Saturday, August 20, 2011

Memorial Day Wknd 2011--Honeycomb Campground

Honeycomb Campground is on the opposite shore of Lake Guntersville, the same lake as the State Park we camped at the year before, but facing east instead of west. The morning views were awe-inspiring to say the least.

We were so close to the shoreline that we could pull back the curtains and see nothing but water!

Friendly Canada geese seemed to like hanging out at our camp spot as much as we did.

One especially hot afternoon we drove over to Cathedral Caverns and spent a couple of refreshing hours in an underground tour of the caverns, which stay a pleasant 50-60 degrees year round. A steady stream of southern drawl from our guide, "Little Man", made the tour memorable. He sure knew and loved the place, and it didn't hurt that phrases like, "' stuff like 'at..." wove their way through the monologue.

This was the view up out of the mouth of the cave, on our way down underground.

Ben's family came up for a day. That was the day our one-year-old niece discovered watermelon. She probably ate a quarter of that melon all by herself. Between the juice and her teething slobber, she was sticky, pink, soaked from head to toe, and perhaps the happiest baby alive. Well, unless we tried to take her rinds away. We had to dunk her in the lake to clean her off.

Can't wait 'til a break in our schedule and the cooler fall weather to get back out there...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

She Rides Again - Memorial Day 2010

Memorial Day Weekend, 2010.
Lake Guntersville State Park. Primitive Camping.
80s during the day, 60s at night, with intermittent rain showers.
Cool, comfortable, gorgeous.

We had our giant American flag set up as the awning for the first day, until it rained enough to soak through it. It was pretty cool. Didn't manage to get pics of that before we replaced it with the old duct tape patched tarp, though - sorry!

Obviously we haven't had the time to do the overhaul we were hoping to have done before taking her back on the road, but heck. We have an Airstream. We're going camping.

A local family came around with a truckload of firewood for sale and we split a stack with our neighboring site. Our half was more than enough to get a couple of good fires roaring, and we still ended up bringing most of it home for the fire pit on our patio.

Ben's mom and granddad came to visit Sunday afternoon. We sat out under the awning as long as we could, until it poured buckets and our duct tape patches started leaking. Then we all moved inside to chat, nibble on dried fruit, nuts and japanese rice crackers, and listen to the pitter-patter on the aluminum roof. Aaaahhh.

Then Ben walked down to the edge of the water to capture the incredible after-the-rain sunset...

...while Lisa got cookin' on some fabulous camping food...

...Thai coconut curry noodles with chicken and Japanese eggplant...spicy enough to warm us up after a cool rainy day.

And we sat around the fire 'til long after dark, with full and happy tummies.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Home for Thanksgiving

We both thought that the Carlsbad Caverns were one of the biggest highlights of the trip. It's hard to believe when you're already 750 feet underground that there's a whole other cavern underneath you! Definitely want to go back someday and spend a weekend taking all the guided tours of the side rooms - crawling through spider caves, rickety wooden ladders down into the lower cave. If you ever want to do those ones though, just keep in mind that they have to be booked about 6 months in advance. Oh yeah, and don't leave your camera in your car... :-)

After doing that for the morning on Tuesday, we put in a long day of driving and made it almost to the East end of Texas. We had the kind of good sleep you get when you're tired. The next day, since we were already farther along than we'd planned to be, we decided to bypass our next stop too and just get there. So we drove all the way across Louisiana (added to Lisa's list of "States I've Been To" - #30!) and Mississippi and pulled up to Ben's brother Will and Laura's place in Birmingham about 5 pm. The guys went to the fish market for some salmon filets and grilled and smoked them for dinner. Yeeeaaahhhh. We were tired from the longer days of driving but it was all worth it to wake up on Thanksgiving morning surrounded by family.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Close Encounters of the Museum Kind

Well, we said goodbye to California on Saturday. Wait, make that Sunday. We left Tom's on Saturday and headed down the Pacific Coast Highway #1 to a camp spot right between Santa Barbara and Malibu. We just weren't ready to be done with the ocean just yet. Needed just one more day to spend along the coast.

