Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Next Day

Today is a continuation of the current condition of my brother-in-law, Larry Clark.

After Kathi read my blog post yesterday, she told me I did not give an accurate description of Larry’s condition. I guess her words were playing on my mind, because I found myself re-writing the story in my head as I was watching “The Day the Earth Stood Still” with Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal at 4 am. When that was over I switched to “Stagecoach” with John Wayne and Claire Trevor, thinking a western might put me back to sleep. It did not work. My mind was still writing. So here I am at 6:10 am sitting in front of my computer re-telling the story.

Night before last Larry’s temperature got up to 103.7 degrees. He has a staph infection in his blood and the doctors are giving him broad spectrum antibiotics and morphine to hold down the pain. He shivers constantly. The hospital room temperature was about 75 degrees and Larry still kept the bed cover over his head to keep himself warm. He was covered with a sheet, a blanket and had his coat on top of that. He thinks he is facing death. No one else thinks so.

The doctors keep assuring him that is not true and we try to keep his spirits up, but he has been sick for over a year, often very severe sickness. During that period of time he had three rounds of chemotherapy and the bone marrow transplant. Additionally, he has had a lower bowel infection and two urinary tract infections that kept him hospitalized for weeks at a time. Last week he had a blood clot in his right leg. Yesterday they tried putting a pic line in his right arm so they would not have to stick him with a needle every four hours to draw blood. They could not get it to work and suspect a blood clot in his arm. The doctors do not understand how he can be forming clots at the same time he does not produce enough platelets. We all knew going in that depression was not unusual for transplant patients, but we try to help him fight it constantly.

His wife Andrea has been great assuring he had the medications and care he needed, provided by herself, the nurses on the 8th floor of Methodist Hospital and the transplant team. All have willing supplied the care requested. None of us will stop until Larry is well and back to normal again. Andrea has to be exhausted.

Dr. Kamble says if the current infection responds to the antibiotics he could be home by Thursday of this week and start working on his strength again and trying to build his weight back up. The harder part is keeping his mind healthy. His daily dose of Donald Trump does not seem to be doing the trick. I may have to force him to watch some of my old movies with me. They make me feel better.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Day after Easter

Today is a post in real time to let everyone know about current events in Kathi and my life.

I trust all my readers had a great Easter weekend. It is good that Christians get an opportunity to refresh their memories about the basis of their beliefs. In this country, Easter is normally a time of peace and reverence. Good choices.

I got a speeding ticket in Pasadena, TX about a month ago. There was a motorcycle officer on Fairmont Parkway doing a booming business. He had just finished issuing a ticket to another driver and was pulling his motorcycle back onto the Parkway to get set up again. I changed lanes just as I got to the driveway he was trying to exit and did not see him until he had to brake hard to keep from running into my Jeep. I knew I was in trouble and I should have seen him sooner and avoided the ticket, but I did not. He followed me a block or so and pulled me over for speeding and I probably was. He asked if I knew how fast I was going and I did not and told him that. He gave me a ticket for going 10 miles over the speed limit and I could not deny it.

Today at 1:00 pm was my court date and time. I paid the ticket by mail last week. I also included an extra $20 for deferred disposition. When I called this morning to assure they received my fine payment, they had no record of it. I decided the best option was to drive over to the court and get a reset, which I could do without seeing the judge, but I had to see the court clerk in person. There were about 25 people in line ahead of me and waiting was boring, but I waited. Getting the reset was easy and no questions asked. They gave me an extra month before I have to appear in court and I am really hoping they get their mail opened by then.

Now for a quick update on my brother-in-law, Larry Clark. Kathi and I went over and spent a couple of hours with he and his wife Andrea on Saturday afternoon. They were sitting on the patio and enjoying the fresh air. We had a nice time and some good conversation and we left them there airing out.

Sunday morning, Andrea called and Larry has passed blood in his urine overnight. Kathi and I headed back to their house while Andrea contacted his bone marrow transplant team for instructions. We were instructed to take him to the Methodist Hospital emergency room.

