About Me

Lee Creek, North Shuswap near Chase, B.C, Canada
We went full-time Rving in October of 2005! We retired from full time to part-time as of the end of 2015. Our present "small but comfortable" Wagon is a 2008 Camper trailer(TravelAir Rustler), pulled by a 2008 Dodge Dakota, 4X4.l. Our home is now a Gated Community Park, in Oliver, British-Columbia, Canada. I retired in 2005 and my Life Companion, Valerie, retired October 1, 2006 from nursing. We invite you to follow and share our new adventures and mishaps. Life is but an adventure full of dreams yet to be fulfilled!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

November 28 to 30, 2008 Gulf Coast, Mississippi

NOV. 28, Back to the Ford dealership

I was up by 6:30 a.m., at the Ford dealer by 7:30 and back to our site by 10:20 a.m. It was discovered that there was an extra wire attached to the throttle switch which was causing the short circuit. Once disconnected, the throttle functioned normally. I later discovered that the extra wire connected to my Jake and it served to stop the Jake from operating when I press on the throttle. I still have Jake function but I must turn the switch on and off manually now. I will get that fix later. Of course, because it was an aftermarket item, I had to pay for the time spent on it but at least now I know.

Came back to our trailer and picked up Val and Tucker and we all returned to town. We went to the Visitor Centre, walked around and took in the history then went into town to find a internet café. Afterward, we walked around a bit then went for lunch at a local pub. I had a dish with craw fish, mushroom in a creamy spicy vignette. It was sweet, spicy and…DELICIOUS. This dish is mentioned in one of Greg Iles’ book “the quiet game”, so I had a “famous” dish. Val had her usual Gumbo soup! We also had biscuits and sweet butter (butter mix with jam).
We began driving to our next sightseeing when the sky became very dark, the wind picked up and it began POURING and I do mean pouring! Warnings came on the radio about possible tornadoes so we decided to go back to the trailer and keep an eye on it since we had the awning out.
It was a good day overall.

NOV. 29, Saturday, to Gulf Coast in Pass Christian, MS

What a night! We had a storm come through overnight and there was lighting and thunder. I swear one struck near us. It was so loud that Tucker jumped in the bed with us and crawled under the blanket. He spent the rest of the night with us shivering, poor little guy.

Anyway, the rain stopped long enough for us to pack, dump and hit the highway. We followed the Trace to its end then onto Hwy 61 south. Topped up our fuel in Natchez for $2.89. Two hours later, we entered Louisiana and eventually got on I-110 through Baton Rouge then East on I-10. We fuelled in Gonzales at @2.899 then went on East on I-10 through New Orleans, eventually re-entering Mississippi . We exited at marker 24 and headed south toward the Gulf and Pass Christian. We arrived at our new site around 4 p.m., Five Star Family resort. I think it’s more like a one star now as it is still showing heavy damages from Katrina. At least we have full hook-ups minus WIFI but we can survive that. Paid $8 a night so can’t really complained now, can we? We will be here for 7 nights, until Dec 9.
Time to relax. It’s raining again.

N 30* 22’ 41”
W 089* 13’ 19”
Alt: 20 feet
Distance today: 405 KM in 6.5 hours
Av. Speed: 50MPH

NOV. 30, Sunday, Gulf Coast

Got up to a sunny morning but cooler and windier. Val did the laundry in the morning and I continued setting up outside and tie down the awning, In the afternoon, we went to Long Beach to Wal-Mart to get some groceries and topped up on fuel since it’s only $2.549 here. Driving along the Gulf on Hwy 90 is quite beautiful yet sad as there is still strong evidence of the damage caused by Katrina, even 5 years later. It’s a slow process. The highway and the bridges have been rebuilt so we are driving on new pavement which makes the drive very pleasant. There are lots of commercial building closed up and showing damages still.
After picking our groceries, we drove back along the Gulf as far as Gulfport. There is miles and miles of white sand beaches and hardly a soul on them.
We came home and had dinner.
This park was used by FEMA after Katrina and to this day, there are still some of the people using the trailers here. We talked to a couple of lot owners who told us that this used to be a very beautiful park. The office was destroyed and the club house was damaged. While FEMA residents were here, more damages were caused and a few things were stolen. That’s really too bad.

Friday, November 28, 2008

November 24 to 27, 2008, in Natchez, Mississippi

NOV 24, Monday, Still in Jackson

Another warm night. Temperature went up to a balmy 68*F but it did rain as forecasted. One thing about rain her is that the soil becomes really muddy and sticky. It is like red clay that clings to everything.
We went into town to do our internet thing. Uploaded my pictures and blog and downloaded the e-mail. We also went to the drugstore to replenish our drugs supply to nourish my cold. We came home and I made reservations on our campsites for the next few weeks. We will be going to the city of Natchez, MS for 3 days then to Gulfport, MS and eventually end up in New Orleans to meet Andre and his girlfriend and hopefully Audrey and Marcel. The Fleetwood dealership also called to let us know that our parts are in and we have to be there at 8 a.m. tomorrow. Hopefully, this will be fixed for good this time.

