Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Feels Like Texas In The Fall

Crossville, Tennessee

Weather: low 60 degrees, high 80 degrees, partly cloudy skies, breezy

I took this picture of the Cumberland County Courthouse in Crossville this morning. The courthouse was built in 1905, and has been in use since then.

Last night was the first night we haven't used the air conditioner in three months. We opened a couple windows and turned the Fantastic Fan on, and covered up with a light cover. Ahhhh! It was so nice! The forecast is for more of the same for the next week. For all I know, this may be normal for the summer for this area. It felt like fall in Texas this morning.

This picture is of the Civil War Memorial in Crossville. Note that it lists the people who fought for the South as well as the North. This is the first time I've seen a memorial like this. It appears about as many fought for the North as fought for the South.

We had some chores to do around the RV in the morning. In the afternoon, we looked around the immediate area a little. Carolyn was having a rare day where her vertigo didn't flare up, and we didn't want to tempt fate by trying to do too much.

After debating what to do for supper, we decided to try a bar-b-que restaurant just down the street from where we're parked. Bad move. We tried the pulled pork sandwich, and it tasted like boiled meat with all the taste cooked out of it. We can't wait to get some Texas bar-b-que when we get back out there.

We're planning to get out and explore more tomorrow, with an eye toward celebrating a special day in our lives on Thursday.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Ozark, Alabama: The Home Of Fort Rucker

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, June 29, 2009

We Found It!

Crossville, Tennessee

Weather: low in Tuscaloosa, Alabama - 75 degrees, high in Crossville, Tennessee - 79 degrees, clear skies

This is the Tennessee state flag.

We left Tuscaloosa bright and early this morning, looking for some cooler and less humid weather. It seems like summer has been here forever, and we just had the official start of the season less than 10 days ago. When I searched the Internet for places that were at least a little cooler, Crossville, Tennessee was one of the places I found. Since we had never been here before, we decided this would be the place to go. It looks as though we made the right decision. When we arrived here at 1500 hours, the temperature was 79 degrees, with a little breeze. According to the forecast, the low tonight should 60 degrees, and we should see weather like this for the rest of the week. Success has been attained.

After we parked and set up the RV, we rested until time to eat supper. It was decided early that I would be cooking, so I decided to cook Cracker Barrel. Not bad, if I say so myself. Carolyn said I did good. Then it was back home to rest and get ready to start exploring the area tomorrow.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Crossville, Tennessee - Golf Capital Of Tennessee

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Preparations For Travel

Tuscaloosa, Alabama – Deerlick Creek COE Park

Weather: low 75 degrees, high 95 degrees, clear skies until the afternoon, then mostly cloudy

This picture is of two of the flowers I found in the park. According to the book we bought yesterday, the red one is a garden phlox and the blue one is still an unknown one. Anyone care to make a guess?

It looks like a break is on the way in the hot weather the area has been experiencing. Showers have been popping up all over the area this afternoon, even though we have not gotten any. The temperatures for the next few days are forecast to be more moderate. Since we‘re leaving here tomorrow headed to the north, maybe it’ll be easier to find the cool weather we’re looking for.

We were busy this afternoon getting everything ready to travel. Laundry was washed, the truck was cleaned up (could it be we’re bringing on the showers by cleaning the truck?), the tires were checked on the truck and RV, the batteries were checked for water levels, the oil was checked on the truck………

Later in the day, I took the books and DVDs we were using back to the library. On the way home, I filled up with diesel. About the only thing left to do is dump our holding tanks on the way out of the campground.

Terri and Thomas came over tonight to tell us good-bye. We expect to come back through here in about four weeks on our way to Texas.

Cooler weather, here we come!!

More later, be safe.

Today’s Town – Grants, New Mexico: Uranium City, USA

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Visited Friends In Coker

Tuscaloosa, Alabama - Deerlick Creek COE Park

Weather: low 75 degrees, high 95 degrees, clear skies

This picture was taken in May of 2004 in a rest area in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of eastern California. Just a little reminder that even though the weather is scorching now, it will get better.

This morning, we visited our friends Ruth, Marsha, and Chuck in Coker. They are the owners of the RV park we stayed in several times while in Coker over the past 16 months. We consider these folks to be the salt of the earth. They are honest and hard working, and some of the nicest people a person could meet. It was great to see them again, and we enjoyed the visit. When we were leaving, they gave us a cabbage and blueberries, all picked today. I can see some good eating coming. Thanks, guys, and we'll see you soon.

After the visit to Coker, we returned home and tried to stay cool until late in the afternoon, when we met Terri and Thomas for supper at Chili's. Chili's makes a very good hamburger, especially the one with apple wood smoked bacon. These burgers are so big that I can never eat the whole thing at one time. I know what we will be having for lunch tomorrow.

When we left Chili's, we went next door to a book store, searching for a guide to North American flowers. Readers have probably noticed that we like flowers but we're not very good at identifying them. We'll see if the book we found will help.

Since we will be leaving here on Monday we will start getting ready tomorrow. Now that we're in the traveling mode again, that shouldn't be too difficult.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Spokane, Washington: Spotucky

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Back On Line

Tuscaloosa, Alabama – Deerlick Creek COE Park

Weather: low 73 degrees, high 95 degrees, clear skies

When my morning walk and breakfast were completed, I tried to connect to the Internet. We had a good signal, but were unable to connect. I took the computer and air card to the AT&T store to see if they could help, since that was the advice I received from the help line last night. I arrived at the store early, so decided to see if I could connect to the net while waiting for them to open. Guess what? No problem with connecting at all. I disconnected and tried connecting several more times with no problems. It was obvious that the problem is not with the air card or computer, so I returned home, rather than spend a lot of time explaining a problem that seemed to have gone away.

