John and Sandy's RV Adventure Journal

May 2011 Journal

This morning was bright and sunny with blue sky and a few puffy clouds.  A little cold, 39 degrees, but it’s supposed to warm up nicely.  John headed out on a hike early on the Grace Coolidge walk in fishing trail, while I hung around the cow, worked on photos and our journal.  In the afternoon we headed out for more hikes.  We started at the Stockade Lake Trail.  This is a 1.5 mile loop trail.  It does have a 500 foot elevation change.  From the top it’s a beautiful view of Custer State Park.  We made a quick stop in the town of Custer then we headed to Legion Lake Shore Trail.  This is about 1 mile with about 100 foot elevation change.  The weather is getting nicer so we had a couple cocktails outside watching nature.
Animal List – ground hog, white tailed deer, buffalo, geese with babies, bald eagle.

30   We are done with this weather.  Another overcast, damp and cold morning.  It’s not raining now, but it looks like it will soon.  Today is another moving day.  We are not going far about 15 miles into Custer State Park and Grace Coolidge Campground site #2.  The sun came out and our move went great.  We have a beautiful campsite with rugged peaks all around us and a creek running close by.  We got all set up then started to take a walk and the rain came again.  We are hanging out at the cow and listening to Radio Margaritaville.  At this park we only have electric.  We also do not have internet access, cell phone service or television.
John needed a walk and I wanted to update his new computer and upload our website.  I drove over to the Game Lodge to use their wifi and John hiked the 2 miles.  It worked out perfect.  The rain stopped and we decided to take a game drive on the wildlife loop road.  It’s about 6pm so it should be good for wildlife sightings.
Right away we saw a few whitetail deer and a buffalo.  Then a couple pronghorn antelope.  We continued on and then saw a herd of about 50 buffalo.  The storm clouds were still in the sky and coupled with the sun peeking out and the rolling hills and rugged cliffs, the vistas were just beautiful.  Now wildlife was all over.  We had a couple burro’s come up to Big Red and wanted a handout.  In all we saw dozens of each of  turkeys, white tailed deer, mule deer, pronghorn antelope and hundreds of buffalo.  Another great day!!

Animal List – Hundreds of Buffalo, Dozens of Pronghorn Antelopes, Dozens of Mule Deer’s, Dozens of White Tail Deer’s, Dozens of Turkeys, Burro’s, Mountain Prairie Dogs Town .
29   We woke up this morning and it’s still raining.  We can’t take all this rain.  We headed out in the rain about 11am to explore.  We love the cow, but we had to break out.  We made our way from Hwy 79 to RT 36 and then to RT 16A into Custer State Park.
We stopped at the Game Lodge first and had some coffee, and sat by the burning fireplace.  We continued on to the visitor’s center where we toured the exhibits, got hiking and ranger tour info and learned about the wildlife in the area.  Next we stopped at the Grace Coolidge Campground to check it out.  We are moving here tomorrow for a week.  We’ll have to fill our fresh water tank because there is no water or sewer hookup so we were able to check this out.
Just as we left the campground, right alongside the road, there was a huge Buffalo.  We stopped for some photos, but he didn’t care.  Moving on, we saw a few different herds of Deer’s.  The park is beautiful and were glad we’re going to be here a little over a month.  Next, just out of the park, we stopped at the campground we’ll be spending a month at.  We checked out our site and met the managers.  Then we drove through the town of Custer and then up Rt 89 to Sylvan Lake.  It is still raining, really foggy so we can’t really take in the scenery, but we’ll be back.
When we got up by Sylvan Lake we were amazed!  The area was covered in snow!  The last time we saw snow was at Howard and Cyndi Livingston’s house at Mile Marker 24 in the Florida Keys on Christmas Day 2010 with the Weather Channel.  Yes, it still counts.  So we made some snowballs and we’re glad we didn’t pick Sylvan Lake campground to move to.  We made it up to RT 87 and then to Rt 244 over to Keystone.  We went right past Mt. Rushmore, but due to the fog, you could hardly see the car in front of you.  There was no way you could see Mt. Rushmore.  We felt sorry for people on a tour with just one day here.
We made it up RT 16A to Happy Holiday Campground where our friends, Denny and Lisa are workamping for the summer.  We all headed over to the Colonial Inn in Rapid City for a good dinner and a couple cocktails.  It was great to see them again.  We met them the summer of 2009 at Hillsville, Virginia at Lakeridge RV Resort.

