"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, May 28, 2013

A Small Egg roll..


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We managed to get in a little journey the end of last week, just before the Memorial Day crowds hit the roads and parks.  We hitched up early Thursday morning and made our way South to Bayou Segnette state park in Westwego, LA.  Located across the Mississippi River from New Orleans, it was just a short drive from the park to the free ferry which runs between Algiers and the foot of Canal street in New Orleans.  Very convenient to visit the city while staying in a quiet, attractive location.

On Friday morning we parked in Algiers and walked onto the ferry for the five minute ride across the river.  Then it was in line to get some coffee and beignets.

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Definitely worth the wait, and no, that wasn’t the tip on the table.

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After enjoying our breakfast we strolled around the French Quarter, just enjoying the sights and sounds before the crowds arrived.

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We visited the original French Market for the first time in years.

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I can remember visiting an aunt that lived in New Orleans when I was young, and going to this market. At that time it was like an open air grocery with vegetables, breads, coffee, etc.  Now it’s everything, with hardly any produce of any kind.

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Louisiana’s famous blue dog.

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Hand painted dominos.

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A few brands of Louisiana hot sauce.

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And some gourmet favorites.

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We took the street car named Desire from one end of Canal street to the other, and back.

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And ate way too much great food the two days we were there.

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They don’t call them chargrilled oysters for nothing.

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Saturday morning found us sleeping in before doing a little shopping in the neighborhood of the park.  After hitting the Bed, Bath, and Whatever; Academy Sports, and of course, Harbor Freight, we hooked up the Casita and made our way back home. A nice little two day trip to clear the mind.

On another note, Wanda’s mother is doing rather well and we hope it continues.  Thanks to everyone for all the comments and well wish’s.  It means a lot, especially from those of you that we are yet to meet in person……jc 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

EggSitting :-)


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As the Casita sits patiently waiting for the next journey, I thought I would post an update on Wanda’s mom.  She had a successful surgery on her broken hip, and is presently in the rehab facility, doing well.  We’re not sure how long she will be there, but it could be up to four weeks, depending on how fast she progress’s through the rehabilitation process.  There are still lots of unanswered questions as to the future.  As Wanda helps work through these with her mom and brother, Sally and I are keeping things together here at home. 

A number of friends are on, or soon to be on, the road to Alaska.  John and BJ just crossed the border yesterday, and Lynne and David are getting their Casita tuned up to hit the road North, soon.  We’re looking forward to following along on their journeys, hoping to ignite the flame for next year.  We’ve talked about Alaska for the last four years, but just can’t seem to take that first bite of the elephant.

As things become more settled here in the coming weeks, we hope to sneak off for a short trip, or two.  Not too far, just a change of scenery.  That’s always good for the soul…jc

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Plans Change,

again and again.

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Wanda and I are blessed to be able to travel as we do.  We’re both in reasonably good health, have decent retirement plans, and no major commitments that keep us home all the time.  I (we) have entertained a number of different destinations and time periods for our travels this Summer and Fall.  First one place, then another. But nothing jelled. I had even booked us into a site in the Colorado Rockies for a month, but had to cancel it due to something happening at home during that period.

I received a call from a very dear friend week before last, inviting us to fill a cancellation on his 10 day tour of Southern Utah.  We have made this trip twice before and always enjoy the fun, fellowship, and beautiful scenery. I stuck my head in the door and asked Wanda if she wanted to go to Utah? The answer was a quick yes. We were in.

Since arriving home from Arkansas last Sunday evening, we have been unpacking, repacking, warm weather clothes, cool weather clothes, hiking boots and sun hats.

Loaded the Honda Generator along with other things in the truck. What else goes in? Bike? Kayak? Grill? Etc..  Once we leave Zion on Memorial Day we have no destination or commitment except home before June 24th.  Yellowstone? Oregon coast, again?  Or maybe just hang around Southern Utah and Colorado before heading back toward home.

Plans call for leaving this Wednesday, stopping near Quitman, TX that first night to visit with a great friend for the evening.  On to Amarillo, Albuquerque, Durango, Monticello, and Capitol Reef NP for the beginning of the tour.  All is well.

Then, last evening about seven, the phone rings.  It’s Wanda’s brother on the line.  Her mother has fallen and broken her hip.  She has been admitted to the hospital and surgery will be performed within a couple of days, depending on the clotting factor of her blood.

Plans Changed.  Wanda is in Jackson, and I spent the day unloading the truck. Put the Casita back under the shed, and arranged everything back into its storage location.  Emails and phone call have been exchanged with those we were to meet.

Are we sad that we aren’t going? yes!  Will we dwell on it? No.  We’ll be close to home for a while, until her mom is up and going.  During that time, I’ll be planning away.  What’s the next destination?


Don’t know, but aren’t we blessed to have one out there somewhere?Smile

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Blanchard Springs


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A few miles North of Mountain View, Arkansas you will find Blanchard Springs Caverns Recreation Area.  Named after the very large spring gushing out the side of a high limestone cliff.

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Thousands of gallons of water each minute.

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The spring was named after an early settler of the area that built a mill just downstream.

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The early settlers knew there was a connection between the spring and a sinkhole, just a half mile away, on the top or the bluff. They would drop corncobs down the hole and they would later appear at the spring.  Only problem was it took over a day for the cobs to appear.  Why so long to travel a half mile in the rushing water?

Little did they know that at the bottom of the sinkhole was one of two huge cave systems that would later be called Blanchard Springs Caverns.

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The first major exploration took place in the early sixties, with teams entering the caverns from the sinkhole with rope ladders.  One of their first findings were the remains of an earlier explorer that entered the sinkhole around a thousand years ago.  Studies concluded that the Indian males curiosity cost him his life. He entered the sinkhole with a reed torch for light, and apparently died of starvation from not being able to regain the surface.

Opened in 1973, Blanchard Springs Caverns in one of two living caves developed within the last forty years.  The other being Kartchner Caverns in Arizona.  It is equipped with air locks, and all tours are ranger led.  Two regular tours of different sections of the caverns, along with a wild cave tour. That one gets you down and dirty in parts of the cave system few people ever see.  I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area.

Just downstream from the spring, itself, is Mirror Lake.  Built by the CCC in the thirties, it is a fishing and swimming lake.  Very cold water, but probably feels good in July or August.

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There’s also a really nice Forest Service campground farther back in the area.

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Situated along a small creek with a swimming hole and gravel bar beach.

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Access is across this low water bridge.

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Which, as you can see from the debris line, experiences high water at times.

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Another find in the area is Shelter Rock.

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The smoke stains on the roof speak to centuries of use by many different cultures.  It’s even possible that our early cave explorer took shelter there.  I love to think of such possibilities……jc