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Our Location:
Big Biloxi Campground
DeSoto National Forest
Saucier, MS

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in Canada, the United States, some of the Caribbean islands, and Liberia. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Similarly named festival holidays occur in Germany and Japan. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, and around the same part of the year in other places. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated as a secular holiday as well.

Excerpted from Wikipedia



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YEAR #2 - STOP #64

This campground is an unscheduled stop for us. We detoured from our planned route to position ourselves just 9 miles north of Foley RV Center in Gulfport, MS.

Several weeks ago our power awning just quit working. Unfortunately the awning was out when it quit working and I had to manually roll it back up. That involved removing two 4-foot long gas filled struts that steady the awning when the wind is blowing and using my electric drill to wind it back up against the trailer.

Back in August I started a conversation with the Airstream Technician at the factory in Jackson Center, OH about just how to accomplish this is case of a failure. Guess that was a pretty lucky decision!

Anyway our scheduled appointment is tomorrow morning. We have a few other minor problems we hope to get solved in addition to the awning and maybe a few upgrades too.

Tonight we are going to set up our Clam screen room to act as Tricia's office space for tomorrow while I take THE POD over to the RV service center. It will be the first time I have towed the trailer without a trusted copilot/navigator.

TUESDAY - I arrived safely at the service center at 8:00AM and before long they were diagnosing the problem. Turns out one of the gas-filled struts (the one over the doorway) is slightly bent and causing the motor to bind up when rolling in the awning. It will be nearly two weeks to get delivery on that part so once again we are waiting.

In addition to the awning not working I had them look at the generator hookup port located on the front of THE POD. Since late July we haven't had to use the generator because we've had electrical hookups at every location. But in early September we had a pull-through campsite where it made more sense to pull-through backwards (to put our awning away from the roadway) but by doing so it put the utility hookups on the wrong side of the trailer.

It was a much shorter distance to just plug the electric cord into the front generator port instead of running the cord under the trailer to the opposite side. This worked fine for a day and a half and then all of a sudden, nothing, no electricity. My first thought was we blew a breaker in the trailer, nope. Next thought was we blew a breaker at the power pedestal, nope. We always plug in through a huge surge protector, but it was receiving power with no alarm codes showing, so all is well at the power pedestal.

That lead me to believe the problem was still within THE POD. When I moved the cord to the regular hookup location everything was fine once again. Turns out there was a loose wire on the backside of the generator port. Easy fix with no parts required!

On to the next minor problem. The stereo system in THE POD is supposed to be able to be controlled by an app on our phones. It has worked in the past (for a little while), but recently it has stopped showing up in our Bluetooth list of devices. I called up the Polk Audio people and they said to reset the system using a button on the back of the unit. Well it's housed in an upper cabinet with no easy access to the back of the unit. Sounds like a problem for the technician, not me!

They were able to reset the system today but that didn't solve the problem. They'll contact Polk Audio again and readdress the solution when I bring it back in after the other parts arrive.

WEDNESDAY - Tricia and I had a conversation during breakfast this morning that maybe now is the time to do a couple of upgrades we have been wanting to do. Why not take advantage of the fact that we are stationary for a while?

Brand spankin' new RVs, even the expensive ones, are notorious for installing a budget-friendly mattress to help keep the original purchase price down. After having slept on our original mattress for 19 months now, it's time for a replacement. Our current inner-spring mattress has two definitive valleys with a high ridge down the middle. That is not only uncomfortable to sleep on, but does not act as a conduit for snuggling or a happy marriage, if you know what I mean!

Before we can start shopping for a new mattress I need to make sure it's alright if I have it shipped to the RV dealership. Since I was headed into town on a few other errands (the usual gas, groceries and hardware run), I stopped in at the dealership to ask in person. So much better than a phone call when asking for a favor, don't you think? The answer was, "Of course, no problem!". I also inquired if they would have time to install roof vent covers when I brought the trailer back in. Once again the answer was, "Of course, no problem!". We immediately ordered two covers.

Our trailer has two roof vent fans, one above the bed and one above the dinette, that blow the hot air out of the trailer. They are both equipped with automatic rain sensors. As soon as it starts to rain they automatically turn off the fan and close the vent. If the wind is blowing strong enough, which is often the case, we also have to close all the windows and very quickly the inside of the trailer becomes uncomfortable. If we are plugged into electricity we simply turn on the A/C until the rain stops. Problem is that in the very near future we plan to begin doing a lot more remote camping without electricity.

