Saturday, April 28, 2012


My friend Sylvia came by for a visit today with her daughter Michelle and her daughter Bailey.  They wanted to take some photos of little 2 year old Bailey on the beach as this is the first time she's ever seen the Gulf or the beach.  This was something I knew I would enjoy.  I don't remember the first time I saw the Gulf but I have many memories of time spent here in my early teens.  However, there are no photos of those times.  How I wish there were.

Michelle, Xi Shi, Bailey, and Sylvia

Notice where Xi Shi is sitting.  Bailey is afraid of her.  She said the dog looked mad and would have nothing to do with her.  Xi Shi wanted to play with her and kept trying to lick her face.  Poor little Xi.

Took a few photos of everyone at the coach then we headed for the beach.  Bailey's mom had gotten her a sand bucket and shovel as well as sunglasses, a beach hat, bathing suit and beach shoes.  She was ready to go.

Such a sweet child.

Bailey's mom showing her what the bucket and shovel are for.

Once she got the hang of that...

... It's time to say hello to the ocean.  She was afraid at first but we took our time and let her know that she was safe.

She really didn't know what to make of it.  The movement of the water made her dizzy.

She lost her balance and fell down at one point.  We were anxious to make sure she did not have a negative experience so we explained that it was OK to fall down in the water.  Then we spent some time each holding one of her hands and I stopped taking photos so we could show her it was fun to splash the water and get wet.  I bent down and took her hand and showed her how we could catch a wave.  She liked that and after awhile was laughing and doing it on her own.

It took a while to get that smile.

Her mom kept encouraging her to go into the water a little further, and she did.

Then it was time to take a break and get into some shade.  There was an available sheltered picnic table and we all enjoyed that for a time.  She got to wear her new sunglasses and pose for the camera. 

A cool rinse off before leaving the beach.

Nice and dry and in her new beach hoodie she's ready to go back to the campsite for some snacks and a cool drink.

What an experience for her.  Now she'll have these photos to help her remember when she saw the ocean for the first time.

It was my priviledge, Bailey, to be a part of this day with you.

Thank you all for coming to visit with me and Xi.

Friday, April 27, 2012


We waited till late this afternoon, as the sun was going down, to go to the far side of the moon where my little Xi Shi has been banished - for merely being a dog.  We packed up our beach cart and headed out to the pavilion.  I rolled Xi Shi onto the beach and she sat up and looked out at the water as we went around the tenting area and followed the water's edge till we were off of the state park.

I let her out of the cart and she immediately took off running because she knew she wasn't on leash.  I let her go as far as she wanted and called out to her now and then to return to me, which she did.  She played a while in the surf and then ran as fast as she could stopping only to look back and see if I was following.   She had a great time and so did I. 

When we returned, I rinsed her off at the shower on the pier and then we went back to our campsite.  It was a really long walk to and from the far side of the moon and I figure it will do wonders for my exercise regime.  However, being that far away from the people on the beach and not having to worry about anyone complaining about my dog, was a relief to me.   In fact, I've named that part of the beach after Xi Shi Quan and call it "Shih Tzu Beach" as it is now going to be our little spot -  off the park.  

It was another great day at the beach. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Xi Shi and I stayed in bed till noon today.  My sunburn is better but still hurts so I stayed in my pajamas most of the day.  Got dressed this afternoon and walked to the pavilion to see what was going on with all those busses.  There were 5 bus loads of school children from the Baton Rouge area that came to plant seedlings on the beach today.

Once they were all gone and there was no one on the beach I let Xi go on the sand for a little while.  We sat at the picnic table and I took photos of us.  Then we headed back to our campsite.

The beach to the right of us is the new designated tenting area.  Beyond that is where the park manager said I could let Xi run and play if I carried her there.  We'll go there tomorrow.

The campground is filling up as we get closer to the weekend.

I took her off leash and we played fetch in our large front yard.  I'm trying to teach her how to stay in the yard and near the coach without being on leash.  It's working.   When Pat showed up this evening to pick me up for our dinner date, she obeyed my command to "stay" and not run towards his car.  I was so proud of her.  However, when he got out of the car, she ran to him... command or no command she was going to go and greet her friend.

