Friday, July 29, 2011

Huntsville, Alabama

Since we were traveling on Sunday, we weren't sure if the office was open at Redstone Arsenal--we thought it should be, but no one answered the phone. Everyone recommends reservations for the campground and we didn't have them. We tried calling 3 times during a two hour period. Then we decided to drive by the Outdoor Rec Center to find out about a site. To our amazement, it was open and manned by 3 people! We were able to get a site for a week. Our last trip to Huntsville was during Superbowl Weekend and it was COLD! This trip we wanted to visit as much of the area as possible without melting--the temps are still in the 90's.

After setting up we walked to the commissary and exchange to see if there was anything we couldn't live without--nothing jumped at us so we went back to plan our week.
Monday the temp was supposed to stay in the upper 80's! Imagine that, a day we could possibly hike without dissolving in pools of sweat! Our choice for exploration was Monte Sano State Park which overlooks the area east of Huntsville.
The park was once a resort and sanatorium--the name means Mountain of Health. After a trip to the camp store, we headed for the Japanese Garden.

According to brochures, the garden was built by a volunteer and often houses tea ceremonies.
Our next adventure was to hike North Plateau Loop which would afford us some gorgeous vistas at various overlooks. Of  course, we were able to find a few geocaches along the way.
 As we hiked, we saw a sign for Von Braun Observatory so we detoured to take a look.
 The planetarium operates two Saturdays a month.
And yes, part of the park was built by CCC workers during the 1930-40's. This building overlooks the west part of the park.
We enjoyed our hike and the vistas of the area. We were glad that the sky remained overcast so the heat was bearable.

After enjoying a picnic lunch, we headed back to Redstone Arsenal to plan the rest of our week.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Surprises in Corinth, Mississippi

Next stop, Corinth, Mississippi. Bob researched places to stay and came up with Corinth RV Park which is a Passport America campground. It is also home to Corinth Gun Club. We knew we wanted to tour Shiloh Battlefield again so we decided to stay 2 nights in Corinth.

After making our way through Memphis--did I mention we hate traffic, we had a short trip to Corinth. We followed clouds most of the way with only a few raindrops daring to hit our bug-filled windshield. At least the temperature didn't go above 100 degrees!

We found the rv park with no trouble and picked out a pull through space. There were a few other campers, but not enough to limit our choice of spaces.
After setting up and resting for a bit we drove into Corinth. We made a quick trip to the visitor center. We marked it on our GPS as it would be a good overnight stopping place in cooler weather.

For a small town, Corinth has many sightseeing opportunities. National Park Service operates Civil War Interpretive Center. There is a Coca Cola Museum, Contraband Camp, Crossroads Museum, and an antebellum house just to name a few attractions. We took some brochures to plan our visit. As we left the visitor center, we drove around town to get our bearings.

On our way back to the rv park we stopped for gas next to 'The Slugburger Cafe.' The name definitely caught our attention. It seems that when ordering a burger in Corinth, one needs to specify beef or slugburger! Seems there is even a slugburger festival every year.

The next morning we started our visit at Civil War Interpretive Center.
The center was interesting and had many artifacts. The fountain behind the center had blocks representing battles. The larger the block, the more casualties suffered in the battle.
From the center, we drove north to visit Shiloh National Military Park. We visited in 2009, but Bob wanted to visit again. This time we just took a quick driving tour of the battlefield.

We decided to splurge and have lunch at a local restaurant with some historical interest--Catfish Hotel .  We enjoyed our lunch, but had much more than we should have eaten. And no, we didn't eat catfish, although the plates that went to other tables looked delicious. Bob and I both had shrimp--fried for him and stuffed for me.
On the drive home we did some geocaching. There were caches at or near many of civil war sites along the road.
We enjoyed our visit to Corinth and will probably visit again someday as we only did a portion of the sightseeing available.

The next morning we packed the rv and headed for Huntsville, Alabama. Our plan was to stay at Redstone Arsenal.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Back to Siloam Springs

Bob and I stayed at Lake Eufalula State Park for another night after Bobby and Cathy left for Dallas. We enjoyed our site by the lake.
We also did a little geocaching while we were there. We had some travel bugs we needed to drop off so they could continue their journeys.

