Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Travel back from Buffalo to Jackson MS, Some routine maintenance and bad BBQ

October 24 - 27, 2014   

We are back in sunny and warm Jackson Mississippi where we left our RV.  It’s sort of like we were never gone at all. We were very grateful that the insects here didn’t invade our RV while we were gone too.  I put a lot of bug barrier insecticide down all around everything that touched the ground from the RV.  Looks like it worked!  Now we just need to get the truck and head on further south.

We had this very red cardinal under our picnic table.
We left the Buffalo area on Friday the 24th around noon.  We had planned to leave closer to 10am but that just didn’t happen.  We had several issues trying to leave that ended up slowing us down.  First, we were ready by 10am but then we needed to run errands before we actually left which would add half an hour, no big deal.   Just as I was getting ready to pull out to leave, I couldn’t find my glasses.  This is typical for me but usually I just look around a bit and there they are. Not this time!  After completely searching the car, including suitcases, and the house a couple of times, Patty found them.  They had been in the passenger seat where Patty was sitting.  When she got into the car, and unknown to her, she pushed the glasses into the area between the center console and the passenger seat.  I never thought to check her side as she was sitting there.  That lost us another half an hour making us now an hour late. 

We needed to pick up a ring Patty’s mother willed to her which was at her sister's house. It was on the way but added a little more time.  But as we pulled in I noticed that the clothes we had in the back seat were not there now.  I left them when I took them out to search the car for my glasses, yikes!  Now for another half an hour lost going for a round trip back to get them.  So, by the time everything was said and done we were 2 hours late and left at noon for a 560 mile trip.

We made good time and finally stopped 50 miles from Louisville KY at 8:30pm.  We traveled 500 miles today which leaves us 650 miles to travel tomorrow to complete the trip. 

The next morning we started out around 9am for the long trip back to Jackson MS.  Again, we made very good time (we were also helped by an hour time difference) and arrived at our RV by 5:30pm.

Probably the most interesting thing about the trip was watching the changes in the fall colors as we went south. In North NY state the fall colors are now just past their peak. The peak colors are now between southern Ohio and Nashville TN.  The trees here in the middle of Mississippi have just a tiny bit of color so far.  We got to see the fall foliage change before our eyes in just 2 days.  The temperature change was dramatic too.  We left Buffalo with a temperature of 50 and arrived in Jackson with a temperature of 91.

When we got back I first hooked back up the water that I had disconnected before we left.  We forgot to turn off the water heater before we left last week.  I was afraid that the heater may have gone dry and then I would need to replace the heating element.  Well, all was good, no problems with the water heater.  We also were afraid that the insects here would overwhelm the RV while we were gone.  Of course, my fear was that the RV would be covered in banana spiders, which was not the case thankfully!  Basically it was like we never left!

Sunday the 26th we just mostly relaxed from the long trip and week.  We can’t check on the truck until Monday as Ford service is closed on weekends.  We still have the rental car so we decided to keep it until we get the truck back or they start charging us for it.

I managed to rig up the wind speed device for our new weather station to the RV ladder in a more permanent way. Back in September when we were in Indiana I put the wind sensor on the TV antenna.  I thought this was a good place to put it because the sensor was in completely free air when the antenna was up.  Also, I thought since the antenna was down when traveling the sensor would be protected some what from the wind while driving.  Well, I was wrong!  After just a couple of trips the wind sensor lost all of its wind cups due to the wind pushing on the cups instead of just turning them like it would if it was in the up position.  

So, a couple of weeks ago I purchased on-line 3 replacement sets of the wind cups for the sensor.  I got three just in case my new mounting idea doesn't work and or we damage it with tree branches.  I now have the sensor positioned to be in the wind at all times, even when driving.  I am hoping the sensor can handle a 65 mph wind.  We shall see!

I put the wind sensor on the right side of the ladder.  My hope is that it will be less affected by tree limbs and such by being mounted near the center of the RV.  The sensor is hard wired to a transmitter I have located under the rear of the RV.  The wiring is wire tied to the right side of the ladder.
Monday the 27th I called Ford and found out that the truck wouldn’t be ready until tomorrow!  It looks like they just sat on the truck work until we came back.  We had told them that we thought we would be back no later than the 28th.  Well, we got back sooner!  Now we need to add another day to our stay here at this campground.  We came here just for an overnight stay and now we will have been here for 19 days!