Animal List – Buffalo, Deer’s, Mountain Bluebirds .

 28   “On the Road Again”.  We don’t have far to go today about 80 miles from Wall SD to Hermosa SD.  It’s a cold sunny morning.  Only about 39 degrees.  It turned out to be a really nice day.  We made it to Heartland RV Park in Hermosa SD and got all set up.  We headed to Rapid City for some groceries and other supplies. 

Today is our pre-departure day.  We are getting our domestic stuff done.  We don’t have far to go tomorrow, but it’s cold, windy and rain is a comin, so it’s good to do it today.  We had to take a ride to the RV store in Rapid City to get some self leveling caulk.  One of our slide-outs is leaking and needs to be resealed.  We got the materials we needed and John took care of resealing all the slide-outs so hopefully this will do the trick.

This morning is a cold morning around 40 degrees.  However the sun is out finally!  We headed over to Badlands Natl Park to search for Buffalo.  Down Sage Creek Road is where their likely to hang out.  We saw a few but not as many as the wildlife refuge in Valentine NE.  John was ready for a hike and I wasn’t.  I dropped him off at the Castle trailhead at the Fossil Overlook.  I enjoyed reading my book and taking in nature while he hiked over to Saddle Pass.  I picked him up there then dropped him off at the NE road Castle trailhead and he hiked over to the Door trailhead and I met him there.  In all he had about a 4 mile hike.  We didn’t see as much wildlife as we have been, but we still saw some.  We got back, regrouped and walked into Wall for a couple drinks and dinner at the Cactus Bar and Grill. 
Animal List – Buffalo, Prairie Dogs, Turkeys, Hawk, Meadowlark.
25   We had a little more rain overnight, but hopefully no more today.  It is cold this morning though, only 43 degrees.  We are hoping things start to dry out a little.
We wanted to visit the Minuteman Missile Center.  We started with the third area but it worked out fine.  We were not aware of this but back in the 1960’s the United States had over 1000 missiles armed and ready to fire for the cold war with Russia.  They were in blocks of 10 missiles for one launch station.  In South Dakota there were 15 of these launching sites with 150 missiles ready to go.  Today we headed to the Minuteman Missile Historic Site.
There are 3 different areas you go to.  The first is the Visitors Center.  Here you can read and look at different photos on the history of the Cold War, get your ticket to tour a launch site, and watch a 25 minute movie on the history of the Cold War.
The second area is the Launch Control Center.  This is about 4 miles from the visitor’s center.  Here you take a tour, with a maximum of 6 people, of one of the highly secure launch buildings that were used in the 1960’s.  After touring the grounds and upper building, you take an elevator 31 feet below ground to the actual launch room.  This is where 2 soldiers would spend 24 hour shifts locked in, waiting for the order to launch the missiles on Russia.  In all, it was a boring job, but with very high anxiety of immediate missile launches if necessary.  Luckily, it never came to that.
The third area is one of the actual Missile Silos.  This is about 11 miles from the launch center.  From looking at it you wouldn’t even know there was a lethal weapon down there ready to be launched.  Currently this is the only missile silo remaining.  The others have been destroyed.  This one is unarmed and deactivated, but it’s still there.  So when you enter the silo area and look down through the blast door, you see a missile pointing up at you.  It’s really pretty eerie that there were so many missiles.  Also it took only 1 ½ days to build and arm a missile silo back in the 1960’s.
After learning and seeing all about the Cold War of the 1960’s and the missiles that were set up, we headed to Badlands Natl Park again.  We still have a lot to explore.  Today we started on the Castle Trail at Old NE Road and headed to the Saddle Overlook trailhead.  This is about a 2 mile hike.  Due to all the rain we’ve been having parts of the trail were muddy.  We made it to Saddle area and had a beautiful view overlooking the Badlands.
We were going to take the Medicine Trail back, but some other hikers told us it was really bad due to the rain, so we took the Castle Trail back.  Along the way we saw lots of birds and a Kangaroo Rat.  We got back and took the loop road through the park the 25 miles back to Wall.  It was later in the afternoon and we expected to see lots of wildlife.  At first we didn’t see much other than the cute little Prairie Dogs you see a lot.  Then we rounded a bend and there were 6 Bighorn Sheep including 3 young ones right next to the road.  We stopped and got out to watch them and get some photos.  They didn’t care.  After a few minutes we continued on.  We had a really great day.