When I got back home, I tried connecting again. No luck, even though the signal seems adequate. Could it be that there is a problem with the cell tower?

If this issue continues, it makes it a little difficult to post the blog. I may have to drive into the edge of Tuscaloosa when I’m ready to post. A little inconvenient, perhaps, but at least I’ll be able to access the net.

Did anyone notice that the House of Representatives passed a climate control bill today? Are those idiots determined to bankrupt the country and put more people out of work? We want to protect the environment, but the way they're going about this using unproven science is idiocy. Hopefully, the Senate will bring some sense into the debate. If not, elections are about 16 months away. Of course, neither party is covering themselves with glory.

Regardless of how we may feel about the way Michael Jackson lived, the world lost a great musical talent yesterday. It's too bad the latter part of his life was filled with controversy.

More later, be safe.

Today’s Town – Elgin, Texas: Texas Main Street City

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Internet Connection Issues

Tuscaloosa, Alabama – Deerlick Creek COE Park

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 95 degrees, clear skies

This picture was taken just down the street from our RV. It looks somewhat like a bottle brush. Does anyone know what it is?

After a rather late start this morning (at least for us), we picked up Thomas and took a trip east of Tuscaloosa. I had wanted to check out Burchfield Branch COE Park, located east of Deerlick on the same body of water, Holt Lake. We turned north at Brookwood and drove for what seemed like an hour across country on a road that was winding, twisting, up and down, and with railroad crossings that were as rough as any we have ever crossed. Along the way, we saw several coal mines that are in operation, and several that had closed. Once a mine has been closed for good, the land is reclaimed to a condition as close as possible to what it previously looked like.

Eventually, we stumbled upon the park and drove through it to see if it would work for us. The park is a cozy little area located on the lake with about 40 sites. It is one of the older COE parks that we have visited, and most of the sites would not work for us. In fact, we only found four that were large enough. The park is perfect for smaller RVs. It’s doubtful we will use it, except in an emergency. We don’t mind being in the boondocks, but they must have to pipe sunlight into this place. If we do have to use it, we’ll probably come in to it from the Hoover or Bessemer areas.

When we left the campground, we drove on to the east to Abernant. We had received a lead about where to find some graves for some of my ancestors on my father’s side, and were hopeful we would find something that would enable us to expand our knowledge about my ancestors. We found the cemetery easily, and with a little searching, found the information we were looking for. There is a possibility that we also found the graves of my paternal great-grandparents. More research will need to be done, but the lead looks promising.

Leaving the cemetery, we returned home, settling into the air conditioning for the rest of the day. In the evening, I spent a lot of time trying to get on the Internet. We had an excellent signal, but couldn’t connect. Calling the AT&T help line was not any help, even though I felt the people I talked to did everything they could to help me. I’ll go to the AT&T store tomorrow to see if they can help.

More later, be safe.

Today’s Town – San Francisco, California: Fog City

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wild Flowers

Tuscaloosa, Alabama - Deerlick Creek COE Park

Weather: low 77 degrees, high 94 degrees, mostly clear skies

The heat seems to have moderated a little today, with lower humidity and a breeze now and then. That won't stop us from trying to find cooler weather next week.

There are some unique flowers (at least to us) in the park. We know this first one as an oak leaf hydrangea. The next picture is known to us as bee balm. Tomorrow, I'm going to look for a book of North American flowers so we can better identify the beautiful flowers we find.

This was a fairly slow day for us. I started searching the Internet for a place or places to go to in Tennessee next week. We're not decided on the first stop yet, and may not make a decision until we're ready to stop the first day.

Late in the afternoon, we went to visit Terri and Thomas, and had a good visit. After the visit, we decided it was time to satisfy our yen for a Hardee's hamburger, so that meant I was cooking supper. This was the first hamburger we've had in almost two weeks, so it was pretty good. Since we were close to the WalMart Mall, we decided to pick up a few grocery items we needed. Then, it was back home, taking a different route that Terri told us about that saved us about five miles. Plus, it was a better road.

When we arrived home, I walked around the campsites, writing down the ones that will work for us in the future. Out of about 40 sites, I found 24 that will work for the size of the RV. I still have to figure out which ones will allow us to get a satellite signal for watching television. We can pick up a few channels with the bat wing antenna, but prefer to use the satellite dish.

We plan to drive up to Abernant tomorrow to check out some genealogy leads on my paternal great-grandparents. Our hope is that clues will be found that clears up some mysteries and get us back beyond the 1850s in our search for information about my family. On the way, we're going to check out another COE campground to see if it will work for us. So, a little road trip to help still the wanderlust.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Mobile, Alabama: The Home Of Mardi Gras

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Old Center Church

Tuscaloosa, Alabama - Deerlick Creek COE Park

Weather: low 75 degrees, high 97 degrees, clear skies

Another historical site on the way to the RV park is the Old Center Church, built about 1879 and used continuously until a few years ago. It is still used for special occasions, and the inside appears much like what I think it would have looked 100 years ago.

Along the side of the church is the call to meeting bell, which looks like it could still do the job.
The windows are very similar to the ones I showed from the Dog Trot Cabin in yesterday's post, with so many wavy lines that it distorts the view from inside or outside.

Terri's car needed to have the brakes checked, so she had an appointment this morning for that at the automotive repair shop. I picked her up at the shop and took her home so she wouldn't have to wait. The shop called about noon and said the front brakes were fine, but the rear brakes needed to be repaired. Terri told them to go ahead and do the repairs, and I took her to pick the car up in the afternoon.

