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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Leaving Palmdale 2018


Today we are here at Indian Creek Recreation area near Alexandria, Louisiana. We have a nice concrete level site with opening to the southern sky so the satellite dish works. It couldn’t get much better except we are a long way from a place to buy a newspaper. It’s not that there are no nearby stores. It’s just that newspapers aren’t very popular in this part of the country. Enough on that subject. We are in the middle of a beautiful pine forest and the weather is fine today. Our travels north are kind of stalled because it keeps snowing up there. We left Palmdale on March 29 and enjoyed several days traveling, finding good places to stay easily. Three days at San Luis Pass County Park where we did a little crabbing and fishing were a highlight. It’s not that we haven’t had challenges along the way.

Our first stop in Corpus Christi was to get our oil changed and a new pan gasket at the Freightliner Service Center. We had the rig there at 7:00 AM so they could have plenty of time. Well, they were busy and it was Friday and they appeared to be having some kind of staff celebration that day and we did all we could think of to do in town and came back about 2:00 PM. The rig was still in the parking lot. Don went in to check on it and they made excuses but soon it was in the shop. At about 5:00 we went back and they said that there was another part that was needed because there was an additional gasket that needed to be ordered. So, they spent an hour coming up with an estimate and said they “might” be able to do it the next day. We took our estimate and headed down the road. We should be able to find a place in Minneapolis to get the work done if it ever stops snowing up there. The leak is not bad enough to require immediate attention. We haven’t needed to add any oil in the year since the last oil change.

After we left San Luis Pass, we headed to the southern suburbs of Houston where we could get some shopping done, do laundry and make granola. Besides, there was bad weather in the forecast and we thought it better to be away from the coast. We stayed at Safari Mobile Home and RV Park by League City, Texas. It was challenging to get by the road construction but once we got in, it was a good place to stay. We stayed an extra day there to fix one of our slideouts that got hung up on the passenger seat when we attempted to extend it. Once more, Don came through and was able to make the repair quite easily with the purchase of a bolt at Home Depot. This was only after figuring out that we weren’t going to get any kind of service for 3 or 4 weeks.

This trip is turning out to be kind of tutorial on RVing. Following is Don’s description of our departure from Texas that he posted on Facebook. It deserves to also be published here on this blog.

*********************

RVing on Steroids by Don Ruff 4/10/18

Yesterday morning was our last in Texas for the winter.  The weather up north is still cold.  We went in search of good Cajun food in Louisiana.  Judy and I love Cajun.  The thirty miles from Beaumont to the Louisiana border were some of the worst roads we have been on during our years of travel.  When we finally stopped for the first time of the day, Judy went back to the back of the camper and found that things had found new homes.  Thankfully, nothing broke.

We stopped at a campground for the night.  There was no camp host there, with recent rains, the ground was soft and we feared the rig would sink in, so we moved on.  Next was a Walmart….terra firma there.  We were then told that no overnight camping was allowed.  We remembered an RV park back a few miles.  We took the first left we could to a turnaround.  The road quickly became very narrow.  A sign on the road said no vehicles over three tons.  At 23 tons, I could see us breaking a local bridge and be liable.  There was no place to turnaround, so we went on….I was very mindful of possible hazards.  We finally were able to flag down a local traveler.  They said there were no bridges, and if we stayed on the road, we would come out at the highway.  Tragedy avoided.

We made it to the RV park.  We were met by the owner.  He said he had one site that may fit us….but a rig that size, he would have to charge us $25….no less than that.  I took a ride with him to view the site and he realized it was not good.  He thought we would sink to our axle in the soft ground.  We decided to move on.  He had no turnaround in the park, so we had to unhook the car and back out of the campground.  On to the next town.

Leesburg also has a Walmart Supercenter.  We stopped there and were again told they offer no overnights.  We again went back about five miles in the car to a campground we had passed.  The car scraped bottom going into the grounds, and we could not see a level site, so we moved on.

