We had a wonderful winter playing a lot of golf at our local golf course, Riviera Country Club. So not wanting any time to go by, we are off again for a “Spring Fling” in our Roadtrek RV for a month to play some golf, visit presidential libraries, make a few stops for points of interest and to visit Janice’s long time friend Marty Newton Skelley in Sedona, Arizona.
Our first stop was Panama City to play in a Florida State Golf Association two day event at the Baypoint Resort Golf Club. Whenever possible we will attempt to stay in local and state campgrounds. We arrived at St. Andrews State Park located on the bay. The park was great and at $18 per night, a home run. It happened to be the weekend of Thunder Beach, the annual bike week in Panama City. Being from Flagler Beach, we were used to bike week with all the people that came to Daytona. Most of the people staying in the park were there for Thunder Beach and were shocked we didn’t have our Harley’s!
We enjoyed playing the Meadows course the fist day, nice track but not memorable. we were paired with a lovely lady, retired Air Force and a gentleman from Panama City that was a graphics arts/photographer. It was a wonderful round of golf. The next day we played the Nicklaus course which was very challenging and in great condition. Janice one the women’s gross division both days and the second day she won a skin ($17). We left the course and started our drive to Biloxi Mississippi for our next day of golf.
We arrived at the Shepard State Park in Gautier, Mississippi around 7 in the evening for the next 2 nights. It is a wonderful park. The campsites are clean and very large and the people were super helpful. The next morning we headed out to play Shell’s Landing Golf Club.It was a beautiful golf course and in great condition. We had outstanding weather in the 70’s not a cloud in the sky.
Local visiting centers are always full of great information, it being Sunday, we checked the Internet to see if the Biloxi center was open. We headed to Biloxi, about 25 miles away to visit the center and get the lay of the land and see some short films about the area. We arrived and while on the web site it was open, it was not. We drove around the city and parked the RV near the Beau Rivage Hotel Casino to check it out. Janice had been there years ago with the ladies from Fort Lauderdale, Diana Robe was her partner. The lobby of the hotel is beautiful with flowers everywhere and she remembered only some of the place. We got a couple of drinks (free if you gamble) and walked to the roulette table. After 30 minutes and a couple more drinks we left up $120!, so it was a good stop. Back to the state park for dinner and a good nights rest.
In the morning we headed for New Orleans, John had never been before, so the plan was to spend the day touring the old French Quarter and Bourbon Street. The drive through the low country in to New Orleans was amazing, it was easy to see why so much damage was done by Katrina. As we approached the Two Pines and an Oak RV Park. (The name is fitting on the entire property there are only 2 pine trees and one oak.) We were taken aback by the tornado damage caused only a few months before a few miles from the RV park. The park was about five miles outside of downtown so after checking in we took the local bus and a trolley car into the city center.
We went to the visitors center to get maps and the lay of the land. The woman was very knowledgeable and told us not to go to Bourbon Street.
“it is a place of the past dirty and dangerous with many “gutter kids”. She explained that in the beginning they were homeless kids, some from wealthy families that roamed the streets. As time passed these people have become more dangerous and most have dogs, apparently they cannot be arrested, unless they commit a crime, as long as they have a dog. We saw some of them and they are not kids anymore in their 30’s and 40’s..very sad. She showed us on the map where to walk. Royal Street is the new Bourbon Street but without the gritty flare of the past but very beautiful.
We did visit the Hotel Monteleone on Royal for a glass of wine at the Carousel Bar. It is the city’s only revolving bar. For decades it has lured guests in to take a spin on the 25-seat, bright, circus-clad Merry-Go-Round. This should not be missed but it is always packed! We continued our walk down Royal Street around to the markets down to the Mississippi River watching the entertainment in the street.
Back to the RV park for a good night sleep.
We arrived at Diamond Jacks Hotel and Casino, with a RV campground in Shreveport, Louisiana. This particular place was just OK, the casino had been there for over 20 years and looked like no improvements have been made since it opened.
We adventured inside to check out the casino. Casinos in Louisiana where all built on barges docked next to the hotel or land facility. inside it was like a ghost town, few people working, playing at the tables or one armed bandits. We walked around and out a set of doors to the backpack of the casino. We met the security guard who had been there since it opened. He told the story of this casino and about the others along the Mississippi river. This casino top was built on a barge and floated into place. He told us that farther south they use to disconnect the casino from the dock and float it out in the river every 4 hours to comply with the local gambling laws. The people would be told the separation was happening and could stay or get off. We had a fun time talking to the guard and hearing his old tales.
We were worried that we had lost air in the front tire, so first thing in the morning we got online and looked for a reputable tire store to get it repaired. Not a mile away we waited for Gene’s Tire in Bossier City to open up. They started looking and found a back tire was very low on air. We thought we were going to have to replace two tires with less than 10,000 miles. They took the front tire off and discovered the stem was leaking and so they replaced the stem and all was great. The back tire had the same problem. When we purchased the RV all the tires were replaced before we picked it up and the installers used car stems rather than brass truck stems. They replaced all six stems and we were off on the road. We were very thankful they corrected the problem and did not sell us new tires, we were lucky! Off to Dallas Texas and the George W. Bush Presidential library.