When we got to their house, Larry was very weak and running a little temperature. He managed to use his walker to get to the car, but we realized he would need a wheelchair when we got to the hospital. They checked him into the ER and checked his vital signs. It took a few hours to find him a room on the Cell and Gene Transplant Unit on the 8th floor, but we finally got him checked in and comfortable there. Andrea planned to spend the night in his room, so Kathi and I returned home. We stopped by the grocery store on the way home so Kathi could pick up some groceries she could cook and take to them today.

Larry looked better today and he sounded like he felt good. He had pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy and asparagus for lunch and has some chicken for later. Another great day.



Friday, March 25, 2016

Kentucky Horse Farms

Today’s post is about our 2006 travel adventures. It was a beautiful Saturday morning on May 13, 2006. It was misting rain intermittently, but we did not care. After all, we were RV travelers and this was our way of life – you cannot complain when you are living a dream. Kathi and I parked our RV the previous evening at the Cummins Ferry RV Park in Salvisa, KY a few miles from Lexington.

In the RV park office, we saw a brochure about million-dollar road where there were a lot of horse farms, so we wanted to go take a look. We had visions of seeing the horses racing around inside the rail fences. What we saw instead of horses was just miles and miles of white rail fences that enclosed lush green grass. The flowers were also in full bloom and gorgeous colors. The bright yellow ones were my favorites, since they looked so vivid in the sunshine, which was only occasional on this day. It turned out the horses on these farms were so valuable they spent most of their time in air conditioned stables and were normally only seen when they were training or racing.

The huge houses set way back off the road was what impressed Kathi the most. It may be called million-dollar road because of the horses, but the homes were probably just as valuable.

Lexington is known as “the horse capital of the world.” It is the second largest city in Kentucky and is located in what is called the blue grass region of the state. We looked and looked, but never saw any grass we thought of as blue. We went to the Kentucky Horse Park and parked and watched. They hold a lot of different kinds of competitions for horses in this park, but there were no events scheduled the day we were there. We did get to see a few horses and riders moving around in the park exercising and training. Certainly some people just rode for fun, but I guess you do not do that with valuable race horses. That park was the only time in our Kentucky visit we actually got to see horses up close.

After three nights at the RV park with no cell reception, we were ready to move along. We were tired of the rain and still tired from the long first day getting there. We were a little disappointed about not seeing more horses. Maybe next time we will time it better and go to a horse race.

Next stop: Back to Raccoon Valley.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Bump in the Road

Today my post is current events in the lives of Kathi and Arlon Boozer and our families.

We have been parked at the Green Caye RV Park in Dickinson, Texas since November 2014. We have postponed our travels to be with Kathi’s brother, Larry Clark who is recovering from leukemia. We thought this was the best use of our time until his recovery is complete.

A quick update on Larry. He is back in the hospital with a blood clot in his leg. Monday when we went over, we noticed his lower legs and feet were swollen. Later on he realized that his right knee was swollen. Both knees looked swollen, but the right was definitely worse. Kathi called his wife, Andrea to relay the information and Andrea called her contact on the bone marrow transplant team. They scheduled an appointment for him to come to Methodist Hospital to check for a blood clot.

Kathi and I took Larry in yesterday to do a Doppler test on the veins in his legs. We stopped at McDonald's on the way, where Kathi and I got cheese, egg and sausage biscuits and Larry got a Big Mac and a large coke. Then, onward to the 8th floor of Methodist Hospital. A Doppler test is also called an ultrasound, but I guess they like Doppler because it makes it sound more like science in action. First they took his blood for testing, then sent us for the Doppler.

Bunnies at Methodist Hospital ready for Easter.
 Larry is still using a walker to keep his balance when he moves around, but the building we had to take him to for the ultrasound was two buildings and two blocks away, so we put him in a wheelchair for the journey. Since we were carrying two bags and now carrying the walker also, we decided Kathi would stay behind with our paraphernalia and I would take Larry to the Methodist Hospital Outpatient Center for the test.

