Hannibal, Missouri

Mark Twain Cave Campground – site F5

Tuesday morning we pulled out of the Branson KOA at 8:59 am and headed northeast-ish…roughly 280 miles and landed at the Twain Mark Cave and Campground where we stayed for two nights.

The campground was fairly empty which meant ‘quiet’…which was really nice.  We didn’t bother setting up the satellite dish, which was hard for Michael but it takes time to do and we really don’t get a chance to watch much TV these days.

Enroute to Hannibal we made a stop at Kelly’s Kitchen (church parking lot) where we enjoyed a working lunch (yummy salads!) from our recliners.  Got some emails taken care of, ordered some tires and crunched some numbers for one of our dealers.

Wednesday we got out and did a little venturing.  We made a quick stop at Walmart for some supplies (DEF being high on the list) and grabbed a late lunch at Jet’s Palace.

Jet’s was good.  I always base my first impression off of the hot & sour soup and theirs was very good.  They’re bbq pork fried rice was tasty.  Crab rangoon was very good.  Michael’s sweet & sour chicken came with vegetables (carrots, green pepper and onion) and pineapple so he was a happy camper.  I tried the Singapore Style Fried Rice (Vermicelli with shrimp, beef, chicken, egg, BBQ pork and vegetables sautéed in yellow curry sauce) and it was pretty tasty.  I asked for mild heat and they obliged.  The only thing I didn’t really care for were their egg rolls…they were more of a spring roll and the filling was kind blah.

The white building is where Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) spent his growing up years.

However, the real reason to venture out was to visit the Boyhood Home of Mark Twain, who was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens.  His family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, which sits on the banks of the Mississippi River, when he was four.  Hannibal was the inspiration for the little town in his books, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

Captain Michael at the helm of his own steamboat – see the Mighty Mississip in the background?

For our $12 admission fee we received entrance to the museum, Interpretive Center, Huck Finn House, Becky Thatcher House, J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office and Mark Twain’s boyhood home.

An original Norman Rockwell – depicting Tom ‘persuading’ his friends to white wash the fence.

We wandered around the grounds for several hours, checking out the various displays and exhibits.  The museum had 8 original Norman Rockwell pieces of art that depicted various scenes from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – which I thought was pretty interesting.  The museum had several hands on activities as well as several videos to view.  There were even places where you could stop and listen to snippets of works.  Pretty cool.

Lovers Leap…is for Lovers!

On our way home we stopped at ‘Lovers Leap’ which is a tiny little park that sits atop a bluff that overlooks the Mississippi River.  What a gorgeous view of the river and of Hannibal itself.  There were several barges on the river but they didn’t seem to be moving and there was one little tugboat (Scuffy!) floating up river.  Definitely a place to stop if you’re ever in Hannibal.

 

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Branson, Missouri!

A pretty drive…

Wednesday we hit the road again…this time northeast toward Branson, Missouri…for another rally…the Heartland South Central Regional rally.

We had quite a haul…380 miles…a lot for us.  After a long day of driving, we pulled into the Choctaw KOA in Durant, Oklahoma about 5:15 pm or so.  We got checked in, pulled into our site but didn’t unhitch, level or anything.  We just called the shuttle to pick us up and take us directly to the casino for dinner.

We went for the buffet…which wasn’t the greatest…but it filled our tummies.  We had originally thought we might try a luck in the casino a bit but since it was later than we’d planned we skipped it and just hopped back on the shuttle and went home to do some work and go to bed.

Thursday was another fairly long driving day…just shy of 350 miles and we were on the road about 7:15 am.  We made a stop at Kelly’s Kitchen about noon and after relaxing for about an hour we were back on the road.

We pulled into the Branson KOA about 3:30 pm.  We got checked in quickly and led to our site where we unhitched and then made a beeline to the rally hall where a Meet & Greet was in progress….or actually just ending as we walked in.  We were greeted by a room full of applause which was awesome!  LOL

Branson KOA – site 175

We hung around for a while and visited and then went back home to finish getting the coach settled in place for our stay.  We decided not to put up the satellite dish as we don’t have much time to watch TV these days and we already have quite a bit on the DVR.

Jay and Stella joined us for dinner at Mel’s Hard Luck Diner.  We’d all been there before but it was a good place to go back to.  The servers are ‘singing servers’…periodically one of the servers will belt out a tune while roaming through the diner.

Jay and Stella both had burgers while Michael and I both had fish and chips.  We enjoyed catching up with a couple of our favorite people.  We knew that once the rally really got going we wouldn’t have much of a chance to visit with them so we were glad we got the opportunity to share a meal with them.

Friday was super duper busy for us with work…which is pretty unusual on a Friday.  We started working about 7:30 am or so and worked for about an hour or so before we headed over to the rally hall for breakfast.  The KOA provides free pancakes and the for a minimal charge you can get biscuits, gravy and sausage.

We visited for about an hour and then headed back home and worked until about 5:00 pm without coming up for much air in between.  I worked mostly on the computer while Michael worked on the computer, answered a few phone calls and also answered questions of several of the rally goers here.

Stella getting the goodies ready

About 5:30 we headed over to the rally hall for a potluck dinner.  I helped Stella get the offerings settled and sorted on the table and Michael talked with several folks who had questions regarding disc brakes.

Michael’s a ‘happy camper’!

There were lots of door prizes of which everyone got at least one something (cordless drill & flash light for us).  Plus, when all the door prizes had been handed out all of the names were put back in the pot and names were drawn for two big prizes.  Amazingly enough, our name was drawn for a water filtration system!  Michael was quite happy as he’d been talking about purchasing a new system for the new coach (if we get one).  Perhaps that was a sign??!

The Traveling Sombrero hand off!

Michael and I were also very honored to hand off the Heartland traveling sombrero!  It had been lovingly handed off to us last fall at our very first rally as chapter leaders from our friends, Andy and Joanna, Louisiana chapter leaders.  While it was fun to receive, we just don’t have the room to store it.  Don & Vicky, chapter leaders from New Mexico, who just had their first rally, are now the proud owners.

Getting down and dirty to get axle tag pics!

Saturday was on the quieter side and we were able to somewhat catch up on our work so that we could go on a short walkabout mid-morning.  We chatted a bit and Michael took a couple of axles pics for people who are interested in purchasing brakes.  (We request pictures of all axles tags so that we are sure to have all of the information we need to provide the correct kit)

Showboat Branson Belle

That afternoon the entire rally crew drove over to Table Rock Lake and boarded the Branson Belle for a dinner/show cruise.  Wow! What an experience.  While the club paid for everyone’s tickets Michael and I would go back in a heartbeat!

Delish!

The food was good, entertainment was excellent, view was beautiful.  We were fed chicken, roast beef, sugar snap peas and garlic mashed potatoes along with a salad and lemon raspberry ice cream cake.

