6 Months and no signs of slowing down.
Well we have officially passed our 6 month mark. LOT’s of lessons learned, lots of headaches (Literally), but really, more memories in this 6 months than in the last 10 years. Our fun has included time with our family in Seattle, spending a HOT summer in Texas with our middle daughter, 2 trucks, 1 month out of our trailer for repairs, 1 hot spring, 1 crawfish festival, a toilet seat museum, a house made of beer cans and bottles, 8 states, over 20 camp sites, many museums, shopping, and plenty of amazing views.
For the sake of everyone in our trailer as well as for myself, thank the LORD we are finally in to fall. If there ever was a thought of moving permanently to Texas, this summer ruined any shot of that. Yes, maybe we will snowbird, but from May-Sept. you can have it. We are thankful for the experiences we had (NASA with a Marine buddy, Time on the lake and camping with another, spending time with yet another in San Antonio, and the chance to spend some time in Austin, Waco, and Dallas. We were able to meet up with some family that had a new baby in Tyler Texas, and to be there for a PHD graduation ceremony for some family. We also got to see our own daughter graduate from AF Basic Training). All GREAT experiences. But I won’t lie, the best part of Texas was seeing it in the rear view mirror on our way to cooler temps. We have been gifted with exactly that too. Our average high over the last few weeks has been just over 80, and lows have reached down as low as the 40’s. Our AC units didn’t know what to do when we actually shut them off. I think I saw a touch of smoke coming out of them as they wound down for the first time in 3 months. The sweat on my sweat has slowly dried up. We have actually gone on walks. LIKE OUTSIDE. For the first time in MONTHS. At least for the first time where I didn’t have to come home and take 2 showers. It is amazing how much the attitude improves too.
When last we spoke, we were just about 2 hours east of Oklahoma City. We had some major issues that were “resolved”, but we still are having intermittent problems with the slide. We are working with Jayco on it, so more to come I am sure. We were close enough for our family to come visit us one last time before we left for good. It turned out to be a blessing too. Lisa’s dad had a medical issue when they came out to see us. We got him to a hospital and nurse Lisa was there to assist where she could. It was a very long night (Lisa got home at 4am), but they have always been there for us in times of need, it was nice to return the favor for once. He is fine now, so that too is great news. We moved east (I keep saying west for some reason, this east thing is screwing me up), to a Harvest Host on the boarder of Oklahoma and Arkansas. If you are not familiar with Harvest Host, check them out at www.harvesthosts.com. To me, they have been one of the brightest aspects of our travel. They have a list of farms, wineries, museums, etc. that will allow you to stay a night for free in exchange for doing whatever activity they have. We have done a goat cheese farm, another farm where they were having a fall festival type set of activities, and then a Pioneer museum where they teach you about how things used to be. They are all different and unique. The fall festival farm was just a beautiful place. We were going in right when they were starting their 3 weeks of their busy season. Day 1 in fact. So it probably wasn’t the best time for them to host us, but they were gracious and did find a big spot for Dory. The next day we did all kinds of fun stuff. We did a corn maze (well I should say we failed at a corn maze as we went back out of the entrance), we slid down a big hill, got to see some animals, and shot corn at targets using an air canon. Z and I had a little competition. I won’t say who won, but it was me. We got to buy some nice home made apple butter, and tasted muscadine for the fist time. YUMMMMM.
If you want to see the video of the corn canon greatest shot of all time, see Here. Let’s just say that it was amazing. A M A Z I N G.
From there we headed to a lovely little campground just outside of Clinton Arkansas. It was a bit of a stress getting there because the roads were narrow and winding, and the trees were low (something I always worry about). But we made it to the Golden Pond RV park. It was quaint and quiet. We had beautiful weather, the sites were HUGE and there weren’t a ton of them. They even had a little BBQ food truck on site that we hit up and it was really good. They had a little pond (DUH) and Z and I got to do a little bit of fishing. Nova REALLY loved jumping in it too. She was just sure she was gonna catch the duck that lived there. Lisa and I got a few good walks in, and Clinton had some necessities that we like to have nearby (namely a Walmart). There was also a really cool Natural Bridge there. We stopped to check it out and it was amazingly beautiful. The caretaker was a really nice guy who told us all about the history of the area, and we walked out and ran right in to our neighbors from the park. A very sweet older couple that had been full timing for a LONG time now. They loved to chat and we spoke to them for quite a while. As I have said before, so far, I have met many full time RV’ers and no one does it the same way, which is great. We all thought that the area was quite beautiful. I suggest at least driving through if you get the chance.
We hit up another Harvest Host spot. This one is south of Jonesboro Arkansas. It’s a Pioneer Museum. What a treat. The owners were so nice and hospitable. There was a TON of room for Dory. The museum had a story all it’s own as to how it came to being. And the owners really took a liking to us. The cool thing about doing what we are doing is that people are interested in it. There were going to be over 800 school kids at this place the day we went, and the owner regularly sought us out to give us some unique experiences. She and her family enjoyed hearing our story about as much as we did theirs. There were some great unique gifts to buy, fresh sorghum, hand made brooms (we got to learn how they are made and Z got to help make one), some fresh honey, corn flour, and Z even got to make herself a rope. It’s these types of experiences that I want her to remember forever. It was a ton of fun and we were a bit sad to bid farewell. I would absolutely stop there again.
