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.
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.
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.
We had two days of going nowhere and doing nothing which was much welcomed. Michael got a few small projects done which was awesome.
The first of which was to replace the electrical box on the hitch as the old one got smushed, a bit, during the whole debacle at Michael’s brothers home a couple of weeks ago. The project only took him about 1/2 an hour or so and gave him a chance to putter…which is good…keeps him out of my hair.
A good match!
He also stained the dining room chair leg that our son, Zack, sent us to replace the one that broke back in January when Michael was standing on it. Don’t worry – he didn’t get hurt but it rendered the chair unusable. We sent the broken leg to Zack and he used it as a template to create a new one
for us….he’s pretty handy to have around!
And if that was enough puttering for Michael – he even had a chance to clean out and reorganize one of his toolboxes! I’m pretty sure that Michael is now in ‘Putzers Heaven’…at least for the time being.
I took the opportunity to make some Monster Cookies since I had the ingredients on hand and have had for quite some time…just haven’t been able to find the time to get them made. This is one of our favorite cookies and makes a great dessert. The recipe makes a ton too!
Hard to tell but there’s a Big tugboat and the little one here…
We took several opportunities to enjoy the tug boat parade. Even got to witness a little bitty tug boat come to the rescue of a big tug boat who was having trouble getting up river against the current.
…much easier to see the two tug boats in this picture.
The little tug boat came from up river, turned around and then joined the big tug boat in its efforts to make it up river. It was amazing how much help it provided as the barge moved a lot quicker once the little barge was there to help. I couldn’t help but think of my childhood book, Scuffy the Tugboat as I watched the little guy! 🙂
Movie theater right in among homes!
Wednesday we went to see ‘Ready Player One‘ at the Studio on the Square in Memphis. The theater was unique as it was located on a residential street and we actually missed it the first time going by. Very different. The movie, itself, we both enjoyed…it was ‘fun’ with a GREAT soundtrack to boot!
After the movie we headed south to Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken for an early dinner. Michael gets a hankerin’ for fried chicken every now and again so I’m always looking for places that have good fried chicken. Uncle Lou’s came up and since we’d already been to Gus’ (also here in Memphis) we chose to try it.
Michael’s homestyle chicken
Uncle Lou’s was featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives a few years back but it was kind of a disappointment to us. I got the ‘mild spice’ and Michael got ‘homestyle’. I’d forgotten that they’re ‘spice’ was actually just a liquid that the fried chicken is dipped into just before serving, while the homestyle is the same fried chicken but not dipped into a sauce.
My ‘mild’ chicken
The chicken wasn’t bad…but was over cooked in places to the point of being dried out. Michael’s was cooked so much that it was almost burnt. Meh. We now know we don’t need to go back. We still prefer Willa Mae’s Scotch House and Gus’ to this place. Oh well…you win some, you lose some.
We got home about 5:30 pm and after several quiet days of work it seemed that someone opened the flood gates as we had emails, missed calls, texts and phone calls to deal with. Yikes…that’s the thing about this business…we just really never know what to expect!
We’re still in the learning process with our new positions with PTB…sometimes we feel like we work all the time…morning…noon and night. We have to learn a balance. We want to make sure that we enjoy our travels while still get our work accomplished.
With that in mind we probably won’t be doing as much site-seeing as we once did but will concentrate on experiencing the ‘top’ sites in the areas we visit.
We’ve been to Memphis before and have visited a lot of different places (click HERE to go to one such visit) so this visit we just have one spot on our agenda. We also spent our honeymoon here in Memphis…seeing Graceland and the zoo.
Preparing to tour the Rock & Soul Museum
Today we visited the ‘Rock and Soul Museum‘ in downtown Memphis. An affiliate of the Smithsonian, this museum, tells the story of a music genre whose history dates back to the 1930s sharecroppers and eventually broke the barriers between white and black music and brought whites and blacks together to create some of the best music around.
An audio tour at our own pace…we like!
The $12 tour is an audio tour that has over 300 minutes of information that you can choose to listen to all of, some of or none of. Along the way there are several juke boxes from different eras that list different songs you can choose to listen to on your headset.
One of several juke boxes that provided great music to listen to
We listened to the music of many of the greats…Elvis, Isaac Hayes, BB King, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc…be-bopping to the music as we viewed the exhibits. The exhibits are numbered and you can type the number into your audio device to listen to the narrative about that particular display. Unfortunately, many of the numbers were more like play ‘hide and seek’….which was pretty frustrating. You could listen to them in numerical order or skip around as much as you like. I guess we’re kinda anal as we preferred to take them in numerical order.
The original lyrics to Elvis’ Heartbreak Hotel
There were displays of musical instruments, clothing, recording equipment, etc…most of which were pretty interesting. The very last room was entirely dedicated to the movie career of Elvis but there wasn’t a narrative on our headsets about it at all…which was a bit disappointing.
