Archive for camping

Great Mississippi River balloon race

Posted in Thirsty Thursday with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2011 by bayouphoto

Every year, in October, the city of Natchez, Ms. holds the Great Mississippi River balloon race.It starts Friday night with a balloon glow and a fireworks show. The only problem I saw was the crowds, lines and the parking. We found a spot a couple of blocks away and paid to get in. Next time I wouldn’t pay to get into the balloon glow as there are other balloons at various sites around the city and Vidalia. There is a small carnival held on the grounds for the children.

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When we arrived some of the balloons had already taken flight.

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We left before dark because the schedule said the fireworks would start at 7 PM. I asked a security guard where they would actually shoot the fireworks and he said “From a barge, in the river, just north of the bridge. We headed for an old parking lot just north of the fair grounds. There is a fence, sidewalk and overlook of the river.

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I took the shots while waiting. What we didn’t know was they had to wait for a 30 minute window in the river barge traffic. That meant it was almost 9 PM when the fireworks started.

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It really was a good show they put on.

The next day we were going for the “Key grab” balloon flight. They put a key, to a new GMC truck, on top of the rock climbing tower and if a balloon pilot could grab it they won the truck. We went to the Vidalia side to have the sun behind us and sit on the River Walk. The balloons have to have a 5MPH or less wind to take off so it was after 5 PM when they did.

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Click the photo to see it larger

Click the photo to see it larger

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We had a good time and saw some very colorful balloons.


Great photo opportunity

Posted in Camping, General with tags , , , , , , , on September 26, 2011 by bayouphoto

If you are in the area around Natchez Oct. 14-16 then don’t miss this great opportunity.

Great Mississippi River balloon race

and a great place to camp just 10 miles away Natchez state park

I hope to see you there.

Best place to shoot the flights are

Morning: Launch site or if you prefer in flight  would be the Natchez national cemetary ( This would afford views with the river and bridge)

Afternoon would be the launch site and the River walk on the Vidalia, La. side. This would put the sun behind you each flight.

The Friday night fireworks would be great from the Vidalia river walk with the reflections in the river and the bridge included( If you go south of the bridge and shoot north)


Posted in Camping, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2011 by bayouphoto

I will be gone camping for the next 3 days without internet. I will be at Natchez state park just 10 miles north of Natchez, Ms. Since I will be close to Windsor ruins, and the ghost town of Rodney I hope to get some sunrise/sunset photos. This is hard to do when you have to drive over. If time permits I may explore, Port Gibson and Grand Gulf. I will be back Friday and will post my Thursday tutorial then. Till then have a great week and see you Friday.

Camping makes memories

Posted in Ramblings with tags , , , , , on June 19, 2011 by bayouphoto

Or in my case brings back memories. When we were camping, up at Lake Chicot state park, I told Beth I was going to use the Coleman lantern even if we did have electricity. There is just something about the hiss of a lantern that sounds like camping. I know the old white gas lanterns are dated and the new propane ones are faster. However it is just part of the disposable age. It started with Bic lighters, pens and razors and continues in our society today. We live in a throw away society.

I also still use an old Coleman 413G gas stove and a 1950’s era catalytic heater. The heater and lantern were courtesy of Bet’s dad, Coach Don Cummins. I rescued them from his old shop and brought them back to life.

My love of camping started back in elementary school when my brother, George, bought me an army play set that included a genuine reproduction pup tent. Set up under the big oak tree, in the front yard, it was the scene of many campaigns and battles. Of course once it got dark you headed into headquarters in the house.

In the little community where I was raised there were many boys within a year or two of age that attended Lamar church. This lead to many bike rides and eventually a camping trip. It was to take place in Mr. Cedrick Fletcher’s hay barn. We snuggled down in the hay loft for our adventure.

Dalton Oliver had cleared and was farming the old McElwee place and it included a strip of river bank along side the Bayou Macon. We loaded a piece of “Visqueen” plastic for a tent some rope and cooking gear on the bikes and set off for a trip. We camped on the bank of the river and cooked rabbit over the open fire. All of us had a sleeping bag, knife and flashlight we kept ready to go. We also were fortunate enough to eventually buy and old camper and put on the river.

But back to the lanterns. It was going to our deer camp that I was first introduced to the workings and sounds of a Coleman lantern. We had some 12 volt lights rigged for early morning or coming in after dark but the lantern was the main light.

I guess all those nights under the stars and out on adventures fueled the passion I still have for camping and the outdoors. I don’t hunt anymore, the old bones don’t like the cold hard ground, I know sleep in a comfy pop up camper but I still love cooking with cast iron on a Coleman stove and listening to the hiss of a lantern.

