We made our NOLA base at New Orleans West KOA

We had never been to  New Orleans before and we wanted a good campground that was reasonably close to the center of the action. We did our due diligence by looking at some RVer’s comments online, maps of the area and of course rates and availability of RV parks in the area.

Our site at the NOLA West KOA

We did settle on the New Orleans West KOA. This is the only KOA near New Orleans. We found the staff to be very friendly when we arrived and checked in. All of the sites are on concrete and are back in. Most are very deep, allowing for big rigs. All sites have full hook-ups including cable TV and WiFi, which worked sporadically. There is propane filling and a nice laundry room.

The office and store. Restrooms and showers are also in this building. The pool is open from April to October.

Interior roads are paved and plenty wide enough to allow backing in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The campground offers a free shuttle to down town next to the French Quarter. It leaves at 9 AM and returns at 5:45 PM daily.  The KOA staff will help you arrange different tours if you want their help. There are tons of tours of various New Orleans attractions, and the KOA staff can help with what’s good and what’s not so good! We did use the shuttle one day for the return trip. The driver was fun and gave us a narration all the way back.  Uber and Lyft drivers were within a very few minutes of the KOA both times we ordered them.

This is a comfortable campground. The roads are a little rough and some of the concrete pads need a bit of help in the levelness category. Fortunately ours was level, no need for tire blocking. Go ahead and book your stay at New Orleans at this facility.  The rates are reasonable, it is only about 20 minutes from NOLA, and the free shuttle is quite a nice a bonus. We give this park a 5 out of 5. Here is their website.

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A shopping, food and music filled fun evening in New Orleans

Sher and I have been looking forward to an evening of New Orleans jazz music as well as some good food. We went to the east end of the French Quarter to do some shopping to begin our evening. The eclectic nature of a lot of the shops makes the exploration of them a real treat. We did catch the tail end of the French Market, a large open air lot, some of which was under roof. Many vendor booths were filled with folks selling their wares. You would see everything from imported T-shirts and other clothing to hand made jewelry, leather, or other quality art work.

Under the roof portion of the French Market’s Flea Market. You’ll find everything from quality hand crafted jewelry to cheap imported trinkets.

Frenchmen Street is just outside of the French Quarter’s Decatur Street. A short two blocks worth, Frenchman Street is known for its live music clubs. The first bar we walked into was Bamboula’s. This venue used to be an old printing shop, and the ceiling and support posts were covered with pressed tin panels. The band was already playing so we sat down and had a drink. During the next two sets we enjoyed the music and the ambiance of the bar.

The band at Bamboula’s

Dueling fiddles at Bamboula’s

After we finished our drinks at Bamboula’s we struck out to explore Frenchmen Street. As we had arrived early several of the jazz bars were either not yet open or the band had not yet arrived or started to play. There were not a lot of people out on the sidewalks yet, and the places that were open were not really into the evening yet. We sat for about 5 minutes at one bar after having to ask for a menu. No one came by so we left. This actually was a blessing as we then went to the Maison at 508 Frenchmen Street.

Signs on Frenchmen Street of both the jazz clubs we enjoyed!

The Baby Giants Jazz Band

The Maison was a great venue for the bands we heard. The Baby Giants Jazz Band was playing when we went into tho the bar. These guys rocked the bar with some amazing jazz. I especially appreciated the trombone, as I used to play. The numbers performed offered several chances for instrumental solos. This always gives you a chance to truly appreciate individual talent. We started with a couple of tequila cocktails called “Dixie Revival”. Oh were they good! We then ordered our meals. The food was excellent and very reasonably priced.

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.

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.

Rio RV Park has recovered from Hurricane Harvey

When looking for an RV park east of Houston that accepted Passport America Rio RV Park on Turtle Bayou made my short list. We ended up stopping here after our drive from Austin. I did call ahead to make sure there was space available. The Passport America rate was $22.00/night.

The park is right off of I-10 near Wallis. A very nice husband and wife couple are managers. We were escorted to our site, and given a choice. We opted for a newly placed concrete pad, a back-in site.

