27 Feb – 1 Mar 2015; Lot’s of Bike Riding, Good Food, Fixes, and Budgets!

We were up early Friday, in an attempt to check this area out a bit more.  We had some items we needed to get at the store, so we went into Mandeville.  We found a nice, quaint little town, and noted they have a Farmers Market on Saturday’s, so we put that on the list.  We hit the grocery store, and ACE Hardware to pick up caulk for me to get on the roof and see if I can end the leaks!

We had lunch at a little Pub right on an old railway line, that has now been converted to a bike path…it was called the Old Railway Brewery.  Great food…Terri had the Gumbo and I had their version of a sloppy joe, but with smoked brisket, some awesome sauce and something like coleslaw as well.  It was all good.

The day was too nice, so we headed back to grab the bikes, and took the trail from Fontainebleau State Park for about 10 or so miles before we turned around and headed back to the Coach.  This place fills up on the weekends!  There are a ton of sites here, and there were very few of us in the park on Thurs night…but the onslaught hit on Friday.  Apparently this is one of the local State Parks that the folks in the area like to get to on the weekends.  Sure enough, just after school time, the rigs were a commin!  It was great to see and hear and talk to all of the families out and about.  It brought back some memories for sure.

We also noted that folks that spend a lot of time in the outdoors have a different form of scolding, or punishment if you will, when the kids don’t listen.  There was a real nice couple with two kids parked next to us, and the kids just HAD to go to the “bigger” playground, but mom said it was too far.  After incessant badgering by the kids, the mom finally said, “listen, one more time, and you won’t see the outdoors until tomorrow,”  boy, did they snap up and listen to momma after that!  No way they were going to be kept indoors.  What a great change it is to hear that.  A lot of kids these days would prefer to get sent inside to be able to get on their “electronics!”

We were up again early on Saturday, and Terri started working her magic in the Coach, and I climbed on the roof with caulk and an assortment of tools.  I took the air conditioner covers off, the vent covers off, and inspected and checked every inch of everything I could.  A little caulk here, a little there…in places that looked suspect.  This has me a bit upset, as I had the roof completely re-sealed in July, and we still have this new leak!  After that, I completely caulked the entire circumference of the coach above the belt molding.  I also re-caulked around the rear camera, and the attachment points for the ladder.  We had some rain last night, and it is dripping now…no water in the closet as of yet, but the rain really hasn’t been too heavy.

Once again, the day was gorgeous!  Mid 60’s, and blue bird skies!!  Oh yea…Farmers Market.  It was from 9-1, and I was cleaning up at about 11, so it was time to go.  We got on the bikes, and it was only about three miles up the trail to Mandeville.  What a great market.  They should call it a great food to eat market instead of a farmers market.  They had people playing music…Cajun and Jazz, arts and crafts, and awesome eats!  I love Boudin, and if you have not ever had it, put it on your list.  I had some of the best homemade Boudin I’ve had to date.  Everything else it seems for the most part had a crawdad theme.  Go figure!  Here are some shots of the market:

Probably about an acre of tents and so forth.  A lot of people brought lawn chairs just to listen to the local musicians.

Probably about an acre of tents and so forth. A lot of people brought lawn chairs just to listen to the local musicians.

Mediterranean Cajun????

Mediterranean Cajun????

Now we're talking!!

Now we’re talking!!

The problem was, Terri and I got so involved talking with some of the folks that before you knew it, someone threw a switch and everyone was packing up.  We did manage to get back to one of the nice ladies that was selling eggs, and got us some of the best tasting eggs we have had in a long time.  She has a long story too, but the short version is her hubby had a hobby farm and always wanted her to have chickens, she wanted to wait until she retired.  Now he is gone, and she has 38 chickens and loves it!  She said she wishes she would have done it much sooner…man have we not heard that a bunch of times about the RV lifestyle!  No matter what it is folks, don’t let your dreams fade before you have a chance to chase them!!