Terri and Thomas came to the RV for supper tonight, helping us enjoy a fine supper that Carolyn prepared of roast beef, potatoes, carrots, onions, cornbread, and a couple other little things. We had watermelon for dessert that was really sweet.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Sebastopol, California: Gravenstein Apple Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dog Trot Cabin

Tuscaloosa, Alabama - Deerlick Creek COE Campground

Weather: low 76 degrees, high 97 degrees, clear skies

This is a picture of a typical dogtrot cabin used in this area in the early 1800s. This cabin was built in 1837 and occupied continuously until a few years ago. It rests beside a plush golf course that is part of an upscale housing development. The second picture gives an idea of the size of the logs used to build the cabin. The third picture is of one of the front windows. Note how wavy the glass is.

The first part of the day after my morning walk was spent watching the conclusion of the last round of the US Open golf tournament. The unknown golfer who was leading yesterday folded today, while the relatively unknown Lucas Glover survived a very tough course and a strong challenge from Phil Mickelson to win by two shots. Tiger Woods never was able to get his putting going and finished four shots back.

I had some chores that needed to be done in town, such as a trip to the library and a stop at the WalMart Mall. We use the library in Tuscaloosa a lot when visiting Terri. They have a good selection of new mystery novels, and I have found that their dvd selection has some good choices if I spend the time looking through them. Recently, I discovered the first three seasons of Boston Legal on dvd at the library, so we have enjoyed viewing a show that we had not watched before. William Shatner is a standout as Denny Crain. Before that, I found The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgewick. Another good one.

I also returned the defective digital thermostat to the WalMart Mall. They did not have another one to swap the defective one with, so we'll look elsewhere down the road. I still see the potential for the digital thermostat.

Terri's car needs to have the front brakes checked, so I'll be going to pick her up for an appointment at an automotive shop first thing in the morning. Looks like an early start tomorrow.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - El Dorado: Arkansas’ Original Boomtown

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Tuscaloosa, Alabama - Deerlick Creek COE Park

Weather: low 75 degrees, high 96 degrees, mostly clear skies

Before we go any further in today's post, I would like to say Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there. My father passed away in 1992, and I miss him and think about him every day.

The drive out to Deerlick Creek COE Park goes through some beautiful areas of Tuscaloosa. Rolling countryside, wooded areas, lakes, a plush golf course, and nice neighborhoods. One of the lakes we pass is Lake Nicol, created as part of the water supply for the Tuscaloosa area. One thing that stands out to me, besides the beauty of the lake, is that there are not any houses on the lake.

This is the spillway for overflow water from Lake Nicol. It is the beginning of a nice little creek running through a picnic area.

I went through the stored items in the basement (one more time) today, and I may have gotten the storage right this time. It's amazing how I can have all this room, and can't seem to store stuff efficiently. The old RV didn't have as much storage room in the basement, but I was able to store what I had in a way that made it easy to find what I wanted when I needed it.

Here we are on June 21, the first day of summer. The heat has felt like summer for awhile. Folks in the deep south only have about four more months of hot weather. If they live in Florida, only five months to go until it cools off a little.

We watched the US Open today, and were amazed that an unknown seems to be able to tame a really tough course, at least for now. The big star players seem to be having all kinds of problems, while the unknown just goes out and plays golf. Will he be able to keep his stuff together after thinking about it overnight?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Buffalo, New York: Flour City

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Installed Digital Thermostat - But

Tuscaloosa, Alabama - Deerlick Creek COE Campground

Weather: low 74 degrees, high 97 degrees, clear skies

We are the type of handypersons (I say it in a non-gender specific manner to include Carolyn) that doesn't mind tackling just about any repair chore or modification that comes up. Before taking a job on for the first time, we study any directions we can, whether in a box or from the Internet. Once we have picked a way to do something, we'll look at the directions a few more times, especially if it's something such as what we did today. This was the day we changed out the analog thermostat to a digital thermostat.

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that we were not happy with the analog thermostat that came in the RV, and bought a digital thermostat yesterday. We had never done that particular task before, so we spent a little time reading directions. To be honest, the directions left questions unanswered for us, so we looked on the Heartland RV owner's forum for some help. Luckily, we found a post that spelled out step by step what another person had done, and it worked to perfection for us. Now, we have to get used to the settings so we can use the thermostat to it's potential. And hopefully be a little more comfortable.

FLASH!! About 2000 hours tonight, I had to change the thermostat back to the analog. It seems that the digital thermostat has a faulty thermometer and display, causing the air conditioner to run more than it should. We'll take it back to the WalMart Mall and see if they have another one we can try. Oh, well. At least we know how to change them out quickly now.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Hot Springs, Arkansas: Spa Town

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bought A Digital Thermostat

Tuscaloosa, Alabama - Deerlick Creek COE Park

Weather: low 73 degrees, high 97 degrees, clear skies

This is a picture of some of the wildflowers we have in the Deerlick Creek COE Park.

We continued working on our list of chores we want to get done while here. Since I plan to start putting some wax on the RV, I wiped most of the dirt off of it this morning. After that, I emptied our two gray water tanks, which should give us enough capacity for about a week. Carolyn continued doing her thing inside the RV.

About mid-morning, we went to the WalMart Mall to pick up a few items we need. Carolyn wants to clean the carpet in the truck, so we bought a spray-on carpet cleaner that makes wondrous claims about how good it works. We'll see. We also picked up a digital thermostat to replace the analog thermostat that came with the RV. As I wrote in an earlier post, the analog thermostat has too large a range when setting the temperature. If we set it on 78 degrees, it may go down to 73 degrees before shutting off. As the temperature warms up inside the RV, it may get up to 83 degrees before the air conditioner comes on. The plan is to swap the thermostats out in the morning before it gets so hot. From all the reports I have been able to find, the new thermostat should be a much better piece of equipment.

What about the way gas and diesel prices have been going up? The economy is way down and fuel supplies are more than adequate, yet the price keeps going up. Does it sound like some market manipulation is going on?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Dallas, Texas: The Big D

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's Not Even Summer Yet!