Michael and several other Veterans obliged a woman onboard with a picture.

We had a small taste of the entertainment to come while we enjoyed our dinner and then had about 45 minutes or

so after dinner to roam the boat and check out the views.

Just one of many awesome numbers performed on stage.

The show consisted of comedy, magic, singing and dancing.  The music ranged from show tunes (awesome!) to Elvis and Journey.  A whole lot of talent on that stage.  One of the female singers, Kelsie Watts, was a participant (making the top 24) on American Idol a few years ago and was really impressive.  She has no business working on a showboat…she should be making real money!

My husband the STAR!

At one point Michael was called up on stage to assist the Emcee/Comedian/Magician along with another woman.  I’m pretty sure that Michael missed his calling.  He had us all in stitches…even the Emcee!  The man’s only job was to play ‘ba dump bump’ on the drum when the Emcee finished a joke…but he pretty much stole the show.  He ended up knocking the cymbal off and then even knocked a chime on to the floor.  Thankfully, one of our group (of 70) recorded the entire thing.  Not sure if this will work or not..but click HERE to watch the video.

Sunday was Mother’s Day and also the day that a good portion of the rally-goers left the park.  We had breakfast in the rally hall again and sat with Corbin and Flora and then later on Jason and Audra joined us.  After closing the place down we headed on home but not before stopping and chatting with a group who were waving to rally-goers as they departed.

Always nice to meet new installers and get to know them.

We met a potential install for lunch at Pasghetti’s on ‘the strip’.  Johnny did some installs for the old owner and is ready to get back in the saddle.  We had a really nice lunch and got a good feel for him and look forward to getting him some work.  He and his wife and six kids (!) are full time RVers so they’ll be traveling much of the time.

As for the meal…really good.  I had pasta carbonara…sooo good.  Michael order the Italian grilled chicken breast which he really enjoyed.  Not sure where I got the recommendation to try the place…but glad I did.

The entire cast…

After lunch, Michael and I made our way to Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater for the 3:00 pm performance of Legends in Concert.  ‘Performers’ included Martina McBride, Elvis, the Four Tops, the Blues Brothers and Johnny Cash.

Donuts and the Blues Brothers!

Once again…an excellent show!  A lot of talent was on that stage.  During Elvis’ performance of ‘Teddy Bear’ he tossed a stuffed Teddy Bear at me (which I later gave to a young girl) and the Blues Brothers gave Michael and I each donuts from Hurts Donut!  Talk about luck being on our side!

We were back home about 5:30 pm and had PTB work to do and a little ‘move prep’ to do as we were hitting the road again the following morning.  Heading north to see all of our babies…making a stop in Hannibal, Missouri, the birthplace of Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens).

 

 

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Kerrville, Texas – Open Range Rally

Saturday, May 5th was another travel day for us (we’re only just gettin’ started!).  We traveled roughly 270 miles from Houston to Kerrville, Texas to attend (as vendors) the Texas Open Range rally which was being held at Buckhorn Lake RV Resort.

Great spot for anyone to find us if they had questions

We arrived about 4:00 pm and shortly after getting unhitched we were greeted by the rally coordinator, Curtis, and a couple of other gentleman.  The were very kind and friendly and we chatted for some time before we took the time to get the coach leveled and set up.

We were located in the perfect site for visibility…right in the middle of the rally-goers, where everybody pretty much had to pass by us to go anywhere.  We didn’t have any installs scheduled for the rally-goers…but we did have an ‘outsider’ at the park that was scheduled and we invited the rally attendees to stop by to see the install done and to ask questions.

Tasty!

After getting settled in we walked over to the outdoor patio where the park was providing $1 Margarita’s in honor of Cinco De Mayo.  I don’t think I ever had one but it was pretty darn good!  Good thing we got there when we did because I think they ran out about 3 or 4 more people after we got ours.  We hung out for a short while and chatted with a few other people from the park before heading back home so that Michael could finish putting up the satellite dish and I could get our tacos ready for dinner!

Lordy be…that’s a lotta ‘love’ going on!

While driving to Kerrville from Houston we were swarmed by ‘love bugs’ and our front cap, windshield and truck grill were covered with the little varmints.  Michael cleaned our windshield half way through the drive and then cleaned the front cap on Sunday.  Those little bugs make a BIG mess and it takes quite a bit of elbow grease to get all of their remains off.

Rally on!

The Open Range rally officially started on Sunday so we walked across the road to the leaders site to introduce ourselves to the group and let them get to know us.  We handed out brochures and our cards and invited them to stop by the install that was going on Monday morning to see what the job entails and to ask any questions.

The men folk checking out the work in progress.

Michael put on a small presentation on Monday morning and had several interested parties who then went over to where Preston & Jeremy were doing the install.  The install took a couple of hours longer than normal as they had quite a few questions from people interested in learning more about disc brakes.

Smile for the camera, Jeremy!

I made a quick run into Kerrville to pick up a few groceries for the upcoming week.  I made sure to stock up on our favorite Opa’s and HEB cheddar hot dogs.  Plus I stopped at the Donut Palace and stocked up on jalapeno and cheese kolaches!  We found out the last time that we bought them that they freeze really well so we are set for a little while….not until we get back to Texas…but for a little while nonetheless.

I had the ‘boys’ over for dinner when then finished up…nothing fancy…just burgers and dogs.  But it was nice to spend some time with them and get to know Jeremy a little bit better.

Tuesday we were up early and on the road before 7:00 am heading to San Antonio as we had a couple of appointments to take care of…the first of which was the dentist.  Michael had broken part of a crown and it was kind of jagged.  The dentist just ground it down some and smoothed it out and we were on our way about 15 minutes after he went into the chair!

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Not me…but shows what is done to dilate the tear ducts

Next up was an appointment for me at the eye doctor on Fort Sam.  I have a lot of issues with my eyes watering excessively and this is the first doctor that has actually addressed the issue.  It seems my tear ducts are much smaller than normal which causes the tearing issue.  When I last saw her she numbed my eyes and then took an instrument and ‘dilated’ or enlarged the openings to my bottom tear ducts.  It was like a miracle…no tearing afterward…for about two weeks.  She wasn’t sure how long it would last…but it was great while it did.

Anyway…I went back so that she could do it again.  This time she dilated both the top and bottom ducts (punctum) in both eyes.  She’s talking that next time she’d like to ‘flush’ the tear ducts out with water…yikes…not sure how I feel about that!

It was lunch time by the time we finished our appointments and we felt it only fitting to get some BBQ as it was our last day in Texas until late October.  We tried a new place, Big Bib BBQ, which had decent reviews on Yelp.