NOV. 25, Tuesday, repairs

I don’t know if it is my cold or my anxiety but I was awake at 5 this morning; just couldn’t sleep!? We were on the road this morning by 7:30 a.m. after dumping. We drove south on I-55 through Jackson and arrived at our destination, Turning Wheels RV Dealership, on time with 5 minutes to spare for our 8 a.m. appointment. They started on the repairs for the office slide right away and worked on it until 4:30 p,m. The opening for the slide was not square so whenever an adjustment was made to correct the opening of the slide, it would not fit properly in the opening thus the ripping of the rubber roof. The manager told me that they’ve seen a few of Fleetwood product like this where they rush through the construction and don’t always square things up.
In the mean time, we went for breakfast then we drove the section of the Trace which we will miss due to where we are now situated. This consisted of a distance of about 15 miles from I-20 to I-55. We then drove to Flying J where I fuelled and came back to the Dealership and sat around for the rest of the day. We also took a short drive south to a park which turned out to be a meeting place for gay men. There were a few of them there already and it was very obvious. Boy, oh boy! The situation we find ourselves into sometimes!! I also filled the propane tank, $31.

We finally got our rig back at 4:30 p.m. and we decided to stay a local park, the Swinging Bridge RV Park, a Good Sam park for the night as it was getting too dark. This way it will also give me a chance to inspect the job thoroughly tomorrow before we head to our destination, the town of Natchez and the end of the Trace.

Total distance today: 184 KM, including all the sightseeing

NOV. 26, Wednesday, to Natchez City, MS

We stopped at the dealership before going on so that I could get a couple of minor touch up done then we were on our way via I-20 and I-55 and finally back on the trace.
Our first stops were historic site then we went on to Rocky Spring, an old town which was busy in the old days. Now all that’s there is remnants of foundation, an old church and a cemetery. A trail took us to all of it and it was quite impressive. We had lunch here. There is also a Camp ground which was where we were supposed to camp last night.
After lunch, we went our way to our next stop, Bullen Creek where we took a nature walk then it was Mount Locust, a rebuilt Inn from the Natchez Trace days. It was very impressive. We walked the grounds, saw the bedroom and kitchen then we looked over a slave cemetery still containing approx. 15 bodies. A little further was the owner’s cemetery and what a contrast! There, we saw beautiful Headstones for each member of the family and well kept grounds where as the slave cemetery only had one little headstone remaining.

We continued on south to our next stop, the Natchez State Park, approx 10 miles off the trace on a small hill with a dam lake. We paid $16/night and will be here 3 days. It is a bit isolated but only 10 miles from the town of Natchez. On the way up here, we saw an old, old farm with buildings just like you see on TV when looking at hillbillies. No kidding! The buildings looked like they were about to fall down anytime. We even saw a black man with coveralls and suspenders on the porch. REALLY!!!

Our site was an easy back in and we got set up with no problems. The place is full of young families, here for the Thanksgiving Week-End.
After setting up, we drove into town on an emergency run to the Animal Hospital. We picked three ticks our of Tucker and one of them was on his eye lid which swelled up and was very reddish so we were a bit nervous and got him checked. The doctor told us he would be Ok and gave us some antibiotics for him. We had a good scare but they were wonderful. Even met a black teacher who got an award for his teaching skills. ( we learned that from one of the nurse there).

NOV. 27, End of the Natchez trace and the town of Natchez


We left around 10:30 a.m. and got back on the Trace. We drove south west and stopped first at the Emerald Mound where we saw a couple of poor blacks with their bottle of moonshine ( no kidding). Then it was to the Elizabeth Female Academy, built in the 1800’s by the Mississippi government to educate their women. Talked about forward thinking! All that’s left now is an old wall which is also falling apart.

We have arrived to the END OF THE NATCHEZ TRACE after over 400 miles of wonderful highway, awesome sceneries and a history to fill you with pride and adventure. It was a wonderful drive and we would recommend it to anyone. We drove over 400 miles without seeing one light, no stop signs nor any traffic jam. We learned a lot and were impressed with the cleanliness of the road side and the parks. It will be hard to beat and we will miss it.

We drove into town to the Tourist Info centre but it was closed due to the holiday. For that matter, everything was closed today including most of the restaurants and pubs. We crossed the Mississippi River into Louisiana, visited Vidalia, a small town on the Louisiana side then came back into Natchez. We saw the floating casino but didn’t go in. I think that Glenda and Terry would be impressed with this one. We drove through town and saw lots of old historic houses and churches.
As luck would have it, the truck started acting up again. The throttle control switch again. Guess what I am doing first thing tomorrow…back to the Ford dealership for the third time. I really can’t believe this string of bad luck I am having! Really frustrating.

