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Our travels today brought us to a new state for us, Mississippi, our 10th since we started this journey last May. It's funny how you remember certain things from elementary school and forget most of the others. Like how to spell M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I. When we get around to visiting the state of Massachusetts later this summer I'll be looking to Tricia to make sure I get it spelled correctly, you see that's were she was born and grew up. I wonder if they taught children how to spell M-A-S-S-A-C-H-U-S-E-T-T-S there instead of Mississippi?

Anyway, we are in Ocean Springs, MS at the David Bayou Campground located inside of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. In Florida the National Seashore was a long stretch of white sandy beaches and here in Mississippi it is a few low lying bayous along the coast and a half dozen or so off shore islands that are only accessible by boat. Of course the tour boats to the outer islands, where the Fort Massachusetts is located, don't starting running for the season until mid-March, just one week after we leave here. I hope we get better at planning our route or we'll just have to do it all over again to see all the things we missed.


YEAR #2 - STOP #12

"The Magnolia State"
is our 10th visited state

We started our travel day on a barrier island off the coast of Florida, by lunch time we were in the state of Alabama and finished our drive in the state of Mississippi. That's three states in just over three hours! It's not the first time that has happened to us, last year we started in Maryland, spent all of twenty minutes traveling through West Virginia and ended up in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia.

The difference is this time we actually set foot in each state. At a Costco Store just outside of Mobile, AL we stopped for lunch and to cash a check. For any of you who have a Costco membership you already know that February is when you get your annual Rewards Check with your statement. We didn't shop at Costco much at all this year, but we did use the card whenever we ate out at restaurants while we've been on the road. By collecting a 3% rebate on all our restaurant meals we had built up a good amount of savings, $138 this past year.

The only way to cash the certificate is to present it in person at a Costco Customer Service Desk. I collected the $138 while Tricia took her two Trader Joe shopping bags into the store, "to pick up a few things we needed". I wasn't too worried, with just two shopping bags how much could she buy? Well by the time I found her in the back of the store both bags were nearly full. I kept trying to usher her towards the front of the store and the check out lanes. By the time the cashier was done ringing up our purchases it totaled $140, two dollars more than I had just collected 10 minutes earlier.

The good news is everything we purchased was edible, so we won't have to store most of it for very long!



When we arrive in a new location and are going to be here for a week or more one thing I like to do is drive around a little bit and get the lay of the land so to speak. I look for several things, grocery stores, hardware stores, gas stations, breakfast joints, lunch spots and take out food, among other things. I know I could look it all up on Google or Apple Maps but you don't get a feel for the neighborhood that way.

One the way into the campground yesterday I immediately noticed two things of interest, Rouses Market for groceries and a fast food place called Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers. Today I'm going to check them both out a little closer after I'm done at the hardware store.

Rouses Market stores are only found along the coastal regions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. They appear to have less than 100 locations and remind me of the newer upscale Winn Dixie locations back in South Florida. They do have some unique products from the local region, especially when it comes to Cajun and Creole foods and spices, most of which I haven't seen in other stores. That alone was worth coming into the store, but I was here to pick up some staples like bread, milk and cereal. With Mardi Gras winding up next week on Fat Tuesday and us being a little less than 100 miles east of the French Quarter in New Orleans there were still a lot of King Cakes for sale.

Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers has a location just across the street from the market. On the way into the market I noticed the drive-thru lane had cars wrapped all the way around the building, they must be doing something right over there, I had to know. Tricia likes chicken and we sometimes get tenders to take home from the deli when we are at Publix. Guess what we're having for lunch. I get in line at the drive-thru and wait my turn.

When I got close enough to the menu board I expected to see chicken fingers or course but what I didn't expect to see was that is all they sell. You basically decide what you want to drink and how many fingers you want, it's that simple! They have a 2-finger kid's meal and 3-4-6-10 finger meals and buckets. Each meal comes with crinkle cut french fries, coleslaw, a slice of Texas Toast and their signature Cane's Sauce for dipping. Each one of the 4 sides is of equal value so if you want a quadruple order of fries, you got it, at no extra charge!

The concept must be working because this place was selling them as fast as they could make them, and the drive-thru line went very quickly. They currently have locations in a dozen or more states, so there may be one coming soon to a place near you. We found them to be both fresh and delicious. If you get the chance, I suggest you give it a try!



With Tricia working today I got busy one two little projects of my own. First, all of our outdoor decorations are stored inside two large green storage bins. One has our two wind chimes, hummingbird feeder and solar powered hummingbird mobile, our American flag and wind sock for our flagpole, three laser lighting fixtures and their extension cords.

The other box holds three large vases that were centerpieces at our wedding, a plaster Airstream birdhouse that I'm slowing converting into a solar lighted fixture, three wooden shorebirds with their driftwood base, and three hanging glass buoys. I know it sounds like a lot, and we only set it all up when we are staying put for four or more days, but it makes us feel at home with all our stuff setup.

My project was to simply attach eye bolts to the ends of both bins so that I could reach them with a hook and pull them out the back window of ROVER. They currently travel down the center of the top shelf in the back of ROVER and the the only way I can reach them to pull them out is with that hook.