We spent just about an hour at the museum which was much less time than we normally spend at such a place…not sure why…the museum was interesting but in my opinion not really noteworthy…nothing really ‘grabbed’ me other than the ability to pick and choose songs to listen to.
Central BBQ – downtown location
After our museum visit it was time for some good old Memphis BBQ. We chose Central BBQ as it’s one of Memphis’ legendary BBQ joints and it’s Yelp review (4 stars with 1099 reviews) didn’t hurt either. There are three locations and we went to the one on Butler, which happens to be smack-dab behind the National Civil Rights Museum (formerly Motel Lorraine, where MLK was killed).
There was a line at the door but it moved fairly quickly and we were able to put our order in about 15 minutes after getting into line. After placing our order we found a seat and sat down to wait for our order. We each ordered a rib plus two other meats platter. We intentionally ordered that way so that we could sample a bit of all the different meats (pulled pork, chicken, sausage, brisket & ribs)…we just split everything. The only meats we didn’t sample were the turkey and fried bologna – which neither of us were interested in any way.
Ribs, chicken & sausage
Orders come with cole slaw and baked beans or for 50 cents more you can choose from other sides (potato salad, macaroni & cheese, greens, etc). We went with the traditional cole slaw and baked beans and also tried their home-made pork rinds…oh my…talk about yummy! Good stuff…try ’em!
Ribs, pulled pork & brisket
We waited about 20 minutes or so for our meals to be delivered but it was well worth the wait. Everything was very good…although we enjoyed some things more than others…we both really liked the ribs and chicken. Decided the pork was not quite tender enough and that the sausage had really good flavor but was a bit on the dry side. I enjoyed the brisket while Michael liked it but felt he’d had better.
They offer four different types of sauce – mild, hot, mustard and vinegar. We both created a combination of the mild and hot (Michael used more hot than I did) and really liked the sauce.
The servings were quite large so we ended up with quite a bit of food to take home. We decided the next time we go (which will happen!) we’ll do pretty much the same thing but we’ll get a couple of to go containers right away and box of half of our meals right away to avoid stuffing ourselves.
So much fun to watch these guys glide across the water!
Back home we took a spin around the park just to check things out and were treated to couple of barges heading down river…they come and go constantly…some of them small…some large…you just never really know.
We only had a high of about 50 today so still a bit too chilly to sit outside on one of the benches and enjoy the views…hopefully the weather will warm up enough before we leave so that we can do just that!
These boats remind me of a children’s book I had as a kid, Scuffy the Tugboat…I don’t remember anything about the book other than he was a little bitty tug boat that tugged BIG old boats! LOL
So why are they called tug boats when they actually push the barges?? Shouldn’t they be called ‘push boats’???
Time to mosey on further east! We only had about 220 miles to travel today so we weren’t in a big rush. I was up just before 7:00 am and Michael followed about 7:15. We had a couple of the kolaches I picked up yesterday for breakfast…nice and easy – pop ’em in the oven for a minute and you’re good to go!
I finished up buttoning things up inside while Michael took down the satellite dish and stowed it and then we were ready to hitch up. We ended up pulling out of our newly found RV park in Glenwood (it was so nice to have just a 20 minute drive to and from Alice’s!) about 9:20 am. It was about 30 degrees, windy and raining….not a good combination in any situation but it makes hitching up miserable. The current plan is to be back here in October.
We made a quick potty stop just after we hit I-40 east of Little Rock and while it was still raining (32 degrees) we could also see tiny itty bitty ice particles…I guess you’d call it sleet. I tried to take a picture but my phone didn’t want to cooperate.
Michael being the Good Samaritan.
Shortly after getting back on the road we came upon a Big Horn on the side of the road and a gentleman working on removing a flat tire from the driver’s side of the coach. Michael immediately pulled over and donned his jack, put his hood over his head and went out to see if he could give any help. Not much he could do but he did stay and direct traffic away and into the other lane. Unfortunately, the rig had TowMax tires on it…hopefully the change those out REAL soon!
Check out that ice! Brrrrr
We stopped for lunch at Kelly’s Kitchen about 1:00 pm. It was a pretty tight squeeze as it seemed that nearly every big rig on the road decided to stop at the same time. It had just about stopped raining when we stopped by the front cap of the coach and mirrors on the truck were covered in ice.
Tight quarters called for Kelly’s Kitchen to be located in the cab of the truck!
Because it was so tight we just grabbed our lunch out of the house and ate in the truck. We rested for about 45 minutes or so and then hit the road again as we had less than 50 miles to go to our destination.
Bah humbug! If people would just merge when they’re told to….
Unfortunately, we were only down the road about 15 miles when we came upon signs warning of construction ahead. We crept and crawled the seven miles of the construction (less than a mile was actually being worked on) for 43 minutes! Seven miles in 43 minutes….that’s some good time!
We ended up pulling into Tom Sawyer’s Mississippi River RV Park at 3:30. We stayed here once before about a year and a half ago. Many of the sites overlook the Mississippi River and river barges and other boats are constantly traveling up and down the river so we’re really looking forward to our stay.