Monday, November 24, 2008

November 20 to 23, still in Jackson, MS

NOV. 20, Thursday, in Jackson

Sunny and warm! Not much to report today. Fran called to say the parts are being shipped today and should be here Monday so we are here for the week-end, whether we like it or not. Val did the laundry and I washed the rig and the truck. Then we went up the street to a café with internet and I uploaded our blog, downloaded our e-mail, uploaded our pictures and did some banking. Came home and had a shot of Bourbon. Yum! Yum!
BBQ’ed steaks for dinner. We met a couple from Quebec, Louise and Ronald. Very nice people whom we had over for a drink after dinner.

NOV. 21, Friday, at the Park

This has got to be the coldest night yet…26*F (-5*C) It is sunny and the temperature only got to 40*F all day. We have a very cold wind from the North. And…to top it all, I woke up with a sore throat and a bit of fever. Spent the day nurturing this, feeling sorry for myself and sleeping.

NOV. 22, Saturday,

Another very cold night! Down to 22*F overnight but sunny this morning again. The water hose froze so had to turn on the water pump and use the water in the tank for a while.
It only got to a maximum of 48*F today. We went to get some groceries then came home.

NOV. 23, Sunday,

It warmed up nicely today. It is cloudy and 62*F. Stayed home and nurtured my cold. We got a call from Audrey, Val’s sister, that they are coming to Florida in December and may drive up to New-Orleans to catch up with us. That would be wonderful if they did.
We went to bed early. I’ve been drowning myself in Tylenols, cold syrup and lozenges.
I am hoping to update my blog tomorrow so will be uploading a few pictures too. I also started a new folder call: #28A Natchez Trail, which is a continuation of #28…Enjoy!

The parts for "Q" should be here tomorrow so hopefully we can be out of here by Tuesday aftrenoon.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

November 15 to 19, to Jackson, MS

NOV. 15, Saturday, Back to the Trace Parkway, Alabama

We left at 9:30 a.m. and drove Hwy 72 East back to the Natchez Trace Parkway in Alabama. We crossed Mississippi once again and fuelled at Burnsville for $2.99/gal. We headed south-west on the Trace and stopped at Bear Creek for lunch, a very nice area near the creek and sooooo peaceful!
After lunch we continued down the road to Bear Creek Mounds which dates back to 1200 A.D. These would have had some ceremonial structures on them. This is also where we crossed back into Mississippi. We will now be in this State until the end of the Trace.
Cove Springs, our next stop, was a caved in area caused by erosion. It created small caves where it is suspected Indians lived. Inside one of the cave, there was a small lake and we could stand up in it. (See Pictures, #28 Natchez Trace)
Tombigbee-Tennessee waterway which connects the Gulf of Mexico with the Tennessee River in the North, was our next sight. This is a man-made waterway, a navigable canal 459 miles long. From here it was the Pharr Mounds, 8 mounds in a farmer’s field dating back 2000 years. It is believe they were burial grounds. We stopped at Dogwood Valley where we took a short hike on a trail to look at all the Dogwood trees which are prominent here and also to walk the “Old Trace”.
Shortly after, we went on another walk on the Old Trace but this time, it was to see 13 graves containing unknown Confederates soldiers. The original tombstones were stolen! Absolutely unbelievable!!! Fortunately, the Park replaced them.

We finally arrived at the Park’s headquarter at Tupelo and stopped to get information for a campsite and the area. We decided on the Fish and Wildlife Park as it is the closest to town and only cost $15 per night. We will be here 2 nights minimum and maybe 3 if I can find a place to fix the leaky Pinion seal at the rear end

It was cloudy most of the day and windy but the sun did manage to come out on a couple of occasions. Right now, 5 P.M., it is raining.

N 34* 18’ 32”
W 088* 38’ 59”
Alt: 390 feet
Dist. Today: 284 KM in 5.5 hours
Av. Sp: 48 mph

NOV. 16, Sunday, visiting Tupelo, birthplace of Elvis Presley

A sunny day but very cool. Never got above 50*F!

We went into town and visited the place where Elvis was born and was raised to the age of 13. The house, the church and the car are all replicas but built to the exact scale of those days. There is a sidewalk surrounding the house and each square has a year in it from 1935 to 1977, his years alive. (See pictures in folder # 28, Natchez Trace) There is also a statue of him when he was 13 y.o. There is also a fountain with water jets shooting on plaques representing each year from 1935 to 1977. Then there was the “walk of life” also known as the “story wall”. There are dozens of letters from people who knew him and either played, fought or prayed with him. Some of the stories were very touching and some very funny.

