Following the Coast

Since we last wrote, we have steadily been making our way west along the Gulf Coast. After leaving Pensacola Beach, we settled in at Davis Bayou Campground in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. This was our first time staying at this park and we were pleasantly surprised. It’s well-maintained, the sites have plenty of space between them, and the park staff and camp hosts were really friendly. As nice as it was, however, this park will forever be known as the location of our shortest kayaking trip ever.

At Davis Bayou, there is an alligator who likes to sun himself within view of the campground entrance and just around the corner from the boat launch. He’s there every day. It’s almost like he hangs out in that spot specifically to taunt people like Suzanne who are mildly (okay, maybe slightly more than mildly…) uncomfortable kayaking in the presence of alligators.

Davis Bayou Alligator

We had kayaked in alligator waters in Florida, so we didn’t think too much of it at first. We launched our kayaks into the muddy brown water and headed off. Within seconds, however, Suzanne realized that her friendly neighborhood alligator had gotten into her head. Plus, the chocolate milk colored water made it impossible to see if anything was swimming below or beside us. It was a big difference from the clear waters we kayaked in Florida. With visions of gnashing teeth launching out from the water to grab her, Suzanne tried to keep paddling. But when an innocent little fish jumping into the air almost made her have a heart attack she realized it was time to call it a day. Total elapsed time: less than 10 minutes. Final score: Alligator 1; Suzanne 0.

On a happier note, we got to see some great live music that week. We discovered Nikki Talley last summer when she played at The Sentient Bean in Savannah. A musician out of Asheville, North Carolina, Nikki and her husband Jason quit their jobs a few years ago and hit the road to follow their dreams. They live out of their van, so obviously they are our kind of people. We loved their music the first time we saw them, so we were excited to see that their spring tour coincided with our RV trip. We headed over to Pascagoula, Mississippi, one Thursday night and enjoyed a delicious meal at Jack’s By The Tracks while listening to Nikki and Jason. It was a great evening.

Nikki Talley

After Davis Bayou we headed to Bayou Segnette State Park in New Orleans. The obvious first stop in New Orleans is always Cafe Du Monde for beignets and coffee. Kevin wasn’t sure we could eat all of those, but within minutes all that was left on that plate was powdered sugar.

Beignets

Suzanne was able to redeem herself and managed to kayak for almost an hour, despite the fact that this park also had muddy water and a resident alligator. But the park ranger explained that the alligator’s name is Stumpy because he is missing his left front foot, so Suzanne decided to take her chances against the three-footed alligator and we enjoyed a good paddle. That is, until a snake swam across the water right in front of us and then we looked to the left and saw a big white cross on shore. Let’s just say we’re looking forward to the alligator-free and snake-free waters of the western U.S.

Kayaking past a cross

The main reason we were in New Orleans, however, was not beignets and kayaking. We were there to see Chris Pureka. Like Nikki Talley, she was kind enough to plan her 2016 tour around our RV trip. Or did we plan our RV trip around her tour? Maybe a little of both. Either way, she is Suzanne’s favorite singer (with Brandi Carlile being a very close second), so seeing her in concert while we are on the road has definitely been a highlight of the trip so far.

Chris Pureka

After New Orleans we headed to Baton Rouge for a quick visit with our friends Reagan and John. Reagan and Suzanne went to high school together, and we discovered during our 2012 RV trip that Reagan and John also love RVing. They met up with us at a campground in Denham Springs, Louisiana, four years ago, so we hoped to see them this time around, too. Not only did we see them, they made a delicious crawfish boil for us for dinner. And they had local beers for us to try. And they had plenty of boudin for Kevin. We’re going to have to start driving through Louisiana more often. Crawfish.jpg

The last time we saw Reagan and John it was just the two of them, so we loved having the chance to meet Wyatt, the newest and very adorable addition to their family. Wyatt is almost three years old now and is just the cutest little guy. It’s obvious that his parents have taught him all about being kind and gentle to animals. He was so sweet with our Noah.

It was a great but too-short visit with our friends, so we definitely need to find a way to see this wonderful family again before another four years go by. Thanks to John, Reagan, and Wyatt for all of their hospitality!

Noah and Wyatt

After Baton Rouge we headed to Betty’s RV Park in Abbeville, Louisiana, which really needs it’s own blog post. So this is where we will leave you for now. We’ll see you on down the road!

Additional photos from our time in Mississippi and the first part of Louisiana:

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