Monday, February 28, 2011

More Friends at Betty's

We continue to have a great time at Betty's. The weather has been fabulous with warm days and cool nights. This has enabled us to move happy hour outside and I think the nicer days have everyone here acting a little crazy as we all look forward to spring. Betty planned more outings including a bus excursion to the Cypress Bayou Casino. The bus cost $7.00 a head but everyone got $5.00 on their player's card, a free buffet with drinks and a band to entertain.

We are having company for a week as Tom & Georgie brought our mail down and we are giving them a fast track, full immersion course in Cajun culture. Part of that is of course the music so on Saturday we were on the road at 6:00 AM so we could be first in line at the Cafe des Amis for the Zydeco breakfast. That afternoon it was the Cajun jam session at the Museum Cafe in Erath. Also, the Mardi Gras celebrations have begun and we will have more on that later.

As both pics say when it comes to what goes on here we all; hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Ah, sure we do.

Left to right are Terri & Penguin Rich, Bobbie & Penguin Jim and Linda & Penguin Jim II.

There are some things we just can't talk about:)

And, there are other things that must be preserved for all time. Here Jean-Pierre & CeCe show off the latest in big butt underclothing. We all do know how to laugh and have a good time.
The casino group who is here for the whole month.
Top; Scott & Diana Howey and Jim & Bobbie Chapman. Bottom; Nanc sporting some Mardi Gras bling and Jim & Linda Mossman. We were all winners because the day really only cost $2.00 but some did do better than others.

More of the group.

Rich & Terri Deacon, Marvin Broussard and Jean-Pierre & Nicole Valiquette.

We all had a grand time whether it was just eating and drinking or spending a few dollars trying to get rich quick.

Here are Tony & Marybeth Linn, Betty and CeCe & George Donaldson.

I think the two on the left have the biggest smiles because Tony was the biggest winner.

More happy gamblers.

Left, Tom & Nancy Doyle; Center, Mikki & Lee East and Right, Joyce & Larry Space.

We all had fun and some of us even won a little money.

A must do if you are visiting Southern Louisiana is the Saturday morning Zydeco Breakfast at the Cafe Des Amis. Music, dancing, eggs and Bloody Marys all before 10 AM, what a fun time. Top is the crowded dance floor with Joyce & Larry along with Nanc, Jim, Georgie & Tom.

Center proves if you are just standing there you are fair game to be asked by the locals to hit the dance floor. Bottom is the line of people waiting to get in when we left at 10:30 and the band that is backed into the storefront window.

We really love the Cajun jam sessions they have every Saturday near Abbeville. This week it was at the Museum Cafe. We still have friends we made there on our first visit in 2008. Top left is Nanc with Ollie who has become a dear friend that we are always happy to see every time we come back to this area. She is a real pistol and knows everyone in the place. Sometimes the wine "glasses" are not fine crystal but they do fill those cups to the rim when you order so the girls did not have a complaint. A tradition of the jam sessions is that they feed everyone at the end of the session. It can be anything from rice and beans to a full meal of pork, white beans and sweet potatoes which they cooked outside and served up this week. It was a great taste of Cajun cuisine!! This Saturday the museum honored Azar Broussard, a local musician and teacher of Cajun music. He is in the blue shirt. One of his students, 10 year old Bubba Hebert, also performed on the squeeze box. They both did a fantastic job and had everyone in the place on their feet. The Cajuns really work hard to preserve their culture.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More Good Times at Betty's

We continue to have a great time at Betty's. Most of the people who are here for the month are also SKPs so you know they are a fun group. Jim & Bobby Chapman and Jim & Linda Mossman also have blogs about all the things we have been doing. Betty put together several outings to explore the area. We previously visited Mr. Charlie, the oil platform, Gerald Judice, the wood guy, and did the walking tour of Abbeville so we passed on these excursions. We did go to Palmetto Island, a new state park just a few miles from here, the Acadian Museum in Erath and the Cajun jam session at Touchets.

This is the group that is here for the month of Mardi Gras.
The weather has been fantastic with sunny skies and temps in the 70's. We took advantage of the great weather one afternoon when Scott, middle, got out his margarater and served up the tasty blend to keep the happy crowd nice and cool.

The sign at Betty's warns about getting caught in Betty's web. This has sure happened to us as we have been here four times and always end up extending our stay each time we visit. That said, we did not get caught like George and CeCe who, after two extended stays, bought a house just down the road. Betty invited the mayor of Abbeville, Mark Piazza, to present them with a certificate of welcome that made them honorary Cajuns. The local paper covered the story so I hope no one here is in the witness protection program.

