Saturday, May 30, 2015

So Long. Good-Bye, See Ya Later

Wow, our time at Betty's is done and, as always, it was filled with good music, food, fun, friends and of course, a great time with our wonderful hostess Betty.  Many people ask why we return to Abbeville so often and it is because of all of the above and the fact that there is so much to do in the area that we find new things to do on each visit.  Here are a few things we did for the first time during this stay; we toured Acadian Village, went to the Festival International, enjoyed the Crawfish Festival, took a boat ride on the canal to Vermilion Bay, did a couple of brewery tastings, found new places to eat and made many new friends.  And this is in addition to the usual things we do every time we are here such as the Cajun Jam Sessions, Zydeco breakfasts, Cypress Bayou Casino, many local eateries, seeing old friends (both RVers and locals) and without a doubt Betty's famous happy hours.    
On our last Friday we realized we had been here for almost ten weeks and had not been to Suire's, a great little grocery store/restaurant near Kaplan.  Don't be fooled by the look of the building with the menu written on the outside wall, this place has been written up in the New York Times.  I like to go on Friday because the turtle sauce picante is the special. Nanc, Merlene, John, Sharon, Betty and Dan all love the food and the atmosphere.  
On Saturday it was one last Cajun Jam at Touchet's.  It was Memorial Day weekend so there were not  many people to hear the music. 
It was time to say good-bye to our many local friends.  In the corner is Mr. Curtis, a jam session regular, with Joe, Kristy, Jim and Ollie.  We sure will miss seeing them.
Friends Wade and Elda also joined us at the jam.  We had not seen them very much because they have been off in their RV most of the weekends we have been here.
Other than Dan there have not been any musicians at Betty's lately, so on Sunday Dan invited Judy Bailey and several locals from Touchet's to come by Betty's for a jam and Memorial Weekend cookout.  Here the RVers and local friend Lloyd are enjoying the music.  The weather was threatening, but it blew by and we had a great day of music.
Dan and Kristy jamming at Betty's.
Joe always has a great time when he is playing.
Judy, Steve and Dave strumming away and singing a couple of tunes. 
Judy with Jim who we had not seen much on this visit.
We met Dave and Priscilla here many years ago.  They have moved several times, but always seem to return to Abbeville.  On their last move they rented an apartment so we had not seen as much of them.  They stopped by on Monday to tell us they were moving again.  I'm sure we will see them down the road or back in Abbeville as it seems they just can't stay away.
On Tuesday we had one last lunch at Dupuy's, one of our local favorites.  Bottom are John, Sharon, Donnalyn and Jim.  Top are Betty, Dan, Merlene, Nanc, and Jim.  We had Dupuy's wonderful oysters one last time.
We had planned to leave on Wednesday but several things kept us at Betty's one more day.  When we received our mail we had an insurance issue we needed to resolve, the weather was threatening, but the real reason we stayed one more day was Betty was cooking a big pot of her famous, which is much better than Marvin's, gumbo.  Everyone added a side dish and we had a great last supper.
A parting toast to all our friends at Betty's.
On Thursday our farewell group was pretty small as there were only four RVs left and Jim and Donnalyn were shopping in Lafayette. It was a sad good-bye from Ron, Sharon, Merlene, Dan, Nanc, Betty and John.  We already have plans to return next spring and I'm sure we will see many of our RV friends along the road.  The last few people will be gone soon as Betty will be closing for the summer to take a much deserved rest to get rejuvenated for next year.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Music, Food, the Project and Sex

