Saturday, February 7, 2009 Okatibbee Lake in Mississippi???

Ok here is how this adventure got started. As usual, I was talking to Matt Thursday at work (I’m sure it was during a scheduled work break) and he was telling me how great the weather was going to be this weekend. That’s all it took, my little pea brain

started working...hmmm what about a motorcycle camping trip? I asked around the office and my buddy Ann came up with the idea of me going to Orange Beach, Alabama

for an overnight trip; so it was set Orange Beach, Alabama it is. (I took off Friday) Well it was the plan until I woke up Friday morning and started looking at Google maps, then my plans changed as they almost always do. Ha-ha. I saw a lake just north of Meridian. It is called Okatibbee Lake.

There are several campgrounds located around it, so I ended up picking Twiltiey Branch Campground as my destination which is right on the lake. So around 11:00a.m., I was packed up and ready to ride.

Mom and dad came over to wish me well on my adventure and snapped a few photos of me and my beloved bike.

Just down the road I stopped and topped off my gas tank. I kept up with all of my fill ups and trip expenses on my IPHONE (the world greatest phone).

I decided to take Hwy 11 all the way to Meridian where I would get on Hwy. 19 NORTH until I turned off at the lake. Once in Meridian, I decided to go to Chunky River Harley-Davidson

and checkout some bikes. When I pulled into the parking lot, there was another Japanese bike parked also loaded with gear,

so I parked mine beside it an went inside to look around. They have a HUGE selection of bikes; new and used...I have got to get me one of them! Maybe next year...sniff...Sniff. I guess it is a little soon to be trading mine in, it is a 2008 model. Ha-ha. So I left there filled up again and headed down Hwy. 19 south... that’s right I said SOUTH, wrong way,

it only took me about 15 miles to figure it out. Then once again I used my IPHONE’S GPS to get me back on the right track. Just a few miles later I made my first turn off Hwy. 19 and just followed the signs to the campground

(around 5 are 6 miles once you turn off the hwy).
It is a gated campground so you have to pass by a guard shack;

this is where you pay to camp or use the boat launch. I pulled my bike up to the drive-in window...this is where I first met Don; here is how the conversation went. ME: Hello, is there tent camping here? DON: yep. ME: Are there any spots available? DON: yep. ME: do I need to backup and park and come inside and fill out paper work? DON: yep. So I push my bike back a few feet to park in a parking space. While this is happening, a dog starts barking next door at a house. So I get off the bike and walk in the door passing Don walking out towards my bike as I walk to the front desk that has a little lady sitting behind it motioning me over. When I get to the door the lady asked me “how did you get that dog to stay on the bike?”

ME: WHAT??? As I look back I see Don walking around my bike looking for a dog stashed away somewhere in my gear. He comes walking back in saying there is no dog on that bike. So I tell them the dog was next door, they laugh, I fill out the paper work and pay 12 dollars for the night. Don picked spot 54 for me, due to it was close to the restroom; but told me I could take my pick since I was the only one in the primitive side of the park. Once I drove down this long, long road

I came to the camp sites, this place was huge...and yep Don was right, I was alone all alone...well so I,dm,dmmmm. I got unpacked and my tent set up,

then decided to go to Wal-Mart I had passed along the way in, but wanted to get back to camp before dark...I had to hurry, it was a little after 4:00pm now.

I got to Wal-Mart

bought a couple of bottles of water a can of Pringles chips.

Ok I got to mention this; as I walked down the longggg row of freezers (you know the kind with glass doors so you can see all the frozen foods)

well I noticed they were all dark (no lights on) as I walked down the aisle the light behind each door began to light up, they had some kind motion sensors that turned them on. I have to admit it became a game to me as I ran up and down the aisle watching the lights turn on and off, this reminded me of the famous scene from the movie Big as Tom Hanks played on the giant piano keys.

THANK GOD I WAS FROM OUT OF TOWN AND NO ONE KNEW ME THERE. I got to get out more. Ha-ha. Next stop was Quiznos sub shop

for a sub for the road, then back to camp I went, made it back just before dark. Dinner time

ate then took a long walk around the park snapping photos.