Dads on this Fathers day make a vow to take your kids camping. Teach them how to make a fire, cook over an open fire and enjoy the great outdoors.

Bandera, Tx.

Posted in Nature and wildlife, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2011 by bayouphoto


After getting out of the hospital, on Thursday, I returned to the camp at Guadalupe river. I stayed there that afternoon and put some seed on a stump and made a little blind. I got a picture of a black crested Tufted Titmouse.The next morning we moved the camper to Bandera. We did not have a reservation for Friday night and had planned to move to Pedernales Falls state park. That was further away so we decided to use the small RV park on the Medina river. It is just one block from downtown Bandera and very close to the EMS station. Located on the Medina river it is cheap and well maintained but does lack much shade.I walked under the bridge to the city parkYes the river is this greenI walked up the hill one block to eat at the Old Spanish Trail restaurant. After eating I took a short tour down main street.The deer were literally in peoples yards.On Saturday we rode back to the city park to see if the scissor tail fly catcher was thereWe left early Sunday morning. It wasn’t the trip I expected but it was a trip none the less.

Guadalupe river state park.

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , on June 2, 2011 by bayouphoto

After the disaster in the Davy Crockett national forest we had to spend Saturday night at a nice marina on Lake Trinity.

We got up Sunday morning and drove on into the Guadalupe river state park. Nice park located between new Braunfels and Bandera, Tx. Since there hasn’t been any significant rain fall in 9 months there was a burn ban in effect and the river was very low. Every thing was dry and burned up.

I must say that the Tx state parks are rip offs compared to other states. Not only do they not recognize the Golden Access pass but the fees are outrageous.

The $20 per night for water and electric was not so bad. it was the $7 per day, per person entry fee that killed us. That made it $34 per night for the two of us to camp. If we had realized this before hand we would have stayed somewhere else. I imagined it would be like other parks that charged campers a 1 time entry fee not for every night. I guess every thing really is bigger in Tx.

Despite all that the park was nice and well kept. I didn’t get to visit the river but once due to ending up in the hospital Tuesday through Thursday. I did get to use the bird photography blind and the feeders one evening.

The Painted Bunting and this unidentified bird were shot at the bird bli

nd. Bring your own stool or chair if you use it. Located at the end of the river parking lot.

I shot this black capped Tufted Titmouse on a stump in our camp site. I put some bird seed on it and made a blind of a towel draped over a cedar limb.

These are photos of the river.Our camp site. The facilities were great and the sites were well secluded it was just the fees that I had a problem with.

The most miserable week ever

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2011 by bayouphoto

My friend Beth was going to San Antonio to help her daughter cater a reception. I thought I would go along to take advantage of the great birding and camping.

It started out great then went downhill quickly.

I had a defibrillator installed in ’06 and there was a recall on the leads. seems they tend to break. So in ’07 they turned on a warning tone to alert me of any problems.

On Friday I started to hear this tone and thought I was going crazy. I could not find that truck that kept backing up. It sounded just like a back up warning. BEEP BEEP BEEP.

Finally it dawned on me what it was but I thought it was a low battery warning.

We left early Saturday morning, with me intending to call the VA hospital on Monday. The trip was uneventful but I should have realized how things would go as time went along.

I wanted to go to Zwolle for the best tamales around. We made a side track only to find they were closed on Saturdays, of all day. We then proceeded to purchase the worst BBQ ever sold. Chalking it up we headed on SW. Our intentions were to drive halfway and camp at the ONLY campground in the Davy Crockett National forest. We arrived around 3PM to find the campground closed due to tornado damage. We finally found another campground 40 miles out of the way.

The next morning we headed for our main campground at Guadalupe river state park between New Braunsfel and Bandera, Tx. The crosswind was unbelievable and made the driving a chore. We finally made it around 4 PM and got the camper set up.

The next day was going to be a birding day but low clouds and misting rain forced us to stay close to the camp. I called the VA in Shreveport and they advised me to go to the San Antonio VA ER. So Tuesday morning I fought the commute traffic to get there.

They called in the Medtronics rep and they checked my implant and found the lead was broken. I first decided to wait till I got home to have it fixed but after further thinking I decided to check in there and have it done.

I was first told it might be Wednesday but probably Friday. Since the lead was broken the device would not work in the event I had an episode so they hooked me too a monitor.

They then told me if it couldn’t be done Wed. it would be the next Tuesday and I would have to stay there to be monitored. They did end up doing it Wed. and I got out Thurs but by that time our plans were ruined. We stayed an extra day and returned home Sunday.

My luck continues to run true to form