Last time we traveled in Mississippi, we headed north from Natchez to Memphis, Tennessee. Yesterday’s travels moved us into completely new territory: the Gulf coast of Mississippi. From now until we double back for a visit to Memphis in April, it’s all new to us.
Our friends Buddy and Jackie pulled into Poche’s Fish-N-Camp, our “home” in Breaux Bridge, on Tuesday around noon, on their way home to Lovelady. Their company made our last delicious meal in Louisiana – at Randol’s in Lafayette – even more special. We hope we’ll see them again in the northeast this summer.
We hit the road unusually early (for us) on Wednesday morning, as our planned stop was Davis Bayou Campground, part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, in Ocean Springs, MS. This is a first-come, first-served campground, no reservations. We wanted to arrive no later than 1 pm to get a site, and were facing 200+ miles - with a stop for fuel, and again at the Mississippi Welcome Center for maps and information.
Crossing the Atchafalaya Swamp on I-10 in LA
The Mississippi Welcome Center
It was perfect travel weather, and our drive was mostly on interstates. We arrived at the campground around 12:30 (213 miles), and managed to snag a 45 foot, reasonably level site – less than half an hour before all of the limited available sites suitable for Scoopy were filled. Nothing special about the campground itself, but it offers a lot to us: good walking, excellent Verizon service, an local NPR station, a TV signal on satellite and antenna, easy access to the gulf coast cities and towns we want to visit, water and 50 amp electricity. Best of all, thanks to Odel’s Golden Age card, we pay only $8/night! Incredible!
Once we settled into our site, we took off for the Visitor Center to get our bearings. Gulf Islands National Seashore protects the sandy, offshore barrier islands that we could see from the visitor center – a boat ride is required to get up close and personal. The grounds of the mainland portion of the park are extensive, and we explored all of the short trails through the jungle. Of course, for us, the highlight was sighting the basking ‘gator in the top photo!
Today’s agenda: sightseeing. We have a walking tour map of Ocean Springs, the small town nearby. More importantly, we have a strong recommendation from our friend Bill, a “Mississippi boy” who knows good catfish and told us that Aunt Jenny’s in Ocean Springs serves some of the best available. We have no intention of missing that.