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2005 Page 1

Florida Vacation  -  August 2005 or as we would later refer to it as

 "Our Dodging Katrina Vacation"

by Jenetta Loggan (Supplemented by Dave)

Link to MyPublisher Book

August 18, 2005

I drove to Bartlesville, OK and arrived there at noon. Deanna, Dave and I ate lunch and as Deanna had to return to work, I unpacked my things in the RV. Then Dave and I rested until Deanna came home from work. We went to bed fairly early as we planned to leave around 6:00 AM the next morning.

 

August 19, 2005

We arose early and had breakfast. We left Bartlesville at 6:50 AM and headed south. We passed through Tulsa at 7:45, then drove by Muskogee, Webber's Falls, and Sallisaw, then crossed over into Arkansas at 9:30 AM. We went by Fort Smith, Van Buren, Clarksville, and went through the Boston Mountains. We saw lots of cedar and blackjack trees. The weather was hot and sunny--88 degrees at 10:00 AM. We stopped for gas and rest room break at 10:30.We saw an atomic power plant near Russellville and reached Little Rock at 12:15 PM. South of Little Rock we began to see pine trees mixed with the blackjacks. We stopped for gas again at 1:00 PM and ate lunch in the RV. We passed a large prison facility south of Grady and there were prisoners out working the fields. Dave was teasing Jenetta telling her that there were a lot of guys in there looking for a good woman to marry.  We stopped in Gould for a rest room break at 2:00 PM. Deanna wanted to drive for a while so we changed drivers. We saw lots of cotton fields and small planes spraying the fields. At Lake Village we saw a beautiful big lake with cypress trees growing in the water. The heat was up to 100 degrees by 3:00 PM. We entered Louisiana at 3:25 PM. We saw Lake Providence then went through Transylvania, LA which had a bat painted on its water tower. After another rest stop we entered Mississippi at 4:45 PM and crossed the Mississippi River. We reached Vicksburg and pulled into the Isle of Capri RV Park The Isle of Capri Casino property is now owned by Diamond Jacks and the Isle of Capri RV park is now owned by Ameristar. Here is a link to the Ameristar site with the RV information. Same great low rates!!  Here is a link to our copies of the RV park site list.  After setting up, we visited the Vicksburg Battlefield Park and took lots of pictures. We went back to the RV about 7:00 PM, had supper, then drove to the Ameristar Casino. Dave and Deanna spent about $30. In the slot machines and Dave won $210.50!! How lucky he is!!! We then went back to camp about 10:00 PM. The Isle of Capri RV park is pretty austere but the sites are wide, flat and easy to get in and out of. Ah,, and another thing.. it is cheap!!

Ameristar RV Park

 

The Cairo

August 20, 2005

We left the RV Park about 7:40 AM and headed southeast on Highway 20. We came into Jackson, Miss. at 8:25 AM, and then took 155 south. It was 86 degrees at that time. We made a pit stop at 9:00 at a lovely rest area, and then were back on the road at 9:20. Mississippi has some of the most beautiful rest areas and visitors centers around. Most of them are full of what appear to be antique furniture, historical artifacts and some just great decorations. Oh and by the way, they usually provide free coffee and soft drinks. We stopped again at the Visitors Center on the border of Mississippi and Louisiana at 10:00 AM for brochures, rest room break, and to switch drivers so Deanna could drive. There were many, many, tall pine trees and magnolias along the highway. We took I-12 at the Slidell exit and reached the KOA campground at noon. We found the RV was spitting drawers out again. We will have to contact K-Z when we get home. After lunch and getting gas in the truck, we drove to Lake Ponchartrain which has a bridge that is 26 miles long, with a drawbridge in the middle of it. That can be raised to allow ships to pass under the bridge. In New Orleans, we visited the French Quarter, the Aquarium of the Americas, walked through a beautiful park, took a lot of pictures. We had supper at a yacht club in Slidell. I had never eaten broiled tuna before, so that is what I chose to eat. Deanna had shrimp and Dave had the fish of the day which I believe was snapper. We later found out that most of the Aquarium of the Americas fish and animals were lost, that the KOA we stayed in at Slidell was shut down for many months and we wondered about the condition of the yacht club we at in. I was really amazed at the difference in the people's way of speaking. Instead of New Orleans, they say "Nawlans" and when the waiter came to take our order he asked "What size dressing?" for our salad. When he came to take our salad plates he said." I'll get these "oucherway". That's out your way to some of us. I had a little trouble understanding him at first. All of these pictures were taken just a few days before Katrina hit New Orleans.

