Find us on Google+ Rick and JoAnne's RV Travels: March 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

March 28, 2008 Coming Home

After 5,190 miles, 33 days on the road (not counting 8 days in St. Louis babysitting), 13 states, and uncountable memories, it is fantastic, but yet bittersweet to come home. On the road photos

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

March 26, 2008 Aunt Kaye, Blair, & Grant in Dallas

OK – we cannot hang out at Caddo Lake forever. It is time to begin our leisurely journey back to Broomfield. We spent the morning driving to the Big D and a visit with Aunt Kaye, Blair, and Grant. The lunch at Houlahans passed by all too fast. It is so much fun "catching-up" with Kaye; she always has some great stories to tell. It was especially nice to see Blair and her 2-year-old son, who will have a new sibling on June 2! Leaving Dallas, we traveled over the Texas border and are camped in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Today's photos

March 23-24-25, 2008 Caddo Lake State Park, TX

Easter Sunday was very peaceful and majestic especially since we spent it literally on Caddo Lake in a pontoon boat (Photos here). The bald cypress trees, Spanish moss, water, and birds produce breathtaking beauty. FACTOID: Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in Texas. Monday (Photos here) and Tuesday (Photos here) were hikes, canoeing, and lots and lots of bird watching that resulted in us, (mainly Rick) identifying four new species to add to our life bird list. Awesome photos…even if I do say so myself!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter


We're not sure if we will have access to the Internet at Caddo Lake State Park tomorrow - so Rick and I would like to wish you all a...


March 22, 2008 Skye & Mark and 3 States

After leaving the casino RV Park, and heading right to the mall to spend Rick’s casino winnings (just kidding…$20 won’t do it), we left Mississippi and drove to Skye & Mark Parrish’s home in West Monroe, Louisiana. We spent the early afternoon with these dear friends catching up on life, and family over lunch on the Bayou. Mark, in addition to hosting agency management systems over the Internet, is a volunteer police officer, and in his words “going to save the world” by starting a foundation within their community to help the less fortunate get on their feet, find a new way of life through church, education, and community involvement. In addition to being a mom of three sons, running the business end of their company, Skye is an avid bridge player, and recently has become a Life Master. Photos here

Due to the Easter weekend, many of the Sate Parks we love to stay in are full, so tonight we are camped in Miss Ellie’s RV Park in Waskom, Texas. Tomorrow we plan to stay in Caddo State Park in Texas. Sooooo, there you have it – visiting with our friends Skye & Mark, and making it through three states…all in one day!

Friday, March 21, 2008

March 21, 2008 Jackson to the Siege of Vicksburg


Our journey continues on the Trace traveling another 30 miles to Jackson, MS. Our main activity there was visiting the Agricultural and Forestry Museum. Then on to Vicksburg and a tour of the Battlefield and town. While not the bloody battle of Gettysburg it was probably as significant in the eventual outcome of the "War Between the States" as the Mississippi River and Rail supply routes controlled at Vicksburg. The town fell after a 6-week siege from Grant and Sherman troops. FACTOID: Coca Cola, first bottled in Vicksburg, and the Mint Julep created here. Tonight we are camped at a Casino Campground in Vicksburg, MS. Photos

March 20, 2008 Wandering the Trace

While wandering 24 miles from Natchez, MS on the Natchez Trace Parkway, we made a remarkable discovery! Springfield Plantation - the Plantation, built in 1790 is the oldest and grandest plantation in this area. Here, in 1791, Andrew Jackson married Rachel Robards, an event, which made Springfield the setting for one of early America’s most famous and later tragic stories of love, and devotion. The uniqueness of Springfield is that it remains almost original, including magnificent Georgian-Adam-Federal woodwork and mantels hand carved in Virginia in the 18th century.

Our guide, Mr. Arthur E. La Salle could have been a character right out of a Dickens’s Novel – so very, very eccentric, but a true historian. We will share more of this chronicle when we see you all; photos do not do it justice!