Tuscaloosa, Alabama - Deerlick Creek COE Park

Weather: low 75 degrees, high 85 degrees, clear skies

Today is June 18th, which means we still have another three days until summer is officially here. When I say officially, it's because as far as we're concerned, summer arrived about two months ago. I can only imagine what the next three months will be like. That's why we're going north in search of cooler weather in about ten days. The picture was taken on Christmas Day in Bay City, Texas, and is shown here to give us a little boost until cooler weather is found. It's amazing that there are record low temperatures occurring in the northeast and across the mid-western parts of the country while it is so hot here.

We continued our work to catch up on chores that we ignored for a couple of weeks. In an attempt to beat some of the heat, I was out for my morning walk by 0600 hours. When I got back, Carolyn had breakfast ready, which was tasty. She does a good imitation of MacDonald's English muffin with egg, sausage, and cheese. Or does MacDonald's copy her dish? Anyway, it was good.

After eating breakfast, I did some minor cleanup of the truck and RV wheels to get some road grime off them. Now, they gleam like new again. Then, I took another load of laundry down to the campground laundry. All of the laundry is now washed, and we shouldn't have to do it again for a week or so.

While i was staying busy, Carolyn was doing her thing inside the RV. She finished going through the cabinets, including wiping everything down. When she put everything back, she attempted to do it in a more efficient way so things are easier to find. Time will tell on that.

We plan to get out tomorrow to do some shopping for some items we need. We are not happy with the air conditioner thermostat. It is an analog model that is, to say it bluntly, a piece of junk. Our plan is to find a digital model that will make it easier for the air conditioner to keep the temperature in a range that is comfortable for us.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Prattville, Alabama: The Fountain City

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Chores

Tuscaloosa, Alabama - Deerlick Creek COE Park

Weather: low 72 degrees, high 95 degrees, mostly clear skies

This picture is of our campsite at the Deerlick Creek COE Park. The picture may not show it, but the site has a pull through parking area with a concrete slab. Sweet!

We had so many things we wanted to do at home today that the truck was never started up. It probably wondered what was going on. With the traveling and visiting of the past couple of weeks, we have allowed a few chores slip that we do on a routine basis. We decided today was the day we would get back into some sort of routine cleaning and maintenance. The first order of business was to create a list of tasks because we have found we stay focused on what needs to be done if we have that list staring at us. The only problem is that we now have more to do than we thought we would have to do. Oh, well. We'll do what we can.

This picture looks to the back of our campsite from the front door of the RV. The trees are really thick, preventing us from seeing the waters of Holt Lake.

Once our list of tasks was completed, I took the bed clothing to the park laundry and washed and dried it. While I was gone, Carolyn was doing her cleaning thing. I have found that when she gets on a cleaning tear, it's best to get out of the way. When I got back with the clean laundry, we made up the bed. We have a king size bed that is difficult to make up, so I usually help with that. After a short break, we continued on with our to do list chores. We stopped about the middle of the afternoon. We'll do more tomorrow.

Terri was supposed to come out to the RV for supper, but was under the weather. We'll get together when she feels better.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Flagstaff, Arizona: City In The Pines

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Taking Care Of Chores

Tuscaloosa, Alabama - Deerlick Creek COE Park

Weather: low 65 degrees, high 95 degrees, mostly clear skies

A fast moving front came through the area last night. It caused rain, high winds, and damage north of us, but all we got from it was a little wind. I think that's what helped make the temperature cooler this morning.

Here's a picture of the Early County Courthouse, located in Blakely, Georgia. We visited this little town over the past weekend. What is Blakely's claim to fame, or infamy? Remember the uproar the last few months when peanut products were found to have salmonella? The factory that allegedly produced the peanut butter is located in Blakely. As a result, the factory is now closed, which was a big hit on the economy of the town.

We went to the WalMart Mall to stock up on some groceries and other things we needed. While we were there, Carolyn checked out the sheets for the bed in an attempt to find some that will fit our bed better than what we have now. The bed is considered king size, but the dimensions are different than the sheets we have found. The size of the bed is 72 inches wide by 78 inches long, which is not a traditional sized king size bed. All the sheets Carolyn found at WalMart are larger than that. We'll try some other stores before looking on the Internet.

Before going home, we made another stop at Publix for a few things we wanted from there. We got a hungry on for Publix chicken, which is one of our favorites when it comes to fried chicken. I guess you know what the main course for supper was. Add fresh corn on the cob and salad, and we're eating good.

This afternoon, I put the satellite dish in service. The trees around here give us some good shade, but make it difficult to find a satellite signal. After about an hour of trying to find a spot to get through the trees, I finally got lucky and found a signal that will work. Carolyn is happy.

Terri's coming over tomorrow night for supper. Carolyn has a menu planned of the rest of the fried chicken, fresh pole beans, corn on the cob, and fresh garden tomatoes. Looks like I'll keep eating good.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Blakely, Georgia: Peanut Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, June 15, 2009

New Route

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Weather: low 72 degrees in Fort Gaines, Georgia, high 96 degrees in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, partly cloudy skies, hot and humid

Here's a picture of our campsite at Walter F. George Lake. Not bad.

We thought we would get an early start this morning until we pulled down to the dump station at the COE park in Fort Gaines. To our surprise, the dump station was closed. Our holding tanks were full, and we don't like to pull 800-900 pounds of waste water down the road. So we went to the south of Eufaula, Alabama, which was several miles out of our way, and dumped the tanks. As a result of the detour, we didn't get a good start on today's drive until almost 0930 hours.

When we were going to Florida last week, the traffic was terrible around and through several of the towns on our route. That helped us decide to take a different route on our return trip to Tuscaloosa. The new route was certainly better from a traffic perspective. The only town that was frustrating because of traffic was Montgomery. The scenery along the new route was pretty nice, and several Army COE parks were available for us to stay in.

