No one should EVER feel sorry for me & the Mate when we complain about weather on our road trips. That’s what we get for road-tripping in February and March! So I’m not looking for pity when I whine about not being able to camp due to snow or lightning or dust storms or ice or…blah blah blah. It’s just fun to whine.
Which is why these last couple of days have really called our bluff. Monday we left Galveston on a cute (and completely free!) ferry
and drove the length the peninsula on the bay’s other side,
back to the interstate and into Louisiana. We hit a perfectly nice campground in the Louisiana bayous–Lake Fausse Pt. State Park–on a perfectly nice (if a little humid) day…and opted out.
Why? Because the ranger said it probably would rain overnight. And while there’s nothing wrong with rain outside a tent when you’re in it, stuffing a wet tent into a small Subaru with all the rest of your belongings is the opposite of fun. Still, we might have gone for it if we hadn’t learned about the cabins.
Each one perched OVER the bayou, with perfect screened porches.
We couldn’t wait to eat dinner out on the porch. But first it was time to go for a walk around the swamp.
Have I ever mentioned that I love swamps? Just show me a cypress and I go all weak in the knees. (sorry)
The forest offered plenty of variety all on its own…
…so when I did see a gator, it was simply a bonus. And the baby gator in front of the mama? Bonus bonus.
That evening, the Traveling Avocados teamed up with some Gulf shrimp and that amazing screened porch for what’s probably going to earn our Best Meal of the Trip Award.
Next day we drove across Mississippi–just about 100 miles at its base–and into Alabama. We had a date with another state park (thanks to this excellent book on state parks), way down past Mobile in Alabama’s teensy lil’ slice of the big ol’ Gulf Coast pie. Appropriately enough, it’s called Gulf State Park. And it’s big. And lovely. With 28 miles of bike trails, are you kidding? Made for us!
Only problem? This park boasts over 400 RV sites, and eleven tent sites. The Mate and I took one look at the teensy tent sites crammed in between RVs and quickly backed away. All the way away, to a Motel 6. Then we drove the few miles back into the park and took a big, happy chomp of those delicious bike trails.
No lie, this bike path instantly vaulted into our top 5 anywhere.
The terrain keeps changing, oaks to pines to dunes to swamp to…wait–is that an…?
A nice heavy deluge that night made us feel even better about not camping. Even worse weather ahead of us in Florida encouraged us to slowwww down, so we spent another $70 to stay on at the Motel 6. Next morning, we tried some of those trails on foot.
I LOVE whizzing along on a bike, but you do miss stuff. Like these funny puffball-shaped clumps of reindeer lichen.
Why this shape? Because, I realized, they’re not growing on the sand; there’s nothing for them to live off. They’re growing on individual sticks and leaves on the sand. Clever things!
We didn’t see tortoises, but we did see their holes.
The only thing I wished for in this park was more dirt trails; they’re nearly all paved. But I understand the reasons for that. And it was clear, from the number of benches dedicated to folks passed away or to groups like “Michigan Snowbirds,” how beloved this park is to folks from colder places–mostly the midwest, it seemed. Maybe that explains the tongue-in-cheek speed limit signs:
The weather’s supposed to be so wacky tomorrow that I have no idea where we’ll be tomorrow night. NOT in a tent. But given the terrible destruction up in Nashville this week, I can only give thanks for the safety and security of being able to whine about a little rain.
And speaking of giving thanks: one more gator? Yes please!