December 8, 2017, Grand Isle, LA: From Pickensville we continued southward in Alabama to the Service Corps of Engineers campground near Coffeeville where we stayed for three days parked directly along the Tom Bigbee river. This is the southern section of the waterway we have been following for the last few weeks. The last lock and damn are located here allowing the river to flow freely on to Mobile Bay on the Gulf Coast.
From Coffeeville it was on to Long Beach, MS for a few days and a visit with friends who previously lived here at Grand Isle. Had a wonderful visit with them before heading on west through New Orleans and arriving here at Grand Isle last Sunday.
Fishing was fair the first couple of days and then the weather turned windy, wet and cold. Not much fun fishing when you can't keep warm!
Here are a couple of fish stories.....
November 20, 2017, Pickensville, AL: We traveled all of 35 miles yesterday to our Thanksgiving home away from home. Beautiful spot right on the bank of the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway.
Today we ventured south (via car) to the next Corps of Engineers campground (Cochrane) thirty miles down the waterway to see if we wanted to move there for the holiday weekend. Decided we liked it here better.
Our wonderful GPS routed us to Cochrane vie the (apparently) shorted route via aboout 20 miles of dirt road. Got to see some great countryside. I think the "shorter" route "might" have been one or two miles shorter.
Couldn't help but make a comment or two about the movie Deliverance out there in the backwoods of Alabama. Kept our ears tuned for the banjo music!
We returned via the town of Aliceville, AL. Aliceville was the home of a WWII German POW camp housing over 6000 prisoners between 1942 and 1945. Great museum! Amazing how well we treated the German prisoners compared to how other countries treated ours. Prisoners here were actually fed better than the local people! We (the US) abided by the Geneva Convention and few prisoners as we fed our troops. We should all be proud of that fact!
A total of three "tows" have passed by the campground today - that we know of. Here is one this afternoon - empty barges headed north.
November 17, 2017, Columbus, MS: We departed Fulton November 14th and continued south along the Ten-Tom to the Blue Bluff Corps of Engineers campground near Aberdeen, MS. Two day there and it was on to the Dewayne Hayes Corps campground north of Columbus.
Visited downtown Columbus this morning. Many old Victorian and Colonial homes here. One of which Tennessee Williams grew up in. It is now the Welcome center.
Originally a rectory for the church, it was slated for demolition in the early 1990s to make way for a new school. Local historians moved the home to its current location.
November 12, 2017, Fulton, MS: We departed Chattanooga November 5th and headed southwest to the little town of Elkmont, Alabama, about thirty miles west of Huntsville. Found a small Mom and Pop operated campground and spent three days there. Found the Northern Alabama Veterans Museum on the nearby town of Athens that was well worth a visit - large collection of military memorabilia dating back to the Revolutionary War.
From Elmont it was on to Bay Springs Lake northeast of Tupelo, Mississippi where we are staying at the Piney Grove Corps of Engineers campground. A couple we met at Grand Isle back the early 2000s lives nearby and were the primary reason for this stop. Had a great visit and even managed to take in lunch in Tupelo one day.
Bay Springs Lake is the northern most portion of the Tennessee Tombigbee waterway (Tenn-Tom) providing the water to fill the canal cut through the divide leading to the Tennessee River to the north. See http://museum.tenntom.org/ for more information on the Tenn-Tom.
We left Bay Springs yesterday and continued on south the Fulton, MS area where we are again camped in a Corps of Engineers campground along the Tenn-Tom. From here we will continue south along the waterway with stops at 4-5 other Corps campgrounds.
November 2, 2017, Chattanooga, TN: We left Old Fort yesterday traveling westward to Chattanooga. Today we took a drive through the Chickamauga battlefield just across the Georgia line from Chattanooga. Chickamauga was the turning point of the Civil War. 58,000 Union troops and 66,000 Confederate troops and 34,000 casualties (dead, injured or missing). There are over 1,500 monuments in the 5,300 acre park. Here are a just a few of the monuments:
October 31, 2017, Old Fort, NC: We left Waynesboro a week ago traveling on south to the Floyd, VA area. Once again we explored a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The colors continue to be less that we expected - guess we missed it this year. From Floyd we continued on into North Carolina to the town of Old Ford near Ashville.
Again it was up to the Parkway for more exploration yesterday only to discover the storm that came through Sunday has closed several sections of the parkway. We did manage to travel about forty miles before being detoured off of the mountains. Colors still refusing to show themselves and many of the trees have lost all their leaves.
With the colors refusing to show themselves combined with the Parkway closed at various points we are giving up on the Parkway and heading on to Chattanooga tomorrow.