An interesting and pretty little town we passed through was Union Springs, located east of Montgomery. There is a lot of history in the area, and it seems fairly prosperous. Their biggest claim to fame seems to be bird dog trials that are held there each year. We noticed several farms advertising their dogs for sale and training facilities.

We arrived at the Deerlick Creek Park, another Army COE campground, about 1400 hours. We were surprised to find that we could almost take our pick of the camping sites because the campground was almost empty. We plan to be here for about two weeks, and then move on into Tennessee, looking for cooler weather. Wish us luck.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Union Springs, Alabama: The Field Trial Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fort Gaines, Georgia

Fort Gaines, Georgia

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 91 degrees, clear skies until noon, then mostly cloudy, showers in the afternoon

Our excursion today was to explore the little town of Fort Gaines, located about six miles south of where we’re staying. In some ways, we saved the best for last. Fort Gaines was built by the government in the early 1800s to provide protection from the Indians for the early settlers in this area. At that time, this was considered the western frontier of the US. It’s name came from the first commandant of the fort. The fort consisted of a stockade 100 feet by 100 feet, with walls eight feet high. It also had two blockhouses, and overlooked the Chattahoochee River, about 100 feet below.

The town is the headquarters of the Army COE for Walter F. George Lake, the 45,000-acre lake we are staying near. There are many old homes here, ranging from plantation style to federalist. It seems that there is an attempt being made to refurbish many of the old homes. One of them that we looked at is listed for sale at $180,000. If it was located closer to a larger population center, the price would probably be double that.

Fort Gaines is the county seat for Clay County. The courthouse is built of brick painted white, and is about 150 years old. From what I could see, it is still being used.

On our way back to the RV, we stopped at Bagby State Park to check out their RV facilities. To our surprise, they did not have any facilities for RVs or camping. The park is located on Walter F. George Lake, and is centered on a championship golf course. They have a lodge, much like a nice hotel, and cottages for rent. A boat ramp seemed to be busy, and a marina was full of nice boats, including sailboats. This is a little different concept in state parks for us, but it seems to work.

We will be leaving here tomorrow, moving on to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. We plan to be there one to two weeks while visiting Terri and Thomas. Then, we plan to go to the mountains of Tennessee, seeking cooler weather. Along with looking for cooler weather, we’ll be checking out the different areas we visit.

More later, be safe.

Today’s Town – Fort Gaines, Georgia: The Home Of Walter F. George Lake

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Fort Gaines, Georgia

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 86 degrees, mostly cloudy skies, light showers

We had some showers with thunder boomies late last night. As a result, the air felt a little cooler this morning when I went for my walk. Early in the afternoon, more light showers passed through, helping the temperature stay a little more bearable.

Here's some pictures from Eufaula, Alabama.

Since we explored the area west of the river yesterday, we decided to go to the east today. We went north on Georgia 39 to US 82 and then east toward Cuthbert. When we arrived in Cuthbert, it felt like we had stepped back into the 1950s. Cuthbert is an old town that has a traffic circle where most of the town’s stores are located. In my mind, I can see the town’s teenagers driving around and around the circle on a Friday night, showing off their vehicles to their friends.

Leaving Cuthbert, we took US 27 south to Blakely, about 30 miles away. The land has a slight hilliness to it, with the land being used for timber and farming. The majority of the farming seems to be peanuts, corn, and cotton. There are not many houses along the way to Blakely until just before getting to town. Blakely was the liveliest town we have found in this area on the Georgia side of the river. They even had a MacDonald’s. Uptown!

We arrived back at the RV in mid-afternoon. The cooler temperatures encouraged me to take care of some chores outside. Carolyn got busy preparing supper, which consisted of frozen black eyed peas that Janie gave us when we were down to see her and Wayne. In addition, we had pork chops, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and corn bread. Ummm, good! By the way, thanks to Wayne and Janie for the tomatoes and peas, and to Carolyn's brother Leland for fresh cucumbers and banana pepper.

More later, be safe.

Today’s Town – Blakely, Georgia: Peanut Proud!

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Eufaula, Alabama

Fort Gaines, Georgia

Weather: low 73 degrees, high 96 degrees, clear to partly cloudy skies

We surprised ourselves by getting up so early this morning after a day of travel yesterday. We were up and about by 0600 hours. That didn’t mean we went out immediately and started the day’s activities. I went ahead and took my morning walk, but we didn’t leave the RV until after 1000 hours.

We decided to drive north to the little town of Georgetown, about 15 miles away. There was a hope that the town would be big enough to have a decent restaurant or, best of all, a WalMart Mall. Georgetown is a nice old town, but did not have what we were looking for. We decided to continue about three miles west across the Chattahoochee River and lake to Eufaula, Alabama.

Eufaula is a picturesque old town that is loaded with historical buildings, statues, water fountains, and photo opportunities. An obvious attempt is being made to save memories of the past. Many of the newer buildings in the downtown area have been built to resemble the older buildings. The result is a vibrant downtown that is a pleasure to be in. When we have a better cell phone signal, I’ll share some pictures that I took.

When we left Eufaula, we went south on US 431. We stopped along the way and checked a couple more Army Corp Of Engineers campgrounds located on the west side of the lake. If we come back to this area, that is probably where we will stay. There’s nothing wrong with the place we are staying now except for the lack of a cell phone signal.

After checking out the other campgrounds, we were ready to go home and rest. By the time we arrived back at the RV, we had traveled a circle that took us north to Georgetown, then west to Eufaula, then south to Fort Gaines, and back to the north to the campground. One thing that really stood out to us was that the terrain is about the same on both sides of the river, but the Alabama side seems more prosperous. Perhaps the reason why is because the road system seems to be better. The primary road going north and south in Alabama is US 431, and is a four-lane road. In Georgia, the primary road in the area going north and south is Georgia 39, a two-lane road.

