Saturday, February 27, 2016

Spic-N-Span Detailing

Today is a blog post in real time. Ever since we got to Dickinson, Kathi has been talking about getting our RV washed and waxed. We found several brochures in the RV office, but she has not been able to make a deal with anyone until today.

Yesterday our next door neighbor, Tom Yeo came over and brought me a brochure for Spic-N-Span Detailing and told us they were coming this morning to wash his RV. They arrived about 9 am and started getting their equipment set up. They had a trailer with their own water and cleaning solution container which they feed into their pressure washer. There were two men working and looking out my window, I thought they were brothers.

Spic-N-Span Detailing brochure
Kathi went out to talk to them to see if they would wash our motorhome also. She found out they are a father and son team. The father’s name is Detrick Little and the son’s name is Justice Sheppard. They show a lot of pride in their work and Kathi and I liked their work ethic and the quality of work 
they do.

Justice ready to guide Detrick to hook up their trailer.

Justice in front of their trailer. Note the large water container.
After they were through washing Tom’s RV they went to lunch and told Kathi they would wash and wax our Alfa after lunch. Kathi and I went to Jimmy Changa’s for lunch and were gone a couple of hours.

When we returned home Detrick and Justice were hard at work. Kathi and I went inside. She spent her time reading and I was writing for a couple of hours. Then Detrick knocked on the door and asked us if we wanted to come inspect their work. I knew I did not need to inspect, but I did want to go out and admire what they had done. To say the least, we were well pleased.

Our nice clean Alfa motorhome

 More important than the work, we met two friends. They are both so personable and happy it was a pleasure talking and doing business with them. I would recommend them to anyone that wants to take advantage of their service. We will definitely be calling them again.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Visiting Dick and Trish Albritton

Today is another retro post from our 2006 travel year. On Thursday. April 13th we left the Pavilion RV Park in West Monroe and got on I-20 moving east back to Choudrant, then went south on LA-145 until we reached the Albritton property. The Albritton’s had RV hookups and a guest cottage behind their house, so we moved into one of the RV spaces.

Our Alfa in an RV space behind the Albritton home.

The Albritton’s owned an Alfa motorhome and Dick was one of the most helpful people on the Yahoo Groups site for Alfa motorhome owners. The site gives all Alfa owners a place to share information. Dick seemed to be one of the go to guys concerning the Alfa electrical systems and air conditioning units. Dick also knew where the gaps were in the basement that let dust and dirt get in, so we were there to have him seal our motorhome basement. We spent Thursday night on the property and we were scheduled for work to begin on Friday.

Side view of Albritton guest cottage. Nose of our Alfa on the left.

Guest cottage -- front view

Dick got started working on our motorhome about 7:30 Friday morning and worked on it until about 3:00 in the afternoon. We spent the day reading in their guest cottage, walking about the property and visiting with Trish on their front porch. The Albritton’s were very hospitable hosts. While we visited with Trish, we watched many hummingbirds flying around their bird feeders hung on the porch. Hummingbirds are always fascinating and fun to watch. We also got to watch a neighbor that owned a chicken farm near by spread chicken manure around the Albritton property. The aroma was less than pleasant, but the company was great. After Dick finished his work, we moved back to the Pavilion RV Park in West Monroe to spend the Easter weekend.

Back view of the Albritton home.

It was getting warmer during the daytime and the sky was clear with bright sunshine, so we spent the weekend inside reading and planning our next move. We had an appointment scheduled with Freightliner on April 24th, so our moves were to get us to the Freightliner service center on time.

Our next stop was the Benchmark Coach and RV Park in Meridian, MS. It was a drive due east on I-20 for about 225 miles. I expected the trip to take a little less than five hours. It was cool in the morning and the temperature rose as the day progressed. All the vegetation along the route was green and growing, like it is supposed to be in the springtime. We enjoyed the scenery and the air conditioning on the pleasant drive into Mississippi. Kathi said she hoped it would be cooler in Kentucky and Tennessee. I agreed with her.

The RV park had good streets and paved RV parking sights – always good news. They were also a Passport America park and our nightly rate was $16, which was excellent for us. We spent the evening inside resting. I have never understood why traveling makes us tired, but it seems to do that. Kathi made us a homemade pizza for dinner. They are work for Kathi and fun for me, but always worth the effort.

The next day we toured the area. The countryside was beautiful to see. We had been to casinos along the Mississippi coast, but this was our first time in northern Mississippi. I am glad for the opportunity to visit there.

Next Stop: Gadsden, Alabama

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Shreveport and West Monroe

It was Sunday, April 2, 2006 when we left the Country Livin’ RV Park in Ajax, LA and moved to Campers RV in Shreveport. We use I-49 moving north for a short trip around 75 miles. The humidity was high, otherwise it was a nice day for traveling. The trip took about an hour and 20 minutes. The RV park was nothing special, but the price was $18 per day – a number we could live with. We found a Red Lobster and had a late lunch. Kathi had salmon and I had fried shrimp.

