Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Still cold out here!

Our quest for warmer weather isn't working. . . it's still cold. . . but those days are numbered, I believe. Hopefully by tomorrow night when we get to Vicksburg, it will be a little warmer.

Today we left the Isle of Capri casino in Lula, Mississippi and traveled along highway 1 toward Greenville. It was our plan to stop at an RV park near Greenville so we could visit a plantation home and perhaps visit another casino. We never found the RV park, but drove to the Harlow casino and stopped in to see if anyone at the desk had info on a campground. They weren't much help, but we decided to try our luck a bit at the machines. That didn't last long and we were back on our way after fixing lunch in the parking lot. We crossed the Mississippi at the bridge at Harlow's. They are building a new bridge which isn't completed yet, but it is quite impressive.

The Lakeport Plantation we wished to visit is on the Arkansas side of the Mississippi, so we continued on toward Lake Village, Arkansas, to find a campground. We finally succeeded and pulled into the Pecan Grove Campground. The gal at the desk was very friendly and told us that tours at the plantation are at 10 and 2. It was 1:20 and she said, "Oh you will have time to get there. It's just about 15 minutes." So we hurried and got the coach parked, pushed the slides out and gave the dogs their instructions and we were off! We made it just in time and had an excellent tour by Blake, who is the Assistant Director. Blake was certainly a good sport and entertained all our questions and was quite knowledgeable about the home and the area. From the highway, all you see is the back of the house, but remember these plantation homes faced the Mississippi River, which now is about 3/4 mile away. The plantation was built in the late 1850's and was deeded to the Arkansas State University by the last owners. Lakeport has the distinction of being the only remaining Arkansas plantation home on the Mississippi River. The University operates the site as a museum and educational center. This restoration "focuses on the lifestyles and relationships between the people who lived and worked at Lakeport--as enslaved laborers and masters, as tenant farmers and land owners." Those wishing to know more can visit the website:

It certainly was an informative tour and one of those visits "off the beaten path" that we like so well. While the tour is free, donations are accepted.

After our tour, we drove around Chicot Lake which we suspect may actually have been part of the Mississippi River at one time. Kind of reminded us of Reelfoot Lake and how it was formed.

After coming in and setting up the Datastorm, we found one of our 2005 classmates is at the Ameristar down in Vicksburg. . . OH DARN. . . another casino. We have made contact and we will be meeting him tomorrow!

Till next time. . .


Movin' right along. . .

We stopped for our first night on the road at Mt. Vernon, Illinois, at Quality Time RV Park. Not much to talk about there, except we did manage to spend a quiet night. We did discover when we awoke that we had changed time zones, which meant that tired Terry had gone to bed at 7:30 the night before and awoke at 5 a.m. Well, what can I say? After a long day of driving for us, we slept well and got a relaxed start the next day.

The only problem so far has been the cold weather. No rain or snow, thank goodness, but COLD. We decided to driving further yesterday to get into warmer weather. Well that didn't exactly work. We crossed the Mississippi River at Cairo, Illinois, and are 2 hours further south than we had planned; but the weather is still cold. We are in an RV park at the Isle of Capri Casino at Lula, Mississippi. We were supposed to have 50 Amp, but the outlet wasn't working, so we are on 30. I had wanted the larger amps to run both heat pumps. Instead we are running our gas furnace in back. No big deal, but we like to conserve as much as possible. The campground here is almost free. . . $1/night for up to 3 nights. The $1 is for the sales tax. After 3 nights you pay $15.99 for full hookups. Not bad, eh? The real problem here is that won't let you win anything in the casino. Bummer. But we didn't lose much, so we are okay. Figure we "won" free camping for the night anyway.

Today we are headed south to Greenville, Mississippi, and other casinos. . . looking for that free camping! BTW, the casino here was deserted. Virtually no one here, as casinos go. Imagine the economy is part of the reason, but if they let people win, they would still have patrons.

Got up this morning to a beautiful sunrise which Terry was able to snap.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Just blowin' in the wind!

We left Elkhart Campground around 8:30 this morning and headed north to Michigan 12. We drove west and eventually got to I-57 in Illinois fighting wind all the way. It was quite strong, but not strong enough to make us afraid of continuing the journey.