It took about an hour and a half including travel time, check-in and testing before we returned to the Methodist Hospital main building to see the transplant team. Dr. Kamble (pronounced Kam-blay) came and wheeled him to a room that had a couch where Larry could lie down, because they discovered the clot and did not want him walking on the leg.

Larry bundled up on the couch -- he is always cold.

His 6'6" frame does not fit a 5' couch.
 It took a couple of hours to get checked into a room and another hour of checking vitals and getting nurses on board with the plan.

The cardio team put a filter in the big vein of the leg using a technique similar to an angioplasty. The best explanation of the filter is a little umbrella, placed similar to how they would place a stent in a clogged artery. Kathi and I waited for him in his room so she could warm up the steak fingers and mashed potatoes she had brought with us for his lunch. When he came back to the room after getting the filter installed, he was instructed not to move his right leg for two hours and not to sit up, so he could not eat.

After he got settled, Kathi made arrangements for one of the nurses to feed him after two hours and Kathi and I went home. When we left the nurse was telling Larry they might have to give him insulin because his glucose was high in his morning blood test. Remember the Big Mac and big coke we picked up on the way? – Obviously a bad idea.

He is going to be in the hospital for a few days with blood thinners to dissolve the clot. Larry hates being in the hospital and is not a happy camper, but it is where he needs to be at the moment. Andrea is working and fighting allergies and feels more miserable than Larry. I hope he knows that.

Kathi and I are spending the day at home. Andrea is with Larry today. Kathi and I will probably take Larry something to eat tomorrow and check on his disposition. He rarely finds anything on the hospital menu that he likes. Between Andrea and Kathi they keep him well fed.   

Valet parking was really busy when we left the hospital.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Recap of a Traffic Snarl

This is another retro post from our 2006 travel year.

We awoke on Saturday morning in Salvisa, Kentucky. It was May 13, 2006 an we were still exhausted from our drive the day before. Being stalled in traffic on I-75 for over four hours, then having to drive in unknown territory in the dark wore us out and we still had not recovered. I am not sure why being stuck in traffic was so exhausting, but it was.

When we first encountered the traffic jam, Kathi and I were fresh and alert, thinking things would get moving soon. We were in the left hand lane and we noticed a little movement in the right hand lane, so we knew there was an exit nearby the locals were using. We were hesitant to take an exit, because we had been down many detours before and usually with a bad outcome. We often ended up on country roads that went on for long periods of time with nowhere to turn around. Many times we had to unhook our tow vehicle and turn our motorhome around 180 degrees on two-lane dirt roads. It was never fun and sometimes scary with narrow roads and deep ditches. So this day we sat.

One benefit of traveling in our motorhome, in addition to having our bathroom and bedroom, was that we had our own kitchen. Since we were not moving anyway, Kathi decided we would have lunch. She usually prepares meals ahead of time when we travel, so she can warm our meals in the microwave or on the stovetop when we arrive at our destination after a long day. Since we were still hoping for a break in the traffic, Kathi served tuna fish sandwiches and chips for this meal. We ate and put everything away and still waited for a chance to move along.

After about three hours we decided to change to the right hand lane, just because it was inching forward a little. None of the cars would let us move, but an 18-wheeler finally got positioned behind us and let us move over. Our experience has been that drivers of big rigs are the friendliest people on the highways.

We inched forward as more people got tired of waiting and soon there was a steady stream of cars passing us on the right shoulder. It was getting late, so we decided to join them and take our chances. We got on the shoulder and decided to follow the car in front of us, thinking he had to know more about the area than we did. It was about two miles ahead before we got to an exit, so we followed. There was a small community and I suspect they got more traffic through town than they had in all their history. We started moving at the speed of red lights changing. This was better, but the unknown was still nerve-wracking. Within half an hour of getting off I-75, we were through town and back on I-75 past the accident. Now it was getting dark.