The next couple of days we drove around the city, just enjoying life in the beautiful weather. It was starting to get warmer in the afternoons, but still pleasant. We browsed in a book store and Kathi did some shopping in Old Navy, but we did not buy anything at either place. We were just biding our time awaiting our appointment date for service at Dick Allbriton’s home.

Monday, April 10th it was finally moving day again. We left Shreveport on I-20 moving further east through Minden, Arcadia and Ruston before reaching West Monroe. The trip was about 90 miles and we were in no hurry. We stopped and had our motorhome washed on the way. Part of I-20 traffic was restricted to using only one lane. It seemed like we drove 20 miles moving 5 mph.

We finally got to the east side of West Monroe and stopped at the Pavilion RV Park. We chose it because it was listed in our Passport America book, but they were no longer a Passport America member. There daily price of $27 was way more than we wanted to pay, but it was convenient, so we stayed. The park was nothing special and was near empty when we arrived. We found out it filled up every afternoon and emptied out every morning. That explained them no longer giving Passport America discounts. It was obviously a stopover site for travelers, rather than a place to visit. Passport America Parks usually gives half price discounts for the first two or three days you stay there and full price for additional days.

The next day Kathi wanted us to get haircuts and we drove around West Monroe looking for a Fantastic Sam’s. We never did find one so I had to sleep with a mop full of hair on my head again. I thought that was better than using two pillows, but Kathi did not like me as much with long hair, so I agreed to look for a place for haircuts the next day. Sometimes she forgets or changes her mind the next morning, but not this time. I got my hair cut short again and she did the same. After another lunch at Red Lobster we were ready to leave town again.

Next post: Choudrant and Dick Allbriton.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Good Life in Louisiana

Thursday, March 23, 2006 we arrived at the Mission Delores RV Park in San Augustine, TX. After a quick trip back to Deer Park for Kathi to see her dentist and get a tooth repaired, we were back on the road. We were taking a leisurely trip to Louisiana to have some RV repair work done. We checked into the RV park for three days, since the price was right. The temperature was cool and the sun was bright and we were enjoying springtime.

Friday we stayed at home and opened the windows of our RV to let the breeze go through. The cool air was exhilarating. Some of the gusts were too cold for me as I read, but it made me feel good even if I was too cold some of the time. I put on a light jacket and kept reading.

Saturday we took a long drive through the Sabine National Forest and across the Toledo Bend Reservoir into Louisiana. We left San Augustine on TX-21 which turned into LA-6. We followed LA-6 into Natchitoches, LA. This is the sister city to my home town, Nacogdoches, TX and I had to visit there at least one time in my life and this was it.

The weather was great and there were a lot of boats on the water. It’s hard to stay inside in the springtime in the south. Natchitoches was nice to drive through and we especially enjoyed driving around the campus of the Northwestern State University. We saw some really large homes in the area and the azaleas were in bloom to add a splash of color to our trip.

Sunday, March 26th it was time to move again. Kathi found another Passport America RV Park in Ajax, LA and made a reservation, so we headed that way. We did a repeat of our drive across Toledo Bend Reservoir and stayed on LA-6 until we got to Many, LA. We left Many on US-171 going north for a couple of miles and turned northwest on LA-175 through Belmont and into Pleasant Hill. We left Pleasant Hill on LA-174 into Ajax. We got set up in the Country Livin’ RV Park. It really was county living. We could look out the window of the motorhome and see people fishing in the lake. What fun.

We drove into Natchitoches again, this time to do some grocery shopping. The prices were too high compared to what Kathi was used to paying, so we decided to hold off on buying groceries for a few days until we found a Walmart store. Monday morning, we did our laundry in beautiful weather. We were glad we did since it started raining that evening and most of the next day. We just stayed inside and read.

Wednesday the sun reappeared and we took I-49 north into Bossier City and a Super Walmart Store. Kathi told me it was nice to be back in civilization. She has never lived in the city, but she thinks like a city girl – almost. We always lived in small towns in the suburbs. Civilization to Kathi is anywhere there is a Walmart within 10 miles. While we were there we looked for an RV park to move into on Sunday. We did not find one that day and decided to look online for something nearby for the next step on our journey.

Next Post: Shreveport and Beyond

                                                     --------------

If you enjoy the blog you can click the buttons to the right of the title to follow me on Facebook or Google Plus. Thanks, Arlon




Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Back in Texas

Today is a continuation of our 2006 travel adventures. While we were in Nashville, Kathi broke a tooth and we were headed back to see her dentist in Deer Park, TX. Now, the story picks up about a week later.

