Gut-Check Tour – Day 7

This entry is part of a series recounting our experiences on a two-week RV trip we took to southern Mississippi, Alabama and northern Florida. The goal of this trip was to test ourselves, our two cats, and our rig to make sure we all have what it takes to be full-timers. While we posted highlights of our trip on Instagram and Facebook, these entries are some behind-the-scenes notes on our trip and experiences.

Friday, April 13, 2018 – Escapees Rainbow Plantation RV Park, Summerdale, Alabama

Today was another moving day as we left Biloxi and drove east on I-10, past Mobile, into rural south Alabama. We are staying for the next three nights at the Escapees Rainbow Plantation Park near Summerdale.

Gutcheck Map move to Rainbow Plantation

We didn’t leave the RV park in Biloxi until almost 11:00. Andy wanted to take a shower before leaving, and I took time to do a little house-cleaning. It’s only about a 70 mile drive between the locations, so there was no need to be in a hurry.

We stopped along the way at the Alabama Welcome Center where we parked in the lot with the semi trucks and had lunch of salad and black beans. I picked up some brochures of things to do in the area, mainly because the nice hostess just insisted that I take them. I haven’t even looked at them yet.

We got to Rainbow Plantation about 2:30 and checked in to site #59. The sites are large and pretty level, and they’re mostly grass and sand. We’re right next to a big oak tree that offers a lot of shade, but not directly over the RV. We have full hookups, but no picnic table or fire-ring. But we’re only paying $22/night, so that’s not bad. There are two bars of Verizon service, but it’s on the slow side.

They have a pool and a large clubhouse. There are two separate unisex showers, which seems a little skimpy for such a large campground. However, a lot of the units here are permanent or seasonal residents, and I doubt they have any use for those showers.

We got set up pretty quickly and then just relaxed under the awning with a beer. I fixed a brown rice salad and some baked tofu for dinner (tofu was a little salty), and then we just stayed in for the evening.

The weather is supposed to get pretty nasty with strong thunderstorms tomorrow evening, into Sunday morning. It’s supposed to be really windy all day tomorrow. There’s already a flash flood watch out for this area. We had talked about going in to town to listen to Kyle play, but we’ll have to see what the weather looks like.

Gut-Check Tour – Day 6

This entry is part of a series recounting our experiences on a two-week RV trip we took to southern Mississippi, Alabama and northern Florida. The goal of this trip was to test ourselves, our two cats, and our rig to make sure we all have what it takes to be full-timers. While we posted highlights of our trip on Instagram and Facebook, these entries are some behind-the-scenes notes on our trip and experiences.

Thursday, April 12, 2018 – Cajun RV Park, Biloxi, Mississippi

We had another fun day today.

For once the cats didn’t wake me up at 4:30 AM like they have been. Instead my phone beeped at 6:30 AM when Mark sent me a text message. Nice to get to sleep a little later.

I had a breakfast of fruit and nuts with coffee. I did some cleaning in the RV and then we took turns taking hot showers in the park’s bathhouses. It was a nice perk for staying here.

We fixed a lunch of chopped salad and pinto beans. After cleaning the dishes we headed out to visit some casinos.

We parked at the Golden Nugget and went to that casino first. We signed up for players’ cards hoping to get some free play, but they require you to accumulate 100 points on your card (spend about $40) to get the $10 free play dollars.

We decided to just find some penny slots to play. Andy found a machine while I was still looking around, and since he didn’t know what he was doing he blew through a dollar in 5 plays (he was playing 20 lines instead of 1). I showed him how to play 1 penny at a time, and on his second dollar he won over $10. Lucky devil!

I played $10 and walked away with $1. But we both got free beers although I did tip the waiter $4.

Next we walked to Harrah’s and played $1 each there, and neither of us won anything. We signed up for their players card but they also did not offer free play.

After that we drove back up Beach Boulevard and parked at Hard Rock Casino. We went inside and immediately found a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop, so we had vegan ice cream.

We decided not to sign up for the players card at Hard Rock but just played our dollar each. We both wound up winning money, Andy more than me. I put in $5 (smallest bill I had) and walked away with $7.22. Andy put in $1 and walked away with over $4.

We came back to the RV and I fixed dinner while Andy sat outside reading. I made Wild Rodeo Salad with quinoa, and we ate it with blue corn chips and flour tortillas. After cleaning up the dinner dishes we walked several loops around the park for exercise.

