"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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Think we’ll go to Arkansas


We have been busy since the last post.  Hard to believe it has been a week since the last one.  The BIL was able to go home late last Monday evening.  After getting him settled, we rethought our plans.  There was nothing else we could do in Jackson, so we decided to head for our original destination of the week which was Village Creek State Park, near Wynne, AR.

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We get together there each Halloween weekend with ballooning friends and family.  We do a lot of eating, visiting, and flying friends and family for 4 days.

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We attempt to roast the perfect marshmallow, which can become a mess to eat.

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Though we had some rain on Thursday and early Friday, it cleared off in time for the annual bocce ball tournament.

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Saturday morning arrived clear and cold.  What is that white stuff on the ground?

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Perfect ballooning weather!

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Inflated and ready to go!

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Leaving the crews behind!

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And the chase is on.

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We go from the chaser to the chased in a matter of minutes.

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Looking back at our shadow and Rob’s balloon.  He found a little slower air.

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The hills were beautiful, both from the air and on the trails in the park.

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It was a great weekend.  Will have a little more information and pictures in a later post.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Things are looking Up


It has been quite a change in our traveling plans the past few days.  Arrived in Jackson in the wee hours of Friday and was at hospital by 5:30 AM.  Brother in law had already had one surgery and another one was scheduled for later Friday afternoon.  Called Lefluers Bluff State park to see if there were any sites available for the weekend and scored one of the last two.  Spent the rest of the day between the park and hospital which, luckily, were only a couple of miles apart.

Saturday morning there was a walk for juvenile Diabetes taking place in the park.  I had to get Wanda to the hospital early, and back into the park to take care of Sally before 9 as the roads were to be closed.  Quite an event with over 4000 walkers.  Some ran, some jogged, some were strollered and some rode shoulders.  Great event for a worthwhile cause.

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Lots of water birds near the campground.  These guys spent all day Saturday and Sunday trying to snag a meal along the banks of the lake.  Don’t know the varieties, assume they are herons of some kind.


As they were trying for a meal, this guy was eyeing them.  He stalked around the edge all day, but I never saw him make a meal of anything.  He’s slowly drifting by now as I compose this post.

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As of Monday afternoon the Brother in law is making a miraculous recovery from two surgeries.  One for a blood clot in the carotid artery, and one for an aneurysm that was discovered while scanning the clot.  Just got a text from Wanda that he will go home tomorrow morning, or possibly even this afternoon.  Modern science, helped along with the prayers of many people, produces miracles.

Another bit of good news is that Wanda and I had the pleasure of meeting Judy and Emma yesterday afternoon.  Judy was traveling down I-55 through Jackson on her way to Louisiana.   As we had traded a couple of phone calls as to where she might spend the night in the area, she let us know when she stopped.  As it was only a few miles South of Jackson, we headed out to meet her.  Though she wasn’t too impressed with the park she stopped at, she was beaming as she came out of her motorhome.  What a delightful lady.  We had a short visit, of which I have no proof of as I left my camera in the Casita, and made our way back to Jackson.  I guess that means we will have to get together again somewhere.  I have to get a photo that shows those amazing, smiling, BLUE eyes.

That’s if for the afternoon of October 24th.  Not sure what the post date or time will be….jc

Friday, October 21, 2011

Best Laid plans of Mice and Men!!

Or as Judy said a few weeks ago; UFF-DAH.  We departed Meriwether Lewis Campground in a light rain Wednesday morning with our destination to be Fall Creek Falls State Park.  Rain all day and through Wednesday night.  Departed there Thursday morning under heavy clouds and rain headed for the Great Smoky Mtn. NP.  Look Rock National Park campground on the Foothills Parkway was everything I expected.  Views for miles across the mountains, with the clouds breaking up and the sun peeking through.  Got all set up on a fantastic site.  Dry camping at its best. Half price. No cell, internet, or TV.