We located another RV park just north of town.  We called and they had a site available that would fit us.  As we started out of town, we were met with large signs of a low clearance viaduct.  Clearance was the same height of the camper.  Once again, we stopped to find an alternative route.  We went to the Sonic across the street.  We were met by a guy on roller skates, about 21 years old, about six foot five, 250 lbs., full beard, and very large boobs.  I assumed he was midway through his sex change.  (not that there is anything wrong with that).  We got our new routing that included a 30 minute wait for a freight train.

We ended up at the Shady Lake RV resort.  It was built on a hill, so the ground was not soft, but leveling was difficult.  We asked the lady where the good restaurants were.  She recommended D &D Steakhouse.  I asked if there were any good Cajun food around.  She said yes, but that restaurant was closed on Sunday.  We stayed in the camper and had canned chicken sandwiches and Tomato soup along with a bottle of 2-buck-chuck for ambiance. 

**********************************


I want to take this time to pause for a minute and appreciate my amazing husband who can fix things, drive this rig through all kinds of challenging places, and can write. I don't think I always appreciate how lucky I am.

So here is where we’ve been since we left Palmdale…
3/29/18 – Wall Mart, US Hwy 77, Corpus Christi, TX
3/30/18 – Wall Mart, Rockport, TX
3/31-4/2/18 – San Luis Pass County Park, Freeport, TX
4/3/18-4/5/18 – Safari RV Park, League City, TX
4/6-4/7/18 - Gulf Shores RV Park, Beaumont, TX
4/8/18 - Shady Acres RV Park, Leesville, LA
4/9-4/10/18 - Indian Creek Recreation Area, Woodworth, LA

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Life in the RGV


3/1/18….. Today golf was canceled because of the weather so later today I plan to head over to the pool, read a Jack Reacher novel and work on my tan. It’s windy. That was our final excuse. Actually, it rained a bit this morning. It is just as well because now I have a little time to write. Life is very busy here at Palmdale what with cards, line dancing, happy hour, going to the beach and such. This year we’ve added yoga, golf and I have a volunteer position at Ethel Whipple Library in Los Fresnos helping out with the ESL (English as a Second Language) class. We have also been shopping for a mobile home (now referred to as a manufactured home) to bring into Palmdale. At this point, that whole project is at a standstill as our desired mobile home is too big for the current configuration of our desired site. Other than that, we are both doing well though I’m sick and tired of our friends being sick. Don keeps saying that is how it is when you hang out with old people but really, enough is enough already!

Sparky…. Sparky hasn’t had much energy lately to get into trouble. We’ve also got him on the approved 6 foot leash which may be curtailing some of his antics. His most recent escapade was when he attacked the neighbor’s cat, Fluffy who was given a proper Christian burial but then for some reason was exhumed and cremated. A new identical cat, Fluffy 2 has either been resurrected or maybe it is just a litter mate of the original Fluffy. I haven’t figured it out yet.






Fluffy 2










Highlights of our winter besides the sitting on the patio enjoying a glass of wine and good jokes with our friends include a tour of the border patrol station and 2 parades. The Los Fresnos Rodeo Parade on February 17th

Los Fresnos beauties

and the Brownsville Charro Days Parade on February 24. The Charro Days parade may still be continuing. We were there for several hours in the wind and sunshine and finally left while it was still going on with no end in sight. The most impressive thing about the Charro Days floats is how well they stood up the 30 mph winds. These people have had experience with wind I could tell.
Border Patrol

More border patrol














Tuesday, February 20, 2018

2018 Winter Vacation


February 20, 2018..... over 2 months since I actually posted but here are some things that I've written since then along with some pictures.

1/29 … Not sure how to begin writing this time. Tomorrow, I have a plane to catch at 7:50 AM to get me back to Texas in time to play 500 if I have the energy. So, there is this fancy alarm clock in Ludwig’s upstairs bedroom and I’ve spent the first hour of my day figuring out how to set that clock so that I get up in time to make my flight. I’ve been in Minnesota for 15 days now and it seems much longer though by this time next week I will wonder where the time went.