Since we are here another day, I took the opportunity to finish a couple of routine maintenance items that I needed to do.  Since the leveling hydraulic cylinders have been down for over a week now I coated them with silicone.   The idea here is to prevent any corrosion from forming.  Next, I needed to flush out the hot water heater.  I have had this on my list of stuff to do since we were in Indiana but I kept putting it off.  It really is an easy thing to do so I am not sure why I put this off.  The hardest part is getting rid of the hot water before I drain it and that just involves turning off the heater and letting the hot water run until it gets cold.

Outside cover of the water heater.

Water heater cover open.

After turning off the heater and running the water till is is cold and then turning off the water, I opened and removed the white threaded cap to let the 10 gallons of water drain from the unit.

To help get the water out you open the pressure relief valve in the center of the photo.  It will allow air to enter as the water leaves from the bottom.

Water draining from the tank.
For dinner we decided to have BBQ from a place (Daddio’s Down Home BBQ) within walking distance from our site.  The place got some good reviews from some people on an internet forum about this area.  Let me tell you, the food sucked!  I had the ribs and I thought the meat would not leave my throat! It was like I needed the rib bone to push the meat down to my stomach!  The only good thing was that they were tender which, really, is a prerequisite for ribs anyway.  The sauce tasted like bad bottled sauce and the ribs had only a strong taste of salt and that of being old. Personally, I think the ribs were cooked a long time ago and either frozen and thawed and or just kept for a long time in the refrigerator.  Even as I write this the next day, my gut hurts from eating those ribs!  This is the second time we have had local ribs in the south and have been greatly disappointed.  We did have some on Beale Street in Memphis that were just OK.  I am now on a mission to prove ribs are either good down here or not.  So, I need to eat more ribs, once I get my appetite for ribs back that is!

Picture inside Daddio's Down Home BBQ.
Maybe he is waiting to see when his uncle is being served!

Another picture from the inside of Daddio's.  This guy just ate the ribs!
Tomorrow we hope to get the truck back and then head out on Wednesday the 29th.  Our plan right now is to get to Ingram TX, just west of San Antonio by Friday afternoon to visit with our friend Janelle.

Stay Tuned!

Patty's Mother Shirley Griffin Passed Away; Travel to Buffalo NY

October 14 - 23, 2014   

Tuesday the 14th we didn’t hear anything about Patty's mother.  Both of us, and especially Patty, were on pins and needles all day wanting to know what was happening.  We knew Patty’s mother was put into ICU on Sunday and was having fluid drained from her abdomen but there was nothing more.   As of Monday the 13th she was “sleeping” due to medication(s) so Patty wasn’t able to talk to her.  We were still waiting to see how things were going before we made final plans to travel to NY.

Wednesday the 15th Patty finally got to talk to her sister Cheryl and found out her mother had not been responsive since Monday and that she was going into hospice care.    Well, that finalized it for us, we are now going to NY.  We negotiated a deal with the RV Park for a lower long term rate of $15 per day and we paid for a period up to the 28th.  We can increase that via phone if we need to.  Now, how do we or just Patty get to NY?  

Patty looked into air travel and I called the service facility to find out the status of our truck.  There is only one just OK flight out of Jackson MS to Buffalo and it was gone for Wednesday.  Patty and I or just Patty could travel tomorrow via airline.  However, the truck was to be done on Thursday and we could just drive up.  Driving up with the truck would be about the same cost as flying, however, we wouldn’t have a car.  Renting a car in Jackson was a little more expensive than driving the truck but not by very much.  Also, we didn’t have any idea how long we would be in NY so we didn’t know when to make a return airline trip for.  We settled on driving the truck to NY, it just needs to get finished at Ford.

Cheryl called that night and Patty was able to speak to her Mother, although her Mom was too medicated to respond. Thursday the 16th Ford called to say the truck will not be ready until maybe tomorrow, Friday the 17th.  Now we have missed the flight again on Thursday and we were torn about now just renting a car and driving today.  We wouldn’t get there until Friday night.  We made the decision to just wait till Friday and if the truck is not done by noon we will rent a car for the trip.

