Monday, 16 February 2009
California Loop 2009
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This trip on the View took us from Murray, north of Dallas on US 380 to Roswell NM, White Sands, Quartzsite AZ, and on to the Salton Sea area. Coming back we followed I-10 to Destin FL and spent 5 days on the beach there.   Click here to start at the beginning.

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Posted on 02/16/2009 3:44 AM by Bob Duthie
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Sunday, 15 February 2009
Trip Statistics
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This will be the last entry for this trip. On Friday I got the water heater fixed (I hope) at our dealer. We used the rest of the day to clean inside and out. On Saturday (Feb 14) we took a load of new cushions for the boat up to Kenlake and drove the View to the shed in Murray to store until June. We picked up the car and returned to Nashville. Stay tuned in June when we head north to Newfoundland.

32 days total

7 days to reach Salton Sea area at 258 miles/day

9 day return trip at 301 miles/day

11 days at Salton Sea

5 days at Destin

5,216 miles total

292.6 gal diesel

17.8 mpg average

$678 fuel cost

$2.30 avg cost/gal

$2.499 - $2.019 price range per gal

3,178 Interstate miles driven at 62 mph (61%)

2,038 Non-interstate miles driven at 55 mph (39%)

16.6 mpg estimated mileage at 62 mph

19.7 mpg estimated mileage at 55 mph

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Posted on 02/15/2009 12:18 PM by Bob Duthie
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Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Days 30-32 Feb 10-12 Destin, FL to Nashville TN
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There was no entry for yesterday as we spent the entire day either on the beach or reading. Today, Wednesday, we decided to change the plan for a Friday departure and left Destin this afternoon. The weather today was bad with high winds, cloudy skies, and rain. The surf was so high that the View got so covered with salt spray we couldn't see out the windows. Another reason for the early departure was because the water heater decided to die once again. No one was available to fix it in Destin so I made a Friday appointment with our dealer in Nashville. It failed 1 day after the warranty expired. At noon I attended the Fort Walton Beach Rotary Club which meets at the Fort Walton Yacht Club. Tonight we are camped in an RV Park in Montgomery Al. Tomorrow will be an easy 284 mile drive to Nashville as we covered 161 miles today. The sunset photo was taken last night looking out the front right window. People like to gather on the beach to see the sun go down.

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Posted on 02/11/2009 6:07 PM by Bob Duthie
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Monday, 9 February 2009
Day 29 Feb 9 Destin, FL
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All the walking on the beach yesterday yielded an allergy attack that left me almost unable to see out of one eye. Apparently the red tide leaves toxins in the air. Today I stayed off the beach and had no problem. We took the View out and revisited Baytowne Marina and Wharf, one of our stops on the Great Loop cruise. This is definitely the off season here as most of the shops and restaurants were closed. There is a new boat rental scheme here called Legacy, where a number of people share the use of powerboats at a marina. Amazingly, one of their boats is a 1970’s 34 ft Grand Banks trawler. The wind was higher today creating a lot more surf. The photo was taken right in front of our campsite.

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Posted on 02/09/2009 9:18 PM by Bob Duthie
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Sunday, 8 February 2009
Day 27 Feb 7 Destin, FL
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We will be here in Destin until Friday when we head back to Nashville. Today was relaxing on the beach. Mavis walked and I put our new folding chair on the beach and read. In the afternoon we walked to the largest outlet mall in the world which is about a mile from the RV Park. When we got back to the View we had walked 4.3 miles  mostly in the outlet center.

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Posted on 02/08/2009 1:43 AM by Bob Duthie
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Sunday, 8 February 2009
Day 28 Feb 8 Destin, FL
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It was another perfect day on the beach with the temperature in the high 60s. We have now gone for 28 days without a drop of rain and hardly a cloud in the sky. This has not been the case for the places we have left behind. Kentucky had one of the worst storms in history. At Joshua Tree National Park on Friday they had rain all night. This morning we walked to a nearby Embassy Suites hotel where Rotary meets on Thursdays for breakfast. (Mavis is in the pink). I wanted to see if I could get there along the beach. It is not easy getting on and off the beach as most of the access points are gated. I did find a way to get there - along the beach and - along the road with a public access connection.

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Posted on 02/08/2009 9:30 PM by Bob Duthie
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Friday, 6 February 2009
Day 26 Feb 6 Bay St Louis, MS to Destin, FL
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The Hollywood Casino buffet dinner was pretty good and there was a good variety of dishes. The gambling was not so good. They would only give $25 per account which meant $25. The first two cards wouldn’t work. The second card worked for a few times but then quit with $5 unused.  With total winnings of $3.50 on two tickets we cashed in and left for the View.  We took Hwy 90 east from Bay St Louis along the Gulf of Mexico waterfront in the area demolished in August 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. The recovery is amazing. A new 26 mile roadway has been built right beside the beach. The sidewalk in the photo is actually a seawall and goes down several feet into the sand. This must be one of the longest beach roads anywhere. The rest of the trip was not as interesting and we managed to get sidetracked twice. After paying the bridge toll to cross over to Pensacola Beach and driving 5 miles east we found the rest of the road was closed. We had to backtrack to Pensacola and take route 98 to Destin. The GPS couldn’t find the RV Park and again we wound up backtracking. The RV Park, Camping on the Gulf, delivered everything they promised and we are right on the sand 100 ft from the ocean with power and water. Tonight we had tenderloin and a Wal-mart King cake to celebrate.