Palmetto Island State Park has opened since we were here last spring. We walked the trails at the park to see some of the wildlife in the surrounding swamp. Above is a hawk and an egret and bottom are turtles and an armadillo. The park also has a very nice campground and a canoe trail that connects several ponds and flows into the Vermillion River. With an admission of only $1.00 or free for seniors the park is a worthwhile stop.

The group went to the Acadian Museum in Erath. The museum is dedicated to the history of the Cajuns and the story of the deportation by the British from Canada. We visited the museum before and met Warren A. Perrin (bottom right) the local attorney who was able to obtain a proclamation (center) from the queen apologizing for this action. We were at several places on Prince Edward Island this summer where they knew about Warren and his work in getting the apology. One wall (bottom left) is about Longfellow's Evangeline which tells the story of the deportation. An added bonus on this visit was meeting D.L. Menard, a local musician, (top) who was nominated for a Grammy this year. Warren took him to Los Angeles last weekend for the show. Unfortunately D.L. lost to another local from Lafayette.

One of my favorite foods in Abbeville is crawfish and the best place to get them is Cajun Claws. A few of us went and ate our fill of the mudbugs.

And of course there is always the music. On Saturday we all went to the jam session for an afternoon of great French Cajun music. Bottom playing the triangle is Jean Pierre who jumped on stage to contribute to the beat. Top left is Barrett Navarre a young Cajun whom we heard last spring. Center are Richard and Valarie Frayer who drove down from Baton Rouge to visit. Top right are some of the crew from Betty's.

This hat made the rounds of a few heads.

Top: Linda, Jean Pierre, Diana, Bobby & Jim

Bottom: Joyce, Nanc, Rich, Terri & Jim

A grand time was had by all.

There are some times when consuming alcohol can cause adults to do strange things and I think playing the Hen Party Game is one of those times. That said watching the pairs passing the toilet paper on to the handle of the plunger was a real hoot. Once again a good time was had by all. You never know what you are going to get yourself into at Betty's.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Welcome to Betty's RV Park

The greatest thing about Betty's RV Park is Betty and her happy hour(s) where everyone gets together at 4:30 to share stories of the day and plan future activities. These gatherings always involve music, food and the liquid fuel of your choice. In addition to all the things we have seen and done here in the past Betty has a full itinerary of Mardi Gras events lined up that we are looking forward to. As I said when we arrived, the temps were not very warm and that trend hit a new winter low for us when, on Sunday morning, it was colder here than in WashPA. But, after that morning low the afternoon temp was in the sixties with the long term forecast calling for highs in the 70's which is much more to our liking. A lot of the group has been out exploring each day, but we have just been taking it easy as we have fewer places to visit because we have been here before.

Here we are at the first happy hour all bundled up inside Betty's Louisiana Room. All the friendly, warm people must have helped warm up the weather.
One of our favorite things about being in Louisiana is the music. On Friday night Betty brought the music to us when Nashville recording artist Judy Bailey performed at the park. In the 80's Judy was nominated as one of the top 5 vocalists at the American Country Music Awards. She has performed with Moe Bandy and other country artists and also performed on Hee-Haw and Lawrence Welk. Judy even sang a song she wrote about Betty's RV Park.
A fantastic time was had by all.

Judy is putting together a new band to perform in the area and invited everyone at the park to hear them practice on Saturday. They played everything from country to rock and swamp pop.

They even cooked burgers and fed all of us. We have always found the Cajun people to be very friendly and generous. Here the crowd from Betty's enjoys the music and the sunshine as the temps start to warm up.

Joyce and Larry Space even got up to "cut the grass" as the band played. A few others also danced along.

A grand time was had by all.

I told you it was warming up. Here a few neighbors soak up the warmth. There was even a bit of early indulgence by a few unnamed people to celebrate the early arrival of spring. We were all waiting for the gumbo that Betty was cooking for Sunday supper.

Here are three of the revelers and a couple of empty dishes for two who failed to make it to supper. You know what they say, "You snooze you loose".

Middle is the big pot of Betty's gumbo with the crowd getting ready to chow down. Everyone contributed a side dish for this great meal. We have been to many parks that have gatherings but Betty's is the only place where everyone participates in all the fun.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


On our last weekend in Bushnell we went out to dinner with Wallace, Wanda and Marcia (Joe had gone to Kentucky) to a local restaurant in a fish camp called Werda-Hecamiat. I can't tell you where it is located because Wallace drove so when we got there I had to ask "Where the heck am I at?" The next day there was a chili cook-off for the Super Bowl that was not so super for the Steeler fans. Oh well, there were fifteen chilies to pick from and we had a great time despite the outcome of the game. We enjoyed our stay at Sumter Oaks.