On Friday the 17th the call came from Cheryl that her mother had passed around 4am.  We then began packing for the trip to NY and made a reservation for a rental car since we already missed the daily flight.  Now for added pain, Ford called to let us know that the truck wouldn’t be ready until next week! 

We explained our situation and asked if Ford could take us to the car rental place to get our reserved car.  This would save us $50 in taxi fares.  The service manager asked us to give him a few minutes to see if he could get us a cheaper car. He called back and said that they would pick up the charge for a rental car for us!  They also made the rental at the Enterprise in the plaza where we were so we could just walk over and pick it up.  We will always remember this good gesture by Rogel Ford in Chrystal Springs MS.

We finished packing, I picked up the car, and we were off around 12:30pm to get stuff out of the truck for the trip.  By the time it we were actually heading north past our campground it was 1:30 pm.  We didn’t have a real plan on how far to go today but as we drove we hatched a plan to drive until 8:30 pm.  That would put us just north of Nashville TN and 500 miles closer to Buffalo NY.  We also decided to try and make the trip all of the way to Buffalo by Saturday night.  We figured that we need to get 8 hours sleep so stopping at 8:30 we would get to bed by at least 10pm and then we could get up at 6pm to leave by 7am.  If we accomplished this then we would drive the rest of the way on Saturday.

Our plan worked and we were on the road by 7:20am on Saturday the 18th.  We had 700 miles to drive and we lose an hour going into Eastern time so we figured we would arrive close to 7pm which we did, just about 7:30pm.  That was a long trip but it was good as Patty had some time to cry and decompress.  

We arrived and Patty’s brother Tommy was there from Philadelphia with his girlfriend.  Having family around at this time really seems to help.  We talked and had some wine until around midnight and then it was time for some real sleep, for a change.

Sunday the 19th Patty went with her 2 sisters Cheryl and Sandy, and her brother Tommy to break the news to her Dad in the assisted living facility.  I stayed back as this was really something for the immediate family to handle.  I really felt for them having to do this, wow!  From what I was told it went fairly well as Tom knew his wife was sick and she had been sick for quite a long time and it had really accelerated in just the past few weeks. 

Monday the 20th Patty, Tommy, Kat, and me went through pictures looking for good ones of Shirley to have at the funeral which is now scheduled for the 21st.   I found some slides (10-15) and took them to photo lab nearby and had them made into prints.  Then in the afternoon we went to see Patty’s Dad.  We took him out for a couple of beers at a local place near the home.  He is really not happy about being in the home at all now.  He talks continuously about wanting get out and return to his house.  It is really heartbreaking!  I do not want to live like he is right now; I just don’t see the purpose to it.  I know I sound maybe harsh but being blind with dementia and no wife at 83, I would be done.

Tuesday the 21st we went to the funeral at the church where Shirley was a member when the kids were young.  Patty’s sisters are still members there.  It was a okay service with not too much of the sermon type stuff.  Myself, I felt like it needed to be a little more personal to advance the grieving process.  However, family and friends got to grieve together and that really makes a huge difference in the separation process.  After the service there was a luncheon at a local restaurant that was really very well done.  We all went back to Cheryl’s house that evening and ate food that was left by her co-workers.  It was a very long day!

On Wednesday and Thursday we went to see Patty’s father and take him out each time.  It seems he is getting real use to going out for a beer whenever anybody is here now.  It is fine with us.  Tom seems to have moved on from his wife passing and is looking to the future as best as he can. Again, I really feel for Tom.  We have talked about caring for him in his home but we are somewhat concerned about Patty’s health getting in the way.  I am fine with whatever Patty choses to do and I do know it would be a large commitment if we went that way.  I sort of feel that you need to “go large or go home” and that nothing lasts forever and what is the worst that can happen.  However, it is not my father or my health either.

Taking Tom out for lunch with (l-r): Patty, Tommy, and Joe (Cheryl's Husband)

Tom Griffin, Patty's father out for a beer.

