Friday, March 31, 2023

To Atchafalaya Welcome Center, Little Rock Tornado

The Atchafalaya Welcome Center is between Baton Rouge and Lafayette on Interstate 10...actually, below Interstate 10.  Located in the heart of the Atchafalaya Basin, the nation's largest river swamp, the Atchafalaya Welcome Center showcases a variety of exhibits showcasing the unique flora, fauna, and cultures found throughout the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area. (

Aerial shot via their website.

The trucks are on the north side of I-10, the autos and RVs on the south side.  We have stopped here just about every time we take I-10 since 2013.  Back in 2013, the south side was not completed yet.  

Our trip today was again uneventful.  Traffic was thick at times, not very much traffic at other times.  Two areas of construction, but nothing that took us under 40 mph.

If you can, start your morning by going by a Buc-ee's.  As I reported previously, this place is HUGE.  And look at these gas prices!  Sorry, did not get the diesel price.  What I did get is a full tank of 48.5 gallons at $160.  Of course, two years ago it was only $125, but beggars can't be choosers!  And the two large (very large) coffees for $3.50 (that is not each...that is for both) was wonderful.  It was only 60 miles down the road from Cracker Barrel, and a Diet Pepsi held me over for that hour...we left at 7:00 am or so.

My sweet daughter texted me at 4:18 central time with a message of "Did you see the tornado that went through Little Rock?"  For the next 2 1/2 hours I was looking things up, watching Little Rock news stations online, and texting back and forth with Stephanie.  Having lived in Arkansas for 22+ years, and being very familiar with the area that was hit the hardest, it captivated my attention.  Thank goodness my children's mother is fine...a bad storm was heading right for White Hall, it broke up just a few miles before reaching it, then became even stronger after it crossed over the Arkansas River.

Look at the size of that sucker!  You can find video of this through google, but my connection is not good enough to download and upload to the was difficult to get good streaming of the tv station.  Glad we decided NOT to go through Pine Bluff, because today would have been the day we would have come through Memphis, into Little Rock and down to Pine Bluff.  

Tomorrow we have reservations at a RV park in Texas about 200 miles down the road in Baytown.  It will be nice to have a short day, and to have full hookups.  It also gives us the chance to zoom through Houston Sunday morning before the "Final Four" crowds are up and about. 

Thursday, March 30, 2023

To Crestview Florida Cracker Barrel


We started our day at 6:30, on the road a bit after 7 (takes 20 minutes for coffee to brew).  Other than taking one bad exit along the beltway/turnpike, we were headed up the Florida Turnpike by 8 am.  Stopped for breakfast at the one and only rest area before I-75.  There was lots of traffic, but it all moved nicely except at a construction site or two along the way.  Arrived at Cracker Barrel (above) by 3 pm Central Time.  Had dinner finished by 5:30 from Cracker Barrel...yum yum yum!

We are parked just next to the tree on the left in the RV parking.  Only one other RV in the lot right now, and it is larger than ours, and pulling a trailer that is at least 18' they are off to the side (we barely fit with the car attached ourselves!)

Tomorrow we only go some 300 miles, stopping in the middle of Louisiana.  Temps right now are 77 at 6 pm, should drop to a comfortable 60 or so tonight.  We may have some rain tomorrow, but it should not be an issue...will check that out in the morning.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Quick Visit With Dean and Caryl

No pictures, but we enjoyed our 7 hour visit with Marcia's brother Dean and wife Caryl.  Amazing to us both, Indy did a little happy whine and dance when we went up to the door and entered their home.  She even gave them both a quick kiss...but with her nothing lasts long as she growled at Dean about 30 minutes later be he 'dared' to lay his hands on my shoulder as he past behind me! 

They cooked us a nice scrambled egg & sausage breakfast, and later wonderful beef, shrimp, veggie Kabobs with some Cauliflower Rice that they get at Publix in the produce section...just microwave it in its bag...way better tasting than the frozen ones.

Tomorrow we hope to get to the Panhandle and stay at another Cracker Barrel.  Leaving mid-week means that Spring Breakers have not affected us at all...but when we get to Mobile area and across Mississippi's Gulf Coast it will be a different story.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Phase One - 170 LONG MILES


So WHY is 170 miles "LONG MILES"????  Easy question, not so easy answer.

Got up at 7:30 am.  A little after 8 I went over, with nearly our last load of stuff, and brought the motorhome, with car in tow, back to the Condo.  By 9:30 or so, we were on the road.  I had accomplished just about everything I wanted to do before we left, working on it a day at a time for the last month.  (Not every day, but just about every day the past week.)  At our old storage place, they had RV Wash Stations, and that was nice...otherwise, parking it right out our back door is ideal.  But after 6 months, it needed a wash, so over to the Blue Beacon on I-75 near San Antonio Florida we went.  With the Flying J next door, we got her washed, got gas, got the waste tanks emptied, and it was already noon!  South a few mile to a rest area and it was time for a quick lunch.  Then it was 3+ hours of busy highway driving over to the Cracker Barrel.  Remember, it is Spring Break here, and Snow Bird Season, so it is busy.

About 90 minutes after arriving at Cracker Barrel and we got nearly everything "in its place" for the trip.  Got dinner to go from Cracker Barrel, and here it is just after 7 pm and we are nearly ready to crash!  Will spend much of tomorrow with Marcia's brother Dean and wife Caryl, and then Thursday we start the long trip out to California.

