This photograph was taken by Elizabeth Coachman on a NM road. To us, it captures the essence of the magic of the state. Can’t wait to return.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
We have had glorious weather in the south since the second week in September - warm dry days and slightly cool nights.
We left Thursday and got back today from a quick trip to Pensacola to see the Blue Angels. It’s been on our bucket list for 40 years.
We parked at the Ft. Pickens CG on Santa Rosa Island. Not a bad place. W&E for $10 on the geezer card. You can see some of the air show from the CG since the base is just across the water. And the beach is some of the best on the Gulf Coast.
To see the airshow up close, you drive a horse shoe route for 40 minutes. We got to the base at 9:30 in time to see the stunt planes and WWII warbirds do their thing. The opening ceremonies were at 11 and from then until the Blue Angels performance time was filled with a lot of waiting.
For me, the Angels were not as much fun as the performances by the prop planes earlier in the day. Oh yes, the Angels are good, perfect I suppose. They make it look too easy. When they make a pass over the demo box, they are moving at 500+ so they are not in view very long. After each pass, they take a long run out to one side and set up for the next pass. So the spectators spend more time looking at empty air than at the Angels.
After the show, we drove out to Perdido Key to eat at the Point Restaurant, a place we frequented the years we raced the boat at Grand Lagoon.
I wanted to see the night show with fireworks, but after being in the sun all day I was exhausted and napped during the show.
Saturday, we went back aboard the Naval Air Station to tour the Naval Air Museum. It had been 10+ years since we had been there and meanwhile they had built another building to house all the planes they have acquired.
It’d been like a vacation according to Dorothy because she got to eat most meals out starting Wednesday night when Doug and Roxanne came to Montgomery. Eating out is not something we do a lot because we usually aren’t in places that have a restaurant that appeals to us.
A plus for the trip was that we got to visit with Jim and Gayle who were parked next to us.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
We arrived at our new place in Montgomery Monday the 10th, KoKo is parked in the driveway and is our home. This move would not have been possible without KoKo. We were committed to the LDRA and we were equally committed to accepting the offer on our home and getting out when they needed to get in.
Making the move in two parts cost us double, but that cost will soon be forgotten.
While we have made many trips here to see our daughter and family over the last 13 years, we knew very little about the city. So far, we are impressed. We think it’s more livable than Birmingham. Certainly smaller. We were concerned with the high black population here. In Birmingham, more often than not, blacks are afflicted with attitude towards whites. We have seen none that here. Everyone is cordial. We had black neighbors in Birmingham, we have them here.
We were able to get “our” painter to bring a crew from Birmingham. They camped out in the house this week, while we slept in KoKo. This place has LOTS of trim, including divided windows. They managed to get the five carpeted rooms and all the windows done this week. They will be back Monday and expect to finish late in the week. The carpet will be installed Wednesday. Plantation shutters have been ordered. The kitchen has a new refer and we are trying to get a gas line run for a stove.
Since KoKo is stocked for extended trips, there is very little we need until the movers bring it all out of storage on Halloween. Besides our daughter lives less than five minutes away.
The New Place
Our Current Living Arrangements
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Did you know?
Southern Arkansas is FLAT. North of the Arkansas River it is hilly and the roads wind constantly. Serpentine is a apt description. One day we drove 115 miles in 3.5 hours.
Friday – October 7 - The Regional Adventure is over. Based on the comments we heard, it was enjoyed by all. Several folks came a day or two early, several stayed a day or so after. I think that speaks well of the event.
We quickly fell into a routine of coffee and breakfast, an activity, cocktails, dinner and finally campfire.
The view from our campsite
It’s Harder to Kidnap Fat People
The LDRA Balloon Fest
We left Thursday morning and drove 2.5 hours to Lake Maumelle and stayed at a COE park on the Arkansas River. Today, we are reaching out 4 hours to get to another COE park near Oxford, MS. That will put us almost half-way to Montgomery – our soon to be home base.
ARG! The GPS could not correctly route us to the park near Oxford. The COE campground book we carry with was wrong also. They mixed the directions for two nearby parks, a sentence from each was interchanged. That cost us an extra hour of driving on not so great roads.
Saturday - We passed by the Ole Miss campus. WOW! I had wanted to visit Rowan Oaks this morning, but since the CG was 10 miles away and we were in a hurry to get on the road that will have to wait until another time.