Sledding at MLK Park on MLK Day
I arrived in Minneapolis late on January 14, Edie’s birthday. It was about 10 below when I landed so I stopped before I went outside, took out my coat, gloves and boots and headed for the train into the city. By the time Greg picked me up, it was late and everyone was sleeping. The next day was Martin Luther King Day. Peggy had a longstanding play date for sledding arranged with her good friends and their 8-year-old twins for that day. Notwithstanding the subzero temperatures, we all bundled up and headed for the sledding hill at Martin Luther King Park a couple of blocks from her friend’s house. We were out for a little over an hour and everyone enjoyed themselves with no frost bite.
Men sledding

1/30 Well, I didn’t get much written yesterday since Ludwig came home from his adventure in locating the Minneapolis Tribune and we commenced to work on the crossword puzzle and then made up some black-walnut cookies from the walnuts that he harvested in his back yard last fall. Turned out pretty good. Nephew, Ken stopped by to pick up his actual film photographs of our Mystic Lake trip. We visited for a while until we had enough cookies baked for him to take with him.
My “winter vacation” turned out to be packed with family time and this afternoon, instead of playing cards I took a short nap and now have some time to write. Highlights of the trip.

Birthday celebration
Sr. DOM – Twenty-some years ago, my 3 sisters, Jean, Kay and Elaine and I began to get together for the “sister’s retreat” at my house in Illinois each April. Our sisters-in-law, daughters, daughters-in-law and nieces-in-law joined us and over time we changed the name of our group to DOM (Daughters of Marjorie). Marjorie is our mother. Since I no longer live in Illinois we continue to try to get together with the larger group during the summer but when I go up to Minnesota in the winter for the last 4 years, my 3 sisters and I get together for Senior DOM. The last 3 years, we got together at Kay’s 2-bedroom apartment in Little Canada but this year, since Jean had to stay home to keep the fire going and feed the dogs we went up to her place south of Brainerd for a couple of days. Jean shares a house with our brother Mark who was over in Wisconsin visiting his son. So she was home with Mark’s outdoor wood furnace that he had attached to the house. This furnace has a large fire-box and he has chopped up 30 pound logs that we were supposed to load into the furnace. That involved gearing up for sub-zero temperatures and hauling the logs about 15 feet to the furnace and lifting them in and then trying to Lprocess but can try to describe Elaine and me putting all of our weight behind an 8 foot log pusher and getting the logs. We did our best but were not able to keep the fire going over night but it was pretty cold in the morning. Fortunately, Jean and Mark have a tank of propane to supplement the wood furnace.

Edie and Aunt Peggy meet Baby Jet
Getting Kelly and Baby Jett from the airport was absolutely one of the highlights of my trip. She planned to rent a car for the week. She had purchased a car seat and had it shipped to Greg’s house. While we were at Greg’s, he gave Ludwig and me a tutorial on how to install and adjust the straps of the car seat so we were prepared. About an hour before Kelly’s ETA, Ludwig and I walked from his house to the train station carrying the car seat and took the Light Rail to the airport. We waited by the baggage claim area until we saw Kelly wearing baby Jett and went to greet them. We waited for her bags to show up and proceeded to the rental car where we spent about a half an hour adjusting the car seat straps and figuring out how to install the base into the car. We then proceeded out into rush hour traffic to Greg’s house where Kelly planned to spend the weekend. A week later, getting the car and the baby to the airport while leaving the car seat behind was just about as complicated. This trip was accomplished by Kelly dropping me, the baby carrier and the baby at the train while Ludwig followed and he took the car seat back home while Jett and I traveled to the airport. Kelly dropped off the rental and met us by the Delta ticketing area.