We've stayed at a bunch of different kinds of places, still finding our groove, so to speak. After staying in a bunch of RV parks last month, mostly overrun by retirees in enormous modern houses on wheels (one couple even got up from their picnic table and went inside when we pulled up in our little old tin can in Little Rock on our way out here - can you believe it?!), we were happy for the more youthful "vibe" of the campground.

Sure, there were RVs at the campground too, some using noisy generators, and around us rambunctious kids were playing, practically rocking their tents off their pegs (one even sneaked up behind Ben and scared the daylights out of him, then ran away giggling in delight). But everyone quieted down around 9 and things got really cozy. We boiled up some water over a campfire (which was a thrill for us because apparently people at RV parks don't need those - you have to trade in your campfire rights for electricity - what if you want both?) and had some soup and genmaicha (Japanese green tea...which reminds me, we're going to have to post some pics of the Japanese garden and koi pond we found in San Jose. For now, check the pics Ben posted on his Facebook page). Then we listened to the waves crash on the nearby shore as we drifted off to sleep. Nice.

On Sunday we made the long haul through the Mojave Desert that is Eastern California, and tried something different - we just pulled up to a rest stop outside Tucson, climbed into the Airstream and camped out in one of the pull-through RV spaces. The weather was nice and warm and we actually slept really well that night, despite trucks coming and going. In the morning I washed my hair in the rest stop bathroom in a tiny sink barely big enough to get my head into, under one of those faucets that you have to hold down a button the whole time to keep the water flowing. When you're on the road it just feels great to get fresh and clean, however you can!

Now it's Monday. We drove from Tucson to Las Cruces this morning, then up through the White Sands Missile Range to Roswell, home of conspiracies about UFO and alien landings. We hit the UFO museum just so we could say we did. There was stuff about close encounters of the first, second and third kinds (now we know the difference), crop circles, the 1947 "incident," even the Bermuda Triangle. I (Lisa) wanted to see some stuff that they actually found out there, some parts of ships, you know, stuff like that, but it was more of an exhibit of newspaper and magazine clippings, everything everyone said and reported and wrote about the subject - the kind of stuff you could be there reading for hours and still not come to any conclusions on your own about. I guess I was hoping for some kind of conclusive evidence to be revealed once and for all, the real story straight from the horse's mouth. But who's the horse here? Hmm.

Ben, on the other hand...well, let's just say his curiosity has been piqued. After Roswell we headed down to Carlsbad for the night, and for much of the 70-mile drive, I watched the sunset and the stars coming out, while Ben watched blinking lights and unidentified objects moving across the sky. And since we arrived, he's been conducting some online research of his own, right here in the Airstream in the RV park!

Yes, another RV park, near the Carlsbad Caverns park entrance. It's okay, this place may just have redeemed RV parks for us. The owners are really nice, really organized (she handed us a big packet of information explaining their park, the nearby town and attractions, codes we'd need to use the internet and other facilities, and more. I commended her on it. And...they have an indoor heated pool that was open until 10! Since it's November and low tourist season, we had the 8-foot-deep pool to ourselves and it was like a big warm bathtub, with steam rising off the surface into the cooler night air (the pool building's windows were open). It's supposed to get down to 29 degrees tonight (that's about -2 for all you Canadians), which is colder than we expected this close to Mexico, but since we're plugged into electricity tonight, we've got a great little school bus heater to keep us warm. I guess that's a fair trade for the campfire (or lack thereof) tonight...

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Wildlife

We went down to a campsite on a river on the corner of the property and cooked some lunch over a campfire. We rock-hopped our way down about a half-mile of the river and back. On the way back up to the ranch we ran into a herd of the wild pigs and finally got to see them for ourselves. They are really funny!

Also, Ben took a closer look at one of the pictures in the last post, the one with the wave crashing into the rock. Here's an expanded view of that pic:

See what's out there just a little past the wave? We think it's one of the! Didn't realize we'd managed to capture any of them on camera!