August 21, 2005

Happy Birthday to me!!! Deanna and Dave gave me a framed picture of myself with the Teton Mountains in the background, taken last summer on our vacation trip to Yellowstone and other places. We left the RV Park at 9:40AM and headed for Florida after cleaning up the water leak we had with the kitchen sink. We will have to contact K-Z with a report on the problems we have had with our BRAND NEW rv. We crossed back into Mississippi and stopped at the welcome center. WOW! If only Oklahoma could have such wonderful facilities. We drove on Highway 10 along the coast at Gulfport and stopped to walk on the beach. It was all white sand and I found a few small shells. We saw pelicans, seagulls, terns, etc. When we drove through Biloxi we saw old anti-bellum mansions with red tile roofs and tall columns in front. We saw pictures of this gorgeous drive after Katrina hit and it was leveled. What a terrible disaster. We got into Alabama at 12:20PM and stopped at the Welcome Center for a map and rest room break. Rosetta called to wish me Happy Birthday while we were there. We took the Dauphin Island turnoff and came to Mobile at 12:55 PM. We drove through a tunnel that took us under Mobile Bay. We then toured the battleship USS Alabama and a submarine, the USS Drum; also went to the aircraft museum there. We stopped at Moe's Southwestern Grill at 3:15 for some good food. We left at 4:00 PM and entered Florida about 4:30. We stopped at the Welcome Center for a pit stop and some brochures. They gave us each a cup of free orange juice. It was cold and so good!. We left at 5:00 PM and reached the RV Park at Navarre at 6:15. After setting up at Navarre Beach Campground, we got gas and drove around seeing the town, then went back to camp for supper. After that, we walked down to the beach. It was dark by then so we took some flashlights with us. We walked out on a long pier and saw a big crab in the water dragging a dead fish out to deeper water. It would stop every once in awhile, chomp off a piece of fish, then go on again. After walking around for a while, we went back to the RV and went to bed.

August 22, 2005

We left camp at 8:55AM and drove to Pensacola. We stopped at Wal-Mart then visited Pensacola Beach. The water tower was painted like a big beach ball. We went out on a long wooden pier and saw big and little jellyfish and lots of other kinds of fish, both small and large. There were people on the beach and in the water. It was a hot morning. We drove around and saw lots of hurricane damage to houses, trees, piers and stores from the previous years hurricane. They were rebuilding the beaches by taking a barge out a ways from shore and literally "piping in sand". We then drove out to the Naval Aviation Museum and spent about 6 hours there viewing many planes from bi-planes of the early days to the more modern ones. We went to the IMAX Theater and saw a film about how fighter pilots are trained. We rode in a simulator for 5 minutes and it was like really being in a fighter plane. Cool!!! We saw the Pensacola lighthouse then went back to camp, ate supper and swam in the pool. Also, relaxed in the hot tub until bedtime.

 

August 23, 2005

We got up early and left camp to return to the Naval Museum to watch the Blue Angels practice their maneuvers. We had to be there by 8:00 AM, so we took coffee and granola bars to eat in the truck on the way. We watched the Blue Angels for about 45 minutes as they practiced all kinds of maneuvers in the sky. The reviewing stand was so close to the runway that we felt like we had our own private show. You gotta do this!! Fantastic!!! And guess what?? It's all free. I bought a tee shirt and a visor and a little airplane pin. We left at 9:45 and went to Wal-Mart for gas and film. We got back to camp at 11:00 and packed up to leave. We had to check out by noon. I made sandwiches while Dave and Deanna disconnected the outside of the RV. We left about 11:30 and ate our sandwiches, cookies, and chips in the truck. We stopped at a rest area and I changed my watch as we had come into the Eastern Time zone. While we were at the rest stop we discovered the NEW RV was continuing to spit drawers out!! As a matter of fact WE are at the spitting point over these drawers ourselves. It started raining before we reached Tallahassee. We stopped for gas then drove through Tallahassee past the old capital building. Spanish moss was hanging from big old trees all over town. We stopped at a rest area for a pit stop at 4:30 PM and Dave got some Spanish moss out of a tree for me. We ate supper at KFC off the highway at Lake City. It is still raining cats and dogs. We stopped at Ocala for gas, pit stop, and coffee for Dave. We reached the Sun-N- Fun RV Resort at Sarasota about 11:10 PM. We signed in, got set up, and finished about 11:45 PM. We got to bed pretty late this night.

