed really stupid.  On the website it is very nearly impossible to get any kind of idea of what a site might be like.  There are no photos.  We ended up all alone in a loop over by the dam.  It turned out nicely, however, since it was completely quiet, and I could take Mattie out running off leash without any problems.  It was too cold to be on the lake anyway!

Yesterday morning we got up to a windy 24F degrees, that quickly warmed to 34F degrees but the wind was biting cold. 

Yup, that’s me trying to take phone photos at 24 degrees in the wind.  Stupid selfie camera comes on when I don’t know it

On the road by 9, we knew we had a short day ahead driving west toward Interstate 25 and our final miles toward Colorado Springs and the USAir Force Academy Peregrine Pines Family Camp.

We have read about this beautiful camp over the years, and seen beautiful photos from Erin’s blog about the trails and the chapel, and knew it would be a good place to stay.

Settled in at Peregrine Pines with the bluest skies we have seen in a long time

Erin and Mui loved this area so much, it called to them when they made their choice to end their full time lifestyle and settle down once again to a sticks and bricks home. (You can read about it here). We look forward so much to seeing their new home and spending time with them here in Colorado Springs.

Still not quite sure about our return route.  Once again, weather will be the determining factor. Mo isn’t too excited about returning back south to the 40 and I am not that excited about traveling over the mountains on the 70 or through the cold windy country  of Wyoming on the 80.  That route on the 80 is actually 400 miles less than my choice of returning back to the 40 and then having to go back north.  Ah well.  As I said, the choice will be made next Sunday morning when we exit Colorado Springs.

Hoping that a few extra miles going back south will be rewarded with warmer temperatures and maybe even some desert flowers as we continue our run home west toward Grants Pass.  Either way, home is the prize waiting at the end of the journey.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

03-13-2019 An Easy Day in Southern Georgia

Current Location: Albany RV Resort, Albany, Georgia

High light overcast, humid, and 75 degrees F at 3:00 PM

We pulled out of Stephen C Foster State Park at 10AM accompanied by a slightly overcast sky. It was a softly gentle morning, but nothing like the brilliant previous day.  I was so glad that we had scheduled our days in perfect synch with the weather, with our main kayaking day giving us the very best possible weather.

The route through Georgia has many options, and we have changed our minds several times in the last few days.  I wanted to avoid Interstate 75 through Atlanta, a nightmare at any time, and especially so with an RV pulling a car.  It was easy to choose a less direct route.  Direct to where is as yet to be determined.

We thought of going north to Nashville, where Arnold Air Force Base has a well reviewed family camp.  With the weather doing funny things today, and in the days to follow, we decided against that plan.  Instead we merely pointed the rig in the general direction of I-40.  Perhaps we will go through Memphis, perhaps not. 

On this morning, however, we traveled quiet 2 lane roads north, and a lovely wide 4 lane highway to the town of Albany.  Searching in RVTrip Wizard, I had found a decently reviewed RV park and called for a reservation just before we went off grid at Okefenokee. 

Albany RV Resort was a good choice.  We arrived before 2PM and settled in with full hookups, decent WiFi and so many channels on cable that we haven’t turned on the TV to check them out.  There is a nice dog park, and a very nice dog walking pathway the circles the park, complete with doggie stations and a pond.

The pond is a weird color, and it says no fishing, but the ducks and geese didn’t seem to mind at all. It is a good, quiet afternoon to get caught up on communications after being off grid for a few days, and we will continue in the general northwest direction tomorrow. 

What we didn’t know when we landed here was that Albany has been devastated by tornados. The tornado outbreak of January 21–23, 2017 was a prolific and deadly winter tornado outbreak that occurred across the Southeast United States. Lasting just under two days, the outbreak produced a total of 81 tornadoes, cementing its status as the second-largest January tornado outbreak and the third-largest winter tornado outbreak since 1950. Furthermore, it was the largest outbreak on record in Georgia with 42 tornadoes confirmed in the state.

I wonder if there is any time of year that it is possible to cross this part of the United States without worrying about storms and tornados. It seems there is some kind of horrific historic “bomb cyclone” spinning over our friends in Colorado wreaking havoc and expected to trigger severe storms, flooding, and blizzards in the central US. 

Now it appears that the leftovers from the “bomb” are moving toward us, at an angle that is impossible to avoid.  Stay put and you get hit, keep moving and you move toward it.  Ah fun.  We are thinking perhaps a Cracker Barrel parking lot might be on the agenda for tomorrow night.  Maybe by the time we get there, things will be OK.  Or at least we can take shelter in the bathrooms if need be.