Super Great Uncle Ludwig
Grandma Selfie
Babysitting through a blizzard and the plague: Under the best of circumstances, babysitting a 3.5 month old infant can be challenging in a 10 hour day. Especially this high needs baby who is mainly comfortable when she is in physical contact with her caregiver. Fortunately, I had the assistance of my bachelor brother so I was not alone. But we also had to contend with a blizzard and the plague. Kelly brought the plague (a 24 hour vile stomach virus) with her and she suffered on Saturday. Between the plague and the stress of traveling, her milk supply was somewhat diminished so she left us with just enough milk to get through Monday. But Monday was the blizzard and I notified her at around 4:15 that I was starting the last bottle of milk and she said she would get started home. That took about 3 ½ hours in rush hour traffic with about 10 inches of new snow. Even in Minnesota the snow can cause problems. We made it mostly by me wearing Jett in her carrier and bouncing her to sleep. Then on Monday night, both Ludwig and I came down with the plague which seems like a pretty extreme way to get out of babysitting but we were in no condition. We could have kept her alive but Kelly has higher standards than that from her babysitters so she worked from home on Tuesday while we recovered enough to work on Wednesday. Ludwig was pleased to learn on Tuesday morning that Greg’s wife Peggy was also sick with the identical symptoms. That meant that he hadn’t poisoned us with the beef and barley soup he made on Monday. Kelly had also stocked up on formula so we could actually feed Jett. Wednesday and Thursday passed without incident. As challenging as the experience was, I would not trade it for the world. I had the absolute privilege of spending hours with this precious granddaughter and sharing the experience with my brother.

The following Friday, Kelly arrived so I hung out with Edie and got to know Jett. My first experience of balancing 2 grandchildren. Edie is used to being “only”. She was excited to see Jett having spent the last month with the anticipation of Baby Jett's arrival. I determined not to overlook Edie but at the same time I wanted to spend as much time with Jett as possible so as to be familiar with her when Kelly went to work on Monday. 
Colleen, Paige and Helena

Trip to Rochester to see Dick, Colleen, Paige and Helena. On Sunday, Ludwig and I drove to Rochester to see my brother Dick along with his daughter and her children. 


Jazz at Riverside Wine Bar

















The best of South Minneapolis: Merlin’s Rest Pub Singing and Riverside Wine Bar for jazz trio, Turtle Bakery to end the trip.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Palmdale - IV

Jett - 2 months
It must be time to write again. It’s been a while. We’ve been back at Palmdale for almost 2 weeks and I thought that I would have plenty of time to write once I got here. Today I’m making some time. Yesterday there was something on Facebook about it being time to get Christmas cards in the mail so I started addressing envelopes today. Not having a printer to make address labels I have to write using that antiquated cursive that I learned in grade school. Things are so much harder nowadays.




The good thing is that winter is over and the snow is gone.
The winter day at Palmdale
Don can get back to the golf course tomorrow. Yesterday we introduced our new friends, Frank and Connie from Iowa to the Don Wes Flea Market, a cultural experience not to be missed by Winter Texans in the Valley. Tonight, is potluck and there is a big vote coming up about how best to serve our food. The Palmdale TRADITION has been to form the tables into a horseshoe or square and place our food in front of us. When we all get seated on both sides of the tables we stand, push our chairs in, take our plates and circle to the right serving ourselves until we return to our seat which pretty much gets us all back to our seats at the same time. Apparently, there are those who would rather have a buffet table in the middle with all the food on it and we go around it. Hopefully, we can get the vote over without much discussion so we can eat before the food gets cold. The only upside to the buffet table concept is that I can distance myself from the store-bought pie that I brought instead of having it sitting right in front of me and everybody can tell that I went to the beach while they were cooking.

Foll moon over SPI

The Boat Parade on South Padre Island



It’s good to be home among familiar faces with things to do. The Red Hats are not at Palmdale anymore and instead we have the Ladies Social Club and I went to their first get together 2 days after I got here. The only red hat that I have is Don’s old St. Louis Cardinal’s baseball cap so I never felt like I could join before. I have other plans for expanding my horizons this year but I haven’t gotten around to those things yet.

