Posts Tagged ‘rv campgrounds’

 “For me, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive.” – David Herbert Lawrence

This stalking black-crowned night heron is patiently waiting for its mouse dinner to pop up out of its hole. — Photo by Pat Bean

Black-Crowned Night Heron

A pair of black-crowned night heron have taken up residence in a landscape of reeds, Russian olives and cattails that line the bank of Lake Walcott between the park’s campground and boat dock.

The path between the two is one of those I take on my daily walks with my canine traveling companion, Pepper. Most days, mid-to-late-afternoons, I come up on one of the herons patiently waiting in the lawn area near a rock wall for dinner to appear.

This black-crowned night heron’s dinner is more common. — Wikipedia photo

The gourmet item on this heron’s menu is one of the small mice that make their home among holes in the rocks. The stalking heron is usually so still that Pepper seldom notices it, and so intent on dinner that I get a chance to marvel at its glowing red eye, which stands out vividly from its white and black feathers. .

Most days, unless Pepper sees it and barks and strains on the leash to go chase it, we don’t even disturb it as we pass by,

Although I’ve never seen but one on the manicured lawn, I know there are two because one day I spooked the second one as I passed by the cattails, and watched  as it flew deeper into the reed cover.

A fish dinner, or even a snake one, is a more normal diet for these herons. But their flexibility in food choices is probably one of the reasons these tree-nesting birds can be found on five continents, and why there is no current concern about their numbers.

Bean’s Pat: Dodging Commas http://tinyurl.com/7hfuamp Words for writers. This wondering wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

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 “How hard to realize that every camp of men or beast has this glorious starry firmament for a roof … it is easy to realize that whatever special nests we make – leaves and moss like the marmots and birds, or tents or piled stone – we all dwell in a house of one room – the world with firmament for its roof.” –John Muir

Lake Powell — It was here that I spent my first night in my brand new RV, which I call Gypsy Lee — Photo by Pat Bean

I Chose Lake Powell’s Wahweap Campground

Make reservations or go with the flow?

The campground meets my desire for a scenic place for me and my canine traveling companion to take a pleasant walk. — Photo by Pat Bean

That’s a question often on my mind as my canine traveling companion, Pepper, and I roam the country in Gypsy Lee, our 22-foot home on wheels.

I actually do both.

Knowing I have a place to stay for the night lets me enjoy my dawdling sight-seeing ways without worry. Not having a reservation means I can go as few or as many miles as I want before stopping for the day.

There have been times when I’ve traveled as few as 15 miles before seeing an inviting place to stay and stopped. There have also been times when I’ve driven 400 miles because nothing captured my fancy – or there was nothing. I really hate the latter situation, but it’s happened to me both in Texas and New Mexico, where there are a lot of wide-open spaces with nothing appealing in between.

And Gypsy Lee, left, has a place to park with a view of the lake. — Photo by Pat Bean

What I want in a nightly roosting place is a scenic landscape, a hiking trail and internet access. I know I’ll find the first two at a state or national park, which are my favorite roosts, but the latter is iffy, especially if the campground is much distance from a populated area.

But that’s changed a lot during the eight years since I traded my Ogden, Utah, home for Gypsy Lee. I started my travels using my phone as the modem for internet connection, and often had to drive into town to make a connection. Today, I have my own Verizon hot spot and the times when I have to say “I can’t hear you” are getting fewer and fewer.

And the flowers were a bonus — Photo by Pat Bean

Since it was a weekday, I hadn’t called ahead for campground reservations the day I visited the Grand Canyon on my way to Zion National Park. Nor did I check my Trailer Life Directory for potential places to stay. I knew Lake Powell’s Wahweap Campground lay directly in path. It was the place I stayed my very first night on the road in Gypsy Lee. It had it all.

Bean’s Pat: 10,000 Birds http://tinyurl.com/6ogapq3Go birding in Namibia.  