The rest of the evening was spent in the RV. I did some route planning for tomorrow so we know where we’re going.

It looks like there’s going to be bad weather on Saturday, heavy rain with a risk of tornadoes. Not looking forward to that but glad it’s not a travel day.

Planning to pull out of here around 11 AM tomorrow to head to River Plantation, an Escapees Park in Summerdale, AL.

Gut-Check Tour – Day 5

This entry is part of a series recounting our experiences on a two-week RV trip we took to southern Mississippi, Alabama and northern Florida. The goal of this trip was to test ourselves, our two cats, and our rig to make sure we all have what it takes to be full-timers. While we posted highlights of our trip on Instagram and Facebook, these entries are some behind-the-scenes notes on our trip and experiences.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 – Cajun RV Park, Biloxi, MS

Yes, I’m still happy!

I was sad, however, to say goodbye to Paul B. Johnson State Park. That place is just beautiful, it’s quiet, well-maintained and a bargain at only $16/night with the senior discount, for full hookups. You can’t find that kind of deal just anywhere.

We got everything packed up and ready to go just before 11:00 A.M. It was easier to pack because we were only moving campsites–just had to make sure everything was secured enough to keep it from sliding around and/or breaking. We let the kitties ride free on this trip as it was just a little over an hour (without stops) from camp to camp.

We stopped in Wiggins so Andy could put gas in the RV. He put in 36.713 gallons at $2.299/gallon, for a total of $84.40. The odometer reading was 13026.1, and when I did the calculations, we found that we got 8.969 MPG on this last tank. That also includes our recent trip to Trace State Park. It’s much better than the mileage on the last tank since we didn’t have to spend fuel running the generator like we did when she was stored in the cold weather for so long.

Gutcheck Map move to Biloxi

We got to our new campground around 12:45 PM, got checked in to site #42, and then got hooked up quickly. The sites at this campground are close together, but right now there’s no one parked around us, and we have the benefit of a large shade tree. We were able to put out our awning over our picnic table for lunch, and it was wonderful! There was a cool breeze blowing, and the humidity is very low–not what we expected for the Gulf Coast. Such a nice surprise.

After we got cleaned up from lunch, we took a walk around the campground to check out the facilities. They have a pool and a guest lounge where there is free coffee and pastries available. Someone had started a jigsaw puzzle, and Andy and I finished it. We found the fire pits, the hammock, the rocking chairs, the beanbag toss, and the other amenities that they offer. Then we set out on a long walk on the beach which is just across the four-lane street from the campground. It’s not the best part of the Biloxi beach, and there aren’t any sidewalks along the beach like there are in Gulfport. But it was still a nice walk, although my feet were hurting by the time we got back from digging into the sand while trying to walk.

After we got back from our walk we rested up for a little bit and then we drove to WalMart Neighborhood Market to pick up some groceries for the next few days. That was the WORST self-checkout line I have ever been in. The machine was super slow and kept telling me that my avocados were “restricted”. But while we were there, we were able to refill our three empty water jugs for 87 cents. So that was worth the trip.

We had a glass of wine for happy hour on our front porch, and then had black bean burgers, baked beans and chips for dinner. The temperatures are very mild, should be some good sleeping weather although it is noisier here in this park. We’ve heard trains and police sirens, things that we haven’t heard in the past few nights in our quieter campground. Hopefully they won’t be too loud tonight.

I’m still loving this trip, and the longer it goes on, the harder I know it’s going to be to go back to work when it’s over. I’m ready to start doing this for real!

Gut-Check Tour – Day 4

This entry is part of a series recounting our experiences on a two-week RV trip we took to southern Mississippi, Alabama and northern Florida. The goal of this trip was to test ourselves, our two cats, and our rig to make sure we all have what it takes to be full-timers. While we posted highlights of our trip on Instagram and Facebook, these entries are some behind-the-scenes notes on our trip and experiences.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 – Paul B. Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

It’s been such a beautiful day!

I started out the day early this morning by setting up my GoPro to try and capture a time lapse of the sunrise. It was actually pretty non-eventful, but I did learn how to use the software to stitch almost 3000 photos together into a short video.