Michael, as usual, ordered lean brisket, we both ordered ribs and I decided to try some rib tips, which I’d never had before.  For sides we both got cole slaw…Michael got pinto beans and I had sweet potato casserole.  We both enjoyed our meals…no need for bbq sauce for me as the meat had very good flavor on its own.  Michael tried a couple of their sauce but wasn’t thrilled with any of them.  The sweet potato casserole was really tasty.  I’m pretty sure we’d go back…especially since it’s close to Fort Sam and to one of the movie theaters we frequent.

Surprise! We got you, Andrew!

We stopped at our mailbox to pick up our mail and visit our favorite mailman, Andrew on the way home.  We didn’t let him know we were coming by (although he knew we were in Kerrville) and we were able to surprise him pretty well when we walked in…WIN!

Back home we were met by one of the rally-goers who is interested in purchasing a disc brake kit at some point.  He just had some major dental work done so it will be a little while before he’s able to work it into his budget…but we have his information for when he is ready.

Then it was time to get things packed up and stowed and ready to move.  We’ll be heading out early in the morning heading toward Branson, Missouri where we’ll be attending the South Central Regional Rally of the Heartland Owners Club.  We’ll just drive part of the way to Durant, Oklahoma where we’ll overnight at the casino there.  Who knows…maybe we’ll even try our luck!

 

 

 

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Houston…We Had No Problem

Monday 4/30

After stopping to say good-bye to Andy (Joanna was at work) we pulled out of the RV park just a few minutes after 10:00 am.  We made just one pit stop on the way to Houston before reaching South Main RV Park about 1:00 pm.

South Main RV Park – Site 41 (right across from the office…so they could ‘keep an eye on us’)

Why stay in the middle of Houston?  Our friends, Ed and Dora, are managing the park and we wanted to visit them for a few days!

We got settled in quickly.  Michael took some time to wash the front cap as it was covered with ‘love bugs’ and we even grilled steak for dinner and sat at the dining table to enjoy it!  Sitting at the dinner table is a rarity these days as it has been turned into Michael’s office (I work from my recliner).

Tuesday 5/1

Just a regular work day for the most part.  Although we were delivered a couple of May baskets from one of the assistant managers!  I’d never received a May basket before so it was a nice surprise.

We had such a good time with this group…only two of whom we knew before this outing.

That evening we joined up with Ed & Dora and three other couples to try a restaurant I’d noted in my travel notes, House of Pies.  I don’t remember where I’d heard about it (Travel Channel, maybe?)  Anyway, the reviews were glowing something like 4.5 stars with 1650ish reviews.

It’s more of a diner than anything so when a party of 10 came in they had to sit us in two booths, back to back.  No biggie…however, our orders were taken separately as they wouldn’t let the waitress turn in two tables at once.  Strange.

Patty melt for your food porn pleasure…

While we had a great time…I haven’t laughed quite so much in quite some time…the overall experience with the restaurant itself could have been better.  One person in our party order a bowl of soup and onion rings for his dinner and never received his soup.  Another person’s Philly Cheese steak was so full of gristle, she couldn’t eat it.  Dora’s breakfast turned her stomach so badly it didn’t stop turning until the following day.  Michael ordered chicken fried steak which was an obvious frozen formed patty.  However, the rest of us were satisfied with our meals.

We got a good couple of laughs out of being charged for soda refills (but not iced tea, hot tea or coffee) and the fact that one of our group was charged 5 cents for his ‘to go’ container (pie), while the rest of us weren’t charged for our ‘to go’ containers (pie, also).

Wednesday 5/2

Michael ‘in’ storage heaven…plus there’s another one up front!

We took the day to drive up to Navasota (about 60 miles northwest-ish) to visit T&S RVs.  The reason for our visit was three-fold.  We discussed PTB business (they do installs for us), discussed the Heartland rally we’re having this November (they’re sponsoring the rally) and Michael wanted to checkout the newest Landmark floor plan, the Lafayette.

We spent over an hour checking out the Lafayette – really digging into the ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ and things we’d like to see changed.  It has a front living room and a raised bedroom – meaning steps going up to both rooms…which for some is a big draw back…for us, it doesn’t really bother us.

Told you…we spent a LOT of time checking it out…even took a nap!

However, with both of those rooms being raised up it provides mores storage space below in the ‘basement’ area…which Michael is really looking for as we have things that we need to carry now for the PTB business that we just don’t have room for in the conventional basement of the typical 5er.

So…overall we both really liked the floor plan but would like to see some tweaks done to make it perfect for us.  The unit at T&S is the very first so we know Heartland will be doing some fine tuning…and we will wait and see what they come up with.

So thankful to Jay and Stella for introducing us to these two!

When we left Navasota, we headed an hour east to The Woodlands to visit with our friends, Ted and Donna.  We met Ted and Donna back in early 2013 through Jay and Stella while we were all down in the Rio Grande Valley and have kept in touch over the years…visiting whenever we are in the same area.

They invited us to their beautiful home and we accepted.  We chatted at the house for a while before we decided we’d better get moving if we wanted to miss the biggest part of the rush hour traffic and eat dinner at an appropriate hour.

That’s just on HALF of the salad bar…it’s repeated on the other side.

I’d requested to go to Sweet Tomatoes as remembered from reading Donna’s blog that they had one not too far from their home.  Michael and I had been to one several years back and enjoyed it and were eager to go back.

If you’ve never been…it’s a huge salad bar (oodles and oodles of toppings!) plus they have a soup bar, pasta bar, bread bar and a dessert bar).  Everything is fresh and delicious.  I just wish there were more of them across the US as they are hard to come by.  There is another chain (Souper Salad – but they don’t really compare).

We enjoyed our time with Ted and Donna, as we always do, and are hoping to meet up with them in the Shipshewana area again this summer.

Thursday 5/3

CRAZY busy with work…everyone wanted product yesterday!  Our shelves are running low as Dexter’s lead time (used to be about 10 days) has almost doubled (now about 19 days) so we’re having a hard time keeping kits in stock and keeping our customers happy.  We just do our best to explain the reason we can’t ship their kit orders right away…but it’s frustrating.

What a great time we had with this group. Will miss them for sure!

That evening we met with ‘the’ group again for dinner.  What’s really nice is that we all pile into the park’s shuttle and let Ed cart us around through the crazy Houston traffic!

This time we went to a Japanese Hibachi restaurant.  Six of the ten of us had never been to one so it was a fun time.  Our ‘chef’ was much better this time than the last time we’d been to one so that was a plus too.  Once again, we had a really good time, filled with lots of laughter.

We are certainly thankful to Dora for introducing us to this great group of people and thanks to the wonders of Facebook will be able to keep up with them that way…if not down the road somewhere.

Friday 5/4

We wanted to do at least ONE sight-seeing thing while in the Houston area so we planned to go to the Johnson Space Center on Friday as it’s normally fairly quiet on Friday’s for us…and it proved to be, once again.

Mission Control as seen from the viewing room

We paid $31 each (with military discount) for entrance to the Space Center and were actually pretty disappointed.  We’ve seen better rocket displays and as many or more artifacts at other places we’ve been.