Animal List – Mallard Ducks, Prairie Dogs, Bighorn Sheep and babies, Hawk, Kangaroo Rat, Meadowlark.
24   So far today is another rain out.  It is spring and some rain is better than all the tornados a lot of people are getting.  It gives me time to work on our photos, journal and website.  I got everything updated and it’s still a rain out.  Later in the afternoon we headed into town to stop at the Buffalo Gap Grasslands Visitors Center.  We’re glad we went.  We learned about the area and some things and animals we’ve already seen.  There was a half hour movie about the grasslands which was very informative.

The rain has subsided for now.  We headed out early to visit Badlands Natl Park again today.
We made stops at most of the overlooks even the ones we stopped at the other day.  Every hour is different here so you never know what you’re going to see or how the colors on the scenery are going to be.
As soon as we entered the park, we saw a herd of Pronghorn Antelope.  They were just lounging in the grass.  We passed Pinnacles Overlook and just around the bend we saw a mother Bighorn Sheep and her baby.  We watched them for a while.  The baby didn’t really care that they were up on rocks on a steep ridge.  We continued on to Homestead Overlook where we had beautiful scenery and saw a mother and baby Rabbit right along the trail.  We stopped next at Burns Basin, Prairie Wind, and Panorama Point Overlooks.
At Bigfoot Pass Overlook the sun and clouds were just right for beautiful colors.  I thought I saw a couple dead baby Rabbits, but they were just napping.  When I got closer, they opened one eye and looked at me, then got up, stretched and had some grass.  We continued on and stopped at the Fossil Trail.  Due to all the rain, we saw lots of tracks.  I checked some out and found out they were Coyote tracks.  After a hike on the Fossil Trail, John needed more, so he went on the Castle trail.  I was going to meet him in an hour or so at the Saddle Pass trailhead.  I headed over there and enjoyed reading my book and watching nature.   After 2 hours I finally heard from him on the walkie talkie.  He was back at the Fossil Trailhead.  The path got too muddy and was hard to follow so he turned around.
We continued our journey and stopped at the White River Valley Overlook and took in nature.  Along the road we saw a herd of Mule Deer.  We stopped at the visitor’s center and saw a few Magpies flying around.  We headed to some hiking trails down the road.  First we hiked the Cliff Shelf Nature Trail.  These are all beautiful trails, with marvelous scenery and breathtaking views.  Next was the Window and Door Trails.  The Door Trail had markers set up so you could go off trail and hike out to an overlook.  You had to have the markers or you would get lost and it would be like a huge labyrinth.  We were done for the day.  We headed back to the cow, had a nice dinner and took it easy.

Animal List – Mallard Ducks, Prairie Dogs, Bighorn Sheep and baby, Hawk, Rabbits and babies, Magpie, Kangaroo Rat, Meadowlark, Mule Deer, Pronghorn Antelope, Turkeys, Black Vultures, and migrating Whooping Cranes. 
22   This morning it’s rainy and cold.  I am getting caught up on our journal, photos and website.  Today is going to be a rain out, so we headed to Wall Drug to check it out.  It’s a huge store, actually multiple little departments under one roof.  We did pick up some hiking supplies and then had coffee and pie at the café.  We headed back to the cow, played some cards and watched some movies.