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Posted on 02/06/2009 8:51 PM by Bob Duthie
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Thursday, 5 February 2009
Day 25 Feb 5 Lafayette, LA to Bay St Louis, MS
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A few miles east of Lafayette on I-10 is an 18 mile long bridge (see photo) that crosses the Atchafalaya Swamp, the largest swamp in the USA at 585,000 acres. If allowed to flow freely, the Atchafalaya would capture the main flow of the Mississippi River, forcing it to bypass its current path through Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The likelihood of this event increases each year, and will eventually happen in spite of human efforts.  A series of 3 upstream dams currently regulates the flow of water between the two rivers. There is an impressive Atchafalaya Visitors’ Center at the west end of the bridge but we were passed it before we could see it. There is no turning around once you are on the bridge. Next time we will stop there for sure. We stopped in Mandeville LA to see the town where many boaters from Kenlake used to spend the winter. Mandeville is on Lake Ponchetrain and has several pretty good looking marinas. Tonight we are the Hollywood Casino in Bay St. Louis. It’s the first time to try a casino RV park. The campsites are impressive and well maintained.  You get $25 per person to spend in the casino or on the campsite fee.  We will try the buffet dinner. The acres of slot machines just look boring to me and the cigarette smoke is thick there.  

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Posted on 02/05/2009 4:51 PM by Bob Duthie
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Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Day 24 Feb 4 Galveston, TX to Lafayette, LA
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Today we got a better look at the massive destruction from hurricane Ike in mid September 2008. We took the free ferry across Galveston Bay to the Bolivar Peninsula and drove 27 miles along the barrier island. The amount of trash everywhere is unbelievable. Even the marshes are full of plastic bags and every other kind of stuff that the wind and surge spread. It would appear the area is still not inhabited with the houses on stilts that survived having no stairs. Tomorrow we expect to stay at a casino in Bay St Louis MS and Friday we arrive at Destin for a week. During the day I had a call from Southern Boating Magazine looking for photos of boats on the Inland Rivers. I found a number and emailed the large photo files via the D-link mobile router while we were driving to Lafayette.

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Posted on 02/04/2009 4:36 PM by Bob Duthie
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Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Day 23 Feb 3 Austin, TX to Galveston, TX
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We took time this morning to explore the area around the Pecan Grove RV Park. Austin has gone a long way in combining a downtown entertainment district with condos and greenways. Dozens of people were out running and walking. A building boom seems to be continuing. The Pecan Grove RV Park seems to be a holdout with high rise condos going up on either side. A new pedestrian bridge crosses the Colorado River and connects to the state capital and office buildings (see photo from pedestrian bridge). I never realized until now that there are two major Colorado Rivers in the USA; one on each side of the Continental Divide. After we had arrived at the location of the RV Park I had chosen for tonight we learned is now an RV and boat dealer. I soon located an even better place on the bayou in Galveston. While there are a few wrecked boats still sitting high and dry on the streets, and many uninhabited homes, the business district has been almost completely restored.  We had dinner at Landry’s Seafood which is directly beside the seawall. Our waitress said that it had survived hurricane Ike with virtually no damage. A new beach has been built beside the seawall.

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Posted on 02/03/2009 6:40 PM by Bob Duthie
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Monday, 2 February 2009
Day 22 Feb 2 Fort Stockton to Austin, TX
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We had dinner last night at the RV Park restaurant and watched the Superbowl on a TV in the room. It was a pretty exciting game to watch with a crowd. Today it was a 333 mile drive to Austin. We are in a campsite in the center of town. It seems to be occupied primarily by monthly residents. We got here late so we have not had time to look around. The main events today were a visit to Fredericksburg and a tour of the LBJ Ranch which is about 50 miles west of Austin. Fredericksburg is a well preserved German town with many art shops and 19th century limestone buildings. Lyndon & Lady Bird Johnson’s 718 acre ranch was left to the government in 1965. President Johnson spent 25% of his time from 1963-69 at the ranch home known as Texas Whitehouse. The park provides visitors with an audio CD that you play while driving around. Then a ranger takes you on a tour of the house. The office is now open and complete with everything that was there in the 60’s except the shag rug. Lady Bird and the family wanted the parquet floor she installed to be shown instead. However, the rug is stored away in case its needed in the future. (See photo).

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Posted on 02/02/2009 8:10 PM by Bob Duthie
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Sunday, 1 February 2009
Day 21 Feb 1 El Paso to Fort Stockton
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This was a short mileage day (222 miles) so we would have time to watch the Superbowl. Fort Stockton was closed on Sunday so we didn’t get to see it. It was built in 1858 to protect travelers on the trials from Indian raids. Closed during the Civil War it reopened in 1867 and remained open for 19 years until the “Indian Menace” was not longer a threat. Today’s photo was taken on a hike around the RV Park which is beside the interstate. The juxtaposition of signs makes it interesting. Fort Stockton is in the middle of what must be one of the most remote areas in the lower 48 states. Note the nearest town is 100 miles away.

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Posted on 02/01/2009 5:53 PM by Bob Duthie
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