After five months of eastward movement we turned back towards the West with the ultimate goal of reaching home in Arizona by the end of April. We’re taking our time. And we are using this part of the journey to explore new places using our Harvest Host membership. We’ve mentioned Harvest Host in the past, and this post will highlight three very cool locations.
Harvest Host is a membership program that provides overnight locations for self-contained RVers at wineries, breweries, farms, museum, and other sites. Harvest Host now has over 2000 hosts in the network, and they are adding more every day. We’d never be able to enjoy them all, but we’ve found a few good ones!
For example, after leaving Georgia we stopped for a night at Golden Acres Ranch in Monticello, Florida. At the ranch we were introduced to their friendly herd of Tennessee Fainting Goats and a number of other farm animals including sheep, chickens, guinea hens, and the sweetest pregnant dog, Honey.
We shopped the cute country store, checked out the garden, fed the goats, and chatted with fellow RVers who were also parked in the large pastures.
A few days later, while continuing our traverse westward, we stopped for the night at Gulf Coast Gator Ranch in Moss Point, MS. Yes, we parked right next to Boudreaux’s enclosure, home of the 13 foot alligator. It was a bit disconcerting until we learned he was “friendly” and blind.
Because we were there after-hours, we were given private access to the property and strolled the gator grounds on our own. The ranch holds 60 adult gators in the main pond and another 20-30 juveniles in tanks.
At one time they had several hundred but many were washed away during Hurricane Katrina. The goal now is to build the population to about 100. Once a true farm for alligators, the facility now focuses on conservation and education.
The next morning we joined Captain Tim (aka In-Tim-i-Gator) for a tour of the property via airboat. We spotted a few alligators and drew them closer with marshmallows.
Tim also took us on a fast, wild ride in the swamp on the airboat. What a thrill! This Harvest Host location was probably the most unique one to date.
But then we stopped at the International Petroleum Museum, aka The Rig Museum in Morgan City, LA. The facility is a tribute to the offshore oil and gas industry and its impact on the world.
“Mr. Charlie” is the first offshore drilling rig that was transportable, submersible, and self-sufficient, allowing it to drill more than 200 oil wells along the Gulf Coast between 1954 and 1986. Mr. Charlie was the first moveable rig and has been preserved for training and educational purposes.
We were lucky enough to get a personal tour of Mr. Charlie by Virgil Allen, the museum’s founder. While telling us about the history of the museum it was apparent that Mr. Allen was a visionary when he lobbied to save the rig when it was slated for scrap. Now The Rig Museum is an educational place where Harvest Hosters like us can expand our horizons.
We’re headed for Lafayette, LA, the heart of Cajun country and can’t wait to share our experiences in the next post.