Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Break - LA and TX bound!

I pulled the Scamp out early and stored it in a storage building for a month because I was worried it would get snowed in out in my pole barn.  Good decision as snow and cold temps preceded my trip.

I took the car and trailer through a car wash to start the trip clean.  One mile after starting the Scamp looked like this.

I washed the car and trailer three times in three days.  I wasn't taking "no junk" down South.  I headed towards Chicago and then I-57 to I-55 and across I-10 to Lafayette, LA.  I crossed the Mississippi River three times.  Maybe I better play three when I hit a casino!

* Remember you can click on any picture you want to enlarge!

The first day, I drove from 11:00 am until 9:45 pm.  I only made 507 miles and I stopped at Walmart to buy some supplies.  Have you heard of Boondocking?  Well, the store manager allows overnight RV parking.  So I was "Wallydocking".

I bought $40 of supplies and pulled the trailer over to the far side with another trailer.  I was up and out by 6:00 am.  After I crossed into Mississippi, Molly and Joey called and said to keep driving and try to make it because a bad storm was heading across LA.  I drove 14 hours and made 827 miles, arriving in Lafayette at the end of my second day.  Pulling the trailer, I tried to keep my speed around 60 mph.

Molly had a work day so Joey and I went to get scaffolding to paint his apartments.  We got some paint and drove over and set up the scaffold.  The painter would start the next day. Then it was off to lunch.

This plate lunch had blackened catfish with crawfish etouffee, sweet potato, and roll.  This more than I eat for supper! 

We took Molly out for a smoothie supper!  I didn't know smoothies were for supper!

Molly and Joey moved into to this condo 2 years ago.  Molly is quiting her job on April 15 to travel for a year.  They are planning to be in Europe in May.

Wait,  first we had smoothies and then for dessert we had frozen yogurt!  It is hard to remember what we ate but I remember the frozen yogurt shop.

They had about 10 different machines featuring many flavors that you self-served.  You could add any topping and then you paid by weight.......... not your weight, the weight of the cup of yogurt.

Joey and I drove over to get homemade, fresh Boudin.  It is warm and spicy!

This is not what you think!  It is sausage!!!!  You can get it in LA and TX!

The next day we drove to Crowley, the Rice Capital of the USA. Joey was invited to the local elementary school to do 5 or 6 readings.

Joey was a big hit with the kids.  They enjoyed having someone new read to them.  When Joey asked if they had any questions, one kid said "I have a dog!" 

We were thirsty and just had to hit a LA tradition   A drive-thru Daiquiri shop.

What an idea!  You can't be drunk and drive but you can drive and drink a Daiquiri!

There was one more thing I wanted to have before I left for Texas.  I wanted to eat something that crawled around in the mud!  Every rice farmer flooded his field after the rice harvest and low and behold....crawfish!

This is a 40# sack of crawfish that costs about $2.50 / #.

We got the boiler going as I washed the crawfish in a tub.

This is to purge the crawfish clean before their steam bath.

Slap Your Mama is the boil seasoning that Joey uses.

Everyone loves a crawfish boil!  I wanted to eat all of them but we had left-over crawfish for two more days!

Off to Texas to fish.  I stopped at Goose Island State Park and set up in a tent site.  All the RV sites by the water were taken.  They have a free fishing pier that I tried.

Not much luck!  I talked to the other fisherman and they all seemed to be from "Up North".  "You should have been here last week or yesterday".  Two days here and then on the road.

Next it was off to Matagorda Nature Center.  It is hard to drive along the Gulf Coast in Texas.  I had to drive for 3-4 hours just to go up the coast a few miles.  No roads go right along the coast.


Everywhere I park, I find big RVs right next to me.  This is a very nice park. The beach is nice and they have two fishing piers.

I only caught a few whiting but I enjoyed trying.  You can see my Scamp in the background.  I used shrimp for bait.  If you don't catch anything, you can eat the bait!

Speaking of eating, this is my favorite store in Texas - HEB!  Lots of neat stuff!
Back to fishing from this pier.  They had two large green lights that you could turn on a timer at night to lure in the fish.  I tried it.  It didn't work for me!  I think live shrimp would be better bait but I couldn't find any bait stores close to where I camped.

Speaking of eating, I almost forgot this. The Kolache Factory had great fruit and breakfast rolls.

These were right next to the Marble Slab Creamery.  Ah, the memories.........

Then it was off to Galveston Bay.  I tried to get into Galveston Bay State Park but it was full.

I pulled the Scamp right on the beach.  You could drive along certain sections but you couldn't camp there.
I flew my kite in Lafayette but should have pulled it out for the beach.  The water was dirty out 300-400 yards! The recent storm had it roiled up.

