Friday, October 28, 2016

Huntsville, Week One

We have been here in Huntsville for a week now and it has mostly just been day to day life, nothing really exciting. I did get an appointment to have the Jeep looked at again, the anti-lock brake lights are still coming on. Also an appointment was made to have the motorhomes generator serviced, we were surprised at the good price they gave us, but I'll believe that when when we pick it up next month, more on that later. One nice thing here at Redstone Arsenal, is the base borders the Tennessee river for quite a ways, which presents several photographic opportunities for me, just have to wait for the right sunrise/sunset. The above shot was taken at one of those opportunistic areas from the base.
That's all for now, just to let you know we're still alive and kickin and we'll see you back here next time!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Grand Ole Opry (Ryman Auditorium)

 Our whole reason for going to Nashville was to take in a show at the original Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium. Sheryl is a big fan of country music and this has been one of her life long dreams. So since we were headed this way, whats better than to make one of my sweethearts dreams come true.

 We started off at the RV Park office which offers a shuttle service to the Ryman. While awaiting the shuttle we just hung out on the front porch in their nice rockers and enjoyed a cold adult beverage.

 The show was better than I could have imagined, there's not a bad seat in the house and the auditorium is in a small intimate setting. Tonight's acts included the Larry Gatlin (tonights Host), Gatlin Brothers, Lori Morgan, Waylon Jennings son, Amy Rose and T.G. Shepard. What a great time!!!

 Of course, Sheryl had to get her picture with Minnie

 The next day we took a tour of Nashville, which just happened to include a tour of the Ryman. It was cool to see in the daylight and be able to take your time looking around and soak it all in. During the evening performance you are just rushed in and rushed back out.

 They call the Ryman, the Mother Church of Country Music, as it was originally built to hold church services and still bares the stained glass windows.

  While we were taking the tour, they were shooting a show like nothing else was going on. We learned alot about country music performers during our stay in Tennessee, mainly how laid back most of them are and how humble and connected to their roots they are.

During our tour we also took in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Didn't take any pictures as it was mainly just display after display of performers stuff.

We had a great time and packed in a lot in our two day stay. We are not big city people, but we decided we will be returning sometime to take in all the other sights, mainly the honky tonks along broadway. The downtown is kept very clean and so much to see.

That will wrap up our stay here in Nashville, next we headed south and are now staying in Huntsville Alabama and the Redstone Arsenal RV Park. We will be here for a month just to slow down a bit before stopping in Atlanta for Thanksgiving at our daughters house and the mad dash to Key West.
Ok, so until we see you again...................................

Monday, October 24, 2016

Loretta Lynn's Ranch and RV Park, Tennessee

 As we were getting ready to leave Village Creek State Park, we noticed our friends Mark and Ginger just happened to be overnighting at a nearby rest stop. We were able to get together with them for a couple of hours before they had to leave again. It was good seeing them again and they hooked us up with a great stop over on our way to Nashville.

 That stop over being Loretta Lynn's Ranch and RV Park, about 3 hours in the direction we were heading. We looked them up and made our reservations for 2 nights. Now Sheryl is a country music fan, especially classic country, so she was excited to see Loretta Lynn's place (she still lives here).

 We arrived in the late morning and got all checked in. There are 2 RV areas on the Ranch, one has full hook ups but is pretty tight and crowded and a large water and electric only area. Since we were only going to be there a couple of days, we chose the W/E only area. It was nice as there were only two other RV's in our area and a nice mountain stream about 50 yards behind our rig.

 When checking in, we found out they offer tours of the property, including Loretta Lynn's Mansion, the old Water Mill, her childhood home (replica) and museum. Sheryl was in heaven getting to see it all, we also found out, Loretta moved out of her mansion and built a small home just to the rear of it, said she didn't need to live in such a big house anymore. Funny, all you hear about is the stars wanting bigger and more, it was nice to see, she is still humble at heart.

 The electric mill across from the Mansion. This mill provided the first electric power in the area when it was built.

 Replica of her childhood home in Butcher Holler, KY. 

 Loretta's Mansion

 Pioneer Cabin Display

 Creek behind our RV

It was a great stop and we still thank our friends for turning us on to it. If you happen to be cruising down I-40 through west central Tennessee and are Loretta Lynn fans, it is well worth the stop.

As you can probably tell, I'm playing catch up with the blog. It's hard to believe we have had such poor internet service to no service at all since leaving OKC this trip.  Ok, that's it for this post, next up our trip to Nashville!!! See you then.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Village Creek State Park, AR

 After a pleasant 5 day stay at Ft Chaffee, it was time to move further east on our trek towards Key West. Our next stop would be Village Creek State Park in East Central Arkansas, however our trip would be delayed a couple hours. While doing my pre-departure walk-around, I discovered a low tire on the drivers side rear, it just happened to be the same tire that had valve stem problems in OKC which I thought had been fixed. I couldn't get a pressure reading on the tire, so I couldn't tell if it was the valve stem was bad again or the tire was low. We knew we would need roadside assistance to fix the issue irregardless of what the problem was, however being on a military base we knew it would be a major problem to get help onto the base. We decided to limp on down to the nearest gas station just off the base and call for assistance from there. We called our roadside assistance (through our RV insurance) and they wanted to have our rig towed to the nearest tire shop to have it looked at, that seemed pretty extreme for a tire issue. We decided to call a local tire shop which said they could come out and fix our tire on site for 85.00, that sure beat the heck out of having our rig towed, so we just paid them out of pocket and had them come out. The service man was on scene within 15 minutes or so and had our tire off and fixed within 30 minutes. Turned out, when we had the valve stem worked on in OKC the tire didn't seat right on the rim when it was re-inflated (they didn't remove the tire for the fix) and it was leaking air from around the rim. Our mobile service guy took care of the valve stem problem, and seated the tire properly and had us on our way in no time. So after a couple hour delay, we were on our way.

