Some scenes around New Orleans

New Orleans is a remarkable city with seemingly unlimited visual scenes. Here are some photos that we took during our first day in The Big Easy.

New Orleans is celebrating it’s 300th birthday during 2018.

For some reason, only mules are used to pull the carriages that drive around the town.

The window display at Rev. Zombie’s Voodoo Shop.

Above ground tombs in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Only tour groups are allowed into the cemetery to help control vandalism

Bourbon Street in New Orleans, known for music, food and revelry. Note the famed balcony iron work in the background


Our first day in New Orleans

Today was our first day in New Orleans. Even though our KOA campground offers a free shuttle to the French Quarter at 9 AM, we decided to have a relaxing morning and take our time in leaving. We used Uber and went down to the Gumbo Shop restaurant for lunch. (I’ll have a review up later.)

Some talented street musicians played some great jazz

Have to admit I’ve never seen a Voodoo Shop before

After lunch we strolled down around the French Quarter. If was fun stopping in some of the shops along the way. In addition, we saw some street performers. Several musicians were playing some great jazz. A street “mime” was striking a pose and holding it until someone dropped money into his bucket!

The classic iron railings on the balconies of the French Quarter

The residents of this second floor apartment have their balcony decorated for Mardis Gras

We had also made reservations for a “Cemetery and Voodoo” tour. This 2 1/2 hour bus/walking tour was put on by the huge tour company Gray Line. We were fortunate in that only two other couples had tickets, thus there were only 6 of us on the tour. Our tour guide was very good, and with just three couples on board it was almost like having our own private tour. Seeing the famous St. Louis Cemetery with its above ground tombs was spectacular. More to come later  about this tour!

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, now open only to registered tour groups because of vandalism.

The placement of the structures make you feel as if you are in a maze

After our tour was finished we walked to the Cafe Du Monde, famous for coffee and those unique pastries called beignets, pronounced ben-yays. The coffee was super strong and good. The beignets were simple: fried dough smothered in powdered sugar. And they were indeed very, very good. We’ll let you know what else we see and do over the upcoming days.

Winter storms kept us from reaching New Orleans

With good intentions we left Austin striking out for New Orleans. However, old man winter threw a monkey wrench into not only our plans, but just about the entire eastern half of the country! On our way east, we had stopped at a couple of casinos in the Lake Charles, Louisiana area. We were beginning to hear about the potential for bad weather, so we decided to make another casino stop and see what developed.

The casino is worth a stop. On Tuesday they offer their huge buffet to seniors (55+) for just $5.50. Can’t beat that!

The Coushatta Casino in Kinder is north of I-10. Not only is it very large (100,000 square feet according to the casino website) but is has an excellent RV park. The sites are all concrete, level and with full hookups including cable and a strong WiFi. Yes, I said a strong, reliable WiFi service! A shuttle bus will pick you up at your site for transport to and from the casino. And for only $22 a night, it is a great value.

The RV park was covered with a sheet of ice. You can see the sleet/snow falling. I took this picture from our RV.

The day after the storm hit at night, I-10 was closed in many spots from Lake Charles to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. What a mess! There was a sheet of ice throughout the RV park, and the shuttles had to take it very slowly. The temperature dipped to about 15 degrees. I-10 is closed again tonight, so we will have to decide if we need another night here at the casino.


Good bye Austin, New Orleans here we come

We said goodbye to family this morning and headed east. Our original plan was to drive to Lake Charles, Louisiana and stay at a casino tonight. On the way we made some cool stops, saw some neat things, and we ended up deciding to stop at the Rio RV Park again for the night. (See our review of Rio RV here.)

Burton, Texas train depot. Built in 1898 to the specifications of the Southern Pacific Railroad, this structure replaced the original from 1870 that had burned.

Neat old building with signage stating “Burton Auto Co.”. Might have been an early gas station.

Burton Farmers (Cotton) Gin built in 1914. Originally steam powered, it continued in operation until 1974.

New Mural in Brenham, Texas

Detail of mural painting

Built in 1870 for prominent banker, lawyer and landowner Jabez Giddings, this historic mansion in Brenham is known as the Giddings-Stone house.

Blue Corn Harvest Bar and Grill is a near perfect casual dining experience

The Austin, Texas area is home to many great restaurants. Cedar Park is home to the Blue Corn Harvest Bar and Grill. This causual dining restaurant offers both inside and, weather permitting, outside dining under the canopy of beautiful trees. Using local sourced ingredients whenever possible, the menu features varied items with a definite Southwestern flair.

