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2021-06-14 – Springtime in the Rockies caravan… Day 19 – Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming

Exciting Day Today! Our four grandchildren are all starting “school” today! Roisin and Ian go to Spanish Camp; George and Evelyn go to all day preschool! After dropping them off, our daughter, Erin, will do nothing. Or something. Or whatever she wants…!

Back at the caravan, we started the day with a Ranger talk at the amphitheater adjacent to Jackson Lake…

We heard a brief history of the Park:

In the late 1920′ s John D. Rockefeller, Jr., with his family, visited Yellowstone National Park. They met with Horace Albright, the Superintendent of Yellowstone. He took the Rockefeller family through Yellowstone, and south into the Grand Tetons area. Albright was trying to get the Grand Tetons National Park expanded to include the valley. The mountain range had become a National Park in 1929, but the valley to the east, known as Jackson Hole, was cluttered with billboards, honky-tonks, and hotdog stands. JDR, Jr. took the bait. He formed the Snake River Land Company, and anonymously purchased 35,000 acres of land; he subsequently offered the land to the National Park Service. Due to various political reasons, the donation was denied. Finally, many years later, against public opinion, and with repeated Congressional efforts to repeal the measures, much of Jackson Hole was set aside for protection as Jackson Hole National Monument in 1943. The monument was abolished in 1950 and most of the monument land was added to Grand Teton National Park.

After we heard about the various sight-seeing options, we headed south… We stopped at the Jackson Lake Dam…

From the roadway atop the Dam we have a great view…

We continued south…

We stopped in to check out the Jenny Lake Lodge… Their dining room is not open except for guests…

We considered stopping at Jenny Lake, but the parking lots were packed, and people were parking on the highway, walking 1/2 mile to the lake Visitor Center. We continued on…

We were able to catch sight of some Pronghorn Antelope…

We continued south to the Moose-Wilson Rd. We drove south some more and were rewarded with our first sighting of a moose!

Just a bit further down the road we found his mate and their offspring, but they were moving quickly into the woods…

Our destination this morning is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve…

The parking lot was again packed, and we waited 25 minutes for a space. Luckily, most cars belonged to hikers heading out to Phelps Lake…

We walked across the meadow towards the Visitors Center…

The Laurance S. Rockefeller (LSR) Preserve is a 1,106 acres refuge within Grand Teton National Park on the southern end of Phelps Lake. The site was originally known as the JY Ranch, a dude ranch. In 1927, when John D. Rockefeller, Jr. purchased much of the land in Jackson Hole for the creation of Jackson Hole National Monument and the expansion of Grand Teton National Park, he retained the 3,100-acre JY Ranch as a family retreat.  The Rockefeller family used the J-Y Ranch for over 70 years; over the years the family gave most of the ranch land to the national park. Upon his death in 1960, JDR, Jr. left the J-Y Ranch to his son, Laurance. Finally, Laurance S. Rockefeller donated the final parcel to the Park Service in 2001, effective in 2008. The donation came with special preservation and maintenance restrictions, with the vision that the preserve remain a place where visitors can experience a spiritual and emotional connection to the beauty of the lake and the Teton Range.

When the family took over the J-Y Ranch there were 48 various dude ranch buildings on the property. The family had 28 buildings removed or demolished, and the remaining 20 buildings were remodeled and updated for use as a family retreat.

Over the years, the camp was modernized and updated, and a few new cabins were added. However, the rustic camp experience was always retained. Finally the family decided to donate the property to the Park Service, and to move their retreat to another location a few miles south, just outside the boundaries of the National Park, on the Moose-Wilson Rd. They wanted the land to be returned to its natural state.

Laurance Rockefeller hoped that his project would serve as a model for the National Parks. The overall plan for the preserve was developed by D. R. Horne & Company with advice regarding user experience from Kevin Coffee Museum Planning. Prerequisite to creating the LSR Preserve, the cabins, stables, utilities, roads, and other built environment that had been part of the Rockefeller family’s presence at the JY Ranch were removed; about half of the buildings were moved to the new Rockefeller Retreat, and the other half were donated to the Park Service to be relocated and re-purposed for their use.

The land was carefully bio-remediated with seeds or plantings collected from nearby locations within the site. A nine-mile system of hiking trails lead through sub-alpine and wetland habitat, with vistas along the southern edge of Phelps Lake. The visitor experience is prompted via the 7,573 square -foot visitor center situated at the lowest elevation of the Preserve.