On Tuesday, March 14, 2006 we left Shreveport on I-20 east, then southeast on US-79 to Carthage, TX, then TX-315 to Mt. Enterprise. We left Mt. Enterprise on US-259 and picked up US-59 south. We took the loops around Nacogdoches and Lufkin and stopped at the Rainbow’s End RV Park in Livingston, TX. Rainbow’s End was and is the home of the Escapees travel club and provides our mail service. The red-bud trees were blooming and the area around the park was lush and green. We took advantage of being there and picked up our mail, so we would not have to get it forwarded to us in Dickinson.

Donkey near Rainbow's End

Patriotic sign near highway 59

Streetcar across from the Rainbow's End office

 We only spent one night in Livingston, before moving again. Wednesday we moved into the Green Caye RV Park in Dickinson, TX. It was a short drive with not much traffic moving south on US-59 to Houston and familiar territory. The RV park was almost full. Not surprising, since a lot of turnaround in chemical plants and refineries was always going on. The park has paved roads and mostly paved RV sites.

We spent a good portion of Thursday outside cleaning basement compartments in our Alfa RV. It was almost impossible to keep the dust and dirt out. It was a great day outside and feeling the cool air made the work go fast. We had lunch at Luby’s Cafeteria in Nassau Bay. Kathi had baked fish and I had a chicken fried steak with lots of gravy. Good food and not so good for my figure.

We spent the next few days around the RV Park reading and watching TV – just killing time until Kathi’s dental appointment. She finally got to see the dentist on Tuesday, March 21st.The bluebonnets were in full bloom on Fairmont Parkway. They were so beautiful to look at on that sunny day. Dr. McGrath fixed her tooth on her first visit and we were free to travel again.

We took Kathi’s mother and step-father to lunch the next day to say goodbye again. We ate at Gringo’s on Underwood Road just north of Spencer Hwy. Kathi’s mother was sad that we were leaving town again so soon. Kathi felt bad, but we needed to move. It was already in the blood.

We got up early Thursday morning and headed back north. We landed at the Mission Delores RV Park in San Augustine, TX. It was a lovely drive with bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush along the way. We felt that Texas roads had some of the best roadside scenery in the country in the springtime. The RV park only charged $7.50 per night. Perfect. We had seen all the sights we wanted to see in a couple of days. The weather was cool and sunny every day and it was pleasant to be outdoors, even if most of our sightseeing was done from inside the car.

We were RV travelers with a big emphasis on travel, so it was time to move along. Next we were going to Choudrant, LA to have Dick Albritton do some more RV repairs for us. One item was sealing the basement to keep dust and dirt out. Woo hoo.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Heading Home

We left the Camping World in Nashville on Wednesday, March 8, 2006. They repaired our DirecTV satellite dish and got the lights on our RV to carry the signal to our tow vehicle. The repairs were too expensive, but at least the work was done. These were the same repairs we paid to get done at McGaugh’s RV in Springdale, AR the previous month, but they were unsuccessful. As an RV driver, I was relieved that other motorists could more easily understand my intentions when changing lanes, turning or stopping.

Kathi and I were headed back to Deer Park, TX so she could get a broken tooth repaired. We left Nashville mid-morning and went due south on I-65 for the 210-mile trip to the Birmingham South RV Park in Pelham, AL. As you probably guessed from the name of the RV park, we were just south of Birmingham. It was a great drive and the further south we went the greener the vegetation got. The dogwoods, azaleas and daffodils were blooming and really pleasing to the eyes. We decided to stay only two nights before moving on. The RV park charged $37 per night, which was way out of our price range.

Thursday, we went to Walmart in the morning and spent the rest of the day at home. Robins hopping from limb to limb in the trees were fun to watch. It had been a while since we saw so many at the same time. In the evening and that night, we had heavy wind and rain. I loved hearing the wind and feeling it rock our motorhome as we lay in bed -- not exactly like a waterbed, but close.

Our next stop was the Springridge RV Park in Clinton, MS. Friday morning we got up early to make the 250-mile trip, through Tuscaloosa, AL and Meridian, MS before getting to Clinton. The route was due east on I-20. The weather was great, cool and sunny. Redbud trees were blooming, but not quite to their most vibrant color yet. We stayed in for the day and did not unhook our car, so we would be ready to travel again the on Sunday. Saturday we were home all day with the shades open watching activities of other campers and reading. A beautiful spring day and Kathi’s spaghetti for lunch – great as usual.

