"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Back to the Beginning.

As we are sitting home, me with a pinched nerve in my back, and Wanda facing a difficult surgery the first of the year, all our immediate travel plans have been cancelled.  I thought I would go WAY back to the beginning. Way before I was even aware of a blog.


 As I was nearing forty years of employment with the telephone company ( Southern Bell, South Central Bell, Bellsouth, and the "new att"), it was time to think about retirement and our retirement plans.  We knew travel was our first priority, and were looking at different trailers and small motor homes.  Shortly after hurricane Katrina came through our area, I spotted a small trailer in a friends yard.  I stopped by and inquired about it.  It was unlike anything I had seen before, and belonged to our friends sister.  She had brought it up from the coast for protection from the storm.  She said that her sister and husband work-camped about nine months a year in a motor home, but used  the small trailer (Casita) to travel in the other three months of the year. I took a peek in, and said no way.




My job at the time was 80% sitting around, and 20% get it done yesterday. That left lots of time for cruising the Internet.  I found two forums dedicated to Casita's, and became fascinated with everything about them.  How well they were built from molded fiberglass, how well they held their value, basically maintenance free, with most every thing larger units had such as a nice full size bed, stove, sink, two person dinette, furnace, air conditioning, toilet, shower, closet, grey and black tanks, etc.  Wanda got on board with a few reservations, and we began a search.

In August 2006, one appeared on one of the forums about 60 miles from our home.  We called, and made an appointment to see it.  It was a 2002 17' Spirit Deluxe, in like new condition.  We purchased it for $12,000 dollars, no dickering.  Remember that price.

Within a month of our purchase, someone in Mandeville, Louisiana posted for sale on one of the forums a custom made mattress for a 17' Spirit model.  Southern Mattress had shipped the wrong size for his 16', and had told him if he could sell it, they would ship the correct one with a discount, so as not to pay shipping for the return.  We got the new mattress we were about to order without shipping costs.


Forward another month, and we were in Riverview RV park in Vidalia, Louisiana.  It was the Great Mississippi River Balloon Races, and we were there to crew for our friends.  We were very lucky to get one of the four tent sites.  Just the right size for a Casita, surrounded by a couple hundred fifth wheels and motor homes. As we were near the office, folks passed our site all day.  It seemed no one was familiar with a Casita, and I'll bet we showed it over forty times during two days.  I even heard one guy say to a friend as they were talking on the clubhouse porch. He said "that guy has everything I have, except the note".  Made my day.




As I was still working, we only made short trips for almost two years. Hardly ever over a week to nearby state parks, ballooning events, and family outings. 


We did manage to make the Bluebonnet Rally in Bandera, Texas in April of 2007.  Over a hundred Casita's, and a few other fiberglass trailers, all in one park.  That's where we found that we had become members of  a special group. The Casita Family.
And what a family it is.  Because of that little trailer, we have friends we call by name in probably 40 states. We spend nights parked in their yards, and they do ours. We travel together at times, and meet up at gatherings across the country.






In April, 2008, I retired.  First, an Alaskan cruise as a retirement gift to ourselves.  Then the real traveling was about to begin........stay tuned..........jc




Thursday, November 21, 2019

It's Been a Long Time

Three and a half months, to be exact.  Since I'm sitting at home, chair bound, with a pinched nerve in my back telling my brain someone is sawing off my left knee with a dull saw; I thought I would catch you up on our paste few months.  

                                It's pretty boring stuff from Sally's point of view.


                               Soon after returning home we met some friends in Louisiana for a reunion lunch.


              Our daughter and son-in-law purchased a camp on a bayou in Louisiana.


 She loves her dogs, fish's with them every day.

 

  I just spent my time enjoying the deck over the Labor Day weekend.


We were on our way to Mountain View, Arkansas to meet some friends.  Stopped along the Arkansas River one night.


We had a good few days enjoying great acoustic music around the square, and carrying on some foolishness.



While on the road we got word that one of my brother-in-laws had passed away so we came home to be with all our family.

A week or so later, we dog set for our kids while they were away for the weekend.  A day in the country is tough on city dogs.


We traveled to Natchez to see the balloons.  Didn't plan on getting involved again, but we did.
Loved every minute of it.







                                                     First flight celebration and initiation,


                                              and a wonderful end of a wonderful day.