He had just sat down at the table when his phone rang.  Xi was not getting the attention she usually gets from him and her face showed it.

I hated to leave her alone but I put her into the coach and left with Pat, hoping that she wouldn't bark.

We got to the marina just as the sun was setting over Caminada Bay.  I love this deck.  The rocking chairs are a nice touch and very comfortable. 

Not a lot of boats in the marina tonight.

The view from our table in the cafe.

The cafe was closed but the owner's daughter said she could make us the roast beef sandwiches we wanted.  We felt so special.  How nice of her to do that.  We sat at my favorite table by the windows and had a great view. 

My iPhone does not take good photos at night as this photo of the front of the marina shows.

I had a nice time and always enjoy Pat's company.

Xi Shi was so glad to see us when we got back.  She barked and talked and barked some more.  It took awhile to calm her down.  Now she is sleeping next to me and very happy that her Momi is home.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


This morning after breakfast I loaded up the beach cart with our chairs, ice chest, beach towels, fishing rod, and Xi Shi Quan.  We took off for the fishing pier on the east end of the island.  We followed the shoreline instead of going on the asphalt road behind the park.  I covered Xi's head with a towel, not exactly to hide her but to protect her from the sun.  Her skin is so white that she will get a sunburn if out too long in direct sun. 

Before getting to the pier we stopped and set up our chairs near the water and I enjoyed reading my magazine while she enjoyed the wind in her face.

I let her run around the beach for a few minutes off leash then put her back in her chair.  We met a few people walking the beach and enjoyed their company for awhile.  One couple was from Canada.   Our gentleman friend with the electric bike came by to say hi.  He's been having a blast riding up and down the island on the beach side.  He said they would be coming back in the fall.  I told him I'd be here and will have my own electric bike by that time.  I then did a little fishing but got bored with that real fast.

I packed the beach cart again and we headed for the stairs that led to the pier.  It was really difficult climbing up sand dunes to reach the stairs while pulling about 50 pounds of weight in the beach cart but it was worth it.  I took Xi out of the cart and let her walk to the end of the pier off leash.  I set up our chairs again and finished reading my magzine.  We ate some chips and drank our water and watched the dolphins playing in groups as they swam past us.  It's really hard to get a photo of them.  Every time I hit the button they would go under the water again. 

I let my imagination run free and imagined that we were on the deck of a large ocean ship that was cruising us down to the Caribbean.  It really did feel that way for a second or two as I looked out on the water from our perch.

I didn't realize the time and before I knew it we had been out in the sun for 4 hours.  I'm feeling it tonight.  I put sun block on but obviously not enough and I got burned.  I made sure Xi stayed in the shade so she is fine tonight.  No sun for us tomorrow.

It was a great day.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Had a good night and didn't have the cats to wake me wanting to play.  I left them at home on this trip.  They can handle a week without me and I enjoy not having them spreading their cat litter all over the coach.

Took a walk to the pavilion this morning and Xi walked a few feet on the sand.  We didn't stay long.  Hung around the campsite and read most of the day.  Played fetch with Xi and tried to keep her entertained. 

My friend Pat came by and brought me some spaghetti.  We had a nice visit.  As he was leaving, the park ranger that checked me in came by on his 4 wheeler while making his rounds. 

With a smile on his face he asked, "So have you been going around the park and breaking the rules with your little dog?" 

And I said, "Yes, as a matter of fact, I have... twice."  We both laughed and I explained how my little doggie just loved to go swimming and run around the beach and how much I enjoy seeing her have fun. 

He then asked, "Can you carry her?"  I wasn't sure why he was asking that but I answered, "Not really she's a bit overweight." 

He then explained why he asked, "If you can carry her on the beach to the end of the park then she can run and play on that area of the beach." 

I said, "Well, I do have a pet carrier that attaches to my bike and I could ride her there if only bikes were allowed on the beach." 

He looked at me funny and said, "Bikes are allowed on the beach." 

I explained that the gentleman a few doors down who rides an electric bike was told that bikes were not allowed on the beach.

He then replied, "If anyone gives you any flak about bikes on the beach, you just tell them to see Nick.  I'm the new park manager."