We made our way down the road toward Memphis. There are no Thousand Trails that can fit our rig anywhere near Memphis, so we stayed at one of our other membership campgrounds called Big Buck RV resort (click the name for their site if you want more information). This is about 1.5 hours east of Memphis and was just a very nice park with nice open sites, not too many campers so that you feel like you are on top of one another, 2 lakes, 2 gun ranges, a driving range for golfers, and was owned by a very nice family. We really liked it here, and again, Nova had a lake to play in, so she was extremely happy. If you are in the area, I really suggest checking it out. It’s close enough to go see Memphis, but far enough away to not be in Memphis. We got in to town to do some chores that we had been putting off (mailing packages, picking up some needed items, etc.) and we went back the next day for a “tourist” day. We hit up Gus’s famous fried chicken first. YUMMMMMMMMM. I won’t lie, it was as good as advertised. Then, what stop in Memphis would be complete if you didn’t go see Graceland. Now, I won’t lie, I am not the worlds biggest Elvis fan. I did not grow up on him. I went in to our Graceland trip prepared to hurry through the tour, check it off of the list, and move on. I have to admit though, I not only left VERY impressed with the man himself, but just blown away by what he was able to achieve in his short life. To see the number of gold and platinum records, hear him talk about his music, his fans, his life, and to see in person this iconic piece of Americana, was a real unexpected highlight. The tour is self paced and done with Ipads and headphones. I could have literally spent another hour there if we didn’t have other plans. It really gave me an appreciation for why he is called the King of Rock and Roll.
We then headed over to where I really wanted to go, which was Beale St. I love what Beale St. represents. I love the blues. I love live music. I love having a beer while walking down the street. And I love quirky shops and good food. We all had a good time there and all was going fine, but then there were 2 instances that made us decide to head out. If you haven’t been, Beale St. is like Bourbon St. in New Orleans, without everyone showing their boobs. Much more suitable I think for a 12 year old to join us. Z liked it. That was until we happened upon a guy that had much more than a few too many drinks. I think he was on something too. He was going up to all of the people on the street and just acting weird is the best way I can describe it. It was uncomfortable, so we moved on. Down the way, there was a park that was setting up some live music. Now this park also had a lot of homeless in it, but we don’t let that bother us. Homeless people are just people, without a place to live and on hard times. I think it’s good to show Z all kinds of experiences, and this was going to be a good one. People of all races, of all economic backgrounds, just sitting down to listen to some music being played. That was until another highly inebriated lady popped up and started acting all kinds of crazy. She sat a few seats to our right and I could see that Z was immediately uncomfortable. Thankfully, she is never afraid to tell me when it’s time to go, so we did. Bummer too, Beale St. was so awesome other than those 2. What a great vibe. Lastly, it was off to Rendezvous for some famous ribs. Lisa and I ate there when we were on a layover when we got married. I wanted to share that with Z. Plus, last time we went, Lisa was sick as a dog and really didn’t get to enjoy it. So we did. Love the ribs there and love the fact that it wasn’t outrageously priced or overly busy. We got right in, ate, and got right out.
Memphis was fun, but aside from seeing a few more attractions, it was time to move on. We hit the road to go 2 hours east to Natchez Trace. This is a Thousand Trails site and we get to stay here for 3 weeks for FREE. I still owe a write up about TT and our other memberships, but we are getting the most out of this one. The trip in was funny. We stopped at a little town along the way and pulled Bruce and Dory in for some gas. Here is a funny story. As you know, Dory is BIG. we can’t just pull in to anywhere and not have her sticking out. Well this particular station had us sticking out a bit, like always. An older man decided he needed to go around us and pulled in to the angled gas pump next to us. I heard a crunch. I turned to notice that he had obviously hit the concrete barrier that protects the pumps. You could see that he was pissed. What I didn’t know is that he was pissed at me. For some reason, he blamed his lack of driving skill on the fact that we were sticking out too far from our pump. He proceeded to head in to the station and demand to speak to a manager. Z and I overheard him telling them that he basically wanted them to pay for it. The manager walked out and as calm as anyone could (I would be losing my shit here) told him that he chose to pull in to that pump, the wrong way, and she couldn’t help him. To make it even funnier, he pulled in to a diesel pump and he wasn’t in a diesel car. I don’t wish people ill will, in fact, we believe heavily in Karma. But dear lord, how are you going to blame your lack of patience and driving skill on me or the gas station. We shook our heads and pulled out. When we got close to our new park, we noticed a sign on the road leading in “Bridge clearance 11′” WHAT? We are 13′ if not more. We backed out as best we could and called the ranger station. They informed us that there is a cut out to the left that gives 13′ 6″ of clearance. That is about as close as I want to come to hurting ol Dory, but we made it through. Not after a few tense moments with Lisa guiding us. It was close. But now, we are 1.5 hours south of Nashville and in some prime history land. Between the trail of tears, the Civil War history, and the whiskey, this could prove to be a very fun few weeks. Plus, we get to go to our first concert since hitting the road. One of our favorite bands, Kings of Leon, is playing in Nashville tomorrow and I got us tickets for my birthday. YAY.
As always, thanks for reading and if you have the chance, make sure to sign up for our Instagram and facebook pages. There are always more photos and updates there.