RV Trip 10.3 – Lake D’Arbonne SP, Lincoln Parish Park, Jimmie Davis SP, and Chicot SP  – Nov 11 – 23, 2022

Quick reminder if you would like to see larger versions of the photos just click on the first picture in each block and it will bring up the slide mode for that set of photos. That will also show you the captions for each photo, depending on the device you are using.

When we left Graceland we followed the Blues Trail SW through Tennessee, Mississippi (in Leland we saw the birthplace of Kermit the Frog, AKA Jim Henson), and then crossed the Mississippi River into Arkansas. Along the way we saw lots of colourful bales of cotton ready for processing. We crossed into Louisiana where our destination was Lake D’Arbonne SP. We had travelled this distance to try to avoid some of the cold front coming down from Canada. Even doing this we still had some night time temperatures of 28 F (-2C) which is a bit cool for camping. We made sure we booked electric sites so we could have our heater on. We stayed in Lake D’Arbonne for 4 nights to explore the trails.  We found out the Louisiana State Parks have a special on right now, ½ price camping for anyone 62 and over!!  Sign us up!!! The one day we hiked around the Cypress Bend Trail to the various fishing piers to see the lake and some turtles. They also had some large cabins that you could rent. Another day I did the same circuit on the Mountain Bike. Since the campground wasn’t too busy, we also took the opportunity to do our laundry, not a favourite activity while on the road. They had a new method of paying using an app on your phone to pay for the washing machines and the dryers. We also changed the oil on our generator as that was due and fixed some issues with our Tire Pressure Monitor system. Sometimes it’s necessary to do these types of chores when travelling.

When reading about out next stop, Jimmie Davis SP it said one of the local attractions was Lincoln Parish Park for it’s good Mountain Bike loop, so we decided to stop and camp there for 2 nights. The RV Park was inexpensive at $35 per night for full hook ups and the sites along the lake were very nice. The first afternoon we did a short walk around the lake and learned about Fredric Hoogland who helped establish the park in 1990 (it’s near Ruston Louisiana). There was even a beach for swimming, but it was a little too cool to go for a dip.

Before leaving Canada, we had upgraded our phone plan to cover US-Canada calling, texting and additional data. It had worked great all the way south but was not working in Louisiana. The texting and data were working but calling was not. I spent 3.5 hours doing diagnosis with Telus and the conclusion was that since the US carriers have been turning off 3G service and because our phones didn’t support VOLTE Roaming, they weren’t going to work for calling unless we were in major city centres. My phone is only 4 years old, and Sharon’s is 3 years old so needless to say this was very frustrating to find out. We’re now trying to decide if we try to live with texting and data or get US SIM cards.

Since the mountain bike trail was listed as advanced, I went on my own the next day. The trail twists and turns all over the place in the park as you can see from the trail map. When I first started on the trail, I saw a lot of spots where something had been digging overnight and it turned out to be Armadillos. I saw an old storage container of some sort, interesting fungi, a waterfall with very little water flow, and a white-tailed deer that I scared so I didn’t get a picture. The trail was well marked but I did miss one loop area so after I got back to the campsite, I decided to take the road back so I could do that section. It turned out it was the most advanced section and the most fun. You started out with a massive hill (I reached 45 kph) and then did some switch backs until you ended up on a jump line. I had a blast on this part. I did a total of about 20 kms and then returned for lunch with Sharon.  She had tried a video call with her mom as the park had fairly good internet access since she can’t phone her.   Later we went back to walk the advanced loop so Sharon could see what it was like and assured herself that she made a wise decision to stay in the RV. It would definitely be worth returning to this park for the MTB ride.

After we pick a State Park to go to, we typically look at the trail map to see how many days we might need to fully explore the park. Since Jimmie Davis SP had limited trails, we decided to book for 2 nights. On our way there though we stopped in Ruston at the Utility Brewing Co. to have lunch. I saw on their beer list they had a couple of stouts and the host said I could have samples of 2 of them so I could pick which I liked best. I chose the Bourbon Barrell Aged Stout which came in a smaller size since it was 10% alcohol and Sharon got the Bourbon Sangria (lots of Bourbon items down here). We ordered the Pretzel appetizer, and it was huge. We then shared the Lincoln Pizza which had spicy sausage, goat cheese, and mushrooms and we had to take a few slices to go since we were so full of pretzel.  The takeaway box had “Pizza transportation device” stamped on it.  We walked around the downtown to burn off a few calories😉.  They had a nice artist co-op but we don’t have much room to store items in the RV so no purchases were made.

Jimmie Davis SP was renamed after a two term Louisiana Governor in 2003. It is mainly known as a prolific bass fishing lake with the SP being a peninsula sticking out into Caney Lake. We had a chosen a premium site that was right along the water and after we were setup, we took a walk around the campground and out on one of the fishing piers. The reflections on the water were amazing and we were blown away to see that they had 28 boat slips right by the campground! Later some guys checked in a couple of spots over and they came with 3 different boats as well as their 5th wheel trailer!!

