Sunset in the Coconino National Forest, looking northeast toward Sedona, AZ, 4/17/15

Monday, March 3, 2014

Louisiana and Putting on the Miles

After spending time in the City of Rocks State Park, I had a good visit with my friend Bri in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.  Often, I set my route in order to meet up with my traveling friends.  Such a treat!

From TorC, I made quick time through Texas using Walmarts to overnight at Fort Stockton and Houston.  I made it to Louisiana and took another traveling friend Cyndi's recommendation to camp several nights at Holbrook Park in Calcasieu Parish (County).

Hobrook Park was a great place to stay for $4 (elect $12) --
nice bathrooms, free showers, picnic tables, BBQ grill, nice
 host, and waterfront sites with amazing views.   2/22/14

A little fishing dock just in front of my campsite at Holbook Park. 2/21/14

Sunset on the little lake.  Holbrook Park, Sulphur, LA  2/21/14

My campsite at Holbrook Park.  2/21/14

Beautiful sunset at Holbrook Park from inside the Prius ...
I put up the no-see-um screens to keep the mosquitoes outside.  2/21/14

On Saturday the mostly-empty campground was filled with locals enjoying
the nice weather.  My Prius (middle left) was joined by many other vehicles,
surrounding my campsite.  2/22/14

After such a wonderful stay at Holbrook Park, I found that Calcasieu Parish has several other campground parks.  Since my plans were to explore the coastal area, I decided on Intracoastal Park next.  Here, I found the same inexpensive camp sites and amenities as Holbrook Park.

Although I typically prefer forested campgrounds, the activity on the
Intracoastal Waterway made up for the lack of trees and privacy.
Pictured above is a tug pushing a barge westward.  2/13/14

The Ellender Draw Bridge for LA-27. 
It's a vertical lift bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway,
as seen from my campsite.  2/23/14
Only once during my 3-day stay at Intracoastal Park did I see the vertical span of the Ellener Bridge go up.  A barge with 2 tall masts needed pass by.  Four blasts of a very loud air horn sounded as it was about to lift.
Near my campsite, left to right,
the northern approach to the Ellener Draw Bridge, fish cleaning station,
and a west bound tug boat on the Intracoastal Waterway.
This park is a popular local fishing and crabbing spot.  2/23/14

Inlet and boat ramp, guarded by pelicans on either side.
Taken just east of my campsite.  2/24/14

I had planned to spend only one night at Intracoastal Park, but I accidently killed my 12v battery on Saturday night and needed to wait until Monday to get it replaced.  I had planned to explore the Creole Nature Trail on Sunday, but really enjoyed the Intracoastal Park instead.  My Prius, being a hybrid, was a challenge to jump or tow by the local towing companies.  But, a third driver knew his hybrids and gave me a jump.  He then followed me to get the replacement battery (just to make sure I didn't stall out).  A traveling friend correctly summarized the experience by saying, "Bummer + Serendipity = made it an adventure!"  After my car was fixed, I did my laundry then returned to Holbrook Park for a shower and a good night's sleep.

In the morning, I continued my drive east.  I stopped at the Atchafalaya Visitor's Center in south central Louisiana. It was a combination rest area and museum about the Atchafalaya River Swamp, the biggest river swamp in the world!  They even had a cute animatronic show where a raccoon, turtle and alligator talk about the area   The coffee was good and the displays were very nice too.  My route east on I-10 was a raised roadway over this swampland.  An interesting place to which I hope to return and explore.

The next few days were spent putting on more miles, overnighting in Grand Bay in western AL, Live Oak in northern FL, and Napels in southern FL before reaching my destination (and turn around point) in the Florida Keys.

On my last day of driving, I made a couple of quick stops at Big Cypress National Preserve.  This is one of my favorite places from a couple of years ago.

The H.P. Williams Roadside Park usually has good wildlife viewing
opportunities.  I love how the Old Man's Beard hangs from the
trees.  Here a cormorant overlooks from high in a tree.  2/28/14

Brown Water Snake sunning itself at the
H.P Williams Roadside Park in the
Big Cypress National Preserve.  2/28/14

At the Oasis Visitors Center on the east side of the preserve is a boardwalk
that keeps you a safe distance above the resting alligators.  2/28/14
I really enjoyed my stay in Louisiana.  Now, I'm here in the Florida Keys resting up from the miles.  The weather is perfect.  And I'm enjoying a visit with my brother Gary and his wife Mary.  I'll have pictures in my next blog post.


  1. I enjoyed reliving my recent adventures on the Gulf coast through your post. So much to see! Can't wait to get back there!

    1. I agree! The Gulf Coast is amazing. Take care as you head northward.

  2. I really enjoyed my time along there too... learning about the swamps and bayous and gators. A whole different world. And I love the local fisherman ramps and fishing spots. You really get close to knowing the real places and getting to meet the local people. Great experiences for me as well... I stopped at a small unnamed pond/marsh nr Hwy 190 and Hwy 90(Chef Menteur Hwy) east of Slidell (solo paddle).

    1. Yes. I love the swamps. They are so full of life. I'll be returning to canoe here myself. Take care of yourself with that crazy California weather.

  3. Thanks Susanne and Cyndi for the information about these campgrounds. They look like great places to spend some time!

    1. If you look at the Calcasieu Parish website, you'll see they have 5 campground parks. I hope to try each one of them. And, I hope it works out for us to get together sometime while we are all in Florida.


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