We also spent a long time talking with a wood-carver, well, really a scroller.  He heard us talking to some other folks, and called us over.  He asked if I knew what Lagniappe was?  I said I sure do!!  One of the consultants we use for proposals has used that term a lot!  Lagniappe means something a little extra…or something given as a bonus or a gift…American Cajun.  This gentleman had some Lagniappe for Terri.  He had a small heart that he had carved out of his scraps, and had a 5 gallon bucket of them that he handed out to some folks.  He told her that she now had an extra heart, and if it ever got broken, I could fix it for her.  What a neat gesture.  We talked with him for quite a while.  We sure seem to do a lot of that.  I never took the time for the most part in the past just to talk to folks and get their take on life and what they do, Terri has always been very good at that.  We are learning that this great country is still full of a lot of great and very proud people!!

We then shot back to the Coach with the eggs, and then headed down to the lake, followed by riding the many miles of trails they have here:

Looking at the lake thru one of the many, many oaks they have here.  There is a film production crew on site...tons of semi's, etc.  We have not been able to get any of them to talk about what they are filming!

Looking at the lake thru one of the many, many oaks they have here. There is a film production crew on site…tons of semi’s, etc. We have not been able to get any of them to talk about what they are filming!

Cruising down one of the unimproved trails.

Cruising down one of the unimproved trails.

 

We were up again early today (there is a theme developing here!) as we found a church in Mandeville that we wanted to go to and the service started at 8:30.  What a welcoming bunch of folks!!  Great service, and after church we went to bible study with one of the folks that we first met as well.  We will definitely go there again if we are ever back in the area.  One of the guys in the group produces free bible study outlines for use either individually or in groups.  I checked them out earlier today, and I’m sure I’ll be hitting this resource again sometime.  If you are interested, the web site is free-online-bible-study.com.  Oh yea…the church we went to was First Baptist of Mandeville, LA.  Check them out if you are in the area, I’m SURE you will feel welcomed!!

When we got home, it was still dull and dreary, so while Terri took a break, I decided I needed to catch up on the budget.  I hadn’t done January, as everything was in flux with the house sale and all.  Bottom line is that we are below budget for the year, but in Jan we went over for groceries, and in Feb we went over for groceries (by very little,) but were WAY over for entertainment.  We include in the entertainment category:  eating out, media rental, entry fees for museums or other attractions, etc.  When looking at the itemized list, it was the eating out that killed us.  We will make some adjustments to get back on track.  Otherwise, as I said, we are ahead for the year, which is good, because you never know what will happen when.  We then decided to take a drive across the causeway that goes from Mandeville to New Orleans.  What a neat drive…24 miles dead center across the lake.  We had no desire to go into the city, so we headed for Slidell, as we needed to get a few things at Wally World.  Side note:  My sister sent me an awesome note about the New Orleans School of Cooking, located in the French Quarter, which provides a demonstration class that she has taken.  We would have loved to do that, but it will have to wait for another time.  Sorry Vicki…our plates were too full with the local stuff this time around, but keep the suggestions coming please!!

Tomorrow is move day, so we got a lot of things squared away today while it was not raining.  All we have to do in the morning is unhook from power, pull in the slides, hook up the truck and stop at the dump station on the way out.  Shouldn’t take too long.  We found a park just north of Lake Charles, LA in the town of Fenton called the Quiet Oaks RV Park.  This is a Passport America participating park.  I’ve mentioned PA before…essentially, for $39 per year, you get 50% off at all PA parks.  Each one is independent, so they have their own rules on when the discount is valid.  For this park it is valid every week day, but not on the weekends.  They have full hookups, and the reviews are , well, spotty, but pretty good.  We booked three nights, and we will see after that.  We can always leave early too!  The normal rates are $32 per night, but we will pay half of that.  This is a park that had been in one family for a long time.  They were one of the parks in the area that opened themselves up to people who were displaced by Katrina, and that seems to have hurt their overall rating for some reason, most people saying that they didn’t like being in the park with all of the FEMA campers.  Hey…folks gotta live somewhere!  Apparently all of the long-term folks have re-located, and it appears they are trying real hard to get back into the limelight again.  I think they were in the limelight for what they did for the folks that were displaced, but, this is not a politico blog:)

It is about a 200 mile drive tomorrow, so we will get going early hopefully and take our time.  As always we hope this finds you Happy, Healthy and Living your Dreams!!

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