Now, we are left with not knowing how or if we are needed here.  It will be a while before things happen with the house and its contents.   A little time needs to pass before a plan can come together concerning the next steps.  We have decided we are leaving to head back to our RV on Friday and probably arriving back by Saturday evening.

Patty's Tribute to her Mom:

Shirley Jane Griffin. I’m Patricia Jane, always proud to carry her same middle name.  

My Mom was always such an attractive woman, (and such a Choops!) but had no self confidence. She always needed reassurance and sought relentlessly for a compliment. Known for her blingy attire, she always drew attention when in a crowd! She loved to entertain and she and my Dad were always having house parties. 

My Mom always worked. Always had an income to support a life that she was comfortable with. After moving to Angela Lane in 1965, she got a 1966 Chevy Impala convertible. Boy did she love that car! I learned to drive in that car, and she even let my high school sweetheart use it when we were in need of transportation. The family would go to “the country” with the top down and our collie, Sparkle, in the back seat, stopping for ice cream at the roadside stand. By the way, lesson learned – do not eat ice cream cones while you are driving with the top down! We had to wipe the whole car down!

“The country” was her parents’ summer home near Arcade, NY. We would go on weekends when we could. Sparkle would love the open roaming. There are so many memories of her there and all of us playing cards on the porch, or baseball in the ball field, using the teeter tawter and zooming down our mini roller coaster. The men played horseshoes and golf on the par 3 course my grandfather mowed. 

My Mom raised us with a wooden spoon, right? It was tough being a working parent and knowing what was going on, but she handled it as she saw fit.  I recall being in 6th grade study hall and raising my had to go to the bathroom. I was assigned a number, like 11 in a 20 minute study hall, and thought I’ll never make it that long. I raised my hand again but was totally ignored. I walked over to Mr. Beiber and stood behind his desk to tell him that I really needed to pee and it just started running down my legs…and into my patent leather shoes. There was a puddle on the floor. He sent me to the nurse, and my shoes squeaked, loudly, the entire walk to her office. She called my Mom, who told her she was NOT coming with a change of clothes, I was to wear them the rest of the day and I can change when I get home. (I never actually asked what she said, I just know I had to squeak through the halls the entire day.) And I never abused the privilege afforded me by Mr. Beiber whenever I raised my hand to go to the bathroom after that!

My Dad always traveled a lot and when I was in high school I used to have house parties on the weekends. My Mom was everybody’s friend.  She would let us drink, let us play cards at the dining room table, and most of my male friends would stop upstairs to hang out to chat with her in the family room. She loved that attention. There was a fist fight on our front lawn once and the regulars worked it out with some small damage to the screen door. My Mom was okay with it. Shit happens. But the next Monday I was called to the Vice Principal’s office and told I was being suspended for having a party with beer that caused a fight in which someone got a broken leg. All that was true. Oh, did I not mention the broken leg? Shit happens. But when he called my Mom and told her why he was suspending me, she pitched a fit…and got nowhere. So, I got a 3 day vacation for having a weekend party!

I remember getting suspended for smoking. She picked me up and took me shopping for fabric as she was sewing yet another one of her projects. She made porcelain dolls for years and they are all over the house. By the way, they’re also available so see me after the service if you’re really interested. She made some of her own clothes. She made parasols for the Queen City Jass Society, which she and my Dad were very active in. Until this day, she served as a board member in the Jass Society. 

When I was still living here back in the mid 70s, we worked airport security together here, with my Mom being my boss. Imagine commoners like us working airport security! We had Peace Officers back then, who were armed, if I recall correctly. We worked well together, having seen several stars go through such as Judy Collins, Cher and her daughter (then Chastity who was about 2 years old and adorable), Liberace, Glenn Campbell and several more I can’t recall. 

My Mom helped Mark & I out so many times. When I would have an opportunity to travel to Europe with Mark, she would fly down to watch over Chas. When I had torn my cornea after cataract surgery, I was instructed to keep my eyes closed for 3 days. I called my Mom and she came to help me out. After our auto accident in 1998, I couldn’t walk for about 8 days and she drove down to help me & Mark out. We used to use those times to have our chats, very intimate ones about our lives and our futures. She sent me a card that I still have to this day to let me know how much she enjoyed our chats. They continued even after Chas, my son, grew and we started full-time RVing whenever I would come home. 