We are spending our last two days on The Big Ditch - the Tenn-Tom waterway. You will recall that it is taxpayer funded infrastructure project that is not used much. We can get our laundry done here before arriving at our unfurnished “home” Monday afternoon.
This will be our last post of the trip. The next few weeks will be fast paced as we struggle to make a new nest.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Before I start talking about something else, here are two more pictures taken at Pendleton Bend CG. Our campsite in low light and the sunset from our campsite. Amazing that the pictures were taken within minutes of each other.
Sunday – We spent three hours moving 100 miles, stopping at Wal*Mart and to eat lunch. We arrived at a FS CG just west of Little Rock called Lake Sylvia. Another FS CG with hookups, new shower house, dump for $10. It was billed as campsites with a view. You can see the lake from several sites, but none are on the lake. It may be the only FS CG that has a swimming platform and a bath house? The latter is probably WPA construction, but in good repair.
The look of inbreeding is evident in this area.
Monday – We decided that one day was enough at Lake Sylvia and headed north. Lake Sylvia is at the foot of the mountains, after we had driven less than 50 miles north, the scenery changed dramatically for the better. The difference is like that between central and northern Alabama – flat vs. short mountains.
We decided to take 65 rather than the narrow twisty route 9. We arrived at Tyler Bend about 1 and we were impressed. This is the most fluffed and buffed Park Service CG we have seen. It’s part of the Buffalo River National River. Three sites in the CG are occupied tonight and one is by some folks from Hoover.
Your tax dollars at work – $6 a night
Tuesday – As soon as I could yank Dorothy out of her nest, it was after 9, we positioned the yaks at the put-in and the Jeep at the takeout. By 10:45 we were on the water. It is a scenic river, no doubt of that. We were warned the water level was low and we did have to drag the yaks over gravel bars in three places. There were several riffles that sped us along. In higher water, maybe five feet, the river would be a hoot. We arrived at the takeout, 6 miles downstream, before 2.
The Buffalo River below the US65 bridge
Wednesday – We singled up all lines and headed west to Eureka Springs. This is close to Bransom, so we saw all sorts A’s headed south. It must be freaking bike fest week in these parts. There are Harley’s over the place. I would tax them $10,000 a year for having straight pipes.
We went to the CG first. A really good thing as when when got ready to see the tigers our GPS routed us to downtown Eureka Springs. We did not even know there was an old town of Eureka Springs. [People came here for the waters] We are glad we were not in the MH. Narrow streets like a few western mining towns. Bisbee, AZ and Deadwood, SD come to mind. While I doubled-parked, Bacall went inside to find where the cats were. .
Many miles out of town, we saw lots of tigers. We hung around for feeding time. We are going back tomorrow. We think they are the best looking of all animals.
We are parked on a point on Beaver Lake. We are the only ones here. $5.25 a night with electricity. Your tax dollars at work.
Thursday - Fat People are Harder to Kidnap
We went into town to people watch and take a few photo’s. Not many of the locals were up before noon, just us touristas.
After lunch we went back to see the tigers. It was 90 and hours from feeding time so they were not pacing, mostly just snoozing like cats do. Since they were still, we could better observe them. And so we did. I know we have seen tigers before, but it never registered with us how tall they are. When you see them head on, they almost disappear their camouflage is so good.
There is a cold front moving in and the breeze was up on the lake. We sat outside and recalled the fun of planning in such a breeze.
It’s Friday. We are parked at Buffalo Point on the Buffalo River having lunch. We are about an hour away from Mountain View the place we will be for next few days for the Lazy Daze Regional Adventure. This seems like a place to end this post. Until the next time.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
No, we are not blue. Far from it.
Wednesday - We made it to Clarksdale, MS. This is one of the many places on the Mississippi Blues Trail, which is designed to bring in touristas and the wretched rabble to see ram shackled homes of the blues greats - Son House, BB King, Robert Johnson, et cetera. There are also many blues clubs that are equally authentically ram shackled. De gustibus non disputandum est.
Morgan Freeman has two places here. One is an upscale restaurant that serves quail. The other is a ram shackled place that serves sandwiches and beer by the quart to bikers and the wretched rabble. Dorothy had already planned my birthday meal and nothing here tickled our fancy, so we will eat in and rest.