Life in the International Space Station

The first thing we did was take a 90 minute tram tour through the campus, stopping at a couple of buildings and the rocket park along the way.  The volume on the tram was so low we couldn’t hear anything the tour guide was saying which stunk.

The first building we stopped in was the Historic Mission Control from the 1960s, which is undergoing restoration.  The guide there was pretty interesting and gave us the details about the room were sitting in (the viewing room) which was invitation only and the only people who had an open invitation were the family members of the astronauts.

Michael touching a piece of a moonstone

After our tram tour we grabbed a late lunch and the explored the remainder of the Space Center – checking out displays of artifacts, boarding the shuttle carrier and shuttle replica in Independence Plaza, etc.

All in all it wasn’t a bad experience…but with all of the other places we’ve been too it was way too much cost for what it was worth.

We were back home about 6:00 pm.  We finished up some work and did some prep-work for the mornings departure and then called it a day.

Next…onto Kerrville, Texas for an Open Range Rally.

 

 

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A Week of Memories

We left Stone Mountain about 10:00 am on Sunday and landed in Montgomery, Alabama a little over three hours later.

Capitol City RV Park – site 15a

We’d come full circle!  We started full-timing on April 27th 2011, at the Capitol City RV Park while Michael finished out his Army career.  We lived at the park for about 16 months before we hit the road.  While we lived there we were in site 2 and this time we were placed in site 15A, which is a new part of the park that was constructed just after we left.  It was pretty cool that the owners remembered us after having been gone for almost 6 years.

We stopped in Montgomery for two reasons.  1.  To visit one of Michael’s ex-coworkers from his 3-year stint at the Reserve Center in Montgomery.  2.  To visit with my good friend who used to run the ceramics ship at Maxwell Air Force Base.

Irish Bred Pub

Sunday afternoon we met DJ and his wife, Sharon, at the Irish Bred Pub in downtown.  DJ and Sharon hope to, one day, full-time as well…but they still have one child left at home (senior this year) and want t wait until he is out of the house and has started college.

Was nice catching up after six years…

We had a really nice visit – discussing RVing, some of our favorite places we’ve visited over the years and their time together with the 426th Engineers.

Michael and I split two meals (fish & chips and Shepherd’s Pie) and really enjoyed both of them.  It had been a while since we’d had either and they hit the spot.  The restaurant was closing early as they said the weather was supposed to get worse (it had been raining).  They stayed open just for us and once we were done eating they started putting chairs up on the tables so we took that as our cue to leave.

We are blessed to know this sweet lady

Monday afternoon we met my old ceramics mentor for a late lunch.  Lucy managed the ceramics shop on Maxwell Air Force Base for many years until it was shut down due to budget cuts a few years ago.  I spent a lot of time at the shop during the three years we were in Montgomery and really enjoyed myself.  I also got to know Lucy quite well.  She is one of the sweetest people I know.  At 82 years old she is still working…but now at the gym on Maxwell, where she works the front desk.  She has more energy than Michael and I combined!

We met at Martha’s Place which is new since we moved away but Lucy said it was one of her favorite places….so that’s where we went.  The little stinker paid for our meals before we even arrived!  We had such a good time visiting with Lucy and it was hard to part ways when the time came as Lucy kept having to get ‘just one more hug’ from each of us.  Lucy has a very strong southern accent and it can be very hard to follow what she’s saying at times…especially when she gets excited (which she was during our visit!) so by the time we went our separate ways…I was exhausted from having to concentrate on what she was saying!

Nestled into Steve & Nonna’s beautiful yard

Tuesday was a travel day.  We traveled roughly 215 miles to Moss Point, Mississippi to our friend Steve & Nonna’s home.  They were gracious enough to allow us to park in the yard for a couple of days while we visited.  It had been nearly 6 years since we last were together so we had a LOT Of catching up to do!

Steve made a delicious chicken stew for dinner (I contributed some nice, warm biscuits) and we visited around the table until shortly after 8:00 when we retired to our HOME (that’s for you, Steve!) for the night.  Michael did some work on a project he has going for PTB and I did nothing but relax (and write this blurb!)

Jefferson Davis’ ‘hearse’

On Wednesday Steve and Nonna took us into Biloxi to visit Beauvoir (the last home of Jefferson Davis).  The home is on the gulf and has beautiful views of the water.  Currently it has a busy road between it and the water but I’m sure that when Davis lived in it there was nothing between it and the gulf.

There is a small museum and Presidential library on the grounds that we wandered through first.  This was the first Presidential library Michael and I had been in and it was kinda disappointing…very very small.  The museum was very small as well and didn’t really have much to grab my attention.

We toured the home with about 20 other people or so.  The house was damaged during Katrina but has been renovated to look as it did before the hurricane.  Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the home, the property and Jefferson Davis, himself….but…she was very ‘wooden’ (Steve’s words) making listening to her very painful.  We’ve definitely been on better tours and had better guides.  Oh well.

Deliciousness on a plate!

Afterward we stopped a the Country Gentleman in Gautier for an early dinner.  We were hankering for some seafood being so close to the gulf.  Steve and Nonna recommended this place because they had a great deal on a seafood platter for two.  It did NOT disappoint!  We shared a platter laden with fish, shrimp, crab claws, oysters, stuffed crab, hush puppies and fries.

While we’d never had oysters before we gave them a try and decided we didn’t need to ever try them again…just not our thing.  For me, I think it’s more of texture thing as well as my head said ‘no, no, no’.  I wasn’t a big fan of the stuffed crab but Michael gobbled his up.  Everything else was delicious and for $27.99…you can’t beat the price!

We enjoyed just ‘chillin’

We had such a nice time with Steve and Nonna…such gracious hosts with a beautiful home and yard.  We absolutely love it there.  Steve recently retired and they are planning on hitting the road very soon to visit family and see and do things they weren’t able to do while Steve was working crazy hours at the shipyard.  We’re so excited for them!

Tight…but….

Thursday we up and moved 200ish miles west to Breaux Bridge, Louisiana where we settled into a site at Poche’s RV Park.  Our site was a bit on the tight side, but Michael backed in like a champ.  Our living room window overlooked a large pond that I hoped will produce some alligators!  LOL  (no such luck!)

…We loved the view

We spent three nights at Poche’s…most of that time was spent relaxing.  However, on Friday we drove about 40 miles south to Avery Island, home of the Tabasco Factory.  This place had been on my wish list for quite a while and I was happy we finally made it!

The barrels are topped with salt which aids in sealing the barrel after fermentation

The tour is self-guided so we took our time wandering through the museum and grounds where we were able to check out a mini greenhouse with a few pepper plants and the storage facility, which stores hundreds of barrels filled with pepper mash.  We also went into the blending building which is filled with the aroma of peppers and vinegar…prompting some coughing from some people while it didn’t appear to bother others.