I’ve listed the completion of our 2017 travels at the end of this post. Some of our most memorable highlights include…

Landry's Vineyard
Children playing in the background
Landry’s Vineyard is a Harvest Hosts venue. We pulled in there on a Saturday so that we could attend the last of their seasonal concerts. A group of musicians played on a stage that was placed at the bottom of a hill in front of the grapevines. A large crowd gathered on the hillside in lawn chairs and on blankets with their families to enjoy the beautiful fall afternoon. Children were racing around behind the stage some of them tossing footballs back and forth.  All of this combined with their good wine made for an very enjoyable afternoon.

Diamond Jack’s Casino where we relived last year’s election at the place in which we experienced the original trauma. It seemed with our timing the way it was that we couldn’t avoid returning at the same time of year to this site.

Sutherland Springs
This has been the year for us to pass by and visit the sites of some of the worst tragedies that have occurred during our lifetime. Last spring while driving to Hartford, CT, we passed the sign on I-84 to Newtown. We didn’t stop but we visited our friend who was a school teacher and she remembered that day vividly. When we drove to Kelly’s in September we stopped by the crash-site of Flight 93 on 9/11. That is memorialized in Somerset County in Pennsylvania. Coming through Texas this year we came through Waco and took some time to visit the memorial at the Branch Davidian Compound. Depending on who tells the story, it was either a massacre of a stand-off that ended in a mass murder-suicide. Then while we were staying in Pleasanton, TX we took a day to go and pay our respects at the Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. They have done an amazing job of covering the evidence of that recent horror and turning the building into a memorial for those who died that horrific day. Grief is still very fresh there.
Cruise-ship Christmas Tree

One week before Thanksgiving we decided we better find some place where we could spend that day and enjoy dinner with a group of RVers. Unfortunately, every place that I called was full and we began to think of alternatives. Don suggest that we might be able to find a deal on a last minute cruise. We found some good deals but needed to have a place to store the motorhome with electricity during our absence. That took the better part of a day and by the time we had things arranged with the Gillespie County Fairgrounds in Fredericksburg, there was nothing available. So we woke up Saturday morning not knowing what we were going to do. I contacted Royal Carribean one last time to see if there were any last minute cancellations. It wasn’t as good a deal as we would have wished but it was leaving out of Galveston the next day and we could make that. So we packed up the RV, moved it to the fairgrounds, plugged it in and set off for Galveston, about 290 miles. We stayed in a motel and were on board the ship shortly after noon. We spent 2 days at sea. Then stopped at Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatan, Hondurus; and Cozumel, Mexico.


11/4-5 Landry’s Vineyard, Monroe LA
11/6-8 Diamond Jack’s Casino, Bossier, LA
11/9-14 Tyler State Park, Tyler, TX
11/13-15 Airport RV Park, Lake Waco, TX
11/16 Royal Palms RV Resort, Austin, TX – just about the worst and most expensive place we’ve stayed
11/17-18 Lady Bird Johnson RV Park, Fredericksburg, TX
11/19-26 Gillespie County Fairgrounds, Fredericksburg, TX (during which time we drove to Galveston and boarded the Royal Carribean Liberty of the Seas and traveled to Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatan, Hondurus; and Cozumel, Mexico
11/27-28 Bar M Mobile Home and RV Park, Pleasanton, TX

11/29 – present Palmdale RV Park, Los Fresnos, TX

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Baby Jett!

The last time I wrote was from Philadelphia back in August. Once I returned to Minnesota, we turned our focus on getting back to Philadelphia before the baby was born so that we could deliver some furniture, but most importantly, The Crib. That Honda CRV that we purchased last December to replace our Toyota was pancaked in a 4 car pile-up in Minneapolis on July 28. th. We continued to drive it while we waited for the insurance company to tell us where they wanted it repaired. Turns out after some thought they decided to total the car and just give us money so we had to spend some time purchasing a new car and then getting it ready to tow. We found a 2014 Buick Enclave which worked very well because we could use it to tow a trailer full of furniture to Philadelphia.

