Our plan for this trip is to camp out as much as possible. However, once we reached Sulphur, LA, we realized we may have been a tad optimistic about the climate in the Southern States. As usual, we planned to leave Austin before we actually did, so ended up rolling into Sulphur once night had fallen. We eventually found the campground at Holbrook Park and pulled in—it was wedged between a bayou and a lake and we were excited to be around water but a little wary of what camping around water often brings with it: bugs. There wasn’t anyone around and we weren’t sure where to park. There were a bunch of trailers parked up, so we wandered over, without a flash light, and headed toward a couple who were sitting by their trailer next to their massive german shepherd. Since we had just wandered into a gaggle of trailers on a warm southern night, the sounds of a/c units hummed on top of the rich chorus of bullfrogs coming from the lake. I think we gave the couple a bit of a fright, emerging from the darkness. The dog didn’t look or sound best pleased, either. Our fault entirely. After failing to understand my accent first time, and Melissa’s use of the word “ranger” for someone who takes care of a campground, we eventually got directions to the campground host’s house.
At the house, we didn’t find the ranger, but his teenage daughter who was sat out on the stoop. We also alarmed her, too, despite our best attempts to the contrary. After exchanging a few words with the girl, she promptly asked us “y’all from around these parts?” I imagine the question was somewhat rhetorical, but we did our best to give a coherent answer.
The night was warm and humid. We slept in the back of the truck with the windows open and the back door, also. The windows are screened, but the door isn’t. There is no way we could have slept with it closed. Despite the sticky heat, we did manage to sleep some. The next morning, the campground host did the rounds and I ambled over to him to cough up the $4 for our stay. Hear that California—$4 for a developed campground that even had showers! The host waved my attempt away: “Nah, don’t worry about it. It’s only $4 after all.” We asked him about what struck us as a remarkable lack of bugs around the site and how we slept with the truck open. We had seen a few cricket-type-things and a couple of dragonflies, but not a huge amount of much else. “Skeeters didn’t git’cha?!”, he asked with surprise. We replied in the negative. However, later when I went to the bathroom, I found dozens of red bite marks all up my arms and legs. Luckily, only a couple became raised, itchy lumps. The others just faded away. Not sure how that happened, but I was quite relieved! The campground and the host were fantastic and I’d recommend staying here—it was our lack of forethought that was the issue, not the place itself.
We have three factors to contend with in terms of camping in the south: the heat, the bugs and the humidity, whether it be muggy or actually raining. Right now, there are storms forecast for the foreseeable future all through the coastlines of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. If the storms pass, we might try getting a tent with a little battery-operated fan to see if camping is bearable that way, but for now, we’re sticking to Airbnb* and hotels.com, although Airbnb for private rooms tends to be the cheaper option so far. The weather is hitting our budget in an adverse way, so we’re coming up with some ideas for making some money on the road. We have some of our photo and video gear with us, so we might see if any Zen Centers or any other businesses that we have experience with (natural food and body care companies, primarily) might be in the market for some photography or video work. If anyone has any ideas along these lines, please let us know!
* follow this link and get $25 off your first airbnb experience if you're a new user, and in the interests of full disclosure, we get $25 off our next stay, too.