Sunday in Panama City Beach, FL

St Andrews State Park Beach Panama City Beach FL

Woke up to a beautiful morning and headed out to St Andrews State Park. This was where Harold and I spent our honeymoon 12 years ago. It was just a breathtaking as I remember.

The girls at St Andrews State Park Beach, Panama City Beach FL

The girls couldn’t wait to hit the beach and try out their new body boards. Stormy just took to the ocean like she had been swimming her entire life.

It wasn’t long before a thunderstorm worked itself up and we had to grab everything up and head up to the sheltered area to wait out the storm.

St Andrews State Park Panama City Beach FL thunderstorm

Before long it had passed and the sun was out and we were back in the water again. Even Harold rode the waves on his board.

Harold learning to Body Board at St Andrews State Park Beach, Panama City Beach FL

We all really enjoyed the sand and surf today. We headed back about 3:00pm to get ready for our evening Pirate Ship Cruise, but when we arrived home we learned that the entire street had lost power in the massive storm that had passed over us as we were out at the park. When I went to get my clothes I  discovered that a leak had sprung inside my closet and EVERYTHING was soaked!

The Sea Dragon

Oh well, thank goodness I had one outfit set aside so we finished getting ready and headed to the Marina.

Stormy ready for her Pirate Adventure

Stormy was so excited especially once we got there and she saw the Pirate Ship. Harold and I took this same cruise twelve years ago while on our honeymoon, it was such an experience.

Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise

From the second you board the ship the Captain and crew are all in character and rearing to go.

Stormy had a blast during the Pirate Cruise

They have constant activities to entertain the kids the entire two hour cruise, while the adults just sit back and enjoy. I think we enjoyed it just as much as the kids did.

We got to see a dolphin from the ship

The views from the ship were spectacular, we even got to see a dolphin.

The kids pulling up the pirate treasure from the ocean

As we near the end of the cruise the crew tells the kids a story about a pirate treasure buried in the harbor and we set out to hunt it down. Once we find it the kids get to help bring it aboard and they all get to share the  “booty” out of the treasure chest.

Sunset from the ship


As the kids enjoy their new treasures the Captain brings the ship around for us to view the sun setting over Panama City Beach.

A beautiful end to a wonderful day

It is so breathtaking.


What a beautiful end to a wonderful day.


For more information about the Pirate cruise you can visit their website here. I would recommend making reservations as their cruises fill up quickly.


Till next time, enjoy your journey,

Rachele T.



Saturday Fun in Panama City Beach Florida

Park Place RV Park, Panama City Beach FL

We finally arrived Friday evening and got all settled in. When we first pulled up to Park Place RV Park we had reserved I was a little scared! It didn’t look anything like the pictures online 🙁 It was quite ghetto. But it was cheap and we were tired.

The view from Park Place RV Park

A full week was only $200, which is almost half of any other RV Park in the area, plus being that our RV is 16 years old, most of the other parks here wouldn’t allow us to stay. So we made the best of it. It is very tightly spaced in here and anyone with a larger RV will not be able to fit here at all. We only have a 32′ bumper pull and we take up almost two spaces, but they only charged us for one, thank goodness.

The Cobra Go-Kart Track

So far everything has been good. Most are full-time residents here and all are really friendly and helpful, even a few from Texas, and one who’s family is from Longview. They do have facilities but you have to put a $5 deposit down to get a key for the restrooms. We use the showers, but not the toilets as there are no locks on the stall doors nor any toilet paper.

The girls having fun on the Cobra Go-Karts

The best benefit of this park is that it is right on Front Beach Rd, and within walking distance of the Ripley’s, Wonder Works, and about a dozen amusement parks, go-karts, and putt-putts. The Wal-mart is a five minute drive down one of the side roads and we are close by everything.

The girls had so much fun on the Cobra Go-karts!

Being that we were right across the street from Cobra Amusement Park the girls couldn’t wait to ride the golf carts. So Saturday morning after a restful nights sleep we made our way across the street to have some fun.

Stormy’s first solo go-kart ride

Next door to the Cobra Amusement park was another amusement center and Stormy got to ride their go-karts all by herself. She was a little leery at first while she was getting used to the pedals, but once she got the hang of it she was off and having a blast!

Holly & Stormy on the bumper boats

Next the girls had a blast on the bumber boats. It took Stormy a few minutes to figure out how to make hers go, but once she figured it out she was off chasing Holly across the water.

Beach Access 56 leads down to the pet-friendly beach.

After having some fun, we decided to explore some more of Panama City Beach and find the Pet Friendly beach.

We found it just past Pier Park Mall on the other side of the pier.

The family enjoying the beach.

Our first glimpse of the ocean! It was so beautiful. The sand is so soft and white, but I didn’t realize how hard it was to walk on the sand. Dad took Sugar down to the edge of the water to see how she would like it, and yep she did.