The next day we headed the rv north again toward Siloam Springs. On another trip we passed Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, so this time we decided to stop. This was a bakery at the fort. It is still used in cooler months.
Have I mentioned that this is the hottest weather we have experienced in years? Well, it reminds us of one our first trips in the Windsport when we stopped at Montgomery and Mobile, Alabama and it was miserable hot. When we got home, we had the windows tinted and awnings installed over each window!

The day we visited Fort Gibson the sky looked ominous and as we walked to the main fort, it began to rain. We waited out the rain in the fort.
From Fort Gibson we took the scenic route along the Illinois River back to Siloam. It continued to rain for most of the trip. I think it was only the second rainstorm during the month we have been on the road.

Once back to Siloam, Bob and his dad played golf. They also helped a friend with her sprinkler system. That turned out to be a major job.

Dot and I shopped and looked for clothes for our cruise in October.

Of  course, we visited the casino a few times while we were there.

Once we got back on the road, the next stop was Little Rock AFB. Bob found some caches near Camping World so after we did some shopping, we went caching. We found 53 along Route 70. When we got back to the rv we realized that there were over 150 caches along Route 70---we could've broken our one day record! But, alas, we had a flat tire on the CRV. The next day was spent at Sam's waiting for it to be repaired.

After spending an extra day at the base, it was time to move on to Corinth,Mississippi. Bob wanted to tour Shiloh Battlefield again and Corinth was a convenient stop.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Branson and Silver Dollar City

Bob, Bobby, Cathy, Chris, DeAnna and I were ready for Branson. The drive was a little over 2 hours. We took the scenic route to our campground which meant we drove over Table Rock Lake Dam.

We were scheduled for 2 nights at Ozark Country Campground. We purchased one day tickets for Silver Dollar City after 3 p.m. so our second day's entry was free.

It was so hot, all the kids wanted to do was stay in the Geyser Gulch play area.

We did ride some of the rides in the Exposition area before watching the evening show at the amphitheater.
 Once again it was a great show! We could tell the economy is down because the crowds were smaller than usual at Silver Dollar City. The evening show is usually packed, but the night we attended  empty seats were the norm.

The next day we had to wait at the park entrance for the others to arrive. Great Grandpa Bob dropped Bobby, Paula, Donna, Cathy, and Great Grandma Dot at a tram stop before parking. Unfortunately, he couldn't park in that area and rode a different tram. The stop with everyone was not frequented often by trams!
 One of our first stops was River Adventure. Everyone got soaked!
 After a few other rides the kids wanted to return to Geyser Gulch.

They had a great time, but the heat was something else. We decided to return to the campground and spend the rest of the afternoon in the pool!

The next morning (Monday) we packed our stuff and headed back to Siloam Springs so Bobby and Cathy could get their car. We ate lunch, then headed south to Lake Eufaula State Park near Checotah, Oklahoma. Cathy's parents were expecting them to arrive on Tuesday in Keller, TX.

Once again, signs of the bad economy and the heat were rampant. The park was empty! One other camper came in our first night--that meant 2 of 100+ sites were occupied.  We had a great site overlooking the water.

Tuesday morning, we said goodbye to Bobby, Cathy and the kids after some fooling around.....

and some photo sessions!

Bob and I look forward to seeing Cathy and the kids next fall!

Siloam Springs and the Grandkids!

Bob and I arrived just after Bobby, Cathy and the grandkids! Boy, have they grown in the last year since we left them in Washington state! 

After many hugs and kisses, it was time to play. Bob and I took Chris and DeAnna to the local playground. They had been traveling for 4 days!
The next day we took them to Natural Falls State Park in Oklahoma. For those of you who aren't familiar with the area, the end of Bob and Dot's street is the Oklahoma state line. Natural Falls is six miles from their house. There is a nice waterfall--even during a drought since the water is now pumped from the pool to the top of the falls. 
It is also the site where the film "Where the Red Fern Grows" was filmed.
 From the waterfall, we hiked down to the lake and threw a few rocks.

After an enjoyable hike to the falls and the lake, it was time to check out the playground.

Chris and DeAnna had a great time.DeAnna likes to hang upside down.