Off to the Old Country Store and Mr. D's world famous, outstanding fried chicken, corn bread, and peach cobbler. He signed his autograph for us, and took a photo with Mr. Rick.

After lunch, we visited the Windsor Ruins, featured in the movie "Ghosts of Mississippi" - but more interesting was that it burned to the ground because of a cigarette - the newly "fashionable habit" of the day. A stop in Port Gibson, lead us to two unique churches, MUST SEE PHOTOS about these, and again, lots of Civil War history.

Back on the Trace, (a National Park) runs 445 miles between Natchez and Nashville - a stunning, wooded, drive that does not allow any commercial traffic. The drive filled with history from the Choctaw Indians to post Civil War. After having traveled only 53 very enjoyable miles for the day, we stopped at Rocky Springs campground

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

March 19, 2008 from Mud Huts to Mansions


Click here for today’s photo journey Today was a lesson in the History of Natchez. We visited the "Mounds" of the Natchez Indians at the National Historic Park, and Natchez Museum of Afro-American History and Culture; reminded of the role slaves played in the growth and success of Natchez. Then we toured several of the antebellum Mansions Natchez is famous for. Every Spring Natchez hosts a "Pilgrimage" to many of the privately owned mansions. They are open and available for touring. Southern Belles in period dress lead the tours. All of the homes and gardens were amazing. Lunch at the Castle Restaurant consisted of a shrimp PoBoy, Mint Julep and for desert Pralines. Tomorrow we head out on the Natchez Trace.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

March 18, 2008 Back to the real world…

Our major objective today was to find a campground that had Wi-Fi, catch up on email, update our blog, and pay some bills! We got into Natchez, MS early and did a brief tour of the downtown and its’ many mansions and historic buildings. FACTIOD – thanks to King Cotton, in the early 1800’s Natchez had more millionaires than any other city except New York. We are camped right on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, and hunkered down expecting high winds and strong thunderstorms. Today’s photos

Where Have We Been???????????

Many of you have sent emails regarding our whereabouts! Thank you for inquiring. We have been enjoying ourselves, seeing the sites, and unbelievably…taking photos! HA! HA!

The wonderful state parks we stay in do not have Wi-Fi so we are unable to download/upload to our blog. However, we usually have access to our email via our iPhones - not always, but usually. I do miss all of the grandchildren (and the big children too), along with our family, and friends. I love you all, and hope you are enjoying our journey - along with us!

I have uploaded our adventures from the 12th to yesterday, March 17th below.

Hugs from the road!

Oh...and not to worry...I have more photos and stories. :)

March 17, 2008 Just another day Livin' Our Dream


March 16, 2008 Man, Nature, and Boiled Peanuts

What a day! Up the bay to Mobile and a tour of the U.S.S. Alabama Battleship. Besides the awesome vessel itself, we were struck with “what is now” ancient technology (remember typewriters?), and the cumbersome and heavy equipment the sailors had to deal with.

We crossed into Mississippi and headed for Biloxi and Gulfport. Never mind the reconstruction…there is an enormous amount of demolition and clean up that remains. We went miles, and the remnants left were foundations that once were beautiful mansions. There is so much new construction, and plantings – not renovation.
Photos Here Amazingly the casinos are up and running! Enough of Katrina’s devastation!

