Thursday, March 22, 2018

A little fresh this morning

Temperature this morning was 31 degrees, however very little wind so not to bad getting ready to travel.  With the sun shining it didn't take long to rise into the 40s.

Made it back to the Martin Manor a little past 1:00 and now all necessities are unloaded from the camper but we will leave the power hooked up so some things in the fridge can stay until our next venture

That trip is planned to begin on April 9 heading down to Lake Sam Rayburn in eastern Texas.  Check back then for more adventures of fredandjo.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Gun Creek campground

Our final night on this trip on the banks of Rend Lake at the Gun Creek COE campground near Whittington, IL.

Out the windshield of our truck as we parked
 Same view outside the truck
 From across the street

Our reserved campsite is across the street and we would have had a great view out the back window of out camper but the driveway slopped so much we would have needed an elevator to get into our door.  The site we are now in is level enough that we don't need adjustments but now our only view of the lake is out our dining room window.

Current temperature is a chilly 47 with a northerly wind and low tonight predicted to be 29.  I ask again why did we move from the pleasant climate of the Gulf?  Because Jo has a doctors appointment Friday that's why.

Happy Vernal Equinox

Quite chilly this morning but supposed to warm up into the upper 40s on today's drive.  The sun is shining but not too far east of here it is snowing.  Why did we come back north when it was so nice and warm on the Gulf?

Vernal Equinox is where the days have lengthened to the point where there is equal hours of daylight and night.  Now between here and June 21 days will continue to become longer, Yea!  At least with full tanks of LP our furnace kept us nice and comfortable last night.  One more night and we will be back in the Martin Manor RV park.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Big time oops!!!!

Still a nice drive up the Trace to the Meriwether Lewis Memorial campground.  Took this picture of the memorial on our way into the campground.
In the background you can see a replica of the Log Inn (or Station as they were called in 1809).

The campground was very nice, primitive with no hookups. We sat up in a quiet level site and settled in for the evening.  We arrived shortly after noon so enjoyed lunch after setting up.  Temperatures had been dropping all day as we moved north and at noon it was around 35 degrees.  Without electricity we will just use our furnace and keep nice and warm all evening.

Mid afternoon I decided that since we have a generator to use for the microwave at supper time why not just run it a bit this afternoon to get our e-books and game computers charged up.  All worked great for awhile with the furnace keeping us nice and warm ---- that is up until the furnace quit working while it was 62 degrees inside and then the generator shut down.  Now what is going on???  A quick check out side let me know that we were out of propane.  We have two 30 lb tanks and I had thought, as we left home, that would be fine for the whole trip, not knowing just how much the generator would use plus the furnace.  Sure didn't expect such low temperatures this late in the month.

With no way to heat the camper and keep warm we had to do something fast.  I searched for the nearest full hookup campground and found a KOA within 30 miles (as the crow flies) so I called them to see if they could fill our LP tanks and provide a site for the night.  They were about to close their office but told us to come ahead and just call when we arrive as they live on the property.  It took us an hour of driving but still arrived before sundown and they were gracious to accommodate our needs after hours.

We are now in a comfortable camper with two full tanks of propane, the furnace set on 69 degrees, a good internet connection, and good cell phone service.  Tomorrow we will continue our travels toward the Manor without driving the last 60 miles of the Trace.

Meriwether Lewis

Tonight's campground is on the grounds of the Meriwether Lewis National Monument.  After he and his pal Clark made their trek up the Missouri River, across the mountains to the Pacific coast, and back President Jefferson then appointed him Governor of the Louisiana Territory where he made his home in the St. Louis area.  Facing near bankruptcy he headed to Washington DC to claim reimbursement of monies that were owed to him for expenses he paid out of pocket. He started down the Mississippi on a steam boat and planned to sail from New Orleans to Washington but instead he got off at Natchez and began to take the overland route up the Natchez Trace to Nashville and then East.  While stopped at an Inn along the way he was robbed and killed near this monument in October of 1809.  You can read more at this Wikipedia page. wiki/Meriwether_Lewis

Not sure we will be able to post tonight because of the remote location.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Day two along the Trace

We entered the South end of the Natchez Trace near Natchez, MS around 2:00 pm yesterday.  Then it was up the trace for about an hour to our first campground on the Trace, Rocky Springs Campground.  It is a part of the National Park and is a free, first come first served, no hookups campsite.  There was a restroom near the entrance from the Trace for use by both the campground and travelers along the Trace.

Our site was fairly level with just a minimum of blocking necessary.  I was surprised at how full the campground was by evening time.  Because it is time for the snowbird migration from the southern clime back north toward home, this Natchez Trace is a preferred avenue for that migration.  We stopped at a picnic area today for lunch and another camper pulled in behind us.  They were from Ontario Canada and have used the Trace for several years.  They had been in the same campground last night as us and are now in the same campground we are for tonight plus they plan to be in the same campground that we will use tomorrow night.

