Peace, Pennies and an Armadillo!
LA/Texas week 1 blog Sunday, 1-4-2015 thru Saturday, 1-10-2015
Happy New Year friends and family! I'm glad you chose to keep up with our winter adventures by reading my weekly blog! We left home on Sunday, January 4th around 10:30am after not having ANY December snow. Our Pastor Lee prayed us out the driveway as he has done in the past. A little ice on the driveway yesterday...so the trailer stayed in the barn! Our Church has gone from Faith, to Grace and Peace in 2015, so that is our mindset for this trip! No stress in 2015...
We drove all but 40 miles of the Natchez Trace Parkway last year, so this year we decided to finish it! It is a wonderful, beautiful drive with no trucks, 55 MPH, no commercial signage, historical markers, 4 states, and 444 miles from Tennessee to Louisiana! There are Indian burial mounds, lakes, and primitive campgrounds to pull over and explore and also paths of the original Natchez Trace that people walked in the 1800's. We stayed our first night at the Merriwether Lewis campground for FREE! There was no one there except us. Merriwether Lewis' death and burial place (of Lewis and Clark fame - he was also Governor of the territory of Louisiana) is here. So young and accomplished to have committed suicide at age 35. David drove 624 miles on Sunday!
We drove 206 miles on Monday down the Parkway to Jeff Busby campground (also free). On Tuesday, Jan 6, we crossed the Mississippi River into Louisiana and paid $5 for 2 Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) back in the 1930's. We met Ronnie, who was tent camping. Also Tuesday, I learned that my Mom had to be rushed by ambulance from her doctor's office to Oakwood Dearborn Hospital and they found she had Influenza A, the same UTI as the previous week (she went to the hospital on Christmas Eve), confused, and dehydrated. Thanks to my Sister and Daughter for taking care of her! It's always a risk when you go away and someone gets sick. I asked for prayers from Facebook friends! Last year the problem was Sally Sue cat got in my Mom's basement and I flew home to rescue her (unsuccessfully). This year, my wonderful neighbor/sister Brenda is taking care of our cat by visiting her every day (cats sleep 20 hours a day)!
We have been “boon docking” since we left home (no electrical power or water supplied where we stay). Some people may not be familiar with trailer camping, so I thought I would enlighten my friends about saving money! Before we left home, we both made sure we had 90 days of Rx medicine to avoid my Cumadin problem of driving 100 miles to get a refill from last year :). I got a perm so my hair would last a few days longer without washing it. We made extra spaghetti and chili bowls for dinners (throw away containers since we couldn't wash dishes) and froze them. David packed a large cooler with 12 Porterhouse steaks, bacon, and other refrigerator items that stayed in the back of his truck until we turn on our refrigerator and freezer (when we camp with electric). He froze water bottles for the inside-the-cab cooler for our pop and snacks. Thursday night for dinner, he brought a backstrap from one of his deer and cooked it on his mini Weber grill, with beans - a very delicious dinner! We have sandwiches for lunch and I make bacon and eggs for breakfast quite often. We have 2 propane tanks on the trailer and a full one for his grill. They run the heat and stove.
A senior or handicapped traveler MUST apply for the “America the Beautiful” (forever) pass, which we used to get our $5 daily camp fee reduced to $2.50/day in LA. You also get into all the National Parks free! I also buy a Federal Duck stamp for $15, which gives you free admission to all the National Wildlife Refuges (if they charge a fee).
We spent 4 days at Stuart Lake campground in LA. What do we do during the day? We take walks around the campground, bird and deer watch, drive around the local area to see what's around (we had Dairy Queen $5 lunch on Thursday), David found a shower house, there are very large Long-leaf Loblolly Pines, so there are tons of dead wood and pine cones to use in the fire pit. One day, it was 47 degrees and we stayed by the fire all day. When we get up (thanks to our 4-legged alarm clock), David turns on the generator to make coffee, we see a little news, then the coffee goes into a thermos for the day and the generator is off til 10am, when he lets me watch The Price is Right for an hour :) - a must for seniors. At 5:30pm, he turns on the generator (and I charge my computer, cell and/or camera batteries), and we watch the ABC news, then Big Bang, then whatever is on at 8pm. If nothing is on, we go to bed :) We are averaging 12 hours of sleep! We park a little ways from a vault toilet, so we don't fill up our tanks. I wash my hair with a bottle and a half of water in the trailer sink (so not to fill up the gray water tank). Any questions on saving money while camping, Facebook or call me as I'm not checking emails unless I have a wifi signal.
Something unusual...I started finding a penny a day on Wednesday. I don't go for superstition, like heads up means someone in heaven is thinking of you, but I did ask God to show me if this is an important lesson he's trying to teach me. A penny is not worth much, but I don't want to miss a lesson. Will let you know!
I am working on my nature pictures from 2014 during the day that haven't been posted to my website yet! My computer lasts about 2 hours without electricity. Festus goes in and out with David while David piddles around outside (my technical term for what he does to make sure we have fun!). About the TV – we don't have a satellite – we get whatever channels you get through the air. Last year at Big Bend and in Wyoming a few years back, we got no TV signal, which was nice for a change. When I post this blog, I'll hook up my iPhone to use the hotspot and check email.
On Saturday morning, we moved to Radcliff, Texas at Radcliff Lake campground @ $10 a night. First thing we saw was a Nine-banded Armadillo (cover photo)!!! We are making our way to get closer to David's parachute jump in Lexington, TX with Robert next Saturday, Jan 17! After that, I fly to Florida on Jan 20-25th to attend the Space Coast Birding Festival with birding friends Rita, Dianne and Jan. From there, who knows! It's cold here, but not as cold as home!
Statistics for week 1: David drove 1400 miles and 8 states (MI, OH, KY, TN, AL, MS, LA and TX). Total camping fees: $10 (4 nights LA), $10 one night at Radcliff Lake, TX! No new birds, but beautiful scenery to get to Texas. Notable birds were first warbler-Pine Warbler; Black Vultures, Fish Crows and Cardinals everywhere.