Today I surprised Tricia, and myself for that matter, by removing our bicycles from the back seat of ROVER and setting them up. I put a little air in each tire and they were ready to ride. I even checked that the front and rear lights were in working order, they were!

For our last Christmas in the house we bought each other these Schwinn folding bicycles to take on the road. They're not meant for any long distance riding or even short off road trails. Our thoughts were to use them mostly for riding around the campground and park roads. Their main purpose however is to give us a quick way to get to the campground bathrooms.

Our black water tank (where all the toilet water goes) is only 37 gallons and whenever time allows we make a dash to the bath house to do our #2 business. Our #1 business can go into the holding tank (especially in the middle of the night) because it doesn't take up near as much space and uses a lot less toilet paper. It's one way we have been able to camp for 14 days without the need to empty the tank.

We haven't used the bicycles since last May when we first started traveling. You may be wondering why we finally got them out to use? Two things come into play. First off, we are here for 8 long days and need to save space in the tanks. Secondly, for the first time in a long time, our campsite is located on the opposite end of the campground from the bath house. It's about two hundred yards away and that's a long way to hold it, if you know what I mean.



Today is another day off and we are going out for breakfast. A quick Google search located a nearby breakfast establishment with good ratings (4.7 out of 5 stars). Buzzy's Breakfast Joint is just three miles away and is located in the little downtown district of Ocean Springs, MS. Just one block off of the main street through downtown is a converted corner house with a large parking lot next door.

There is outside seating on the covered front porch and in the back yard you'll find picnic tables with umbrellas. Inside seating includes the old living room and dining room areas which are full of small tables for two and four guests. The food, service and atmosphere were all just what we look for in a small town eatery. Prices were good and the food was great, this would definitely be a once a week place for us if we were to live here.

After breakfast we drove back to the park to finally explore their visitor center. There you will find dioramas featuring the history, habitats and animals that are found on the National Seashore in Mississippi. There is also a very informative 22 minute documentary film about the area. It was definitely worth our time to visit.



COOKING TIME: 45+ minutes
# of SERVINGS: 4




1 Rotisserie Chicken (BBQ flavor)
(hand pulled/shredded)
1 envelope of McCormick Chili Seasoning Mix
(White Chicken)
4 tblsp of Salsa Verde (mild) 1-16 oz can of Bush’s White Chili Beans
4 oz of Chicken Broth 1-10.5 oz can of Cream of Chicken Soup
4 oz of lime juice (Key Lime preferred) 1-8.75 oz can of White Shoepeg Corn
1 large Green Bell Pepper (diced) 1-4.5 oz can of Chopped Green Chilis (mild)
1 large Sweet Onion (diced)


Fresh cilantro (finely chopped) • Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese • Green Onion (diced)


1.) On high heat in a 4 quart pot, sauté the sweet onion and green pepper until tender.

2.) Add in the chicken, chicken broth and seasoning mix, then stir together.

3.) Add in the Bush’s White Chili Beans (undrained), chopped green chilis (undrained). Stir.

4.) Add in the corn (drained), and salsa verde, lime juice and Cream of Chicken Soup. Stir.

5.) Stir until you reach a low boil, then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer for 15 minutes.

6.) Stir everything together one more time and leave uncovered to simmer for 15 minutes.

At this point it's ready to eat, but the longer you let it simmer, the better it will taste.

I highly recommend garnishing with ALL of the suggested items
for a full flavored bowl of Green & White Chili.

Bon Appétit!

This recipe will yield a very thick and mildly spicy chili. If you prefer hotter tasting chili try using HOT versions of the salsa verde and green chilis to spice it up. Tortilla chips also make a good accompaniment to this chili.



Mardi Gras Season (no, it's not just one day), or Carnival (nobody calls it that in the U.S.), officially starts on January 6th, which is the Twelfth Night (Feast of Epiphany), which always occurs twelve days after Christmas. The season end date is a little more complicated.


Mardi Gras Season comes to an abrupt end on Fat Tuesday at midnight (FYI - Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday). Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is always 46 days before Easter. Easter is always the first Sunday, after the full moon, following a spring equinox. This means Easter can fall on any Sunday between March 23 and April 25, which determines the length of that year's Mardi Gras Season.

What I'm trying to point out here is that the end of Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) can be anywhere between February 3rd and March 9th. So this year's 2019 Mardi Gras Season which ends today, March 5th, is one of the looooonger ones.

Even though (here in Ocean Springs, MS) we're nearly 100 miles from The French Quarter in New Orleans (a.k.a. Mardi Gras Central), that doesn't mean the spirit of the season hasn't reached us. Communities throughout the entire region host their own celebrations with small parades and the colors of Mardi Gras (purple/gold/green) are found everywhere.

One other tradition of Mardi Gras seems to be enjoying a King Cake on Fat Tuesday. All the grocery stores are selling them and while Tricia and I don't need to eat an entire cake by ourselves, I did manage to find a couple of personal sized cakes at a nearby Krispy Kreme doughnut shop. I'll surprise her with them at breakfast today! That way we can have our own tasty Mardi Gras celebration.



Who will be the first to correctly guess our next location?

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