The KOA in Shreveport, LA was our next stop. Again it was too expensive at $33 per night, but we were in traveling mode, not in our preferred retired mode enjoying the leisurely RV lifestyle. We were used to spending $10-15 per day at Passport America Parks, but we could not find any near our route. We saw lots of azaleas in bloom along the route from Clinton, MS through Vicksburg, MS, then across the border to Louisiana. We stayed on I-20 through Tallulah, Monroe and Minden, LA, before getting to Shreveport. Total trip was about 210 miles and we were close to our objective in Texas.

Next Post: Back in Texas


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Other RV Travelers

Kathi and I are still at the Green Caye RV Park in Dickinson, TX. The weather is great here today – cool and sunny. We have eaten at all of the local restaurants so many times, Kathi is ready for new cuisine, so do not be surprised if you hear of us moving down the road in the near future.

We still go to visit Larry and Andrea Clark every weekday morning. Larry is Kathi’s brother, who is recovering from leukemia. We are in the “fattening up” stage of his recovery. He is putting on weight and gaining strength. Today is his last day of physical therapy at home. He will start outpatient physical therapy in the next week or so.

                                          =======

Today I would like to acknowledge some other people who write travel blogs. Some of my readers are referred from these sites.

“Travel with the Bayfield Bunch is always a good place to start. Al Bossence writes the blog and he takes great pictures. His post today is about snowfall in Yarnell, AZ in the Peeples Valley. Al and his wife, Kelly are from Ontario, Canada and they winter in Arizona and go back to Canada in the summertime. You can find the blog at http://thebayfieldbunch.com

Clancy Tucker writes a blog called ”Clancy Tuckers Blog.” Clancy is a world traveler, photographer and writer. Clancy lives in Australia and also takes great pictures. I had the privilege of being featured in one of Clancy’s blog post a couple of years ago. Visit http://clancytucker.blogspot.com.au to see more about him.

Another interesting site I recently became aware of is “Papoojack’s World." So far I have not found out about Papoojack, but I have had some referrals from his blog to mine, which I greatly appreciate. The blogger is a retired Texan living in Saginaw, TX and seems to have a great sense of humor. I am looking forward to learning more about Papoojack. His blog is available at http://papoojacks.blogspot.com

Another blog with a lot of followers is “The Gypsy Journal” which contains Nick’s Blog. Nick Russell and his wife Terry are full time RV travelers and authors. Nick always has interesting observations. You can find the blog at http://gypsyjournalrv.com/category/nicksblog


My next post will be a continuation of our 2006 RV travel year.




Monday, February 1, 2016

Nashville

We awoke to a beautiful spring day at Sam’s Town in Tunica, MS on Tuesday, February 28, 2006. We had been in town for a week, visited several casinos in the area and now it was time for two experienced RV travelers to move along. We left Tunica moving northwest on US 61, then took I-240 west to bypass Memphis. We left the Memphis area on I-40 which took us straight into Nashville. We planned on a five-hour trip for about 250 miles.

There were no big cities along the route, so we made pretty good time and arrived at the Nashville RV Park about two in the afternoon. The only downside of the trip was Kathi breaking a tooth. There was no immediate pain, but we knew we had to get the tooth fixed soon, so we discussed options. Since we were a good way away from our dentist, the best option at the time seemed to be wait until we got home, unless the tooth became a bigger problem.

On Wednesday, the first day of March, we drove around Nashville. It was another beautiful day to be out on a leisurely drive. We found a lot of traffic, which I did not care for so much, but I just slowed down and went along for the ride while Kathi did most of the sightseeing. Daffodils were starting to bloom and the bright yellow color added to the beauty of the day.

Thursday we went for haircuts. I usually wait six to eight months between haircuts and the hair technician thought I wore my hair long. She was surprised when I asked her to cut it all off, just leaving enough to comb. She sheared me like a sheep. Kathi’s haircuts came much more frequently – just something different was better for her.

Driving around the hills outside of town was pleasant. Just on the verge of spring so everything was not full green yet. We would have to come back another time to see it in full bloom.

On Friday, we drove over to Opryland. I remember listening to the Grand Ole Opry on a tall stand-up radio with all the static. I never even dreamed I would visit the place where they broadcast. Of course back then when I listened on the radio they were still in the Ryman Auditorium. There were so many buildings that Opryland was like a small town of its own. There were many entertainment venues for all ages. The red-bud trees were starting to bloom and the sunshine in the sky helped us overlook all the construction slowing down the traffic on that drive in that beautiful hill country.

We stayed in town through the week end driving around part of everyday looking at scenery, which was all new to us. On Monday, we went to Camping World to make another try at getting our lights working between the motorhome to our tow vehicle. Kathi wanted an estimate to replace the carpet, but the price they wanted just to do the estimate was more than I was willing to pay.

Kathi was having problems with the rough edges of her broken tooth, so we decided to head back to Texas to get Kathi’s tooth repaired.