When we were traveling in Indiana and were heading south on US 431 near the Pulaski-Jasper wildlife refuge, we saw recently harvested fields. The fields themselves were not unusual, but there were dozens of Sandhill Cranes! They are an endangered species and we have a half dozen or so that hang around the fields close to the Elkhart Campground. Every once in a while, they do a fly over. They have a very distinctive "call" which distinquishes them from the geese. Seeing a field of them, however, was very special. We actually stopped on the highway (NO TRAFFIC) briefly so I could get a couple shots. They were quite far away, but I think you can get the idea of the numbers by looking at the pictures.

We are stopped for the night at Mt. Vernon, Illinois, at the Quality Times Campground, a little dumpy, but adequate for overnight. Tomorrow we head for Carothersville, Missouri, at the casino for the night.

Till next time. . .


Friday, October 24, 2008

My new cabinet!

Last year we removed one of two sofas in Phaeton Place. We put in two very comfortable recliners and although the space is a little cramped, we love the recliners. We had enough space to put a file cabinet between them. However, I had not taken into account the space needed for the lever at the base of the recliner and it was hard to move the lever with the cabinet there. When we are stopped for a few days, we pull the one recliner out into the room and that leaves a lot of space between the cabinet and the table. I was trying to think how we could better utilize the space.

I came up with the idea of a narrower file cabinet which would give space for the recliner lever, but that meant I had to file papers across the length of the cabinet instead of the width. And I decided I wanted a flip top so I could have a work area for my sewing machine or computer by turning my table chair around. It would go deeper into the space and butt up against the credenza Terry built for storage when we took the couch out.

We talked with some friends who had some custom work done in Nappanee. We talked with one fellow, but he was a middleman and did not really want us to talk with the man who would be building it. When you are paying for a custom cabinet, you want to make sure the builder understands exactly what you want.

So, we trekked to Nappanee to talk with Carlyle, an Amish woodworker, owner of Focal Wood Products. Terry, being the "woods" teacher, literally drooled over the wood shop, all run by a huge generator which hums in the background. We talked with him at length about what we wanted, left him a drawing and a cabinet door so he could match the stain. He took just under 2 weeks to build it and WOW! What a beautiful cabinet. I will let you judge for yourself.

Carlyle does custom cabinetry for any RV. Some of his window valences are sold through Brad and Hall, but you can buy from him directly. I told him I would take picturs and send to him for perhaps a later brochure or just to have in his shop. Our cabinet is even more beautiful than I anticipated. He does exceptional work.

Thank you Carlyle and thank you Brenda for recommending him!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Ready, Set, Go!

Departure from Elkhart Campground is set for early Sunday morning. One apartment rented, one not. We've advertised for a month and haven't had but two inquiries with no followups. So, we aren't going to sit around and wait for a renter who may not arrive.

Last week we managed to sneak in a dinner out with my sister Nita and hubby Jim and daughter/niece Kellie. We ate at Ruby Tuesday's and it was excellent. It was so much fun. Afterwards Nita and I entertained the rest of the family with karaoke on their Wii, which I must say was even worse than it sounds. I always thought karaoke would be easy, but it aint't so. We had a great time and I nearly passed out from laughing so hard. . . I just couldn't catch my breath!

Thursday Ward and Pat Gnu (New) arrived, fresh from turtle watch at Pea Island, Cape Hatteras. They were in Indiana visiting Aunt Jean, so they hopped on up to Elkhart to see us. It has been a couple months since we saw them, so it was great they could come. Thursday night we managed to go to Heinnies for steak, which was delicious as usual and then on Friday we took them around to the various RV surplus houses in Elkhart and in Michigan. Both Ward and Terry were looking for specific parts and I think we found everything they wanted. Friday night we decided to go to Culver's for butter burgers, so we called and invited Bob and Molly Pinner who joined us at the restaurant. What great fun and conversation we had!

Ward and Patty hung around on Saturday while we played slumlord again, but we got a chance to visit later in the day. They left Sunday morning and we went back over to the storage condo to watch the race.

This week will be one of finishing up all the odd jobs required before we hit the road. Need to bathe the dogs as well. Ssssshhhhhh. Neal can't hear that.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's the Great PUMPKIN, Charlie Brown!

On our cross country trip through lower Michigan Friday to pick up an E-Bay purchase, we saw quite a lot of color. We also came by a pumpkin farm. No other way to describe it. . . acres and acres of pumpkins!

We thought we saw a lot of color on that little jaunt, but by the next day, the colors were out in full force. There had been 2 nights of frost and that really brought the reds and deep oranges that are so beautiful. If you are up here or close, now would be a good time to take a drive into Michigan or another northern state to view the spectacular panorama Mother Nature has prepared for you this autumn season. My guess is we haven't seen this much beauty in several years.

