Thursday, December 30, 2021

Bonnet Carre Spillway Camping

 The spillway is managed by the Corp of Engineers with twenty acres that border the water owned by the St. Charles Parish Parks and Recreation. This site is mainly used by local people for fishing and boating. It has fishing piers, a boat launch, a pavilion with tables, and porta-potties. There are 15 campsites with picnic tables and trash cans. Camping is free but an application must be sent either by email of regular mail. We applied by email and didn’t receive anything except a canned answer days after we had already left the area. No problems camping at the site though.
 We camped in site 6 because we wanted solid ground after recent rains. The campers in the sites next to us had a lot of stuff scattered around. They had obvious been there longer than the 14 day limit but were very quiet and kept to themselves. I think they may have been refuges from Hurricane Ida.
  Sites 10-15 are located farther away from the main area and we probably would have moved there if we had stayed longer to be out of way of the day visitors. Sites 1-5 are on on low ground and were soggy when we visited.
 There’s also a mountain bike trail that seems to be popular.
 None of the sites are designated as accessible but most are usable. The fishing piers are barrier free. We attempted to walk/roll around the small lake but were stopped at the west end by water filled potholes and a muddy road.  Camping  30.02133, -90.40981

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Beau Rivage Casino

  It’s been more than 16 years since the winds and storm surge of Hurricane Katrina devastated Biloxi, Mississippi. The businesses and casinos have largely recovered but there are still many empty lots. When we visited in 2014, it was possible to park overnight in the casino lots and also in some of the empty lots. Things have changed! Now the casinos have RV parks and the city has an ordinance against sleeping in RVs in the casino lots. We didn’t know about the ordinance so when we rolled into town and saw several RVs parked at the Beau Rivage lot we pulled in and spent the night. All was fine but we’ll have to make better plans if we visit again. We did not go into the casino. Casino  30.39372, -88.88956

Monday, December 27, 2021

Museum of Mobile

  The exhibits in the museum touch on many historic events in the area – encounters between Native Americans and European explorers, the Civil War, civil rights battles, Mardi Gras parades, and the growth of local industries. There are also special exhibits and a kid’s section. Admission to the museum includes access to the exhibits in the reconstructed 1723 Colonial Fort Condé which is located across the street from the Museum Of Mobile. 
       
  The special exhibit when we visited was a collection of Viking artifacts from boat graves discovered in Sweden. They’re in almost perfect condition and amazingly intricate.

    

    Fort Condé has exhibits about life in the fort and the objects uncovered during excavations.

  The museum and the fort are accessible but both have sloped sidewalks and doors that open outward making entering awkward. 
  Parking close to the museum is all angled in and too short for RVs. There’s a pay lot a block south on South Royal Street and free parking on the streets to the west of the lot. Some curb cuts are missing. Museum  30.68978, -88.03996

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Millers Ferry Campground

  We usually spend a week or two in a campground during the winter to do routine maintenance. This is the first time that we’ve stayed in the Millers Ferry but we liked it so much that I”m sure we’ll be back. It’s a Corp Of Engineer campground which means the sites are half price for anyone with an Access or Senior pass. The sites are large and have water and electric. A dump station is near the campground entrance.
  We were in site 61. I never figured out which sites were accessible and which were not but site 61 is very good with hard packed sandy soil and easy access to a picnic table with an extended top and a lower grill. It backs up to a finger of the lake and has thick foliage between it and the next site.  Since the campground is nearly empty until early summer, it was very peaceful. Campground  32.11827, -87.3872

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Freedom Rides Museum

  Supreme Court cases in 1946 and 1960 ruled that segregated buses were unconstitutional but Southern states ignored the rulings.  In May 1961, the local laws were challenged by Freedom Riders, a mixed groups of young, old, southern, northern, black, white, students and preachers, who rode the buses together. The first Freedom Ride started in Washington DC but by the time the group reached Birmingham Alabama, there weren’t any bus drivers willing to continue to Montgomery. The riders boarded planes to their final destination of New Orleans.
   A group of students decided to continue the trip to Montgomery after President Kennedy forced Greyhound to supply a driver and a police escort. The riders were greeted at the Montgomery bus station by a mob with baseball bat and iron pipes. The escorting police disappeared and the local police didn’t stop the violence. The Alabama National Guard was called into protect the riders as they left town but they were all arrested at the next stop in Jackson, Mississippi.  The Freedom Rides continued through the summer of 1961 and led to subsequent civil rights actions including  registering southern black men and women to vote.
The Freedom Rides Museum is located in the old Montgomery bus station, the site of the beatings in 1961. The museum is small with displays about the students and the events that occurred in Montgomery and Jackson. Photographs are not permitted.

  The museum is accessible.

   Parking is available on the streets. Adams Ave is best because it’s level.  Museum  32.37457, -86.30896

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Congaree National Park National Park

 The Congaree NP protects the largest old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in North America. Since the area was never logged, the bald cypress and tupelo trees have grown huge and are quite impressive. Definitely a not to be missed park.
 We did see a single mosquito in early December but apparently timing is important!
The park has a visitor center, a 2.6 mile boardwalk, numerous trails, and a 15 mile canoe trail. Tent camping only.
 We walked/rolled the boardwalk trail and thoroughly enjoyed it. This trail beats any other cypress swamp trail that we’ve taken. The boardwalk has railings with wire fencing or no railing so the views for kids and people in wheelchairs are very good. There are two slight problems – a boardwalk access point that is not flush to the ground and a high railing blocking a river view. The first section slopes downhill so the return trip is uphill but it has landings and is ADA compliant. We did not try any of the other trails but many are designated as easy. I suspect that roots and mud could be a problem. The visitor center was closed due to coronavirus but it is accessible.
 RVs can be parked along the edge of one of the lots. Park  33.8301, -80.82248

Saturday, December 18, 2021

McKissick Museum

  The McKissick Museum, a Works Progress Administration project on the campus of the University of South Carolina, was built in 1939 as a library and became the museum in 1984. It also houses the university’s visitor center so finding all of the exhibit spaces is a bit confusing. The galleries are small and feature changing exhibits from the museum’s collections, works from southern artists, and items from the university’s large natural history collection. We enjoyed the folk art exhibit the most.

  The museum is accessible.

  Metered parking is available street side on Bull and Pendleton Streets. We had to circle the blocks a few times before finding a space. The sidewalks and curb cuts are in good condition. Museum  33.99879, -81.02716

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Lee State Park

  Between 1933 and 1942 more than 49,000 young men in South Carolina were employed by Civilian Conservation Corps. They fought wildfires, stopped soil erosion, built roads and trails, erected fire towers, planted trees, and built 16 state parks. These were the first state parks in South Carolina and are still being enjoyed today. The craftsmanship of the young men can been seen in the picnic shelters at Lee State Park.
Lee State park has a campground, a horse camp, horse trails, hiking trails, and a lake for fishing and swimming. One unique feature are four free flowing artesian wells.
The campground has two accessible sites but I didn’t check them out. We camped in a regular site which was fine. Short trails start at the campground. The boardwalk is the only one that is truly accessible. The others have roots and uneven ground. Portions of the 5 mile loop road are accessible. Campground  34.19538, -80.18315