 

August 24,2005

We slept in this morning because we got in so late last night.  Dave got his Dish Network set up after breakfast and we watched the weather reports on tropical storm Katrina, which was predicted to hit Sarasota around Friday.  This is Wednesday, so we aren't worried about it yet but will ask to locals about shelter here at Sarasota.  We left camp at 10:15AM for the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.  It's really an amazing sight.  The cables are painted gold and really make it look like it is glowing in the sunshine.  We stopped at a beach near the Sunshine Skyway and Deanna picked up a shell with a big hermit crab in it.  You should have seen her face when she discovered the crab.  She hurriedly put it back down on a rock at the water's edge.  We drove down a fishing pier and saw a flock of pelicans looking for breakfast.  We stopped at Turtle Beach, and I filled my pockets with shells and waded in the surf.  We went to the Mote Aquarium and Research Facility next, and saw all kinds of fish, sea horses, jellyfish, big sea turtles, dolphins, and manatees.  We left at 4:00 PM and returned to camp for supper.  After supper, we went to get gas and groceries.  We talked to some of the local people at Sun-N-Fun about the storm coming in and what their thoughts were.  The storm had strengthened some and was predicted to come ashore near Ft. Pierce and then across to Sarasota.  During the conversation with some of the locals they seemed to have a relaxed and carefree attitude about the tropical storm hitting Sarasota.   Stated something like "if the water in the canals came up too high we could move to a different part of the park".  I finally asked how long they had lived here in Florida and found out they had been here just a short time and were from New York.  With the locals guided experience in mind we decided we were going to "get out of Dodge".  We had the option of easily beating the storm by going south to Key West and let it pass north of us or going North to Kennedy Space Center and waiting it out. The good Lord must have been taking care of us because we went north to Kennedy and the storm ran so close to Key West that we would have suffered major damage to the RV.  About 8:30 we went to the pool and swam then soaked in the hot tub for a few minutes.  Some people were getting scuba lessons in the pool and we watched them for a while.  Dave and Deanna went to do some computer work and I took a shower and watched TV until they came back.  We all agreed that we would come back some day to enjoy more of Sun-N-Fun.  Here are a couple of Sun-N-Fun brochures.

 

August 25, 2005

We got up early this morning, ate breakfast, and left camp at 8:30AM with Deanna doing the driving. We headed northeast away from the tropical storm, which was becoming a hurricane. By then it was classified as a category 3 hurricane. By the time it reached New Orleans, it had intensified to a category 5. We left because it had been predicted to come straight west to Sarasota. We stopped at a rest area at 10:00 AM and left shortly after with Dave at the wheel. We drove to the Great Outdoors RV Resort at Titusville, FL arriving about noon. This resort is probably the best resort we have ever seen. After lunch, we went to Cocoa Beach. The surf was really high due to the storm and the feeder bands to Katrina were very obvious, but people were swimming, surf boarding, wind surfing, etc. We watched a large casino ship come into port and saw many pelicans, gulls, osprey, and an albatross. We drove to Wal-Mart for gas, and then came back to camp for supper. After supper and a short rest, we gathered up the dirty clothes and went to the laundry. Dave worked on the computer while Deanna and I did the laundry. There were lots and lots of little green frogs hanging out at the laundry that we got a big kick out of. Later that night the feeder bands from Katrina hit us and there were repeated bursts of heavy rain and wind but not enough to alarm us.

 

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