Saturday 11 November 2006

Happy Birthday John!

This is the pool at our campground

You can see our truck and RV in the distance

This is our site at Oak Forest RV Park

Happy Birthday to our brother-in-law John!

We also take this opportunity to remember those who fought in previous wars and are fighting in wars now to keep us safe on this Remembrance Day.

We slept with the windows open last night. The temperature dropped a lot during the night so it was only 48F (9C) when I got up this morning. This RV park is all paved streets so it was nice to walk this morning for a change. There is a grove of live oak trees that is part of the park and that’s where the dog walk is. They also have a fenced area for dogs which is always good for dogs to be able to run around off leash. Bib would have liked it.

This morning we went to the local SuperWalMart and got some groceries. On our way there and back we looked around the area a bit just familiarizing ourselves with the area. I meant to buy a map of the city while I was there but since it wasn’t on my list, I forgot. Gordon went to the office this afternoon and signed us up at this park until Friday. They have someone coming in Friday so we’ll have to move on then.

This afternoon we drove around Austin some more. We drove up Mount Bonnell, the highest point in the city to see the skyline of Austin and around the Colorado River as it runs through the city. We also drove around the downtown area and to the Capital building then tried to find Town Lake. We saw it between buildings but didn’t find out where we could actually get close to it until we found the Tourist Bureau where we also got some maps. Austin is quite a pretty city and very clean for a large American city.

Just before sunset, Gordon went out to take some photographs. He went down to Town Lake and got some photos of the Austin skyline at night with the buildings reflected in the water. To see his photos, click here

Friday 10 November 2006

We Move From the State Park to an RV Park

Photo taken at McKinney Falls State Park

It was a very hot night! We didn’t run the air but had the bedroom windows open and the fantastik fan running as well as my little fan that I run every night regardless of temperature. This morning when I woke up it was still shorts weather, but cloudy so I went for a walk around the park loop. I haven’t been walking as we’ve either been traveling or there’s been no place to walk (like at Shell Lake). Today we had to move from McKinney Falls State Park so I made a reservation at a local campground, Oak Forest RV Park, about 12 miles away. This morning we did some looking around McKinney Falls State Park and found the two waterfalls there. They aren’t much at this time of year as waterfalls go but the area around the falls is very pretty.

We hooked up and moved to Oak Forest RV Park this afternoon and got settled in. This is a very nice campground. We haven’t been in one like this probably since Catalina in Desert Hot Springs and the best part is it’s Passport America so it’s half price! We’re in a pull through and we can see the satellite. There are beautiful complete washrooms with huge showers, a pool and hot tub and we’re on a concrete pad. I hear a lawn chair calling me in the very near future!

I really liked being in the State Park and being out in nature but this park is VERY nice! We may stay here for a week.

We need to get a good map of Austin and get oriented. There are things to see here, of course, being the state capital but there are also some scenic areas but we need a map to find our way around the city. It’s a lot bigger city than we thought.

It got to 91F (33C) today so we’re no longer complaining about the cold. It’s nice to have the doors and windows open again although we did run the air this afternoon. There’s supposed to be a cold front coming through tomorrow to drop us 20 degrees. The high for tomorrow is supposed to be 69F (21C) but it gets back up into the 80’s next week.

So, we’re here in Austin, enjoying the weather. Couldn’t be better!

Thursday 9 November 2006

Leg 5 - Mount Pleasant to Austin, TX

This is our site at McKinney Falls State Park

We left Mount Pleasant this morning at 9:50 a.m. under cloudy skies and a temperature of 68F (20C). Along the way we had both sun and cloud but by the time we reached Dallas it was sunny and hot and we had to turn on the air conditioner. I had the window open some of the time but it was quite windy today. We were battling headwinds all the way. Luckily we only had to go around the Dallas bypass this time and only about ¼ of the way as we were coming in on I-30 and leaving on I-35E so from the time we got on the bypass to the time we got off on 35E it took about 30 minutes. We saw lots of construction all along our route.

Something of note is that we saw our first palm tree in Waco, Texas. It was one of those little squat ones but a palm tree all the same. With the weather and the humidity, it now feels like we’re in the tropics.

Our plan today was to stop at Austin at a state park called McKinney Falls and stay for a week. We arrived at the park around 3:00 p.m. however they could only give us one night as they are full for the weekend so our plan is to find another park in the area and come back on Sunday. By the time we got set up it was nearing dark so we didn’t get to see much of the park but we did see quite a few deer. It’s nice to stay in a state park for a change. The sites are larger and there’s more nature around. Of course we have to have our creature comforts so the internet satellite got set up. As we’re only staying for one night, we didn’t bother with TV.

It was a horrendous drive today, lots of traffic and big cities. Gordon is very tired so he’s off to bed early. I’m tired too but not the same kind of tired so my plan is to try to watch Gray’s Anatomy. Although we can’t get it with the aerial, I can get it on my little 3 inch portable. Just hope the batteries hold up!

