Thursday, November 29, 2007


Trip Complete....Wrapup!!!

Each time we venture out on a trip I post pictures (more to come on our return to Florida), and then in a post or two i add comments on we saw....random thoughts on RVing, etc.

Sign on a lawn care truck in Houston: "Vegetation Engineer!"

The Natchez Trace Parkway: Take it if you get the chance.....It runs from just outside Nashville all the way across Mississippi to Natchez....or vise versa....and it is neat! 50 mph speed limit, and beautiful wooded drive on a two lane road with an average for our 1.5 days on it of about 10 vehicles an hour.....with NO commercial vehicles allowed. If you've been on interstates for several days, this is a really relaxing nice break......and, you will average the 50 mph as there are very few slow downs, or other breakups of the drive. As one fellow we met at a campground in Tupelo put it, "It's like the Blue Ridge Parkway....without the mountains!" We drove the Trace from Muscle Shoals, AL to Natchez.

Natchez: We planned a stop there.....a place really out of the way, no matter where you are going or coming Duchess had read about the waterfront, and so forth. We had two problems. 1. The waterfront is a pair of casino a restaurant or two. 2. Natchez is old South Bible Belt....Sunday night, the time we were there, the entire place is C-L-O-S-E-D! We found a little pizza place and had a good meal, but all else was closed.

YOU Can Go Back! At least somewhat! In a post below I tell the story of our trip back to my WWII home at Joe Wheeler Dam on the Tennessee River. My Grandpa was Supt. of the dam and we lived in the "big house" at the end of the road on the lake above the dam. The house is still there, and it is still the home of the Supt. for Joe Wheeler....

Small World Syndrome is working.....We met two people on our sojourn who saw my credit card from the Suncoast Schools Credit Union and immediately said they also had accounts with this strictly local Tampa institution.....One, a young man who worked for a state park located just South of Birmingham, is from Tampa area, and still sends his checks to his account here (he showed us an envelope already addressed for his current deposit. The other, a young lady working in a campground in Tallahassee was also from here and a member of the CU.

Texas/Dickinson: This burb of Houston is home to Daughter Teri and Son-in-law Lance plus two lovely grandkids. We stayed at the Bay Colony campground...a park Lance refers to as an "Executive park" as many folks working at NASA, or for FAA (his employer) stay there for months on end. It is neat, clean and has few outside amenities....BUT has fine cable, WiFi, and such nicities as both a car and an RV wash! I used both.

Our holiday was fine with the full dose of Turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, and lots more topped off by pumpkin pie! Yum.....Loved the time with the kids and grands. We don't get to see any of our kids/grandkids often enough!

We had the usual repairs/etc. on this trip. I had to replace the cover on our roof AC unit which shattered 1st day out for some unknown reason (it was brittle as it is 7 years old). I also had to replace the propane sniffer alarm which failed and began to chirp at ten second intervals to indicate its failure. I replaced both in Dickinson, TX, where son-in-law Lance had a great little RV parts place just a couple of miles away. The AC is now covered by a knockoff brand cover which works fine and cost about 2/3rds the cost of the major name brand AC our coach has. The repairs were fairly uneventful, except this old body does NOT like climbing a ladder to 12 feet off the ground in 25 mph winds to replace things on the roof!

Another successful trip and en route home along Rt. 19 down Florida's "Nature Coast" Duchess commented....."I don't want to go home!" Such is our life in retirement. We have things here in Tampa that need doing, and we also love the road and cannot wait to be off again with our companion, C.J. the Cat!


p.s. Had several ripe tomatoes on my vines when we arrived.....both Better Bush and Cherry varieties.....One eggplant is on its way, and the Roma tomatoes are nearing ripe! Love my own tasty grown-at-home tomatoes! Considering a future of miniature bushes which we can take along and set out each night when we stop.....not sure that will work.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Hurricane Plus Two Years

We decided to drop off I-10 and drive along Rt. 90 in Gulfport and Biloxi, MS. We wanted to see the return of the Gulf Coast from the two-year removed hurricane. Our drive in was along a narrow roadway behind a truck.The hurricane tore up a miles-long wood walkway on the Gulf. Sad remains are still there today.
Rebuilding is slowly progressing.....but one faction is rebuilding faster than the rest....
Always nice to know the lobby for casino rebuilds is healthy.



Homeward Bound!

Enroute home....I found this picture neat....trees in the water...

Oh!, & Our little snowman who, at night, offers slowly changing lights inside for our fellow, green, blue, yellow.....Quite a nice treat, and will serve, at home, as a night light for the grandkids expected for Christmas at the Duke & Duchess' home in Tampa.



Tuesday, November 20, 2007


From Natchez to....Er....Dickinson, TX????