The visitor center building was designed by Carney Architects of Jackson, Wyoming with the Rocky Mountain Institute consulting on energy and daylighting analysis. Hershberger Design prepared the landscape design plan for the visitor center site and trails. A team of designers, cinematographers, photographers, sound recordists, writers and others contributed to the displays inside the visitors center and those efforts are noted on a plaque in the center, which was dedicated on June 21, 2008. The visitor center was the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified property in Wyoming and only the fifty-second Platinum rating in the LEED program.  Featuring composting toilets and a 10 kW photovoltaic system, the facility earned all 17 LEED energy points.

We entered the Visitor Center. (Lynda wasn’t really angry…)

Inside it was like a church. We were the only people there. There were marvelous displays: topographic maps, Photos, audio and video exhibits, and a meditation space. I loved it. I could have sat for hours enjoying the architecture and the displays of nature… But Lynda wasn’t that patient…

I threatened to take a nap in these really cool chairs, custom designed for the Rockefellers for their retreat…

We walked around, taking in the building. This massive fireplace is part of the staff lounge…!

The paths led to the creek flowing out of Phelps Lake…

After this contemplative experience we needed lunch. We drove to Dornan’s, a pretty mediocre restaurant…

We returned to the RV Park and walked along the lake…

I spent a little time in the “village” looking for internet. After dinner we walked to the swimming beach and enjoyed the sunset…

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We returned to the Villa and an enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-06-04 – Springtime in the Rockies caravan… Day 9 – Gunnison, CO

EXCITING DAY! Our two youngest grandchildren are finally going off to big-kid preschool summer camp! This long awaited event comes after spending the last year at home…

Back in the Villa, we had a quiet morning looking for internet service and doing laundry… Finally at noon we drove the 12 miles back to Gunnison. We fueled up the truck, dropped it off at the Gunny-Lube for an oil change, then we walked to City Market and bought some birthday cake for another caravan member. After a few other errands we stopped for lunch at the W Cafe…

The town of Gunnison has a nice little main street with restaurants and local businesses…

After lunch we returned to the Villa. I took a walk while Lynda sat by and in the pool…

We had another GAM to meet new friends. The host, Charlie and Michael, own a winery in Plymouth, California. While they didn’t provinde wine to our little group, they did prepare an olive oil tasting, featuring their own olive oils. We tasted Tuscan, Lemon, Rosemary, Jalapeno, plus two balsamics, one of which was white… I particularly liked the Rosemary and the white balsamic…

After the GAM we walked around the park enjoying the twilight…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-06-17 thru 2019-06-24 – Family time in San Clemente…

Another Airstream Adventure.  But no traveling…

On Monday, 6/17, we drove the short 1.25 hours from Redlands to San Clemente.  I have been camping here since 1956… It never disappoints…

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We found our campsite – all RV sites are pull-through, about 75′ long, with full hook-ups.  Some are better than others, but considering how hard it is to get reservations here, we’ll take whatever we can get…

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We had a quiet afternoon, happy hours ensued, and we enjoyed a peaceful evening with friends.  This will be the last peaceful evening we will have for awhile…

Tuesday morning (and every morning this week) we walk the 1 1/2 miles along the beach path to the pier…

We’ve been walking this path for about 20 years now…

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We’ve been watching these cliffs erode for about 50 years…

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A landmark along the way is the T-Street bridge…

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Across from the pier is Bear Coast Coffee – the best coffee in So Cal.  Today (and every day this week) Lynda has a latte, I have a decaf cappuccino, and we split the Feta-Egg sandwich…

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After breakfast we walked back to the Villa and awaited the arrival of the Thundering Herd…

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Our daughter, Erin, arrived with Roisin (6), Ian (5), Evelyn (1), and George X (3)…

Erin and Lynda put up their tent while I tried, unsuccessfully, to keep the kids out of trouble…

Despite the cool weather Tuesday (and every day this week)  – it never broke 70 – beach time soon arrived…

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I asked Lynda why she rarely takes pictures of anyone besides Evelyn; she replied that she is the only one who stays still long enough…

(PS:  I don’t do the beach thing.  I sunburn easily, there is no drink service, and I need my alone time in the Villa…)

By about 5:00 on Tuesday (and every day this week) Lynda and Erin and the Thundering Herd arrived back at the Villa; they’re hot, tired, sandy, hungry, and cranky…

We do our best to keep them from killing each other while the cleanup process takes place…

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Usually we feed the kids, then put on Netflix in the Villa while the adults enjoy Happy Hours.  Then we put the kids to bed and finally all the adults collapse…  For some reason on Tuesday (and every night this week) Evelyn refused to fall asleep quietly and required adult attention for about an hour…