Our simple up close goal is to reach Palestine, Arkansas by the weekend, where I hope to visit a long lost relative, found through the wonder of DNA.  More about that will come later.

In the mean time, I am enjoying uploading photos for free, writing a bit, and relaxing in the breezes coming through our windows, helped along by the Fantastic Fan.  Surely do love that invention.

03-12-2019 Okefenokee “Land of Trembling Earth”

Current Location: Stephen C Foster State Park, Fargo, Georgia

Clear at 55 Degrees F at 8AM

When arriving at the Okefenokee Swamp, it is hard to get a true sense of the vastness and complexity of the wilderness.  The heavily managed long leaf pine forest that flanks the entry highway 177 is an open maze of tall thin (by Northwest standards at least) pines with a low understory of glossy green palmetto. 

It is only after a few days of deeper immersion into the landscape, especially by water, that I have come to truly appreciate and be in awe of the treasure that is the Okefenokee.

We signed up for the first morning ranger guided boat ride at 10AM and the skies were still shrouded in a bit of fog as we got on the water.  The boat ride was about 90 minutes, and the ranger was extremely knowledgeable about the swamp, the vegetation, and answered most questions well. 

We had some kids on the boat, and they had the most fun counting alligators, with a total of 76 seen by the time we returned to the boat basin. It was a good way to get a feeling for the waters we would explore the next day in our own kayaks. 

Our decision to make the long drive back toward the east entrance and the visitor center was perfect. With steamy temperatures and rain in the forecast, it was a good day to spend some time in the car. 

As we approached the Visitor Center, the entrance to the Swamp Island Drive was on the left, and we took the slow 15mph drive that meandered to Chesser Island and the Chesser Island homestead.  The homestead is a beautiful presentation of what life was like for the hardy settlers who lived on Chesser Island, mostly self sufficient, surviving on what they could grow in the sandy soils and what they could hunt and fish for in the swamplands. 

It was surprising to see how roomy the home was, but the Chesser family was large, with 9 children, and many more grandchildren living on the island until the mid 1950’s.  They had no electricity, but surprisingly, had a telephone.  We couldn’t figure out how they managed that.

The beautiful cypress boards harvested from the island and milled by the family for the house were gray with age but with no sign of rot.  Old cypress is an amazing wood. 

The logging of cypress in the Okefenokee is an old story, with less than 1 percent of remaining old growth cypress left.  Such beautiful wood, and perfect for building homes in the wet climate of the South.

The day was warming, and the sun felt wonderful on our short hike on the Chesser Homestead trail.  We skipped the boardwalk since Mattie couldn’t go but she loved running along on the sandy trail.  As long time readers know, Mattie loves sand!

The visitor center is aging, according to the volunteer we spoke with, who told us they were planning a new, state of the art visitor center for the following year.  However, to us, the current center seemed lovely.

One of the best features of the Visitor Center was of all things, the movie.  It was through this movie, with very minimal narration, that I began to actually get a feeling for the beauty of the swamp. 

From a human scale, at ground level, and from a car, it is impossible to see the complex mosaic of “islands” (dryer habitats) , cypress swamplands, waterways, and “prairies” (wetlands without trees) that extend for miles in all directions.  The aerial views provided in the video were breathtaking, and really changed my perception of Okefenokee.

The “Storyteller” was another treat.  Up close and personal with an audio animatronic human being is weird, especially when he looked me directly in the eyes while telling his stories. He tells several stories if you push the right buttons. 

Another treat was the “jukebox” where different sounds were played.  We listened to a few, and one that stood out was the hog something or other frog.  The next day, as we paddled in the swamp, I was glad to have heard that sound, because I recognized the difference between the frog sound and the huge bellow of the old alligators that exploded across the river like thunder as we paddled in the early part of the day.

After our day exploring, we returned in time to be sheltered before the thunderstorm hit.  It wasn’t a terribly terrifying storm, but there was a lot of rain, and enough thunder and lightning to make it exciting. The beauty of this storm is that it blew out all the hot sticky air we had been experiencing the previous few days and the weather turned cool and fresh.

When we woke up for our planned kayaking day, the skies were gorgeous blue, not a sign of fog in the air, and crisp enough that we needed long sleeved shirts as we boarded our boats by 9AM.

