All good trips must end

Yes, unfortunately, all good trips must end. Our first RV trek into Florida has been outstanding. We have had a great time wandering around these last few weeks, even if we did not attempt to travel to or visit some of Florida’s top-rated attractions. Some were closed because of Covid, and we chose not to go to others because of Covid.

Fully vaccinated!

Now that we are part of the fully vaccinated crowd, we feel safer about getting out and about in the world and being around groups. We will continue wearing those darn masks and behaving responsibly about where we go. We are already planning our next adventure to the Sunshine State with its 1,350 miles of coastline and umpteen lakes everywhere you look. Steve and I have a long list of what to see and do on our next Florida journey.

Heading home – all good trips must end

Monticello was our last overnight stay in Florida. See Where did our Florida RV adventure take us next to read about the surprises we found in Monticello.

The plan was to stop overnight at another BoondockersWelcome location just across the Mississippi state line in Alabama. Well, that did not work out because we had that famous (to us) blowout as we drove along I-10. I mentioned this a few weeks ago in the post How and where we manage to travel.

At that time, I believed we had a simple flat tire. It was actually a magnificent blowout with tire pieces all over the place. We heard the unmistakable thump, and Steve was able to safely pull over onto the shoulder, although barely out of the traffic lane.

We were parked so close to traffic. We disconnected the Jeep and parked it way behind us!

I called AAA immediately, but it was nearly midnight before we received assistance. We waited on the side of this high traffic freeway for over seven hours! AAA frequently communicated with us by telephone but could not figure out where we were on the highway. We gave them our location from our GPS location and offered to “drop a pin” with our exact location. None of the people we talked to knew how to accept or read a “dropped pin.” The RV was a mere 5-6 miles from Spanish Fort, Alabama, a reasonably large city. What a frustrating experience this was, and we still do not understand AAA’s difficulty locating us.

It will be Good Sam next time

We’ve had a good response with Good Sam Roadside Assistance in the past and will stick with them for our RV issues next time. Our AAA Roadside Assistance includes RV service, and we thought we’d give it a try. It was not the best choice in this situation at all.

The result of this extended stay on I-10 was that it was midnight before we were back on the road, and since we did not want to arrive at our BoondockersWelcome stay in the wee hours, we canceled. The hosts were terribly kind and understanding about our last-minute cancellation. I hope we can stop there on our next trip and meet this couple in person.

Overnight at Cracker Barrel

During our several-hour freeway stay, I searched online to find a place to park our RV for the night. I discovered a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Spanish Fort just down the road. I called ahead for permission to stay overnight in their parking lot, and we had a good night’s sleep in their spacious parking lot. This was our first Cracker Barrel experience and one we will repeat many more times, I believe. We were also able to purchase a new tire at a shop in Spanish Fort early the next morning. It is just common sense always to have a good spare tire.

Dreamland Bar-b-que

3314 Old Shell Rd.
Mobile, AL 36607

All good trips must end

We had a terrific barbeque lunch here. We had lunch at the original Dreamland restaurant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, some years ago and really enjoyed it. So, when we saw the sign for Dreamland in Mobile, we decided it was lunchtime. Dreamland has been franchised, and there are five other restaurants throughout Alabama. We were not disappointed at this Mobile location; the food was great.

All good trips must end

Bellingrath Gardens and Home

12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road
Theodore, AL 36582

All good trips must end

Just one of the many fountains throughout the gardens

This is another one of our grand surprises we just happened upon. Not too long after we left Spanish Fort, we saw a road sign for Bellingrath Gardens and Home just past Mobile Bay. We had never heard of these famous gardens and had no idea what to expect, but we followed the signs. The Bellingrath Gardens and Home are about a 30-mile drive from Mobile, Alabama, and are spread over 65 acres.

Beautiful scenery everywhere I looked.

We turned into a colossal parking area with tons of room for cars and several motorhomes or tour buses. On this particular day, however, there were probably three cars in the entire parking lot. It was chilly and the middle of the week. Hurricanes and Covid undoubtedly have slowed tourist activity. Different ticket options are available, but a ticket to tour the gardens and the Museum Home costs $22; no senior discount. A leisurely tour through the gardens will take 1.5 to 2 hours, and the Bellingrath Home Museum Tour takes about half an hour.