Almost forgot...Indy was very very possessive the past few days, snuggled up to me on the couch a lot, would not let me out of her sight if she could control things.  When I went to get the motorhome this morning she moaned and we were going to leave her or something!  Told her we would be seeing Sandy, Arny, Mom and Patti, along with her cousin Parker and neighbor Jack...she would tilt her head as if she was thinking about it.  I think she is going to LOVE being back in the backyard again...

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Seven Days and Counting - Our 2023 Travels


As we have for the past few years, we will start out our trip by going over to the east coast of Florida and visit with Dean and Caryl.  The picture above was last year...

This year it will be more like this.  We will be staying overnight at a nearby Cracker Barrel.  The RV park we stayed at previous is on my poop list.  We stayed there during Hurricane Ian, we were asked to evacuate, but they would not give us anything for the nights we lost by leaving early.  Also, with this day and age of INFLATION, their rates are for a minimum of three nights, and something around $90 per night.  No thanks.

Each year there are things that need to be 'taken care of' before we leave, and this year there is a good size list.  We have three of these Fantastic Vents in our motorhome, and two were not working...the one over the bed, and the one in the bathroom.  Now to be honest, "I" broke the one in the bedroom well over a year ago...the one in the bathroom has acted up for much of last year, requiring a good 'hit' to get the fan moving.  Well, the hits did not work anymore.  I figured it was the switch which allowed for it to be turned on when the vent hood was raised.  It ended up being the glass fuse holder.

As for the bathroom fan:  Above on the left is the vent lid switch, on the right is the fuse holder.  On the left, when the vent lid raises, the push down will pop up allowing for the power to contact, turning on the fan.  In the fuse holder, there is a glass fuse, which must be working for the power to make it to the fan.  In our case, the black body broke, not allowing the fuse to make contact.  Got a 'generic' type of fuse holder from NAPA for just under $20.

Four or five years ago I had to replace the bedroom vent fan.  When I did, I never secured the copper thermometer (looks like a pencil with wire coming out one end), and just laid it on the vent screen.  That worked fine...until some leaves came down onto the vent screen.  So I turned the fan on high, with the air exiting the motorhome...but a few leaves did not leave.  So I tapped the vent screen to loosen them up, which then took the thermometer right up into the fan, which busted that sucker right in half.  The fan had not worked since then.  Since I was on a roll, I took the fan apart, bypassed the thermostat, and now we have a working fan again, less the thermostat feature.

Other items I did included:

* Restringing and rehanging a curtain which busted last year

* Put a new screen on our entry screen door, which had a 3" rip in it

* Checked the batteries, filled as needed

* Lubed the slide and refreshed the slide seals

* Ran the generator for a good 1/2 hour with the A/C running for 10 minutes

* Filled all the tires up on motorhome and the HHR

* Lubed the car tow bar

* Put new wipers on the motorhome and the car

* Lubed the entry steps

* In the process of cleaning out the dust and dirt that a motorhome acquires while it sits

Have a travel map for Marcia and I to follow.  Has gas stops, nightly stops and a highway route.  Unfortunately, Google's "My Maps" does not allow for more than 10 route stops, although you can start up a second route...but this gets us to Phoenix, and I was still able to put in the various gas and nightly stops beyond Phoenix.

Unfortunately, we decided to skip going through Arkansas, but will hope to go through on the way back.  Mom turns 93 in late April, and she has fallen down at the Assisted Living Facility three or four times in the last 45 days.  She gave up her cell phone about 6 months ago, and now she has removed the computer which she use to love to get on, but it is just too much of a chore now days.  She even accidentally blocked my phone number from her main idea how she did it, but she also blocked about 4-5 other numbers too.  She still goes down to eat once or twice a day, sometimes deciding to stay in her apartment and have the food brought to her.  Her outing, where the facility takes a group out to eat, out for a scenic drive, stuff like that, are becoming further and further apart. Will she reach 93?  Yes, we think so.  How about 94???  Only time will tell.

So our plans for the 'summer' are to either stay in Arny and Sandy's backyard, -OR-, go up to southwest Oregon for a month or two before returning to the backyard.  

My results came back on my Cologuard test, and it was negative...good to go for three years.  (pun intended)

Getting Indy ready for travel too...gave her a pretty short haircut, except for her ears and tail.  I don't think she has been this short since the first haircut that Pet Smart did for us shortly after we got her.

And I did our taxes and got them off in the mail about a week ago.  First quarterly installment will be put in the mail before we leave. 

Finally, in the first time in nearly 10 years of living in the Condo, I attended an HOA annual meeting.  For those who have followed my blog long enough, you know we have not always seen "eye to eye" with the HOA leadership.  Two years ago we got a new president, and he has been real good.  His attitude is not that of "What I Say Goes", and there is no one on the board now that we have had problems with in the past.  They are trying to gather up all the rules and regulations and put them up on a One-Drive type of location so that people can have instant access to them.  In the future, if a President comes along with the attitude like in the cartoon above...well they won't be able to harass those who need a service dog or an emotional support dog.  (Indy is not the only dog living here now...there are two emotional support dogs here too.)

I'll try and post something each day of our travel...don't expect anything new unless we have a major breakdown or something like that.