Our solution is to install covers over our roof vents. We opted to go with the semi-opaque grey smoke color, instead of the fully opaque white or black we see on so many other trailers. This way we get the rain protection we need, but still receive a little natural sunlight to brighten up the inside of the trailer. One other advantage to having the vent covers is now we can travel 60MPH down the road and leave the vents open so we don't arrive at our new campsite with a 90+ degree interior, which currently happens quite frequently. That will also help keep things colder in the freezer/fridge during our longer moves. We don't operate our fridge on propane when traveling down the road like some people do. In the event of an accident, it just feels safer to have the valves on the propane tanks closed.

THURSDAY - Today we are online shopping for a new mattress. Neither Tricia or I have even owned a memory foam mattress. We have both slept on one for short periods of time, but never night after night after night. Well soon, that's all about to change.

As with all mattresses, whether it's memory foam or innerspring, you'll find a wide range of prices. The trick is to find a good mattress, at a fair price. The last home mattress we bought in 2011 was over $600 and when we sold the bed frame 7 years later we threw away the well worn out "new" mattress. I know $600 doesn't buy you a top of the line mattress, but this was a "Top Brand Name" during a supposed "50% off Closeout Sale" when the Mattress Giant stores were being bought out by the larger Mattress Firm chain. Most television commercials will lead you to believe that after 8 years it's time to replace your mattress, which leads me to believe they should probably serve you well, even after 10 years or more.

This time around we are going with a memory foam mattress. We have set our spending limit at $300 and well, just crossing our fingers that we'll make a wise decision.

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YEAR #2 - STOP #63

I assume everyone knows what "déjà vu" and "double take" means. But just so we're all on the same page I'll define them both here:

According to Psychology Today:
When "déjà vu" occurs it seems to spark our memory of a place we have already been, a person we have already seen, or an act we have already done.

According to Dictionary.com OR FreeDictionary.com:
When you do a "double take" it involves a rapid or surprised second look, either literal or figurative, at a person or situation whose significance had not been completely grasped at first OR you react with surprise and have to look twice to make sure that you really saw correctly.

You are probably all wondering what the heck is he talking about now! Let me explain.

Yesterday afternoon we drove 15 miles from our campsite to visit the Poverty Point World Heritage Site. When we walked into the museum there was only one other couple there besides the Ranger behind the desk.

The other couple had just finished watching the 12-minute documentary film in the auditorium located off to the left side of the desk. Tricia was busy digging out her wallet to pay her $4 entry for the museum, I was free because I'm a senior, and when she looked up after paying she saw the other woman and they both had a "déjà vu" moment.

You see they both had been in the campground bathroom earlier that morning. I could see the look of recognition in both of their faces and it only took a few seconds for them to figure out where the knew each other from. I had a silent thought of, "Oh how I hope they don't think we're following them". Then it was our turn to view the short film while they visited museum.

After the film was over we exited into the museum where the other couple were asking the Ranger some interesting questions. We listened to a few of their questions and waited to ask a few of our own before looking around the museum.

The other activity to do there is a short 2-mile 1-way driving tour around and through the site where the mounds and other features are located. You can also walk the route but it was a little to chilly for that. We did consider walking to the top of the largest mound, called Mound A, but later decided against it.

As the other couple left the museum I jokingly said we would give them a 10-minute head start before we started after them. We said goodbye and later saw them climbing the Mound A as we drove by. That should have been the last we saw of them.

Today we prepared everything to move to our new camping location. We drove 185 miles across two states to get there. After we got all set up in our new site we decided to drive around the park and just see what there is to see. Before we took our little drive around we observed several trailers pass by our campsite looking for their own place to park.

We hopped into ROVER and headed out of the campground. Once on the other side of the campground we saw a couple setting up their campsite and had to do a double take when we realized who they were.

I rolled down my window and said,"This time you are following us because we were here first". She smiled when she recognized who we were and I inquired as to where they were going next and she just replied North, we are headed South. It seems they don't make reservations and just locate a place to camp when they don't feel like driving anymore that day. We are just the opposite, we know exactly where we are going to be and for how long months ahead of time. Next year we have vowed to try and find a happy medium in between both of these travel styles, they both have their own pros and cons.

Just so our next meeting isn't as big a surprise as the first two she invited us over for a campfire. We are both here for the weekend and will leave on Monday. Tonight there is still a chance of rain so we planned to meet tomorrow night. I can stop calling them the other couple now, we learned their names are Jackie and Charlie and they live on 10 acres near the small town of Irons, Michigan.

This is our third time we have experienced these impromptu meetings since hitting the road. The first was very early in our trip when 400 miles away from where we first met we ran into the same couple we had camped next to four weeks earlier. The second experience was running into the same couple three times in the same day at different locations while exploring St. Louis. And this "déjà vu" "double take" makes three.