We left Natchez for Huntsville, Alabama; and Monte Sano state park to meet with friends for a week.  There were about 13 trailers there, and we had a good time reconnecting with folks we hadn't seen much over the past year.  We spent a lot of time shopping and eating out.  Funny thing is, the only picture I took all week was of a half empty beer glass.  Guess you know what my priorities were.


The last three days there were stormy.  The same storm that wrecked so much havoc from Tennessee northward.  Thankfully we had only high winds and rain.  No damage in the park.

                                                                  Rainy days blues.


                             Back home, my brother and I build a couple of portable buildings.


We took a drive one day looking for some leaf color, but the only color we found was at Mississippi's version of  Bryce Canyon.  It's call Red Canyon.




And this one had another birthday last week.  We drove to Hattiesburg for lunch at one of her favorite restaurants.


I think that's all the boring details of our last few months.  Now, if I can get over this pinched nerve, we can start planning for January....jc
OBTW. Did I tell you I hate the Blogger format.  No matter how I lay it out, it never posts it like I want.  End of gripe...jc

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Getting Out of Town

After working ourselves to near death, or so it seemed, for six weeks cleaning up our property after the storm, we needed a break.  We had friends gathering near Cloudcroft, New Mexico; so we decided to join them. We pulled out our driveway on June 29th.  Three nights on the road got us to Cloudcroft on the second day of July.  Thirteen fiberglass trailers in a group campground. We did lots of catching up on each others travels.



We also did lots of eating.  Breakfast became the main meal of the day for all of us. Seems most everyone had a Blackstone grill.  There was bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes, and a few other things being prepared each morning.



Sally and Uncle Fred discussing breakfast plans.


Lots of fun with many old friends.  The temperatures ranged between 45 and 75 most every day we were there.  So much of a relief from our hot weather at home.



After nine days in Cloudcroft, we headed for Silver City, New Mexico to visit a friend.  It didn't take long for us to miss Cloudcroft.


I ran into this guy in a restroom along the way.



We found Silver City to be a great little town.  Part senior citizen, part hippie, and part millennial college student.  We visited a local coffee shop each morning with our friend.  We decided that we could get accustomed to living there.





While there I visited the Gila Cliff Dwellings. 






Four hundred year old corn cobs.


From silver City, we made our way to Santa Fe.  We were really lucky and snagged a wonderful site in Black Canyon campground.  Just seven miles from downtown Santa Fe.


We were there for four days, enjoying the cool weather and hiking with friends.  We took a drive to Taos one day.  Visited the town and drove across the Rio Grande Gorge bridge.  No pictures.  We did take a little known road back to Santa Fe that had us entering the gorge, and crossing the Rio Grande on a small bridge at the bottom.  I found that the most enjoyable part of our trip to Taos.

Another day we visited Bandelier National Monument.



Similar to Gila Bend, but a few hundred years older.  The natives dug out homes in the soft rock and cultivated crops in the small valley beneath.



Original art discovered behind a mud wall.


Flash flood debris from such a small creek.



We made a short stop at Heron Lake, near Chama, New Mexico.  The no-see-ums found me as soon as we got there.  I've never itched so much in my life.


North Fork campground near Pagosa Springs made a good stop for a couple of days.


Over Wolf Creek Pass we found ourselves in Del Norte.  They had a wonderful brewery for such a small town.  Definitely worth returning to.


They're both mine, she had wine.


We passed this place in Monte Vista, Colorado.  We stopped there back in 1984 with our kids. A motel build around a drive in theater.  Most rooms have a picture window for watching the movie, complete with a speaker like the ones on the poles.  It's still in operation today.  Brought back some great memories of our first trip out West.


A couple of days latter found us in Oklahoma.  The small town of Pawhuska, to be exact.


Home of the Pioneer Woman Empire.





An amazing story of how one person can bring a dying town back to prosperity.

We made stops in Fayetteville, Arkansas; Cabot, Arkansas; and Memphis. Visiting friends.  We took a short tour of Bentonville, and the Crystal Bridges Museum while in Fayetteville.  Don't miss either one if you're ever in the area.


We arrived home on July 31st.  A month on the road.  We've now re-accustomed ourselves to the heat and humidity.  And, we found a nice surprise when we got home.  We now have some grass where there was bare ground when we left in June.


That's it for now....jc