The day on the water filled out another perspective of the swamp.  The Okefenokee isn’t technically a true swamp, because it is not a pool of stagnant water with trees, it is actually a flowing river, much like the Everglades, it has a current flowing through the landscape. 

We felt that current traveling upstream on Billy’s Lake, turning west and north toward Minnie’s Lake.  It was uphill all the way.  Even the slight current was stronger than we expected, and the paddle upstream about 4 miles to the “Minnie’s Lake Rest Stop” was a bit of a workout.

The canoe trail is beautiful, and in places incredibly narrow. Paddling upstream wasn’t that difficult, but on our trip back down it took a bit of skill to turn the boats to keep from being pushed into the cypress trunks by the current.  We saw a lot of marks on those stumps where people hadn’t been very successful.

There weren’t a lot of birds, which surprised us.  Either we are too late or too early in the season, and there was only an occasional great egret, a couple of cormorants, and a red shouldered hawk.  Toward midday we did begin to hear a lot more birdsong, but in the thick cypress swampland, it was hard to actually see a bird.

What we did see were the alligators.  There were many of them, some submerged with only eyes showing among the pond lilies, others swimming across the channel, and many sunning themselves on logs, looking for all the world as though they were hugging their logs.

As we approached the landing, I was startled to see this really big guy right beside me, and for the only time on the trip, I felt like I was too close to an alligator!  He paid me no mind, and I tried to keep paddling while taking his photo and NOT let myself get pushed into him by the current. Alligators don’t seem aggressive at all and if you leave them alone they will leave you alone.

The landing was interesting, sturdy and roomy, with a shade shelter, and a series of wooden steps that made exiting the boats a bit different, but doable.  With that big gator just a few hundred feet away, I was glad for an exit on the wooden step and not in the deep black water below the step.

We enjoyed our lunch there, watching the dragonflies and bumblebees buzzing around, enjoying the young gator on the log nearby, and appreciating that we had enjoyed the entire trip completely to ourselves.  At about that moment, a canoe showed up at the landing, and as we paddled back downstream, we passed a couple more canoes with people wondering how far it was to the shelter.  We also passed someone in a john boat with an idling motor.  I did laugh to myself imagining that guy attempting to get through the narrow spots farther up the trail.

The trip to the landing took about 2.5 hours, and the current took us back to Billie Lake in just an hour. We decided that we had enough in us to paddle upstream a bit more on Billie’s Lake to get to Billie’s island, where there had once been a logging community of more than 700 people.  We still marveled at how in the world those loggers managed to harvest all that old growth cypress in all that water. 

The landing at Billie’s Island was shaded and lovely, and there were a few kayaks and canoes docked where people had disembarked to hike the short trail to what remained of the community.  With more than 9 miles of paddling under our belts, we decided to call it a day and just lolled around a bit at the landing.  The return trip home was quiet and perfect, and as I paddled up the short access canal to the boat basin, I knew it was on my list of one of my favorite paddles ever.

We are so glad we made the effort to come to Okefenokee.  It is not on the way to anywhere, and yet is such a treasure.  We are especially grateful to Judy, who spent a many seasons volunteering at the refuge for writing about this place and inspiring us to seek it out.

Monday, March 11, 2019

03-10-2019 Okefenokee Don’t Ya Love that Name!?

Current Location: Stephen Foster State Park, Fargo, Georgia

Foggy and 64 degrees F at 9AM

When we left Jacksonville yesterday (on Sunday morning), I confidently headed in the direction of I-295 toward I-10 West.  Seems as though a couple of weeks navigating Jacksonville freeways built my confidence again.  After all, I did learn to drive on the San Bernardino Freeway (currently I-10) back in the 60’s.  It also helped that it was during church time and the freeways were almost empty.  We have noticed traveling through Northern Florida that there are a LOT of churches, almost one on every block.  I had no idea there were so many different versions of the Baptist Church.

Within a very few miles along the interstate, we turned north on secondary highways heading toward our destination.  I was thrilled to once again be on open roads, empty of traffic, and surprisingly also empty of telephone lines and fences. Gorgeous.  I know we can find spaces like that out west, but never thought to find that kind of clean landscape here in the south.  The forests, marshes and swamps of Florida and Georgia are truly wild lands.