October 24, 2017, Waynesboro, VA: We drove down the first ninty miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway this morning. Very nice dirve took about three hours with speed limit of 45mph. Colors are coming out a little more - perhaps due to a storm last night with heavy rain and wind. Here are a few photos:
October 23, 2017, Waynesboro, VA: Arrived here Sunday and explored the town - not too much here but will use it as a base for further exploration. Today we went north to Virginia Museum of the Civil War in New Market. The battlefield here (Field of Lost Shoes) is where 257 Virginia Military Institute cadets (15-18 years old) were sent into battle on May 15th, 1864. This was the last southern victory in the Shenandoah Valley.
Most of the battle occured just north of the Henry Bushung farm established in 1816. The farm house was built by Henry's son Jacob in 1825. The field got the name "Field of Lost Shoes" because many of the cadets lost their shoes charging into battle through the muddy field.
October 18, 2017, Shenandoah River Valley State Park (near Front Royal, VA): Before leaving the Maine coast we discovered a relic of the past in Rockford at was once the end of the rail line. Amazing this old turntable and (partial) roundhouse is still there.
We left Maine via the coast route traveling south to Ayer, Massachusetts where we once again met up with old Navy friend from Derry, NH. From there it was on to the Catskills of New York for a few days near Wurtsboro. While there we took a day trip (fog and mist all day) up the Delaware River that divides New York and Pennsylvania.
From the Catskills it was on to York, PA area where, once again, we met up with an old Navy friend - next door neighbors in Hawaii back in 1979! Great seeing them again!
From York it was on south through Delaware and West Virginia into Virginia (shouldn't that be EAST Virginia?) where we are exploring the Shenandoah River Valley and Shenandoah National Park. We took a ride down Skyline Drive today - a 105-mile drive following the ridge of the mountains on the east side of the Shenandoah River valley. Very nice drive but it takes a LONG time with a speed limit of 35mph all the way! Would have been nice if the fall colors were a little better (I think the colors are a bust this year due to the draught they had this summer).
October 6, 2017, Rockport, Maine: Drove northeast up the coast today to the Bucksport for a tour of the "other" Fort Knox. I always associated Fort Knox with Kentucky and gold but found there is another Fort Knox here in Maine - sorry, didn't find any gold!
Originally authorized in 1825, construction did not begin until 1844 and it was finished in 1869.
The newly constructed bridge over the Penobscot River offers a bridge tower observatory with a panoramic view of the area from 420 up the western tower.
Here are a few of the photos from today:
On the way back to camp we stopped in Belfast for Sylvia to browse a yarn shop. While there we found some of the sidewalk furniture made from old lobster pots - interesting.
And along US Highway 1 near Lincolnville we found some more color - sorry for the telephone wires.
October 5, 2017, Rockport, Maine: We left Peaks Kenny last Sunday and traveled on to the Maine Coast near Camden. Stayed at Camden Hills State Park one night (at $50) and then moved on down to Megunticook Campground just north of Rockport. Nice privately-owned park with weekly rates but still over $40 a night. Regardless, we booked for a week and planned to day trip up and down the coast from here.
Unfortunately, we noticed our refrigerator was not keeping things as cold as it should (46-48 versus 34-36). Spent the day yesterday troubleshooting and found it had blown a thermal fuse. New one to be delivered today and, hopefully, all will be good.
We did manage to get a couple of days of touring in and a nice lobster dinner as well. Here are a few photos:
September 28, 2017, Peaks Kenny State Park, Maine: From Southwick Beach we continued eastward into the Adirondacks of upstate New York where we camped at Fish Creek Pond state campground.
While staying at Fish Creek Pond we made a trip over to Lake Placid where we had lunch with a couple I (Len) had met last summer at Magone Lake in Eastern Oregon. We had lunch on the lake across the street from this hotel:
We also toured the local nature conservatory in Tupper Lake. The Wild Center showcases the local wildlife and botany of the Adirondaks. Their "Wild Walk" takes you up to a tree top level for a view across the forest. We only wish the fall colors were a little more vivid. Perhaps in another week or two.
From the Adirondaks it was east through Vermont and into New Hampshire where we spent three days with an old friend we met in Grand Isle, Louisiana back in 2000. While there Bill took me on a four wheeler tour of the local mountains near his house. There had been a small settlement in these hills dating back into the 1700s when the King of England issued land grants here. Bill showed me an old mid 1800s cemetary as well as an 1839 meeting hall (now on the historic registry).
From Grafton we continued on east to the great State of Maine stopping at Mount Blue State Park on Webb Lake north of Rumford. While there we made a day trip (of about 150 miles) to Rangeley Lake and the town of Rangeley. The temperature and humidity is VERY high here causing a lot of haze that reminds us of the smoke back in Oregon. There is a little color here but not the bright reds we expected.
From Mount Blue we continued to north-central Maine to Peaks Kenny State Park north of Dover-Foxcroft. We had not planned to come to this specific part of Maine but we discovered an old Navy friend (1972) from Nashua, NH was visiting family here so we dicided it was a great opportunity to see her. We have spent three days with her and have had a GREAT visit.