While there are only a few rigs here at Betty's we continue to have a great time.  We heard some new music, had a great potluck and worked on a project for Betty.  Several of us also witnessed a gecko sex act and that along with working on the project lead to the question between Dan and I about whose was bigger and we ended up answering that question before the job was done.
On Sunday afternoon we went back to Poppa's on dat River to hear the Fa Tras.  In addition to the regular band of local musicians we have seen before, Coon Touchet, an 87 year old Cajun singer, joined them for a couple of numbers.  He is a Living Legend and wrote one of the songs he performed.
Becky and Fay, two RVers from California, went with us and loved the band so much they bought a CD.  They got the cover signed by all the band members and had their picture taken with them.  Very Cool.
Sunday evening we had a potluck.  We always say the bar for food here is very high and this meal was no exception.  Here are Jim, Donnalyn, Betty, Merlene, Dan, Ron, Reg and Karen at the potluck.  We also used the meal to celebrate Jim's and Reg's birthdays.
John, Sharon, Becky, Nanc and Fay enjoying another fun evening.  I added John and Sharon's blog On the Road of Retirement to my blog list.  I've added several blogs recently, as many of the people whose blogs I once read have either stopped rving or blogging.
The Project!!
Betty's signs where really showing their age with faded paint and rotting wood so Dan, Merlene, Nanc and I told her we would help her do new ones.  The project took several days as each piece of plywood had to be sanded, have two coats of primer and two of the yellow before the lettering could start.
Here is a piece of painted plywood drying after being primed.  Dan is working on medal flashing that we decided we would put on the top of the signs to protect them a bit.
The flashing was green so it did not go well with the yellow, red and black sign so Merlene is painting it black.
Dan checking the yellow paint to make sure it is good and dry so we could move on the the next step.
When the paint was good and dry the letter stencils needed to be laid out, spaced properly and then traced before the painting could start.  Fortunately, Betty had kept the stencils from the original signs. This job took a while as a lot of measuring and math was involved.
And then the painting of the letters began, a very slow and tedious job, that Nanc and Merlene handled very well.
Merlene, Dan, Nanc and Betty painting and tracing the letters.  Yes, some touch up was required.
The paint crew finishing up the big 4 X 8 sign.  The job of drawing the webs fell to me so I am now a web master.
After the posts where painted the finished signs went up as soon as the paint was dry.  All the workers were happy with the finished product.
Finally the big sign was ready to be hung.  We recruited Betty's son Reid to help with this part of the job.   
All the workers looking real happy that the job is done.  When you come to Betty's you will not miss the new, bright signs pointing the way.
As I promised a bit of gecko sex.  The guy on the right had BIG things in mind as he tried to get it on with the dinosaur we have outside our rig.
And here is the proof, even though Dan's is newer, mine is bigger.  We all love coming to Betty's and were happy to lend a hand with the new signs, all the while having a fun time.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Busy Week of Celebration

We had another busy week at Betty's with the usual; friends, food, music and more. A few of us have been helping Betty with a project that I will write about in a later post.  The weather has been stuck in a pattern of high temps, wind and humidity with a chance of showers daily.  So far we have avoided any bad storms. As the weather becomes more summer like there are fewer rigs at the park but there have been many old friends and new people we have heard about from other friends stopping by for extended stays. On Sunday we went to Poppa's on Dat River to hear another band, Gravel Road, that includes Dave and Sybil who we often hear at the jam sessions. Last Monday Betty, her 91 year old aunt Edna, Nanc and I took advantage of a "free" room and meals we have earned at the Cypress Bayou Casino.  We all learned that there is no free lunch, but we had a fun time.  I failed to take pictures either day.   
Here are Merlene, Dan, Donnalynn, Jim and Betty at happy hour.  It is great to see Donnalynn and Jim again.  They often come to Betty's at the same time of year we do.  Jim had a birthday this week so we had another reason to celebrate. 
Another old friend who stopped for a couple of days was Rose who we met at Watersedge RV Park in 2008 and who we often see when we winter in Arizona.  Since her husband Mike passed away she spends more time at her home in Mesa but still loves to RV.
She now travels in this great little trailer.  It is self contained and has everything she needs.  It is also a good and easy way for her to travel and see the country.  It was great seeing her and we look forward to seeing her down the road.
Of course we had crawfish again this week and, as often happens, we got to watch a newbie enjoy mudbugs for the first time.  Reg went right at it and easily worked through five pounds.
We have been here so often we now have many local friends who often invite us to join them for different celebrations.  Friday evening we went to the Museum Cafe to celebrate Sandra's birthday.  Here is Sandra (right) with her mom and our good friend Ollie and her son David.  It was a great party and a fun, fun time.
David provided the evening's entertainment.  He played a great variety of music. 
Saturday was back to the Museum Cafe for the Cajun jam session.  Here are Sharon, John, Karen and Reg from Betty's at the museum.  Reg had a great day celebrating his birthday.
About once a month during the jam session the Acadian Museum in Erath honors a local resident as a Living Legend for their contribution to promoting Cajun culture.  This week's honoree was retired Lafayette Parish sheriff Don Breaux (left).  Betty was inducted as a Living Legend in 2012.  Here is a link to our blog post about that day.   
A couple of our friends at the Museum Cafe jam session, Ollie and Lloyd who also had a birthday this week. It sure is great having so many friends in the Abbeville area.
The jams are almost always only for local musicians, but on Saturday they invited Dan to join in on stage.  I guess now he is officially a California Cajun. 
We all had a fun day at the jam that ended with another Cajun tradition that we have never found anywhere else around the country.  A free to go dinner for everyone and in this case free really is free.  You gotta love this place.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Koryn, Merlene, Water and Music