From here, we drove to town and saw the downtown but unfortunately everything was closed due to being Sunday. We drove on and stopped at an empty parking lot where I called my daughter and Vanessa to wish her a happy birthday. Afterwards, we visited the battle ground of the civil war that took place here. Time for lunch…fish and chips and Gumbo for Val.
We also visited the State park and got information on one in Jackson which I called and made reservations for the 18th. I also checked out a couple garage to have the truck fix tomorrow morning. We fuelled at 2.77/Gal

NOV. 17, Monday, truck fixed so onwards onto the Natchez Trace

I got up at 7 a.m. to be in town first thing to see about that leaky pinion seal on the truck. Stopped at a garage I had seen yesterday and got them to fix it. 3 hours later, (we had to wait for parts) I was on my way. While there and talking to the mechanic, I learned that he lived in Kamloops for 4 years with his parents. His father is a Mennonite preacher. Just amazing who one runs into. That’s the second American guy I meet who has been to the Kamloops area.
Anyway, back on the Natchez trace we go. We stopped a few miles down the road for lunch at the Chickasaw Council House. This village was known as the Capital of the Chickasaw Nation.

We crossed the half way point at Tockshish, Mile 249. Our next stop was Bynum Mounds and then the Jeff Bushy area where there is a gas station (closed) and a store(closed). There is also a camping State Park here with no services. We decided to go on.

We went on to French Camp where there was a small village and an old homestead with a store, craft items and a coffee house. It was really neat and old but well kept. We walked in the village and got fresh baked bread made that day and still warm. In the bakery, wouldn’t you know it, Val met the lady working there who was from Winnipeg and knew a few people that Val knew so they chatted for a good 20 minutes. I got myself scarce! We also met 2 Canadian couples who were camping back at Jeff Bushy for the night. One was from Ontario while the other couple was from Quebec but spoke good English.
We went on down the road and stopped at Kosciusko where there was an Info Centre. We learned that this is the town where Oprah Winfrey was born so we decided to spend the night and go see that in the morning. No campground but there was a Wal-Mart so we got water from the Centre and after getting permission, we camped at Wal-Mart.

N 33* 03’ 14”Bold
W 089* 34’ 04”
Alt: 395 feet
Av Sp: 38 MPH
Dist. Today: 182 KM in 5 hours

NOV. 18, Oprah birthplace and Jackson, MS

Another cold night (32*F) but it warmed up in the day and it is sunny! We got on the road early today…7:45 a.m. and went to visit Oprah birthplace. It was a bit of a disappointment. There was the church where she faced an audience for the first time but the house she lived in was gone which was sad. I guess we expect too much some time when we go to places like this.

We got back on the Trace off Hwy 12 and drove south to our first stop at Myrick Creek where we followed a nature trail to learn about beavers. From here we went to “Red Dog Road”, named for a Choctaw Indian Chief. We walked the upper Choctaw boundary at mile post 128, a self guiding trail through a forest of tall pines.

Our next stop was “Boyd Mound” where a village was discovered and dating back 1200 years. After this, it was an overlook of the Reservoir, 8 miles long and supplying drinking water for Jackson and the neighboring counties. We stopped at the Craft Centre and found it interesting then it was onward to Jackson and I-55 south to “Turning Wheel RV “, a Fleetwood dealership where we will get the rubber roof on the small office slide fix (All warranty of course). Hopefully it will be done right this time.

We stopped for brunch and fuelled up at 2.66 then we drove back to exit 98 where our site for the next 4 nights is situated; “Lefleur’s Bluff State Park” where we paid $16/night for electricity, water and a site by the lake.

N 32* 19’ 44”
W 090* 00’ 37”
Alt; 290 Feet
Av Sp: 33 mph
Dist. Today: 190 KM in 5 hours

NOV. 19, in Jackson, MS

Sunny this morning and although it was only 30*F, but it did get up to 65 later in the day. We went into town to the Chamber of Commerce Info Centre and got some pamphlet on what to see around here. We parked behind the building and walked to the Capitol Building where it was a self-guided tour. We went through the whole building and people were very friendly and helpful. No one seemed to care where we walked in. We even had a MS Senator introduce himself to us and shake our hands. I have to admit that the inside was very impressive. We saw the Senate and House of Representatives Chambers. Val even sat in one of the chairs (see pictures in Folder #28, Natchez Trace)
From here we walked to the Governor’s Mansion but it was closed. The guard told us to come back in the morning as it is open only from 9 to noon. We walked through downtown back to our truck and drove on Farish Street, famous in the 60’s for the area where the Civil Rights Movement was located and in the middle of the Blacks’ Quarter. Today it is in disrepair but there are intentions of rebuilding it and making it a “World Famous” historic area. We stopped at “Peach” restaurant where we had lunch. This is where the AAC (African American Committee) would meet from time to time and also Luther King had a meal here. The menu consisted of only half a dozen items. We were the only white in there but everyone was friendly and helpful. Some were curious about our kayaks on the truck. The neighborhood housing is really rundown and in disrepair. Most are abandoned but some were occupied. Farish Street and the neighborhood is part of the “Civil Rights Movement driving tour” so we were living history.

