Let’s lump two more travel days together into one post!
On Sunday we drove from Grenada MS to Silas AL — a trip of about 220 miles. A little 4 lane, a little 2 lane — some narrow Mississippi country lanes and we arrive at another Corps of Engineer campground.
The Service Campground is located between Silas AL and Coffeeville AL. Considering that we had just left Coffeeville MS — just outside of Grenada — even a caffeine addict like me ca get confused with all the coffee’s they have around here. The drive was quite nice — mostly on Mississippi state highways, narrow two lanes with rather steep drop offs on either side — but the roads were quite smooth and certainly comfortable at 55 mph.
We had reserved a 97 foot back-in site on the edge of the water. (site #19) But upon arriving and checking in with the hosts we were offered an alternative — seeing as I had inquired about the direction of South for our Satellite reception. Having inquired we were offered site #9 which has a much better sight line and is right on the edge of the waterway.
I should comment on the header photo. A couple hours after arriving we heard our first boat on the river — the river being part of the Timbigbee / Black Warrior Waterway operated by the Corps of Engineers. I guess the owner of that fancy speedboat that you see on the water about 1/3 of the way from the left edge of the photo was out to burn out the flues of his speedboat. He made about a mile and a half circuit up the and down the river way — 10 times — and then he left. Go figure. I’m not sure whether he and his co-pilot had much fun but they made a lot of noise and burned up a whale of a lot of fuel at breakneck speed.
The campground is one of the smaller Corps locations we’ve been to. It’s nicely cared for. And — Peggy says to include — there’s a small laundry facility available to the campers right in the campground! The two nearest towns are nothing more than a blink of the eye — really. There’s nothing there.
Nearby the campground is the Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge. This is not one of those wide open to the public refuges with a beautiful visitors center and lots of programs. There really isn’t a visitors center at all and there aren’t any ‘real’ auto routes to drive through the refuge. Yet there are a lot of critters here and you might be quite happen to while away some time enjoying them like we did.
If you love workboats and barges this is a great place to spend some time. The campground is right ON the waterway. We woke at 4:30 (due to no fault of the boats) to see the first tow of the day going by (very quietly) and we watched a few more as the day proceeded. It’s a lovely little respite from the world.
Fort Pickens Campground
We wanted to spend both Christmas and New Years days on the Gulf so we left Service Campground (after only three nights) on the 23rd for a leisurely 130 mile drive to Gulf Islands National Seashore — the Fort Pickens Campground. I’ve heard a number of RV’ers talk at great length about this campground and I wanted to check it out. So we’re here for a little under 2 weeks.
The short 160 mile trip is easy enough, in spite of first running into a downpour and then into contrary winds. But we’re used to weather and it didn’t bother us. We found a Murphy Oil (Walmart) on US-98 with diesel below $2.00 / gallon; so a fill-up was obvious. And in a little over three hours we were on site.
We reserved a site for a 43 foot RV, but upon arrival we found that our site was flooded. (They’ve already had almost a week of rain — and one of the couples down the row from us had water 18” deep outside their entry way a day ago. so we don’t have quite the room we did at Service but it’s plenty for our coach — but we have to park the car in the overflowed parking area — not really our thing, but for a week we can do anything.
Prior to our arrival I saw the cautionary note on Recreation dot gov advising that the road to the campground can be flooded. Considering that all we have in the forecast for the next 8 days is rain, rain, and more rain I was a bit concerned with that. It turns out that there were spots with water & sand on the pavement to a depth of about 6” but we went through with caution and were none the worse for wear.
The biggest drawback is that every time we tow in the rain the car needs a car wash — so I need to find a place to get that done.
Usually we take time the first afternoon in a new campground to do some reconnoitering but we didn’t get far today. On the positive side, it IS warm. Mid 70’s now and mid 60’s overnight. Should be about that way most of our stay. The one thing we will have to get used to is the high humidity again.
So — we’re settled in at Gulf Islands National Seashore. We have one more longish day’s drive to Ocala. We’ve driven 4 days and been stationary for 7 days (counting our trip to Pensacola but not the stationary days we’ll be enjoying. Never count them before you’ve enjoyed them — the couple down the road had to leave for two days because of flooding the week before — so no matter what we might plan the reality has first to be experienced.)
We’re still on Central Standard Time. No change until we head East from here.
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.