Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tampa to Houston in 3 Days

December 20, 2016

Well, our time was up in Florida and we headed out for our next stop around 11am.  We aren't early risers and were only going about 300 miles today.  It was an easy 325 mile drive to the East Bank COE park just north of  Chattahoochee, Fl.  The campground is on Lake Seminole and is one of the better COE parks we've stayed in.  

We missed the turn to get to the campground and had to drive about 5 miles to get to a point where we could turn around.  Then we missed it coming back and drove about a mile out of our way to catch the campground road.  Just a little bump along the way.

Pull through site with a view of the lake.

We would have loved to spend more time at the campground and just hang out for a while, but we were trying to get to Fredericksburg, TX for the Christmas holiday weekend.  It was a get up early and hit the road kind of day for us.

December 21, 2016

See ya Florida.

 It didn't take long to cruise through Mobile Alabama and through the rest of AL.  Traffic was a little heavy but moving along pretty well and we made good time.

 Gerry managed to capture a nice shot of the Battleship Alabama in the Mobile harbor.  We have been past it a couple times but never have stopped to check it out.  Hopefully the next time we are in the area we can make time to see it.

Gerry took advantage of the easy drive to contact a couple campgrounds in Fredericksburg, TX but it didn't work out for us.  Evidently it is a favorite destination for Texans and the campgrounds were full.  We've been there a couple times before and decided to take another route to Tucson.

It was a short drive through Mississippi and we were through there in a flash.  The roads were good and traffic was moving pretty well which made it nice. 

Our destination for the night was the Elks Lodge in Slidell, LA.  We had called ahead and they had a couple sites so we decided to stop there for a night or two.  

Once again we had a little problem with the entrance road to the Lodge.  There were two lanes within 5 ft of each other and a church was at the end of the first lane.  The other lane was rock and very narrow.  I pulled into the rock lane and quickly decided it was the wrong road.  We unhooked the car and Gerry drove to the correct lane and helped me back up a hundred yards or so onto a busy highway.  She had a flashlight and stopped the traffic in both directions.  Did I tell you she is very brave??

We finally arrived at the Lodge and parked the motor home for the night.  There was a small lake there with a bubbling water fall behind the motor home, so it was nice and peaceful.

Since we couldn't get a site in Fredericksburg, we decided to spend two nights at the Elks Lodge.  They have a nice lodge, picnic grounds, pool, campground and very few members so it is only open on the weekend.  It's a shame that the nice facilities aren't used more fully.  We were allowed to wash the salt and dirt off the motor home and car so that was a big bonus.  They were advertising wash and wax for $7.00 a foot in Tampa. 

December 23, 2016

I-12 is the bypass road around New Orleans and it is very heavily traveled.  There had been rain showers the past couple days and there was a lot of standing water along side of the road and in the median strip.  The truck below probably appreciated all the mud since he drove through the cables and down into the ditch.  It must have happened a few minutes before we got there since the traffic hadn't backed up much when we went by him.  I am sure he is facing a huge extraction bill to get out of there.  At least it looked like everyone was uninjured. 

 We had to cross the numerous swamps and lake on the Atchafalaya Swamp Freeway.  The freeway is built on pilings and stretches for many miles.  We followed the tanker truck for a long time and he kept going off the main part of the road and driving in the left lane. I was going to pass him but the traffic was heavy and I didn't want to take a chance on him sideswiping us.  Then I thought if he jackknifed the truck we would be stuck there for hours.  He managed to keep it under control and we made it out of there.

 I don't mind steep and high bridges but the one in Lake Charles, LA is a very steep one.  I left a lot of room in front of me and hit the fuel pedal and climbed over the top.  Then it was hit the brakes and slow down on the equally steep downhill side.  We seem to have a lot of these high bridges this trip!

 We entered Texas and noted the mile marker was about 880 across the state on I-10.  Once you get past San Antonio the drive is very boring and has wide open spaces.  Hopefully the weather will hold up and we don't have strong winds to hinder us.

We pulled into the Houston East RV Resort and decided to stay for the weekend since most campgrounds were closing the offices for the holiday weekend.  It turned out to be a good move on our part since about an hour after we setup the motor home, we heard a loud bang and went out side to see if Santa had hit the motor home.  No, it wasn't him but we had a broken leveling jack spring.  Oh Oh!

All the repair shops and places to have the spring replaced were closed until Tuesday morning.  Of course the Tiffin factory was closed also.  This is the third time we've had a problem at a major holiday and Tiffin has been closed each time.  The last time was the July 4, 2015 holiday and we were stuck in Montana for the holiday.  A great Tiffin parts person did go the extra mile and made sure the part was shipped before he left for the day.

 December 25, 2016

We found a local Catholic church and attended the 11am mass.  The priest was a little surprised that there were so many people in attendance and commented on it.  It was a very friendly group of people and we enjoyed the church service.

Later Gerry prepared a nice dinner of ham, candied yams, corn, pumpkin pie and a couple other sides.  We had planned on going to Cracker Barrel, however they we closed for Christmas, the only day of the year they are closed.  As a matter of fact, only the Jack In The Box and Waffle House were the only restaurants open.  We stopped by the Waffle House and there were about 15 people waiting to be seated in the limited seating restaurant.  So, Jack In The Box was the winner for a quick lunch before that dinner.

We scouted out the area for a while and then went back to the motorhome and relaxed in our air conditioned unit.  It was 86 degrees outside with humidity of 90%.  Yuk.  Give me the dry desert anytime.

We had a number of phone calls from our children and others and managed to wear our phone batteries down.  It was nice talking to everyone and hearing about their Christmas celebrations.  

That was our last few days.  The nice part is that we were "home" and it just happened to be in Baytown, TX.


  1. I too love the dry desert but it's supposed to ge rainy again this weekend. So be safe as you get to AZ. Happy New Year.

  2. Love COE parks!
    Battleship Alabama is awesome. Put it on your "to do" list.
    We have been to that Elk's Lodge in Slidell. It is tricky for sure. The people are very nice.
    Enjoy your time "at home."

  3. Doug watching the weather. Chilly in Tucson when he last looked.
    Hope you get your spring fixed.