More later, be safe.

Today’s Town – Eufaula, Alabama: The Big Bass Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Georgia On Our Minds

Fort Gaines, Georgia

Weather: low 73 degrees in Ocala, Florida, high 94 degrees in Fort Gaines, Georgia, clear skies

We left Ocala shortly after 0800 hours this morning. After a great visit, it was time to start moving north in an attempt to find cooler weather within the next two weeks.

When we went to Florida about eight days ago, the worst part of the trip was going through four towns in Alabama. We decided we would take a different route back to Alabama, which found us here in Fort Gaines, Georgia tonight. We will be here until Monday, when we will leave for Tuscaloosa, Alabama and a visit of one to two weeks with Terri and Thomas. Then it’s on to the north and Tennessee.

We are staying in an Army Corp of Engineers park on William F. George Lake, a lake of 45,000 acres on the Georgia/Alabama state lines. Damming of the Chattahoochee River created the lake. This is probably the most isolated COE park we have ever stayed at. The closest town of any size is about 30 miles away, and cell phone signals are almost non-existent. The park has about 100 sites, and our site backs up to the lake. Some of the people around us have their boats tied up to the shore, so they can leave their RVs and jump in the boats, ready to go fishing in minutes.

I was outside when our next door neighbors came back from a cookout. They had a gallon bag of catfish fillets that were still warm from the fire, and asked me if I would like some fish. Well, of course I said yes. They gave me the whole bag. There's going to be some good eating tonight, tomorrow, the next day....

Since the cell phone signal is so weak, I have to leave our site and go to a different part of the park to check on calls and post the blog. If anyone needs to get in touch with us, leave a message on the cell phone and we’ll call back as soon as possible.

More later, be safe.

Today’s Town – Bainbridge, Georgia: Georgia’s First Inland Port

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Preparations To Travel

Ocala, Florida

Weather: low 72 degrees, high 96 degrees, mostly clear skies, humid

Our original plans were to leave here today, heading back to Alabama for about a week, then to Tennessee in search of cooler weather. Lately, it seems like most of our plans are written in sand because they seem to get changed a lot. Another change took place this morning when we decided to stay here one more day. That gave us a chance to rest a little before hitting the road, and gave Carolyn another chance to see her mother. She spent about half the day visiting while I was taking care of chores. The rest of the day was spent resting and getting ready to leave in the morning.

This has been a very good visit for us. We saw almost everyone we wanted to, and were busy every day. This is the kind of visit that makes you want to return. I hope it's cooler next time.

Over the past few months, we have been hearing about Five Guys Burgers and Fries, a new hamburger chain. Tonight, we went to the one in Ocala. Frankly, I don't know what the fuss is all about. We didn't think the hamburgers were anything special, and the french fries were forgettable. On top of that, we thought the price was a little high. Our favorite is still Backyard Burgers, but it seems like all of the stores in that chain have been closed when we're near them. They must be having financial problems. We hope they get straightened out.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Apopka, Florida: Indoor Foliage Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Family Cookout

Ocala, Florida

Weather: low 72 degrees, high 95 degrees, mostly clear skies

The normal June weather was back today. Hot, no rain, no cooling breezes, high humidity. Just what I remember from years past.

Earlier during our stay, I had contacted my relatives here to find out when we could see them. Over the course of several telephone calls, it was planned that everyone would meet at my brother Roger and his wife Willa's house for a cookout today. My cousin Pat lives here in Ocala, so she didn't have far to drive. My cousin Fay and her husband Cut (it's a nickname) live in Jacksonville, so they had to drive down this morning. My cousin Barbara and her husband Bill live in Pinellas Park, and they drove up this morning. Barbara retired less than two weeks ago, while Bill retired late last year.

It was great seeing everyone again, and we caught up with what has been happening before going outside to start cooking steak, hamburgers, and hot dogs. I should say the men went outside to cook. After all, grilling is a manly activity, and I must say we did an outstanding job. Once the meat had been properly seared and scorched, we sat down to a great meal, complete with all the trimmings and great conversation.

After eating, we sat around moaning and wishing we had a hammock to help our meals digest. All too soon, everyone had to start getting ready to go home. We agreed that we'll do this again the next time we're here.

Late in the afternoon, Roger, Willa, and Stephanie, their daughter, came over to see our new home. They were surprised at how nice the RVs of today are. They are like most people who live in houses - they don't think they could live in something this small.

I'm wore out after all the visiting today. I think I'll cut tonight's post short.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Bartow, Florida: The City Of Oaks and Azaleas

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Nose To The Grindstone

Ocala, Florida

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 91 degrees, partly cloudy skies

Carolyn spent most of the day visiting with her mother. She took her mother and her sister Teresa to lunch at Sonny's Bar-b-que in Silver Springs. They were very disappointed in the meal. The meat was tough, the beans could not be eaten, the french fires were not cooked properly, and the bread was tough. In other words, all of it was forgettable. Carolyn says she will not be going to that particular restaurant again because it was a waste of money.

While Carolyn was spending the day with her mother, I kept my nose to the grindstone. I washed the laundry and put it away, cleaned the bugs off the front of the RV so they will have a nice clean RV to hit when we leave on Wednesday, and finished a couple of other small chores. When I went back to pick up Carolyn, she was having a good time with her mother and three of her brothers remembering stories that occurred when they were growing up.

After I brought Carolyn home, she got busy doing some housework she wanted to get done. I went over to my brother Roger's house to visit with him and his wife Willa. They are having a cookout for us tomorrow, and three of my cousins with their spouses will also be there. It should be a good time, and we're looking forward to it.