 It was a normal travel day made long by the tire issue, but we made it into the state park by 4:00 and got all settled in. We had a nice pull through site with only a couple other site around us. As most state parks go, we had the place to ourselves during the week, but of course it filled to the brim on the weekend. The park itself was very well kept as most of the Arkansas State Parks seem to be. Pretty good for a system that does not charge an entry free into their park system.

 During our time at Village Creek, I of course had to get out and explore the area a bit. I set my sights on the St Francis National Forest about a half hour away. The forest had two main roads running through it, a portion of the Great River Road and Crowley's Ridge Scenic Byway, both portions were dirt/mud/gravel through the forest. Thank goodness for our Jeep and having 4x4 and the aggressive tires or I would have been stuck pretty good a couple of times, not the best place to explore after a good rain. However it was a great day out and an enjoyable trip through the forest.

 Village Creek State Park is contains two lakes and most of the activities are centered around them. We did get the kayak out and had a great time exploring one of the lakes, Scrappey Doo even approved as he rode in the front with Sheryl. Here are a few shots of the Lakes and the Fall colors as the leaves are just beginning to turn here.

One thing we found hard to believe, was the lack of cell service in this part of the country, hence the late posting. Hope you enjoyed the shots and we'll see you next time from Loretta Lynn's Ranch!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Relaxing at Ft Chaffee

 It has been a relaxing 5 days here at Ft Chaffee, but our time here has come to an end. We will be heading out in the morning for Eastern Arkansas and Village Creek State Park. We are looking forward to someplace we haven't stayed before. Poor Sheryl has been nursing a cold that the grandkids so lovingly gave to her before we left OKC, so she's been feeling kinda rotten. Good thing we've been here several times before and have seen most of the sights. I did get out for a few hours the other day, heard of a place called Natural Dam and wanted to check it out. Once I arrived I was pretty disappointed, there was no water flowing over the 50' wide dam, just a trickle at the far end. The above shot is all I was able to capture. I'm sure in the spring when water is really flowing it's a beautiful place.

 Not to be detoured, I found a walking path and headed upstream and was able to get this shot from a rocky island in the middle of the stream.

After Natural Dam, I pointed the Jeep eastward to explore the Cherokee Prairie Natural Area, the largest expanse of wild prairie left in the Arkansas River Valley. Again fall is not the time to come expecting lush vegetation and wild flowers, spring would be the optimal time. However I was able to find some green and red turning foliage to add a little color to the scene. These are two places we will definitely return to if we happen by in the spring time.
Again, not a whole lot happening our way, just relaxing and cold fighting. Hoping Sheryl is feeling better tomorrow for our trip eastward. So that's all for now, see you next time from Village Creek S.P.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

On The Road Again

 Our time at the family farm had finally come to an end, we spent just over a week hanging out with family and working on the homestead farmhouse. We didn't come to do a lot of work, but we did get a few things accomplished and were able to spruce the place up alittle. After our time was up we headed back to OKC and the Tinker AFB FamCamp. We did get some news while on the road, our daughters Oct wedding was put on indefinite hold while they work through a few issues (a good thing and very mature decision). So instead of having to stay in the OKC area until the first part of Nov, we will only be staying for a week, WooHoo!!!

 Of course only staying for a week does not mean everything went hunky Dory, Noooooo. Turned on the hot water the next day and it was down to a trickle.......hmmmm, Went thru several different troubleshooting scenarios and came to the conclusion of a broken water heater check valve. OK, that can't be to hard to change, until I really looked at it......darn, with-in my skill level, but would need to pull the water heater, by a new tool (normally not a bad thing) high dollar and only one use, more trips to home depot, because of course you can't just make one or even two when fixing anything and not to mention the aggravation and probably a couple of days without water.........time to call in the pros. Contacted our local Mobile RV guy and he was out the next day, couple hours later and hot running water again....nice. Yes it cost a few bucks, but was more than worth it (see After that, it was just taking care of a few items and we were off and running.

 Well, off and running after a quick couple of maintenance items were taken care of. Radiator Flush and new coolant, and Transmission filters and fluid change. Ok, these two set the ole bank account back a little more than expected, but it feels good to know they were done and shouldn't need attention for a few years. Got to keep that big diesel happy you know!

So, we finally got out of OKC around 3:00pm and set our sights on Ft Chaffee Army Base in Ft Smith Arkansas, a short 3 hours away. We arrived right at 6:00pm and pulled into our reserved spot, got set up and settled in with a cold one.....ahhhhh. We will be here for 5 days, before heading to Village Creek State Park in eastern Arkansas. Since we have been here before and scene most of the sights, our time here will be used to decompress from the almost 6 months spent in OKC dealing with various issues.
That's a quick update and all the news that's fit to print. Internet has been pretty spotty and we actually have to go in search of it sometimes when we want to do some data intensive surfing (like doing the blog) so, updates are not as often as I would like, but hey, you get what you pay Ok, see you fine folks right back here before long.