My Mom was well traveled. After she worked for a travel agency in the Como Mall, she opened her own in West Seneca. She had traveled a bit with my Dad on business trips and with the other agency, but now she got to travel a lot more! My Dad would go when he could because who can refuse a free vacation? 

She and my Dad also loved to dance together and they were very good at it! It seems that every holiday there was some dance they were invited to. Between all the clubs they were involved with and their professional lives, they were always out on the weekends. And when my Dad would go out to entertain his professional guests, he would be certain to bring my Mom with him. He was so in love with her and so very proud to have her as his wife, even after over 62 years! 

When I was visiting on one occasion I ended up in the ER. My Mom was right at my side the entire time, holding my hand and rubbing it so I would know she was there. And rubbing it, and rubbing it. I was too weak to ask her to stop, but the affection, tenderness and unconditional love I felt that day was remarkable. Turns out I had several trips to the ER here, including the day of my Grandmother’s funeral. Since my Mom couldn’t be there with me, she sent my Dad!

Some of you may be wondering…how did she die? She was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver several years ago which was the cause of her enlarged abdomen. Well, she also loved her Burgundy wine. She did stop drinking for several years, attended AA and was well supported by my cousin, her goddaughter, Jill. But after about 5 years, she thought it would be harmless to enjoy some wine, even though she had learned (knew) it would kill her if she continued to drink. Her birthday was just October 4 when she turned 81. My family arranged to take her out for her birthday and she just couldn’t do it. She was out of breath just walking to the car. Now she is no longer fighting to catch her breath as her last breath… was to put her in her final form of comfort…at peace.

Stay Tuned!

Travel to Jackson MS, MS State Fair, and Truck Trouble

October 10 - 13, 2014   

We continued on our way further south but, this time, took interstate 55 instead of the Natchez Trace.  The main reason to not take the Natchez was due to us not finding a place to stay until we were on the road and the Trace doesn’t have many exits so we felt safer on the interstate.  We finally got a site just a few miles south of Jackson in Byram MS.

On our way to Jackson, Friday the 10th, about 80 miles out from our site, the truck gave me green wrench warning light. The truck was acting and running just fine.  I pulled over at the next rest area to get the truck's owners manual out of the RV to see what the wrench light was telling me.  The manual told me that I have some sort of drive train problem and that it could also give me reduced engine performance with a limp home mode; we really need that to happen, NOT!  I turned the engine back on and the wrench was gone so we continued on.  About 65 miles later (15 miles to go) the wrench was back on.  This time we just kept on traveling to the RV site without any further issues, except the wrench was still there.

This is an odd RV Park as it is part of a strip mall.  We are in the Swinging Bridge RV Park.  We haven't yet found a swinging bridge or even a bridge at all.

Our site here near Jackson MS.

After we got set up, I made a call to a local Ford service facility to see if they could see me this evening or maybe give me some further information on what the warning light meant. I found out that the wrench light was like an engine service light on a car so it could be anything.  They also couldn’t see me today and that they were closed until Monday morning. Now it looks like we will be here a couple of days longer.  We are not going to pull the RV until we know the truck is in good shape so we will just wait here and enjoy it as best as we can.

Saturday the 11th we found out that the Mississippi State Fair was in Jackson and this was the last weekend for it. So we decided to travel the 15 miles north for the afternoon/evening at the Fair.  

I couldn't find any signs that advertised the State fair.  I took this picture of a t-shirt for sale.

The MS State Fair is a medium sized State fair as far as the State Fairs we have been to.  I got to have my fair favorite, a corn dog and Patty got her favorite, a funnel cake.  We walked the midway and browsed some of the shops along the way.  We spent about 3 hours there and had a good time. We were pretty tired by the time we got back so we just crashed for the night.

A happy guy with his corn dog!

This vendor had 8 topping varieties for their funnel cakes.  Patty picked the bavarian cream.  I had to have some too and it was good.  Funny, Patty didn't want any of my corn dog! 