I did some research and located our first out-of-Mississippi destination. We have reservations at Rainbow Plantation near Summerdale, Alabama for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. It’s an Escapees park, so we got a rate of $21/night for full hookups, swimming pool, laundry, etc. While we’re in that area, we’re going to try and catch a performance by Kyle of Drivin’ and Vibin’ (YouTube favorites of ours), as he has gigs in the area each of those days.

After spending all that time on the computer, I took a long walk around the campground, and then came back and made homemade hummus for lunch. Andy cut up a bunch of raw veggies and we chowed down on a pretty healthy meal (except for the Nutter Butter cookies that I picked up a Walmart in Wiggins yesterday).

After cleaning up the dishes we spent the afternoon reading and enjoying the outdoor patio. Today’s weather was the best we’ve had since we’ve been on this trip, with highs in the low 70’s and just enough breeze to keep it comfortable. There are still rigs arriving and leaving, but it’s not nearly as crowded as it was over the weekend.

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Time for an afternoon nap. #rvlife #lifeisgood #vacation

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For dinner we had the leftover curry from Saturday night over a baked potato, and it was super yummy. And tonight we’re sitting here in the RV, listening to the geese and the crickets as the day draws to a close.

I’m going to hate leaving this place tomorrow, but I’m looking forward to spending a little time in Biloxi. We need to make a run to the grocery store for a few things (nothing urgent, but just to make sure we have what we need to fix the dishes I have on the menu). I think I’m still over-thinking the meal-planning, but I don’t get to cook very often and I like trying out new dishes with various spices. When Andy cooks for us at home, he keeps things very, very simple, and that’s fine; but I like to be a little more adventurous with my food when I have the opportunity.

So far this trip is only confirming that we definitely want to go full time in our RV, the sooner the better. Nothing has dissuaded us yet. 🙂

Gut-Check Tour – Day 3

This entry is part of a series recounting our experiences on a two-week RV trip we took to southern Mississippi, Alabama and northern Florida. The goal of this trip was to test ourselves, our two cats, and our rig to make sure we all have what it takes to be full-timers. While we posted highlights of our trip on Instagram and Facebook, these entries are some behind-the-scenes notes on our trip and experiences.

Monday, April 9 2018 – Paul B. Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

One day, this will be my full-time life.

We had the most awesome day today!

After having breakfast and using the campground showers, we left the kitties in the RV and drove down to Gulfport. We stopped in the downtown area which is a couple blocks north of Beach Boulevard, and we had lunch at Tony’s Brick Oven Pizzaria. We both ordered the lunch special which was two slices of cheese pizza and a side salad. The food was really good, but the service was very slow and inept (we weren’t the only ones that were unhappy about the wait).

After lunch we decided to walk around the downtown area for a little while. We explored Fishbone Alley, a tourist attraction made from an alleyway that has been paved with old bricks discovered after Hurricane Katrina destroyed downtown. We checked out the tile murals on the Hancock Bank. And then we found a great little authentic soda fountain and diner in the Triplett-Day Drug Store. It was so cool! Andy and I split a cherry sundae there.

From downtown Gulfport we drove east on Beach Boulevard, stopping at a lighthouse in Jones Park to check it out along with the marina. Next we pulled over on the side of the street and took a walk on the beach were we took what I believe is our best selfie ever.

We continued driving through Biloxi and found Cajun RV Park, which we decided on the spot would be our next destination. I called them to check availability for Wednesday and Thursday nights, and they said they could accommodate us.

We continued on to Ocean Springs and located the downtown area that has been turned into quaint little shops and restaurants, a full-fledged entertainment district. We looked around for a little bit but a lot of the shops were closed on Mondays. We were tempted by the pastry shop and the praline shop, but managed to avoid giving in.

We finally headed back north to the campground, stopping in Wiggins to pick up some toiletries that we needed, as well as a new box of wine. When we got here the kitties were fine, I don’t think they missed us at all.

For dinner I cooked a new dish, Spicy Jackfruit Tinga, in the Instant Pot. I added the leftover rice from our Saturday dinner, and we ate the dish in flour tortillas–pretty good, although not as thick and spicy as I had imagined it would be.

All day long, I just marveled at how nice it was to be so free and spontaneous. The walk on the beach in particular was one thing that just brought home to me the fact that by the end of this year, my life will be made up of days just like this one–exploring, taking our time, enjoying life with no time limits or restrictions–I can hardly wait!