At this time, our plans are to leave here on Wednesday headed north. We're about ready for a downtime day.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Micanopy, Florida: Florida’s Oldest Inland City

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fried Green Tomatoes

Ocala, Florida

Weather: low 72 degrees, high 83 degrees, mostly cloudy skies, scattered showers

Today, we drove down to Lakeland to visit my sister Janie and her husband Wayne. We make this trip every time we come to Florida. Obviously, we're going to see relatives down there, but we also lived there for about three years back in the 1980s. It was a great area to live in, and we always enjoy going back. Having relatives there make's the trip even more special.

Our trips in the past have always led to us eating a scrumptious meal prepared by Janie. She is a very good cook, and she just happens to like the fried chicken from Publix as much as we do. So the meat dish is usually fried chicken, with every thing else being prepared by Janie. Today was a departure from the past. All of us decided that we would like to go out for lunch, and we left it up to Janie and Wayne to pick a place since they know the area better than us. Well, folks, I am here to tell you that they picked a winner. We went to Fred's Buffet, located in Lakeland. They specialize in using locally grown fresh vegetables that are in season. Of course, they also have several choices of meat, a salad bar, and the dessert bar. There were several types of chicken, bar-b-que ribs (big and meaty), beef dishes, fish.....

As good as the different types of meat were, the vegetables stole the show. Everything is fresh and cooked as if it were in someone's kitchen. Squash, pole beans, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, greens..... The absolute winner to me was the fried green tomatoes. I don't think I have had them fixed any better than what we had today. The only problem was that every customer had the same opinion, and I never was able to get seconds. The restaurant couldn't keep them on the buffet. Darn it! I made up for it by having a piece of cheese cake for dessert.

From what I wrote above, it might seem that we spent all our time at the restaurant. Not really. We spent the rest of the time at Janie's house catching up with what's been happening. She and Wayne are going to North Carolina in July, and we may be able to hook up with them when we go up to Tennessee. We hope so.

As we were getting ready to leave, Janie and Wayne gave us a big bag of fresh, ripe tomatoes, along with some peas that she had frozen just recently. When we got home, we had one of the tomatoes sliced on ham sandwiches. It was outstanding!

The trip we made today is usually an all day affair that leaves us tired. However, it always leaves us with a good feeling and we look forward to the next time.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Lakeland, Florida: A True Sense of Place

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Family Visits Continue

Ocala, Florida

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 83 degrees, partly cloudy to cloudy skies, intermittent heavy rain showers

Before I forget, I wanted to tell about an e-mail Carolyn received today about the Simmons family tree. She placed the information we have been able to find on the Internet, and a respondent gave her information that may open up a pathway to find more information about the Simmons clan. And the good thing about this is that the respondent lives in Alabama. When we get back up there, there is a good possibility that we will be getting together and comparing notes on my family tree. To top it off, I'll meet a new relative or relatives. We're excited about this development, and we'll post news about it as it becomes available.

We spent a good part of the day visiting with Carolyn's mother. At one point in the day, her mother had six of her children visiting at the house. Early in the afternoon, Carolyn and I went to see my brother Roger and his wife Willa at their home. We had a good visit, and made plans to get together on Tuesday for a cookout. Then it was back to Carolyn's mother's house, where we spent the rest of the afternoon.

When we got home, I called my cousin Faye, who lives in Jacksonville, and invited her and her husband to the cookout on Tuesday. In addition, it looks as though two other cousins and their spouses will also be there. Outstanding! I love to have family gatherings. It brings back good memories of growing up and living here in Ocala.

By the way, today is Roger and Willa's 39th wedding anniversary. Congratulations, guys, and I hope you have many more.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Haleyville, Alabama: Home Of 911

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Heavy Rain Showers

Ocala, Florida

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 83 degrees, partly cloudy to mostly cloudy, scattered heavy showers

The weather in Ocala for this time of the year has been a pleasant surprise. When we lived here in the past, we always dreaded seeing the month of June because it seemed like we always saw the hottest and most humid weather of the summer. This year, the weather is cooler with a lot of clouds, and the rain has helped keep the temperature at a bearable level. It's still humid (when is it not humid in Florida?), but the humidity is much more bearable. We hope this weather continues.

We spent more time with Carolyn's mother today. She will be 85 years old in another month, and still has remarkably good health. Her memory is still sharp, and it's enjoyable hearing her talk of her early years. The family is fortunate to have Doris still here and being a vital part of their lives.

I talked to my brother Roger on the telephone this afternoon. He lives here and is working near home for the first time in years. We agreed to talk again tomorrow and set a time to get together and catch up on what's been happening with each other.

It's been a few days since I made a trip to the WalMart Mall. We needed a few things from them, so I made a short drive over there while Carolyn was spending time with her mother. Just as I was coming out of the store, the sky fell open, with black clouds, heavy rain, lightning, and thunder. I made it to the truck with no time to spare. As I was driving slowly out of the parking lot, I noticed that the fuel island was selling diesel. The price was $2.329 per gallon, which is about $0.30 per gallon cheaper than any other place here. I turned in and filled up while the storm was still ongoing. That felt good - saving almost $8.00 on the tank fill-up. I may go back there before we leave.

We went to Sam's Club late in the afternoon to pick up a few more things. While there, we bought a pizza already cooked. That's what we had for supper, and it was good, with enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

So far, we've been busy, and expect it to continue. Several things are planned over the next few days. I'm getting tired just thinking about it.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Deland, Florida: The Athens Of Florida

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Visiting Carolyn's Mother

Ocala, Florida

Weather: low 68 degrees, high 89 degrees, mostly cloudy skies, scattered showers

As we were out and about today, it was obvious that traffic is as bad as ever here in Ocala. Another thing that stood out was the number of businesses that have closed and the number of houses for sale. This area depends on tourism and construction for the majority of the jobs. The construction jobs come from new residents moving in. The new folks are not moving here like they did before this downturn. So, there are a lot less construction jobs. The tourism jobs come from the tourists visiting to see a multitude of attractions. With the recession ongoing, people are not coming to Florida in the numbers they were before. No one knows when the economy will pick up, but these folks are ready for things to get better.