Lots of different products I had NO idea existed!

After checking everything out we went back to the general store to purchase a couple of t-shirts as well as a couple of bottle of the garlic Tabasco sauce.  They offer samples of their sauces as well as a couple of other products they offer (pickles, okra, green beans, ice cream, etc – all made with pepper sauce, of course!).  About the time that we got into the store, two bus loads of kids arrived making it hard to get around in the store so we got our things and fled.

Here’s a LINK to a pretty interesting article about Avery Island.

Before heading back home we stopped for an early dinner at Bon Creole in New Iberia.  A small, nondescript place with excellent reviews they serve a few different plate lunches, po’ boys and gumbo.  Michael and I decided to split a shrimp po’boy (shoulda got a half and split that!) and each ordered a cup of chicken and sausage gumbo.

A nice day topped off with an excellent meal.

The food was outstanding!  The po’ boy was stuffed to overflowing with shrimp and the bread was really yummy.  While the po’ boy was really good…the gumbo stole the show for me.  It came with a small cup of rice and a small cup of potato salad, neither of which we knew.  However, we’d been told, a few years back, by one of our oil field guys, that you must have potato salad with gumbo.  What an excellent addition…not a lot…just a little.  Like the po’ boy…we were stuffed and couldn’t even finish our po’ boy.

We took a scenic drive home and when we arrived home we pulled up a couple of chairs and enjoyed sitting in the ‘back yard’ along the pond…just relaxing and enjoying the breeze.

Before we knew it was Sunday and time for us to hit the road again….but just a short drive of 88 miles…this time to visit, Andy & Joanna, our Heartland family!  We were originally going to attend their rally (they’re the Louisiana Chapter Leaders) this past March but we had to change our plans and cancel.  We had really been looking forward to seeing them so when we knew we’d be traveling through their area we made plans to stop at their park (they’re fulltimers too) for a quick overnight visit.

Nice pull through spot where we didn’t have to disconnect

We got settled into site 18 at Whispering Meadow RV Park and then walked down to Andy and Joanna’s place to visit for a while before heading out for an early dinner.  They took us t Pat’s of Henderson, which turned out to be an excellent choice.

A little on the blurry side…but here we are!

We both chose menu items we’d never had before – Michael went with red snapper and a cup of crawfish bisque and I ordered a crab dinner (crab gumbo, crab etoufee, crab stuffed green pepper, crab boulette (kind of a deep-fried crab meat stuffing ball) and soft shell crab).  We both really enjoyed our choices although I had a really tough time with my soft shell crab…it took me quite a while to finally try it as you eat the shell and all and while it actually tasted really good I couldn’t get past crunching on the shell.  I absolutely LOVED the crab etoufee…rich and creamy and full of crab…oh yes.

Might not look the best…but it was delicious…and so much I couldn’t finish it all

Andy got a crawfish etoufee dish and let me try it…pretty darn good!  Joanna ordered fried alligator insisted that we try it….good thing we did….it was really good!  Tasted ‘just like chicken’!  We had a really enjoyable time chatting as we enjoyed our meals.

Back at the park, we sat outside our place continuing our conversations until it started getting a bit late and time for Andy and Joanna needed to get their daily run in before it go much later.  We said our goodbyes and exchanged hugs as they had work in the morning.

We’ve had an absolutely wonderful week being able to spend time with friends along our journey back toward Texas and now we look forward to five days in Houston…with more friends.  We are SO blessed!

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Seven Years of Fulltiming!

We moved into our coach on April 27, 2011 – the day of the Tuscaloosa, AL tornadoes.  We were in Montgomery, AL and had tornado swirling all around us…it was a bit of a nerve-wracking first night!
Capitol City RV Park in Montgomery was our home for approximately 16 months while Michael finished out his career with the US Army (having served a total of 29 years, 9 months and some odd days).
We hit the road for parts known and unknown:  August 10, 2012
A few fun facts
Began with a 2010 Ford F350
Purchased a Ford F450 December 2016
Miles on F350:  Not known
Miles on F450:  40,500
Miles on Coach:  40,017.5
Year with most mileage:  2013 – 8970 miles
Year with the least mileage:  2011 – 3223 miles
Number of states visited: 41
States we have not yet visited:   Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii (not happening!), Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Favorite Places & Happenings
  Michael’s favs
    – Visiting the grandbabies
    –  Corpus Christi, Texas
    – Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington
    – Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
    – Southern Utah (Cedar Breaks, Zion & Bryce Canyon)
  Kelly’s favs
    – Grand Canyon
    – Barney’s Toilet Lid Museum – San Antonio, Texas
    – Bryce Canyon, Utah
– Spam Museum – Austin, Minnesota
    – Visiting family & friends
Workamping jobs
Osceola National Forest – Florida
  –  October 1, 2013 to January 1, 2013
  – Administrative Assistant, Ocean Pond Campground
  – Kelly worked approximately 20 hours per week
Anderson Cove Campground – Utah
  – May 27, 2016 – September 13, 2016
  – Campground Hosts
  – Michael managed a loop in the campground and maintained the boat ramp parking lot.
Gate Guarding
We took our first gate guarding job on January 13, 2013
Last day we worked a gate – March 19, 2017
We gate guarded from roughly October/November to April/May in 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17.
Number of ‘gates’ we worked on:  19
Number of different oil companies we worked with:  8
We have had endless opportunities to visit family and friends that we wouldn’t otherwise have had.  We visited:
Michael’s niece – Rockford, IL
My cousins – northern WI
Michael’s Aunt, Uncle & cousin – Canton, TX
My cousin – Lafayette, IN
My siblings – Milwaukee & Rhinelander, WI
My nieces & nephew – Rhinelander, WI
Michael’s brothers – Glenwood/Pearcy, AR
My niece, Wichita, Kansas
My cousins – Milwaukee/Germantown, WI
Michael’s school friends – Glenwood, AR
My school friends – Milwaukee, WI
Michael’s former co-workers – Wausau, WI, Indianapolis, IN, Montgomery, AL
My ceramics mentor – Montgomery, AL
Old and new RVing friends across the country
We have loved everything about our full-timing lifestyle over the last seven years and have no plans to stop anytime soon.  Now that we are traveling for work with Performance Trailer Braking our traveling will increase hugely and we’ll see if we still enjoy traveling!  LOL
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Stone Mountain, Georgia

Jerry surprised me (and Mike) with a quick visit!

Wow!  What a whirlwind five days!  But I REALLY enjoyed our stay at Stone Mountain.  Though we didn’t get to spend quite as much time socializing as we might have liked…we were able to spend time with some of our favorite people and that’s what counts!

Have I ever told you how much I love these folks??