Holly getting to hold the bird at Pier Park Mall

It was wonderful to see her enjoying the waves. The girls couldn’t wait till we could go swimming. They played for a while in the surf.

Stormy getting to hold the bird at Pier Park Mall

Once we had enough of the beach for now we took Sugar back to the RV and got cleaned up and went back to Pier Park Mall. It’s like the Boardwalk in Shreveport, only better. There was a guy and his bird walking around letting kids pet and hold the bird. The girls got a kick out of holding the bird.

Stilt-walker at Margaritaville

For dinner we decided to go to Margaritaville. We were hoping to be able to watch the sunset, but we couldn’t see it from our table.

Holly at Margaritaville!

They had stilt-walkers doing balloon animals for the kids, that was really neat. But we were very disappointed in the food and service there. We will not waste our money there again.

Stormy at Margaritaville!

But overall today was an enjoyable day with the family.


Till next time, enjoy your journey,

Rachele T.

Sunset from the Margaritaville porch











Day 4 Finally on our way

Harold trying to repair the AC, again!

Woke up to a beautiful blue sky this morning and we were able to get on the road fairly early. But…. we didn’t get too far before the AC went out again. 🙁 We located an auto parts store on the way and Harold got what we needed to refuel and be on our way again. Unfortunately it didn’t last too long and went out again.

Heading down the Mississippi Hwy toward Florida!


I could really tell a difference in how the truck pulled with the new hitch. It was 100% better! Even on rough roads it didn’t jerk us around like it had before.

Mobile, AL

I’m just so thankful the Lord was watching over us and allowed us to catch the broken hitch before it broke running down the road.

We were so happy to cross from Mississippi into Alabama,heading toward Florida.

Going through the tunnel around Mobile, AL on Hwy 10 toward FL.


As we passed around Mobile, Alabama Stormy got such a big kick out of going through the tunnel….

Battleship Park in Mobile, AL

seeing the battleship….

and crossing the bridge on our way to Florida.

Florida met us with a nasty thunderstorm, but quickly passed. Stormy was so excited she couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it.

Panama City Beach, FL

After a few more thunderstorms we were finally in the home stretch! Just one more hour to go and as we turned on to Hwy 20 from 331 we heard this awful popping and cracking noise, almost like blackcat fireworks going off. We thought maybe we lost a tire, but when we were finally able to pull over a few miles later, it wasn’t a tire…. but the main belt in our truck engine was starting to shred. So we prayed and babied our truck the last 45 minutes to the RV park. We made it, thankfully, and got our trailer situated and made a beeline for the local O’Reilly’s store. Belt, sealant and more Freon for the AC in hand, we are set for the evening. A few repairs to the truck in the am and we will hopefully get to enjoy our week here.

Till next time,

Enjoy your adventure,

Rachele T.



Day 3 Just Chilllin’

We were next to a nice covered pavilion with a BBQ grill at Okatoma Resort & RV Park in Hattiesburg, MS.

Woke up this morning to a beautiful overcast sky and as I sipped my coffee I thought back over our trip so far and just had to laugh. Well, it was either laugh or cry so I chose to laugh. I took this down time to try to organize the trailer a little better. One thing I have learned is that bouncing down the road is a lot different than living in it stationary. I had stuff fly out of latched cabinets and found it at the other end of the trailer. Crazy! So I spent the morning doing laundry and cleaning.

Stormy playing pool at the clubhouse.

While I was trying to straighten up the girls decided to explore Okatoma. Holly took Stormy up to the pool house where they had a great snack bar and played ping pong. Then they made their way to the club house where I was able to join them and found Stormy playing a game of pool with a couple of girls she made fast friends with.

Inside Okatoma’s Clubhouse!

Someone had just finished baking homemade fresh bread and the clubhouse just smelt yummy. I loved the rustic charm and the rock fireplace was just beautiful.

Okatoma’s Pool

After a giggle filled game of pool Stormy went swimming in the parks pool with her new friends. At least till it started raining for the second time today.

Okatoma’s Snack Bar

But we enjoyed an ice cream from the snack bar and watched the storm pass under the cover of the pool house. The breeze was a really nice break from the humid afternoon heat. Once the rain passed Stormy discovered the sand by the pool and started getting her sand castle practice in.

Stormy’s first sand castle at Okatoma

After building sand castles Stormy and I explored a little bit around the lake. It sure is beautiful and so peaceful out here.

RV parking right on the lake

You can even bring your pools and go fishing. There are several RV spots that back right up to the lake. Even with the narrow roads there are several larger motor homes out here as there is plenty of room. There are lots of ducks and geese that wander all around the lake and park.

Lots of Ducks Everywhere!

I saw a mama duck and her little ones waddling past our camper. It was so cute. It was relaxing to watch them and enjoy the afternoon.