On Monday we left for Louisiana and drove 650 miles, the most we have ever traveled over a two day stretch. We stayed in campgrounds in the Florida panhandle and near Baton Rouge rather than Wally World because it was to cold to dry camp. On Wednesday we only had a short sprint to get to Betty's in plenty of time for happy hour. Ten rigs pulled into Betty's that day and most of them are going to be here for a month of Mardi Gras celebrating. Beside Betty we were also greeted by Marvin, Wendell & Ruth and Russ & Lori whom we met here previously. Also coming in that day were 07 mates Jim & Bobbie Chapman, whom we last saw at Quartzite and Larry & Joyce Space whom we met in Newfoundland this summer. It is a small world. We are looking forward the the month with all these old friends and getting to know everyone else. We were also greeted with cold weather that hung around until the weekend. Oh well, the good friends and hot Cajun food will keep us warm until mother nature turns up the heat.

The judges picking the winners at the chili cook-off. Every one I tried was great. I am glad I wasn't picked to be a judge.
The drive was almost all on interstate highway. Above is crossing the mighty Mississippi. This river always impresses me with its size, especially after seeing what they call a river in the Southwest. Bottom is the approach to the road across the Atchafalaya Basin an eighteen mile stretch of I-10 that is raised above the swamp. It is quite a drive.

BBRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!! Why did we leave that warm Florida weather?

Oh here's why we left the warm weather to come to LA. We love coming to Betty's and it was really great to see her again. As usual she has a full schedule of events for the month.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

SKPs, Sumter Oaks, Super Bowl

The plan, which is always subject to change, was to stop at the SKP park in Bushnell for a few days, then head to Betty's with stops at a couple of our favorite places along the way. We settled in at Sumter Oaks and the weather along the gulf coast was not great so we decided to stay in Florida until the last minute and then make a 800 mile dash to LA. Sumter Oaks is a nice park and the managers, Wallace and Wanda, are the first SKPs we met when we went to Boot Camp in 2007. When we were setting up someone yelled hi Jim and it was Charlie who along with his wife Sherry we had met at Betty's. Joe and Marcia were coming up from the Keys so we had a lot of reasons to stay. We took advantage of being in a SKP park and I washed the salt mist off the rig and polished it while Nanc did some spring cleaning. We did a lot of just hanging out but also explored the area.
Next to the park is a field with a few donkeys and one pig. They are fun to watch and run to the fence for handouts every time someone walks by. Behind the park is a large swamp with many birds. We even saw a roseate spoonbill even though this is outside its normal range. There are two resident owls in the park and you can hear them hooting and see them every evening.
We were told a must do in the area is the Webster Flea Market. Honestly, I have never seen so much useless "stuff" in one place. There were booths with "antiques", new clothing, jewelery, a very large farmers market and just about anything else you could want but don't really need. There was even a booth selling only Steelers stuff. One thing I have not seen at other flea markets was the large number of people selling guns and the people who bought them walking around with there new firearms. I was not worried because I'm sure they all had a very thorough background check. Right!! We bought a few things including a wrench I needed, a new super squeegee and some fruit and veggies. As you can see by the flag above they even have beer, but we were not there long enough that I needed one to kill the pain of shopping.
We took advantage of the nearby Withlacoochee State Trail, a paved rails-to-trails. We had ridden this trail when we stayed in Port Richey three years ago. In Floral City we stopped at Hampton's Edge Trailside Bicycles so Nanc could buy a new pair of gloves. Turned out the owners are SKPs who close the shop in the hot summer months and travel in their RV. They were at the Escapade in Goshen last fall. If you are in the area and need bicycle repairs, rental or supplies make sure you stop and see Regis and Cindy.
We travelled with Joe & Marcia and Wallace & Wanda to the Margarita Grill in Homosassa. When we pulled into the parking lot we realized we had been there three years ago when we stayed in that area to see the manatees. Above is the see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil trio who are enjoying their "medium" margaritas.
This is Sammy the son of the owner who without touching it twisted the fork Nanc is holding. It was truly amazing as we could actually see he was not touching it and the fork was twisting and turning. It wasn't a trick fork either because it was the one Nanc ate her lunch with and we brought it home. This alone makes it a worthwhile stop. Make sure you ask Sammy to bend a fork.
Since we were in the area we went to the SKP luncheon in Clermont where we had lunch with 07 mates Tom and Paula whom we met at the 07 rally in Boerne a couple of years ago. We also drove to have dinner with Nanc's sister Judy and her husband Bill whom we spent time with in December. We will probably not get another chance to see them for awhile.

We are looking forward to watching the Super Bowl as the Steelers shred the Cheeseheads during their climb up the stairway to seven.
HERE WE GO STEELERS HERE WE GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!