We drove home satisfied with our day. I got a call from the Dealership that they’ve received authorization and are now waiting for the parts. Fran from Fleetwood also call to tell us that everything will be shipped tomorrow, so hopefully, it will be here Friday and we can get this repair Monday. We also paid for another night so our departure will be Tuesday, we hope!

Friday, November 14, 2008

November 11 to 14, 2008, Natchez Trace and Memphis

NOV. 11, Tuesday, to Natchez Trace Parkway and Corinth, Mississippi

It rained overnight and it’s still threatening. We were on the road by 09:25 a.m. We drove south on I-65 then 155 to Hwy 70 where we turned West and it eventually went into Hwy 100. We then turned south on the “Natchez Trace Parkway” and the adventure began. There wasn’t much to the beginning which is actually the end of the trail. All literature say to start at Natchez, MS. Anyway, the highway was superb and the scenery awesome. Our first stop was at the Old Trace Trail where we walked the trail and lived history. It was so serene and beautiful. We could have gone on but the rest of the trail called. Our next stop was the Tennessee Divide where in the 1800’s this was the end of the USA and the beginning of the Chickasaw Indian territory. We had an overlook of the valley which was picture perfect.

Our next stop was an old Phosphate Mine where we saw an old abandoned mine shaft and a rail track bed called a “DINKEY LINE” in those days. Tucker loved all these little walks especially since he was running free. We then stopped at the MERIWETHER LEWIS Memorial and burying ground. He died here in a mysterious way in this lonely but serene and beautiful place. There is a monument for him and his body is buried below it. He was part of the LEWIS & CLARK Expedition to the West Coast.

We then stopped at the Steeler Iron Works where pig iron was manufactured in the 1820’s We went by the “McGlamery Stand”. “Stand” meant an Inn in those days. Then we stopped at the “Sunken Trace” where mud was really bad when it rained so the pioneers built different routes to circumvent this and which we could see to this day.

We finally entered Alabama, crossed the Tennessee River and stopped at the “Colbert Ferry Crossing” where Chief George Colbert of the Chickasaw Indians ran the ferry to cross the river. This was considered the worst place on the trail as Chief George was a real robber and charged exorbitant prices to cross the river. He had total control over the ferry and the only one on the trail. He was half Indian and half Scots…what a combo!
Our final stop was the Buzzard Roost Spring where we saw a pretty little water source coming out of a hillside. It was a favorite waterhole in the days of the Trail.
We exited the Natchez Trace at Hwy 72, Alabama, drove West to Corinth, Mississippi, where we fuelled @ $2.97/Gal and then stopped for the night at Corinth RV and Gun Club, a P.A. park and paid $15 for the night. We will be back on the Trace next Saturday. Now it’s time to see Graceland.

I have started a new folder in my Picasa link call: “#28 NATCHEZ TRACE” Check it out!

NOV. 12, Wednesday, to Memphis, Tennessee

It is raining this morning and it looks like it’s going to last all day. We really can’t complain as this is the first day of rain we have since leaving Quebec on Oct. 20

We packed and left around 10:30 a.m. and by then the rain had stopped. We drove on Hwy 72, a 4 lanes highway. The scenery was mainly farm fields and rolling hills. The hwy took us slowly north-east to Memphis. We crossed into Tennessee about an hour and half later and arrived at our campsite a half hour later. We are actually in Germantown, a suburb of Memphis and are staying at the Memphis Agri-Centre RV Park. Cost is $25 per night, full hook-up and WI-FI. We are here for 3 nights. There is a farmer’s market here, open on week-ends and the Centre is having an auto show this week-end. We won’t be here to see those however.
After setting up, we drove to the Wal-Mart, a mile from here, and got some groceries. As we drove home, it began raining again and it poured all evening long. I had to take Tucker in that stuff to do his “thing”. Thank goodness for umbrella but the poor little guy got soaked. He didn’t seem to mind though!?

N 35* 07’ 36”
W 089* 48’ 06”
Alt: 305 feet
Av. Speed 46 MPH
Dist. Today 123 KM

NOV. 13, Thursday Graceland

It is foggy this morning and it pretty well stayed like that all day. We went to Graceland today. We drove to the West side of Memphis and got off on Elvis Presley Blvd from I-55. We stopped at an Info Centre and met a really neat senior lady with tons of information. She was quite spunky for her age with a very nice sense of humour. We left there and drove to Graceland a couple miles down the road.

Graceland was quite a neat place but really touristy and commercialize. We parked across the street from Graceland, bought our tickets and went on the bus that took us across and to the house. From there, we went in and toured the place. We basically saw everywhere except the upstairs which is private. We went outside on the grounds and saw the building where his father had his office and also the building which used to be a racquetball court but turned into a museum after his death.
We also saw his burial place including his parents and his stillborn brother. It was very well done. It made us reflect on life and his life and what it all meant to each of us. It was touching.
We returned to the main area across the street, had lunch then visited the other 3 museum which included his car collection, his stage suits & movies and his career in the army.