Tom’s Sawyer’s Mississippi River RV Park – Site 59
We got checked in and escorted to our site and then Michael had me sit in the truck while he did most of the outside prep-work to unhitch (get the jack pads out, lower the front jacks, etc) because it was COLD out there and he had a sweatshirt and jacket on and I didn’t (my chivalrous man!) Then once he had that ready I went out and guided him as we got unhitched. Then he sent me back into the warmth of the truck to wait while he got the coach leveled. When it was all set I scooted inside to bring out the slides, turn on the fireplace and crank up the heat pumps! It was 46 degrees in the house when I went inside.
While Michael got the water, sewer and electric set, I prepped the inside of the house and started dinner. When the water, sewer and electric were good to go he came inside to warm up a bit before heading back outside to get the satellite dish set up.
Absolutely LOVE this park…for this reason…ONLY
We are set up in site 59, which is on the second row from the river, and we have rigs obscuring our view…bah humbug. However, when we first got here there was no one in front of us so I got a nice picture of a barge headed down river. Hopefully, it will warm up enough for us to sit outside and enjoy the views at least once while we’re here. We are here for 5 nights.
Monday we were back at Alice’s house so that Michael could put together a ‘lift’ chair that Dan purchased for Alice and was to be delivered that day.
The chair arrived before noon and Michael had it assembled in no time. Alice was very happy with how it worked and was even more excited that she could actually get out of it on her own without having to use the lift feature as it doesn’t sit as low as her old chair.
Michael ‘snaking’ out the plumbing
Alice’s kitchen sink stopped up on Easter and we couldn’t get it cleared out so we picked up a ‘snake’ in town and he used it to clear out her drainage pipe. Seems as though there might be some roots growing through the pipe as that’s what he ended up pulling out with the snake. Whatever the case, the sink is now flowing freely.
Tuesday we had some errands to run in Hot Springs (about 30 miles from us) so we while we were in town we went to see ‘The Greatest Showman’ which we both really enjoyed. It was a musical, which we weren’t aware of beforehand. Neither of us are big fans of musicals so I think we would have enjoyed it even more if it hadn’t been a musical. Nevertheless…it was still a very good movie.
Whoopsie…that’s not good!
On the way home we planned to make a stop at Alice’s to pick up our new hydraulic leg that was delivered that day (and a new carbon monoxide detector too!). About half way down her road we came across a power company truck blocking the road and a fallen tree in front of it. We could also see that there was another power company truck on the other side of the fallen tree with its bucket up in the air.
Bent hydraulic leg/jack
Since there was no getting by we turned around and went further down the highway and went down the road from the opposite direction and made our way to Alice’s from that direction. The power had been off since about 4:30 pm and came on shortly after we arrived about 7:20 pm. We visited for a short while but headed home not long after the power came back on as I had work to do.
Looks like my finger wanted to be part of the picture too!
Had a crazy busy day of sending invoices on Wednesday customers…eleven of ’em! Eight of those were for a rally in Crossville, Tennessee next month. Michael fielded several phone calls and in between phone calls he got the new hydraulic leg installed on the coach. I even had to crawl under the coach at one point to help him tighten one of the bolts he couldn’t quite get to. (Girl power!)
A family affair
Thursday was Michael’s youngest brother, John’s, birthday and his wife Ann, invited us all to meet at the World Buffet in Hot Springs to help him celebrate. We met at Alice’s and then carpooled into town – Michael and his brother, Eddie in our truck and me driving Alice’s car with her, Val, Allicia and myself.
Cute little cheeseburger cake
We met John, Ann and Sammy at the restaurant and enjoyed a nice lunch with family. Ann had made John a ‘Cheeseburger’ birthday cake that turned out really cute.
After lunch we all got settled into our vehicles to leave and Alice’s car wouldn’t start…again! Both times the car wouldn’t start, it was me that had driven it last…I’m feeling a little bit like there’s black cloud looming over my head.
We called the mechanic to come get it…get re-situated into the two other vehicles and headed back to Glenwood…making a stop at the bank drive-thru and Walgreens for sunflower seeds. Back at Alice’s, Michael and I visited for a couple of hours before we headed home for the evening. We watched a few TV shows and then I headed to bed to cuddle up with my trusty Kindle…Michael followed a short while later.
Friday was our last day in Glenwood and it was rainy and gloomy. It stormed pretty good just before 6:00 am…enough to wake me up and keep me awake so I ended up getting up and working on this blog post.
About 8:00 am we headed across the street to the Caddo Cafe to get some breakfast. Neither of us felt like cooking and since Brock had recommended we try the chilaquiles we did just that…or Michael did anyway and I ordered the Huevos a la Mexicana. We both got our fill and then headed next door to the Donut Palace to pick up some donuts and kolaches (decided to freeze some kolaches and see how they do).