Chris clowned around in the green tube going from one slide to the other.
Bob took a rest under a nearby tree as the kids played.
Did I mention lately that it is hot? Well, most days the thermometer has hit 99 and above and it is too hot to do much outdoors. 

Our next adventure is a trip to Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas

Bob and I were the first to arrive at Petit Jean. As we were registering, the ranger looked out at our rig and said we might have a problem fitting in the site reserved for us. She said there was an 'emergency' site available that we would fit in with no trouble, but it wouldn't be near the other site we reserved. After driving through the campground, we decided to take the 'emergency' site. It was a great site on Lake Bailey! The other site was nestled in the woods, but we wouldn't have been able to open our slide or put out the awning. This is a view of our site from the lake.
Bob's parents arrived about an hour later and took the larger of the 2 sites we originally reserved. Andrea  and Donna arrived later in the afternoon.  Paula and Bill arrived in the early evening. We were set to have a great weekend.

Saturday morning we all headed to Hot Springs for the day. Our first stop was the overlook at the national park.
After touring the park area, we drove to McClards for some famous barbecue. After eating, Bob and I did some geocaching on our way back to Petit Jean. The others stayed to do more sightseeing.

Sunday morning Bob and I wanted to hike one of the many trails in Petit Jean. Paula and Bill said they were adventurous, too.  So off we went to hike Seven Hollows. Along the way we saw a natural bridge

and a waterfall....well, what would've been a waterfall if water was flowing.

Here we are refreshed and ready to go again after our 4+ mile hike!

Monday we did more geocaching with Andrea and Paula.
Bob and Donna tried our kayaks in Lake Bailey.

Later in the afternoon Bob and I did more hiking around the park. Bob and I hiked Cedar Creek Trail. The first part of the trail was downhill!
 It had some great natural features.
 In the evening we all drove to Petit Jean Overlook and Gravesite. The view was fantastic. The Arkansas River is beyond the overlook.

 From the eastern overlook we drove Red Bluff Road to the CCC Overlooks on the west side of the park. We got to see a great sunset.
Tuesday morning it was time to pack the rv and move to Siloam Springs where Bobby and his family were meeting us! It had been a year since we had seen them. I couldn't wait to see how much Chris and DeAnna had grown.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Mississippi, Louisiana, and into Arkansas

From Service Corps of Engineer Park our next stop was Lake Lincoln State Park near Wesson, Mississippi. Since it was almost the weekend we stayed through Sunday. While in the area, we did some geocaching and walking--not hiking as it was too hot! There were nice paths throughout the park.
Bob got a kick out of the sign for the 'laundry mat.'We also wondered who had the feast at this site....check out that concrete table!When we left Mississippi we drove east into Louisiana and then north to Arkansas. Once in Arkansas we headed to Chicot County Park near Lake Village. It was a great park on the lake. There were plenty of sites, but many of them had faulty electric hook-ups. We found a site near the water and it had good electricity.The cypress trees look like a good place to kayak, but the water was a little rough while we were there.
Once again, we geocached and did a little walking. Did I mention the heat? Well, it was miserable hot!

We were close to Mississippi River so we crossed into Greenville, MS to do some of our caching. We found a great park just east of Greenville. We walked through the cypress sloughs and had a 'cooler' time.On our return trip, we stopped at Harlow's Casino. We were each given $10 to spend in the casino. I lost mine, but Bob left with $30 in his pocket.

The town of Wesson is home to Copiah/Lincoln Community College. We found several caches along the nature trail at the college.From Chicot County Park we headed to Jacksonville, Arkansas. As we neared Pine Bluff it began to rain and we drove in rain until we were almost to Little Rock AFB. Once we were set up, the clouds let loose and we had more rain than we had seen in a long time. The temperature cooled for that night, but the next day it was hot once again. Did I mention it was miserable hot?

We stayed at Little Rock AFB three nights. It was time to do laundry and stock the cabinets for our stay at Petit Jean State Park over July 4th.

We did walk the nature trail by the rv park every day just to get some exercise.Friday morning we packed the rv and headed for Petit Jean State Park near Morrilton, Arkansas. Bob's parents and sisters were meeting us at the park.