Had a great seafood chowder for lunch and got caught in the rain.  After a mad race to the trailer resulted in getting soaking wet, I hopped into the Scamp and took off my wet clothes.  I hopped in bed and read for 45 minutes while the rain pounded on the roof of the trailer.  It was cozy and I thought about staying the rest of the day but it was only 1:30 pm!

Time to leave Texas and head for Toledo Bend and Kenny's camp.  Kenny is Joey's brother and he loves to fish.  It was a long trip over because I followed the GPS which insisted on taking me North instead of East.  I did drive some back roads across Texas towards LA.  I started to worry about having car trouble or trailer problems but it went slow and steady until I saw the signs for the state park.  I knew Kenny's was just around the corner.  I planned on arriving about 4:30 but it was closer to 6:00 pm so we didn't fish.

This is the view towards the lake.  The water level is down 8 feet and Kenny had to launch at the state park ramp.  Out front you can see the stumps.  I wanted to fish right there but that would wait until the next day.  I parked the Scamp and unhooked my Explorer. 

This is Kenny's 19" bass boat with a 175 hp Mercury motor.  He has a new bow mounted trolling motor to position us just right for fishing.  It is a sweet rig for the big lake.  We drove over 10 miles down lake to fish and the boat just flies along.

This is my Toledo Bend Bass Fishing guide, Kenny!  A couple of 4 # bass.

Now it is time to fish.  We head out by 8:30 am for the day.  Kenny's truck doesn't start.  It has two batteries but one seems low.  I jumpstart it with my car and follow Kenny to the launch.  For the next three days this is the plan.

It is jump it at home and jump it when we return to the launch.  Not too bad now but in two days the Texas Oilman Bass Tournament starts with 500 boats!  Hope we can get in and out without too much problems.

The low water level had all the tree stumps showing.  There were white plastic pipes marking the deep channel for the boats.  It was like a highway lane with intersections that you had to follow to keep away from the stumps.

Kenny used a Carolina rigged lizard or an orange Rattle Trap to catch the bass up near the bank.  I threw a jig and twister tail.  Kenny caught more bass!

We would fish for bass and then move up into the stumps and try for crappie and/or bass.  I started getting crappie on a white tube jig under a bobber.  These were 1 1/2# crappie!  We got 2 keeper bass and 8 throw-back bass and 8 huge crappie the first day.

The live well of the boat was filling up! Soon it was to become ..LOADED!

We fished until 6:30 pm and then came back to camp.  The trailer on Kenny's property is old but he has started putting in new wood flooring and wallboard.  The place is very comfortable.

After we got back,I started to cook dinner. What shall we have?

Two T-Bone steaks with steamed vegetables.  I marinated the steaks in Italian dressing and some Tony Chachere's seasoning sprinkled on top.

The next day we fished 8:30 am until 7:30 pm. We packed sandwiches , bananas, and water.

We got one keeper bass and 22 large crappie! ( "sac-a-lait"  in Cajun).  We flied them up and packed them for the freezer.

We had shrimp etouffee using Grandma Webb's recipe for crawfish etouffee.

You brown green pepper and onion in butter and add a can of Cream of Mushroom soup.  Then you add some Tony Chachere's on top.  Yummy!

Next day we were out again but a cold front was moving in. We fished the shoreline and Kenny lost a huge bass after a big jump.  The crappie went on the stealth mode and we had to work them to get 9 big ones.  I lost about three or four rigs and was down to my last jig and tube.  We got 4 bass and 9 crappie the last day. I had paid $10/day  for a fishing license to fish here and wanted to stay but it was time to head back up north.

I'll never forget my fishing trip with Kenny.  I learned some bass tricks from Kenny and I showed him my crappie tricks. 

The sun was setting as we prepared to trailer the boat for the last time.  Kenny said he was coming back next week to fish again.  I sure wish I could be there with him.

This was our last day's catch.   Not as many as the day before but a fun day on the Toledo Bend.

The next morning we cleaned up camp and packed for the trip. I jump started the truck and we parted ways.  I headed north towards I-20 and Kenny headed south towards I-10.

I made it to Missouri the first night and stayed at a rest area.  I hit I-55 north and then I-57 towards Chicago.  As I entered Michigan it started to rain,.  Little did I know what weather awaited me.

Here I m am safe and sound back home.  It was a 3 week, 3762 mile trip and without any car or trailer problems.  The snow was melting and almost gone.  I made a path back to my pole barn and put the Scamp away for  a while.

This is three days after my return to Wellston.  We got 10"of snow overnight.  I got the snowblower out and cleaned out the driveway.  In the afternoon we had a white-out!  This is my front yard and driveway.  I shoulda stayed in Louisiana!   Where is that darn Phil?  I'm gonna ring his neck if he sees his shadow next year!