From there we drove back across the street and dropped Michael off at home so that he could do a few chores while I went back across the street to Wright’s to pick up a few groceries so that we have everything we need for the next week for so.
We spent a good portion of the morning working for PTB and getting the coach ready for travel on Saturday. In the early afternoon we headed back over to Alice’s to spend a few hours visiting with her before we leave the area.
We had our mail forwarded to us and received this sweet message from our favorite ‘mailman’, Andrew.
We were back home about 5:30 pm, I laid down for a bit as I had a head/neck ache. Michael’s good friend, Cherie stopped by for a short visit…I got up to visit for a short while but Cherie had to get back home to make dinner. We had a few chores to complete too. Hopefully, next time we’re in town we can visit a bit longer.
As usual our time in Glenwood/Hot Springs went much too fast and we didn’t get a chance to visit with everyone we’d hoped to…next time!
Tomorrow we’ll continue our trek east toward Stone Mountain, Georgia where we’ll be attending the Heartland Southeast Regional Rally which begins on April 17. We’ll be making a couple of pits stops along the way and taking the opportunity to visit with friends too! Stay tuned!
Parked in front of the warehouse and ready to roll
We met Dan and Amanda at the warehouse about 9:00 am so that they could check the place out and meet Alyssa and Preston. We planned to be there a couple of hours but ended up being there until about 1:45 pm when we pulled out and hit the road to Sallisaw, Oklahoma.
My bed partners!
Ben road with Nana and Papaw but fell asleep before we ever hit the interstate. He ended up sleeping about an hour. We made one stop for a potty break for everyone and ended up pulling into the Sallisaw KOA about 4:30 pm.
While Michael and I set up Amanda and the kids walked over to the playground to burn off some pent-up energy. I made a simple dinner of hot ham sandwiches and we ended up calling it a night about 8:30 or so. Alex slept with us in our bed while Zoe slept in a recliner and Ben shared the couch bed with his mom & dad.
It started raining during the night and kept on until nearly noon. We pulled out of the KOA about 9:30 and made fairly decent time despite the rain. We stopped in Mt. Ida, Arkansas for lunch while our auxiliary tank filled the truck fuel tank.
After lunch we parted ways…Dan and family headed on to Glenwood and the home of Michael’s mom while Michael and I headed to Pearcy to his brothers home where we planned to park the coach for the next 10 days or so.
We arrived about 2:00 pm but unfortunately, things did not go as planned for us. To make a VERY long story short we had a lot of trouble getting the coach backed in and then when we finally did get it in place the ground was so unlevel that the level up system didn’t want to do its job. By that time the battery was running low so Michael plugged into the 50 amp outlet that his brother had installed for us but that fell short as well…it was only putting out 8 amps!
We tried putting a couple of blocks under one of the jacks and in the process dropped the coach (thank goodness for our ‘Bed Saver’!). Since the level up wasn’t working properly one of the back jacks never retracted…which we didn’t notice since all of the other ones had. In the whole process of trying to get blocks under the front jack…we ended up bending the back jack!
Michael & Ron trying to jack up the trailer with the no good bottle jack
Michael wanted to try to take the back (bent) jack off so that he would be able to at least level out the coach but the bottle jack he had refused to work. However, between he and his brother they were able to remove all of the bolts so it was ready to be removed as soon as they could jack the coach up high enough to remove it.
By this time we decided we’d had enough and planned to leave the coach as it was and go to a hotel for the night (extremely unlevel and with no power we weren’t able to bring out the slides).
Wednesday – Another very rainy day which didn’t allow us to do anything with the coach as it was just to messy outside. We did, however, stop at Walmart and buy a new bottle jack so that when it did stop raining Michael could use it to raise the coach.
We spent the day at Michael’s mom’s house visiting with her and Michael’s oldest brother. Dan, Amanda and the kids stopped by for a short visit in the morning and then went to Murfreesboro to hunt diamonds. They didn’t come back rich but the kids had a good time digging in the mud.
I caught Bennie right before he went under the table and Amanda being her normal naughty self!
When they got back to the house we piled into two cars and went out to dinner at the Rocky Mountain Grill in Pearcy. Most of us got some sort of steak, while Alice went with shrimp. We had a nice family dinner and enjoyed visiting as it’s not something we get to do often enough.
Michael and I spent the night at Alice’s in what I call the ‘Princess and the Pea’ bed…her mattress is so tall that you really could use a step stool to get up on it or at least take a running leap.
Thursday – It finally stopped raining!
Paying our respects
Dan, Amanda, Alice and I (along with the kids) went to the cemetery to visit Papa Tom (Michael’s dad) while Michael was at his brother, Ron’s, house removing the damaged hydraulic jack leg.
Dan at Oaklawn
After our visit at the cemetery we headed into Hot Springs, picking Michael up on the way, to go to Oaklawn Horse Race Track. While I lived in Hot Springs for several years, I’d never been to the track and Michael hadn’t been since well before we were married. Dan and Amanda had been to several races at Belmont when they lived in New York and really enjoyed it so they were excited to go again.