From here, we drove west to the Mississippi River and visited the Chucalissa Museum which is an archeological site of an Indian village dating back to 1000 A.D. The museum contained artifacts from that era and we also were able to visit the laboratory which was really interesting. There were stones, bones and tools and vases they found on the site.
Outside, there is a huge mound which was a place where they built their village. The whole place is run by local Indians who were more than happy to share their knowledge. It also helped that we were the only one there at that hour (4;45 p.m;)

You can see all the pictures in folder # 29 Graceland (136 pictures) and #30 named Memphis which is all the pictures not taking at Graceland. Enjoy them!

NOV. 14, Friday, to Memphis city

Today is Vanessa’s Birthday, my grand-daughter. HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRINCESS! We called them but the only person at home was Graeme, my grand-son who was just walking out the door and heading for a show in Vancouver. What a busy life they lead. We will call back later

Anyway, today was cloudy all day but warm. I got up early and took the truck to Dobb’s Ford dealership to have the throttle switch looked at again as it was acting up again and was much worse this morning. Almost three hours later, I drove out of there with a new Throttle switch which was under warranty so no cost to me. Came back home and noted that it ran much better. We went to downtown Memphis in the afternoon and visited Beale Street where Blues and Rock & Roll was born. The whole street was alive with music and lots of bars and clubs.
We parked by the visitor centre near the Mississippi River and took a trolley into town. We bought a day pass for $3.00 and had a wonderful time. We had lunch at BB King club then walked Beale street and lived the atmosphere.
We took the trolley further into town and walked some more then came back to our truck and came home without any further glitches. Miss daisy took us a different route which was Ok but sure glad we didn’t have “Q” hooked up at the back. Makes me wonder how she really functions!?? Anyway, the scenery was good and we enjoyed a different way home.

Tomorrow, we move out back to the Natchez trace Parkway and Topelo. Looking forward to that.
As stated before, all the pictures have been downloaded to folder 29 GRACELAND and folder 30 MEMPHIS. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 8 to 10, in Nashville

NOV 8, Saturday, a concert at the Ole Opry

A sunny day. I went to the office first thing this morning about getting tickets for the Grand Ole Opry. I was lucky to get two tickets for tonight show. I was told to be sure to be at the office by 5:15 p.m. to get on the bus which is included in the price.
On that basis, we kind of stuck near the area. We went looking for an awning rod and I finally found one at this RV dealership near Nashville and Camping World. After that, we stopped at a pub/resto and had lunch and a beer then came home
At 5:15 we were in front of the office and the bus arrived on time. 7 couples from this campground went. We drove to Nashville downtown and to the “Grand Ole Opry” It is really neat being here and so took a few pictures, of course. Our agenda is pretty full of big names such as Connie Smith, Vince Gill, Randy Travis and of course, the introduction of Kevin Costner, the actor becoming Western singer. He was disappointing somewhat. His voice was not great and I wasn’t the only one feeling that way.
The show was 2 hours long and it was wonderful and we enjoyed every minute of it. After the show, it took us a good half hour to get out of the parking lot and we finally got home around 10 p.m. Needless to say, Tucker was happy to see us. By the way, our driver was quite neat and very informative. We drove by Broadway Street which we intend to check out tomorrow.

NOV. 9, Sunday to Nashville

It is cloudy today and cold. It only got to a maximum of 48*F all day!
We drove to downtown and parked behind the Grand Music Hall of Fame. We went in, paid our dues and then went up to the 3rd floor where the tour began. It consisted of a tribune to a lot of stars including Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley and a bunch of other singing artist.
The second floor was mainly dedicated to Hank William and his family including Hank #2 and 3. He led quite a life and I didn’t realize that he was such an alcoholic.
From here, we went down to the Hall of Fame where the walls were covered of plaques displaying a figurine of the star and a brief history on their life. We saw names like Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, to name a few. IT WAS AWESOME!!!
We went outside into the cold and noticed a commotion across the street so we went to investigate. There was an event going on; an introduction to some Stars into the “Walk of Fame” sidewalk. This is where the star has his/her name written in the sidewalk within a Star frame. We saw Randy Travis, Martina McBride and little Richard have their name immortalized and each of them gave a speech to the crowd. Another awesome sight! We also saw and heard Barbara Mandrel and Trey Aitkin. It was pretty cool.
From here, we walked to Broadway St, the Honky-Tonk area. We walked the whole street almost, bar hopping and listening to different Country singers and blues. We called Audrey (Val sister) and Marcel but they weren’t home. They really would have enjoyed this scene.
The afternoon went by too fast and soon it was time to come home. A great day overall!!