We spent a good part of the day visiting with Carolyn's mother. While we there, we also saw two of her sisters and two of her brothers. There was a lot of catching up on what has been going on with everyone. I'm trying to set up a get together for early next week with three of my cousins. One of them lives here, one lives in Jacksonville, and the other lives in the Tampa area. I hope it comes together.

Remember in last night's post that I had problems setting up the satellite dish? I mentioned that I was tired and that probably contributed to the problem. After a night's rest, I tackled the problem again. Guess what? Success!!!! We now have a functional satellite TV system.

Late in the afternoon, I wiped part of the RV down to get some of the road grime off of it. I'll try to finish that tomorrow. I've found that doing a little from time to time keeps me from having to spend a lot of time cleaning it up.

Tomorrow will be another busy day, spending time with family.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Charleston, South Carolina: Carolopolis

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Arrived In Ocala, Florida

Ocala, Florida

Weather: low 68 degrees in Tallahassee, Florida, high 91 degrees in Ocala, partly cloudy until mid-afternoon, then cloudy with rain showers

We left Tallahassee about 0900 hours this morning. It was another good day for travel, with light traffic and good weather. We were surprised by how light the traffic was on I-75. In the past, we have seen traffic that was bumper to bumper on that highway, with three lanes in each direction. I wonder if the slow economy is affecting travel?

This morning, I spoke to another RVer, who said that he and his wife were going to travel this summer until the fuel prices became too expensive, then they would go home. From the way he talked, it wouldn't take much more in fuel price increases to make them go home. That's a shame, since they bought a new motor home recently.

We found a RV park to stay in just north of Ocala, about three miles outside town. So far, it appears to be quiet, and has some shade to help keep the sun off the RV during the hottest part of the day. Parking and setting the RV up did not take long, but I ran into a problem with the satellite dish. Usually, if there is a problem, it will be with locking onto satellite 110, while 119 is almost always easy to find. Today, it was just the opposite. I found 110 with no problems at all, but couldn't get a signal on 119 that was good enough to watch. After tinkering with the problem a lot longer than I should have, I decided to put everything down and try again tomorrow. It seems I have the most problems with setting the satellite dish up when I'm tired. Maybe I'll be able to set it up tomorrow when I'm rested.

We decided to eat supper at Sonny's Bar-B-Que. Going to this restaurant at least once when we're in Ocala has become a tradition. Over the years, the taste and quality has stayed the same as we remember when we lived here, almost 30 years ago. It was good and there was plenty left for lunch tomorrow. Leftovers!!

We will be busy while here. Carolyn's mother, as well as her sisters and brothers live here. I have a brother and a cousin here, and friends. We'll take the opportunity to drive down to Lakeland to visit my sister Janie and her husband Wayne. We have some other activities planned, so don't be surprised if we take a day to rest.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Orlando, Florida: O-Town

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

On The Road

Tallahassee, Florida

Weather: low 69 degrees in Coker, Alabama, high 93 degrees in Tallahassee, Florida, partly cloudy skies

We left Coker shortly after 0800 hours this morning, on our way to Ocala, Florida, and other points to visit relatives. Traveling conditions were good, with mostly clear skies and light breezes. We stopped about 50 miles into our trip and bought a cantaloupe and some fresh peaches at a roadside stand. One guess on what the snack for tonight will be.

The route we usually take to go to Florida from Coker is through Montgomery, Troy, Ozark, and Dothan. Over the years, the congestion around these towns has become so great that we are considering taking a different route back to the Tuscaloosa area when we return. These towns seem to be doing well during the recession, with a lot of construction ongoing. The problem is that more and more traffic lights are being installed, and it seems to take forever to get through all the traffic.

We arrived at the RV park in Tallahassee about 1630 hours. By the time we were checked in and set up, we were ready to rest and relax. Carolyn decided we would have sandwiches so we wouldn't have to go out to eat. Thank God! I was ready to crash.

If I can last long enough, I'll try to watch the NCAA Women's Softball Championship game tonight. Florida is in a desperate situation, having lost last night. One more loss and they are gone.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Troy, Alabama: A Wonderful Place To Live

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Preparing For Travel

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 65 degrees, high 95 degrees, clear skies

We will be leaving here in the morning on our way to Florida to visit family. That meant we had the usual things to do to get ready to hit the road after sitting in one place for the last two months. Cabinets were straightened, loose items were put away, the basement was straightened (one more time), holding tanks were dumped, tire pressure checked, fluid levels checked on the truck....... We have a check list we use to make sure everything is ready to travel, and over half of it has been checked off as completed. Finishing up in the morning should be fairly easy.

We had supper with Terri and Thomas at the Full Moon Bar-B-Que Restaurant in Tuscaloosa. The food was good and there was plenty of it. The best thing about the meal, however, was the company. We'll do it again when we get back.

A personal note: Last year, we met three of the nicest people we could ever hope to encounter, our landlords Ruth, Marsha, and Chuck. When we were looking for a place to park the RV, they allowed us to rent a space in their little RV park. Over the course of the last year or so, these folks have become some of our best friends. When we came back here a couple of months ago, they told us they were closing the park in October because it had become too much of a burden to keep open. At this time, our RV is the only one still parked here. Since we don't expect to be in this area more than 2-3 weeks the rest of the year, we decided to go ahead and give up our space. This allows them to move ahead with plans for the property. We appreciate everything these folks have done for us, and whenever we're in the area, we will always stop by to visit with them. Thank you, guys, for everything.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - San Francisco, California: Golden Gate City

Not all who wander are lost.