Fair at night
Sunday the 12th I decided to wash the RV from the roof down.  I hadn’t washed the roof since we left Texas 6 months ago and it really needed it.  I wish I had taken before and after pictures to show how dirty the roof was.  It really is surprising just how dirty the roof gets in a relatively short time!  This time I used Spic and Span to clean the roof and it worked great.  I had always used an RV rubber roof cleaner but I was now out of it.  I bought a gallon of the cleaner 2 years ago when we were in Florida so it lasted a long time.  I don’t particularly like washing the rig from the roof down but I also use it as exercise.  The RV washing took me about 5 hours.  Anyway, glad that it is done for a while!

We made a steak on the grille and cooked, if that is what you call it, some boxed mac and cheese that we had left over from when the grandkids were with us.  The steak was one of the best we have had for a while and the mac and cheese was, well, boxed mac and cheese.  I was bushed from the RV washing so just a little TV and we were both out for the night.

Now it was time to find out what was going on with the truck. The Ford Service at Rogel Ford opened at 8am this morning, Monday the 13th, and I was there at 8:02am.  This is a very small ford dealer about 13 miles south of Jackson MS in Crystal Springs on I 55.  I left Ronnie, the Service manager, with the truck and headed to the service lounge.  This is such a small place that the sales desks are out in the open right next to the lounge.  So, for the next 2 hours I read my e-book and Facebook and listened to sales people selling cars while waiting on an answer on the truck.

You know it’s bad when the service manager comes in and sits down with you and says "it’s bad" first thing.  He tells me that the oil cooler is not working and needs to be replaced. This will require that the cab be taken off of the truck frame. All I can think of is cha-ching!  Well, damn it, I have a service warranty so maybe I’m OK.  Well, wrong, I’m not covered for this.  The oil cooler is not covered and even if it was since it is contaminated the warranty specifically does not cover that. Well, shit!  The cost will be $2,500 and take 3 days to do. Now, this year has officially become an expensive year!

I called Patty and gave her the bad news and then Ford brought me back to the RV Park.  When I arrived back at the RV Patty was crying and I knew right away it was her mother. Her mother was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure a few weeks ago and was admitted to the hospital.  Patty's sister called to tell her that her mother was admitted just a few days ago due to complications from cirrhosis of the liver combined with the CHF and she is dying. All they can do now is make her comfortable.  

The doctors are not sure about the timing, but we are now thinking of heading back to Buffalo after the truck is fixed, this Friday.  We will put the RV in storage for a few weeks and drive up to Buffalo rather than fly.  The cost is about the same but the truck allows us to have a vehicle while we are there and to take some of the food we have in the RV with us.  We are going to wait and see what is happening over the next couple of days before we finalize our plans.  

Some happier stuff, we went out to eat at a local, walk to, Mexican restaurant for dinner.  We thought about eating in but Patty needed to get out after her day and I guess I needed to also.  The place was great!  The food was very good and priced very reasonably and the restaurant was clean and well decorated with real plants everywhere.   The only problem is that they had no customers.  Granted it was a Monday and it was raining, but wow, what a shame. 

Pretty Patty in her pink poncho for our walk to the restaurant.

It's wet and a little cold now.

Inside the Caporales Mexican Restaurant.
That was the end to a long, expensive, and emotional day for us.  We will be here in our Jackson site until at least this Friday Morning.  Most likely we will be driving back up to the Buffalo area and our RV will be in storage someplace here. 

Patty and I were prepared for an unexpected emergency with family and knew we would and could alter our plans.  We had discussed this before we started our full time life adventure and decided that it really isn't any more of a problem than if we were in a house.   The good thing is that we are far enough south right now that we don’t need to worry too much about freezing temperatures for the RV, not yet anyway.

Stay Tuned!

Elvis' Birthplace and Golf in Tupelo Mississippi

October 09, 2014   

Okay, this is a short post because we did a lot in just one place today.  As I said in the last post, we get free golf at the local country club so we availed ourselves of that today.  It did cost us $24 for the cart though which still isn’t bad for a round of golf.  I played pretty good for a change, probably due to the fact that I have played more this year than last. But still, I have just played, I think, only 5 times this year. Patty is still working on getting her game together after the issues with her hips.  She is doing much better but was only able to get 9 holes in today.  Some of that was due to feeling like we were being pushed by faster players from behind.