We stayed at Mississippi Riverwood RV Park until September 13 and then moved the camper to our friend’s house in Excelsior Springs, MO where they let us store it for a few weeks. They had sold their property but we had plenty of time before they closed on that sale on October 20. While all this was going on we attempted to spend time with Greg’s family.

The view at Mississippi Riverwood



Minnessota Blue Grass and Old Time Music Fesitval

Edie at MBOTMA

At Ken and Lori's for pizza on the grill 
Gymnastics 
Fat Chance Jugband at the Boogie at Deer Lake Charlies in Effie























































Trailer packed and ready to go
On September 15, we loaded up a U-Haul trailer and headed for Kelly’s. We arrived on September 20. Due date was September 24. We all commenced to wait for the much anticipated arrival of Baby Jett. We had work to do fixing some things around Kelly’s house. She comped us a room at the Time Square Hampton Inn so we took the train from New Jersey into Penn Station and checked out Manhattan for a couple of days. We continued to wait. Finally, on October 5, I said we need to go back to Minnesota. Both Don and I had doctor’s appointments scheduled for the 9th.

The view from our window.
So we headed down the Pennsylvania Turnpike going west. We took off in the afternoon and made it about 240 miles. We texted Kelly at about 7:00 PM. No sign of labor starting. If labor didn’t start on it’s own by 10/8 she was scheduled to be induced. I started figuring out how I could fly back to Philadelphia so I could see this baby. So we were totally amazed on Friday morning to find a picture of a newborn baby
 on my cell phone as we sat down for breakfast. We discussed our options and decided to turn around and head back to Philadelphia so we could spend a couple of hours with the family. So we did that.

Jett was born on October 6 at 7:06 AM. 7 lbs. 9 oz. 19 in. in Philadelphia Hospital. We got there in time to spend a couple of hours with the new family and then returned the way we came through downtown Philly’s rush hour traffic. We managed to make it back to where we started in the morning.  By the time we finished that day, the Turnpike had about $100 in tolls from us. It was hard to leave that baby behind.
Grandma meets Jett
Grandpa meets Jett


Aimless Wandering:
Yesterday, my sister Elaine called and she asked me where I was. Well, I said, “I’m in my camper. Just finished making cole slaw for supper.” She paused for a minute and asked, “Where is your camper?” “Oh,” I said “Jackson, Mississippi.” So you see now I’m home when I’m in the camper wherever it is parked. It just so happens that it is in Jackson now. Tomorrow we will be heading west with plans to be at home in Landry Vineyard in Monroe, Louisiana. We have no plan other than to be at Palmdale on December 1.

The Black Iris for which the farm is named
So here is where we've been. We got back to our camper in Excelsior Springs on October 10 and spent a few days helping Kay and Max finish packing their house. We went over to Don’s sister’s in Ottawa, KS for the weekend and came back to pick up the camper and head out.

After that we did our normal visiting old friends through Missouri and Illinois and I showed everyone my daily pictures of my beautiful new granddaughter Jett, and a few new ones of my beautiful older granddaughter Edie who has started Kindergarten.

Beautiful new granddaughter - Jett

Beautiful older granddaughter Edie - Kindergarten




















Cotton…

Bumper crop
Pickin cotton
When we got to Blytheville, Arkansas, we were impressed with the enormous colorful bales of cotton laying around the fields and the abundance of unpicked cotton. We drove to see Johnny Cash’s boyhood home in Dyess which is town that was settled during the depression. About 500 families were given 40 acres each of swampland and enough to build a house. The families then were able to drain the swampland and grow cotton along with food for
themselves. Johnny Cash’s family was one of the lucky families that had this opportunity. We arrived just as the caretaker of the place was closing up the house and talked to him briefly. He did point us towards the cotton gin about a half a mile down the road and said they might even give us a tour. It wouldn’t hurt to ask so we headed over to Rabbit Ridge Gin and Warehouse. We drove in not far behind a truck hauling a load of cotton onto the scale. Off to the side was another truck backing up to the gin preparing to unload. The gravel driveway and weeds around the edges were gathering wisps of cotton that was blowing around in the wind. Back behind all of the buildings were stacks of huge bales and loads of cotton that were gathered the old way. We could hear the roar of heavy equipment coming from buildings where the cotton was being unloaded. We entered the office without much hope but asked at the desk about a possible tour.