We finally got the call that our hitch had arrived so Harold drove into town to get it replaced and see if he could get some Freon to recharge the AC. A few hours later he called to tell me we were all fixed up! The hitch is on and he found a small leak in the AC system but he got it recharged for now and blows cold once again.

They even have a place for your four-legged traveler.

Sugar even had a good time this afternoon. They have a nice Doggie Playyard where Sugar could run off some of her extra energy. I think she had fun.

Sugar enjoyed the doggie park!

It rained most of the rest of the evening so I finished going through the trailer to get it ready to get back on the road tomorrow!


We definitely enjoyed our stay here at Okatoma.

Okatoma Cabins

Even if you don’t have an RV they also offer Cabin rentals and tent spaces.

We would recommend this park if you are looking for some real peace and quiet.

Some of Okatoma’s full-time residents.



Until next time….

Rachele T.

Safe travels and enjoy your own  journey!


Day 2 Another Delay

Our broken hitch

Wow this day was filled with quite an adventure! The roads thru Jackson were so awful it felt as though we were riding in a really bad boat on rough seas. We stopped for gas just past Collins, MS on Hwy 49 and as we were filling up my husband noticed that the trailer looked like it was riding a little low and when he looked a little further, low and behold one side of the trailer hitch under our pick-up had sheared one bolt and snapped the hitch itself and was just dangling under our truck. All the bouncing had actually broke our hitch! Thank goodness the gas station we were at had truck parking so we were able to park the truck and try to locate somewhere to get a new hitch and get it installed. Little to say I was a little more than frustrated. So far if it could have gone wrong it has. But I am extremely thankful we caught it before the other side gave way and caused our trailer to nose dive into the pavement behind us.

Camper City Hattiesburg, MS

We first stopped at one old boy’s place that builds trailers, Custom Trailers of Mississippi in Seminary along Hwy 49, but he didn’t have what we needed so he referred us to Camper City Truck Accessories in Hattiesburg a little further down Hwy 49, so we headed off again. Well after about thirty minutes of calling around Todd was able to find one hitch back in Jackson, but it would not be able to get here until tomorrow around noon and then he could put it on, but it was going to be later in the afternoon by the time we were done.

Sam’s Welding Hattiesburg, MS

It was so incredibly frustrating and I was ready to just pack up and go home, but we weren’t going anywhere at this point. So we were stuck here for at least another one to two days no matter what. But we knew we had to get our trailer out of the truck stop and find somewhere to put it for the night. The guy at Camper City referred us to Sam’s Welding and Fabrication Shopback up the road,  which happens to be about the only welder in the area, so that we could at least get the broke hitch patched up enough to tow the trailer to a local campground. So we head over to Sam’s shop and no one is there! Thankfully there were some numbers spray painted on the doors, so I called and spoke with Sam and he came back up and got us fixed up.

Sam fixing our truck hitch

I made a phone call and pushed our reservation in Panama City Beach till Friday, then I googled local RV parks and found one close by, Okatoma Resort & RV Park just off Hwy 49,  and between the truck stop in Collins where the trailer was and Hattiesburg where we need to be tomorrow, so I called and made a reservation for two nights and once we got back to our trailer we headed right out there. The lady I spoke with was really friendly and helpful and the daily fee was only $24.00 so it was a great deal.

Okatoma Resort and RV Park, Hattiesburg, MS

The park is a little off the beaten path and a few miles off Hwy 49. The road is narrow and windy on the way out to the park and once inside the park it was very narrow. But we were able to navigate fairly reasonably. The road in the park is mud and gravel and it had just rained quite heavily, and from the looks of it they really needed the rain, but it made the roads muddy. There are no concrete pads in the spaces; you park right on the grass and muddy gravel so it is quite a soupy mess. But it is very quiet and peaceful out here.

Stormy getting to hold a duck at Okatoma Resort & RV Park Hattiesburg, MS

There are several stocked ponds you can fish at and they have a nice pool and clubhouse. There are also showers and a laundry area available. They also rent cabins and have tent spaces for rent. At seven each evening kids can bring bread and crackers to feed the ducks. Stormy got to hold a two day old baby duck at this time and was just thrilled. We will be here till Friday morning if everything goes as planned tomorrow.

Today was definitely a rough day and we really considered just getting the repairs and going home, but we just never knows what lies ahead. Maybe something else will go wrong, or maybe we will have just an awesome time. You never know, but we opted to continue our journey and see what happens.

Till next time,

Enjoy your adventure…..

Rachele & family


Day 2 Vicksburg, MS

Welcome to Mississippi

After such an eventful first day I awoke this morning after only four hours of sleep with a renewed hope of things getting better and an overcast sky. Well that didn’t last long. I was preparing to head up to the office to make our payment for the night and my wallet was NOT in my purse!