Wednesday 8 November 2006

Finally ! Leg 4 of our Southern Trek!

It was foggy when I got up this morning so we didn’t rush to get underway. Thank goodness I was feeling better. We were both ready to get on the road! We left Shell Lake Campground at 9:40 a.m. and headed west under sunny skies. By the time we had packed up it was warm enough to ditch the coats at 52F (11C). It was sunny and got continuously warmer as we made our way west hitting a high of 86F (30C) after we crossed the border into Texas.

Our site at Mount Pleasant KOA

We stopped at the Welcome Center where Gordon took my photo (shown above), picked up some pamphlets and continued on to Mount Pleasant, Texas where we are spending the night at the Mount Pleasant KOA. It’s a nice campground with free cable TV and free wifi (which doesn’t seem to work). Since the wifi doesn’t work, Gordon set up the internet satellite.

The drive was uneventful, lots of truck traffic in this area. Most of Arkansas is flat, agricultural land with some forest area and some hills south of Little Rock.

We’re happy to be back where it’s warm. We went out to get groceries after we set up and no coat needed, only short sleeves. While we were out, we treated ourselves to dinner at Wendy’s. I really like their salads so I had the BLT salad and Gordon had his burger (sans bun) and chili. Now we’re back to watch some cable TV!

Onward for Leg 5 of the journey tomorrow.

Tuesday 7 November 2006

The Flu

I was sick overnight, consequently we’re still in Heth, AR but hoping to move on tomorrow. Nothing got done today other than me trying to recuperate so this is today’s post!

Monday 6 November 2006

A Rainy Day in Heth, AR

It was pouring rain this morning so we’re here for another day!

In last night’s blog I mentioned the Peabody ducks but didn’t elaborate that much and since today there’s not much to say, I decided to elaborate as this draws a huge crowd making it very difficult to see the ducks leave their fountain. Since I couldn’t get close enough to get photos of the ducks last night, I located a video that someone took of them. To see it, click on this link.

The decades-old tradition of the ducks in the Peabody fountain started back in the 1930s. Frank Schutt, general manager of The Peabody® Memphis, and his friend, Chip Barwick, returned from a week-end hunting trip to Arkansas. The men had had a little too much Tennessee sippin' whiskey and thought it would be fun to place their live decoy ducks (it was within the law then for hunters to use live decoys) in the beautiful Travertine marble fountain in the lobby of The Peabody. Three small English Call ducks were placed in the fountain and the reaction was nothing short of enthusiasm. Thus began a Peabody tradition that has endured and is now firmly established as an American icon around the globe. After 80 years, the marble fountain in the hotel lobby is still graced by five North American Mallards and their ceremonial March of The Peabody Ducks still takes place daily at 11am and 5pm. At 11 a.m. the ducks waddle from their home atop the Peabody Hotel followed by the Duckmaster into the elevator and on the red carpet through the Grand Lobby and into the Italian Marble Fountain where they swim around for the day until 5:00 p.m. comes and the ceremony is reversed. Each time, there is a ceremony and the tradition is explained to the crowds that line the lobby and the mezzanine. This is tradition in all Peabody Hotels which are located in Memphis, Little Rock and Orlando.

I wasn’t able to get close enough to take photos so I’ve found some on the internet to feature here.

By the way, we’re now in the Central time zone so we’re an hour behind Eastern.

Other than having a long nap and getting the laundry done, that was my day!

Sunday 5 November 2006

We Celebrate our Anniversary in Memphis

Happy 16th anniversary to us!

Blues City Cafe where we had dinner

A "drive by shooting" of Graceland

Trolley on Main Street

Gordon and I with the Hernando de Soto Bridge in the background. This is the I-40 bridge that takes you from Memphis into Arkansas.

This morning we hung around the RV not doing much. My sister, Betty called to wish us a Happy Anniversary and we chatted for a while. This afternoon Michelle also called with anniversary wishes. We signed up for another day at this campground and tried to set up the TV satellite dish. What an ordeal! We do have a signal but it isn’t very strong.

This afternoon we drove a bit around the area where the campground is located. Not much here except fast food and truck stops but I did find a post office. Then we headed into Memphis on SR70 which is the original road prior to I-40 being built. We drove around Mud Island, did a drive by of Graceland and then parked and walked around Beale Street. We had dinner at the Blues City CafĂ© which is supposed to be famous for its ribs. Gordon took a chance and had the ribs and I had catfish. In my opinion, I’ve had better in both cases. Then we went to the Peabody Hotel in time to see the Peabody ducks leave the fountain and march into the elevator and go away for the night. This is repeated in the morning when they bring the ducks back to the fountain. Too cute! After that it was nearing dusk so we took some photos around Beale Street (the local Bourbon Street of Memphis) of the neon lights, then headed back to the RV.

It was fun to do something different for our anniversary!