“On the Road Again’.  We left Valentine Nebraska early on our way to Wall South Dakota.  We don’t have far to go, about 160 miles.  Right now it’s nice that it’s low winds and partly sunny.  We didn’t realize we had a time change to Mountain Time so we gained an hour.  We got checked in at Sleepy Hollow Campground in Wall around 10am.  We got all set up just in time before the rain came.
We regrouped and headed out to the Badlands National Park.  The entrance to the park is about 8 miles from our campground.  That’s where the scenic loop road starts.  From here it’s another 23 miles to the visitor’s center.  Since we plan on visiting a lot of National Parks and Monuments in the next few months, we bought an annual NP inter-access pass.  These are really worth it if you are going to visit multiple parks.  So we got the park map and continued on the loop road towards the visitor’s center.
Along the way there are tons of pull offs and parking areas for scenic viewing.  Right now it’s mostly cloudy with some dark clouds and rain showers around.  It’s about 62 degrees.  Since you can see for miles and it’s just so beautiful, having the clouds and showers around make a wonderful addition to the scenery.  Our first stop was at the Pinnacles Overlook.  It was just breathtaking and words and photos just doesn’t do it justice.  In the park there are about 100 Big Horn Sheep.  Right here we saw a herd of about 7 including some babies.  They put on a show for us.  We took a walk out to the overlook and saw some prickly pear cactus that aren’t blooming yet but should be soon.  We saw a few Mountain Bluebirds.
We continued on and stopped next at Ancient Hunters Overlook.  Here we saw a group of 3 wild Turkeys.  At Yellow Mounds Overlook we didn’t see any wildlife but the scenery was spectacular.  Because of the rains, the rocks have had the dust washed away and the colors are so vivid.  Also from here you can see exactly where the rain showers are and how heavy the rain is.
We stopped at Contra Basin Overlook to check out the colors and rock formations.  We have a lot of stops left to do, but it’s getting later in the afternoon and we want to make it to the visitors center before it closes so we can check out the hiking trails.  So we decided to bypass the rest of the stops for today.  However, on our way we made a few quick photo stops to check out the Prairie Dogs and the Pronghorn Antelope right along the roadway.  We had a Pronghorn Antelope Buck cross right in front of us.
Once we made it to the visitor’s center, we talked to the ranger, got hiking info and then watched a 25 minute movie about the Badlands and its history.  We walked thought the exhibits to learn about the area and then it was closing time so we headed back to Wall.  On our way out of the visitor’s center we saw another new bird, the Northern Shirke.
Our campground is only about a couple blocks to Main Street so we took a walk to check out town.  Wall is a big town for this area.  It’s a couple blocks long, has a couple bar/restaurants and Wall Drug.  We stopped at the Badlands Bar and had a couple cocktails and talked to Dave our bartender and Mark next to us at the bar.  They gave us some info on the area.  Tomorrow we are going to check out Wall Drug.  It’s the biggest store in town and it known as the biggest Drug Store in the country.  For tonight we headed back to the cow, had dinner and started reviewing our photos.
Animal List- Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Bluebirds, Turkeys, Prairie Dogs, Pronghorn Antelope, Northern Shirke.20   This morning is overcast, cool, damp and rainy.  We are not used to this kind of weather.  We want it to be bright, clear, sunny and warm.  That’s ok, it will be soon.  We are glad we headed out of Russell yesterday.  Overnight they had severe storms and tornados.
We hung around the cow in the morning then the rain cleared up and we headed out.  First we headed to Valentines City Park.  On our way there we had some wild Turkeys cross the road in front of us.  There was a nice hiking trail along the Minnechaduza Creek.  Along the way we saw a Cedar Waxing Bird.
After our hike we headed out of town a few miles to the
Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge.  We stopped at the visitor’s center to get info on the refuge.  The ranger told us about the roads you can take through the refuge to see the Buffalos, Elks, Prairie Dogs and other indigenous animals.  We have cloudy skies and a few showers in the area.  We headed out into the refuge.  First we came across some Prairie Dogs.  They are so cute and funny.  They will chatter up at you, then run into their hole and others will pop up.
After watching them for a while, we headed over to the herds of Buffalo we saw.  They are in control.  If they want to be in the road then that’s where they’ll be.  We watched them with their babies for quite a while.  When we got out of the truck, they weren’t happy and really gave us the eye.  Also a couple snorts.  We saw some Horses and more Prairie Dogs.  No Elk today.