Citton seed - how the gin makes a profit

Unloading bales behind the gin
The young woman said she would ask and soon we were approached by a man, about 50 years old. He said sure and led us to a diagram which showed the steps that go to separating the seeds from the cotton. We had picked a handful of cotton from the field we stopped at to get a picture of the cotton picker and I knew that getting the seed out was not an easy thing to do. He described all the steps and we weren’t sure if that was all but he invited us to follow him to the gin and spent about an hour with us walking around the gin showing us all the steps that involved fluffing up the cotton drying it out and cutting the seeds out and then adding moisture back in the cotton so that it could be packed into bales for shipping. So we walked around immense pieces of noisy machinery as he explained what was happening in each step. Workers were busy monitoring the equipment and in the end filling the bags that contained the finished bales. We saw the building that housed the cotton seeds which are what provides cottonseed oil and animal feed which gives the gin their profit margin. Then the warehouse which is stacked high with bales of cotton to be shipped, much of it overseas. When we finished watching a truck deliver and label another 4 giant bales of cotton, we returned to the owner’s office where he had some pictures and samples of how cotton was picked in the old days. I was surprised when he said that they were still picking cotton by hand as recently as 1964. He told of how workers migrated to the area from the hills in the Ozarks to help pick cotton in the fall and then went home.  I thought of the town that we drove through over by the river where it appeared mostly African American people lived in small rundown houses and shacks. We saw a large American Greetings plant and other large manufacturing plants nearby so the economy is transitioning. I recently saw an article why cotton is bad for backpacking and hiking. Fortunately for us we have survived major backpacking trips wearing cotton but not anymore. Our gin owner showed us on a board he has posted in the office where the number of bales that they gin every year has been dropping steadily from a high of 26,000 bales 6 years ago compared to 9200 last year.

Mississippi
Mississippi State Capit0l
Martin Luther King's last motel
stay in Memphis.
Here in Jackson, I toured Eurdora Welty’s home and found her book on my Nook and started reading it again taking my time to just enjoy the people and places she describes so deliciously. We toured the new capitol, the old capitol and the Governor’s Mansion. A woman at the tourist information center suggested that we ask about the ghost in the Governor’s mansion. She said that no one would bring it up. So we did that. Our tour guide was appalled that someone had suggested that and she told us briefly that there have been stories about Governor Bilbo’s ghost which is said to hang out in the bathroom. But she said not to ever bring it up because they were not supposed to talk about it. I looked up Governor Bilbo on my Google and figured out that he wasn’t just controversial as she said but he was an appalling human being and I can understand why the tour guides do not bring up that shameful piece of Mississippi history.



Jett - 1 month old

Aug. 11-13 -  El Rancho Manana, MBOTMA Festival
Aug. 14 - Sep. 13, Mississippi Riverwoods RV Park, Osceola, MN
Sep. 14- Oct 15 Black Iris Farms, Excelsior Springs, MO
           Sep. 15-Oct. 9 - Minnesota - Philadelphia by car
Oct. 16-17 – Mark Twain Caves Campground, Hannibal MO
Oct. 18-22 – Illinois State Fairgrounds Campground, Springfield, IL
Oct. 23 –  Walmart, Festus, MO
Oct. 24-25 – Cape Camping and RV Park, Cape Girardeau, MO
Oct. 26- 28 – Grizzly’s RV Park, Blytheville, AR
Oct. 28-29 Memphis South RV Park and Campground, Coldwater, MS
Oct. 30 – Wal Mart, Ridgeland, MS
Oct. 31-Nov.  – Timberlake Campground, Brandon, MS