We had our headlights checked every year for state inspection in Texas, but that was the only time they were ever turned on. Driving in the dark in our motorhome was new, but the lights worked. The only bad part was they were not high enough to read the street name signs. We had a map on our computer, but had to stop several times and get out to read a street name. We were thrilled and relieved when we pulled into the Cummins Ferry RV Park.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

State Hopping

Kathi and I left the Round Top RV Park in Gettysburg, PA on Monday, May 8, 2006 and moved to the Fox Den Campground in New Stanton, PA. We left Gettysburg moving west on US 30 through Fayetteville and Chambersburg on the way to join I-76, then continued west into New Stanton. The trip was about 150 miles and I estimated three hours travel time.

Pennsylvania countryside
We had just spent three days driving around the Gettysburg battlefield doing touristy things and moving in the motorhome was fun. There is a lot to be said for traveling with your own bathroom and bedroom. The drive to New Stanton was beautiful with a lot of large farms along the route. Everyone had a red barn. We had never seen so many red barns in one day. It was fun to see the barns and the crops. I-76 is called the Pennsylvania Turnpike in that area and it is a toll road. We did not mind paying the tolls, but we thought there must be a cheaper route since there was sparse traffic on the turnpike. It was a sunshiny cool day, so we kept our jackets on for most of the trip. The RV park was nice, but again the price was a little high for us at $27 per night. After two nights we were ready to move along again. Next stop: Columbus, OH.


More of Pennsylvania
We awoke Wednesday morning, May 10th ready to travel. I had done all the outside work the previous night, so we could get an early start. It was about 200 miles due west from New Stanton to Columbus. We were on I-70 through Washington, then crossed the state line into Ohio. We drove through Cambridge, Zanesville and Hebron after we got into Ohio. None of the towns were large enough to slow traffic on the interstate. There was a lot of green trees and green grass along the route and a few farms where we could not identify the crops. The mountains were fun, as usual.

It started raining on us and drizzled the entire time we were in Columbus. We stayed at the Alton RV Park for $30 per day. The park was okay. We found the Columbus area to be old and rundown and we saw no reason for a return trip. The rain may have influenced our thinking, but I doubt that.

Friday we moved to the Cummins Ferry RV Park in Salvisa, KY. We left Columbus on I-71 going southwest to Cincinnati, then south on I-75 until we got near Lexington. We took the loop around, so we would miss the Lexington traffic and followed US 60 and US 127 into Salvisa. The trip was about 230 miles and I estimated our travel time as 4 ½ hours. Unfortunately there was a bad wreck on I-75 between two trucks. Sadly, we found out later that one person was killed. We were stationary on I-75 for 4 ½ hours, so I badly missed my estimate for this trip.

We arrived in Salvisa about 9:00 pm. This was the first time I had driven the RV having to use the headlights. Our RV park was so far out of town that we had no phone reception. We were both exhausted from the long day, from driving in the dark and trying to locate our RV park in the dark. We turned in almost immediately on arrival. I plugged in electricity and let everything else wait.

Next: Kentucky Horse Farms


Monday, March 14, 2016

Gettysburg

After a fun couple of days touring Washington, DC from our home base at the North Fork Resort in Front Royal, VA, we were ready to move along. Next Stop – Gettysburg, PA. It was Friday, May 5, 2006 and a beautiful day for driving as long as we had air conditioning. The sun was bright and the temperature was in the 80’s. We moved into the Round Top RV Park in Gettysburg for $34 per night. Way out of our price range but what we expected to find when we came here. They make a lot of money off tourism in Gettysburg. We took I-66 about 6 miles northwest from Front Royal, then changed to I-81 northeast into Gettysburg. The trip was only about one hundred miles of pleasant easy driving. Kathi and I never got used to being able to move from state to state with ease. Being from the Houston area we were used to taking long trips to leave the state.

I spent the afternoon and evening reading up on the Civil War and Gettysburg in particular. The battle took place July 1-3, 1863. I read about battles at Little Round Top, the Peach Orchard and Cemetery Hill. I was most fascinated by Pickett’s Charge with 12,500 Confederates trying to break through the strongest point the Union army held on Cemetery Ridge. It sounds crazy, but this battle had soldiers marching over a mile of open country going uphill against rifle and artillery barrages. There were near 50,000 casualties in the three day-long battle of Gettysburg.