Till next time. . .


Friday, October 10, 2008

Aaaaaaccccccckkkkkkk! We're being invaded!

Yep the Jimmies are coming to town. I have lost count. Wednesday night there were 20 of them, probably double that amount now and more expected. How cool. They have been having gatherings in the building every night and we have been busy, so we haven't had much time to mingle.

We went to see Uncle Bill last night. He looks good and the doctors claim there is absolutely no sign of the lung cancer he started treatment for a year ago. That is great news. He is still weak, not sure if that is from the cancer treatment or what. He continues to have strokes. And he has severe headaches on one side of his head. They have not been able to determine what the problem is. They did biopsies on the vessels at his temples, but said they were okay. He has had a stroke since we last saw him in June. At that point he was just regaining his ability to speak and be understood. When he has another stroke, he has to start all over with speech therapy, so it's like taking a step backwards. We continue to pray that his therapy is successful and that they are able to treat the headaches and stroke conditions that exist.

We went to Nappanee yesterday to the shop of an Amishman who makes a lot of accessories for RV's. He specializes in custom treatments and will build anything you want. His name is Carlyle and was recommended by Bob and Molly and Ron and Brenda. We were quite impressed. Terry drooled over his woodshop and he was a much younger man than we expected. He asked a lot of questions because our file cabinet has to be custom due to the space constraints we are working with. He offered some suggestions and said he will have it done in two weeks! It will have a flip top which will allow me space to set up my sewing machine without taking over the kitchen table. I am excited about getting it in before we leave for the winter. Course, that means we are here another 2 weeks, but we still haven't rented the apartment. While we were there talking with him, Bob and Molly walked in. Hah. So we ended up going to lunch with them in Nappanee while they waited on a part Carlyle had made them to dry. We ate at the Corner Cafe. Can you believe this? Bob and Molly each got a sandwich and a cup of soup to share and their bill was a little over $6? WOW. Most of the sandwiches were under $2. Even cheeseburgers! And speaking of cheeseburgers, Terry got the cheeseburger soup and it was delicious!

Ward and Patty are coming next week and we are anxious to see them. The weather here is going to continue to be mild this week, and we are hoping we won't have any freezing weather before we head south. We did start advertising in another paper as well as the Elkhart paper, so hopefully we will get some action. The market up here is truly depressed as you might imagine. . . will all the RV related industries closing up shop. We have had virtually NO calls about this apartment. If nothing happens in 2 weeks, we will head south anyway. We got one rented, so that will do until we get back up here in the spring. People don't like to move in the winter anyway.

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Time marches on. . . .

Well, one apartment is rented, one to go . . . Sure hope we get some calls quickly. If it happens we don't get any activity in a couple weeks, we will probably leave for warmer climes anyway and trust our manager to show the apartment and take applications. We can do the rest by remote.

Sniff, sniff. . . Mom called last night from Arkansas. They left yesterday morning for the valley. I'm jealous to say the least. They will get there in another day probably and are going to look at replacing their trailer. I hope they find what they want. When we get there, we are going to have a canopy put up over our lot and eventually we will probably add a Texas room, but not this year.

Here at the Elkhart Campground we have four of the GMC motorhomes http://www.gmcmi.com/, mid 70's. There are 3 green ones and one yellow with green stripes. The yellow one has a Mustang of the same vintage painted to match. We stopped and told them of one we know for sale in the neighborhood of our apartments. They were a jolly group and told us there were 50 of the RV's scheduled for a rally here this weekend. Pictures will follow!

We will head over to the apartments today. Tomorrow we are having friends over for Cajun Seafood Chowder and I want to get the place looking spiffy.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

No rest for the weary!

We have been working hard advertising our apartments and have one application, but that is all. I hope that things pick up a little this week. We really don't want to head south until everything is full.

Terry managed to change the locks on the apartments. Probably would not have had to do that, but always feel better if we do. I had to take up some old tape off the vinyl in the kitchen of one of the apartments. The tenant had taped down a rug at the back door. It had been there so long that the tape had dried out and the residue was stuck to the floor. It took quite a bit of elbow grease and some "Goo Gone" and it was history.

It rained some yesterday and a cold front came through. It really feels cold out there now. Every now and then we get sprinkles and they are really cold. I had to wear a sweatshirt and a jacket and gloves to walk Bailey tonight.

Wish we were in warmer territory!

Till next time. . .