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Last Stop in Louisiana!

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

Yesterday we arrived at our last stop in Louisiana: Bogue Chitto State Park. We totally broke the RV Life 2/2/2, 3/3/3 and 4/4/4 rules again! Our trip took us almost 7 hours after factoring in stops for groceries, propane and Louisiana crawfish. My brothers and I used to catch crawfish in a creek near the house where we grew up. We didn’t know you could eat them, or I’m sure we would have tried. (Probably best, as I imagine we wouldn’t have wanted to eat anything we caught in that creek anyway.)


However, Louisiana has by far the most incredible seafood I have ever tasted and crawfish are a big thing here, so … when in Rome, right? I bought the frozen variety of tail meat because boiling them alive has no appeal, especially after de-heading fresh shrimp. My plan is to substitute the crawfish for lobster in a NYT Cooking recipe I found for lobster macaroni and cheese. I’ll be sure to let you know how that works out!


Here’s where our journey has taken us so far:

And here’s a slideshow of photos from our week at Palmetto Island State Park. Be sure to click the left/right arrows to advance the slide show. I’ve included a in-depth campground review at the end of this post for those interested.

The thing I loved most about our site at Palmetto Island was the huge grove of saw palmettos growing just behind it. These amazing plants grew everywhere, as the park’s name suggests. And they are huge - some up to 14’ tall! They made the most incredible sounds in the rain, if a critter ran through them, and especially when the wind kissed their fronds. I set up a little photo booth in this grove to photograph some of my colored porcelain jewelry for my (pending) website re-design project. I love the natural background, and it was a joy to be working in that space while the birds flew overhead and the sun smiled down upon me.


Here’s the grove, and here’s one of the photos I took for my new website:

Yesterday, we arrived at Bogue Chitto State Park and previewed the layout by driving the 4+ mile loop around the park in Irving before settling in at our sight. Since we don’t bring a vehicle with us and have yet to purchase e-bikes, we go everywhere on foot once Irving is in the site. Touring a park before setting up camp is a new practice we’ll adopt whenever possible, because we discovered at Palmetto Island that it is really, really dark in these remote parks at night, and it’s a wee bit scary for urbanized peeps like us to be walking two miles back to camp after sunset with just a flashlight.


This was especially true after a rather large alligator on the side of the road made its presence known by snorting and growling at us. When a skunk crossed our path and both dogs tried to go into pursuit mode, we decided not to venture so far from the campground proper after dark again! One freshly skunked dog is more than enough for us, and we learned that lesson long ago at another campground with our beloved dog, Casey.

This sign was located near where we ”sort of” saw and definitely heard a very large alligator. Clearly, s/he gets plenty to eat and doesn’t need to be fed by the visitors!


This photo of the night sky at Palmetto Island was taken with my new iPhone 14 Pro phone. I was amazed at the number of visible stars at night, and by the phone’s ability to capture so many of them. Trust me when I tell you that this photo doesn’t do the night sky justice. While photographing my jewelry, I discovered that I can use my Apple Watch as a remote camera shutter release, so on a clear night I’ll see if I can get an even better image of the night sky at this park, which promises to be just as stunning.


We’ve been at Bogue Chitto for two nights now, and yesterday I made my first new friend on the road. Those of you who know me personally may ask why this took so long! I ask myself the same question, because campers are - for the most part - extremely friendly people. And (again, no surprise!) we certainly talked to quite a number of people at our previous stops. We have found the camp hosts to be wonderful, we met a fun couple who shared their camping stories and e-bikes adventures, and we stopped to converse for about 20 minutes with a very interesting gentleman and his dog on a hiking trail.


But then yesterday, the universe put my first OTR friend and I on a collision path. Amy and I happened upon one another in the laundry room, and we chatted effortlessly and non-stop for nearly an hour over the buzz of the electric dryer. She is a relatively new full-time RVer, and she graciously answered a bunch of my questions about how she and her husband and brother make the RVLiving lifestyle work. We talked about everything under the sun and shared contact information and (no surprise!) made plans to get together during our stay when the weather will be a bit warmer. She’s looking for inspiration to take the place of the epoxy/resin work she created in her sticks and bricks home, and is interested in air dry clay.


Since Spring is springing here in Louisiana, I’ve been collecting images of wildflowers on our walks; I’m itching to replicate these wildflowers in colored clay canes. I invited Amy to join me as I experiment so she can learn more about the process of cane building, and I suggested that polymer clay might appeal to her. It seems the Universe may be nudging me towards inspiring others to engage their creativity sooner than I expected!