There is a 1 mile hiking trail, the Fort Falls Nature Trail.  This was a very nice trail.  It starts out following a creek to a big waterfall then winds along the Niobrara River and back through the interior of the country.  After our hike we are heading home.  On our drive out of the refuge we saw more Prairie Dogs and a pair of Pheasants and a Red-Headed Woodpecker.
  When we got back we did our pre-departure stuff to get ready for tomorrows travels.19   This morning we were up and out early.  It’s still windy and there is rain.  Even though we don’t like to travel in these conditions it’s supposed to get worse over the next few days so we are heading out.  If we run into problems, we’ll just stop and stay where ever we are.  We made it through Kansas and up to North Platte Nebraska where we took a lunch break.  Then we headed up through the sand hills of Nebraska.  Not much there but sand hills.  We stopped for the night in Valentine at Wacky West campground.  It’s right on the outskirts of town so close to everything.  When we arrived it was pouring rain and cold.  The sites are gravel and dirt so as you can imagine, it was muddy and puddles of water.  We got set up and got our heat going.
After we regrouped we headed out to explore Valentine.  Rosebud casino is right across the border in South Dakota so we stopped in to check it out.  They didn’t have video poker or free drinks, so we stayed a while then headed out to check out the town.  We went to the post bar.  This is one bar that is for the VFW, American Legion, Elks and all other groups of the area.  We still have a license plate we picked up in Key West at the Southernmost American Legion.  We met Barry, he likes the casino and is a cop, Bill, and he likes to make rhubarb tortes, Jean the bartender and Peg.  She is 94 years old and is the matriarch of the lodge.  They don’t have the license plates so they couldn’t give us one, but they are going to start and ours is their first one.  They recommended Jordon’s for a rib dinner.  So after a couple cocktails we headed to Jordon’s.
The rib dinner wasn’t on the menu so you have to know to ask for it.  It was great.  All you can eat fall off the bone ribs.  Yummy!  OK, were done.  We headed back to the cow, got the heater cranking and relaxed.
18   This morning is really windy and cold.  This was going to be a travel day for us, but since there is no place we have to be, we are staying put in Russell for at least another night.  We don’t like to travel when it’s windy so were not.  Even though it’s overcast, damp and chilly, John needs a hike.  So we headed to Lake Wilson State Park where he has a 3 mile hike he scoped out.  He headed off with his raincoat on for his hike.  I stayed back in the truck and enjoyed catching up on reading my book.  After his hike, we headed back and did some preparations for our departure tomorrow.
17   Overnight we didn’t have any rain, but the winds really picked up.  This morning John was in the kitchen making up new batches of salsa, cerviche and onion salad.  I updated our journal, photos and website.
Now we have to explore our area.  We headed to the visitor center in Russell and got a local map and some area info.  Then we took a walk down Main St.  We saw a couple other people, but pretty much nothing going on.
We took a drive to Wilson Lake State Park.  The countryside were in is small rolling hills, grasslands and a few small trees.  Wilson Lake State Park covers multiple areas of the lake.  We started at the Hells Creek area and did the 1 mile hike on the Dakota Nature Trail.  It was a really nice hike.  It took us up through the trees and grasses to the top of a hill that overlooked Wilson Lake.  John saw a nice size snake, a couple of small lizards and a hawk.
After this hike, we headed over to the Otea area of the park and hiked the 1 mile Cedar Hill trail.  This was a paved trail that also meandered through the trees and grasslands.  Here we saw a lot of birds including some Meadowlarks.  All of a sudden I was startled by a large bird we thought was a Pheasant but found out later it was a Prairie Chicken.  It had a nest about a foot off the path and just as I was next to it, it took off in the air and the little baby chicks scattered.  That was pretty cool.  We moved on so that mom and babies would hurry back to their nest.  When we were leaving the park, we saw hundreds of birds; we think purple martins that had built nests under the bridge.  They were all over the place.  We took the scenic drive back to the cow.  It’s still windy but so far no rain.
16   This morning we were up and on the road by 7am.  We are traveling from Ardmore Ok to Russell KS about 425 miles.  It was all highway and we made great time.  We are staying at Triple J Ranch RV Park.  We are planning on staying 2 nights for sure, but maybe 4 nights depending on the weather.  We are in Kansas and will be traveling through Nebraska as well and the winds can get really bad and we have some strong storms coming in. 