Seems I am doing most of these in segments rather than by a single location...

Continuing in that vein, This is a picture of the River View Campground in Natchez...That's our "RoadHouse" at the right of the line of RVs.Two Mississippi river boats pass just South of the Natchez bridge...note the low fall water level with sandbars showing.
We crossed Louisiana and dropped off I-10 at Rt. 146 in Texas heading across to Dickinson. This bridge was quite unique.
Once across the bridge, at 4 in the afternoon, we dropped into this fog. Visibility dropped to as low as a half-block, and then cleared ten miles later as we approached our kids place.

Now in Dickinson for a week, I'll be posting as we see things....



Monday, November 19, 2007


Natchez - In The Rain!

Drove in the rain from Tupelo, MS to Natchez, MS along the Natchez Trace Parkway...In the rain. Still a beautiful drive.The Parkway was quiet, and easy to drive at its 50 mph limit. Few vehicles passed, and I recommend the trip to any in the area.

Once in Natchez, we drove downtown and across the Natchez Bridge over the Mississippi River. Our stay was at River View RV Resort. Plain, but comfortable. Had to rinse sand and mud off the Suzuki to be able to drive to Sonny's Pizza for a great meal. Seems most of Natchez is closed Sunday nights.

Another change as the rainy weather has induced us to drive for Houston today instead of tomorrow.



Sunday, November 18, 2007


Change of Plans

Nothing big....just reviewed our trip last night and found we can drive "scenic" today to Natchez, down the rest of the Nachez Trace Parkway.

Lots to see in, we will.

Then next night on to Martin Dies, Jr. S P in Texas for an overnight before the final dive to Dickinson, TX and our family visit.



Saturday, November 17, 2007


Not Enough Fall Foliage!

OK - I had a comment already via email that I did not give the fall foliage enough here is another shot I took...with LOTS of colors, etc.
I do love the leaf changes as we do not get anything like them in Florida....and, I grew up in Illinois seeing the changes.....miss them!!!



Back On The Road - Problem-Alabama-Joe Wheeler, et al!

Left Tampa, 3pm Thursday, November 15th.

On the road two hours and heard a sharp crunching sound....Stopped and looked the coach over....nothing. Back on the road and a fellow in a pickup pulls up beside me on I-75 near Lake City, FL....He points at my roof. Stopped...and in the dark, climbed atop the coach...12 feet up! Exploration proved my Central AC Unit cover was broken. Hit by something? Who knows, but it is broken and flopping in the wind. Took 20 minutes to solve as I used our onboard clothesline to tie the cover down. Spent night 1 in Valdosta, GA.

Day two we angled from Tifton, GA across to Alabama and began to see some fall foliage....This pic is a street in Eufala, Alabama.
Night two spent in the Oak Mountain State Park just South of Birmingham off I-65. Lovely place and snapped this pic of the camp area as we left.
Day two we continue to Northern Alabama to see.....Joe Wheeler Dam, a part of the TVA system. My visit is actually a coming home of sorts. The dam was my home for a year while Dad was in Europe in WWII. My grandparents opened their home to Mom and I while he was overseas. The picture is across the dam from an East end overlook. The dam stretches for 6,000 plus feet and at the far side you can see the locks where boats pass through.
While we have seen some fall foliage, it is either not too special in color, or it is past peak. This red tree...beside the overlook where I snapped the picture of the dam was in full glory.
Finally, I found the highlight of the visit. House #5 on the "Managers Row of homes" above the dam and overlooking Lake Wheeler. My Grandfather, Harry Hage, was Superintendant of Joe Wheeler Dam for several years. The then-five homes went from small to large with the Supt. in the biggest. Now they have added a lot more brick homes, and they rent them out. But this #5 is still the home to the Supt. of Joe Wheeler Dam.
The visit was semi-sweet. I remembered nothing of the nearby community Town Creek. Nothing about the dam clicked, except the overlook. The home I knew through the trees before I even got there.

You can go back....just don't expect to see what was.....cause it ain't!

Now we are near Tupelo, Mississippi in a campground for the night, having traversed 60 miles of the Natchez Trace Parkway. We'll continue South on the Parkway tomorrow and hit I-20 to begin the trip West to our destination, Dickinson, Texas for Thanksgiving with kids/grandkids there.

More tomorrow night.



Saturday, November 03, 2007


Back From The Beach!

Home.....Duchess with a foot infection (keeping a many-years tradition of some form of sickness when at Madeira Beach!), and unpacking. Pics to follow.....

By the way we're off to Texas for Thanksgiving about mid-November, and will hope to capture some Fall Foliage along the way.....

Retirement is EVERYTHING it is cracked up to be!