We took a walk around the park on Wednesday and stopped to visit with several friends (Patti, Steve, Walter, Gerry, Debbie, etc) along the way as well as welcome a few who were just arriving (Eric, Dorothy, Phil & Pam) and making their way to their sites.  John, our installer, was doing an install so we stopped there to check things out too.  We even had an OLD Alabama friend stop by to say ‘Hi’ (Jerry).

Very dinner with one of our very first Heartland family members

That evening, we went to dinner with Jim B who flew in for the rally.  We decided to go to Nagano Japanese Steakhouse.  While it was the dinner hour there weren’t any other customers when we first arrived but a few more arrived while we were there.  The ‘show’ was one of the worst I’ve seen but it didn’t really matter as we were pretty busy chatting and not paying much anyway.  The food was good and we had a really nice visit with Jim – discussing both business and pleasure.

There’s my Mikey – educating folks about disc brakes!

Thursday Michael had a disc brake seminar to present at 9:00 am.  I went with him and sat in the back of the room and set up my laptop and did some work while Michael ‘presented’.  He did a great job and was able to answer any questions that came his way.

We had sold two kits prior to the rally and they were installed at the rally.  We sold an additional four kits at the rally – two of which were DIYs and the other two are installs that John will be doing next week.  Not bad.

After Michael’s presentation I went to the grocery store to pick up supplies and he stayed for the other presentations.  Once back home, I made some Instant Pot potato salad for the next days pot luck and worked…it was a really busy day, work-wise!

Fun & Easy! My kind of craft!

Friday was my day to ‘enjoy’ myself.  I attended a craft class in the morning and had an awesome time.  We made a ‘Quilt Magic’ square – no sewing involved…my kind of craft!  I was very happy with how it turned out and bought four more kits so that Kelsea, Amanda, Paityn and I can have a ‘girls’ craft day next month when we are home for a few days.

Mikey snapped a few pictures during my demo

That afternoon I did an Instant Pot demonstration that attracted over 40 attendees!  I shared some tips and recipes and was asked some good questions.  We had three IPs going and made an easy Penne & Meatball recipe.  I wanted to make sure we had plenty of samples and ended up with a ton left over….Michael and I may be eating leftovers for a couple of weeks!  LOL  It was fun and I’ll have to come up with some new recipes to share if I’m asked to do another demo.

While I played my day away…it was Michael’s turn to hold down the work fort.  He fielded calls, emails and set up his air gauge tester for anyone who wanted to check out their air gauge.  He even sold a few air gauges to people who wanted to go with a recalibratible tester.

Ridiculously full plate of potluck food

That evening was the customary potluck dinner and as usual, there was a TON of offerings (what do you expect with a hundred or so rigs in attendance?)  The club provided pulled pork and the members brought sides and desserts – baked beans, cole slaw, three bean salad, chili, cole slaw, macaroni salad, green beans, veggies, pies, cakes, ice cream, cookies, brownies….yikes!

We had our share and then some.  After dinner were the drawings…50/50, door prizes, silent auction winners, etc etc.  Michael bid on a pair of Snap Pads but was outbid, we didn’t win the Cheap Heat or the free install but that’s ok…as we enjoyed visiting with our table mates (Miranda’s, LaJoie’s, Watt’s and McKee’s).

Michael walking atop Stone Mountain!

Since Saturday is usually fairly quiet for us, we set it aside as the day to tour Stone Mountain Park.  We received a ‘All Attraction Pass with our rally registration, which was awesome.  We used it to take the sky-ride up to the top of the mountain where we walked around for a bit (people actually walked up to the top too!).

Atlanta – as seen from atop Stone Mountain

When we were ready to head back down it was too windy so we waited about 20 minutes or so before the wind calmed down enough to but the gondola’s back to work.

The wait wasn’t bad at all as we visited with the people in line with us…a couple of Heartland couples and a couple of women that were visiting the area from the Massachusetts area.  It always helps if you make new friends to wile away the time!

Cute little ‘town’ where shows are put on for the train passengers in the summer

Our pass also got us a ride on the train which was about 25 minutes long and took us around the base of the mountain.  It was an enjoyable ride and welcomed as by the time we took the ride our legs were starting to get pretty tired.

Madison County, here I come!

We took a drive to see the covered bridge but found no parking so we just drove through, stopped for a brief picture and then went on.  This was my first covered bridge so I was kind of excited to see it…but it was not to be…guess I’ll just have to make my way to ‘Madison County’!

Wish I’d been able to see it better!

In the same area, was a grist mill…we had a hard time finding it and when we finally did, once again, no parking.  So Michael pulled over to the side of the road and I hopped out and took a couple of pictures.  Although, I didn’t have the best view and they didn’t turn out the best.

An example of the granite that was quarried from Stone Mountain

Granite was quarried out of Stone Mountain for many years finally ending in 1978.  Granite from Stone Mountain can be found all over the world…the steps of the US Capitol, the dry docks of the Panama Canal, tombstones all around the country as well as many post office across the country.

A replica of the stars on General Lee’s collar give you an idea of just how HUGE this carving is!

We wandered through the museum at Stone Mountain which gives details about the sculpture and the men who carved it.  There is a movie offering at this location, too, which goes over the sculpting process and another that highlights parts of he civil war in this area.  Once, again, a welcomed stop as we were able to rest our weary feet.

Can’t beat the backdrop for our evening meal!

That evening we met up with all of our Heartland family at the terrace (same location at the museum) where we were crammed like sardines at long tables (once you were seated, you weren’t getting out!  LOL) We were served pulled pork, fried chicken, baked beans and potato salad for dinner and then given ice cream for dessert.

Heartland made it into the laser show!

After dinner we waited for the laser show (shown on the face of the BIG ROCK) to begin…it didn’t start until 9:00 (we were tired by then!) but they needed it to be dark to fully enjoy the show.  We’d been giving LED bracelets that flashed when turned on so there was a lot of fun to be had.  We were also given popcorn to enjoy during the show.

The show itself was pretty awesome…fun and entertaining.  Lots of patriotism shown and quite a few people who sung along to the various songs.  I’d certainly recommend staying to watch the show or even making a special trip if in the area (even if your really tired! )

The sculpture lit up, waiting for the laser show to begin

We got home about 10:30 and headed straight for bed as we were tired (have I mentioned how tired we were??) and were pulling out in the morning…headed to Montgomery, Alabama for a couple of days.

We have several travel days coming up so rather than make a post for each individual travel day I will most likely make one post to cover several travel days and the happenings of those stays.  We are headed back to Texas!

 

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Travel Day: Scottsboro, AL to Stone Mountain, GA

Up early this morning to do any work that may have come in over night.  My inbox had nothing new so I had time to relax, do a little Facebook catch up, check my personal email and slowly greet the day.

We only had the electric plugged in so Michael’s ‘move day’ prep was nearly non-existent.  And we didn’t have much pulled out inside so we just had a few things to stow inside and the bed to make.