The kids loved the horses…especially Zoe!
We stayed for all nine races. Michael and I didn’t do any betting, Alice bet on one race and Dan and Amanda placed bets on most of the races, I believe. Unfortunately, there were no winners in our group. But we had fun nonetheless.
After the races we made our way back to our vehicles only to find that Alice’s car wouldn’t start! (bad luck was all around us this week!) We called Michael’s brother who was meeting us for dinner and he came and picked Michael, Alice and I up and also called a friend of his, who is a mechanic, to take a look at the car. (still no diagnosis on the car)
We went to dinner at Osaka Japanese Steakhouse as it was my birthday dinner choice. Alice, Ron & Linda hadn’t been to a Japanese hibachi restaurant before so it was all new to them. They enjoyed the show and their meals and I think they might even go back on their own at some point.
Unfortunately, we had to give goodbye hugs to Dan, Amanda, Alex, Ben and Zoe as they were heading for home in the morning. I still hate parting way with the boys and their families but it has gotten a bit easier as we’re able to see them a bit more often than we used to. Let’s put it this way…I don’t cry each and every time they leave now.
We spent the night, once again, in the ‘Princess and the Pea’ bed and slept much better than we did the previous two nights.
Friday – My birthday! First thing in the morning, Michael contacted Lippert and ordered the new hydraulic jack leg…it’s due to arrive about Thursday of next week. Then we did quite a bit of work in the morning as things had been put on hold while our lives were in turmoil.
Early afternoon we headed into Hot Springs to Lowes to pick up some brass fittings so that Michael could use them to cap the hydraulic lines for the jack leg so that when we turned on the level up system it didn’t spew hydraulic oil all over the place.
The brothers back at it…this time capping off the hydraulic lines.
Then we head back to Ron’s house and while Michael and Ron got the lines capped I visited with Linda a little bit. Once the lines were capped and checked to make sure that no fluid was going to flow we hitched up the coach to the truck and headed to Glenwood.
We’d been told about the new RV park that opened up at the stockyards and had driven by it on Wednesday night to check it out. Caddo River Access RV Park just opened (I’m not sure they’ve had any guests before) and is only about 20 minutes from Alice’s home which is ideal! We normally end up having to drive 45 minutes to an hour to get to her home so this will be perfect.
We got settled into our home for the next week or so and then headed just down the road to the Fish Nest for dinner. Since it was Good Friday (and my birthday) we both had the buffet which is filled with catfish, shrimp, crab cakes, clam strips and a bunch of other items. We had our fill and were home and in bed before 8:00 pm. I think the events of the week had taken their toll and we were both exhausted.
Saturday – Obviously we were exhausted as we slept nearly 12 hours! However, nothing was keeping us back from a breakfast date we had with our good friends, Brock and Tammy! We met them just across the street from the RV Park at the Caddo Cafe.
No better friends than these right here…
We really enjoyed our breakfast – they serve both Mexican and American fare…but Michael and I both went with American this time. Breakfast was very good but what we really enjoyed was our visit with Brock and Tammy (and Cheyenna & Blake too!). Our visits always go much too quickly but that makes us appreciate them that much more. We’re hoping to squeeze in another visit with them before we have to leave.
The rest of the day was spent working. We had a lot of make up to do. Dan had given us a goal to hit this month and today (last day of the month!) we hit it! Woohoo! We’ll get a bonus…but that’s not nearly as exciting as actually hitting that goal!
Sunday – Easter.
Rain, rain, rain…another rain-filled day. We’re parked right next to the Caddo River….lets hope it doesn’t rain so much that we float away!
We started our morning off with a couple of kolaches that we had picked up the day before at the Donut Palace, which is right across the road from our coach. It had been a long time since we’ve enjoyed some Donut Palace kolaches so it was a nice treat.
We made impromptu plans with Michael’s mom to have dinner at her home so we picked up some groceries at Wright’s in Glenwood on Saturday and took them to Alice’s and made dinner there. A very cheater-easy meal. Ham, pre-made broccoli rice casserole, pre-made sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, green beans, dinner rolls and banana cream pie for dessert. We had a nice visit with just the four of us for dinner.
We visited until about 7:00 pm before packing up and heading home. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing in front of the TV which turned out to be a nice way to round out our hectic week.
This week we continued the ‘weaning’ process with Alyssa. We only went into the work at the warehouse on Tuesday and Thursday giving her more time on her own. But since the RV park is only about three miles away from the shop we were close enough if she needed us. She does an awesome job and we are just a phone call or text away if she needs us.
Michael and Bret Maverick…errr..James Garner
On our days away from the shop we took a little time for. On Tuesday, we hunted down a Roadside America attraction in downtown Norman. Actor, James Garner, of The Rockford Files fame was born and raised in Norman.
