23-26 Feb 2015; A Great National Park, Repairs, Leaks, and a Move…WhoDat??

Our trek continued further west today, Thursday, after some rainy and very chilly weather on Perdido Bay.

We had some rain overnight on Sunday, and determined we have yet another leak.  Terri noted that the back corner of the closet was damp, and after some investigation, we determined…yep, there is a leak, but from where??  That is a question we are still trying to figure out.  We were all over the roof and the side of the Coach on Monday, and thought we had found the culprit, and caulked it, so we spent the rest of the day hiking and biking around the park, in addtion to repairing one of the slide out awnings.

You can see the darker material, where there is supposed to be a rubber insert to use to pull the awning out.

You can see the darker material, where there is supposed to be a rubber insert to use to pull the awning out.

The strap was quite frayed due to wear and tear.  Terri put a new rubber disc in place with thin fishing line, and used a strong thread to repair what you see here.  She did a great job, and it works great!

The strap was quite frayed due to wear and tear. Terri put a new rubber disc in place with thin fishing line, and used a strong thread to repair what you see here. She did a great job, and it works great!

Terri did some research Monday afternoon, and unbeknownst to us, there was a National Park right near the National Naval Aviation Museum on NAS Pensacola, so that is what we did on Tuesday.  This is part of the National Park Service Gulf Islands National Seashore.  The Park we visited is Fort Barrancas.  According to the Park literature, European colonization, American expansion, and threats of invasion led to the building of coastal forts along the northern Gulf Coast.  Situated on the bluffs (barrancas) overlooking Pensacola Bay and the gateway to the outside world, Fort Barrancas served as the lock on the gate from potential foreign invaders.  Spain actually built the first colony and fort in 1698.  The French briefly occupied the site in 1719.  Later the British acquired Pensacola in 1763 and built a naval redoubt on the barrancas.

General Andrew Jackson seized the forts in 1814 and 1818.  When Florida became part of the US in 1821, the U.S. Navy selected Pensacola Bay as the site for the Warrington Navy Yard.  In order to protect the navy yard the U.S. Army, with a force of some 60 contracted slaves, made improvements to the Spanish water battery and built Fort Barrancas over the ruins of San Carlos de Barrancas from 1839 to 1844.  In this short period of time, these wondrous craftsmen used nearly 6 million brick manufactured not far away in Northern Pensacola where there is hard-pan.  It is miraculous what these talented craftsmen where able to accomplish.

The Fort was very valuable during the Civil War as well.  Fort Barrancas was an integral part of the coast defense system until 1947 when coastal forts were declared surplus.  The Fort fell into disrepair, but extensive renovation of the Fort was completed by the National Park Service in 1980.   The park Ranger that provided our tour (free by the way) said his dad was stationed at Pensacola in the 70’s, and he remembers sneaking into the place with his older brother.  The Fort was not well taken care of, but the restoration is fabulous.  To give you an idea of how well the original structure was, only about 60,000 of the 6 million brick (that were laid in about 5 years) needed to be replaced.

Looking at the earthen moat at Fort Barrancas.

Looking at the earthen moat at Fort Barrancas.

The original Spanish Fort below Barrancas.  They are both well restored.

The original Spanish Fort below Barrancas. They are both well restored.

The draw bridge.  There is a tunnel that goes under the moat to access another internal alley way where a cross fire can be set up.

The draw bridge. There is a tunnel that goes under the moat to access another internal alley-way where a cross fire can be set up.

One of the corner areas.  These mason's were very very good for the time period!

One of the corner areas. These mason’s were very very good for the time period!

Looking down one of the hall ways where there are gun emplacements and cannon mounts.  Almost has a cathedral feel to it!

Looking down one of the hall ways where there are gun emplacements and cannon mounts. Almost has a cathedral feel to it!

Looking form the Spanish Fort back at Barrancas.

Looking from the Spanish Fort back at Barrancas.

Another great shot of Barrancas.

Another great shot of Barrancas.

We also stopped by the Pensacola Light House, but didn't go in as it was getting late.  This is still in operation.