We got hitched up and ready to pull out of our hosts driveway and then went inside to visit with Nita (Wayne was already at work – boo!) for a little while before we hit the road.

We hit the road about 10:15 and made our way to Alabama 40 and then a series of other state highways until we eventually hit US 75 which took us into Atlanta.  Rather than going straight to the campground we made our way to the nearest Blue Beacon to get a good wash done on both the truck and the coach.

It was a beautiful drive up and over the mountain and into Georgia…I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures to share.  We made one quick stop at a convenience, store in the middle of nowhere, to use the facilities and then once on I-75 we stopped at a TA and got some lunch…Taco Bell for me…Popeyes for Michael.

We hit Atlanta around 3:00 pm and made our way to the Blue Beacon on the west side of the city.  We normally have a minimum of 30 minutes of waiting in line but this time I don’t think we even waited 10 minutes and we were inside and getting the truck and coach cleaned up.  We came out the other side nice and shiny and ready to rally.

Atlanta!

We made our way through Atlanta rush hour traffic (which really wasn’t too bad) and arrived at the Stone Mountain Campground about 5:00 pm.  Before we went in to register we were greeted by Julie and Byrd who were just ‘hanging around’….it was so nice to see Heartland family right off the bat.

Stone Mountain Park Campground – site 140

We got registered and made our way to our site (right at the end of a row across from the pavilion).  Took us a little bit to get backed in as Michael had to deal with power poles and parked car – but we did it without killing each other or yelling (too loudly).

Unfortunately, we had quite a bit of work to do so we hunkered down in the house to play catch up.  While we were working, our installer, John, stopped by to touch base as he’s here to do a few installs.  I visited with he and Michael for a while until they went outside to continue chatting.  I stayed inside and continued my work.  We are both caught up and pretty much ready to rally!  Woohoo!

We are here at the Stone Mountain Campground for five nights.  We are here to attend the Southeast Regional Rally of the Heartland Owners Club…both for work…and for pleasure!  Looking forward to hugs from friends we don’t get to see very often!

 

 

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A Whirlwind of Heartland Family Visits

Looks like Wisconsin!

Our main supplier for disc brake parts has a plant in Winchester, Tennessee which is about 60 miles northeast of Huntsville so we couldn’t resist taking a drive to meet some of the people we work with via email/phone on a daily basis.

It was a pretty drive with lots of green, trees, farms which made the hour and a quarter trip enjoyable.  It reminded me a lot of the Wisconsin countryside.  Before I knew it we arrived at our destination.

Colby, Jackie, Cindy, Tami

We were able to sit down and chat with Colby and Tami who we work pretty closely with.  Colby and Lon receive our purchase orders and process them and answer any questions we might have.  Tami deals mostly with warranty issues and customers who aren’t as happy as they should be.  Unfortunately, Lon left early and we weren’t able to meet him.  We also met Cindy, the Customer Service lead, as well as Jackie who is in sales.

We asked several questions which they were kind enough to give us understandable answers.  We learned a lot we didn’t know and confirmed things we thought we knew.  We visited about 45 minutes or so but finally let them all get back to work.
Before leaving town stopped at Wal-Mart for DEF and a few odds and ends before heading back to Huntsville.  Winchester is just a small town of about 8500 people but it seemed to have most everything you’d need.  A little fun fact we learned while driving down one of the main streets – Dinah Shore Boulevard.  Yep…that’s right.  Dinah Shore was born in Winchester back in 1916.

Glad there wasn’t a real issue after all

On our way back home, we came upon a line of traffic backed up on the highway with a jack-knifed truck in the middle of the road.  It didn’t look like there was any damage to the truck or an accident.  I wondered if we’d be delayed very long but it only took a few minutes before he ended up backing up and going forward since the turn he was trying to makes was too tight.  Crisis averted!

We were back home shortly after 4:00 pm – giving us a chance to do some catching up on emails – thankfully Friday’s aren’t normally too busy – before we were out the door and headed to meet friend for dinner at 6:00 pm.

Huge place…and super busy!

I’d received a message, earlier in the day, from our old Heartland friends Wyndy and Pat checking to see if we’d have time to get together.  We LOVE those kind of messages!  We made plans to meet at Rosie’s Cantina for dinner.

We absolutely LOVE getting together with friends and family while we travel

We met Wyndy and Pat at a Heartland rally in Gulf Shores back in 2012 (read about it HERE) and have crossed paths a couple of times since.  Back in July 2015 they popped up at the same campground we were at in Elkhart, Indiana!  (read about it HERE)  Sadly, Wyndy and Pat are no longer Heartland owners but that doesn’t make us love them any less!

We had a really great visit – discussing travel, neighboring pets that come for dinner, their recent wedding, our grandkids, RVing, etc etc etc.  As usual our meal last over two hours but those two hours went fast!  To top it all off the food was excellent.  Michael surprised the heck out of me when he ordered a spinach enchilada.  Years ago he’d turn his nose up at most vegetables and couldn’t have cared less if they were on his plate or not.  Now he almost expects there to be some sort of vegetable on his plate.   He’s come a long way, baby!

U.S.A. – says it all!

On our way back home we passed by the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, which we visited back in 2012 (and I visited when I was about 13 or so).  I had to take a couple of pictures as it’s lit up so pretty at night and I wanted to share with those of you that may not have ever visited.  If you haven’t, you should.

We were back home about 8:30 pm and while I went inside to do a few things, Michael battened down the hatches outside (put chairs, tubs, etc away) in preparation of storms that were due to arrive early Saturday morning.  The storms were supposed to start about 5:00 am but when I got up at 8:00 am nothing was going on.  However, about five minutes after I got up it started to sprinkle.
It started to sprinkle a bit ever now and again around 9:00 am.  And then it rained intermittently all day but no torrential down pours but at some points the rain came down pretty hard.  It rained all night and was still raining when we woke up Sunday morning.

Bob & Barb

Saturday evening we were blessed to be invited to our friend Bob & Barb’s home for dinner.  Bob and Barb are also former Heartland Owners who we met for the very first time in the fall of 2011 at our very first rally ever in Mississippi.  We were all members of the AlaMissibamassippi Chapter and will forever hold those first rally memories close to our hearts.

  Bob and Barb are originally from he New Jersey area and Bob loves to play the Mafia card.  When we first met, his favorite saying was “I’ll break your legs”.  He’s a great story-teller and you can never be too sure where his stories will take you.
Barb prepared a delicious dinner of pork tenderloin, potato casserole and salad and then strawberry shortcake to top it off.  We visited for several hours, enjoyed the highlights of their new home and also toured their new Mobile Suites RV….it sure has us thinking.  The Mobile Suites are just gorgeous with out of the park options/standards and the quality is awesome.
We finally had to say our goodbyes and make our way back home (in the rain).  We got back home around 9:30 and we immediately went about doing some move day prep inside the coach.  Not much to be done but whatever we did was that much less we had to do in the morning.  It wasn’t long and we were turning the light off and letting the sound of the rain lull us to sleep.
Sunday morning we had a rather leisurely morning.  We had chores to do to prepare to pull out but it was still raining when we got up at 7:30 am.  So we did a little work, had breakfast and relaxed hoping that the rain would finally stop as taking down the satellite, stowing the hoses etc is not the funnest just to do in the rain.