We were required to check out of JAX NAS by 11 and couldn’t check into our site at Stephen C Foster State Park until 1.  With a short 90 miles to our destination, we found ourselves ahead of schedule. We looked for a wide spot for lunch, except all the places in the road that had room for our rig were church parking lots and they were full.  Eventually a spot appeared, and we stopped for a pleasant lunch in the warm Florida air and a walk for Mattie before we continued north. 

The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is huge, covering 630 square miles in southeast Georgia, including nearly all the world renowned Okefenokee Swamp.  Stephen C Foster State Park is almost in the geographical center of the refuge, and is the only place to camp in an RV in the swamp.  There are three entrances, however, to the refuge lands, which can get a bit confusing.

We found out after arriving at the State Park that the actual visitor center was an hour and a half back near our route, and we should have known to go there first on our way to the state park.  We usually like to use the visitor centers as a good way to get oriented to the landscape and history of where we are, but in this case, there wasn’t much available. 

Also, it is important to note that there is basically no cell phone or internet service in this area, so looking anything up is not possible, not even at the state park office where we checked in and registered for our reserved campsite.  The store is small, and has tee shirts, stuffed alligators, and kids books, but nothing that would give us any more information about the swamp and park except for the map of the canoe trails and the official NWR brochure for the swamp.

What we discovered in that brochure is that most of the “attractions” of the swamp are back at that main entrance on the eastern side.  In addition to the Visitor Center, the area has several walking trails, an overlook tower, the Chesser Island Boardwalk, the Chesser Homestead trail, the Deerstand Trail, the Longleaf Pine Trail, the Phernetton Trail, the Upland Discovery Trail, and the Ridleys Island Boardwalk.

Here at the State Park, we have the lovely campground, a small loop trail that surrounds the campground, and the boat launch.  It is here that we will take the ranger led boat ride and will launch our kayaks to explore the several water trails that are part of the area around the state park.

We settled into our site and adjusted to the warm steamy afternoon with the fantastic fan on full blast before we gave up and turned on the air.  We have no internet, but a complete surprise, we do have a limited cable service, so can get a weather prediction at least now and then.

It was the first day of Daylight Savings time, and we knew that daylight would linger till 8 pm or so.  After an early supper, we decided it had cooled enough that an evening walk would be a perfect way to end the day. 

The nature trail and boardwalk in the vicinity of the boat basin is almost a mile and a half of well groomed trail in addition to the elevated boardwalk that meanders out into the swamp. We learned that the difference between a wetland swamp and a wetland marsh is that the swamp has trees, mostly cypress.

We also learned that logging of cypress was  extensive in the early 1900’s and supported communities of hardy settlers .  We walked through the thickly vegetated swamp, wondering how many varieties of plants it must have.  I was rewarded with a sign at the end of the walk that said the Okefenokee Swamp supports more than 620 species of plants. We also marveled at how in the world anyone would navigate in a swamp.  No clue.  Maybe we will learn about that at the Visitor Center or on the boat ride.

We were also rewarded with one lone alligator, even though everywhere we go there are signs warning of the presence of alligators.  I didn’t see any water birds at all, not one.  We are repeatedly warned not to feed the wildlife, but so far this season, actual wildlife views have been few and far between.  I expect that might change today as we take the boat ride into the marsh and walk on some of the trails at the wildlife refuge.

The campground  here is quite nice, with some sites very private and large, and others a bit more open and smaller.  It is hard to choose sites from the internet, and I tried for the several big pull through sites, but none were available.  Seeing the sites in person, I was glad we didn’t get one. 

They are along a paved road rather than the quiet meandering small road that goes through the park.  The ground is very wet, and yet we are on hard sand and completely level.  In all our campsites this year, including cement pads in many places, we haven’t been this level.  We haven’t bothered to drop the jacks.

We love that Mattie is allowed on the trails and is only restricted from going on the boardwalks in the refuge, but not at the state park.

Another amenity that tickled us are the classic southern porch wooden rockers on the screened in porches. There is one at the registration office, and they are even at the campground restrooms, which are called “comfort stations”.  Maybe they figured campers might need a break from the bugs.  So far, the bugs haven’t been too bad, but there are some truly big, truly scary looking wasps that seem to think our motorhome would make a great place to live.  We will do our best to avoid those creepy critters.

With good weather expected on Monday morning and rain in the afternoon, we decided that we would do the boat ride in the morning and then drive back to the main visitor center in the afternoon.  With clear weather in the forecast for Tuesday, we saved that day for our planned kayak into the wilds of the swamp on our own.