We also stopped by the Pensacola Light House, but didn’t go in as it was getting late. This is still in operation.

It rained all Tuesday night and most of the day on Wednesday.  We hauled everything out of the closet again, as our earlier fix did not fix anything.  There is not a ton of water getting in, but it is enough to be concerned about.  We can see where the water is dripping down, but cannot find the entry point.  We have to figure out how to pressurize the inside of the Coach and then use a bubble mixture to find out where the breach is.  It is supposed to rain again on Monday, so we are going to take a day or two to enjoy the area before we fret too much about it right now.

Because the rain lasted almost all day and well into the night, I was not able to get too much prep work done for the move today.  We were up at about 0630 this morning, and had everything ready to roll by 1000…that was taking it very slow.  Apparently the site we were in at Blue Angel is highly coveted.  I went outside at about 0715, and a guy walked up and asked if I was Ron, and if I was leaving today.  He said he wanted to move into our site.  I said, no problem…we will leave around 10 or 11.  That was all he needed to hear.  Within the next hour, he was moving stuff into our camp site so no one else would snipe it.  Very funny stuff!

We stopped for a top off of fuel just inside of AL, and paid $2.89 per gallon which is much cheaper than it was in Florida.  It was cloudy most of the day, but it was a pretty nice leisurely ride to where we are at.  We had about 180 miles to go today.  We had tried to get into the Keesler AFB FamCamp in Biloxi, MS where Jason and Meghan were stationed a while ago, but they were full.  So was Shields Naval FamCamp near Gulfport.  Terri found a LA State Park right on the northern shore of Lake Pontchartrain (WhoDat??)  More on that later.

While meandering down the road, Terri recalled an awesome BBQ place we went to with Jason and Meghan a few years ago in Ocean Springs, MS called The Shed.  And it is AWESOME!  We got a combo plate of ribs and brisket with awesome baked beans and potato salad for $17 (military discount.)  This was a ton of food!  It will be our dinner, and likely our breakfast and lunch tomorrow.

I had my doubts about pulling the Coah with the truck attached into this place, but we managed to find a spot where I could get back out.  Thats the Coach in the distance.

I had my doubts about pulling the Coach with the truck attached into this place, but we managed to find a spot where I could get back out. That’s the Coach in the distance.

Looking from the picnic tables toward the bar area.  If you are ever in the area, this is a must stop if you are hungry!

Looking from the picnic tables toward the bar area. If you are ever in the area, this is a must stop if you are hungry!

Very eclectic as well!

Very eclectic as well!

Back to the State Park Camp Ground Terri found.  It is called Fontainebleau State Park.  $18.00 per night for 50 AMP and water…no sewer, but they do have a dump station.  Not a bad price, and a really nice park!!  It was originally developed in the 1930’s.  The 2,800 acres on which the park is situated were originally part of Bernard de Marigny’s plantation and sugar mill.  It is located near Mandeville, LA.  As mentioned earlier, it is on the northern end of the lake.  There are cabins, over 140 camp sites, hiking and biking trails, board walks, and the remains of the old sugar mill.  The weather is supposed to cooperate the next few days, so we will be checking it out.  We are only here for 4 nights, as we want to keep pushing towards Texas (and get the RV leak figured out.)

We were able to sneak in a bike ride before it got dark.

Looking out at the pier at the end of the park into the lake.  The clouds are awesome!

Looking out at the pier at the end of the park into the lake. The clouds are awesome!

I had a pic of the New Orleans skyline but I thought this cloud formation was much better looking!

I had a pic of the New Orleans skyline but I thought this cloud formation was much better looking!

We are really close to the Big Easy, but we’ve been once, and really don’t have a desire to go again.  Who knows…never say never.  It appears there is a bunch of really good things to see and do without dealing with all of the people.  The local food is fabulous according to all reports, and SCORE…we hit a local IGA later this afternoon and got to pick 5 packs of meat for $19.99!  We got beef ribs and chuck eye steaks…some of our favorites.  That is quite the deal!!

That will do it for now…time to enjoy some more of that BBQ!  As always, we hope you are Happy, Healthy, and Living Your Dreams!!

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