Entry to the gardens is through a beautiful gift shop. The Magnolia Café is also in this building but was closed due to Covid. There are several completely different sections and garden areas, but they all flow together beautifully to create a magnificent walking experience. I saw lots of blooms and many plants. I cannot imagine the full springtime beauty of this place! Take a look at Bellingrath’s website to see photos of the beautiful azaleas that are in full bloom in March. This remarkable garden tour takes you along a winding flagstone path with benches along the way where you can sit and enjoy the beauty.

Of course, most plants were not in bloom at this time of the year, but I was given a list of the flowers currently in bloom, primarily camellias.

These gardens, opened to the public in 1932, were created by Mr. and Mrs. Walter Bellingrath. Gardening was Mrs. Bellingrath’s passion, and it was her efforts that devised these beautifully landscaped gardens at what was once a country fish camp. Bellingrath Gardens today is the perfect location for special occasion events such as weddings or birthdays.

All good trips must end

The triangular Monolith is one of the popular features in Gardens. It tells the story of Bellingrath Gardens.

Bellingrath Home Museum

I love to tour homes and purchased a ticket to tour this Museum Home. I turned out to be the only person on this very last tour of the day. I had a terrific guide who not only showed me through the home but shared stories from the Belllingraths’ lives that were so interesting. Before the tour ended, I almost felt like I had met this amazing couple.

Beautiful home!

All good trips must end

I learned that Mrs. Bellingrath’s mother did not believe it was proper to serve guests their meals using the same china for each meal. These are over nine of her choices – maintaining her Mother’s tradition.

Boondocking at Jackson County Welcome Center

I-10 West Bound, Exit 75
Moss Point, Mississippi

After our spectacularly peaceful day exploring Bellingrath Gardens’ beauty, we drove about 30 minutes and happened upon this rest area, where we decided to spend the night. RV parking was available, as well as picnic tables and 24-hour security. It was an excellent boondocking spot for us.

Vermilionville Historic Village

300 Fisher Road Lafayette
Louisiana 70508
$10.00 admission
Tues – Sun 10 am – 4 pm.
Closed on major holidays

All good trips must end

This secret little gem is an authentic village that illustrates the culture and history of the Creoles, Acadians, Native Americans, and others living in this area in the late 1800s. Costumed artisans are on-site that illustrate skills from that period, such as weaving and blacksmithing. This is a great educational tool for local schools in the area.

We wandered through several homes, a schoolhouse, church, blacksmith’s shop; an entire village

La Cuisine de Maman

Our food looked so good, we didn’t stop to take a picture. Great local beer though.

For us, the star of the whole show here was this fabulous restaurant which is inside the Vermilionville Historic Village. A lunch special is offered for about $10 and is a complete and delicious meal. The service and food are spectacular and comes with a river view. We shared a large bread pudding for dessert.

All good trips must end

The casino was decorated with Mardi Gras costumes and had Chinese New Year decor at the entrance

Vermilionville almost our last adventure, and it was seriously time to head home. We were only 3.5 hours from home in Lafayette, but after our full-day walking in Vermilionville, we made one more overnight stop. This time we boondocked in the parking lot at L’auberge du lac casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana. We made a brief visit to the casino and then spent a peaceful night in our RV in the parking lot along with several other RV folks near us.

We love our little house on the water, but these RV trips are so much fun. I am never ready to go home anymore. Check back next week to find out what kind of trouble we tried not to get into!

All good trips must end

5 thoughts on “All good trips must end

  1. What a beautiful home/museum.
    I’m really curious about that staircase to the attic on the porch of that one house.

    1. The Acadians built their houses using the style they had used in their Canadian homes, which included the steeply pitched roofs. These attic spaces were used as living quarters for boys of the family, but the attic space was too hot to be used as living space in these Louisiana homes. Thank you for your curiosity. I had never noticed the stairs before and had to Google that!

  2. Pingback: We discovered a winery, national forest, and three plantations | Always Want To Go

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