Here are a few pics from last nights campsite.

first picture of some dogwood before I wiped the mist from the lens
 after clearing the lens but sky is cloudy so still not very bright
Our site
 Another shot of dogwood near our site
This is tonight's front yard, Davis Lake
Our site for tonight was up hill then leveled off just right for our setup to be good

Last night was without any cell signal for either phone or internet, also no television.  So it was a quiet night of reading and puzzle games with an early bedtime.  Without any electric connection we had to rely on our battery system in the camper and was so glad that we had that taken care of a few days ago.  With that system working correctly we had those few days to get our batteries fully charged and now they functioned properly.  We did fire up the generator to run our microwave at supper time.

Tonight we have both electric and water hookups and can relax while the electric hookup puts our batteries back to full charge.  Tomorrow night we have another no hookup campground and know we will be able to manage.

Driving the Trace is a pleasure.  It is a 50 mph speed limit with no commercial vehicles, no billboards, no stop lights, no Walmart stores, no gas stations, nothing but mother nature's beauty.  With the cruise control set on 50, the truck in 6th gear mostly just idling along, it is relaxing and should produce much better fuel economy.  Tonight we are a little past half way of the 444 mile length of the Trace.  The first half was full of lots of dogwood blooms along the right-of-way plus back in the undergrowth, beautiful.  About the halfway mark we began to see some red buds starting to bloom and as we progressed further north they became more plentiful while the dogwood began to not be quite as open.  We also began seeing wisteria climbing the trees and in some areas a mass of lavender to the tops.  Tomorrow's trip will continue up the Trace and our campground tomorrow will be close to the north end.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

beautiful sounds

Sitting here with the windows open and listening to a mocking bird really singing away, beautiful sounds.  We also have had a whip-poor-will  most evenings with a very raspy voice.

This has been a very quiet campground with very little human noises.  We have truly enjoyed our time here on the Gulf but tomorrow we pack up and head North.  From here we plan to head to Natchez, Mississippi where we will get on the southern end of the Natchez Trace Parkway to follow the full 444 miles toward Nashville, TN.  We have three campgrounds along the Trace and will be moving each day.  The Trace is a 50 MPH speed limit and there are sights to see along the way so it will be slower going than if we were on the freeways.  Camping along the trace may be in some areas without cellular service and if so there will not be any postings to this blog.  I will post whenever possible.

From our final campground on the Trace we will be heading back to the Manor around Nashville and then through KY and IL.

Saint Patrick's Day

Hope all are wearing the green and enjoying St Patty's day.

It's nice and warm with overcast skies here in Ocean Springs, MS.  Rain had been forecast but today they say just mostly cloudy.  I had planned to take a hike around this park yesterday but because of the rain I didn't want to slip and fall in to become an alligator's meal.  This morning without the rain I did take a nice long hike from our campsite.

They call this salt marsh "the pond"

 This is looking back toward where picture #2 was taken from along the loop trail
 The loop trail was just a damp walk through some woods, but good exercise
 One very large Magnolia Tree
 First alligator and the biggest seen
 Saw a smaller one but wasn't able to get a picture then saw this one

After my walk I needed to relax and enjoy one of my Irish, St. Patrick's day pleasures.

Friday, March 16, 2018

In between day

Today is in between "the Ides of March" yesterday and "Erin Go Bragh" tomorrow.  Hope all survived the Ides yesterday and are looking forward to St Patty's day tomorrow, I'm ready with a bit of Guinness on hand but will have to enjoy the corned beef and cabbage when we get home.  We do that quite often in the crock pot any time of the year.  It will still be good even though not on the day of the wearing of the green.

We are now in a mild rain shower and the forecast is that may be our weather until Sunday when we depart the Gulf and head toward the Natchez Trace.

If there is a break in the showers I have plans to take a hike on a trail around the Davis Bayou for hopefully some nice nature pictures.  The ranger in the park says there are alligators that like to lay in the sun this time of year so will just have to see if they are around.

On our drives in and out of the campground we have seen this splash of bright white along the roadside and have tried to figure out what is was.  This morning I went to the grocery store for a few items and stopped to get a couple of pictures.  From these we have determined that it is a wild rose, very pretty and showy.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Shed

After talking about The Shed in this mornings post I got curious and did some searching and the more I found the more I had a taste for BBQ.  I found the location was only 7.5 miles from our campsite and told Jo we were going for lunch.

The building or buildings are a cobbled up mass of salvaged material and the floor is gravel but the Q was GOOD.  I had some pulled pork and Jo had chicken and both along with the sides were very good.  Now back to Gulf seafood.

Yum and Yum again

Our dinner last evening was great.  The restaurant was super popular as we had about a 25 minute wait for a table.  It was worth it for sure.  Here is a picture of my appetizer.

Jo stole one of them just to say she tried it.  She does this each time I have the opportunity to have oysters on the half shell.  Then the Chef must have misunderstood my order for a rack of ribs slathered in BBQ sauce and this is what was sent to the table.

Actually that is precisely what I ordered, lightly blackened grouper on a bed of slaw with steamed broccoli.  Jo ordered the same and we both enjoyed tremendously, de-lish.  We came south for some FRESH seafood.  The restaurant was "The Reef"   Actually there is a well known and popular BBQ & Blues place in this area called The Shed that is nationally known.