Comfortably parked in site 2

We pulled out of the Redstone Arsenal campground around 11:00 am and made our way to I-565 which turned into US 72 and followed it to our friends, Wayne and Anita’s home in Scottsboro.  Wayne and Anita graciously invited us to park in their very spacious driveway alongside their Bighorn for a few days so that we could spend some time together.

After a quick stop for a burger we arrived at Wayne and Nita’s about 1:00 pm.  Nita had given us excellent directions (even how to get turned around so we could easily back into their driveway, right along side their Bighorn.  We got set up quickly (nothing to do really) and we were in the house visiting with Wayne and Nita.

Anita, Wayne & Mikey

Nita made a delicious dinner of pot roast, potatoes, cole slaw, green beans and macaroni & cheese.  She even made dessert….times two!…Butterfinger cake (delicious) and a lemon bundt cake (too full to try).

After dinner, Grandbaby number three, Cameron, turned five on Monday so we got together via video chat to watch him open the presents we’d sent and then were back in the ‘big’ house with Wayne and Nita playing Mexican Train.  We played for a couple of hours, giving everyone a chance to win at least one round and then called it a night.

Delicious egg ‘muffins’ with meat, cheese, hash browns, etc

Anita, being the most excellent hostess that she is, prepared breakfast for us Monday morning.  Unfortunately, Wayne had to work and was missed but we really enjoyed breakfast and visiting with Anita.  She tried out a couple of new recipes on out us and both were excellent….one of which I plan to fix myself.

After breakfast Michael and I went home for a few hours to do some work – answer emails, make phone calls etc.

Kindles, Nooks, tablets…you name it

Early afternoon Anita took us to ‘Unclaimed Baggage’.  Home to all that baggage that gets lost at the airports.  You wouldn’t believe the things you find!  Lots of clothes (of course), golf clubs, oodles and oodles of electronics (phones, tablets, laptops, video game systems), purses, housewares (pots & pans!), sporting goods (bowling balls, wake boards), jewelry (costume & the real thing!), toiletries, etc etc etc.  My favorite thing was rocks!  You know all those rocks and sea shells that people take home with them.

Lots and Lots of jewelry

It was really interesting and we spent several hours roaming the place as it’s huge!  We took home a case for my sunglasses, a case for Michael’s satellite finder, a portfolio for my paperwork and a brand new bathroom scale.

Wayne and Anita out did themselves for dinner.  Wayne grilled steaks (ribeyes for he and I and t-bones for Michael and Nita) on his Traeger.  Oh my gosh…best steak I’ve had in ages.  Nita made baked potatoes, salad and sugar snap peas to accompany the steaks.  Everything was out of this world yummy.

LOVE this silly woman to death!

Anita gifted us with some awesome stainless steel straws to go with our insulated cups.  I never knew what I was missing out on…wow…they’re awesome.  That metal straw gets your drink to your mouth COLD.  We’ll be buying some more for backups.

We spent the remainder of the night just visiting.  We had the best visit and have made promises to do it again as soon as we can.  Maybe we’ll even get them to come out to Texas for our November rally…we’ll cross our fingers and say a few prayers that the stars align just right and then can make the trek.
Tomorrow we continue our journey west to our final westward destination.  Sadly, we have to leave Wayne and Nita behind.
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Travel Day: West Memphis, AR To Redstone Arsenal, AL

Good morning, Sunshine!

We had planned to pull out of Tom Sawyer’s Mississippi River RV Park about 9:00 am but didn’t end up pulling out onto the main road until 9:45ish.  We were pretty much packed up and ready to go but Michael was creating some estimates for a couple of customers and wanted to get them done before we hit the road.

Good bye tug boats, I’ll miss you!

While we were getting ready to leave I took a couple of minutes to get a couple of last minute pictures of the river view and was happy to see that there was another barge headed up river.  I don’t know what it is, but watching those boats glide up and down the river is mesmerizing.  We’re not particularly impressed with the park itself…for us the only draw is the view of the river boats.

Hello Tennessee!

We got through Memphis fine…however it was a bit busier than I would have expected and, of course, we got a phone call right in the heart of the mess so we answered and asked if we could call back in a few minutes when we were out of all of the hubbub.

The Camo Cafe as seen from out parking spot…on the highway!

No Kelly’s Kitchen today…we ended up stopping at the Camo Cafe, just west of Walnut, MS, which was right alongside US 72 that we were traveling on.  We nearly missed it so we just pulled off on to the should right passed it and walked over to the cafe.  Easy peasy.

Michael ordered a bacon cheeseburger and fries but wasn’t real happy with it…it was on the dry side and the bun wasn’t toasted.  I, on the other hand, enjoyed my chef salad very much.  Nah nah!

I’ve gone back to bringing my laptop in the truck when we travel so that I can answer emails, create POs/invoices while we drive.  Boy…the last few miles of US 72 in Mississippi were rough!  The road was so rough that my cursor had a mind of its own and hopped all over the place…and then I’d have a heck of a time trying to find it my place again.  So…if you find any goofy stuff in this post…it’s because of that highway…that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Thank goodness we always have a bathroom nearby!

About 30 miles from our destination we both had to make a ‘pit’ stop so with not much around we saw a small parking lot off the highway to pull into but when we got to the driveway it was pretty eroded and we just kept going down the small road to look for a place to turn around…not an easy thing with a 41 foot giant behind you.

However, we happened upon a small business that had a circle-like drive and not many cars in it…perfect!  We even had plenty of room to space to park for a couple of minutes while we used the house facilities!

Redstone Arsenal Campground – site 16

We arrived at the Redstone Arsenal Campground (Huntsville, AL) about 3:30 and after a bit of confusion got settled into site 16,  a nice large pull through site.  Looks like a good portion of the residents are long termers.  We’re here for 3 nights before we just a few miles east to visit friends, Anita & Wayne.

We were here back in July of 2012 for 5 nights in site 9 while we did some sight-seeing around the Huntsville area.  Michael was nearing retirement (October 1) and we were trying to visit all of the places we wanted to visit before we moved away from Alabama.  Oh…for those that may not know…we lived in Montgomery, Alabama from October 2009 to October 2012 while Michael was finishing out his Army career.

Since we’re not here very long we didn’t unpack much so set up didn’t take long at all.  We had some leftovers in the fridge that I warmed up for dinner and we had work to catch up on after traveling…so that’s pretty much how we finished out the day.

 

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