I was surprised to hear this.  I thought he was just a park ranger but he's the boss.  So in amazement I asked, "You mean I can ride an electric bike on the beach with my dog in the basket and not get in trouble?" 

"That's right."

"Well, you have made my day."

He then asked where the gentleman with the electric bike was parked and I showed him.  He rode to his campsite and explained to him that it was OK to take his bike onto the beach.

Later that gentleman came by my campsite and thanked me for helping in this situation and then took off with fishing gear in tow for the beach with a big smile on his face. 

This is a big relief for me as I was about to make a rather large purchase until this upsetting news and red signs everywhere about pets on the beach.  So now I am planning to go ahead with my purchase of a three-wheel electric bike and cargo carrier with ramp.  I'll be able to ride the beach all the way into town and to the grocery store and to my friend Pat's house.  I'm really excited about this.

During our conversation I also asked about staying for longer than 14 days and he explained that this is something that is at the discretion of the park manager and he personally has allowed folks to stay in the campground for months at a time.  So, that answered my question about being able to stay a month without having to move.  Having an electric bike to get around will certainly be helpful if I decide to stay for a month at a time.

Before leaving, he informed me in a joking manner and a smile on his face that he was going to be leaving the island tomorrow for a week so there will be no one to patrol the beach till Friday.  I laughed and said that sounded great to me.  So tomorrow we go to the end of the island by the fishing pier and Xi can go swimming.

So... today was a great day.  Tomorrow will be even better.


This is the gentleman and his wife who can now ride their bike on the beach.

The funny thing is that I met this couple in North Toledo Bend State Park back on April 3rd and didn't realize it until after I had been talking to them for awhile.  Then I remembered.  Xi Shi wanted to go for a ride on her bike and was following her.  When I reminded the lady of this she paused and then said she did remember me and my dog and that we spoke a long time about her electric bike.  I told her that she was the reason I was now thinking about purchasing one for myself.  Here is the photo I took on that day.

Yes, it really is a small world.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Spent the afternoon on the beach wrapped in a yellow towel after my swim.  Snuggled in my blue awning chair with my Coastal Living magazine.  I look over at Xi Shi who is sitting next to me in her brand new matching blue awning chair and I am a little cocoon of happiness. 

The stretch of sand is nearly empty.  I reach for my iPhone to see what time it is because who the heck knows what time it is down here?  The hot Louisiana sun is like a drug, making it hard to rouse oneself.  The island is prettier than ever... oh... wait... what is that new sign up ahead.  There's another one over by the pier.  NO DOGS ON BEACH.  What the hell...???

Then I woke up.

When I checked in today, I noticed the new, large, red signs posted everywhere.  I made my displeasure about this new rule known to all who would listen.  The park ranger told me to write to my representative and complain.  I said I would indeed.  The one place I could have fun in the sun and surf with my doggie and now that is no longer possible. 

I asked if my dog could still go on the fishing pier and the ranger said yes.  I joked with him and said, "If a dog falls off of the pier onto the beach and no one is there, is it breaking the rule?"  He laughed, "I can't advise you on what to do."  I continued with my joking and asked if the beach would be patroled during the week.  He replied, "No, but it will be on the weekend."  I smiled and he knew that I fully intended to take my dog on the beach.

This afternoon we walked to the new bath house which has a pier onto the beach.  Xi walked down the steps and onto the beach as she always has and I pulled her back up the steps.  She was confused but obeyed.  Tomorrow we'll go to the fishing pier which is further down the beach and a bit more secluded.  I'll let her go swimming there, if no one is close by.

Grand Isle State Park was the only state park that allowed dogs on the beach.  I'm not sure why they have decided to change their pet policy.  This island is 7 miles long and there are many places to take Xi swimming but I'll have to unhook and leave the park to do so.  I have looked into other RV parks along the beach but the cost is $40 a night and the sites are very close together.  So I'm going to make the best of the state park and their new rule.

We're here for 7 nights and the weather is cool but is expected to get warmer within a day or two.  I'm loving it.  Didn't have to put the A/C on today.  I love the beach when it's cold.

New pier just opened.

Poor little Xi Shi can't go play in the water.

Here's a shot showing the Gulf to the left and the park to the right.

The Palm trees are looking good.

Our little campsite for a week.