Saturday morning, we found an event where they displayed the Battle of Gettysburg with a large battlefield layout and lights to highlight battle lines and movements. It was enjoyable and concurred with my reading. I suspect Kathi was bored half way through, but she did not complain. Next, we took a driving tour of the Gettysburg battlefield. There were lots of monuments to individuals from different states. Funny how you read the history and forget about the fact that it is actually a diverse group of individuals that fight in wars. The weather was great. A lot of other people must have thought the same thing, as the traffic was continuous. We felt like we were holding up progress if we stopped to look at anything for too long.

We also visited a President’s Museum with mannequins of all our presidents in their normal garb. The mannequins were not as well done as I would have liked, but it was nice to see the clothing they wore at the times they were in office. It was interesting to see, but not one of highlights of the Gettysburg visit.

Sunday we drove to a small horse farm. They intentionally breed the horses smaller and they are very distinct from Shetland ponies. We enjoyed looking at all the horses in the stables. They also put on a show where some of the horses did tricks. Most of the show was dogs doing unusual tricks and activities. It was geared for younger folks and they seemed to be enjoying the show.

At this point in our travels a couple of days was enough for any one place. Kathi and I were RV travelers and ready to move along.

Next post: More of our Pennsylvania trip.

Eisenhower in uniform

Franklin Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover I think.

Woodrow Wilson?

Teddy Roosevelt

I do not recognize these chaps.

George Washington

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Washington, DC

 Monday, May 1, 2006, we were staying at the North Fork Resort in Front Royal, VA. We were going to drive our Chevrolet Cavalier the 70 miles into Washington, DC for a day of sightseeing and tourism. It was a beautiful drive into the city on I-66. The temperature was in the 60s and the sun was bright. We had been driving about 20 minutes and I was in the right lane, when a car in the left lane darted in front of me to pass a slower moving car. I jerked my steering wheel to the right and took my foot off the accelerator to avoid hitting them. Unfortunately, my reaction pulled me onto the shoulder and headed for the grass. I fought the steering wheel for a few seconds to keep our car in our lane. I remember thinking in the midst of my fishtailing that this short steering radius was going to get us killed. I had been driving near the speed limit before, but it scared me enough that I slowed down even more.

I had visited Washington, DC once before, while attending a training class in West Virginia. That time we drove around the capitol building and the White House and had no trouble finding a parking space. I was foolish enough to think we would do that again on this beautiful Monday morning. No such luck. We discovered they had added a fence around the White House and there was no way to get close and no parking spaces available, even if we could get closer to it. We drove on.

The Washington Monument had scaffolding all around it and people were not allowed to walk through the construction area, so we bypassed it. I kept looking for a parking space and there were no spaces available. After an hour or so driving around, we saw a sign for a tour bus and decided to give that a try. We parked in the tour bus parking lot and paid our fee to ride the bus. The tour buses ran regular routes by all the monuments. Passengers disembarked at the sites they wanted to see and caught a later bus to continue the tour.

Arlon standing among the Korean War soldiers.
We stopped at the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam Wall and the Lincoln Memorial. As the morning progressed, the temperature rose. It was still cool, I suppose, but too hot for Kathi and I to walk far. We enjoyed seeing the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam Wall and mingled with the crowd of steadily moving viewers. Many people brought flowers to place along the wall. There was a sign stating that all flowers were trashed at the end of each day. With the huge crowds, garbage duty had to be a full time job.

Fighting the crowd at the Vietnam Wall.

Construction near the Lincoln Memorial

Abe Lincoln

By the time we got up the steps to the Lincoln Memorial we were spent. We rested and took pictures, while reading Lincoln's 2nd inaugural speech and the Gettysburg Address. Both speeches read and sounded like poetry. It was an exciting day, but we were too tired to walk any further in the heat and high humidity, so we got back on the tour bus and went back to retrieve our car.

Kathi standing in front of one of the 36 huge pillars at the Lincoln Memorial.