Big black rat on the golf course.

It wasn't afraid of us.  It walked real close before we took off!

Just want to say that the weather is also now summer again here in the south. Today we had a high of 86 with the morning low of just 66, nice!  The weather really seemed to change as we went south of Nashville TN.  The humidity has increased too. Most of today the humidity was around 85 percent and little to no breeze.   It seemed just like a real August in New Jersey but we are now in October!

Before we played golf we went into the town of Tupelo to see where Elvis was born.  Believe me, I really do not care to see where Elvis was born but we are here so, what the heck!  I really do not want to pay for the privilege to see where he was born either!  

Well, you do not need to pay to see his birth place thankfully!  He was born in a small house on a dairy farm that was probably just outside of town back then.  Now the house is part of the town proper.   Other than that, it was just as I suspected, not a big deal.  But now we can say we have seen where Elvis was born.  On a sort of funny note, they have a replica of an outside toilet near the house to show where Elvis would have taken a crap when he was here. That was just a lot of too much stupid information!

Elvis birth house.  I was told that this is the original house on it's original spot.

We filled up the fuel tank and picked up some more wine and Irish Cream for our future travels to finish the day.  Back to the RV to make dinner of shrimp scampi and call it a night!

Tomorrow we are off to Jackson MS.

Stay Tuned!

Nashville TN; HS Friend; Natchez Trace to Tupelo Mississippi

October 06 - 08, 2014  

Lots of rain, but the rain didn't really dampen our plans at all.  Mostly it rained during the night or while we were inside doing stuff.  The next 2 days we are visiting downtown Nashville and meeting up with an old high school friend of Patty’s from Cheektowaga NY.  Then we head further south to Mississippi on the Natchez Trace.

Rosey has a butterfly friend stay on her all morning.

Monday the 6th we waited for the rain to stop in the morning and then we traveled the 15 miles west from our campsite to downtown Nashville TN.  We really didn’t know what we were going to see but we knew that most everything was around the Country Music Hall of Fame.  So we plugged the Hall of Fame into our Garmin and off we went.  

It really is so nice to be able to visit this stuff during the week and during the off season.  There was really no crowd or traffic at all, just enough to make it interesting.  After we found the Hall of Fame we drove around checking out the area and also looking for a place to park.  We found a parking lot for $10 for the day or until 2am, as if we would need that long since it was now 1pm.  We were just a block from the Hall of Fame and maybe 2 more to Broadway Ave. where all of the entertainment and night life seems to be.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a large modern 3 story building in downtown Nashville.  It is very similar to the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in Cleveland but a little bigger.  Since we are not fans of country music, it is very hard to do a proper critique of the place.  However,  from our non-fan point of view, we would say that it is very well done, for this sort of thing.  Just to make this clear, we are Rock and Roll fans but we didn’t get excited over that Hall of Fame either. 

The Country Music Hall of Fame.

There is a lot of memorabilia, videos and pictures.  If you like that sort of thing then you will like this.  I did learn a couple of things about country music and its history so I had a good time but not worth the $49.50 for us to get in.  We spent about 2 hours in the museum before we called it quits. If you are a fan you could easily spend 4-5 hours there.

The Hall of Fame was having a special covering Kenny Rogers.

This is one of many walls of country albums.

After the Hall of Fame we headed the 2 blocks up to Broadway Ave. with the first stop being the Visitors Center. Not much in the visitor’s center but it is a real cool building. Now we are ready for some libations!  

Visitors Center is the cone shaped building.

On the corner is the famous (apparently) Tootsies.  They have roof top seating that overlooked Broadway so we could people watch from above the street.  After a couple beers for me and wine for Patty we headed to another landmark, according to locals we met, Honky Tonk Central.  Central is another bar restaurant with live music.  We both had some more to drink and also ordered some light appetizers.   We were now done and we had seen enough.  Patty was just a little woozy so the walk back to the truck was quite fun.

The AT&T building in the back with Tooties being
the white building left of the red building.

Long walk to the top of Tooties!