Today she and her brother took us up to Moosehead Lake for a tour of the town of Greenville. This area was first settled in the early 1800s and logging was the BIG industry with timber being floated down the rivers into the lake where the logs were rounded up into huge log decks and floated across the lake to mills. Several wood fired steamboats plyed Moosehead Lake back in the 1800s and all but one are gone - most of them caught fire and sank or were grounded. The "Katadin" (now oil fired) still provides daily tours around Moosehead Lake (in season).
We found several trees here in the park that have grown on or around large boulders. Here is a photo of two:
September 16th, 2017, Southwick Beach State Park, Lake Ontario, NY: From Blanding Landing we continued east across Illinois, Indiana and Ohio with brief stops at the fairgrounds in Pontiac, IL and Van Wert, OH, and then two nights at Punderson State Park about 25 miles east of Cleveland.
From there it was up the coast of Lake Erie to Evangola State Park midway between Buffalo and Dunkirk. Sylvia has aunts and an uncle living in that area so we spent four days visiting with them. Great seeing them all again after seventeen years!
We left Evangola this morning and headed on east to Southwick Beach State Park where we will stay until Monday when we will head into the Andirondacks.
When passing through Ohio we had a little mishap getting through a toll booth on the Ohio Turnpike. I got a little too close to a pillar and took the passenger side mirror off of the motorhome. Winnebago does not sell replacement parts so I had to order the entire mirror for $1150.00! It should have been delivered to our friend in New Hampshire next week but my credit card company (CitiBank) thought it was a fraudulent charge and denied it. Winnebago had already shipped it but they recalled it yesterday. Now we have to wait until Monday to see what the new delivery date is.
I found a backup camera I was able to mount on the side of the motorhome thas is working very well but I still want my mirror back!
Here are a few photos of the Great Lakes where we have camped.
September 8, 2017, Blanding Landing, IL: We left Webster on the 5th and traveled to the Minneapolis area where we stayed at the Dakota County fairgrounds in Farmington. Nice grassy field with electric and water hookups for only $25 a day. Wish there were more like this. We stayed for three days and had a GREAT visit with old Navy friends from the 1970s and 80s. Lot of fun looking at old photos and refreshing old memories!
Wednesday our friends gave us tour of the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix river where it joins the Mississippi. Nice overlook with a view of both rivers. Here is a shot looking down the Mississippi.
Thursday found us touring the Como Gardens in Saint Paul. Flowers and plants from around the world are found inside and outside. Here are a few photos of the grounds and flowers. Please don't ask what the names of the flowers are - I just took the photos!
September 2, 2017, Webster, SD: Long day (for us at least) of over 300 miles. We got to know the Webster area way back in 2000 when we lost a wheel just after we passed through. We ended up here for over three weeks we waited for new axles to arrive. We got to know the owners of this campground and have made it a MUST stop whenever we are passing through.
When we were here in 2000 we discovered a unique museum just up the road in Roslyn, SD. Hard to believe a museum dedicated to vinegar anywhere let alone in the cornfields of South Dakota! We had to swing by this afternoon and confirm it was still there. The founder has turned it over to the community of Roslyn and they seem to be doing well with it. Not really much to see, however, they offer vinegar "tasting" and several varieties for sale. Here are a couple of photos:
We did buy a couple of bottles of balsamic.
The smokey skies continued all the way across the Dakotas. Appears to be from fires in Montana. Things are turning very green as we continue eastward. The photos below are at the Grand River crossing of Lake Oahe.
September 1, 2017, Bowman, ND: Found an old car museum located in the town of Marmarth, ND. Older fellow has a collection of about 40-50 cars and trucks from the early 1900s. Nearly all are drivable. Predominately Fords with a few others such as Crosley and Oldsmobile.
August 31, 2017, Bowman, ND: From the Lochsa area we continued east on US Highway 12 through Montana with one nights stops in White Sulphur Springs and Forsyth. The smoke was pretty much all the way across Montana but it is no where near what it was in the western part of the state.
This morning we continued on to Bowman, ND where the city maintains a nice campground (Butte View CG) on the eastern edge of town. We will stay here until Saturday to (hopefully) miss the Labor Day weekend travelers.
August 28, 2017, Clearwater National Forest: Our last week in Madras was highlighted by a week long visit from our daughter and her family. They came to Madras to see the ecliplse and what a wonderful show it was.
We left Madras on Friday the 25th traveling north to the Hermiston area where we spent the weekend with out son Mark and wife. While there we stayed at a Corps of Engineers campground in Plymouth, WA - very nice campground along the Columbia River.
From Hermiston we continued east on US Route 12 into Idaho where we stopped for the night at the Powell Forest Service campground. One of few Forest Serice campgrounds with electrical hookups - very nice when the temperature is in the 90s!
Very scenic drive up highway 12 from Lewiston that follows the old Lewis and Clark trail. There was a lot of smoke for the entire trip today that impacted the views significantly.