We headed north to Natchez, and stopped at a roadside stand to try a local delicacy – boiled peanuts – YUCK! On the way found Percy Quin, a gem of a state park where we spent two restful nights. Photos here

March 15, 2008 Fog and Bridges

Driving, and sightseeing on a foggy day along the National Gulf Seashore. It took awhile…but…we are OUT of Florida. Whew! Lucked out again at Gulf Shores State Park in Alabama – the sign said “full” but again we asked, and were able to get a site for the night. It’s a pretty park, but still remnants from the hurricane(s) are obvious here as well as the coast drive. Hazy photos here

March 14, 2008 Gulf Islands National Seashore

We originally had reservations in Milton, FL, but on the way wanted to explore the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Although the campground indicated it was full, we asked at the office and were able to find an empty campsite at Grayton Beach State Park just outside of Destin, FL. This park, known for its dune lakes (brackish waters), only exist here, and in South Africa. Before the rains came, we took a walk along the beach, snapped some photos, then headed back to T2 for some reading, journaling, and lo and behold…some Wii. Take a look

March 13, 2008 Torreya State Park

Today we relaxed!!!! Took a hike, read, did some stamping, and had fun bird watching.

March 12, 2008 Fire! Fire! Fire!

Today we got off the Interstate, and headed to the Gulf Coast via HWY 98. We spent a long lunch at St. Mark’s Wildlife Refuge, which had a lighthouse, birds, and caught in the middle of a controlled burn. We had planned to camp on the gulf, but spring break changed our plans. We headed away from the coast and found Torreya State Park that is a little bit west of Tallahassee - a small peaceful, wooded park overlooking the Apalachicola River. Dramatic photos here

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

March 10, 2008 and into the Heavens…literally

Early this morning we went to Oak Hill Cemetery, and as promised by the monument people, Clare's headstone had been engraved. She is now at rest next to Ted. It was a beautiful, and peaceful morning with many emotions. After the cemetery visit, we had another change from our original plan. We heard that a night launch of Endeavor was set for Tuesday, March 11 at 2:28AM. Seeing a launch was on our "Bucket List" so it was off to the Cape.

After checking in at the Campground, we headed to downtown Titusville to scope out possible viewing sites. We found a perfect spot around 2:00PM and settled in for a 12 ½ hour wait. Actually, since we had our "house" with us, it worked out just fine. We caught up on some reading, explored the coast, got some rest, and fixed dinner.

We met a couple from Connecticut and spent the evening sharing stories of our travel experiences - they had also been to Africa, and also very much into photography. They had a very tame, and pretty Doberman - so, Sandy had company too. At about 10:00PM things really started picking up - by 2:00AM, there was a crowd of thousands, and they were all around US!!

The wait, and night without sleep was absolutely worth it! At exactly 2:28AM, the sky lit up and Endeavor was off for its rendezvous with the Space Station. About 50 Seconds later the heavy rumbling sound of the rocket reached us. All very cool! Check it out.

OK so now we are REALLY, REALLY tired!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

March 9, 2008 The adventure continues…

After leaving the KOA campground in Naples, we drove the back roads on our way up to Lakeland, FL. Mary & RJ had suggested we stop at this new town Ave Maria that is being built by Pulte and developed by the guy who started Domino’s Pizza. Apparently, it is “just for Catholics” but not being marketed that way. What an interesting place. They have a huge Catholic University and an Oratory, which will eventually be their church. They are waiting for a blessing from the Archdiocese. It really reminded me of the movie “Truman”. Photos here

We wanted to stop in LaBelle, FL to visit with Adele and Mike (Rick’s uncle and his wife). They have a lovely home on a very private lot with lots of different vegetation. They took us to lunch at “the new place” in town – Rodeo Bar & Grill. Another nice and fun visit! It was good seeing and spending time with them.

We eventually arrived in Lakeland, but too late, to find Clare’s grave, so we are staying overnight and will go to the cemetery 1st thing in the morning.

March 8, 2008 Eat and Drink, Drink and Eat, well you get the idea!

What a wonderful day! We met Tracey for lunch at PF Chang’s and had a nice visit. Later in the evening, we enjoyed another fantastic dinner with Mary & Dick at Arturo’s on Marco Island. They sure know the BEST places to eat and drink…and by the way…everywhere we went with them – it was kind of, well, like the old TV show Cheers – everyone knows their names, plus what they like to drink and eat. What a fun time! Photos here

Saturday, March 8, 2008

March 7, 2008 Relaxing day at Mary & RJ's

Today we had a fun, and relaxing day at Mary & RJ's. Sandy and Cher also had a great day hanging out and playing. Mary cooked a great dinner of Shepherd's Pie. JoAnne had fun taking pictures of flowers and stuff. (It was 86!)

March 5-6, 2008 On the way to Mary & RJ's


We drove to St. Petersburg and stayed at a crowded, and pretty "messy" KOA. Then on to Naples but first made a stop at the Salvador Dali Museum. While we are not huge fans of Dali, the Museum has an amazing collection of his works and we both found the visit interesting and informative. We saw "Persistence of Time" one of his most famous paintings and also several of his "Master" works. One, "Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean which at 30 meters turns into Abraham Lincoln" was fascinating. At fist look it is a woman looking out over a balcony at the Mediterranean - when you step back 30 meters and squint the painting is one of Abe Lincoln.

We got to Mary & RJ's early in the afternoon, checked into the Naples/Marco KOA and went to dinner at the Marco Inn - Bobby Giddeon and his group were playing music of the 50's and 60's. Got some pics of Mary & RJ on our iPhone's. Pics from these two days are here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

March 4, 2008 My Birthday at the Swamp

Got up early today and greeted by 3 white tail deer in our campground (Sandy was in heaven). Despite a severe thunderstorm alert with hail, and strong winds we were able to get in a nice hike through the swamp boardwalk area, and a boat tour of the Stephen C. Foster State Park, which featured lots of alligators, birds, and turtles – fascinating! Interesting fact, Okefenokee is the headwaters for the Suwannee River…who knew? Made it back to camp just in time for the inclement weather to hit…they weren’t kidding. Spent the remainder of the stormy day relaxing – What a fun way to spend my birthday!!! click here for photos

March 3, 2008 Okefenokee Swamp

We were originally going to spend some time in Atlanta, but decided to go to the Okefenokee Swamp. It took us all day to get here, but well worth the drive. We ended up staying at the Stephen C. Foster State Pk – again very quiet and secluded...but NO WiFi! click here for photos

March 2, 2008 Chickamauga Battlefield

Instead of doing the “touristy” types of things in Chattanooga, we opted to tour the Chickamauga Battlefield for several hours. This was the 1st National Military Pk in the US, although it’s probably not as well known as Gettysburg, in 1 day over 36,000 soldiers died. The south won the battle but failed to retake Chattanooga, which turned out to be a key strategic mistake since Chattanooga became a gateway for the north into the Deep South. Not too far outside of Atlanta, we discovered a beautiful State Pk – Red Top Mountain on Allatoona Lake in GA. We spent the night in a very secluded and quiet area. click here for photos

Saturday, March 1, 2008

March 1, 2008 Off to Chattanooga

Well, we started out with good intentions. But that big sign telling us to get off I-24 and take the Jack Daniels tour was just too much to resist. So, off to the distillery we went. Actually, it was all very interesting. Jack Daniels bought the distillery from a preacher (had to sell due to obvious conflict) when he was 13! - in 1866. The distillery is in a DRY county. Anyway lots of No. 7 stored up in the Tennessee hills. After the tour we had an amazing lunch in the Bar-B-Que Caboose in Lynchburg, TN. Owner Ken Fly and his cronies were singing up a Country Western storm and the pulled pork sandwiches were really good. That was about it for the day - we drove down to Chattanooga and will visit the Tennessee Aquarium tomorrow and perhaps head to Atlanta. For today's pictures click here.

February 29, 2008

Today we drove from St. Louis (I miss Addie & David already), did a “fly-by” of the arch, passed through IL, but did stop for a photo-op in Metropolis with SUPERMAN, who was larger than life, stopped at the 1st State Park in IL – Ft. Massac. With the MOST help from Garmin, we made our way to Nashville and stayed the night. For today's photos click here.