The next day we were woken up at the ungodly hour of 5 am by the duck hunters and they were shooting while it was still dark out! We thought they were there to catch bass, but I guess because it’s duck season that’s what they were going for. We heard groupings of gun shots around the lake for about 3 straight hours. The day was sunny, so we did a 9 km hike around the peninsula, partially on roadways and partially on trails or through our own bush walk. We saw the walk-in platform tents, the lodges and cabins, the beach area and the other boat launch, it seems like all Louisiana SP have all these facilities. We finished the day with an even better sunset than the night before.

Time to move south to chase the warmer weather at Chicot SP.  We were out of wine (can you believe that?).  Sharon saw an ad in the camper news for a “Fine Wine and Liquor” store in Jonesboro.  We should have been suspicious when the ad also mentioned 9 different types of frozen margaritas.  We got some wine and beer, but we wouldn’t exactly label it as a fine wine shop.  We stopped along the way for lunch at the Crazy Cajun before getting to Chicot SP.  We ordered Bottle Caps, which were sliced and deep-fried jalapenos, tasty and spicy, too many for us to eat in one sitting for sure!  I had Shrimp quesadilla and Sharon had Crawfish Etouffee, both tasty dishes.  No need for dinner tonight, maybe just some “fine wine” 😉

Chicot SP said they had internet access, but it wasn’t working at our site.  In the morning I went to see if we moved to a different site if it would be better.  Internet is now our only way to stay connected.  Unfortunately, it turns out the main tower in the park had an issue and it wouldn’t be fixed while we were there.  So, if we’re lucky, we might get an email or two sent via a weak mobile data connection.

This park is known as the home of the Louisiana State Arboretum.  The park is very large, so we got on the bikes and rode the 4km to the Arboretum.  From there we toured the museum and then headed out to do the hiking trails the ranger recommended.  The trails covered 4 distinct categories: Cypress Tupelo Swamp, Bottomland Hardwood Forest, Longleaf Pine Savannah, and Beech Magnolia Forest. It was very interesting to see all these zones in one area. They had signposts for almost 100 different tree types. We did about 10 kms of trails, saw 7 armadillos and only 2 humans.  We learned later that the female Armadillos always give birth to quadruplets, and they are all the same sex! The one armadillo we saw could care less that we were near it, another one ran, more like jumped away very quickly.  They always move so slow but when they want to, they can run fast. We met a guy on the trail, and he really wanted to welcome us to his “home”.  He was very proud of the area and said he comes walking here regularly. Our favourite trail was The Bald Cypress loop with the interesting cypress trees/knees and the tupelo trees.

Next day was a rain delay day.  A good day to stay inside and work on the blog.  Maybe catch up on some sleep.  You guessed it, duck hunters are here too!!!  The early morning bang, bang, bang echoes across the lake!!!

The following day was supposed to be sunny, so I had decided to do the full Chicot Loop trail (by MTB) that went all the way around the lake and park. Unfortunately, it was cloudy most of the day and I had light rain 3 different times. The trail was listed as moderate but in fact there were several sections that were more advanced for the MTB. It took me 5 hours to cover 34 kms and I only saw 3 hikers and 1 armadillo. There were a lot of boardwalks over lake/swampy sections, but I didn’t see any alligators. Sharon walked around the campground/park to see the fishing pier and boat launch area.  It seems like a lot of the Louisiana State Parks have a Kids Trail.  We’ve seen a few, most have fairy lights, wooden structures of animals or plants, a short family fun walk.   Heavier rain started around 3 pm so we were glad we were back at the RV by then.

The next day was travel day but before we left Chicot SP we decided to drive to the north campground and the fishing pier. The photos of the lake look so much better with the blue-sky background. We were also lucky enough to see our first alligator of this trip near the north fishing pier.

Next stop Lake Fausse Pointe State Park.

10 comments

  • “It’s Wabbit season!” “Duck season!” “Wabbit season!” “Duck season!” ‘Duck season!” “Wabbit season!”😜

    Liked by 1 person

  • Another interesting blog post and wonderful pictures! Great to see you both looking so well ❤️❤️ Hoping your adventures continues to go well and include less duck hunters and reliable internet connections. Great to be on this journey with you. Warmest hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually Danny those little bumps are the “knees” of the trees. The roots of the Cypress trees in the swamp shoot up those knees as further support for the trees due to changing water levels.

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      • Oh, those are called knees. The picture had no caption and you didn’t talk about “knees” until 2 sections later. Like I said before, I had to put in comments as I finish each section. Otherwise, this old man forgets by the time I finish reading the next section. LOL.

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