Casual and comfortable dining room.

We dined with our family at the Cedar Park location. (A second location is in Georgetown, Texas.) Between the five of us we enjoyed a nice variety of menu items. All of the entrees were delicious, and portion sizes were larger than your average restaurant. Of note was the chicken fried chicken which I enjoyed. What a large portion, with delicious veggies and terrific mashed potatoes! Corn bread muffins, moist and sweet, were kept on the table at all times.

Grilled farm fresh vegetables and New Mexico cilantro cilantro pesto.

Grilled chicken breast stuffed with crab meat, jack cheese and sweet roasted peppers with Cajun cream sauce, cheddar seared potato cake and farm fresh vegetables.

Chicken with peppered gravy, mashed potatoes and farm fresh vegetables.

The service was excellent, and our meals were delivered in a very short time. This is most definitely a must dine spot in the Austin area for anyone who wants to enjoy a great meal at a great price. The quality of the food is really superb and the presentation is great. Get there early or make reservations. We were lucky and arrived before the evening crowd and were seated immediately, and shortly thereafter there was a considerable wait for other patrons arriving after us. Five stars for Blue Corn Harvest Bar and Grill. Here is the website for you to check out.

We enjoyed a nice day in downtown Austin

With temperatures in the low 60’s and partly sunny skies we had a great day to tour Austin. Fortunately we were able to find acceptable parking for our RV enabling walking jaunts for photo ops. Below are some of the results.

The awesome Texas State Capitol building in the heart of Austin

Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium has been home to the University of Texas at Austin Longhorns football team since 1924

The Santa Rita No. 1 oil rig first pumped oil in 1923. The rig was re-erected in 1958 on the University of Texas campus.

Grave of a Confederate veteran of the Civil War in the historic Oakwood Cemetery in downtown Austin. The grave of Sam Houston is here, as are other famous Texans.

Bishop’s Palace in Galveston Texas is remarkable

Known as Bishop’s Palace, this Victorian style mansion was originally the home of Josephine and Walter Gresham. Gresham was a railroad magnate and hired famed architect Nicholas Clayton to design the home. The structure was completed in 1892, and it survived the disastrous 1900 hurricane.

From 1923 until the 1960’s the house was used as the residence of the Bishop of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese. It is now owned by the Galveston Historical Foundation. Guided and self guided tours are available for an admission fee.

Sandpiper RV Resort on Stewart Beach at Galveston Texas

You can’t miss the Sandpiper RV Resort after you get off the free ferry and drive towards Seawall Blvd. Sher and I saw the large sign for the park as we headed towards a local CVS store.

When I stopped later at the office, a very nice fellow told me that yes, they did have a back in space available. At $40 (using a 10% senior discount) we decided to stay, considering that I was told that the park WiFi had been upgraded last summer and was very strong.

Paved roads, level concrete pads.

This is a nice park. The sites are all on concrete with paved roads. It has full hook-ups including cable TV and the so-called upgraded WiFi. Yes, that is our only complaint about this park. When we were able to connect to one of the several routers, the load speeds were very slow, and connections kept cutting out. This was very disappointing as the office had said the WiFi was strong.

If you don’t care about having good WiFi then staying at Sandpiper RV Resort is a decent choice.

On the road to Galveston, Texas via the Bolivar Peninsula

Today we headed to Galveston Island from the town of Winnie, home to the large flea market known as Larry’s Trading Days. The direct route took us down to the Bolivar Peninsula, a very narrow spit of land with the Gulf on one side. Most of the way the road ran right next to the Gulf shore.

We stopped at the sign for a historical marker and ended up at a fascinating park that was once an artillery battery that was built in 1925. Fort Travis had several gun emplacements and several magazines.

There’s our RV on the ferry

View of Galveston from the ferry

We then went on down to the free ferry that runs daily from the south end of Bolivar across the water to Galveston Island. We had a little delay for the ferry, as we did not make the cut for the first ferry that came to the dock and had to wait for the second ferry boat. The ferry ride was really pretty cool as we saw lots of large ocean going cargo ships.

This is a Pilot boat that leads the huge cargo ships in and out of the harbor

Sher and I are planning on seeing the sights here in Galveston for at least a day or two. We’ll let you know what we see, and we’ll give you all another campground review as well.