Sunday, December 30, 2012

Layfayette, LA

My first Wal-Mart camping experience.  What a hoot!  I got here about an hour ago after several missteps which I’ll get to in a minute.   Right now I'm watching a beautiful sunset.  Over Radio Shack.  LOL!

Awoke at 3 AM this morning to discover that my head had frozen.  So it’s true that the heat pump is ineffective below certain temps.  I’m not sure how cold it was but the unit was churning out cool air.  So I activated the furnace and fell into a toasty slumber.  I find I actually prefer the furnace; it emits a comforting hum as opposed to the overhead unit’s Lockheed engine noise.    

Spent the morning lolling about cradled by the 360-degree view of trees in my campsite.  It was too cozy to think about doing much!  But it was 38-degrees with full-on sunshine and a nice day for a bus ride!

Arrived at the Blow Fly Inn in Gulfport, MS right before noon. 

We are Community Coffee zealots.  Turns out they made good tea too.

I have wanted to experience this place since I saw it years ago on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. 

The shrimp and grits didn't last long.  Lots of creamy goodness with the crunch of the fried grit cake.   


After hearing my travel plans, the nice waitress gave me some complimentary banana pudding and french bread slices which I will have dinner tonight.  A dinner of …. wait for it …. she-crab bisque.  I’m so glad I went; it was a unique dining experience – one that I would never have known about if not for DD&D  

After lunch, I filled the tank ($3.07) and got in line on the interstate for 237 miles.  A nice day to be on the road – sunny in the 50’s.  I’m enjoying the Bryson audio-book so much.  It's fun to belly laugh at 70 miles per hour!  And it's so touching when he talks about his sweet, pathologically absent-minded mother.  
My gas mileage continues to improve.  When I bought the GDB, the onboard computer was reading 13.3 MPG.  I’m up to 13.9 now and feel it is destined to increase further.  I sometimes think the previous owners drove exclusively in gridlock, with full tanks, uphill all the way.   

I was longing for a nice hot shower tonight and intended to stay in a campground.  However, the one on my route that was reasonably priced turned out to be16 miles down a road that looked and felt as if it were recently bombarded by meteors.  We know from living here for 4 years that LA, of all the states, has the worst roads. (As residents, we were actually in favor of a property tax hike in order to improve the roads).  So I turned around quickly – I just couldn’t do that to the Good Deal Bus!

Next, I called the mega-Bass Pro Shop nearby but they don’t allow overnight parking.  Then I followed a sign to a Casino.  The Casino was rather a dump.  Looks like a place that loses money.  Hmmmm... maybe I should have stopped.

The sun was getting low by this point so I opted for a Lafayette Wal-Mart.  My GPS uncharacteristically misguided me to the first WMT (which didn't exist).  The next one I tried was in a very seedy area. 

The third looked questionable too.  I was about to leave when a Class A pulled into the lot and parked near the back.  I knocked on the door and a very nice man assured me that it was, indeed safe, and that he would be right there if I needed anything.  He also mentioned that tomorrow AM, when I wake up, we will have 3 or 4 other overnighting neighbors. 

My first overnight at Camp Wal-Mart

Later, these folks pulled in. 

Bet they've got an interesting story.
As a point of etiquette, I did ask permission from the manager and got the go-ahead. 

I probably won’t sleep much tonight.  But it will be an adventure.  A free adventure! 
I hear sirens nearby.  I’ll have to fire up my police scanner app and monitor the action.  Looks like the low is only supposed to be in the low-to-mid 40s, so if I bundle up with all my bedding, I may not even need the furnace.   
But I’m determined to stop earlier tomorrow and get that nice hot shower!


  1. What a fun read!

    Loved the Walmart camping! I also much prefer my gas furnace's heat to the whooshing of the heat strip in my trailer's AC unit. The gas heat just feels softer and more comforting for some reason.

    I am so jealous of your free banana pudding and french toast. And she-crab bisque soup..... ahhhhhh!

    Hope you get to enjoy that hot shower soon!

  2. Check out Mr. Heater for your heat. That's what I use. I find my furnace just kills the batteries in no time if I'm not plugged in - which I never am. No noise at all to this baby and turns out a gorgeous cosy heat.

    Also, Are you aware of ? That website lists all Walmarts and whether or not they allow O/N parking.

    1. I'd consider the Mr. Heater but I don't know where I'd store it. I need to think about finding a place though. I'll find out tonight how much battery power the blower consumes.

      I would love to have allstays but my Kindle doesn't support the app. Of course, now that I have Mi-Fi, I could just pull it up on my laptop.

    2. No - it won't work on a laptop. Bummer.

  3. Your head was frozen? Now that doesn't sound like much fun! That bus looks curious - makes you want to tour it doesn't it? Looks like an ok spot to me.

  4. yeah... how come YOU got free banana pudding... I smile and put on deodorant... jeeez... AND you'll get used to the racket at the WMs .. unless they run that blasted thing they clean the parking lots with ... I forget which WM I stayed at in Lafayette...

    I'm getting so freaking antsy ... I dunno... I want some free banana pudding... I think that's my new quest... I got free coffee before ... but not banana pudding... was it fresh? dang

  5. You should have stopped by ft. Pickens. We would have loved to have a trekker join us for the evening. Safe and fun traveling....jc

    1. Hi Jerry,

      I remembered that y'all were there, but I was hazy on the location. I should have look at the map - that would have been fun!

  6. When I hit the road as a solo I didn't think I'd like staying at Walmart. Now it's my second favorite place for parking lots. My favorite is Cracker Barrel but you're probably not ready for the loneliness of Cracker Barrel yet. I'm usually the only one there which makes for a quiet night's sleep. Unless it's garbage day. :)

    1. I'll give CB a shot soon, I'm sure. I'm typing this the next day, after a great night's sleep. My big concern wasn't my safety but my battery capabilities. It worked out great. I will definitely camp at WMT again.

  7. Love following your trip! We were heading to Austin this time last year and stayed one night at Cracker Barrel just before the Texas state line.
    Hope it's warmer in Texas.

    1. Well, I'll think about you as I pass it today. And I'll probably be thinking about gravy and biscuits too.

  8. Glad you enjoyed your first Wal-mart experience. They'll get better and better and before long feel like a second home. :o) The noises you get used to, even the parking lot cleaner! Once you know what each one is, you'll sleep like a baby right through them. Safe travels. Nicole (

    1. I think you are right. Slept great last night! Ready to go in and do some shopping before hitting the road.

  9. Great to hear your WMT experience. I'll be doing some of that too. I'm going to have to check out Hope the weather's great for traveling today!

  10. Sounds like some good advice. I did not know Cracker Barrel let people park all night...and I bet if you kept track of blog followers you'd find people in most states that would let you park in their driveways...AND use their showers! :)


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