Trip Start Mar 25, 2013
24Trip End Apr 21, 2013
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Florida Caverns 1pm check out 8am
Florida Cave tours 9am
Canoe hire? 10am
Macca's at Escambia Bay, FL, United States 1:30pm
3 hrs drive to New Orleans 1 hr time difference 2pm
Check in to French Quarters RV Rresort very central good reviews 4pm
Cafe Du Monde French Quarters Beneit Doughnuts 6pm
Sunday 7th April - Florida's State Caverns Cave Tour and then head to New Orleans
We arrived at the Cave Tour entry point at about 8:30am, we had since discovered it was an 8:30am start and not 7:30am, but to our surprise after seeing no one at the building and seeing that the doors were all unlocked, we went in to have a look at the little museum that they had setup whilst we waited for someone to arrive so as we could secure some tickets, well surprise surprise someone finally arrived and said we were in the right spot for the tour but you needed to get your tickets way down at the front entry gates, so off we headed trying to hurry and get our tickets early enough, when we got there there was a very nice ranger who had told us of the time difference and we had gained an hour sometime yesterday, even though were were still in the state of Orlando, so it was actually just after 7:30am and they were not going to open for another hour
We sat in the RV and had some breakfast and waited. The man then yelled out to us that he was just going to raise the flags and he would then take care of us, which was nice, plus an opportunity to get some photos, they raise a US flag, and flag for the fallen heroes from the Vietnam War as well as the Florida Flag, I got some nice photos.
As well whilst waiting the scenery was just beautiful and I could have snapped pictures all day.
We headed back up the the Caves and went on a trail walk, which took us through swamps and marshes, again the photo opportunities were amazing 9 if only I had purchased this nice wide angle lens i saw in NY - it was over $1000 and although Wendy was happy for me to buy it i just couldn't bring myself to spend that much - but if I had boy would I have had some incredible photo's.
The little gift shop opened up just before the Cave tours started which allowed us to buy some souvenirs, a few little gifts for jack and Lilia's school mates as well.
The Cave tour started about 9:30am, and we wandered down, only for Jack to tell the tour guide that "My Dad took us down to the caves earlier whilst we were waiting" - well what i did was a no no - so I was trying to hush him up before they actually listened, luckily I was able to add to what he said and mentioned that we had actually only gone down some of the track not into the caves, phew
The caves are actually tiny when compared to something like Jenolean or Wombean Caves, both of which we as a family had enjoyed back home so we had higher expectations, but nonetheless the tour was enjoyable and interesting, lots of history in the area dating back some 400 years to a very early Indian settlement.
As we wandered though the tour I kept getting stuck behind the tour as I was just so engrossed in taking photos ( all very low light and no flash - no tripod so each one took a little longer than those using their dodgy Iphones as cameras, anyway they patiently waited for me to catch up only for me to get left behind pretty much straight away, Jack stayed with me though as they know I can get lost very easily.
We finished the tour after about 45 minutes and were about to see the first wildlife for the day, it was a tiny little bat about 2 inches long happily tucked away inside a small cave pocket, I saw everyone looking but you couldn't see the bat until you were right up close.
All in all it was a nice tour and a good start to the day.
It was time to head on the road again as today we would pass through 4 states, Orlando, Alabama, Mississippi and finally our destination of Louisiana - being New Orleans
We had another 5 hours drive ahead of us and to start things of we got lost trying to find petrol and a walmart to stock up on some food.
An hour later we were back onto the I10 heading west. A very similar trip to yesterday where fatigue play a big part and you need to be so aware of whats going on. To make things a little worse today I was taking precautions and went to check the air, but all tires were able to be checked except for the drivers front side where the nozzle just wouldn't fit, after trying 3 times i gave up in frustration as all that was happening was the air was coming out, I had to stop or we would have had a flat and according to locals there was no adapter, so we would have been in all sorts of strife.
We made it to Alabama border and then next to Mississippi and it was now nearing 4pm, we also didn't know if if we were gaining more time as we went, but finally made it in about 6 hours to New Orleans, the time was about 7:30pm but there was still sufficient time to get some touring done and to get to the Cafe Du Monde - I had been waiting so long for this. The Cafe is 150 years old now and was the original stop for Coffee and French Doughnuts - called Beneits, so naturally the first place we had to go was here.
We stopped by Cafe Du Monde and had Beneits and Coffee, Hot Chocolate for Wendy and Lilia whilst Jack just had coke, but the doughnuts were just as I remembered. I took lots of photos of the cafe and we bought Beneit mixes, and more souvenirs.
We continued walking the streets on New Orleans, mainly Bourbon Street and adjoining streets, the photo opportunities are amazing although i couldn't help feel nervous like i was going to get my camera stolen, as ther are just so many homeless people.
We finished up at about 9:00pm and got a taxi back to the RV park which is surrounded by huge walls with razor sharp spikes all over, massive security gates which are only accessible with a pin number. We made it back and the kids and Wendy pretty much it the hay straight away.
This was my chance however to update the travel blog as I was worried I would start to forget certain things,and every little detail is worth remembering, perhaps I'm putting in too much detail but at least we will have a good record of our memories.it's now 10:30pm and I am back up to date which is a huge relief
There are so many sirens going off around us, we know the city turns rough and dangerous with lots of crime after dark, hence the reason they say to stay inside and not to go wandering around, plus there are certain things which go on here in New Orleans that we don't want the kids seeing, such as all the prostitution etc.
Well tomorrow I have 6 hours of driving to do, so I need to hit the hay to get a good night's sleep. We have to check out at 11:00am and if we have finished touring New Orleans by then we will head off otherwise we'll go and find a secure parking area for the RV. We'll be heading through to Texas tomorrow which is the biggest state in the US so it should be quite a drive.
Excuse all of my typos as I am writing in Notepad and transferring to the blog, but no spell check facility and as I have so much to write I am usually rushing.
I have taken on average 600 photos every day, so much so that I ran out of room on my laptop, luckily we bought a portable hard drive for this very reason and so far there are 13GB of images, not including what Wendy has taken with her camera and what has been filmed on the video, there is so much video to download and all need to be converted before they can be viewed online so these will just have to wait until we get home, but they have been filmed in 3D which is such a nice way to view them, fortunately we can view then in 2D, just as well as we don't yet have a 3D telly.