*This pat-on-the-back recognition is merely this wandering/wondering old broad’s way of bringing attention to a blog I enjoyed – and thought perhaps my readers might, too. June 12, patbean.wordpress.com

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“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” George Eliot

Lake Claiborne, Issac Creek Campground, Alabama -- Photo by Pat Bean

Issac Creek Campground

http://pixilatedtoo.wordpress.com commented that she was new to Alabama, and looked forward to reading more about Alabama parks after reading yesterday’s blog about the state’s Frank Jackson State Park.

I’m happy to oblige, especially since my brain is in a can’t-think-of-what-to-write-about fog this morning.

The  Issac Creek Campground on Lake Claiborne near Monroeville is a Corps of Engineers’ facility, which meant I could use my Golden Age Passport and camp for half-price, which in 2006 when I stayed there was just $8 a night for a site by the lake.

Maggie at Lake Claiborne. I can now look at photos of my beloved pet and recall memories of our good times together instead of crying. Well, almost. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The park, which had been recommended to me by two fishing enthusiasts from Louisiana, was awesomely scenic and pleasant – and well off the beaten path. I got lost several times before I finally found it.

I asked a park staff volunteer why it wasn’t listed in my Trailer Life campground directory. The answer was that the Corps of Engineers couldn’t advertise and compete with commercial parks.

I did, however, learn that I could purchase a book listing all Corps’ campgrounds from Cottage Publications (PO Box 2832, Elkhart, Indiana, 46515). I did and it now sits alongside my other campground directories.

Following is a few bits and pieces from my journal during the three days my canine traveling companion, Maggie, who died last month, and I stayed at the park:

A walk along Issac Creek was always a delight. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Saucy squirrels are everywhere, and while the species of birds aren’t numerous, each one seems special. I heard a cackling rumble, and back-tracked it to a red-bellied woodpecker…

Blue jays seem to be everywhere, and delightful to watch as they swoop back and forth above the lake. One actually rippled the water while playing this game, sending sunlit droplets splashing into the air…

This morning there was a hazy mist over the lake that broke to reveal a blue canvas on which was painted an echo of the fall dressed trees on the opposite shore…

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosaic of them all” – Stanley Horowitz

Lake Claiborne is a fantastic place to be in the autumn. The days are warm and pleasant and the nights cool enough to warrant snuggling up in a quilt at night, which is how I sleep best ….

I learned today that female pine cones are fatter than their male counterparts and have harder scales. Well, that explains why we ladies have wider hips then men and an inner toughness that has nothing to do with brawn …  

On the morning of my third day at Lake Claiborne, and after receiving a phone call the night before from my granddaughter, I said a reluctant good-bye to this great Corps of Engineers campground. Heidi wanted me to meet her in Shreveport, La., for her 24th birthday, which was less than a week away. I enthusiastically accepted the invitation and replotted my journey’s route.

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 “This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy. – Susan Polis Schutz

While the walk across Frank Jackson Lake and the exploration of this island wasn't a lengthy one, it was an interesting one. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 And Scenic Places to Park Gypsy Lee

I had a great view of the evening's sunset from the Gypsy Lee's rear window. Discovering Frank Jackson Park off a less traveled road was a great find. -- Photo by Pat Bean

State Parks top the list of the places I prefer to spend the state when traveling. These days, most are set up for RVs. The sites are almost always larger than those of commercial parks with the bonus of usually providing access to hiking and biking trails.

The South, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi are all full of especially nice parks.

Alabama’s Frank Jackson State Park, was one I cam upon unexpectedly on Highway 9/331. I had planned to drive farther this day, but stopped instead — and stayed for a couple of days.

My camp site even came with a cable TV hookup, although I didn’t use it. The cement pad that backed right up to the lake was also a nice touch – as you can see.

Bean’s Pat: Earl’s World http://earlrrichardson.wordpress.com/ A person who can simply walk out into his backyard and find nature’s treasures is my kind of person.

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