To honor the local hero the town erected a bronze statue of Garner’s character, Bret Maverick, and placed it in a small park on the corner of Main Street and Jones Street in downtown Norman. The statue is accompanied by a plaque providing details of the mans life and career. We might have enjoyed the visit a bit more but it was cold and wind was whippin’ like an arctic blast. It was everything we could do not to get blown away.
The side of the Boomarang has this awesome mural painted on it
Preston and Alyssa had recommended a local favorite, the Boomarang Diner so we headed there to get out of the wind. A cute, little place decked out in 50s Hollywood decor. The walls are covered with famous photos of Audrey Hepburn, Elvis, Laurel & Hardy, the Marx Brothers…very cool.
We didn’t take long to decide on our lunch dishes – Michael went with a hamburger plate (hamburger patty, topped with french fries, covered in gravy) and I ordered a patty melt with fried pickles. My lunch was really good…Michael felt his gravy was a bit too salty. He’s not a big salt fan but I often find that beef gravy is too salty. Nevertheless, I think he enjoyed his lunch.
Burgers from Sooner Dairy
On Wednesday we tried out another local favorite for lunch…Sooner Dairy Lunch, which has been serving up lunch since 1954! Just a small place which musta used to have been a drive in…but now it’s all walk up. Serving burgers, sandwiches and sides to go with them.
We both ordered cheeseburgers and shared some onion rings and tater tots. We chose to sit at the small counter just inside the vestibule…the only ones who did…although there were quite a few customers that came and went, placing their orders and picking them up.
The burgers were good…nice sized and plenty of condiments…however, they really needed some seasoning. I ended up adding salt to my burger…twice. The burgers at Burger Boy in San Antonio rate higher in my book. On the bright side, the tots and onion rings were really good!
After ward we drove up to our usual theater in OKC and watched Game Night. IMDb rated it at 7.4 and I would probably give it a little less than that…maybe 7.0. We both enjoyed it…laughed a lot which is good for the soul, you know. Definitely not a blockbuster…but a fun movie to watch.
Michael’s bronchitis seems to have finally turned the corner! He had a bit of a rough day on Monday but since then he seems to be on the upside. Thank goodness!
An EXCELLENT patient
However, he’s had a tough that’s been giving him some trouble since before we had our check-ups in San Antonio on the first. The dentist took a look at it the but said there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, the tooth began bothering he quite a bit overnight Wednesday/Thursday and he decided to go in and have it looked at again.
We found a dentist, nearby, that was able to fit him in to their schedule on Thursday. Turns out there was a large cavity in the tooth below the gum line and the tooth couldn’t be saved. (Not sure how the other dentist didn’t see it with the x-rays they took) The tooth was not cooperative and Michael ended up in the dentist’s chair for over three hours. First, the tooth broke, which wasn’t a big deal in itself as the dentist just removed it in three pieces. However, the last piece (fourth) was so tightly embedded in the bone that he had to
take several breaks to go and help other patients.
I’m pretty sure that Michael is the bravest man on earth. He just sat there…didn’t flinch…didn’t moan…didn’t whine…nothing. Had it been me, they would have had to have loaded me up on Valium to keep me calm.
We expected him to be pretty sore after all of the trauma but he was feeling pretty good that evening after the numbing wore off and even the following morning he was doing well. I made sure he stayed on top of his pain meds, just in case though.
Michael and a giraffe skeleton
Saturday we did something I’ve been wanting to do since the first time we came to the OKC area…visit the Museum of Osteology (the study of bones)! We arrived at 10:00 am when they opened and there were just two other people there so it was nice and quiet and we were able to take our time and survey the displays and read the information provided.
Pretty interesting stuff
Surprisingly, there were a lot of displays that were ‘touchable’…which we did! We’re big into ‘hands on’ museums…makes them that much more fun and enjoyable.
The collection is pretty extensive…human skeletons, birds, fish, carnivores, amphibians, reptiles. From BIG (elephants, hippopotamus, rhinoceros) to itty bitty (humming-bird, mice, lizards) and everything in between (squirrel, bears, dogs, monkeys, etc).
A couple off itty bitty humming birds
We got about 45 minutes or so of peace and quiet before a bunch of families arrived. We finished up and were leaving about and hour and fifteen minutes after we arrived. It’s a great place for kids and families – with several kids activities to keep them engages (scavenger hunts, coloring pages, hands on displays, etc).
Sunday was a day of anticipation. Our son, Dan, and his family were coming to Norman! Dan wanted to make a trip to Norman to see his investment, first hand. It worked out nicely that we were here too. They got to their hotel about 5:30…where we met them.
After they unpacked the car we headed out for dinner…our first choice, Royal Bavaria, was closed for a private party so we ended up at Das Boot Camp (their sister place). Michael, Amanda and I ordered jagerschnitzel while Dan went with a sausage plate. I think everyone enjoyed their meals…as far as I know.