New, level concrete pad with full hook ups

The hurricane had flooded the lower level of the park. Our hostess said that four (4) units were swept away and the water level was neck high! Our site was part of the reconstruction.

Looking up to the upper level, laundry restroom building on the left

This is a very nice park that is gated at night. Local over the air TV is more than adequate, and free WiFi is available anywhere in the park. The WiFi service is pretty good, however it did slow considerably in the evening. There is a nice restroom and laundry building. We recommend the Rio RV Park. Here is their website.

Home Sweet Home: An RV park in Texarkana, Texas

Home Sweet Home RV Park just west of Texarkana, Texas is a comfortable full hook up RV park. This is not a large facility (48 sites) but the sites are level on stone. The roads are stone and wide enough for easy driving of any size rig. The park has both back in and pull thru sites. Sher and I recommend this park if you are in the Texarkana area.

The normal rate is $30 a night, but we used our Passport America card and only paid $15. For a park with full hook ups and free WiFi, fifteen bucks is a great deal. The hook ups included cable TV. The WiFi worked well, although I had to re-connect a few times the morning we left. Note that all of the electric shore power posts have 50 amp plug configuration. You’ll need an adapter for your 30 amp plug. There is an on site laundry.

Wide gravel roads and level, stone base sites

This is a unique park in that the office is located in the Tire Store next door. Make sure to call ahead to let them know you are coming. The office is open from 8 to 5:30. We arrived right at 5:30 and were met by the park host. He showed us our spot and said we could go to the office in the morning to settle up. This is a very nice, no frills RV park. The management couldn’t be nicer and willing to help in any way. Here is the Home Sweet Home RV Park website with all pertinent information.

Passport America saves 50% on camping plus get 6 months free membership

If you have any plans for any kind of camping and plan on staying at commercial parks and campgrounds, you owe it to yourself to invest in a membership in Passport America. This discount club offers half price camping at over 1900 campgrounds across the US, Canada and Mexico. The yearly fee is only $44.00, and if you join through our member number, C-647737 thru January 2018 you will get 6 months free membership.

Some of the features that come with membership:
All new International Camping Directory with nearly 1,900 RV Parks and Campgrounds
Personalized embossed 50% discount camping card
FREE trip routing, campground updates & valuable info on-line 24/7
FREE Smart Phone App with complete park listings and “Find Park Near Me” feature
FREE RV America E-Magazine with updates on new parks
A friendly and professional staff who is always happy to serve you!

A welcome sign to see at your next campground!

This is a no-brainer, folks. You will pay for the membership after a couple of nights of 50% off camping fees! On our way from Indiana to Texas we have saved $30 in camping fees and stayed at nice RV parks with WiFi and full hook ups. Remember to join with our referral number C-647737 before the end of January 2018 to get 6 months free membership! Go to the Passport America website for information and to join! You’ll be glad you did.

Tanbark Campground near Nashville accepts Passport America

About 45 miles west of Nashville, Tennessee on I-40 you will come across the Tanbark Campground. It is very close to the interstate Exit 163. We found the campground on the Passport America website. We got to the grounds at about 5 in the afternoon on the day after Christmas. We had left central Indiana on our way to Texas and were hoping for some warmer weather. Alas, the overnight low was to be 20, according to our host and campground owner Richard Reifer.

The office building with the restrooms

Our site was very close to the office, gravel base and very level. With the temperature being low, we did not have water hook up, though the spigot did function if I needed water. We did not need or use the restrooms or laundry. No cable, but over the air TV from nearby Nashville provided ample channel selection. Of note is the very good free WiFi available. As most RV’ers know, free WiFi advertised at most RV parks is somewhat of a myth. Not so at Tanbark: the WiFi was strong and we both had our laptops in use with no slowdowns or interrupted service.

The sites are fairly close together. Our was on gravel but was level. Roads are well maintained gravel.

While we stayed only one night, your PA card is valid for three nights except on holidays. The PA rate is $14, and checks or cash are the only accepted payment means. This is a comfortable, reasonably priced facility. There is gas and food at Exit 163 which is most convenient. Yes, we would recommend Tanbark Campground. The phone # is 615-441-1613, and here is their website.