After the laundry was finished, Steve and I took the dogs on a walk while the sun still warmed our backs. Bogue Chitto has some nice hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails with diverse terrain, including hills - something we haven’t seen much of in in Louisiana. All four of us will enjoy exploring the upland forest and the bottomland river area over the next week or so, and I’ll share photos and a campground review after I’ve compiled a nice collection.


As I drafted this post last night, we were hanging out in our cozy camper expecting the temperature to dip below freezing for about 4 hours. (We took precautions for the RV’s plumbing, and everything appears to be in working order this morning.) My “RV Office” in Irving’s passenger seat was cozy as the temperatures dipped, with the added bonus of a great view.

Pretty, right? That’s my hammock in the foreground, waiting patiently (as am I) for a warmer day. My office isn’t bad, but my hammock is really the best seat in the house, especially when the sun shines, the birds sing, the clouds float by, and the treetops gently wave “hello” as they sway on the breeze.


Thanks so much for coming along on this journey with me! If you want to know anything specific about our travels so far, be sure to let me know in the comments below.


Here’s hoping you have a wonderful weekend! I’m having a blast, but I miss you all!


Susan



My Review of Palmetto Island State Park Campground near Abbieville, LA:


We stayed in Site 61 for 8 days in the second week of February, 2023. Nighttime temperatures ranged from just above freezing during a cold spell to about 55, and daytime temperatures ranged from darn chilly to near 80 but were, for the most part, comfortable. Our Verizon cell service was excellent; the campground Wifi was down at the time of our visit.


The sites are large and most are well spaced with varying amounts of vegetation between sites providing a degree of privacy. The are two modern and clean bathhouses, each with adjoining laundry rooms. The shower facilities are standard fare but clean, with plenty of hot water (it must be a tankless system, so be patient and you won’t be disappointed!)


There’s a screened-in porch area where you can sit while doing your laundry, a book-swap library, and a little playground for the kiddos at each of two bathhouses.


During our stay, construction crews were working to install sewer at all the sites, which will be a welcome improvement to future campers but meant a lot of dust and noise for us.


The camping cabins are almost as big as our sticks and bricks house, complete with air conditioning and screened-in porches overlooking the Vermillion River. I didn’t get to peak inside, but I sure did want to!


The backpack tent sites are spaced well apart from one another behind one of the park’s ponds, and are very nice.


It was about a two-mile walk from our campsite to the Vermillion River area of the park, and probably about half that to the nature center and day use area. The terrain in the park is pretty much flat, as is most of Louisiana. The campground itself was much drier than our previous stop at Fontainebleau State Park, although standing water bayou habitats are abundant on the sides of the main roads. We found most of the trails to be relatively dry, although there were a few large puddles requiring detours and others that we muddled our way through. (I’ve got a new pair of comfy shoes I will no longer worry about ruining in the studio when I return!)


There are several interconnected ponds throughout the park, and you can travel via canoe or kayak to one from the other. Several people were fishing on our many visits to the ponds. We saw an otter (so cute!), numerous birds, deer, a wild pig (we think), a skunk and an opossum, squirrels and ground rodents throughout the park, but not in the abundance one would expect. This could be due to the construction noise, so a future visit may yield more abundant wildlife. And although it was chilly most days, we did have a close encounter of the alligator kind as mentioned above. Despite the chill, mosquitoes were abundant! They didn’t seem to bite as much as those in Pennsylvania, but if you’ll be visiting during warmer months I expect bug spray is a necessity.


The park‘s facilities include a fabulous day use and picnic area for families with a splash pad and playground equipment, a kids’ nature trail, nice restrooms, and more. Their group pavilions are large and lovely; some are conveniently located near the day use area and some are nestled a bit further away but still close to abundant parking. The latter would serve as an excellent venue for a small, intimate wedding or other special event. Parking in these areas seemed abundant and well-placed.


Once construction is finished, I’d rate this park at 5 stars for campers (like us) who prefer to enjoy the campground/park and enjoy long walks with the pups, peaceful naps in the hammock, and a variety of natural wonders offering endless entertainment.







2 Comments


Guest
Feb 18, 2023

Photos are fabulous as well as the accompanying dialogue. Looks like a wonderful trip...relaxing...time to be together and even better that dogs are included.

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Susan O'Hanlon
Susan O'Hanlon
Feb 21, 2023
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Thank you!

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