Recently there has only been from four to ten RVs at Betty's because at this time of year the weather is starting to be very warm.  We have had several days of hot, windy weather and all the water in the area adds to the humidity. We have been running the air conditioner more than we like just to keep it comfortable in the rig. That said, we are not complaining because three couples who left here since we arrived in April have s**w pictures on their blogs and Facebook pages. Check out Anywhere USA and Doing It on the Road if you miss seeing the white stuff.  I don't know why this happened to Mark and Renita but I'm sure Ray and Wendy are suffering the Curse of the Steeler Gnome.  While the park has not been full there are new people coming and going each week.   We continue to have a fun time and have decided to stay through Memorial Day weekend so we don't have to worry about finding a spot during that busy time.
At the beginning of the week John and Kathy (left) pulled out and, as you can see, there were only a few of us to wish them well and send them on their way.
All the talk in Abbeville is about Koryn Hawthorne, a local high school student, who has made it to the top five on the Voice.  Betty made sure everyone at the park is voting to support her. 
Two days after making the top five Abbeville had a parade to show their support.  Hundreds of people lined the parade route and filled the square.  The mayor gave her the key to the city and she was named the Grand Marshall of next year's Cattlemen's Festival.  The folks from Betty's made signs to show our support.
After the parade and speeches Koryn sang a few songs that had the crowd on their feet.  Here is a link to the Voice where you can hear her.  You can also vote for her at this site on Monday as she sings to move on to the next round.
Another big event this week at Betty's was Merlene's birthday and as you know we use any excuse here to have a party even when there are just a few of us.
Here are Judy, Dan, Merlene, Betty, Irene (Betty's aunt), Nanc and I at Irene's home for the party.
Dan and Judy serenaded Merlene with a few songs including one called Merlene that Judy wrote that morning.  Here is a link to Dan and Merlene's Facebook page where you can find a video of Judy singing the song.  What a special birthday for a great lady. 
That same day was also Dave's birthday but he could not make the party so the next day we got together for lunch to celebrate.  Here are Linda, Dave. Dan, Merlene, Betty and Nanc after a fun birthday lunch.
There is a lot of water around Abbeville, but this is about as close as we ever get to it, watching the boats on the Vermilion River.
That changed on Saturday morning when Betty's niece Monica and her husband Cordell invited us to join them for a ride down the canal from Don's Boat Landing to Vermilion Bay on a party barge.
This map shows where we traveled from Don's across the Intercoastal Canal to Vermilion Bay at the bottom.  On the left is the Vermilion River and on the right is Bayou Teche.  Almost all of the waterways that are straight lines are canals dug out by the oil industry.  Because of all the canals there is a lot of erosion that is causing the wet lands, that help protect the mainland from storms, to slowly disappear.  The camps pictured below are right where the canal flows into Vermilion Bay.
Merlene and Dan enjoying the water and the cool breeze.
We were surprised to see a small village of fish camps at the end of the canal near Vermilion Bay.  They ranged from trailers, to hand built cabins, to this houseboat.  All of them are raised as this area is prone to flooding when there is a hurricane.  While there is power here, all the material for the building had to be brought in by boat.
Captain Cordell. Monica and Betty soaking up the sun.
The small canal we were on crosses the Intercoastal Canal, a major shipping route along the coast from Texas to New England.  Thanks to Cordell and Monica for showing us a bit of the area that we have never seen.
On Saturday afternoon it was back to Touchet's for the Cajun jam session and a dance lesson for Nanc.  Ollie, one of our local friends, told her she was now an honorary Cajun. The music is one of the things that keeps us coming back to Betty's.