Friday, April 12, 2013

Cajun Paradise

We are in the 4th day of Adventure Caravans Spring Mega Rally in Houma, LA, and are very impressed with the level of effort and professionalism that the company has put into the planning and execution of this event.


All the 80-some RVs are parked in the Civic Center’s parking lot with 30/50 amp electrical and water hookups. A honey wagon visits every 4 days to empty our holding tanks, with 2 visits included in the rally fee and an additional one available for $25. Two will be plenty for us.

We are parked with lots of room around us and only one nearby neighbor to the rear (see the nose of the truck on the left), yet it’s just a short walk to the meeting rooms in the building.


Some of the rigs that arrived early are parked closer to each other.


After a first-timers orientation session on Tuesday, our day of arrival, followed by opening ceremonies and crowning of the rally King and Queen, we enjoyed social time and a delicious Cajun dinner. The evening entertainment was delivered by Ron & Kay Rivoli, Branson’s newest entertainers. Most of their original songs were written (by Kay) especially for RVers, and they were very entertaining. I didn’t have my camera with me, and the lighting wasn’t conducive to my phone camera, so I apologize for the poor quality of this pic.


The next day was filled with travel briefs presented by various staff members, detailing caravans available to book in the future, with discount coupons being given out at each session. There were also several craft sessions and one on digital photography. We quickly learned that a large number of staff are what helps this organization run smoothly. They lead trips, serve as tail gunners, represent the company at RV shows, help at rallies such as this by serving dinner, registering people, selling products (shirts, jackets, backpacks, umbrellas, etc.), serving drinks at the social gatherings, presenting seminars and other duties as assigned or as they see are needed. However, these staff members are richly rewarded with stipends, free trips, and possibly other benefits that we haven’t yet learned about.

The evening entertainment was the Couche Couche Cajun Dance Band.


Two couples came as part of the band to demonstrate and give dance lessons, and everyone was invited to participate.




Don and I did as much as our aging knees and hips allowed. And we enjoyed listening to the Cajun/Zydeco music and conversations with others at our table.

Does anyone else think this guy looks like Dennis Hill? Dennis, do you have a Cajun brother?


Before the evening was over, we were asked to consider becoming part of the Adventure Caravans staff. So we’ll find out more about it and see if it might fit into our travel life.

The 3rd day was 12-1/2 hours long, riding on a 45’ motorcoach with a tour guide. Our group filled 3 buses. The first stop was the Houmas House Plantation home and grounds. The house tour was wonderful, but a heavy rain and thunderstorm caught with us so we didn’t enjoy the gardens very much. In fact, I forgot to bring an umbrella, so Don and I got thoroughly soaked getting back to the bus after the house tour. Due to the rain, I didn’t get a picture of the outside of the house, so click the above link to see it. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour, but I won’t post pictures I did take of the inside because this blog is already getting too long. And there’s a lot more to tell!

Our next stop was The Cabin Restaurant in Burnside, LA. Again, if you’re interested, please click on the link because if I included pics my blog would bog down everyone’s computers.

The bus tour continued to New Orleans where we saw above-ground cemeteries, parks, mansions, churches, effects of Hurricane Katrina and some recovery, a stop for CafĂ© Au Lait and Beignets, and finally to Harrah’s Casino. An optional walking tour of the French Quarter to hear musicians performing in the music festival was done by most of our group, but Don and I stayed in the casino and played a little video poker. Darn those aching hips and knees!

We finally returned to our motorhome a little after 8 pm, to find a little Toy Poodle named Shadow very anxious to get outside to take care of his business. At 12 years old, it’s amazing that he can ‘hold it’ for all those hours! There was an optional pet sitter available, but the last time we tried that, he tried to bite the sitter. So we opted out this time. And, oh, yes, I forgot to say that Adventure Caravans even provided him with his own name tag, with a toll free number and ID that links him to us in case he gets lost. What a nice touch!


Finally, today included more travel briefs and a session for women only. Since only women were allowed, our presenters had to dress appropriately for the event. Davida and Biell (pronounced ‘Belle’) did a good job with a Q&A session covering tire safety, airbags, weight issues, and other topics brought up by participants.


In the afternoon, there was a Mardi Gras style parade, with lots and lots and LOTS of beads, and even a few stuffed animals, drink cozies and other treasures thrown from the parade floats. Here are just a few of the many pics I took.




The number of Mardi Gras beads, coins and other items thrown from the floats was enormous, so we kept some to distribute at some of our future events. Most of the time they were coming so fast and furious that I couldn’t even take pictures. I got hit by several items and had to back off to avoid injury! Many, many were just left on the side for anyone who wanted to pick them up.


Our evening dinner was a Louisiana shrimp boil and the entertainment was a Fais-Do-Do celebration, with more Cajun music. Dinner was delicious and I was so involved in enjoying the shrimp I didn’t even take pictures! Here’s a shot of the Treater Band that performed.


Whew! I don’t know if we can survive all this fun! And we have 7 more days to come!

Finally, while we were in Livingston recently I arranged for Sue Glick to quilt a wall hanging for us. She finished it and it arrived here by mail a day after we arrived. We’ve always liked to decorate with Kokopelli and I really love this rendition! It will look great on the wall beside our galley. Thanks, Sue!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Betty’s RV Park, Abbeville, LA

I hesitate to write this blog entry because Betty’s is such a magical place, with limited space, so I don’t want too many people to know about it or we might not be able to get a site in the future! Betty Bernard is definitely a special kind of person, and her RV Park is one of a kind, often with a waiting list.

But our friend Jim Tidball has posted a couple of times recently, so I guess the secret’s out! And previously Bobbie Chapman posted several pictures of Betty’s RV Park to help those who haven’t been there to envision just how intimate the place is, with only 17 sites surrounding Betty’s house. And besides that, every time I mentioned Betty or her RV Park I got a bunch of messages telling me to say Hi to Betty! Please click on these links to gain a better view of the wonderful experience we’ve had. Jim even included a few pics of Don and me.

While there, we celebrated Betty’s 70th birthday that occurred on March 31, Easter Sunday.


Preparations were well under way when we arrived, so all we had to do was donate to the ‘kitty’ and sign the cards. Nancy and Jim had fun taking the balloons from the car to the party room.


One of the cakes shows that 3 other people were also celebrating birthdays, and one couple had an anniversary.


The group gave Betty a new flag to fly on her flagpole in front.


And we gave her some of her favorite wine, enough to keep her stocked up for awhile!


In the interest of getting this blog entry posted so I can move on to more recent events, I’ll finish now. This was only one of many events and activities we enjoyed while at Betty’s, including daily happy hour gatherings, and we met many interesting and friendly people. We look forward to visiting this lovely park again.

We’ve moved on to Houma, Louisiana, about 100 miles away, and are enjoying the start of an 11-day Adventure Caravans MegaRally. This is the trip we won as the grand prize at the WARE (Western Area Rally for Escapees) last year. We’re missing that rally this year, since it begins next Sunday, but we wish our friends who are there the very best time and a successful rally in California.