Arlon and Abe

I could not figure out how to get back on I-66, so we drove until we found signs to direct us. We passed by the exit to go to the Pentagon, but I passed up the opportunity. I really wanted to see it, so hopefully I will get another chance in the future.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Our First Time in Virginia

This is another blog post from Arlon Boozer, an RV traveler who is currently stationary in Dickinson, Texas taking care of family medical problems. While we are stationary, I have been posting travel adventures from our past. Today I am picking up our story on April 29, 2006. It was a Saturday and our second full day in Salem, VA. The weather was great – cool with sunshine, so Kathi wanted to take a drive, and drive I did.

We drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway and went all the way to Bedford, VA. The scenery was great and there were a lot of turnouts, so we could get out, enjoy the view and take a few pictures. The mid-60s temperature was encouraging us to stay outside, so I just drove. The Shenandoah Valley was a sight to see in the springtime. We were glad we were there during that time of the year. We meandered around the countryside for about 150 miles before we got back home. We returned to our Alfa RV in mid-afternoon and started preparations to travel on Sunday.

Our Destination for Sunday was Front Royal, VA. We took I-81 northeast through Daleville, Buena Vista, Harrisonburg, New Market and Woodstock along the way. We saw very little of the towns driving on the interstate, but the road signs kept us aware of what was nearby. Up and down the hills and around the mountains with greenery everywhere along the route. It was sweater weather in the morning and only slightly warmer in the afternoon. Another fun drive with Kathi and spectacular views along the way.

We moved into the North Fork Resort, which was a Passport America park. Passport America discount rates are normally half the normal daily rate for the first 2 or 3 days you stay in the park. Their half price rate was $20 per day. We were used to spending $10-$12 per day in the southern states, so we knew our time on the east coast would be short. I was sure Kathi would never pay $40 to stay there. The upside was the park was about 70 miles from Washington, D.C. and we planned drive in on Monday to do some sightseeing there.

I was really out of my element. The town itself sounded like royalty and that was a long way from being me. The roads were unfamiliar to us and I got lost every time I got off the interstate. Fortunately, Kathi was used to being lost with me. We have had some of our best adventures when we were lost. We did manage to find a restaurant for dinner and get back home on the same day we started out. It took me a while to find the park again after dark, so we decided to return home earlier in the day, at least until I discovered how to get around town.

We were thrilled to be somewhere we had never ventured before and went to sleep anticipating a fun drive and tour of our nation's capital. I did not think I would ever get used to driving hundreds of miles and finding myself still at home.

Next post: DC

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Heiskell to Salem

Today is another post relating our 2006 Travels. We awoke at the Raccoon Valley RV Park in Heiskell, TN and spent the Sunday morning of April 23, 2006 cleaning house and getting ready to move to the Freightliner in Knoxville for service on Monday morning.

We drove over to Freightliner in the late-afternoon and got set up boondocking in their parking lot. The weather was great, so we did not miss our air conditioner. I was apprehensive, because we had done very little boondocking and I was afraid I would drain our batteries. I got up several times during the night to run our generator to keep our batteries charged. We did fine and my apprehension was not necessary.

The next morning, we checked in at the Freightliner service desk. It always takes several hours for even simple tasks at Freightliner, because they always seem to be busy with big trucks. After we checked in we went out for breakfast, then found a tour called “The Dogwood Trail.” The walking tour was only open on weekends, but we drove the tour route. The drive was beautiful and we saw a lot of gigantic mansions with breathtaking gardens – such vibrant colors. After the driving tour, we went back to Freightliner to wait. We waited in the truck drivers lounge with big, plush comfortable recliners. I was tired from being awake a lot of the night and I fell asleep in their recliner. Kathi told me I snored, but the other drivers did not seem to mind. I think Kathi took a nap, also.

We got our RV back at mid-afternoon and moved back to our spot in Raccoon Valley. We stayed at home for the evening and the next day. It was another beautiful day and we had a late lunch at Outback. We always enjoy their steaks. It started raining in the evening and was still raining when we got up Wednesday morning. We made a run to Walmart and came back home to ready our RV for travel the next day. Although it was only a week we felt like we had been in the same spot for a long time and we were both ready to move along. I was disappointed that I never saw a raccoon in Raccoon Valley.

