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Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years, a Beginning

Nephew Blake preparing meal in Costa Rica.
After languishing for past 3 weeks in the "barn", the Admiral has once again entered the waters to voyage. After experiencing many weeks and months travelling our beloved Admiral, idleness tried the patience. Fortunately, our land bound home has returned to normal after exciting Christmas Holiday and the welcome visit of all our daughters (4) and two sons.

We bid Ade to Justin as he departed back to Hattiesburg, MS in continued preparation for deployment to Iraqi with the US Army. Our prayers and best wishes go with him in this risky adventure.
Our routine is to vacate the homestead each Thursday or Friday for travel in the Admiral to new and exciting locals within a short drive of our home. As we continue to search for new location, we are continually surprised to find adventures close to home. Our hope is to explore the Land Between the Lakes (LBL) during the winter months. After viewing the wonders of Yellowstone in the winter, we want to experience similar months in our home state. LBL is within 1-2 hours drive, depending on the site and offers eagle viewing, off road adventures and miles of hiking trails. Thus, we are awaiting answers from inquiries to the management for locations suitable for our Admiral during the winter. We realize developed sites are closed for the winter, however, many primitive or undeveloped sites exist. We only need to clarify permission to camp.

We have not experienced true dry camping but with the use of our generator, feel we can be comfortable, safe and enjoy the solitude. I suspicion we will enjoy undeveloped camping and discover a new dimension to our travels. We have not relished boondocking in parking lots, but understand the ease when just traveling to a new destination. I believe we will feel just as secure in a wooded, quiet site as in a busy parking lot. It does appear more and more business operations are prohibiting overnight stays. Understandable on some levels, but boondockers tend to spend considerable sums in businesses along these asphalt campgrounds.

No matter the results on our inquiries, we will have new experiences along the trails, roads and byways of this country. I have discovered with the help of LBL that we may camp in four (4) campgrounds throughout the winter months. They typically do not offer any facilities with the exception of the Fenton Camp, which offers water and electric. The LBL contact via their web site was quite helpful in pointing us toward winter campgrounds. This will be our winter beginnings of 2010 with hopefully new camping and travel experiences.
Happy Trails for 2010!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Paris Landing Getaway

View from Little Eagle Campground Paris Winery
weekend. My dog Bailey and I disappeared south to an area typically well used in summer months but little used in the winter. Fortunately, the quiet was just what I needed. Bailey seemed to enjoy the peace as well.

I parked the coach at a private campground instead of the State Park. This is due to superior facilities in the private site with good view and access to Kentucky Lake. Paris Landing State Park is attractive with golf, lodge and lake.
However, the campground is dated and only offers 30 amp service and sites with a slope and many trees. If the state parks would upgrade sites with 50 amp. individual water source and level the sites, I cannot but expect more rental of the sites.

Little Eagle Campground is private and well maintained. A number of the sites are rented on an annual basis, however, good quality units and friendly staff. Located within 1/2 mile is a restaurant I would recommend. Seaton's is not the typically southern trough found in many lake areas. The owner is a friendly sort with a well rounded menu and wonderful bar. The restaurant serves a wide variety of entrees but well with the $10-12 range. Best beer in the area and my favorite, non smoking. BBQ spots are located in the area and the Lodge at Paris Landing Park is good for a buffet.

Paris Winery is located with 12 miles and offers a good variety of wines for reasonable prices. Tastings are held often and special meals prepared on site. The owners have transplanted from California and even offer a landing strip on site.
Tennessee is keeping their campgrounds open in the winter months, unlike many Kentucky Parks. I would recommend Little Eagle and other private facilities during the winter months. The state park is just OK and crowded in summer vacation periods.
Happy Trails

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Fall Day at Audubon Park

James Audubon was the foremost naturalist and painter during the 1700's We are fortunate to have a state park located nearby in Henderson, KY. Audubon Park adjoins a heavily traveled highway at the Ohio River crossing to Indiana. However, from inside the park you would not guess the location.

Audubon Park is located along the banks of the Ohio River in the City of Henderson, KY. You can drive past the park without a notice. However, within the park lies a unique museum with the collection of James J. Audubon, original paintings and exhibits. A large virgin forest with nature trail is available for all to hike.

The campground alas is in only fair condition and located near a heavily traveled highway. Like many state parks, the campground is dated with small, unlevel sites with limited facilities. The gem is the park itself. Also, many Indiana State Parks are nearby. My Boykin Spaniel loved the trail and the lake. The park includes a 9 hole golf course which is challenging but not on the championship level. Thoroughbred horese racing is available within 2 miles at Ellis Park. It is questionable that the track will reopen next summer due a decline in horse racing at small tracks. Hopefully, the Audubon Park will be maintained for us all and eventually some improvement in the campground.

Happy Trails

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Open Pond Campground, Coneuch National Park

View Open Pond Campground in a larger map'>

What a wonderful surprise! You always remember the campgrounds that were an adventure and seem to be undiscovered by the masses. This is one of the Alabama discoveries.

We were traveling to Destin, FL. for a fall trip and discovered this part while on the road, searching the net. Located a short distance North of Destin and just south of Andalusia, AL. the park is easily accessed via Highway 29. Being along one of the most traveled routes from the North to Destin, we were pleasantly surprised to have our pick of a site along the water.

The campground is a National Forest site and the honor system is employed for check in and payment. They do have a host who will collect the rent at the drop box. The campground is reviewed on with excellent ratings. I would suggest you call before arrival to check for sites and ask if they could hold one. The spring through fall seems to be very busy with nearby campers.

The sites are located in four (4) loops, one being for primitive camping only. All sites offer 50 amp service and water. The dump station is on a hill and may be difficult to reach and empty tanks. The access road to the campground is narrow and only one vehicle can pass. However, our 35 ft. motor home was not a problem and we did view one 40 ft. motor home in the campground. Everyone was very friendly and willing to assist in any way.

The lake is well stocked with catfish, brim and bass. We were warned not to walk with our dog along the banks due to gators. However, the camp host informed me he had been in the area for 9 months and not discovered any gators. My luck would be to find the first gator. The area around the lake is mowed and boats are permitted without gas engines.

This is a great stop to rest up prior to Destin. We did not discover any restaurants in the area, but the quiet and beauty of the park was worth a bit of cooking.

Happy Trails.