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Our names are John and Cathryn and we live in  Kalispell, Montana with our beautiful Golden Retriever, Annie.  After we both experienced some rough patches late in life, we met each other through a mutual friend in October of 2014. Last summer (2016) we returned to Cathryn's home in Montana after a year long RV trip together around this beautiful country.  We traveled over 31,000 miles and drove through over 35 states.  It was an adventure to remember and one that sealed a friendship between us that we hope will last the rest of our lives.  We have decided to continue living here in Northwest Montana and have started building our "together" home in the country outside of Kalispell.  As our new home on two country acres becomes our special place to live out our golden years, we hope you will share the adventures with us through this blog. We are happy, content and enjoying life "one day at a time" to the fullest! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

MOVING WEST THROUGH THE GULF STATES









Mississippi

After leaving Tyndall Air Force Base, we headed across the Florida Panhandle, through Alabama and camped north of Gulfport, Mississippi.



Big Biloxi Campground in the DeSoto National Forest served as home base and provided easy access to the Gulf.

John showing off his boy scout skills.


Each morning the Cardinals gathered behind our trailer and welcomed the day with their delightful songs.

This restaurant near Gulfport was featured on the Food Channel but we decided that we were not going to try it out!  It is a bit too much of a "dive" for us!

One of the highlights of our visit to Biloxi was a tour of Jefferson Davis's last home and the Presidential Library in his honor.  He is best known for serving as President of the Confederacy and authored several very comprehensive books including The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government which he wrote in 1881.  This home as pictured above was under rehabilitation following the extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina.

Jefferson Davis's portrait graces the living room of his home.

This replica of Jefferson Davis's horse was rescued twice from the gulf waters after Hurricane Katrina took it out to sea.


Louisiana


After a brief visit to Baton Rouge, Louisiana we headed to Lafayette where we soaked up the Cajun and Creole cultures.

St. John Cathedral, a Dutch-Romanesque Cathedral completed in 1916, is the third church built on this site and is listed with the National Register of Historic Properties.  We attended Mass here and it was a very moving experience.









This "Cajun village" provided a walk through the history of the earliest Cajun settlers in this area of Louisiana.

The village of Cajun homes came alive through the stories told by the costumed narrators we encountered on our tour.




These guys are playing and singing Cajun music.  There are two distinct types of music in this area of Louisiana. Cajun music was pioneered by non-black Acadian descendants from Nova Scotia and was influenced by country music from the 1930's and '40s.  It is usually accompanied by the fiddle. Zydeco music originated in southwestern Louisiana and was influenced by the rhythm and blues style of the Black Creole and jazz music themes. 

Acadian children were forbidden to speak French at school or on school grounds because of the 1922 Compulsory Education Act.

The message is clear and Annie and Dexter were on lease and watched closely.

Great White Egret

Turtles sunning themselves in the Bayou

Bayou county Cajun home.

This National Heritage Area encompasses a large area around Lafayette.

We attended one of Lafayette's many Mardi Gras parades leading up to Fat Tuesday and the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday.

We had a great time at the parade and managed to catch and collect a lot of beads and other trinkets.

We loved the food in Louisiana and took every opportunity to try different Cajun dishes.  

This plate contained some of our favorites: crab cake Eggs Benedict, crawfish enchiladas, oyster dressing, crusty sweet potatoes with pecans, corn with roasted red peppers, creamed spinach, boudin and fried chicken.  This was just the first course.  Yum!

This meal included catfish, crawfish, sweet potato french fries and jambalaya. There was also nothing like fresh hot beignets and fresh coffee in the morning.

This National Historical Park and Preserve provided us with an overview of the trials and tribulations of the French Catholic people who settled in Nova Scotia and eventually relocated to Louisiana after being expelled with meager belongings.  The English tried to eradicate them because of their independent nature and refusal to pledge their allegiance to England.

The Mardi Gras tradition is attributed to the French Catholic people.  Here are the flamboyant costumes of a Mardi Gras King and Queen.

We observed fields of sugar cane as is pictured above as well as rice being grown in the area.

We drove by this exotic deer farm on our way to Opelousas, north of Lafayette.

These appear to be Fallow deer on this farm.



Opelousas is Louisiana's third oldest city and was founded in 1720.  Native Americans were the first inhabitants of this city known for it's mixture of nationalities, Cajun and Creole traditions.  It served briefly as the state capitol during a major hurricane that required relocation of the government.

The "King of Zydeco" music, Clifton Chenier, hails from Opelousas.




The Jim Bowie Oak

We enjoyed a day trip to Avery Island to tour the McIlhenny Tabasco Brand Pepper Sauce Company.  It was started in 1868 by Edward McIlhenny and is still owned and operated by his family today.

Entering Texas - John's Home State

We drove through Houston and headed toward Fulshear, TX to spend a couple of days with Cathryn's cousin, Sig Cornelius and his wife, Patricia.  This is the entry to their beautiful country estate.

Sig and Patricia's beautiful home

Sig and Cathryn in front of Sig's tractor....John wants one!

John in a very happy place!

We enjoyed watching the Super Bowl in Sig's home theater....nice.

This is Mollie....she is the real boss in Sig and Patricia's home.

There is not much in Yoakum, Texas but it sure served a major purpose once.



That's the end of the trail for now.  We will be spending the next month in Texas visiting family and past digs, all of which will be in the next blog.

Happy Trails....until we meet again.

                 John, Cathryn, Annie and Dexter