Monday, October 31, 2011

Touring Memphis

I know I keep saying this, but I think today was our best day yet !!

Our resort is very well kept, and extremely clean.  We would love to spend more time here.

This is an air trampoline that the kids love

Because we were in a time crunch, we cut down our hour long coffee in bed to a mere 50 minutes.

Also, in a time saving maneuver, Teresa sent me to the laundry room, while she stayed in the rig to shower.  She patiently showed me exactly how much detergent, fabric softener, and bounce sheets to use, but we never discussed temperatures nor cycles.  Noticing my discomfort, a gal also doing laundry helped me out....whew.

Our first stop today was the Lorraine Motel.

  This is the hotel where Rev. King was assassinated in 1968.  It is now the location of the National Civil Rights Museum.

A wreath marks the spot where Rev King was standing.

It was a very somber experience, but one we were glad we did not miss.

Next stop was the legendary Sun Studio.  What a blast from the past.

Elvis was only 18 years old when he walked in for the first time.  When they asked him who he sounded like his reply was "I don't sound like nobody".

A working juke box with all the greats

The studio is kept as original as possible, and Teresa and I had an old style milkshake, that was second to none.

Our next stop was only a few blocks away at the amazing Peabody Memphis Hotel.  This is a luxury hotel that was built in 1925, and still stands the test of time.

Teresa "Can you hear me NOW"

The splendor and majesty is seen in the ballrooms, meeting rooms, and of course the lobby.

But, as anyone who has been here can attest, the real reason folks come here is to watch the Parade of the Peabody Ducks.  This has been a custom since the 1930's.  The ducks live on the roof, and at 11 am every day, they march in to the fountain in the lobby, and at 5 pm, they march out.

The Duck Master follows the ducks to their reserved elevator
Don't make me use this stick !!

It was a lot of fun, and we enjoyed walking around the hotel, and taking in the history of this place.

Our last stop for the day was Marlow's Ribs and Restaurant.  Again, this was recommended to us, and we were sure glad we did not miss out on it.  The restaurant is a tribute to Elvis, and has won awards for their delicious ribs.  Seriously, we have never had such mouth watering ribs, that seemed to melt in our mouths.  Our waiter displayed that friendly down south hospitality that added to the moment.

Now we are back home, sharing a glass of wine, and moaning over our full tummies. 

What a life !!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Memphis, Tennessee

What a wonderful couple of days we have had.  The Natchez Trace Parkway is a MUST for all RV'ers.  I know we are blessed being here in the fall, with it's beautiful colors, but I am sure it is equally beautiful in the other seasons.  We stayed for three days at our free campground, and loved every minute.

We had rain one day, but that was fine by us, because we had so much to do inside anyway.  I was listening to music, and studying maps, and Teresa was writing out cards and letters.  Very relaxing, and fulfilling.

Around noon today, Teresa and I decided we needed showers, hot water, and most importantly, the Internet !!  So just like that, we were on the road again.

As we were driving on the NTP, we looked at each other, and said can you imagine a more perfect day, or a more perfect drive ?

We made one stop at Rock Spring today.  We would recommend this stop because it is only a 20 minute hike, but very interesting.

If you click on a photo, you should be able to read the print

The spring feeds crystal clear water into a little pond, then down a small waterfall.

Teresa taking a moment out to play hopscotch

At Tupelo, we detoured off the Parkway, to make a trip to Memphis.  We are staying at the wonderful Yogi Bear Jellystone RV Park, and talk about culture shock.  This morning we were camped in dirt, with no hookups.  Tonight we are in a full service park, with water, sewer, electric, cable, WiFi, hot showers, and the cleanest laundry facility we have seen.

We are Passport America members, and so we only pay half price for our three days here.

I think we will do more of this.  One time rustic camping, then a few days of full hookups, to clean up and recharge. 

I guess it will be early to bed tonight, because Memphis has a lot of must see spots !!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Meriwether Lewis Campground - NTP

After our coffee marathon this morning, we emptied our tanks, and filled our fresh water tank because we knew our next stop would have no facilities.

We quickly got set up at this FREE campground on the Natchez Trace Parkway, and nearly have the campground to ourselves !!

The very friendly camphost came over and introduced herself to us, and explained some of the guidelines.  We can camp free for up to 14 days, generators can be used until 10 pm, and washrooms are just down the road.  We can also gather firewood from deadfall if we choose to have a fire.

Teresa is saying  
"Come on in, coffee is on"

It is so peaceful and relaxing, I was preparing for an afternoon nap, when Teresa declared we need a few essentials for the next few days.  Luckily, we are only about 15 minutes from a Walmart, so here we are !!