Wednesday morning the Thundering Herd accompanied us to the Pier and Bear Coast Coffee…

Everyone watched the train go by…

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We were able to corral the kids for a picture on the Group W Bench:

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Time on the swings ensued…

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And the rest of the week proceeded in exactly the same way…

The only difference occurred late in the week.  Erin and the kids went home Thursday evening, and they returned on Saturday morning…  This allowed Lynda and me to make our marathon walk; we walked to the pier and Bear Coast for breakfast, then we walked to the north end of the beach path; from there we walked inland to Rainbow Sandals to buy new flips for me – walking as much as we do, I wear them out often.  Then back down El Camino Real to Beach Town Books, a used book store Lynda likes, then to lunch at South of Nicks (which is actually NW of Nicks…)

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From there we walked down Del Mar to the pier, and then back to the Villa.  About eight miles…!

On Saturday morning Erin and the Thundering Herd returned…

Another special event occurred Saturday…

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Happy Anniversary to us!  It’s been 45 years !

To celebrate, we took pictures…

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In the afternoon we did our separate things…

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Saturday evening we were joined by friends (whose anniversary is Sunday) for dinner at Pierside…

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We enjoyed the sunset…

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Sunday afternoon we were joined by other friends… Beach time, happy hours, and dinner ensued…

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And then everyone left.  Silence!  Golden silence!

Monday we walked one last time to Bear Coast for breakfast… We packed up and returned to Redlands…

And an enjoyable time was has by all…

2019-06-06 thru 2019-06-11 – Traveling West – Liberal, KS and then Home…

This morning we pulled out of the RV park in Liberal, KS, and pointed the Villa southwest.  In about three minutes we were in the far western part of the Oklahoma panhandle; about 90 minutes later we were in the far western part of the Texas panhandle; by noon we were in New Mexico…

These parts of Oklahoma and Texas look remarkably like Kansas…

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At one rest stop there were these nice little picnic shelters… Mid Century Modern!… Nice, but a little beat up…

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All day yesterday and all day today, until we entered New Mexico, we followed the railroad tracks.  About every ten miles we came to a small town dominated by these giant grain elevators or silos…

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The further we drove west the smaller and more distressed the towns were… Not being farming folk, we could not tell exactly what these facilities do, but we assume it is related to grain storage, food processing, feed production, or something like that…

By mid day we were at our campground in Tucumcari, NM.

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And, for the record, New Mexico does not look anything like Texas, Oklahoma, or Kansas:

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Happy Hours and a light supper ensued in the Villa; tomorrow we head towards Gallup, NM.

Friday morning dawned nice and cool, but the heat will be arriving soon.  We pointed the Villa west, towards Albuquerque and beyond…

The drive was uneventful, as expected…

New Mexico looks like this…

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At one rest stop we found this Scenic Historic Marker:

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We weren’t sure what it meant… east and west looked pretty much the same to us.  Yes, western New Mexico does has more hills.  We rose to almost 7,000′ elevation before dropping down to 5280′ elevation in Albuquerque…

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Then we went uphill again to 7,275′ elevation at the Continental Divide…

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We eventually arrived in Gallup, NM, at about 6,500′ elevation…

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The sky was beautiful, the sun was hot, but the winds made the 89 degree temperature bearable.  By early evening we were able to turn off the AC, and by sunrise tomorrow it is supposed to be 48 degrees…

Happy Hours and a light supper ensued in the Villa; tomorrow we head towards Kingman, AZ.

Saturday morning dawned nice and cool, but the heat will be arriving soon.  We pointed the Villa west, towards Winslow, Flagstaff, Williams, and Kingman…

The drive was uneventful, as expected…

Arizona looks like this…

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We drove for about six hours, taking time for rest stops, fuel, and lunch… We finally pulled into Kingman, AZ by mid-afternoon…

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Interesting note is that we stayed here almost exactly two years ago as our first stop after leaving Irvine on our 4 1/2 month trip, the day after Lynda retired…

Happy Hours and a light supper ensued in the Villa; tomorrow we head towards Palm Desert, CA.

Sunday morning dawned nice and cool, but the heat will be arriving soon.  We pointed the Villa west, towards the California border…

The drive was uneventful, as expected…

We crossed over the Colorado River…

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And we entered California!