However, the real star of the show was Dan’s ‘boot’. After tasting several beers he ordered his favorite (a Seasonal) in a boot….a 2 liter boot! That’s a lot of beer. Both Michael and Amanda tried it too…Michael liked it…Amanda…not so much! As hard as he tried, Dan just couldn’t finish it all…pretty sure he would have exploded had he been able to!
Our time in Oklahoma has come to an end. Today (Monday 3/26) we head out to Arkansas to visit Michael’s mom, Alice…and Dan, Amanda, Alex, Ben and Zoe are coming along!
Another week in the books…and another starts. This week we started the ‘weaning’ process…meaning we only went into work at the warehouse Monday, Wednesday and Friday so that Alyssa could get used to working without us there. She’s very resourceful so I know she’ll be ok. But we’d rather be nearby if she has questions/needs or concerns. Since we’re just about 4 miles from the shop we can pop over easily if needed.
Michael was feeling quite a bit better on Monday and decided not to go into see a doctor after all. He still had several days of antibiotic left anyway. Unfortunately, this crud does not vacate the body easily and he is improving…not fast enough for his liking…but he is improving.
Tuesday morning he still wasn’t feeling much better and decided to go back to the doctor after all. He was prescribed a new antibiotic, a ‘super’ Zpac and some cough medicine. Unfortunately, when he gets some respiratory stuff going on it almost always turns into bronchitis and he has a heck of a time getting rid of it.
I think that i am at the tail end of the crud…I feel pretty good but still have a small cough which I’m hoping will be gone soon.
People have asked if we got the flu shot…yes, we did. They say that without the flu shot it would have been much worse…ugh.
A couple of good kids right here…
Tuesday evening we took Alyssa and Preston out for dinner at Charleston’s. Preston has a lot of food sensitivities and this was one place he could eat and not have to worry about having issues.
The restaurant had a really nice ambiance and our waiter, Trenton, was excellent. Michael ordered smoked salmon, I had a prime rib sandwich and both Preston and Alyssa ordered steaks. The food was very good but we really enjoyed sitting down with both Preston and Alyssa and getting to know them better. Good kids. We’re really blessed to have both of them on our team.
The oil patch seems to be following us!
We can’t quite seem to get away from the oil field! Considering we have a working oil well right next door to our warehouse… You don’t have to ask…we still don’t miss working as gate guards…but we do still miss the guys. We really were blessed to meet some pretty awesome people while working in the oil field.
Jeremy getting them disc brakes installed
Thursday we worked from home and walked across the park to check out the install that Preston and his helper, Jeremy were doing for one of our customers. They were making good time. The customer wanted to be able to pull out of his site by 5:00 pm so he could drive back down toward Dallas. Preston and Jeremy had them back on the road before 5:00 pm.
There was a swap meet going on at the fairgrounds this week so I walked over to check it…meh…not my thing. It was all about cars…cars for sale, car parts for sale, car accessories for sale, car toys for sale. Oh well…got me out walking a little bit anyway.
We met Gus and Debra for an early dinner at the Taste of China Restaurant in Oklahoma City Thursday evening. Michael and I had been there back in November and really enjoyed it as they have a huge variety and everything was fresh. This time, coming at 4:30, I thought we’d get fresh food again…but it wasn’t to be. However, the fresh stuff came out by the time we left a couple of hours later. You win some, you lose some, I guess. We had a good visit with our friends…and that made it worth it.
An itty bitty theater
After dinner, Michael and I drove to downtown OKC as we had tickets to the play, ‘Greater Tuna‘. It’s a fun play, for sure. The cast consists of two men who play the roles of about 20 characters…men, women, kids. Some parts were kinda dumb but we sure did some chuckling at some of the characters. We’ve seen ‘Guys on Ice’ in the past which is about two guys ice fishing and it was hilarious. Greater Tuna was good…but not quite to the same caliber as Guys on Ice. Nonetheless, it was a nice way to break up our work week.
Alyssa as the warehouse looking fabulous…and she’s still working on more!
Friday we were back in the office working with Alyssa. The day went quite smooth. I sent out a couple of invoices, we received a payment or two and Alyssa was able to ship out at least one order. Michael, of course, spent a good portion of his day on the phone with prospective customers.
We always try to observe Lent by not eating meat on Fridays so this week we went to the Catfish Cove in Moore (about 6 miles from the shop). They offer a seafood buffet for $14.99 which has several variations of catfish, tilapia, chicken, frog legs, and shrimp.
There’s also a nice salad bar and plenty of sides like macaroni & cheese, baked potatoes, green beans, carrots, corn, hush puppies, cabbage, dinner rolls and that’s not everything. Plus they have bread pudding and several cobblers that you can top with home-made ice cream. Not bad…not bad at all. It’d be worth a trip to go back.
Michael’s new Bluetooth capable hearing aids allow him to talk on the phone hands free – he’s talking with a customer here.
By Friday, Michael was feeling quite a bit better and was starting to get his voice back. He still has a cough but it had improved tremendously. He’s still taking his meds and will continue until they’re gone. Let’s hope that that is all of the sickness for us this year!
