Camping Again

A year after the COVID19 started keeping folks at home, people are traveling again. RV sales are up, campgrounds are booked, and most of us seniors have our vaccinations. So we headed back to Mississippi with our RV friends, Dave and Judy.

This time we stayed at the Hollywood Casino in Bay Saint Louis. Despite a rainy first day, we had an enjoyable stay. The RV park is very nice, equipped with a clean bathhouse, laundry, full hookups, paved level sites, and a walking path. The casino is within walking distance.

Judy, Cheryl, and Nova.
Butch, Dave, and Nova

While Judy and I don’t mind cooking, we enjoyed a wonderful buffet dinner. Technically, it wasn’t a buffet because only masked and gloved staff handled utensils. Their servings were very generous and the food delicious. Dining was by reservation only to control spacing and crowd size.

The casino had a nonsmoking floor that offered a variety of gaming. As usual, Butch and I lost our gambling money, but Judy and Dave were luckier. We had lots of fun. It’s great to be out again!

I highly recommend this RV park.

If you’re a Good Sam member, you get a discount.

A Favorite Getaway

Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park in Florida is about an hour and a half’s drive from our home. It’s a favorite camping getaway because of its quiet, natural setting. Fall weather gave us the perfect excuse to camp there this week.

We introduced our friend and new RV owner, Mike, to the park. He camped across from us and joined us for meals in the shelter of our Clam screen enclosure. (There were mosquitoes) In my opinion, we scored two of the best sites in the campground, not that any were bad.

The preserve is a 21,000 acre savanna that once marked the northern edge of the Everglades, back in the day before air-conditioning and development. It is also a National Natural Landmark. Camping there gives us a taste of long-ago Florida. Wildlife abounds, and the nearby historic town of Micanopy charms.

Besides eating, we enjoyed hiking a couple of trails, visiting the nearby lake, and the visitors center and observation deck. Because we travel with our Shihtzu, I stayed behind on the trails that prohibited dogs. Unfortunately, I missed seeing the wild horses and bison Butch and Mike spotted on their trek. But I saw many deer.

Although the campground preserves as much of the natural setting as possible, it offers clean, modern bathrooms, laundry facilities, dumpster plus recycling bins, water and electric hookups, and a waste disposal station for emptying RV holding tanks. The boat ramp for non motorized boats, children’s playground, and picnic areas are connected to the campground via an ADA-compliant paved path.

If you’d like a taste of Old Florida in the days when Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings wrote The Yearling (her home is nearby and offers tours) and when much of Florida was unspoiled swampland, camp at Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park. Reservations can be made through ReserveAmerica.com.

Mixing it Up

The Dixie Pixie has limited space for cooking, yet preparing our meals is one of my favorite reasons for traveling in an RV. Especially during the COVID19 restrictions, it’s safer to cook your own food and keep your distance from others in crowded restaurants.

No wonder there’s been a surge in RV sales. Camping is the best way to travel while observing social distancing. But cooking in the tiny Dixie Pixie can be challenging, and I’ve had to reassess what tools I need.

In an earlier post, I mentioned missing my Vitamix and our daily smoothies. Now I have a solution! Vitamix offers an immersion blender. The wand-style blender takes up about as much room as a curling wand, an easy fit in my galley drawer.

With the Vitamix immersion blender, I can create a smoothie in a cup or large-mouth jar, anything at least 3” in diameter. I can thicken soups or blend sauces right in the cooking pot.

Vitamix blenders are not a camping necessity. I’ve managed thickening soups using a potato masher and smoothing gravy with a whisk. But if I can have the convenience of a powerful blender without sacrificing space, I’ll take it. I call it my Dixie Pixie Mixie. 😉

For information about the Vitamix Immersion Blender, visit their website at Vitamix.com.

https://www.vitamix.com/us/en_us/shop/immersion-blender