Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yesterday we went with Mom and Dad to the hall for Thanksgiving Day dinner. It was a great meal. Plenty of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, and everything else people brought to complement the meal. I took a sweet potato casserole and orzo salad, two of Terry's favorites. Mom took cranberry salad and macaroni and cheese. We had dessert as well. Whew. We were stuffed when we were done.

We relaxed the rest of the day. We both worked on cleaning things up in and around the Texas room. Terry worked on getting the DVD player in the bedroom working and I think he finally did. I know nothing about those things. I wrapped Christmas presents out in the Texas room. I also got some things ordered off Amazon and sent to their destination. We don't do a lot of Christmas shopping anymore, but do most of it on line.

We had been doing a lot of running around picking up final items to finish up the room. Right now it needs baseboards, which are mostly there, but not nailed in. And the closets need to be finished with shelves, etc. We need to trim around the bathtub and shower. I want to put a small cabinet in next to the washer/dryer and then put a counter over it so I have some place to fold clothes. But it is pretty much functional and livable now. We have some furniture in it, but are looking for a sofa yet.

Today we crashed and just relaxed. I put up a Christmas tree in the Texas room. It actually is my outside Christmas tree, but I put it up inside. It is raining here. Surprise! So I didn't put it outside just yet. South Texas really needs rain, so we actually are hoping for a good soaking. The last time we had some rain, you actually could scrape

down through the rocks and see that no water even got past the rocks. My yard is doing well, though. I have cactus planted and they seem to like it hot and dry. Red, my poinsettia from a couple years ago survived the summer down here and is putting out some red leaves. The leaves are much smaller than last year, but no matter. She will be beautiful again.

 Till next time. . . Dale

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Mission, Texas

We arrived on our lot here in Mission, Texas, yesterday about 11:30 a.m. We had awakened early and decided to get moving so we left camp at 6:30. The drive from there was a breeze, not much traffic, a little road construction around Falfurrias and a speed limit that varied at 70-75. Whew! I think that was new. Don't remember 70 mph on 2-lane roads. Phaeton Place was glad when we got here so she could be relieved of that weighted down, packed to the gills, Sport Trac!

The first order of business here is to finish the Texas room. Not a lot to do yet, but finishing takes more time. I think Terry is going to ask our builder John for some help in order to get it done. Until then, I really can't unload too much into the room as I would just have to find a home for it while they are sawing and hammering. Everything in the room is coating with a thin film of dust. I think it is mostly construction dust. I will try to do some cleaning today.

I was finishing uploading pictures and have a few from our trip down from Red Bay on the Natchez Trace. We travel this every year and never get tired of it. I love to drive it. It is relaxing and scenic. We saw a lot of deer and some wild turkey this year.

The first picture is the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. The "Tenn-Tom" was built back in the 70's connecting the Tombigbee and the Tennessee Rivers to make a navigable waterway to the gulf. When we first visited Terry's family after our wedding in 1971, we toured the waterway construction sites and I have pictures of the building process from then.

In April 2011, tornadoes ripped through Mississippi and closed the Trace temporarily until tree debris could be cleared. I have pictures of that. There are other parts of the Trace with older storm damage that you can pick out as you travel the trail.


The lake in the pictures is Ross Barnett Reservoir which is close to Jackson, Mississippi. This lake has a lot of stump fields you can see from the road. There is at least one campground which we have tried to get into before, but it requires reservations well in advance as they allow seasonal camping. Bummer.

We are going to be busy today with cleaning things up and getting Phaeton Place all set up for the next four months. But the weather is great! Mom and Dad were already here and fixed us supper last evening. In other news, I WON AT BINGO LAST NIGHT!
Till next time. . . Dale

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Back in time. . .

Yesterday Gary, Jo, Terry and I left and headed to Baton Rouge. First stop was the waterfront near LSU Stadium, then Cabela's which is just plain fun for all of us. Gary is a charter fishing captain for Lewis and Harp and we use a lot of camping/rv/food items from the store. Terry found himself a new hat and I found some great sandals on sale. SCORE!

Then we were off in search of antebellum mansions to tour and dinner to eat. We found food first and that was at B & C Seafood Market and Cajun Restaurant in Vacherie. What an interesting place. The owners are definitely Cajun, reflected in their speech. One had to listen closely to understand them as it's a lot different from the typical southern drawl. The owner is an alligator hunter and he had several stuffed specimens and photo albums you could peruse. Around the walls in the building were old pictures of various landmarks in the area as well as other points of interest. This is a very interesting part of Louisiana, along the "Old River Road" where antebellum mansions were plentiful due to the Mississippi River being the main means of moving their crops to places worldwide. Most of the plantations we saw yesterday grew/grow sugar cane, while others further north produced more cotton. We had a lively waitress who provided us with great service and our food was very good. After dinner, we browsed through the market which provided all kinds of seafood, turtle and alligator.