Our sleep pattern remains out of whack. We were both awake this morning at 3am. Arg!
The cool evenings we enjoyed last week are gone, so we need hookups. Tonight we are parked in the county fairgrounds. Free, as there are no envelopes to put in the iron ranger.
If you know us, you know that one of our fav authors is Victor Davis Hanson. He wrote an article this week that contained this jewel.
Rural California is also like North Africa circa 420 AD: the few family farms left are mostly fenced or walled, the dogs large, the owners armed — trying to survive against organized Vandal attacks.
Regrettably I know of no one else that can make spot on comparisons with N. Africa of 420. Plus he slips into Latin as easily as I make grammatical errors. He is a joy to read, I always learn something and I regret how much I lost by just getting by.
Thursday – We drove two hours or so and wound up about 30 miles from where we started. There being no bridge across the Mississippi River for a number of miles from Clarksdale, we drove in an almost complete circle.
You will recall that cotton was white gold here when slave labor was nearly free. They still grow cotton, without slaves. Every few miles we would see a crop duster spraying the rows of cotton plants. That has always looked like fun flying to me. They pass over the crop only feet above the plants. They bounce up at the tree line and make a sharp turn, the wings nearly vertical, and line up for the next pass.
We arrived at a COE park on the Arkansas River called Pendleton Bend. W&E for $8 in a pleasant quiet setting.
Our reasons for being here are 1) It was not far from Clarksdale, 2) We wanted to paddle the yaks. 3) Arkansas Post is an historic area being that it was the first settlement in the southern Mississippi area. The Frogs were trapping and and trading with the Quapaw Indians in 1682. I will not bore you with the complete history of the area, but I have to add this one factoid. You will recall Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Two years later the US opened a trading post here, but it failed as it could not compete with private traders. Same deal now.
While the water is low we are going to try to paddle part of the canoe trail in the morning.
The Lamb Spiedino was excellent.
Friday – The paddling did not pan out. After a little over a hundred yards, water hyacinths blocked the brand new canoe trail in both directions. We tried to get through them, but it was not easy and we did not know how far we would have to go until we broke into open water. Good exercise and we saw lots of birds.
Dorothy made a fine meal for lunch and we got our first decent nap in over a week. Dorothy spent the afternoon getting organized inside. I washed the vehicles and did one repair job.
We are getting a CBS station, so Dorothy can watch Tom Selleck tonight. That always makes her happy.
We will hang here another day, as our next stop could be crowded arriving on Saturday. Weekends and holidays get in our way.
Miss Dorothy spent the afternoon moving tows around. She was handling aggregate today. Did soybeans yesterday. Having grown up on the Warrior River, I have always liked to watch the push boats work.
Saturday – A Lazy Day
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Except for two short trips, it’s been almost a year since we have been on the road. We took the year off to sell the house and we got it done. We have a new house that we will start moving into next month. Meanwhile we are headed to northern Arkansas.
Our first stop was near Ackerman, MS at a FS CG named Choctaw Lake. One of the better FS CG’s we have seen. A decent sized lake, well tended sites, plus W&E. We were able to find it using Ted’s public CG database. The only problem with the place is that it’s about four gallons of gas off our route. We bought gas in Montgomery for $3.27 yesterday. Woohoo!
Of course, we had some rain our first day out. Just enough to mess up the windows.
Happy Birthday to me!
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I feel we have been working for the relator by keeping the house so clean and tidy for months. It may be sold? Dorothy dropped the price another $5,000 to counter the only offer we have had. They bit. Now we are homeless and of course, the buyers want the house ASAP. We have the Regional Adventure the top of October and had planned to go up 2-3 weeks early. I guess we will have to box it all up for storage before we leave or after we get back from Arkansas and move into KoKo until we find a place to live.
Our top four places to park KoKo:
The Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, CA. Not in the CG, but in our secret private spot off Movie Road.
Lone Rock on Lake Powell. It almost in Arizona, but just inside of Utah.
Muley Point in southern Utah overlooking Monument Valley.
Near Silverton, CO at Mineral Springs CG.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
It’s been in the mid-90’s here for over a month. Unusual for June. This is August weather in the South. They say it’s La Nina. I don’t know. We have had a light breeze almost every day for the last three months. Highly unusual. There have been over a dozen short wind storms in the 30 to 60 mph range. Again, not something we recall in our lifetimes.