I started to feel very sick and my mind raced as I tried to think of where it could be! Did I leave it in one of the bathrooms we stopped at? Oh heavens I sure hope not.

Ameristar RV Park, Vicksburg, MS

I started frantically looking through our trailer then on to our truck. Just as I thought I was going to cry…. There it was! It had fallen down into the back seat and up under the seat. Whew! Total meltdown and crisis averted! Yeah!

Ameristar RV Park Vicksburg, MS

Now about our stop for the night, I found them online using Google maps’ “search near here” option. There were only two parks listed in the area and the first was almost $70 per night. The second is run by one of the local Casinos and offered a daily rate of only $22.50. I wasn’t sure what it would look like for that rate, but for just a quick stop-over it would work.

I have to say I was impressed. It is an older park and some of the pads are a little uneven, but overall were nice. There were quite a few spaces with enough room for larger RV’s and easy to get in and out of as all spots are pull-thrus. The facilities were nice and the showers were small, but were clean.

Even the pets have a neat spot all their own!

They even have a swimming pool and free morning coffee, and the staff was extremely helpful and friendly. The one thing I noticed was how quiet and peaceful the park was. They even had a nice area for our Sugar. And the rate was a flat $22.50 including tax with no extra charges or add-ons. This will definitely be a future stop when we need a one night stay again and I would recommend it.

Ameristar RV Park in Vicksburg, MS



If you would like more information on the AMERISTAR CASINO HOTEL VICKSBURG RV PARK you can visit their website here.


Mississippi Bridge

It wasn’t long once we started out for it to start raining again. I can only hope we don’t have rain our entire trip. It sure didn’t help matters much either that I-20 from Vicksburg through Jackson and 49 to Hattiesburg are worse than Louisiana! Well, we are going to enjoy our day as much as we can as we make our way to Panama City Beach, FL.

The Tycksens ~ Rachele, Holly, Stormy, Sugar, and Harold!

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Day 1 – Finally on our way… Well Almost!

Brakes fixed and ready to go!
It was hot out there. My husband wrapping things up after fixing the brakes.

My hubby finally got the seals all swapped out and everything greased and brakes put back together so we could head out. It was about 8:40 pm when we finally left Kilgore. Brakes were working and we were hoping to arrive in Vicksburg, MS about 1 am. I was able to call and confirm our late arrival, and I’m so glad we did.

Even our dog, Sugar is ready to go!

We made it almost to Waskom when we got hit by one heck of a storm. Wow! It was really coming down, hard and fast. We could barely make out the road in front of us and it slowed us down to a mere 25 mph on the interstate. So we exited off the next exit which took us around to Hwy 80 to bring us up to a truck parking area just off the Interstate, but when we arrived the lot was a small lake. We decided to stay on 80 coming into Waskom to try and find somewhere to pull over, but everything was flooded or we couldn’t get into it.

Girls are ready to go!

So we continued to crawl along at about 20 mph until we suddenly hit a low lying area flooded from the massive amounts of fast falling rain that we couldn’t see was flooded because of the sheets of water masking the road in front of us. All of a sudden a giant wave completely engulfed us. We couldn’t see anything at all and could feel the truck tires sliding off the road. My heart leaped into my throat, we could see nothing at all and could only hope and pray we weren’t heading straight off the road and try not to panic and scare our daughters any more than they already were. Finally we emerged from the wall of water and caught a glimpse of the road again. That had to be the longest minute I have experienced in a long time! My husband was able to keep control of everything, get back on the road, and keep us going. Unfortunately we hit two more low lying areas, thankfully not as bad as the first, before we were finally able to find a place to pull over and wait out the rest of the storm. After about an hour we were able to resume our journey.

We could definitely tell when we passed into Louisiana! My goodness, the roads were awful. Our trailer about beat us to death from bouncing up and down on the roads. I think Holly and I got a bit of motion sickness. Fortunately we came out of all the rain and finally arrived in Vicksburg, MS at 3:30am to get some much needed rest. But, that had to wait! Once we got the trailer hooked up to the power and got the girls in bed we had to pull all of our bedding and take it up to be dried. Evidently in the downpour earlier water snuck its way into our bedroom and soaked all our bedding. Lovely! So we took advantage of the situation and were able to freshen up a bit, finally getting to bed about 4:30am.


Day 1 – A Bump in the Road

Well it’s fitting that the first vacation we have gotten to take in a long time starts off a little rough. When we pulled out from our campground here in Kilgore we drove to our storage facility to park our RV for a few hours to run some last minute errands. Well on the way over one of the brakes on the RV overheated. So my poor hubby has been sweating in this Texas heat all afternoon trying to get it fixed so we can get on the road. To be on the safe side I confirmed with our planned stop for this evening and we will be able to arrive late without a problem. So we can still get on our way. Hopefully soon. 🙂