  Decided we would drive down the mountain to Townsend to get some firewood.  While there I turned on my phone to send the kids a text as to where we would be for the next three days.  Before I could do that, I got notification of 5 voicemails.  Seems the wife's brother back in Mississippi had been stricken ill and was in the hospital in critical condition.  Back up the mountain, hook up the trailer, and drive straight through back to Jackson, MS.  Good news is he has been through two surgery's and the prognosis is positive.  Bad news is that I'm back in Mississippi rather than the mountains.  Oh well,  There's always next week, hopefully, or the week after................jc 

Up the Natchez Trace Parkway

Left Natchez on Sunday afternoon, driving up the Natchez Trace.  The parkway follows the old trails and footpaths of the frontiersmen of the early 1800’s.  After they floated their goods South to New Orleans, they made their way back upriver to Natchez and then by foot or horseback Northeast toward Nashville and the Ohio River Valley.

Spent Sunday night in Jackson, MS at Lefluers Bluff State Park.  A nice park just off the Trace.

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Monday morning found us traveling on toward Nashville.  After a short drive we arrived at Jeff Busby campground.  It is a free, NPS dry camping campground, situated right on the Trace.  No hookups of any kind. Just a couple of water faucets and toilets, but it is a really nice place.  Was surprised it wasn’t already wrapped up with our Canadian neighbors heading South.  Was told it was still a couple of weeks too early.

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A little color already showing up in the few hardwoods scattered around the pine trees.

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Tuesday found us again traveling North.  Our Destination the Meriwether Lewis campground and memorial site on the Trace in Tennessee.

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A beautiful park and campground facility, both managed by the NPS.  Again the camping was free.  The site was where Meriwether Lewis met his fate while traveling the trace toward Washington DC in 1809.  Some say he was murdered, some say he committed suicide, but we will never really know.

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Not much left of the original building, just what looks to be the fireplace foundation.IMG_5516 (Large) IMG_5517 (Large)

It is sad to think of all the things he went through with Clark on the Westward Expedition, and all the contributions he made to science on that journey,  only to meet death at a lonely outpost on the Natchez Trace.

We barely beat the rain. It was beginning to sprinkle as we headed back to the CG.  The color is getting better the further we go.  Hopefully, if the rain goes away and we get some sunshine, the next few days should be awesome.

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That’s it for now…….jc

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Natchez Final Report


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Saturday and Sunday seem a blur when I think back on it.  It was the most beautiful weekend Natchez has had for ballooning in years.  Sunny skies and moderate temperatures made it great to be outside.  Up early Saturday morning to get out, and get in the air.  That’s what we did Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, and also Sunday morning.

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We flew a few crew members that hadn’t had a chance to fly before now, and just had FUN!

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Sunday morning was the best, as we got our son-in-law in the air, along with our grand daughter, for his first flight in the 12 years we’ve been flying in Natchez..  Also the conditions Sunday made for a fun time over the target as they were able to make multiple attempts at scoring.

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Overall, it was a great weekend with friends and family.  Our shirts for this year say it all!


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Monday, October 17, 2011

Up and Away


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Friday morning found us on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River North of Natchez.  It was a beautiful morning for the hare and hound balloon and bicycle race.  The bicyclist rides in the basket with the pilot as he tries to land as close to where the hare balloon touched down as possible.  The balloon crew carries the bicycle and tries to to be at the landing location with the bike at the same time.  The cyclist then races back to the Natchez Visitor Center, with both the pilot and cyclist awarded points for the least amount of time. 

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Soon it was liftoff for our balloon.

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Arriving through the fog.

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After a safe landing and getting the biker on his way, it was off to breakfast and on to another school for more show and tell.

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You’re correct.  Two different envelopes. Same pattern, but different colors and sizes.  The larger one for most flights and the smaller one for talks and glowing.

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Finished the day with a glow on the riverbank in Vidalia, LA.

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Quite a day, and Saturday was yet to come.

On a side note.  No I don’t own a balloon, but we have some dear friends who do, and we are privileged to be a part of their hobby.  We get together with them a number of times each year.  Even made the trip to Albuquerque with them a few years ago.  Awesome place for ballooning!

At Natchez each year, we have the parents, children, grandchildren, and friends of four different families participating in a great weekend of fun and fellowship.  More pictures another day, maybe…………jc