Thursday, April 27, 2006 we left Heiskell, TN and moved into the Dixie Caverns RV Park in Salem, VA. The trip was about 275 miles. We left Heiskell on I-75 south, then east on Loop 640 to bypass Knoxville where we picked up I-40 moving east. We left I-40 for I-91 where they intersected. We went through the twin cities of Bristol, TN and Bristol, VA as we crossed the border, then on through Wytheville and Christiansburg before reaching Salem.

It was another beautiful drive with a lot of vivid green color and many dogwood trees. We passed a Shetland pony farm which was different and exciting for us. The RV park was nothing special, but the scenery around the area was worth the trip. On a bright, cool and sunny Friday morning, we took a drive around the area and came home so I could do some chores outside. I was welcomed by the springtime birds singing continuously – what a treat.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Gadsden and Raccoon Valley

It was Wednesday morning when we awoke at the Benchmark Coach and RV Park in Meridian, MS. It was march 19, 2006 and we were on a leisurely trip to the Freightliner in Knoxville, TN. We left Meridian about 11 am on the way to the Noccalula Falls Park and Campground in Gadsden, a for a one-night stay. The trip was about 200 miles and I estimated about four hours driving and hoped to get there a little before 4 pm. We drove on I-20 moving northeast for about half the trip then switched to I-59 in Birmingham.

We found a beautiful RV park, but they had so many trees, we could not get our computer or TV satellites to pick up a signal. We were glad we only signed up for one night. I understand the park has some beautiful waterfalls, but we did not take time to see them. Probably the frustration of not getting satellites to work dampened our moods. Not only that, there were tornado warning all around the area we were staying. Kathi was not happy to be there. She certainly did not seem to appreciate my jest about tornado chasing – absolutely no sense of humor some days.

Thursday we moved on to Heiskell, TN and the Raccoon Valley RV Park. We took I-59 northwest through Fort Payne and into Tennessee. Soon after Chattanooga we got on I-75 that took us almost to Knoxville and we moved onto local roads. We took TN-162 to TN-170. BOY! Did I ever make a major error? Yes, I did. We went a few miles on TN-170 and came upon a railroad underpass that appeared too low to get our motorhome through. My error was not listening to Kathi when she told me that there were some routes we could not take to get to Raccoon Valley. I thought I remembered the roads she told me not to take, but I must have misremembered.

Golden bush near Raccoon Valley

 We had to pull off the road and unhook our Cavalier from our motorhome. Then Kathi solicited some help and directed traffic while I turned our 40’ RV around in an 18’ wide country road. I am sure glad the dirt was hard on the shoulders. Kathi was good at directing traffic and only a little perturbed with me for not listening to her. I was embarrassed and thrilled to get turned around with minimal loss of anything except time and face. Anyway, we saw a lot of blooming lilacs so we knew spring was fixing to burst open with bright colors – maybe not as red as my face, but prettier. We still got set up in Raccoon Valley by mid-afternoon. 

Floral trees along Tennessee highway

 The next day was Friday and it rained most of the morning. It was overcast and cool in the afternoon and we went out to eat and found a Walmart to do a little grocery shopping. It rained all night, but the rain stopped early Saturday morning and the sun came out and it started getting warmer. We found a laundromat and got our laundry done, then went to eat at Red Lobster. It always amazes me to go around the country and wake up at home. I also enjoy going to an unfamiliar Red Lobster and look at the same menu we saw in Pasadena, TX. I enjoyed the different tastes of the Sailor’s Platter and Kathi had fish again.

Driving around the countryside we encountered a lot of traffic on these country roads, but the scenery was staggering. Beautiful trees and shrubbery everywhere we went. And of course Kathi and I were together and I was a happy man living the RV lifestyle.

The Cumberland Gap

Another blooming tree in front of toy store

Veteran's Overlook across the CumberlandGap