We had the best time in Louisiana!  Having never been to Louisiana, I had a lot of preconceived notions but, I really didn't know what to expect.  After we left Holly Beach, LA we headed to Betty's RV Park in Abbeville, LA as we heard it was a unique experience.  Betty's is in the heart of "cajun country" and looks like a standard, low budget RV park with gravel lots and tight spaces for only 19 rigs.  However, it is Betty and the other residents in the park that make this a fantastic time.  The park residents consist of long term campers as well as short term, nomadic campers like us.  Everyday at 4:30 Betty hosts a BYO bottle/food happy hour which all attend.  This makes for a great experience were you get to socialize with a very eclectic group of people.  Everybody has an excellent time and the happy "hour" usually runs for 2 or 3 hours.  In addition, if you have a talent, such as music, Betty arranges for jam sessions.  One happy hour everybody was treated to a viewing of Nancy's jewelry creations.

     Another evening I learned that a resident was a true "cajun" with his roots extending back to the original Lousiania settlers.  He was a history buff and was more than willing to share his knowledge.  I learned a lot about this colorful state and its interesting culture.  Of course, I'm not sure if I ever received an accurate answer regarding the definitions of "cajun" or "creole" as everybody has slightly different versions.  One thing is certain, no matter what label is used, the folks in Louisiana are very proud of their state and their history, and everybody we met went out of their way to be friendly and polite.              

An article in the local newspaper in Abbeville.
     Abbeville is a small town with top tier Louisiana cuisine.  Although the food is delicious, it is so full of butter and heavy cream that I thought I gained 5 pounds just reading the menu.  One night we went to SHUCKS!  Restaurant.  When the manager heard that this was my first time sampling cajun cuisine he kept giving us free samples of everything unique on the menu, including the bread pudding which was amazing.  The food at SHUCKS! was some of the best eating we have experienced on this trip and we will definately be returning.
     Another of my favorite places in Abbeville for lunch was Suire's Grocery.  Suire's looks like a falling down shack in the middle of a swamp, but the food was special.  I ordered the crawfish étouffée and Nancy ordered an oyster po' boy.  Now this was really good eating!  We left the place with full bellies, enough leftovers for dinner, and a happy feeling from all our chuckles with the friendly locals.
     Finally, on the recommendation of our new happy hour friends, we went to Touchet's (pronounced "2 checks").  Touchet's is a local bar which looks like an old gas station.  But, at 2:00 on Saturday afternoons it hosts a cajun jam session which runs well into the night.  The place was full of local musicians, dancers and, of course, the residents of Betty's.  Nancy got hit on by an 82 year old cowboy, but his 34 year old girlfriend kept on eye on them while Nancy and the old gent danced.  This is a real "slice of life" place and a "must visit" if in the area on a Saturday.

Nancy at Touchet's dancing with her 82 year old boyfriend.
     Although we hated leaving Betty's I was anxious to move on the New Orleans.  New Orleans really lives up to its reputation of being an eclectic party city.  We had beignets at Cafe du Monde, spent a lot of time enjoying the Burbon Street music, and took the St. Charles Streetcar.  New Orleans has a great zoo and art museum, but the Sculptural Garden in City Park is exceptional.  We were also treated to a  New Orleans parade with the marching bands from Grambling University and Southern University.  Boy those bands can perform; dancing down the street and playing at the same time!  We also took a New Orleans cooking class were we learned to cook shrimp étouffée, bread budding, and a special creole soup.  
Waiting at Cafe du Monde for beignets.

French Quarter, New Orleans
New Orleans Sculptural Garden in City Park
Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, LA.
A day trip from New Orleans.
French Quarter, New Orleans
     This was our first Thanksgiving away from family so it was a little depressing.  We still made the best of it with a meal of shrimp étouffée and roasted oysters followed by a great jazz band at Maison Burbon.  Our biggest disappointment was missing Bryce's 30th birthday.
Bryce at her 30th B-Day celebration at Acacia's house.
     Since things seemed to be going too well again, there is nothing like another disaster to level things out.  Disaster stuck when were departing New Orleans at 8 in the morning.  Before leaving a campsite, I always check the site for fluid leaks and sure enough there was a sizable puddle of brown, oily fluid under the engine.  I went to a Ford dealer and was advised that I had a transmission issue but, they could not take me for 3 weeks.  Ford added a little transmission fluid and told me it was OK to drive.  We then set out for a state park in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  However, as we drove I noticed that a lot of fluid was draining from the tranny.  Therefore, I decided to stop in Mobile, Alabama to have the transmission checked out at "Buddy's Automotive," a Ford approved repair shop.  Good thing I stopped as the transmission was on its last leg by the time I arrived.  The result-we spent 8 nights living in the parking lot of a repair shop in Mobile, Alabama.  Once Buddy received the correct parts he had us out of there just in time to head to Jacksonville, Florida for a battery of doctor's appointments.  
My transmission
My relaxation spot at Buddy's Automotive
Our rig at Buddy's Automotive
USS Alabama
One of our trips while in Mobile, Alabama at Buddy's.
     Now we are in Connecticut for Christmas.  We hope everybody has a great holiday!  See you next year.

     Below is a map of all the states we visited in our motor home.  I considered a state "visited" if we stayed at least 3 nights.  Less than 3 nights, for me, is just passing through.
     Below is the link to the "final" map of our journey in 2014:

     Below is the link to the "final" map of our journey in 2013: