Thursday, November 13, 2014

Heading South for the Winter of 2014

Route:  Iowa - Missouri - Tennessee - Georgia - Florida

Iowa said good-bye to us with a beautiful sunset

We left Iowa on October 15, 2014
Our first stop out of Iowa was in Wichita Kansas 
to visit 2 Sheeran Families...
Jenny (niece) & Steve and children -- Ellie, Sara, Luke and Lorrin
Michael (nephew) &Roxie and children -- Issac, Aidan and Colin 

We went to Issac and Colin's football games:
top row - Elli, Michael, Roxie
bottom row - Steve, Jenny, Steve

 Colin -- Issac -- Aidan
 Lorrin, Sara, Ellie -- Luke is missing ---
4 bodies - 5 heads  !!!

We stayed at Air Capital RV Park in Wichita - we stayed here in May 2014. It is a nice park, concrete pads with easy access to the interstate; with no interstate noise. Next stop  -- Columbia MO. at Cottonwoods RV Park.
We left Wichita around 0900. Before taking off, we religiously check the air pressure of the RV tires (all 8 of them) and the truck tires; either the night before or the morning of.  We checked the tire pressure the night before...One of the back RV tires (LID, or Left Inner Duel) was lower then all the rest. So we added air -- we travel with a portable electric air compressor. So in the AM, we checked it again and it was down 2 #.   So we took off, drove 1.5 hours, stopped for gas, and checked it again.. down 1 #.. Long story short...  Steve found a place in Kansas City -- TCI tire center. So we called them, and they were able to look at our tire. Our angels keep taking care of us -- there was a bad valve stem - it was an easy fix for them, did not cost us any money; and we were back on the road.. We decided to stay with our original plan to make it to Columbia ... I was the driver as we pulled into Columbia -- my now it's dark (we told ourselves we would not drive in the dark -- at least now we know that the headlights work...) The RV GPS sent us down the wrong road, so now I'm on a 2 lane road, in the dark looking for a place to pull off. after about 5 miles, we found a parking lot of the local hardware store. We unhooked the truck. By this time, the owner of the hardware store pulls up and was our angel that pointed us in the correct direction to the RV park. Steve was able to pull the RV into the very narrow lot with lower hanging trees then what we like to have.... Steve was more exhausted then I; and we were both grateful to be "home".   
The next day - we meet up with a Army buddy of mine - Karen and her husband Carlos -- Karen and I were in Saudi Arabia together during Dessert Storm. Karen mostly was a nurse at the Prison Camp; as I stayed with our unit hospital where I worked in the recovery room and ICU.

 Karen and Carlos - at our RV Park

We found a cool state park in Columbia - climbed up a few rocks
                         to find a peaceful place to sit.....

The flowers are still in bloom, in Missouri ..

 Next stop..

Cape Girardeau Mo.
Cape Camping RV Park ---- Well,,,,, we missed the drive to turn into the Park, followed our "faithful" GPS in the RV to get turned around and ended up turning into Burger King to get back on the road going back to the RV Park -- our angels were watching our for us yet again !!!!
The park has a fabulous hiking trail from the park to a wooded area, or you can go the opposite way towards town then end up in a nice park with trees' The park has a pool table and putt - putt golf.   We would like to came back here - had a great time walking along the Mississippi River, and found a good restaurant -- Broussard's Cajun cuisine.
The flood wall between the town and the Mississippi Rivers was built in 1958 - the town has seen several floods over the years, the last was in 1993 ---- the water level raised 48.5 feet.
Walking down by the Mississippi River - we met a nice couple who gave us some history about the town -- plus they directed us on the best route out of town when we venture on our next leg...

 Bridge goes over the river into Illinois, which is the way we will be heading when we leave town.
 The river is flowing rapidly - the barges in the distance are getting ready to cruise down river
 We sat and watched the tug boat maneuver the large barge
Heading out of town - on the bridge 
The beautiful roads of Missouri..a nice 2 lane road-Steve is driving - we headed towards I-24 - it was a easy and beautiful drive.
 We have no idea what crop this is --..... maybe wheat ??

After getting gas on I-24, Bette takes the wheel...

Beautiful country.. entering Tennessee

 Next stop .......... Clarksville RV in Clarksville Tennessee - 45 miles north of Nashville.
 The Park was nice, wide sites with picnic table. We were in site #42. The fall colors were still showing off for us.  (the only draw back for the park was that it was close to the interstate)

We went to Dunbar State Park in Clarsville ... for a hike around the lake and into the wooded area. 

Check out the turtles  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  Very nice walking trail.

The park is honeycombed by Dunbar Cave and numerous sinkholes. The cave has historical, natural, archaeological and geological significance. Excavations revealed that this cave has been occupied by man for thousands of years, drawn by its constant stream flow and natural air conditioning. These early inhabitants left drawings on the cave walls, perhaps as part of religious ceremonies.

The entrance to Dunbar Cave is 58 degrees year-round which was a popular attraction during the summer months. After the Civil War, the first resort was built in the area surrounding Dunbar Cave. By the 1930s, the cave became a hotspot for local bands and other entertainment. In 1948, country music legend Roy Acuff bought the property and staged his Saturday Night Radio Dance Broadcast from the site.  In March 2010 the cave was closed to tours and visitors because a bat infected with White Nose syndrome was found in the cave, this was a precaution to isolate the fungus and prevent spread to other bats. The fungus is not transmitted to humans. The cave may be opening next year. 

Open area was where the dances happened in the 1950's -- wish the area was still in use for that -- It's a fabulously beautiful place!

 Entrance to cave is to my left,

     Fun in Nashville.....
We took a stroll over the Shelby Pedestrian Bridge
 - with a nice view of the Cumberland River
 The Bridge is next to the Johnny Cash Museum.

Johnny's first band was with the Tennessee Two - 2 high school friends that he grew up with .  Sun Records gave them their first record contract. (Elvis also initially signed with Sun Records; which was a very small record company)

Love his music !!

We toured backstage at the Grand Ole Opry.  Unfortunately the show that night was sold out (shows are Tues, Friday and Saturday.) The Opry holds 4,400 people - so it's a good idea to get your tickets ahead of time -- so another entry on our bucket list.

History of the Grand Ole Opry:  It began on the night of Nov. 28, 1925, when an announcer on Nashville radio station WSM introduced fiddle player Uncle Jimmy Thompson as the first performer on a new show called “The WSM Barn Dance.”Along the way, it has launched countless country music careers and led the way for Nashville to become Music City. Do you remember Hee Haw ??
Several pumpkins with artist's faces -- here is Dolly Parton
 Studio A is where Hee Haw was filmed
 Who does not remember Minnie Pearl ????????????????? 

Grand Ole Opry Members
The decision to bring a new member into the Opry fold is a two-pronged one, based on a combination of career accomplishment and commitment. But, really, it comes down to just one word: relationships. The relationships between performers and fans. The relationships Opry members have with each other, relationships that may last for decades. And, perhaps most importantly, the relationship between each artist and the ideal of the Grand Ole Opry. I'm not sure how many members there are - all the names are on a wall with their names, including my buddy Blake Shelton

Pics of some of the dressing rooms:


 Painting in the Family Room

A HS band was practicing, so we were not able to go on stage -
    ---------view from back stage---------

 View from the audience..
 Roy Acuff was one of the regulars on the show, 
 Roy Acuff
 in his later years, he lived in this house next to the Grand Ole Opry, that way he was never late  - the house is currently empty. He died in 1992.

Our next stop --- Adairsville Georgia - This was a 235 mile drive. Most stressful day for me during my drive time, as the road was curvy and lots of truck traffic; fortunately, the closer we were to our destination, the road straightened out and the trucks "disappeared".

Arrived at Harvest Moon RV Park on Oct 30th  - friendly owners, nice open sites with picnic tables,  friendly neighbors.
A cold front came through which hit most of the states north of us, plus all the way to Miami Florida. We unhooked our water at night, just in case it was cold enough to freeze. It was as low as 31 - 27 for 3 nights.  By the time we planned on leaving on a Tues, the temps were climbing back to a more normal

    While here, we visited with second cousin JoAnn (Ohlinger)
       and her husband Chuck in Atlanta -- yummy food !! 
                                  Love the name of the restaurant....


At the Fernbank Museum in Atlanta Georgia

One big mouth -- the dinosaur -- not Steve .. 
 The rest of the dinosaur ............
 another view of the largest dinosaur in the museum

Another dinosaur ......................


Tannosaurus Rex   (Bette's favorite  !!)

A tiny flying pre-historic creature

A fossil -- you can find many of them, like this one, imbedded in the floor

The Museum has several displays -- one for kids with hands on fun things to do, timeline of how the earth was formed (did you know that trees existed long before grasses..), history of St. Catherine Island, Cultures from around the world, formation of rocks in Georgia and other facts about the state of Georgia.