FRIDAY - Today is the day for us to get some errands taken care of, namely laundry, groceries and gasoline. Tonight we have a date with our new friends from Michigan. They have invited us over to their site for a campfire, when I asked what time to come over Jackie replied "around darkish". Lately, darkish occurs around 5:30PM, so we planned to be there around 6:00PM.

We got off to a little bit of a late start and it was "completely dark" when we headed out walking with our chairs and beverages. It was so dark that we took a wrong turn at the end of our campsite's driveway. Backtracking a little ways we got on the right road and could see their campfire blazing from quite a distance away. Good thing Charlie had a nice fire started because the temperatures were dropping fast, so fast I didn't even bother putting our beverages on ice after removing them from our refrigerator. I just dropped them into a plastic shopping bag and headed out.

After a shorter than normal campfire we all agreed to call it quits for the night and retreat into our separate heated campers. Before we left we invited them over to our site the next night so we could host a campfire for them.

SATURDAY - I spent all day gathering free firewood from all over the campground in anticipation of tonight's big event. Just kidding, but I did have quite an impressive pile of wood for tonight's campfire. Around 5:00PM I saw Jackie and Charlie walking around the campsite next to ours and I thought, "they are awfully early for a campfire".

When I got outside and prepared to start the fire I realized what they were up to. Just like Tricia and I usually do they were out picking up trash in the campground, but we usually stick to just our campsite and maybe the ones on both sides of us. Also just like Tricia and I do, Charlie was the one pointing out all the trash to be picked up and Jackie was the one holding the bag and using a long reach grabbing tool to place it in the bag without actually touching it.

We really liked this couple and see a lot of other commonalities between us and them. I hope they're reading this and keep in touch with us.

Sunset over Okatibbee Lake at Twiltley Branch Campground

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YEAR #2 - STOP #62

"The Bayou State"
is our 27th visited state

We have arrived in the Bayou State of Louisiana and I know what you're thinking. New Orleans, French Quarter, Bourbon Street, cajun food and party time! Well not this visit, we're saving all that for early next year when we pass back through Southern Louisiana. This visit will be a short three day stay in Northern Louisiana before crossing back over the Mississippi River into what else, Mississippi.

We have an appointment there next week at an Airstream dealership to get our electric awning fixed. It just quit working! It's all still under warranty, but we're hoping for a quick fix and then we can get back on the road. If parts are required to fix it they'll need to be ordered. We'll then have to hang around in the area for a couple of weeks to wait for the parts to arrive, which we're prepared to do.

You may be wondering about the title of this blog post. Today when we passed the "Welcome to Louisiana" sign I had a silent thought, not a very warm welcome! The forecast for our three nights in Louisiana are lows of 26°F on Monday, a mere 20°F on Tuesday and finally 30°F on Wednesday. The lowest temperature we have experienced in THE POD so far has been 26°F earlier this year on April Fools Day, and it was no joke! We are sure to break that record this week! FYI - The forecast HIGH for Tuesday is only 38°F with winds between 15-25mph.

The photo on the left is what the ground around our water utility post looked like at 10:00AM Wednesday morning. The park asked for everyone to leave their water faucet dripping overnight so that it wouldn't freeze and burst the pipes. The dripping water and strong winds blowing it sideways made for some interesting ice formations around the campground. It was noon before the temps rose above freezing.

For all you numerologists out there!

Do you think that there is anything odd about the fact that today is 11/11 and we just arrived at our 111th stop (62 this year + 49 last year) since starting our journey? Also add in the fact that Tricia and I originally planned on getting married on 11/11/11 but realized we already had a previous commitment for that date. So rather than postpone our wedding, we moved it up a week. I can't make this stuff up, I'm just sayin'!

Something else for you all to think about!

If you were planning to erect a dam to create a hydroelectric facility, which would knowingly flood an area creating a reservoir, why wouldn't you harvest all of the trees in the soon to be lake and make use of the resources instead of letting them go to waste? It just doesn't make any sense to me!

A small section of Poverty Point Reservoir in Louisiana

WEDNESDAY - Our whole reason for visiting this region of Louisiana was to visit the Poverty Point World Heritage Site. Poverty Point is the location of an ancient American Indian earthworks monument, built 4000 years ago, hundreds of years before the great Mayan cities found in Mexico and Central America, or even before the famous Machu Picchu in Peru.

Today is our last day in the area so it's now or never. There is not much left to see of the earthworks except a 72 foot tall outdoor mound and a few other smaller ones. There is however a wonderful indoor museum to explore and a short video of the history of this undertaking by the native people.

