Saturday afternoon we arrived at site 127 in Fontainebleau State Park outside Mandeville, LA. The place feels familiar, and should: this was our very first campsite a year ago. The camp host, John Deere, and his wife, Grumley, are back doing their duties. Pink remembers the best dog walking routes. I know where the grocery stores are, and remember which ones won’t make change for the coin-op laundry. Our neighbors again are mostly from New Orleans and south Louisiana, although we do have a few snowbird plates here and there as well.
Last spring we chased winter north. Now winter has driven us south. Winter Storm Hercules – a fitting name for such a bad one – is going to knock temperatures here all the way down to 15 degrees Tuesday morning. We’ll disconnect our water supply Monday afternoon and use a full 50 gallon fresh water tank. We’ll run the furnace to warm the Airstream from the bottom up. And we’ll look forward to Tuesday afternoon when our predicted 18 hours below freezing ends in bright sunshine.
But weather-wise we’re among the fortunate. Were Kat still working in Campbellsville, our cold weather preparations might not survive the 36 consecutive hours of single digit (several hours below zero!) temperatures they’ll endure over the next three days. Newport, TN will have a high of 22 Monday after a low of just 7. Mandeville’s 36 and 15 sounds positively balmy in comparison.
Again we have good network television reception, and the local news faces are mostly the same, even though Karen Swenson appears to have had a facelift. Saturday night we got to watch the Saints game in our own trailer, as they slipped past Philadelphia in an NFC Wild Card game. Today’s a Sunday, and as usual, it’s checkout day for at least half the campers here. A year ago our camp routines were strange, new, and uncertain. Now we’re comfortable and confident. What a difference a year makes.
We are back in the land of the shrimp po-boy and reasonably priced fresh seafood. We’re looking for the bald eagles that wintered here last year. And now and then we hear that familiar New Orleans regionally accented English. On the walk back from the showers, Kat overheard somebody’s grandma hollerin’ this at her young-uns: “Ya’ll don’t go in dem woods. Stay right dere!”