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We were met by some attentive uniformed people who asked us where we’d been, and if we were bringing in any firewood…

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The California Desert looks like this…

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For those of you who insist on calling places like eastern Oregon a “desert”, please stop!  Rivers, grass with cattle grazing, and green leafy trees do not make a desert!  See photo above for what a desert looks like!

We moved on to Palm Desert, where they have succeeded in making the desert green:

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We spent the afternoon and evening with like-minded friends, sharing happy hours and dinner.  Early Monday morning we drove the final hour…

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We arrived home in Redlands; an enjoyable time was had by all…

Tally:

Miles driven: 8,379

Days traveling and camping on our own:  40 days

Days on the Cajun Country Caravan:  16 days

Days on the Springtime in Kentucky Caravan:  22 days

Total days living in the Villa: 78 days

Total number of Airstreams seen along the road:  211

Number of nights in the Villa over the past 24 months:  375 days  (51%)

And one last photo of our girls…

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2019-05-25 to 2019-05-27 – Memorial Day Weekend

We returned from Indian Wells on Saturday mid day.  I visited my mother in Artesia, and had nice Happy Hours on the front porch back in Redlands.  While we were Airstreaming over the past 2 1/2 months we have several new neighbors.  We chatted briefly with them and we hope to get better acquainted upon our return in Mid-June…

We received several nice photos from our grandchildren’s visit to Griffith Park and the remnants of the old LA Zoo…

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Sunday we enjoyed church at The River CRC, we had a relaxing afternoon, then we had a very enjoyable evening dining out with Rodger and Cyndi, neighbors who often help our son while we are away… walking the dog, picking him up when he falls, and cleaning up broken glass… The only down side was that it was raining, so we were unable to walk to the restaurant…

On Monday, Memorial Day, we were visited by The Thundering Herd.  The weather cooperated to the point that we could hang out in the back yard on the deck… (The deck was finished in October, but it has been too cold to use it until today…)

Lynda took the kids for a walk…

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The kids built a tower with blocks, with only a little help from me…

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I was able to get reacquainted with the lovely Evelyn…

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By early evening they piled into the car and headed home.  We cleaned up the house and prepared to fly tomorrow…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-05-02 – Airstream Caravan Travels – Springtime in Kentucky; Louisville and their Slugger! – Day #8

Once again we boarded the bus…

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Soon we found ourselves in Louisville.

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Our first stop is at the Louisville Slugger factory.  But first, we once again attempted a group photo…

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And a selfie..

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And the final shot:

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The giant bat does dominate the skyline in this historic section on downtown Louisville…

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Inside we reviewed the current major league standings; how ’bout them Dodgers!

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The Louisville Slugger is made by Hillerich &  and Bradsby & Co.  They used to make butter churns, but they found that making bats is a more profitable business…

They have many bats that have been used in MLB games;  Lynda tried out the bats of current Dodgers Cory Bellinger and Justin Turner…  She also took a photo with Jackie Robinson…

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We watched a master bat maker working at his lathe making a bat.  It takes him about 30 minutes to make a bat, using the model bat as a template and hand-measuring every aspect of the new bat with a set of calipers to make sure it is an exact replica…

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(By the way, it takes 30 seconds for the CNC controlled lathes in the factory to make a bat, which is an exact replica of the specs that are programmed into the computer…)

The museum even has bats in its belfry…

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We enjoyed the tour (sorry, no photos…).

They use trees from western New York and eastern Pennsylvania; their trees are in sustainable forests, and most trees selected for bat-making are about 65 years old.  Bats are made mostly of maple, but also birch and ash.  They maintain 3,000 different bat designs.  Pros usually order 80-100 bats per player per season, to the tune of about $80 each.  Retail bats, and bats made for minor league baseball are cheaper…

Next on our agenda today is a river cruise up the Ohio River; Indiana is across the river at this point.

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We assembled for the lunch buffet on the lower, enclosed deck, out of the rain…

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Once underway the rain slowed and we could walk around the boat and see the sights…

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The water is quite high this time of the year…

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It was a nice boat ride.  Who doesn’t like boat rides?

Next we walked around downtown Louisville.  We are in the historic downtown, adjacent to the main financial district…  Lots of historical storefronts…

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Here is an area where the old buildings have been torn down, but the facades have been saved.  We also saw this with new, modern buildings built behind the historic facades.  Very nice!

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There are some Bourbon tasting rooms here, but we didn’t have time…

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We spent about an hour in the Frazier Museum…

We returned on the bus, and once again turned in early…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

And in the spirit of all things baseball, I present the McAnoy children…

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2019-04-07 – Airstream Cajun Country Caravan – Travel to Carencro, LA

This is the last travel day for the Caravan – our next stop is the final one – only 4 nights left…

We walked the park again a few times, then hitched up and left Eunice about 11:30 am…  Of course, we soon were delayed by a train… And I love trains!

