Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Hi all, Dianne here.   Well, after a year and a half we were ready to once again hit the road.  First, there were a few preparations: 

All of our outdoor furnishings had to be put inside the casita.   This is a rule in our neighborhood, in case there is a hurricane while residents are out exploring the USA.  Our patio looked pretty lonely…

The big day finally arrived, and we were loaded up and ready to go.

 We had one extra passenger for the first portion of our trip. Izzy, a/k/a Isobel Jones, was our house guest the last few weeks we were home.  Izzy’s parents, our good friends Greg and Barb, had a prior commitment to house sit near Asheville, North Carolina and were not able to have Izzy accompany them.  Since we were also headed to North Carolina and the dates jived up perfectly, Izzy stayed with us in Texas and then made the trip to North Carolina with us, to be delivered to Barb and Greg after their house-sitting duties were finished.   As you can see, traveling with one extra dog was really not an issue; Izzy is the perfect house AND rv guest.

Tequila, on the other hand, was always on the lookout for a snack!

Our first overnight stop was at Shady Oaks Campground near Ganados, Texas (see opening photo).  We stopped a bit earlier than we had planned, because all of the campgrounds closer to Houston were “no vacancy” due to oil workers.   Our second day took us to Lakeside RV Park in Livingston, Louisiana.  Our third day gave us our first “adventure” of this summer’s trip…

   As the afternoon progressed, we were trying to outrun a series of thunderstorms that were chasing us across the state of Alabama.  Tuscaloosa was our intended stop for the day.  Roger had had a very difficult time finding a spot to park near Tuscaloosa.  We decided it was too hot to boondock at a Walmart, so we headed to the only private campground in the area.  I’ll let Roger continue the narrative from here….   

 The campground was only about a mile from the interstate and was rated 3.5 stars on RV Park Reviews.  Good news so far.  When we arrived at the “office”, just as the storm was knocking down tree limbs, we found the door locked.  A sign on the door said to go to the welcome center to fill out a self registration.  I ran down the street and found a ramshackle building.  It must have been 100 degrees inside and dark enough to make reading a strain on the eyes.  The hand-scribbled directions said to locate the park map on the wall and pick out a vacant site.  As I was trying to decipher the map, boom --- thunder.  I grabbed a registration card and ran back to the motorhome.  Dianne was urging (very polite verb to describe the intensity of her “suggestion”) me to move the motor home away from the falling limbs and out into one of the empty spaces ahead.  All of them were empty.  We parked in one of the spots and waited until the worst of the storm passed before connecting the electricity which did actually work.

Twenty minutes later, the storm had passed, so we took a walk around the park.  The broken lawn furniture tossed in the woods was a precursor to what we already surmised to be the ambiance of the place.

 This must be one of the deluxe sites.  It obviously was because of the extra amenities --- Adirondack chair (only a couple of missing slats) and most of a privacy fence.

 The view from our motor home gives a clear view of the neighborhood.  We did talk about leaving, but since there did not seem to be any viable options, we locked the doors and watched the forest for peering eyes and listened for banjo music.  We knew Bandido and Izzy would be our first-alert system if anyone came near.

  We awoke the next morning in one piece, unhooked, and departed without ever seeing another soul.   A Twilight Zone experience.

On to Chattanooga and the very nice    Best Holiday Trav-L-Park for two nights, just off the interstate.  The purpose of our stop here was to visit my cousin, Beth, her kids, and her grandkids.  Beth and I were part of a very close extended family.  In our youth, every Sunday involved a trip to grandma and grandpa’s for dinner and fun at the farm and apple orchard.  Simpler times.  We went to the same school, were in the same grade, had the same teachers, and graduated from high school together.  Beth was, and is, more like a sister to me than a cousin.  We had a delicious dinner at her house with her two daughters and three grandkids.

After dinner, young Ethan asked me to help him make his “building” taller.  Someone actually asked me to make something taller!  I got to play with toys.  What fun.  (Roger was really in his element – D.)

The next day Beth arranged for the three of us to do the coolest thing.  At the ESCAPE CHATTANOOGA EXPERIENCE we were handcuffed and locked in a room (resembling a prison cell).  We were given one hour to discover the clues, props and puzzles that would enable us to escape.  It was a rush every time we figured something out.  We promised not to reveal any of the secrets, so I won’t, but it was a unique experience that had us laughing throughout.  Alas, we were not among the 42% who found their way out within an hour.

After our failed escape, Beth took us to the Mellow Mushroom in downtown Chattanooga for some excellent pizza. 

 We at outside in a small city that has a whole lot going for it.  The city fathers have made some wise decisions with the development of the downtown area.  Lots to do and see here.  Neat town. 

Our next stop is in the mountains of North Carolina for fun and adventures at the RV Dreams Rally.  More on that next time.   We will be updating our blog on a regular basis again, now that we’re traveling.

The Pet Picture of the Day was taken at the dog park at our Chattanooga campground.  It was simple to get Izzy and Bandido to climb onto the agility bridge.  1.  Put tennis ball on top  2.  Watch Bandido run to top.  3. Watch Izzy run after Bandido.