THE BIG SPRING TRIP – LOUISIANA AND TEXAS

The big spring trip. It’s become a family tradition we all look forward to after our long Midwestern winter.

This year’s route took us more than 2000 miles in 10 days – from Florida, through southern Louisiana, into the heart of Texas, and back home to Iowa.

After collecting R’Velle from the consignment company that cared for her over the winter, we restocked with groceries and our belongings and hit the road, our excitement for the trip ahead overriding the exhaustion of the late night flight the evening before.

That first day our drive from Orlando to I-10 and through the Florida panhandle was long. And, other than a rainbow following a quick afternoon downpour, the view really didn’t change much.

 

 

An overnight stop at a campground near Tallahassee allowed me to start unpacking our supplies that had been stored during the winter. Bedding, towels, bins, and blankets had been haphazardly stacked and strewn around the RV and it was making me crazy! I sent Doug and the girls outside – and out of my way so I could work!

 

 

Our next night was spent parked next to Poche Plantation, a Victorian Renaissance Revival-style Plantation House built in 1870. As Doug and I set up camp, the girls set off to explore, trying out the hammocks, scouting the location of the pool, and then rushing to get changed for swimming!

 

 

 

From the plantation we backtracked a bit to New Orleans. While the French Quarter RV Resort wasn’t a cheap stay, its location couldn’t be beat! Just a few blocks from the French Quarter, it was an easy stroll to nearly everything!

 

 

 

We had a busy 3 days in New Orleans! We arrived the day before Easter, so bonnets were a necessity. As we made our way to the French Market, the antique shops along Royal Street drew us in.

 

MS Rau Antiques. These three paintings cost 12 million dollars!

 

The French Market never disappoints – the booths there sell everything! Food, jewelry, paintings, photography, cheap imported souvenirs… and unique, one of a kind creations by local artisans. We found our Easter Bonnets at Carnival Collectibles, which has all kinds of wonderful, unique, and fabulous hats. A quick shopping tip: stick to the outer edges of shops to find local artisans.

 

 

 

Thankfully the Easter Bunny was able to get past the security at French Quarter RV Resort, and left cute outfits and a few treats for the girls. After a quick breakfast we were on our way to the French Quarter for a genuine New Orleans parade followed by Easter Brunch at the Royal Sonesta.

 

 

 

We spent most of our final day in New Orleans at the National World War II Museum. The huge complex has interactive experiences, interview kiosks, and artifacts that draw you in to history, making it real and not just something you’ve read in a history book. It’s a powerful experience.

 

 

 

Easter weekend had been crazy in the French Quarter and waits at Café du Monde were atrocious. But, by late Monday afternoon, the crowds finally wound down and we introduced the girls to beignets, though they declined the chicory coffee.

 

 

Leaving bright and early Tuesday morning, we set out for the Creole Nature Trail near Lake Charles, Louisiana. We got a sneak peak at the new Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point, a fun visitor center filled with hands-on displays and fun facts about the Creole Nature Trail.

 

 

 

 

After grabbing some Boudin balls, cracklins, and PoBoys for lunch, we set out toward Holly Beach, guided by the Creole Nature trail app.

 

 

An evening spent at A+ Motel & RV Park near Sulphur had us ready for our long drive the next day to Dinosaur Valley State Park just south of Fort Worth, Texas.

 

 

We spent two days exploring prehistoric sites and nature at one of a handful of places in the US where you can actually follow dinosaur tracks.

 

 

 

Some nature got a little closer than I would have liked – I’m just not fond of snakes.

Our final campground of the trip was The Vineyards in Grapevine, one of my favorite Texas towns. We unwound from the busyness of the past week while the girls played at the park across from our campsite, went fishing in the lake, and enjoyed the Friday night movie under the stars.

 

 

I bribed my family to walk a mile into Historic Downtown Grapevine on Saturday morning with the promise of pastries at Main Street Bistro Bakery.

 

 

A bit of shopping at the Farmer’s Market and the Grapevine Olive Oil Company had us calling a cab to return to the campground where we spent our final afternoon with our feet up, enjoying complimentary HipPop popsicles and live acoustic music at the campground.

A relaxing finale to our first RV trip of the year.