This is our pre-departure day and you know what that means.  Domestic stuff: gas up, laundry, grocery shopping, and pack up.  We got all done and enjoyed a nice sunny afternoon overlooking the lake.  We really enjoyed this campground and our campsite right on the water.

   14   Another cool morning but today it’s really windy.  We hung around the cow in the morning, then headed to Turner Falls to check in out.  We heard it has a few hiking trails and a 77 foot falls.  However when we got there it seemed to be a big tourist thing, late in the day and they were charging a big entrance fee.  We decided against it so we headed home.  When we got back to our campground, we did our own hike in the park and had a great time.  The wind has died down and we did a little reading outside overlooking the lake. 

This morning is a sunny but windy and cool morning around 54 degrees.  We sat outside by the lake for a bit with our coffees, but then we were chilled so we retreated inside.  John is in need of a long hike.  He headed out on the trails for an 8 mile hike, I stayed at the cow did some reading and practiced my harmonica.  Later in the afternoon we headed to Windstar Casino for a couple hours.  We broke even and had a nice time.

This morning is cool about 60 degrees, damp and overcast.  We sat outside and overlooked the lake and watched the birds in our feeder.  We headed over to the Lake Murray Golf Course around 1pm for 18 holes.  We had the course to ourselves.  There were a few sprinkles here and there but no big deal.  Afterwards, we came back to the cow and had some cocktails and sat overlooking the lake.  Our neighbor, Bob stopped by to talk.  He was originally from Minnesota, but hated the cold weather and now lives in Dallas TX, just about 90 miles from here.
11   We were ready for a hike.  There is a trail that runs right through our campground so we started with that.  We did about a 2 mile loop.  We wanted to get it in early before the severe storms arrived.  We knew it was going to be rainy and windy, so we headed to investigate our area.  The state park were at has 9 campground and a lodge area with cabins.  We headed to the lodge area to check it out and see what’s there.  It’s really quite now and not much going on until after Memorial Day.  From here, we headed to the town of Ardmore just about 8 miles away.  There is a main drag with stores, but not much in the main downtown area.  The big storms are on there way, so we hunkered down in the cow and did some reading.  Luckily, the really bad storms past just to our East.  From the cow we got a great lightning storm show.  We still had some wind and lots of rain, but it was kinda nice.  We haven’t been in a thunder and lighting storm in a long time.

   10   On the Road Again.  Today we left from Ajax LA and ended up at Lake Murray State Park near Ardmore OK.  Joy and TJ from Lazy Lakes suggested this campground.  We got set up at Elephant Rock Camping area in site 40.  Our site is right on the lake.  We had a beautiful sunset right from our campsite.
9   It’s time to start heading north.  We are “On the Road Again’.  We left Bayou Segnette State Park just outside of New Orleans around 7am and got to Ajax Louisiana around noon.  After we got all set up we took a drive into Natchitoches.  This is considered one of the best small towns to live in and also the movie “Steel Magnolias” was filmed here.  We walked around the town which the main street has a river walk on one side.  We were ready for a cold one and a snack.  We stopped at a little pub at the end of town and had a couple cold ones and shared a meat pie.  When we got back to Ajax Country Livin RV Park, we took a nice walk around the lake and checked out the purple martins and the nesting killdeers.  This is just a laid back little campground in the middle of no where, but it was perfect for and overnight on our journey.
 8   Today is our pre-departure day, so that means domestic stuff.  We got our laundry, gas and groceries.  Got most stuff packed up and ready to hit the road early tomorrow.

Today we are heading to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest.  It’s held at the Fairgrounds Race Course.  Jazz Fest is only during the day 11am – 7pm and runs 6 days over two weekends ending around Mothers Day.  They normally get around 100k people per day attending so parking is a premium and hard to find.  We met some people in the French Quarter the other day and they advised us to park at the Langsford School on Trafalger St for 20.00.  It worked out perfect.  Advance tickets are 45.00 per day or 60.00 at the gate.  We met someone with one unused ticket so we got one for 60 and one for 45.
Jimmy Buffett is playing at 515pm and the music starts at 11am on 12 stages.  We brought our chairs and set up near the Acura Stage.  Even though we arrived shortly after the gates opened, we are still back a ways from the stage.  We met our neighbors, Madelyn and Chuck.  They have been coming to Jazz Fest for 15 years.  We stayed by our chairs for a while until the area around us filled up.  Today is a perfect day for Jazz Fest, about 88 degrees, sunny, slight breeze and a few puffy clouds.
We took a walk around the fest to check out the other stages.  First we stopped at the New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage.  Jeffery Broussard and the Creole Cowboys are playing.  They are a Zydeco Cajun band.  From here we continued on and found the Gentilly Stage.  R. Scully’s Rough 7 is currently on stage.  They are like a folk, rock, jazz band.  Now we moseyed on to the Jazz and Heritage Stage.  There was a colorful group on stage.  The Black Feathers Mardi Gras Indians.  Just like there name, their music was the Mardi Gras Cajun.  We were heading back to our area and saw the Blues Tent.  We didn’t want to go under the tent but the music was calling us in.  Troy Turner was performing and him and his band was really good blues.  It was getting hot outside and they had little water misters in the tent so it was a nice break with great music.
We headed back to our chairs and Marcia Ball was getting ready to go on.  We were told she is a really good blues musician on the piano and vocals.  We really enjoyed her music she really got the crowd going.  They play her on sirus radio on BB Kings Blues channel.
Next up is a local group that was started to benefit the wetlands around the gulf coast area.  They are known as the Voice of the Wetlands All Stars and some of the musicians are: Tab Benoit, Anders Osborne, George Porter Jr, Monk Boudreaux, Jonny Vidocovich, Waylon Thibodeaux and Johnny Sansone.  They were excellent.
Then Allen Toussaint took the stage.  He is a local legend and has played with Jimmy Buffett before.  Buffett did come on stage during one of his songs but only for a minute.
Now it’s time for Jimmy.  As for most of Jimmy Buffett’s concerts, almost everyone stood and danced for the whole time.  Since he was playing at Jazz Fest in addition to his signature songs, he played songs relating to the gulf coast area.  Then we got a big treat, he brought Allen Toussaint and Jessie Winchester on stage.  Both Allen and Jessie have written songs that Jimmy plays.  Allen is on keyboards and Jessie on vocals.  We had a great time and will probably have to come back to Jazz Fest again.
6   After all our walking yesterday, and a lot tomorrow, we decided to hang around the campground today.  John still needed to walk, so he took a long walk around the campground and hiking trail.