Just me trying to be a photographer. HA-HA (below)

Restrooms and the bath house

I almost walked to far and barely made it back to camp before dark.

Scary-EEEE. Time for bed or should I say time for sleeping bag, I checked my Facebook account and my email on my IPHONE before drifting off to sleep. This is where BIGFOOT...

Yeti, Sasquatch, Skunk Ape 0r whatever you want to call a giant ape man hiding in the woods waiting, terrorizing campers as they sleep. Well here is my story; I was sound a sleep and was awakened around 2:30a.m. to the sound of something slamming what sounded like two big sticks together over and over again. It sounded like it was coming from the edge of the woods about a hundred yards from my tent.

Hmmmm, this went on for about thirty minutes (I heard from watching the TV show Monster Quest

this was one of the first sign's before Bigfoot’s attacks followed by a strong smell of what has been described as a skunk smell.

Then followed by large rocks being thrown at the tents or cabins by the monster). Then the noise stopped and I drifted back to sleep only to be awakened again to a different kind of call of nature. One problem the bathroom was about 50 yards away in the to the WOODS!!!

So I manned up

and made what now seemed like a two mile journey. IN THE DARK!!! As soon as I stepped out of the tent, I got hit with this smell, I’m not kidding it smelled just like was almost over powering, this made the walk (almost a run now) even longer. So I did my business and then trotted back to the I not getting out again till morning. Back to sleep again only to awaken AGAIN at 3:30a.m. to the sounds of the two sticks hitting together again this time a little closer... I have to admit the words “OH SHIT!!” Came to mind. Then just like that the clicking stopped...I thought this was a good thing...WRONG!!! Then the clicking did stop but it turned into a very loud Howl

a howl like I have never heard before, the only good thing about it was the howl was moving away from my tent at a rapid rate. Then the sound faded into the distance and once again I went to sleep only to awaken on my own this time around 8:00 a.m. I got up munched on a few chips and went to the edge of the woods to investigate the’s a lot easier to be brave when you know at least you can see what is going to jump out and bite your head off. After looking around in the woods

a while I gave up my investigation, no foot prints or hair that I could find. Its one of those things I just have to wonder about the rest of my life. Or maybe just maybe, I’ve watched too much Monster Quest...

the world and I will never know.

Time to pack.

As I was rolling up my sleeping bag and sleeping pad, Don drove up as he was making his morning rounds. I walked over to tell him I was leaving and we began to talk. Come to find out we had a lot in common. He rides motorcycles too and had just bought a new Harley. Don is a small man and getting on in years so I was surprised to find out he drove to Sturgis last year for the big motorcycle rally. This is around 4,000 miles roundtrip; and he was at the same rally I went to last year in Panama City Beach.

He told me he was retired military and his wife and himself traveled from park to park working as rangers...their next stop was YellowStone National Park

around the beginning of the summer. Well we said goodbye and Don jumped back into his truck...just then I thought about taking a photo so I ran back to my tent grabbed my camera and took this shot as he was driving away.

I hope I make it back to the campground in time to talk to Don again before he is gone, he is a good man.

Well I got packed up and

headed out of camp down the long road again

and back to Interstate 59 this time, filled up for the third time and was on my way home. I got behind a car on Interstate 59 and started doing a little drafting around 80 mph all the way home. What a great adventure, and a pleasure to meet a man named Don.


Kellye, Chad, Hayden, and Sebastian said... was Chad. He has this thing about stalking people and banging sticks together outside of their tents while they slumber. He especially gets a kick out of rather tall guys being scared stiff. I'll talk to him about it though. It's due time we visit the therapist again.

Lynette said...

Oh, shoot. I thought you were going to say something like Don told you all about the legend of the noisy sticks or something! Gosh!

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twheat said...

Good Lord, Big Al - That is so funny. Just to let you know you were like 5 minutes from my house while camping.

BCD71 said...

I somehow randomly found this but I am from that area and have camped there many of times. As for Bigfoot? I am not sure one would be in that area. You were alone there but usually there are several campers daily. The area may look country but its growing more dense in population. However I have heard stories of "Skunk Apes" being around Okatibbee, but nothing recent. So maybe it was something? Anyways neat to read a story about something I grew up with.

States I’ve traveled to over the years

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