The first look at the storied past along the River Road was actually a Jesuit retreat, Manresa House of Retreats instead of an antebellum home. It was quite impressive, however, and we stopped to take a few pictures. We passed several plantations which we will visit another time. There just isn't enough time in one day to see very many. We passed Poche and Laura plantations. We passed numerous other historic houses in various states of disrepair. It is just impossible to maintain all these beautiful old homes and that is sad, but a reality. The historic societies do their best to preserve those that best represent the life and culture of the time. I would think that Louisiana probably has the most antebellum homes, many along River Road and others up north near and around St. Francisville. All within a few hours of each other, so if you want a great look into life back in time, try visiting some of these.

We settled on visiting Oak Alley. What a grand place. It is the quintessential of antebellum homes, built between 1837-1839, and has been restored to its splendor of years past. It actually was lived in and fairly well maintained for all but about 12 years of its history and is now open for tours and bookings and weddings, etc. The furnishings while not original to the families are all period pieces and it looks like someone lives there now. The docents describe the home and the families that lived there while dressed in period costumes. The grounds are well maintained and since this was a working farm, there were a dozen slave cabins to house those people who worked the land. They are in the process of rebuilding those cabins and two are done, but they were not open to visitation. We enjoyed the tour and especially looking down the "oak alley," the live oak trees planted nearly 300 years ago which frame the lane from the Mississippi River to the front door. The view is magnificent, but with the levee at the river's edge, it is impossible to see the river from the home. You can see the tops of some ships passing by, but the river view is gone. That is not totally a bad thing, however, because without it, the home would be in danger of damage from floods.

On our way back to Zachary, we passed by Nottaway Plantation (1859) and as we drove around it, we saw a wedding in progress! What a lovely place for a wedding. Jo and I decided it is on our list for the next time we come to visit! We also passed by a large cemetery. Cemeteries are very different down here than what we see up north.

It was a great day with great cousins and fun activities. Today we are leaving and will be heading to Texas with a mandatory pitstop at Kinder and the Coushatta Casino. Woot!

Till next time. . .


Saturday, November 03, 2012

Relaxing again!

Sitting on the back of cousin Gary and Jo's lot is about as laid back and relaxing as it can get. If I could just back to sleeping in and not waking up at 3:30, I'd be all set. But I'm sure with time, I will learn to sleep longer.

Yesterday we went to Baton Rouge to run some errands. There is a new Whole Foods store and we stopped there. It's a very nice store. We had spotted it a couple nights before when we were in town with Gary and Jo. Jo has embarked on a business of selling  advertising specialties and she was setting up a booth at an educational conference at the Crowne Plaza. So we went with her to help carry in all her products and booth props. With the four of us it went rather quickly and then we went out for ice cream. SCORE!

We have been hearing coyotes nightly here. It's a bit spooky because we are waaaaaay out in the country. At night, the yard between the house and the motorhome seems pretty wide and it's pitch black, so it is indeed frightful. We don't make the run to the motorhome when we hear the howling. . . we wait till they quiet down. The other night we heard them first in the field on one side of Phaeton Place and then a little later on the OTHER side. They sure do kick up a fuss. Gary says they are just scaring up some rabbits. LOL

Yesterday we ventured out a second time to see if we could find Wally Gator. In the field to the west of the house are three small farm ponds. Several years ago, Gary found there to be an alligator inhabiting the one pond. Imagine that. He nicknamed him Wally Gator and started feeding him with stuff only gators would eat. Wally has grown since the last time we saw him a couple years ago. He now looks to be about 6 feet long. What is so comical is that Gary drives the golf cart out to the ponds and calls Wally to him. We first checked the far pond, but he wasn't there this time. He actually travels between the three ponds and we found him in the larger pond yesterday. We drive up and then Gary gets out, goes to the pond edge and calls him. That gator was over on the far side and when he sees Gary, he starts straight for him, moving so fast he creates a wake. LOL Terry and I were strangers to him, and while Gary says he usually will come up out of the water to be fed, he wouldn't venture out today. But he stayed right at the edge of the pond in the water while Gary fed him. Once the food was gone, he slowly sank back down into the water and kept a safe distance away. It's hard to believe this little orphan can find enough food to eat in these three little ponds, but with Gary's supplements, he seems to be doing well.

Today we are going to Baton Rouge and may take in an antebellum mansion. There are several around here. We are leaving Sunday and heading over to Kinder to the casino for a night before going to Houston and IKEA!

Till next time. . .


Thursday, November 01, 2012


Terry here!

Phaeton Place, with all requested repairs made, left Red Bay yesterday at 8:00 AM.  Yep, 15 days in the Tiffin Service Area Campground, just a little too long for my liking. Enough of that, the trapped feeling could return.  At 4:30 yesterday afternoon, we parked out by Cousin Gary's shed, about 8 miles northeast of Zachary LA.  We'll be here until Sunday AM, then we'll continue our trek toward The Rio Grande Valley, The trip will include a stop at Houston's IKEA store, for some stuff for the Texas room on our lot.

Great to be traveling again, or just not in Red Bay.