This morning we enjoyed coffee outside watching the rabbits, cardinals and other birds.  After breakfast we headed out to explore.  We are about 7 miles from Algiers which is right across the Mississippi River from New Orleans.  There is a free ferry you can take from Algiers to New Orleans.  This way we don’t need to worry about parking Big Red and we get a nice ferry ride twice a day.  With all the rain up north, the river is already high and expected to get 3-4 feet higher in the next week or so.
We got off at the ferry terminal in New Orleans at Canal St. and started our way into the French Quarter.  We moseyed down Peters and then Decatur.  We stopped at Jackson Square and at Café Du Monde for some café au lait and beignets.  We continued on to the market area and Margaritaville.  We got some info on their entertainment and happy hour.
We headed for Bourbon Street.  It’s still early around 3pm and there is some music but more in an hour or so.  We checked out where the blues and zydeco music would be.  We got to Canal and turned around to head for Café Beignet a little outside patio with a 3 piece jazz band.  We had a couple beers and enjoyed the music.  Then we moseyed on down Bourbon to Ritas Tequila House.  It’s Cinco de Mayo and when we passed by before, they gave us a mini margarita, so we decided to stop for a couple more.  Back on Bourbon, we stopped at Bourbon Heat for a beer to go and then stopped at a little bar that had a great Zydeco band playing.
When they took a break, we continued on to the Funky Pirate.  They have a 4 piece Blues band playing and the place was not crowded at all.  I don’t know why, the music was great and good drink specials.  Fine with us.  When they finished, we headed back to Margaritaville for some munchies and more music.  We looked for Jimmy Buffett, but we didn’t see him.  After a long day and lots of walking, we walked back to the ferry terminal along the waterfront and through Woldenberg Park.  We took the ferry and saw the New Orleans skyline at night.
4   This morning we are “On the Road” again.  Today we are only going about 90 miles from Gulfport MS to New Orleans LA.  We are staying on the west bank across from New Orleans in Westwego at the Bayou Segnette State Park.  We had a nice easy drive and got all set up by around 2pm.  We took a long walk around the campground and part of the park.  We walked to the nature center and pond and will do the hiking trail in the next few days.
3    We have some rain coming in and need to do our pre-departure stuff since were back “On the Road” again tomorrow.  We took a long walk around the campground.

More domestic stuff this morning.  Then we headed back to Island View Casino.  Last time they were good to us and we each got a 10.00 free play voucher for today so we want to go parlay it.  We got to play in a slot tournament.  We had a good time today and broke even and got a buffet dinner out of it.  So far, we like this casino.

Today we had a cow day.  John washed Big Red and we both did research for our upcoming summer season.  We set up a reservation for South Dakota in June.  Quite a few campgrounds are already booked up, so were glad we got it done.  Then we enjoyed some reading and a nice steak dinner.