The largest of the mounds affectionately named "Mound A"

It's hard to imagine the effort it took to build this place. It was built using nothing but back breaking manpower, no aid from domesticated animals or even wheeled carts. It is estimated nearly 2 million cubic yards of soil were relocated to construct the mounds at Poverty Point National Monument.

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TUESDAY - Fifty-one weeks ago we were at the highest point in Alabama (elevation 2411 feet) inside of Cheaha State Park. That's where we were invaded by ladybugs after a light overnight dusting of snow. Today we are 400 miles west and 50 miles further north at an elevation of just 165 feet and we've been invaded again.

Our research last year informed us the ladybugs were attracted to THE POD and ROVER because of their ability to retain the warmth from the sun better than the underside of the leaves in the trees where they are supposed to be. Each of the last four days we've seen high 30°F's overnight with mid 60°F's during the day. We guess that's why they have suddenly swarmed the exterior of THE POD and invaded the interior every chance they get.

The forecast for the next few days is for overnight freezing and daytime highs near 50°F. We can only imagine what that will do for the ladybug population on our campsite. Only time will tell!

WEDNESDAY - Just offshore from our campsite is this submerged tree stump. Can you see it just above the center of the photo? Just to the right, outside of the frame of this photo, are park's boat ramp facilities. So the location of this stump couldn't be in a worse location for the safety of the boaters. They are always rushing to get to their favorite fishing holes early in the morning.

Ahoy Captain! Water hazard dead ahead!

During most of the daylight hours this stump doesn't look like that. If fact, the park here has come up with an ingenious way to warn the boaters about the location of this stump. Every day, from very early in the morning, until late in the afternoon, they post a sentry on top of the stump. After having been here for over a week now my guess would be that 90% of the daylight hours there is someone on duty. Here is a picture we caught at 6:00AM and another around noon.

Someone has to take first watch every day!

The afternoon shift must be prime duty because shift changes occur often.

Don't worry, it's not one sentry on duty for the whole day. There are irregular shift changes that occur all day long. They're not very graceful, but they are effective. Here's how it works!

The sentry on duty is paying close attention for any activity at the boat ramp, as it should. With their back turned to the lake another sentry will swiftly and silently glide down until within a few feet of the stump and then slam on the brakes by pulling up quickly and noisily flapping their wings. This action tells the sentry it time to vacant the stump and let the next sentry begin their shift. Of course while on duty any tiny fish that swim by are instantly gobbled up as a much deserved snack.

A mix of various bird species to be found on the lake.

It's funny how only the egrets here act as sentries. The anhinga's talent appears to be swimming and diving. While the white pelicans just look to clumsy to balance on such a small perch for any length of time. I also noticed a difference between the brown pelicans found all over South Florida and these White Pelicans here, it's the way they feed.

The brown pelicans seem to glide very fast and silently over the water and then dive bomb their prey with a sneak attack. The white pelican just swim around all day in a very loose group, or even singularly, scouting for a school of fish. When a school is located and the lucky bird starts dunking their head underwater it draws the attention of every other pelican around. Within seconds there will be a hundred pelicans shoulder to shoulder in a feeding frenzy until the school is smart enough to split up. The pelicans at the rear of the chase will constantly leap frog to the front of the pack where the fish are. After the meal the pelicans clean themselves up and start on the hunt again, all this without even getting their backs wet.

A mix of various bird species to be found on the lake.

SUNDAY - We are enjoying our last evening here in southeast Arkansas and plan on leaving earlier than usual tomorrow morning. The weather forecast is the main consideration for this early start, with rain starting in the early afternoon and freezing temperatures for the next three evenings we want to be set up on the new campsite before noon.

It's located in northeastern Louisiana, about 140 miles south from here, so we need to be on the road no later than 8:30AM. Why so early? First off we need to stop at the dump station and empty our holding tanks, that takes about 20 minutes. Next we have to travel about 10 miles north of campground to get to the nearest road that heads south from here.

There are three major waterways, with few bridges, blocking any attempt to head south from this campground. The White, the Arkansas and the Mississippi River all merge just south of here in a huge low lying area that floods frequently. The entire region is a state owned Wildlife Management Area so there are no homes, businesses or roads located inside the boundaries.

Once we make it 40 miles down the road to the town of Dumas, the location where we did laundry, got gas and groceries last week, we have a straight shot south on a major roadway that will make traveling a breeze.

On another note, we ran our furnace at 65°F one night this week, when temperatures were below freezing, and used 25% of one of our two 30lb. propane tanks. If my math is correct, that means we only have enough propane to survive another 7 nights before running out. With only three more nights forecast for freezing in the near future, it will give us time to refill both bottles before the next cold front comes through.

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