Mar 04

There and Back!

Dateline Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

The blog below was written as we left Arizona on our way East to Florida.  We expected smooth driving and warming temperatures, however, today Monday March 4, we are iced in at Poche’s Fish-N-Camp RV Resort in Breaux Bridge, waiting for the ice to melt so we can continue to New Orleans!

Ice on the RVInterstate 10, the major Highway East, was closed this morning between where we are and Baton Rouge due to ice .  This morning our Toyota 4Runner and RV Trailer were covered in ice, the grass crunched underfoot, the picnic tables had icicles hanging from them and the trees where white.  This is a typical Southern USA ice storm and we are not too keen to move on until the temperatures rise above freezing and we can safely travel!

We arrived in the Hill Country last week too early for the bluebonnets.  It was cold and raining at Luckenbach so we had our ‘long neck’ while sitting in front of a heater in the bar. But the time we spent with friends in Sealy, Texas, made up for it all.  The weather cleared enough for us to enjoy a full day being chauffeured around the beautiful countryside and unique towns surrounding Sealy.  We stopped for lunch at Round Top’s famous restaurant, Royer'sRoyers, known for their amazing pies.  Our main course was so good – and big – that we didn’t have room to sample a pie!  You could spend a month in the restaurant just looking at the walls which are covered with photos, letters, posters …. you name it!  It’s a local hang-out as well as a must stop for visitors!  The town hosts music festivals, antique and art shows which attract people from near and far.  Round Top is the kind of place one can so easily miss unless a ‘local’ introduces you to its many charms.

With that little update, here is the blog as written when leaving Phoenix:

After almost eight months on the road our compass is now set towards the East!  When we started on our RV Trailer journey from Florida in June 2013 we had no idea where “There” would be … but we did know where “Back” would be!

“There” turned out to be the Phoenix Metropolitan area in Arizona where we spent three months as “Winter Visitors” enjoying somewhat balmy weather (the Canadians loved it!) The Valley is a vast area of 16,573 sq. miles (37,744 sq. km) with a permanent population of over  4 million people (according to a 2010 survey) that swells by some 45,000 when the “Winter Visitors” start to arrive in November and stay until the end of April and into May.   Statistics for the 2012/2013 season show gross sales of $24.6 Billion for lodging, restaurants, retail and amusements, so you can see why  the State loves its “Winter Visitors”!

P1110989Our three months there were memorable for many reasons. Bill was able to spend quality time with a friend of his from the early years in Michigan.  They are both car nuts and the two guys spent time talking about “the good old days”, working on restoring two 1962 Plymouths and a 1956 Thunderbird as well as showcasing his friend’s beautiful 1937 Ford at local car shows.  The relationship became a little more competitive when they raced at the Go Kart Race Track and “Billy Bob” finished with a better score!  Bill and his friend convinced two couples from Michigan (more car nuts!) to spend a week in the Phoenix area.  More car shows for the boys, a spa day and relaxing around the pool for the girls and much laughter reliving the old times!  We were sad to see them go and they were not looking forward to going back to frigid temperatures after a week in the warmth of the southwest.

Priscilla reconnected with a long-time girlfriend now living in Scottsdale and enjoyed time reminiscing about ‘the good old days in Dallas’ and enjoying Thai and Indian meals together!

 The best way to explore an area is to have ‘native speaking’ guides!  We were lucky our friends had lived there for over 30 years and know the area intimately. They gave us guided tours of several sites and recommended many others.  Because of this we were able to get an insider’s feel for the area.   What a gift!  The only problem was that we were so busy we didn’t  find the time to blog about our experiences.

We also met some great people at the RV Resort who made sure we felt welcome the moment we arrived.  The Countryside RVmajority of the residents spend 4 to 6 months each year at the Resort, returning to their homes ‘up north’ for the summer months.  Some drive their RVs and park onsite, while others settle into a Park Model that they own or rent.  Most of the people we met were from Western Canada and the Western US States.  We were the only people from Florida and got used to fielding the question: “Florida?  What are you doing here?!” Our answer was always:  “We took a wrong turn!”

Three months sounds like a long time for us to stay in one place but all too soon we were saying our “Goodbyes” to old and new friends.  To be honest, we both felt emotionally drained as we drove away and yet we knew that over the horizon lay another adventure for us.  We just had to make it to the first stop, Benson, Arizona, some 160 miles down the road!  But that will wait for another time. We will return to Arizona in future blogs to share our experiences there … some of them high on our “favorite places” list!


For now, we want you to know we are headed back to Florida and our route will take us along I-10 for the most part.  We’ll make a brief trip across the border to Mexico and then spend a week (or more!) crossing the great State of Texas!  Although not on the National Register, our goal is to stop at Luckenbach to enjoy a long neck under the tree and listen to some good ole country and western music!  Of course, this all depends on the weather, which has not been South-friendly this winter!  We’ll visit  friends in Sealy, Texas, just West of Houston, and we hope the blue bonnets will be out in the Hill Country.

cafe du monde

We can’t drive past New Orleans without stopping for a Café au Lait and Beignets at the Café du Monde  plus enjoying some excellent gumbo, Étouffée and, of course, Jazz on Bourbon Street!  So a couple of days there is on the cards.  After that we figure we should check out Florida’s State Capitol, Tallahassee, and maybe see if any of our elected officials are actually working!  Who knows … we may be surprised?!

Once we are back in Florida we’ll share some memories of our trip as we “Look through our Rear View Mirror”.   What an amazing nine months it has been!  Everywhere we went we encountered another unforgettable experience, met interesting people, learned about different lifestyles and we realize that if we traveled this great country for the next ten years we’d still be learning and appreciating.

So what’s next for us once we get Back?  Even we don’t know!  But we do know that something will present itself and we’ll be off exploring new territories and pushing ourselves to do more and learn more about this country and the world around us.  So stay tuned!

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