Patty overlooking Broadway in Nashville.

The Redneck Comedy Tour bus!

A child street performing act.  They were really pretty good!
They were singing "Soul Man" here.

Inside of Honky Tonk Central. 

Cool street mural we saw on our way back to the truck.

Our take on downtown Nashville is it mostly just like a lot of other cities' downtown areas now.  We have been to many places like this now.  Probably our favorite one is downtown Austin Texas.  We are glad we went but wouldn’t do it again.

We finished up the day with hot dogs (Sahlen's from Buffalo, if you must know) cooked on the grille. We really are cheap and easy to entertain!

Tuesday the 7th I went for a 5 mile walk/jog around the campground.  The campground is .9 miles around so I needed to go around 6 times.  It is mostly flat so it is a really easy course for me.  Patty went the first lap with me which is really good.  Her hips seem to be getting better now, yea! 

Patty by the beach/swimming area during our morning walk.

Someone made this out of PVC and now I want to make one for us!

I felt really good so I tried to jog a mile in one segment and made it!  I haven’t done that since the mid-90s.  I have been a little nervous about jogging in general as it is not real good on my joints so I have been taking it real slow doing this.  I am not sure how far I will push this in the future, just listen to my body on this one.

We went out in the afternoon and filled up the truck with fuel for tomorrow's trip south and got some groceries.  We were back by 5pm to get cleaned up for dinner out with a friend (Lynn & Early Salter) from Patty’s high school days.  Actually this friend left the school in their sophomore year so they have not seen each other for over 40 years!

We met Lynn and her husband Early at a restaurant just a few miles from our campsite.  They live real close to this area too so it was a great place to meet.  We had a great time talking and laughing for a couple of hours.  It seemed like we had known each other for years.  Soon it was time to leave so we all got pictures and hugs and said our “see ya laters”. It was a very nice evening for us!  Thanks Lynn and Early!

L-R: Patty Lynn, me, Early

Wednesday the 8th we are leaving Nashville and heading further south to Tupelo Mississippi.  We are taking the Natchez Trace Parkway most of the 230 miles.  We have reservations for the next 2 nights at the Trace State Park in Tupelo MS.  

The Natchez Trace Parkway was started in the 30’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, CCC, during the depression. However, the parkway wasn’t finished until 2005.  The parkway sort of follows the old Natchez Trace foot path the buffalo and then the Indians used to travel.  The Trace Parkway is 444 miles long and stretches from Nashville TN in the north to Natchez MS in the south.  The entire parkway is maintained by the National Park Service.  The speed limit is just 50mph and there is no commercial traffic.  To say the least, it is very scenic and not at all busy.

It took us about 5.5 hours to get to the Trace State Park in Tupelo MS.  We made a few stops along the way to see various sites and to just stretch our legs.  We also changed drivers about half way from Patty to me.  This was the first time Patty has driven the rig in almost a year.  I’m not sure if it was me being nervous or she got tired or both but she was ready to be a passenger for the second part of the trip.

The old foot path Natchez Trace is in the background.

This is where Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark is buried.
The writing on the sign is very interesting.

We are back in cotton territory!

The Trace State Park is another great state park.  We have been told that state parks are the best and we are now starting to believe it.  We are backed up right to the edge of the lake with a large site and full hook-ups.  All for just $24 a night!

Entrance to the Trace State Park in Tupelo MS.

Pictures form our RV windows in the Trace State Park.

After the storm the clouds opened up and lit up the bank on the other side of the lake.

Our site at the Trace State Park.

We got here just in time before a large storm hit.  We had the emergency broadcast come in on our radio in the truck just as we were arriving.  We were to get 60mph wind and 1" hail.  We got set up just as the rain started, Whew!  We got lucky as most of the very bad weather went just to our north so we only got some rain with some lightning and thunder.  It just lasted about an hour and it was done for the night.

Tomorrow we are planning to play some golf at the country club here.  Included with our stay here at the state part is a free round of golf at this nearby country club.  What a deal! We are also planning a drive by on Elvis’s birth house.  We think this only worth a drive by.  We don’t really want to pay to see where the guy was born!

Stay Tuned!