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The Destination is the Journey {1 from the archives}

| Updated Jun 16, 2023

Remembering the journey?

As we remain locked down and under a no unnecessary travel warning, we've been spending time looking over past RV trips and recalling the fun and adventure. Those days will be coming again, once this current crisis passes… which it will!

Meantime, from our archives, here's a story and a video that we did just two years ago that will hopefully get you excited about getting back on the road.

When we take off in our RV, taking our time is as important as getting there. That’s why we prefer traveling two lane roads versus the Interstate. That’s also why find ourselves stopping a lot.

Like this trip, as we were headed from Florida towards Texas.

Click the video to see what we mean…

Starting the Journey

We started out on US-98 near Pensacola and soon crossed over Perdido Bay, taking us into Alabama. There’s not really a name for our first stop except it was a boat launching area. Dogs were welcome and Bo got to stretch his legs with some local K9s, whose owner told us we could have sent the night boondocking there in our RV if we wanted.

But it was getting towards dinnertime and we wanted to go a few more miles. It turned out to be just a few miles when we found the perfect place: Lambert's Cafe in Foley, AL. We had previously eaten a a Lambert's in Missouri and knew this would be the perfect place for dinner.

Lambert's is always packed. Its known as the Home of Throwed Rolls. You heard that right. Throwed… as in “Catch!”… throwed rolls, fresh from the oven, thrown to diners who raise their hand.

Besides those rolls, which are always just a toss away…  Lamberts servings are all super sized.

Good old fashioned comfort food is on the menu, with the wait staff constantly walking past your table dispensing things like fried okra, boiled cabbage, tomatoes and macaroni. Trust me, you don’t leave hungry. You waddle out… stuffed.

Journey through Mississippi

Next, it was time to leave US 98 and switch to the I-10 Interstate. There was something at a rest area not far into Mississippi near Bloxi that we needed to check out – Elaborate sculpture carved from the wood of live oak trees killed by Hurricane Katrina.

The Mississippi Dept. of Transportation has a whole bunch on display at this rest area and along US 90. They range from eagles and herons to seahorses and dolphins in tribute to the Gulfcoast shoreline the trees once towered over. Very cool.

We soon ran out of light, found a spot to spend the night at were up and at it bright and early the next morning. We made it less than 10 miles down the road before we were lured to stop at the Mississippi Sand Hill Crane Refuge near Gautier, MS.

Mississippi Sandhill cranes were and endangered species. In 1975, only 35 non-migratory birds could be found in their unique, wet pine savanna habitat here. Today, there are about 150, though on the day we visited, nary a one was to be found.  But there was a great nature trail though the savanna that we could take. Bo was also welcome, as long as he was on a leash.

Journey through Louisiana

Back on the road, we were soon in Louisiana. One of the things about our non-hurried style of traveling in our RV is, well, you can take a nap anytime and pretty much anywhere you want

Mike did. Jennifer went into the tourism office at the rest stop and grabbed a bunch if brochures.

An hour down the road in Mandeville, on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain opposite New Orleans, we were drawn to the 400-acre Northlake Nature Center and its winding boardwalk that lets you explore a Louisiana bayou and swamp.

After walking across a swamp, we figured we should drive our RV across a lake… taking the 24 mile long bridge across Lake Pontchartrain… listed by Guinness World Records as the longest bridge over continuous water in the world.

We came to regret that decision because it put us back in the Interstate and as we approached Baton Rouge, a massive traffic jam on I10 soon ate away our hopes of doing more exploration.

Then, Mike cheered up. It was time dinner and as we approached the town if Lake Charles, he was fixated on Cajun cooking. We pulled unto the parking lot if Steamboat Bills a half hour before closing time. The special on the menu?  Crawfish. Mike struck up a friendship with a guy at a nearby table and got him to show us how to eat them. A passing waiter brought Mike a sample.

It tasted good, like a cross between shrimp and lobster. But I had my mind set on another Cajun specialty.

A half hour back down the road, we were in Texas.

What should have been one day's trip turned into two. But that's the way we travel. As it says above, the journey is the destination.

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2020-04-11

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

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