We have stopped on improvements to the house. Just a little attention to keeping it looking half-way neat in case someone wants to take a look. It’s been six weeks since we had a looker and I would not be surprised if we have had the last one.
We are leaving after Labor Day for Arkansas/Missouri. They are several rivers in that area that we would like to paddle. It puts us in position for the LDRA the top of October in Mountain View.
First cut on the t-shirts for the LDRA
Memories. Lost the Jerry Jeff Walker stubs from the same decade. He was the headliner. Jimmy Buffet opened for him! If you know that Jerry Jeff got Buffet a job in Key West, that makes sense.
Dorothy says she will have the house un-decorated by 12/24 and we drive to our daughter’s for Christmas Eve and Day. Then we will head to south Texas, Alamo probably, for a month or two. Then drift west. Plan to return home by Halloween. She is conflicted by her HS Reunion in April. I am not so conflicted.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
KoKo’s wheels turned this month! We were gone for a whole six nights. We went to the South Central Roundup held near Lafayette, LA. It was good to see some old friends and meet some new ones. We had some good food, especially the dinner at Prejean’s. We could eat there every day for a few weeks and have something new every day. Cajan has become very trendy.
We had a wind storm about 6am the morning we left. It trashed the yard with branches, so we picked up the larger ones and left town. We noted thousands of trees down along our route to Starkville, MS. We had planned to get on the Natchez Trace there, but it was closed due to trees across the road. We turned south to Jackson and got on the Trace there. We had a pleasant evening at Rocky Springs CG which is just north of Natchez.
The next morning we found out the wind storm we encountered was minor to the tornados that ravaged central Alabama in the late afternoon.
We made it home in three jumps. First from Lafayette to my cousin’s farm next Kentwood, LA. [Home of former slut Brittany Spears] We spent the night in his driveway. He took us on a tour of Moak Farms showing us his cows, wood pile and thoroughbreds.
The next night we stayed at a COE CG north of Meridian. This gave a a short hop home the next day.
We spent $450 on gasoline. We have spent that much to get to New Mexico in the past. And so it goes.
We went to wedding last night. I am always hopeful that each wedding we attend will be our last. This one was special to us as a Pit Bull was the honorary ring bearer. Yeah, one of those dogs that strike fear in the minds of many people. We know that dogs are what people make them. This one was calm and submissive. Of course, there is a story. A 20 yo for no reason, beat the dog with a shovel. Then doused him with lighter fluid causing burns over 60% of his body. The guy got 9.5 years. Almost long enough.
Only two lookers at our home and one of those was not really a prospect.
That’s the news from Hoover.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Grounded in Hoover
We got home for Halloween. We have been fixing up the house since then. That’s almost six months! The end is in sight. It was listed for sale this week. If we get a quick sale, we may store everything and take a trip. Or we might try to find another house and finish everything up this year.
The house has been painted inside and out. Quite a bit of yard work has been done. Some by us, some by Armando. The big item was finally finished, resurfacing the driveway. The paving was the inexpensive part of fixing the drive.
The fun part of the resurfacing was that Dorothy got to drive the paver. You know she loves anything that moves on tracks.
Would you call that a smile?
Azaleas in Bloom – We Like these colors together
For Sale links to pictures of the house
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Two kind folks wondered why we have not updated this Blog in months. Well we have never updated it while we are at home. Deal is, we have not been home this long since we retired. Four months and counting. No trip in sight.
And home we are. Cleaning, painting and staging the house. Getting it ready to put on the market. Not that we really expect it to sell. It is looking better. After five years of playing the place was getting a run down look.
Oh, and we are spending money too. On the house. We hope the new owners will appreciate it.
I would take a picture, but it’s too damn cold to go outside. December and January were the pits and February is so far worse.
We need to sell this place. It’s over 3,400 square feet and we need something around 2,000 on one level. 1,200 would be fine with me. Dorothy “needs” 2,000. One level as our knees complain about steps.
We may not get a long trip this year. That depends on too many things. We will get away for some short trips. We are even going to a local COE CG over Alabama AEA with Dorothy’s niece and three kids. They will be in their popup. Alecia and her gang may join in their tent.