Saturday Michael and I were back at the warehouse to do a complete inventory. Time to get our numbers 100% squared away. We got to the warehouse about 11:30 and left about 8:30…a long day but we got it done and feel good about it.
We hadn’t eaten since morning so we picked up a pizza on the way home, ate a couple of pieces, watched a TV show and hit the hay when we got home.
Now we’re ready for another week to start…our last week here in Norman before we head east to Arkansas to visit family and friends.
Since I last wrote we have moved north to Norman, Oklahoma which is a southern suburb of Oklahoma City. We had originally planned to move on March 5th but on March 3rd we found out that our site at Ft. Sam was actually only paid for until the 3rd…oops! We quickly packed up and within about 45 minutes we were on the road headed north.
We drove to Gainesville, Texas and spent the night at the Cracker Barrel there, having dinner that night and breakfast the following morning to thank them for our ‘site’.
We pulled into the Cleveland County Fairgrounds in Norman about noon and quickly got set up before heading out to our warehouse just down the road. We checked things out and then made stops at Walmart and Braum’s before heading home.
Monday we had the unpleasant task of letting our warehouse worker go. Talk about making you sick to your stomach. Unfortunately, he just wasn’t as motivated as we needed him to be…with us not here often we really need someone who is trustworthy, motivated and a go-getter.
Learning to use a forklift!
We hired a young lady to take over and are already very impressed with her. She’s a self-starter, motivated and a very fast learner. She started on Wednesday and jumped in feet first and I already feel good about our decision.
We worked from the warehouse all week – doing our normal duties as well as training Alyssa on her duties. She’s a fast learner and is not afraid to work. Since Michael and I haven’t filled orders before we’re all kind of learning.
Michael ended up going to Urgent Care on Tuesday and found that he was beyond the flu and it had gone into bronchitis. They gave him a couple of shots in the dupa, a breathing treatment and a prescription for an antibiotic. He went home and slept most of the day. Thankfully, Preston came in to work in the warehouse with me, which was a HUGE help.
John and Barbara
Michael was feeling a bit better and went into work with me on Wednesday. That evening we had dinner with one of our installers, John, and his wife Barbara. We’d not met yet…we’ve talked on the phone, emailed and texted…but never met yet. They were in town for some doctors appointments before heading to Illinois for their granddaughters birthday and then are headed back to Florida to do some more installs.
It was great to meet them and spend time getting to know them…even though it felt like we already knew them since we’ve communicated so much already. We had dinner at Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler, one of John and Barbara’s favorites. The recommended the #9 – Theta Burger so we both tried it. Unfortunately, it was our thing. The burger has a theta sauce on it which is as a hickory sauce…but it reminded us both of Skyline Chili…which neither of us cared for…thankfully, the company was much more enjoyable for us.
Larry – our metal craftsman
Thursday afternoon Michael and I went over to pick up some product from one of our suppliers. Larry is a metal artist and makes our brackets. His one man shop is filled with history…most of his equipment dates back to the 1920s, 30s and 40s. He shared the history of many of the pieces with us and even gave us a demonstration of how he’s able to make a piece of metal look like bark on a tree. Awesome stuff!
Gus & Debra
Thursday evening we met friends Gus & Debra for dinner at Ted’s Cafe Escondido. Gus had had a heart procedure the day before and we were thrilled that he was feeling well enough to meet us for dinner. We had an excellent time visiting and really enjoyed the restaurant. On top of enjoyed our meals we were also served chips, salsa, & queso individually as well as a tasty sopapilla for dessert! Good stuff!
Friday was much quieter work-wise…giving us a chance to get caught up with phone calls and emails that seemed to be backed up since Michael was out sick on Tuesday. While I tried to field his phone calls while he was resting, there was only so much I could do as he’s much more technically savvy than I am.
I even got caught up with our Heartland Chapter Leader work. We had 32 new club members in our chapter over the last couple of months and we were just now given their information. So I emailed each of them, welcomed them to the club and invited them to our rally this fall as well as the regional rally in Branson in May.
Lotsa stuff I didn’t need
Saturday Michael was pretty drained so he napped quite a bit. There was a flea market/craft sale going on at the so I walked over (just a hop and a jump away – no skip!) I wandered the rows and didn’t find anything I really had to have other than a dip mix.
Sunday Michael turned 54 and we celebrated by going to see ‘Red Sparrow’ at the theater. This particular theater is one we went to several times last fall when we were here for a rally. It’s old but for $3.99 a ticket…you really can’t beat it.
The movie was good…kind of hard to follow in places but in the end it all came together.
Afterward we went to Saltgrass for ‘lupper’. I think if we were both feeling 100% we would have enjoyed our meals much more…but as it is Michael is still miserable and I’m still coughing although feeling better than I have, but food doesn’t have much taste…for either of us.
I’m thinking Michael will probably be headed back to the doctor tomorrow as he doesn’t feel as though he’s progressing as he should be.