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It was 50 miles to Carenco, on the outskirts of Lafayette.  We stopped for a quick lunch at GoBears!

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Unfortunately, their tiny lunch room was closed – no idea why… So we walked next door to McDonalds.  They have all automated touch screens for ordering.  During the lunch rush there was one cashier, wandering around with nothing to do… Progress???

We arrived at the Bayou Wilderness RV Resort.  Nice place with full hook-ups, including cable, plus clear skies for satellite TV.  The sites are a little rustic, though…

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We hooked up, set up, checked out the store and other amenities, and walked around a bit.  There is an actual swamp out back… lots of Bald Cypress trees growing out of the water.  Those funny little pointy stumps are roots growing up out of the ground.  They are called, “Knees”.

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At about 4:00 pm it started to rain, with thunder and lightning, of course.  It was still pouring down when it was time to meet the other Airstreamers in the meeting room here in the RV park for pizza and ice cream…

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By the time we were ready to walk back to the villa after dinner it was still raining, but not nearly so hard.

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

The McAnoy baseball team…

Ian, almost 5:

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Roisin, age 6:

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2019-04-05 – Airstream Cajun Country Caravan – Travel to Eunice, LA

Easy travel day again.  At least at the start.

We drove over 50 miles today to camp at the Lakeview Park and Beach, just north of Eunice, LA.  It is a beautiful place, and, since it is Friday, the park is quickly filling up with weekenders from the local area.  There is a nice fishing lake, plus a swimming lake and beach, but it won’t open until next week…

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Along the route we passed by typical Louisiana roadside scenes:

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Upon arriving, I noticed that my iPhone was not charging – the cable would not plug in.  After several panicked minutes wondering where in rural SW Louisiana I could find an Apple store, then several more panicked minutes realizing that what I really need is an A&TT store, then remembering that I have insurance on this phone (because I do not believe in those ugly phone cases…), then a few more phone calls and we were back in the truck and off for a one hour drive to Lafayette to an Apple authorized repair shop.  If this proved to be unsucessful, I could get a replacement shipped to me – all I need to figure out is – Where will I be when the new phone arrives?

Lafayette was busy, but we found the store easily.  Five minutes and nine dollars later my phone was fully functional!  All it took was a tiny set of tweezers and knowing what to look for…

So, since we were already parked in a giant Target parking lot, we did a little grocery shopping, and headed back to Eunice.

Along the way we did see one of the better ideas to come out of Lafayette:

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Yes, the drive-thru Daiquiri stand.  Due to recent laws banning open containers of alcohol in cars they now put a lid on the plastic daiquiri cup, and a straw to poke through the little hole in the lid…

So we returned to the campground.  We had missed both the final GAM and a drivers’ meeting.  We took an evening stroll around the lake…

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After our traumatic day we retreated to the Villa and enjoyed an adult beverage or two…

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

And the all-dressed-up McAnoy family:

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2019-04-02 – Airstream Cajun Country Caravan – Travel to Abbeville, LA

Today is another travel day.  However, all travel days are short here in Cajun Country.  In total, we travel only 160 miles from campsite to campsite.  In fact, the only reason we move as much as we do is that a minimum of five locations are required on a National Caravan, according to the Airstream Club (WBCCI).

So today we drive from New Iberia to Abbeville – a total of 21 miles…!

The countryside is quite varied, but for the most part it is wide open spaces…

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The pictures above and below show sugar cane…

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There are a few small (very small) towns, and a variety of houses:  ramshackle, modest farm houses, very nice older farm houses, and, of course, starter castles and McMansions…  This trip was slow and easy…

This campground is a total opposite of New Iberia; it is small, hidden back in the woods about one mile from the highway, full of trees (no satellite TV for me!), and no amenities other than full hook-ups.

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We parked and set up the Villa and had the rest of the day to catch up of my to-do list – I need to be finalizing the next leg of our trip after the caravan is over.  We will be heading to the east coast, travelling north a bit, then back west to Kentucky, where we begin Springtime in Kentucky Caravan on April 25…

We did a lot of walking around the park to keep our Apple Watches happy.  We found this tree with a nest of three baby owls…

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This was probably the mom, watching nearby…

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We had a GAM again and turned in early.  And an enjoyable time was had by all…

And of course, the McAnoy family on a hiking outing…

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