I MADE A FOLDER ESPECIALLY FOR NASHVILLE…#27 Check out all the new photos

NOV. 10, Monday, repair window and get ready to leave

It is sunny today but we had a very cold night…went down to 30*F. It is 35* right now at 8:30 and the forecast is for a temp. of 55* later in the afternoon.

I called my insurance about the window and got a claim number. I also made reservation for Memphis. We will be there 3-4 nights. I called Jackson Fleetwood dealership in Mississippi and made an appointment for the 19th to get the slide fix.
After lunch I went to get the window fix while Val did the laundry. Came back 2 hours later and loaded the kayaks and filled the airbags. Also washed the windows on the truck so that I can see where I am going.
Tomorrow, we will be driving part of the Natchez trail through Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.

Friday, November 07, 2008

November 6 & 7, 2008, Onwards to Nashville, Tennessee

NOV. 6, Thursday, To Gatlinburg and Great Smokey National Park.

We left the house for more sightseeing. We drove through Pigeon Forge which is full of tourist attractions that I like to call “tourist trap”. I have to admit it is very beautiful and reminded us of Benson, Missouri. Hwy 441 took us to Gatlinburg, another very pretty village full of tourist attractions. The street through was very narrow and hardly any places to park. We stopped at the Smokey Mountains National Park information centre and got a map of the area.
We drove on up to the “Clingmans Dome”, 6,643 feet in elevation. We actually had to drive to the ridge where the State Line between Tennessee and North Carolina is situated. We went up to the dome’s parking lot then walk up or was it crawl up to the dome, where we had an absolutely fantastic and awesome view of the surroundings. They say one can see 7 States from this location on a very clear day!? I sort of can see why. We could look into North Carolina and also could see Pigeon Forge and Sevierville from up here and the day was a bit hazy.

We spent about a half hour up here then went back down. It was 75*F down in the valley and only 55*F at the top. We drove on to the Cades Cove Loop. The road was tortuous and narrow at some spots but we managed. We stopped for lunch at a picnic area then went on the Cades. The road looped around the country side and was a single lane farm road (paved and one-way only), an 11 miles loop which turned out to be a nightmare as there was lots of traffic and when someone stopped to take a picture, the whole lot of us behind had to stop. There were NO places to pass. Sure, signs said to pull over and be courteous but…it wasn’t heeded to. Anyway, we crawled around and it took us 2 hours to do 11 miles. Once out of there, we drove back to Hwy 73 then Hwy 321 back to our site and arrived home at 6 p.m.

Overall, it was a good day. We did see a bear, and lots of deer and horses.

NOV. 7, Friday, moving on to Nashville

We didn’t leave until 10:30 a.m. A lazy morning as we only have 160 miles to go to our destination: Nashville, Tennessee.
We drove to Dollywood Drive to see the place but it is situated in such a way that one cannot see it from the road so we kept going and got on 411 then I-40 West. We drove around Knoxville on I-640. We wanted to drive through the city but I-40 was closed due to construction so we had to go around.
We hit heavy rain just west of the city. We stopped at Camping World and I drove into a dead end by mistake. There was a turn-around but it was tight so I tried it and as I turned around, the trailer smashed the rear window to smithereens. Needless to say, I was quite angry at myself for such a stupid error. We temporarily fixed the window and then went on. Camping World and the dealership there didn't have the awning rod I've been looking for.

We went on to Nashville, crossing the Cumberland Mountains for the last time and the country side became flatter finally. We stopped for lunch and met a single lady with her dog (a widow actually), travelling with a 20 feet Citation trailer and a 150 Truck. She was on her way to Texas via the Natchez Trail. We think she has a lot of courage and guts…my hat to her!

We went on and finally got out of the rain and the sky became friendlier as we got nearer Nashville. We turned onto Hwy 155 to get around Nashville then north on I-65 to exit 98 and our next stay, Nashville Country RV Park. It is a Passport America and we paid full price for the two nights and Passport rate for two days. The book said one rate and when I questioned it, the lady told me that was last year rate and they now charge full price for the week-end year round. That amounted to an average of $27/night for 4 nights which is a bit steep but I wasn’t willing to move again as we arrived here at 4:15 pm. and this the only Campsite near the city.
We set up and I went to get some propane then found a garage to get the window fix. I have an appointment for next Monday. There are a few Canadians here and I met a guy from Kelowna, BC who's name is Ron Crockett and he claims to be a descendant of Davy Crockett. How about that!??