St. Catherine's Island
St. Catherine's Island is 50 miles south of Savannah, Georgia.
 The island is ten miles long and from one to three miles wide.
The island has been inhabited for at least 4,000 years, and was a Guale settlement by 1576. It was the site of the first Spanish outpost in Georgia. By 1587 it was the northernmost permanent Spanish outpost on the Atlantic Coast.  During the 17th century, the mission of Santa Cataline de Guale,  located on the island from 1602 to 1680, was the center of the Guale missionary province of Spanish Florida.  Since the mid- 1970's , archaeologist from the Am. Museum of Natural History have excavated at St. Caherines Island
Here are some of the pottery discovered (the history of the early pottery is in the museum which shows how they advanced over the years as the types of food changed.

 Pictures from Cultures from around the World..Garments in the USA  (military, graduation garb) are rather boring compared to other countries...

Wedding Headdress  from Minangkabau (in Indonesia)  

 New Guinea

New Zealand
 Republic of the Congo

ZULU hats -South Africa
We eat at the Waffle House in Adairsville. (found almost everywhere in the south) -- not the fanciest place / basic food ... Pecan waffles Yum, Yum..

Next "Home" - Elko Georgia -- 
Twin Oaks RV Park  - The RV Park is well laid out, the new, very friendly, owners are putting in new landscaping. By the eve, the park was mostly full...

Railroad Museum... Information about the 1862 train that was stolen called The General. The Great Locomotive Chase.

 The Great Locomotive Chase or Andrews' Raid was a military raid that occurred April 12, 1862, in northern Georgia during the Civil War.

 A silent movie The General is a 1926 movie inspired by the great Locomotive Chase, staring Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman. 

Here are some pictures from the
Aviation Museum next to 
Robins Air force  Base.

The largest Aviation Museum we have seen...

 Robert Lee Scott Jr. (12 April 1908 – 27 February 2006), a Georgia native, was a Brigadier General in the US Air Force. Scott is best known for his autobiography God is My Co-Pilot about his exploits in WW ll with the Flying Tigers in China and Burma.   The book was eventually made into a film of the same name. 

 C- 17 -The plane Steve use to work on............

Cotton Field in Georgia -- Cotton is harvested with a combine, made into bales (just like Hay), then processed in a factory.

rolled across the Florida / Georgia Line

Lake City RV Park -- quiet, small park. There was a trail around the pond -- we knew we were in Florida when we saw the sign:
"Beware of Alligator, snakes and etc...

Plus we were welcomed with a Palm tree

And beware of the Ducks....

We found a 6.8
mile trail...

it was a
cloudy day -
high of 60

Love the
Trees in

We next headed to a RV Park in Clermont , Florida
Clerbrook RV Park. The Plan was to stay here for 4 nights, visit with  Logan and Emily and go to Epcot; but we stayed here for only one night. The morning of our second day, one of our neighbors informs us that a full time RV-er was to be coming in later today and that would have boxed us in, as this was a very tight spot and the only way for us to exit was to back up into the lot behind us. The receptionist was not giving us a timely answer as to moving us, so we called our West Palm Beach RV Park, and we were given the AOK to come in earlier then scheduled.  Needless to say, we were happy to leave this park, and will scratch it off our list of places to stay in the future. 

Our drive to West Palm Beach was uneventful, although I was stressed and excited to get to our final destination. 

-- Florida Turnpike --
.....Florida Clouds.....
Arrived at our final destination for the next 5 - 6 months at 3 PM. The Vacation Inn Resort RV Park has many sites that are owned by people; and there a several for sale (this is not unusual).  The site that we are renting is very lovely. All the sites are back-in sites. We have not needed to back in before and fortunately, one of the ladies working in the office was extremely skilled are giving Steve directions in backing our RV into the site.

Finally, able to have coffee on the patio in the morning - 0800 and 70 degrees !!!! Currently,  High 80, low 65 degrees...

Our next blog will be our adventures here in Florida, plus we'll be flying to Iowa for Jacob's College graduation in Dec., and spend Christmas with family -- back to Florida on Dec 29th.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an awesome trip. Always a lil eventful!!! Enjoy the warm sunny weather. It is Nov.13 - very cold n windy. It was 14 degrees when we got up this morning. With wind chill it is in the single digits. We have 1/2 of snow on the ground and they r predicting more on Saturday. We r NOT liking this weather - it is waaaaay to early in the winter months for this. Have fun!