Published: February 24th 2013January 25th 2013
Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 Clarkston, GA
Starting mileage is 35,028 at 2:00pm on this cold [46 degrees] windy day as we head out for Texas.
Those of you who have been following this blog, may remember that we had planned to head along the Rio GrandeValley from Padre Island to El Paso, Texas on our trip west to California. However, by April, when we were in Galveston the temps south were already reaching the 90+ mark and we decided to rethink our route west and postponed birding along the Rio Grande until January. Many [most of you :) ?] wonder why in the world we would even think about birding in that area of the US---hot, desert, boring flat land, filled with rattlesnakes and illegal immigrants. Well, the reason is simple: there are at least 40 species of birds that are found nowhere else in the US except along this border and several World Heritage Birding Sites are located here. Many of the birds we had seen pictures of looked really lovely, like a green jay or very interesting like the so called "Mexican Eagle" or crested caracara.
So, after filling our gas tank at Kroger for $2.99
per gal and our propane tank at the U-Haul on Memorial Drive that week and filling Rosie's freezer that morning, we were ready to hit the freeways. We took I-285 to I-85 to I-65 south at Montgomery. Cops out really heavy along the route with many trucks, surprisingly, stopped. Saw three does eating grass along the interstate and hoped they jump back over the fence before they got hit.
We expected the temps to be in the freezing range or below so we decided to head south until we were too tired to drive anymore or a half hour before sunset. We decided to stop at a Comfort Inn in Evergreen, Alabama for the first night out. First room we checked into we thought just had a light out, but it turned out to be dead plugs on the whole side of the room so, we changed rooms. We had dinner at a Waffle House next door that wasn't up to their usual standards--so cold out, we actually drove next door.
Wednesday, January 23rd--Comfort Inn, Evergreen, Alabama
53 degrees, cloudy and cold. No need to put Valerie's cokes in the refrig.
Continued south on
I-65 to Mobile and then took I-10 toward Baton Rouge. Had lunch in Rosie at the WelcomeCenter in Mississippi. Got only a few miles along before we were brought up real short with Rosie chiming insistently—finally figured out that she also needed fuel. Obviously, we stopped at the first off-ramp we came to. She took 27.60 gals at $3.20 per gal. for a total of $88.60. Boy, that was close! Also bought some bottled water as they had the small bottles for $2.99 for a 20 pack which is cheaper that we could purchase water by the gallon. We had winterized Rosie with anti-freeze before we left and, therefore, were not using her water tanks this trip. Turned onto I-12 at about Slidell, LA and arrived at the Fontainebleau State Park, where we had stayed before. $22 per night with full hook-ups and WiFi.
Thursday, January 24th--Fontainebleau State Park, Mandeville, LA
60 degrees at 9:24 this morning. Starting mileage was 35,515.
Lots of birds out and had a bluebird sit on Rosie's mirror this morning. Had a second breakfast at a Micky D's we passed and then drove through the very pretty, quaint, old town of Madisonville. Many doors had really lovely Madri Gras wreaths or other decorations on them. The port town was founded in 1800 and is located on the banksof the Tchefuncte River, near where the river enters Lake Pontchartrain.
Stopped just east of Baton Rouge to shop at a huge Sam's club next to a very large Pro Bass store that even has a restaurant in it. Bought a rotisserie chicken, some snacks, and other items before continuing on I-12 and then back to I-10 at Baton Rouge. Stopped at the AtchafalayaNationalWildlifeWelcomeCenter to eat lunch. Really nice facility highlighting the over one million acres that has been preserved along the Atchafalaya River Basin and into the Gulf. They had WiFi and allowed you to stay overnight with 24-hour security.
Drove to Lake Charles and crossed over the bridge to the Isle of Capri Casino that sits on the lake. Settled into the parking lot for a free night's stay.