N 36* 22’ 25”
W 086* 42’ 37”
Alt: 511 feet
Av speed: 49 MPH
Dist. Today: 388 KM

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

November 1 to 5 To Kentucky and Tennessee

NOV. 1, Saturday, To Kentucky

I got up early and drove to the Ford dealership only to find that they were closed due to inventory! Go figure! That black cloud is still there. Anyway, I tried a couple of other places with no luck so decided to go on. This campsite is shutting down today so we can’t stay here anyway.
We got on I-77, a toll highway and headed north to Charleston, West Virginia. Our cost was $3. for the whole trip on the toll highway. Once in Charleston, we got on I-64 again and headed west. The highway going through Charleston was very narrow and curvy so we had to slow down to 50 mph. We stopped for lunch then went on. We crossed into Kentucky and slowly the scenery changed to rolling hills. We stopped at the Info Centre and decided to stop at Daniel Boone Park. We turned onto 697 and finally arrived at our destination: Fort Boonesborough State Park where we paid $22./night and booked 3 days. I hope to get the truck fix here.
This is where Daniel Boone and his compatriots built a fort along the Kentucky River. We will visit it tomorrow.
It was sunny the whole day and the temperature went up to 72*F (22*C) It’s still warm now at 8 p.m. There are lots of young families here for the week-end. We met a couple of them who were from Kentucky and were camped across from us. They were quite impressed with our travels stories.

N 37* 54’ 03”
W 084* 16’ 10”
Alt: 608 feet
Av Speed: 55 MPH
Dist. Today: 359KM

NOV. 2, Sunday, In Richmond, Kentucky

We rolled our clock one hour back overnight! Now back to Eastern Standard time we got up an hour earlier. Another sunny and warm day…gotta love it! We went to the fort and were told it was closed but we could still go through without any charges. As it turned out, it was for the best as the volunteers, who were all dressed up in that era’s fashion, were having a meeting and going over the year’s show. So we had them walking around in their gabs and took lots of pictures. It also turned out that quite a few of the cabins were unlocked so we could take a peek inside of them. We even talked to a couple of the volunteers.
We then went for a drive to where we thought they made barrels for bourbon but we never found it. Even Ms Daisy had a hard time. The truck was acting up again so we headed back to our site.
I ran a diagnostic on the engine and it showed that the throttle sensor was the cause which is what I had already figured anyway.
We had a BBQ tonight and a warm night it was

NOV. 3, Monday, sightseeing

I got up before 7 a.m. and drove to the Ford dealership where they were very friendly and accommodating. They confirmed my diagnostic and had to order a new Throttle Control Switch which they had within a couple of hours and then installed it. By noon, and $250 poorer, I was on my way back home.
I picked up Val and Tucker and we headed out for more sightseeing and bourbon tasting. We headed to “Buffalo Trace Distillery” in Frankfort, the Capital of Kentucky. Our guide was named Freddy, a colored man whose dad and grand-dad also worked here. The tour was free and our guide was most informative and knowledgeable. He had a thousand stories about the place and recounted its history without any glitches. We learned for example that Kentucky produces 98% of the world’s bourbon. We also found out that once out of the keg, the bourbon stops aging. Did you know that aging 20 year old bourbon in a barrel loses almost half of its content to evaporation!?? WOW!! Bourbon can be served chilled or at room temperature and each gives its own taste, believe it or not! We tried both and it’s true.
We had a wonderful day. Tomorrow, we move to Tennessee.

NOV. 4, Tuesday, In Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and a side trip to Kentucky Fried Chicken

We were on the road by 9:30 a.m. after dumping. We drove west to I-75 and filled up @3.09/gal. We stopped in Corbin, where the original Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant was situated and where Colonel Saunders began his career in his restaurant and motel on Hwy 25. We took a few pictures and of course, we had lunch there.
Got back on I-75 and headed south to Knoxville. We crossed the Cumberland Mountains in Tennessee after stopping at the Information Centre. The people there were very friendly and informative. We stopped for fuel in Powell and paid $3.19 Diesel is more expensive in Tennessee.
We went on to Dandridge where we were hoping to spend our time only to find out that the campground was closed so we drove back on I-40 and then on 411 to Pigeon Grove at the “Eagle Nest Campground”, a Passport campground. We are here for at least 3 days and may stay an extra one.

N 35* 47’ 32”
W 083* 36’ 07”
Alt: 1002 feet
Av speed: 50 mph
Distance today: 383 km

NOV. 5, Wednesday, sightseeing

Before leaving for our sightseeing, I called Fran at Fleetwood and of course got her answering machine so I left a message.

We went East to the “Davy Crockett State Park”. The country side was absolutely gorgeous. We had the Appalachians mountains on our right and the country side was full of autumn color and rolling hills. We stopped in Greeneville where the 17th President, Andrew Johnson lived and worked before becoming a politician. He was the first President to be tried for impeachment (unsuccessfully by the way) He was acquitted by one vote in the Senate!
At the Park, we saw a replica of David Crockett’s house where he was born and raised. We took a few pictures, bought a magnet as a souvenir and drove back home via a different route.

I have now fulfilled a lifelong dream…seeing where Davy Crockett, my childhood hero, was born
in Tennessee and where he died at the Alamo, Texas. Life couldn’t be better!