Now What?

Now, we are on our return trip.

Our original destination on this journey was Magnolia Beach, Texas and Padre Island National Seashore.

I can’t explain it, but before we left and on the way, I was having some pretty solid reservations about going that far west.

Don’t get me wrong; we WANTED to! I’ve been stalking Padre Island on YouTube and Facebook for weeks and I couldn’t wait to get the camera out!

Once we found Ocean Pond Campground and decided to stay there for 18 days, bad weather, flooding and tornadoes began to erupt in the Texas gulf coast area.

San Antonio, a place I’ve been dying to visit, was flooded.

Magnolia Beach had some significant tornado watches.

Much thanks, My Mighty Intuition!

So we opted to stay put.

Finally, we figured we would leave Florida and head up the Natchez Trace Parkway and go back through the mountains of Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia.

First, more tornadoes. Seemingly, all over Mississippi.

Second, black bears.

Traveling into Tornado Season Central is a no brainer: NO.

That being said, we’re not unfamiliar with camping in black bear country. We camp in Vermont often and our preferred Vermont campground is smack dab in the middle of Green Mountain bear territory. Bears frequent that particular park regularly and have on most of the nights we’ve been camping.

In a cabin.

Yes. We usually camp in a rustic cabin in Vermont- NOT a tent. We HAVE camped up north in tents, but we LOVE the cabin.

In fact, I miss the shit out of it. Even in balmy, gator and spider infested Florida, I’m thinking about Vermont


I’m fine with keeping food cleaned up, and putting the coolers in the truck overnight, in almost any campground, regardless of the level of bear action. No food is allowed in the tent, except on incredibly rare occasions where I monitor it like the Soup Nazi.

The kids, however…don’t seem to appreciate the importance of NOT doing things like

*dribbling half chewed scrambled eggs out of their mouths

*throwing containers of Ovaltine into the brush

*dropping their half eaten saltines on the ground because they’re babies just learning to eat.

*wearing the same ketchup covered shirt for days at a time, no matter how much of a fight it’s been to get them to change it

After some hearty research and investigating, we decided against that route. While visions of Shenandoah National Park danced like sugar plums in my head, we realized that we should wait until the kids were older or maybe had a hard sided trailer of some kind.

Black bears aren’t grizzly bears, for sure and I’m not even prepared to think about grizzlies right now. But don’t mistake it- a black bear can still eat you alive, just as easily as a grizzly can.

For now: the beach.

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