The weather has taken a bit of a turn, with light misty rain, and daytime temps in the 60's.  Tonight is going to be in the 40's, so I guess we will have to snuggle again.

( Teresa and I had a good laugh yesterday, when we realized that we were wearing the same clothes on two consecutive blogs ).  I guess we are letting our hair down, just a little.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Natchez Trace Parkway

We sure enjoyed our time and the warm hospitality we received while we were in Nashville.  We met some very friendly and helpful folks.

Last night when we couldn't find the pizza shop, a very kind man in a parking lot was to our rescue.  When we had questions about what to see and do, the campground staff was more than accommodating.

These events just reinforce the belief we have that most folks are honest and hardworking, and yes, they are concerned for their fellow man.

Okay, let me get off my soapbox now.

What a difference two hours of driving can make.  We started out with four lanes of traffic in Nashville, and ended up on the peaceful and quiet Parkway.

This scenic drive is perfect for the RV'er.  There are no semi's, no speeders, ( max speed is 50 mph ) and no rush to get anywhere.

We are so lucky to be here now, to enjoy the fall colors.

The trail follows the original trail that was used by people from centuries back.  The history is so interesting !

If you are planning a trip down the NTP, be sure to pick up one of the guides that are readily available at campgrounds and welcome centers.  They list all there is to see at the different mileposts, which are well marked.

At various stops you can see some of the original trail, old buildings and inns, and then there are just scenic nature walks that lead to rivers and falls.

Not exactly the Niagara, but very peaceful

 To put the cherry on the cake for us, we were driving through one of the free campgrounds, when we struck up a conversation with some fellow RV'ers.  They immediately invited us over to their campsight, and brought out maps, photos and books, to help us on our future adventures this winter.  They were so nice, and so typical of the warm people we have met south of the border.

We are looking forward to travelling along this parkway, but we might not have internet, so don't worry about us...LOL

For tonight we are warming up left over pizza, and working on another bottle of Two Buck Chuck !! 

Nashville, Tennessee

Well, maybe we will be looking at getting an internet stick, because our park's Wi-Fi has been down the entire time we were here.  That would be the only negative about our stay.  It has been an awesome few days.

I couldn't talk Teresa into a perfect photo op !!

We have been enjoying the fall colors and smells
Once again, we took  the opportunity of using shuttles right from our campground to do our sight seeing.  First stop, of course, was the Grande ole Opry.

Did you know that it completely flooded last year ?  It was under three feet of water, but you would never know that today.

If you click on any picture, it will enlarge

What a fun little tour this was.  Our guide was excellent, and told us funny little stories of the stars, that only the insiders would know.

When the Ryman Auditorium was no longer used, they cut out the flooring in a circular fashion, where all the former stars would stand in front of the mic, and they incorporated it into the new flooring at the current auditorium.  We were standing where all the great stars once stood !!

Our guide then made us sing a song, so that we could say we sang at the Grand ole Opry !!

We then had a few moments to tour around and of course, visit the gift shop.

Our next stop was the incredible Opryland Hotel.  We were completely spellbound by the size and luxury of this hotel.

This hotel has almost 3000 rooms !!   There are enclosed gardens, waterfalls, restaurants, shops, etc. 

We even took a 15 minute boat ride, inside of course, that only touched the surface of this magnificent grounds.

By the time we were dropped back off at the campground it was past supper time, so we asked where the best pizza joint was near us, and jumped in the car to devour the best pizza we have had in a long time.

Back at the rig, we shared a glass ( or two ) of wine, and toasted this amazing day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Benton, Illinois

After all our walking around Hannibal yesterday, we crawled into bed and fell right asleep.  We must be a little out of shape, because Teresa said she was pretty sore ( me too, but I would never admit it ).

We enjoyed our coffee in bed, and slowly got ready for today's drive.

We try to keep our travel time down to four hours or less, because our little rig gets blown around in the wind and by semi's, so after a few hours, I am ready to relax.

We are parked up for the night, and had to walk a block or two to McDonald's to post this note tonight.

We have rented a movie, and I am sure as soon as it is over we will fall into bed again.

The weather is much improved.  We are in shorts again, and it is supposed to hit the low 80's when we get to Nashville tomorrow.

We are going to be staying in a very nice resort, with WiFi, so we will get caught up on blogs and emails. 

Stay tuned, because we hope to have some good times ahead !!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hannibal, Missouri

Things are really looking up.  I am in shorts today, and we had our best day yet !!

