Our trip across county 2013

As stated in last blog we left Death Valley National Park on March 1st making a stop at Rhyolite which is an old Ghost Town.   The town began in early 1905 as one of several mining camps that sprang up after a prospecting discovery in the surrounding hills.  Mr Charles Schwab invested heavily in infrastructure, including piped water, electric lines and railroad transportation, that served the town as well as the mine. By 1907, Rhyolite had electric lights, water mains, telephones, newspapers, a hospital, a school, an opera house, and a stock exchange. The town’s peak population grew to about 5,000 by 1907–08.  By 1911 the mine was closed and the people moved away.  Today all that stands is mostly the outside walls of the buildings but it was cool to see. 

After leaving Rhyolite we drove thru Las Vegas but did not stop.  We have been here before but I did not realize how big the city is.  We also saw signs for a Coast Guard Loran Station out in the middle of no where, wonder what that is all about?  Thought all Loran stations closed. 

Our next stop was a beautiful park on the outskirts of Laughlin, Nevada where we spent two nights.   A very nice park with about 20 sites and nicely spaced with full hookups.  While here we drove to London Bridge which is located in Lake Havasa, Arizona.  The bridge used  to span the Thames River in London England.   In 1964 Robert McCulloch bought the bridge and had it rebuilt to serve as a tourist attraction for Lake Havasa.

We stopped one night at a campground in Arizona with full hookups and just had dinner and watch tv for a relaxing evening.  While driving down the road we saw a sign that said Fort Bowie National Historic Site – we looked at each other and said lets go.  We drove on narrow country roads and then it turned to dirt and became quite twisty.  Remember we were pulling our 34 foot camper behind us.  We arrived in a tiny parking lot and the wind was just howling.  Fort Bowie was a 19th century army outpost used from 1862 to 1894.  In order to see the few remaining walls you hike in on a narrow path.  Due to the wind we decided to forgo that.  We did meet a really nice couple from Canada whom we talked to for quite awhile. You meet the nicest people on the road.

Our next stop was White Sands Missle Range which is located in New Mexico on the largest military installation in the United States.  The base covers 3200 square miles and is open to everyone for free.  Great place to learn all about the atomic age.  Must say that Tim enjoyed this stop much more than me but it was interesting. 

White Sands National Monument was a very cool stop.  The sand dunes of gypsum sand cover over 275 square miles.  We were running up and down the hills like little children – so much fun.  They actually rent sleds that you can use to slide down the dunes.  A Visitor Center was an informative stop.

We spent a few days in Beaumont Texas and ate at a restaurant that we had been to before called Pappadeaux.  What great seafood and such huge servings.  I ordered catfish and was served five fillets which of course I could not eat.  While in the area we took a ride to downtown Beaumont and Port Arthur. 

Driving towards Baton Rouge we saw the sign for the Zoo.   What a wonderful zoo with a wide assortment of animals.  We met a woman whom goes to the zoo each day to walk and brings an apple to feed to the moose.  Really cute.  We also met the Children’s Zoo Keeper that gave us a history of the zoo. 

In Hancock County, Mississippi we took a tour of the Stennis Space Center.  It is the largest rocket engine testing facility in the United States and covers over 14,000 acres and has over 5000 employees.  The Infinity Science Center had a F-1 Rocket Engine and loads of exhibits about outer space.  

Destin Army Recreation Center in Destin, Florida was a wonderful surprise to us.  We have heard so much about this place but had never stopped so we stopped for 2 nights.  What a beautiful place with a splash park, pool, Marina, campground and cottages.  Hope to return for longer the next time in the area.

Tim’s brother Jeff was in Panama City Florida so we stopped in to visit.  What an adorable little home he has with huge decks and a beautiful porch overlooking the bay.  We were able to park the camper in his yard and we made ourselves at home.  We had a really nice visit with Jeff plus got to see Annie and Jim one night at dinner.  I could sit on that porch all day and night and just look at the water – become very lazy when a water view is present.  LOL

Largo Florida was our next stop to visit with my sister and hubby.  Also my sister from CT was there so we really had a nice time.  Did a lot of talking, shopping, eating and drinking and visiting.  Wonderful week – thanks for the wonderful company.

We left Largo around 9 am and headed Northeast.  We saw an old drive-in movie theater which is still in use.  We arrived at the Ocala National Forest and stopped at the Pittman Visitor Center.  We talked to the couple for about an hour about the forest and what we would see and do.  I asked if we would see any black bears and they said they doubted it during the day.  Guess what we saw along side the tree line – a black bear!  We arrived at the Salt Springs Recreation Area Campground and got backed into our site.  What a nice campground – full hookups and great spacing between sites.  This area has a natural salt spring so we took a nice walk and watched people swimming and schools of fish.  The water gushes forth 52 million gallons of water daily at a constant 74 degree F.  Really cool.

While here we did alittle bit of hiking and sitting out in our lawn chairs and reading.  We also visited the Salt Springs Visitor Center which was quite interesting.

Our next stop was Joint Base Charleston – the Navy Base in Goose Creek, South Carolina.  We will spend sometime here visiting with family, doctors, boating and beach.  Check back soon for another adventure.