Monday, April 4, 2016

Fontainebleau State Park - 1 Year of Full-Timing

March 28-April 4:

We left out of the campground in Sulphur LA and got on I-10. As soon as we got on the interstate, the traffic became stop and go for about 45 minutes. They had closed one lane of the bridge over the lake so everyone had to squeeze into that lane to get across the bridge. Once we finally crossed the bridge, we were able to drive along at highway speeds the rest of the way until we reached Mandeville LA. We had booked at site at the Fontainebleau State Park which is located on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain. The campground was very wet from recent rains with standing water in a lot of places. We were able to get into our site without too much trouble, but once you got off of the asphalt the ground was very wet and soft. The sites here are very close together, especially for a state park.

We got set up and then went into town to eat dinner. We ended up at Bistro Byronz in Mandeville: I had a large hamburger while Connie had a seafood salad. Both of our meals were very good.

On Tuesday, Connie and I rode the paved roads inside the park and then along the Tammany Trace Trail which is a rails to trails paved path that goes from near Slidell to Covington LA, a distance of 27.5 miles. We rode from the park towards Mandeville for about 45 minutes, stopped at a Ponchartrain Yacht Club harbor for a rest, then rode back to the campground. The trail is very flat and the path is very well maintained.
Cabins in the park that are available for rent.

The cabins sit right on Lake Ponchartrain.

There are the ruins of an old sugar mill inside
the park. Sugar cane was used in the process.
Some of the "trees" in the park

On Wednesday, we took a trip into New Orleans. The Lake Ponchartrain Causeway Bridge runs 24.5 miles from the north shore of the lake to New Orleans. It is the longest bridge in the world that is only over water. There is a $3 charge to enter the bridge from Mandeville, but there is no charge to get on the bridge from New Orleans. New Orleans was packed with spring breakers and it kept trying to mist on us as we walked around the French Quarter. We had lunch at the Acme Oyster House and then went to Cafe Du Monde for coffee & beignets. 

Char-broiled oysters

Coffee and beignets
On Thursday, we once again rode along the Tammany Trace Trail. This time we rode the opposite direction for several miles before turning around the heading back to the campground. We stopped to take a photo of flowers along the trail.

It rained all day Friday. We spent a lot of the day trying to find campgrounds for our trip from Florida to New England and then on to Nova Scotia. We found a few but still have a lot of work to do. April 1st was our one year anniversary of the start of our full-timing in The Duchess. Connie cooked a special dinner of Turkey Osso Bucco which we enjoyed with a bottle of Champagne.

On Saturday afternoon, we drove over to Abita Springs. We took our bikes along and rode them along the Tammany Trace Trail from downtown Abita Springs back towards Mandeville. After a nice bike ride, we went to the Abita Brewing Company for a tour and tasting of their beers. Abita started brewing in 1986 and last year they did a major expansion of their production facilities. The tour was interesting and we enjoyed tasting a number of their brews. Abita does a number of things to reduce their footprint on the environment: recycle heated water, large solar panels on the roof, selling grains from the brewing process to local farmers for cattle feed and filtering waste water before putting in the city sewer system.

The raspberries give it the purple haze.

They also brew a non-alcoholic root beer at the plant.

Along the tour. Everything was spotless inside the brewing areas.

Each of the cylinders holds enough beer for
one person to drink a six pack every day for 60 years.

Different brews we tasted.
On Sunday we rode a bikes one more time with the weather being great (75 degrees and sunny) from the park into Mandeville. We stopped at the Mandeville Trailhead to rest before returning to the campground.
Connie can now say she has ridden across the USA.

Bike Rental/Sandwich-Ice Cream Shop at the trailhead.
 On Monday we will be headed towards Mobile, Alabama for the next week. Hopefully the weather will be nice and the campground not so muddy.