Our destination today was the small city of Hannibal.  No sooner had we arrived when a big dually truck pulled up, and a gentleman I had never met called out my name !!

It was our first experience at meeting some very friendly RV'ers, who read our Blog .... Amazing !!

To actually see a reader in person, brought home the point of how small this world really is.  We visited for only a short while, but I keep telling everyone that RV'ers are the nicest people, and Mike and Jane proved that fact again.

Mike gave me his phone number, and Jane her card, with strict instructions that if we needed anything, we were to give them a call.

We had such a great time in Hannibal.  It is the community where Mark Twain grew up.  It was so much fun to walk up and down the shops and museums that lined the streets.  Everything was named after Tom Sawyer and other fictional characters.

It was also the very first time either of us had ever seen the Mississippi River.

One of my favorite Tom Sawyer stories, is where he tricked his friends into paying him, to do his chore of whitewashing the picket fence.

One of the main reasons we stopped at Hannibal in the first place, was to meet up with our RV'ing friends who stay at the Mark Twain Cave and Campground.

Now, we knew in advance, that Ed and Marilyn would not be here today, but we wanted to see where Ed gives the cave tours, and to see their spankin' new 5th wheel. 

 Wow, Teresa and I cannot wait to see the inside.  Luckily, I think our paths will cross this winter in the Rio Grande Valley.

Let's hope that we have many more awesome days, like we did today !!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

One thing I think I forgot to mention about our stay at Dakotah Meadows, was that they had turned off the water for the winter season.  They gave us a discounted price of  $21.00 per night, but that also meant we had to use their showers.

I have no problem using campground facilities, but my little lady prefers her own shower, in her own rig.  I was a little apprehensive, as Teresa approached the motorhome, her hair wrapped up in a towel in the cold morning air.  Much to my delight, she was very pleased with the cleanliness of the showers and bath house, and the unlimited hot water.  Two thumbs up !!

It was very cold when we woke up this morning.  In fact, even our car was sending us signals....

After a pot of coffee, I dumped the tanks, while Teresa readied the inside.  We had a quick bite to eat, and were on our way.  As we approached Cedar Rapids, we noticed that it was a bit warmer than the past few days.  Checking the weather, it looks like we are heading towards a little warmer temps, hopefully, in the 20's.

We are parked for the night at a .....wait for it.....Walmart.  And once again, there is a Sam's Club right next door, providing us with free Wi-Fi.  Nice.

Once we are in warmer spots, we will get off the Interstates and out of the Walmarts, and seek out more adventures. In the mean time, we just want to get south as fast as we can !!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Last day at Dakatoh Meadows RV Park

Today was a very relaxing day.  In fact, Teresa never even got out of her housecoat.

This park is part of the Mystic Lake Casino operations.  Although not very busy this time of year, we understand that reservations are required in the summer.

Almost all the sites are pull-thru's, and they are all very level.

I slipped out for a walk today, while Teresa continued to rearrange the rig.  She is still trying different spots to put things away, and yet keep things easily within reach.

Although we aren't gamblers by any stretch of the imagination, we were very very impressed by the hotel and casino, and the absolute cleanliness of the entire place.

We have enjoyed our three days here, but it is time to get a little further south, so tomorrow we are outta here.

We are sipping on a glass of wine, supper is cooking, and tonight will be a little TV, then off to bed.

I think the dark circles under our eyes are lightening up...just a little.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Mall of America

We had another great sleep in this cold weather.  I gingerly jumped out of bed, turned on the furnace and water heater, and most importantly, the coffee maker.

We sat in bed for about an hour again, drinking our coffee, and making plans for the day.

We had found out yesterday, that our RV park offers a FREE shuttle service to the Mall of America, so we were quick to let them know we would be on the next bus.

We arrived around noon, and were very happy to see the crowds were not large at all.  Teresa went in to shopper-mode, and I just hung on to her coat tails.  Whenever, she would go into a store, I would wait for her on the benches.

One of many shoe stores we patrolled
We both enjoyed watching all the kids have fun at the amusement center.  There were lots of excited children.

This last pic is for our Granddaughter who loves Dora

Men, don't feel too badly for me, because my darling bride even bought me a sticky bun, to reward my good behavior.

After nearly five hours of straight shopping, Teresa looked at me and said she could not decide on just what to buy, and that she would like to go back to the RV, and relax with a movie.  Only if you're sure, dear, was all I could reply, trying to hide my growing smile.

Oh, which reminds me, we wanted to let everyone know that Two Buck Chuck is the real deal.  We both loved the White Zinfandel last night. 

Looking into my crystal ball, I predict more stops at Trader Joe's.