We stopped in Guadalupe Mountains National Park for a couple of days on our way to Las Cruces, New Mexico. On the second morning, I left Miranda around 10:30 a.m. and began my assent to Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas at 8,751', via the Guadalupe Peak Trail. The trail is well marked and maintained but is definitely a world of up, climbing 3,000' from Pine Springs Campground where we were camped. The round trip out and back is 8.4 miles.
On our travels, we've been through San Antonio a few times and I've chosen to stay south of town near the San Antonio River Walk as it makes moving around town on our bikes for exercise and errands and site seeing too easy. The last time I rode the river walk, the path ended just past Mission Espada south of town. The trail now connects there to Medina Greenway Trail which adds a really nice additional ride heading westward away from the San Antonio River. Recommended.
We continue to enjoy Texas State Parks. We stayed for a couple of nights at Corpus Christi Lake State Park on our way to San Antonio. The sites in Javalina Loop are all full-hookups, pull-through, large, with covered picnic tables and somewhat private. Far enough from the town of Mathis and the interstate so it's quiet. The bathhouse is older, but nicely kept. There's walking, fishing and plenty of room to bike around. Recommended.
We've been hugging the gulf coast since we left Florida after the New Year was behind us. A family member told us Aransas Pass was some place we should check out.
IB Magee Beach Campground suffered some damage from Hurricane Hanna in July of 2020. As a result, the pads in the campground are all new and the roadway has been repaved in the campground proper. All sites are now full hookups. The bathhouse is still closed.
We enjoyed our stay and did some cycling around town which is mostly bike friendly. Groceries and other services are close at hand. Not the most aesthetically pleasing place we've camped, but a good stop nevertheless. Oh, and apparently yarn bombing is a thing. Recommended.
After spending a nice day and overnight in New Orleans, we traveled to Grand Isle, Louisiana for a few days in Grand Isle State Park. The park infrastructure sustained some damage during one of the hurricanes in 2020. The showers and laundry room in the west building are in good shape as is the campground overall. The pads are nice and all campsites are full hook ups.
Grand Isle is remote and the only inhabited barrier island in Louisiana. It's almost directly south of New Orleans by about 30+ miles, but is over a hundred miles via highway from New Orleans. There were very few campers in January, the temps were a little cooler than we wanted, but we took some nice walks on the beach and enjoyed our time. If you're looking for white sandy beaches, this isn't it. The beach is hard-packed sand with a series of rock jetties located about 50 yards offshore.
We traveled from our spot in Cades Cove in Great Smokey Mountains National Park to Cumberland Mountain State Park where we'll be for a couple of days before traveling on to our son's home in Nashville for some pre-Christmas Holiday cheer.
The past few days have been cold here. The low this morning was 24 according to our thermometer we keep resting on top of one of the dually tires. The high today was 42.
The campground area is large with 5 distinct areas for camping. The only one open now is area 1 where we are in Site 19. Many of the sites are not level and may present a challenge. Jus' sayin'.
Much of the infrastructure here was built by the Civil Conservation Corp and there's a CCC museum near the park restaurant. From the website:
Cumberland Mountain State Park is situated on the Cumberland Plateau, a segment of the great upland, which extends from western New York to central Alabama. It is said to be the largest timbered plateau in America. Cumberland Mountain State Park began as part of the greater Cumberland Homesteads Project, a New Deal-era initiative by the Resettlement Administration that helped relocate poverty-stricken families on the Cumberland Plateau to small farms centered on what is now the Cumberland Homestead community. This 1,720-acre park was acquired in 1938 to provide a recreational area for some 250 families selected to homestead on the Cumberland Plateau.
We are on our way to Nashville, TN for the Christmas holiday and Cades Cove Campground in Great Smokey Mountains National Park was a somewhat convenient place to spend a night on the way. Especially since neither of us had been to this part of the park.
When we arrived we mistakenly drove past the entrance to the campground and found ourselves on the 11 mile Cades Cove Scenic Loop. It was one of those happy accidents and afforded us an opportunity to see deer, turkeys and restored cabins of settlers past. The loop is a beautiful drive, but would make for great bicycling in warmer weather (June 17-September 30 each Wednesday the loop is a vehicle-free zone).
Anyway, we took a nice walk around the campground (only the C Loop is open during the off season and there were very few campers) and spent a nice quiet evening reading as there's no cell service. We'll be back at some point. Recommended.
We recently spent a nice three days (for December) at Huntington Beach State Park. The Live Oaks and listening to the waves make the shore as we fell asleep makes Huntington one of our top picks for campgrounds recently. And this after spending a few great days with friends on Hatteras Island where the temperatures were not as moderate as we found at Huntington.
We were able to ride our bikes into Murrells Inlet for groceries and lunch one day and I rode over to Pawleys Island both via the Waccamaw Neck Bikeway. The beach is nice and relatively uncrowded in the off season. And the marshes are a birders' paradise. Recommended. Highly.
Cheekwood is a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum located on the historic Cheek estate. Originally built as the home of Leslie and Mabel Cheek in 1929, Cheekwood is one of the finest examples of an American Country Place Era estate. Since being converted into a museum of art and botanical garden in 1960, Cheekwood has presented world-class art exhibitions, spectacular gardens and an historic estate unlike anything else. Each year, Cheekwood welcomes over 225,000 visitors, making it one of the city’s top cultural attractions, with approximately 14,000 member households. Visitors enjoy family activities, programming for all ages and year-round festivals celebrating the four seasons. From 150,000 blooming bulbs in the spring to one mile of holiday lights in the winter, there’s always something to see at Cheekwood.- From their website
Steven and Melanie