Greetings, everyone! Didn’t mean to leave you hanging after our last post back on Day 4 of our epic roadtrip. But once we made it to Mississippi and met up with family, there were more important things to spend time doing than blogging. On top of that, we had an absolutely terrible internet connection most of the time we were there, so it was hard to get anything productive done on the computer without leaving the rig and going somewhere else.
But let me get you caught up with where we’ve been and what’s been going on.
On Day 5 of our trip, we left Cactus Rose Campground in Mingus after two nights, and moved on to Shady Lake RV Park in Sulphur Springs, Texas. This was a new campground for us, and we were fortunate to get a spot right next to the little lake where we could see the ducks, turtles and the occasional fish jumping from the water. The nighttime was very peaceful with the sounds of frogs and crickets.
On Day 6, we moved on to North Little Rock, Arkansas (finally made it out of Texas!), where we spent one night at the Downtown Riverside RV Park. This was our second time to stay in this park, but this time we splurged for a site right next to the river. And wouldn’t you know it, they’re evidently doing some dredging work, because our view from our rig was a big honkin’ barge full of machinery. We could still see some of the river and the bridge, as well as the downtown buildings all lit up at night, so it wasn’t too bad. We really enjoy this park and keep saying we want to visit there when we can stay longer.
Day 7 was a big day! We finally made it to Mississippi after crossing the mighty Mississippi River at West Memphis, Arkansas. If you’ve been watching the news lately, you know that the I-40 bridge was shut down just a few days after we arrived due to a big crack in the structure. We had chosen at the last minute to cross on the I-55 bridge instead, and knowing now what we didn’t know then, it was a good call!
We checked in at Trace State Park near Belden, Mississippi on a Friday afternoon, and after getting a quick shower, we drove in to Tupelo to meet my parents at Cracker Barrel. I can’t tell you what a joyous experience it was to be able to give my Mom and Dad a humongus hug after a year of quarantine, social distancing, and extreme precautions to protect our friends and family members. We are so thankful for the vaccinations that made this reunion possible!
And that was just the beginning of 17 days of catching up with as many of my family members as possible. In the time we spent in the Tupelo area, we saw my parents, all four of my brothers and their wives, six of my nieces and nephews along with their spouses, and fourteen of my great-nieces/nephews. We had cookouts, we went out to eat (a lot), we ate a lot of Mom’s cooking and cooked a few things for them. Mom and I got pedicures, I helped Dad with his computer issues, we got their smart TV set up so they can access internet apps and watch YouTube videos. It was just 17 days of love and friendship. And we even got to celebrate along with the family the arrival of another Walker baby boy, born to my nephew, Jacob and his wife, Leigh (their first). I got to be on hand as my youngest brother became a grandfather for the first time. Priceless memories!
We spent three nights at Trace State Park in a beautiful site overlooking the lake. The last night we were there, a strong thunderstorm hit just as we were arriving back in the park from visiting my parents’ house. When we were just a few miles from the park, I got a text message from a friend of mine in Tupelo asking, “Are you in a safe place?” We could see dark clouds and lightning in the distance, but had not seen a weather report. We quickly tuned to the local WTVA weather app, where Matt Laubhan was doing his usual great job of keeping the area informed about the weather. We learned that a storm with 70 MPH gusts was moving our way and expected to hit Trace SP at 7:20 PM. We arrived at the rig at 7:10, just as the rain was really getting heavy. We made sure we could access the cats’ crates in case we needed to make a dash for it, and then we just rode out the storm. We heard a few thumps on top of the rig, but discovered the next morning that they were just pine cones.
But that was really the only extreme weather that we had the whole time we were in Tupelo. On Day 9, we moved to Tombigbee State Park where we stayed for the 14 remaining days of our Mississippi visit. We actually liked the site at Trace SP better, but Tombigbee SP is closer to Tupelo and my parents’ house. We’ve stayed at Tombigbee SP many times, so it really felt like coming home when we arrived there.
So last night I had to say “See you later” to my Mom and Dad, but I assured them that we’re going to try our best to get back to see them for the holidays at the end of this year. Keeping our fingers crossed that this virus doesn’t go on another tear and forces states to start shutting things down again.
This morning (Day 24) we packed things up to get on the road again, this time heading toward Indiana for a reunion with Andy’s brother, Steve and his wife, Kathy, and hopefully some of their offspring. Today we traveled 235 miles from Tupelo, Mississippi to Gilbertsville, Kentucky where we are staying at the Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park (how’s that for a long name?). Most of the route was along four-lane state highways, but occasionally Google Maps felt compelled to take us sight-seeing through the countryside on little narrow two-lane roads. And we also drive right through the middle of downtown Jackson, Tennessee–yeah, that was fun.
When it was getting close to noon, I radioed ahead to Andy and told him to be on the lookout for a place to pull over for lunch. I mentioned that there was a little park on the right, so he made a right turn, but then missed the next turn to get into the little (tiny) park. So we were on a little country road, and he said he would keep going until he found a place to turn around. A few miles further down the road, we found ourselves in a the perfect spot, a US Forestry Service facility where no one was working at the time. It had a big parking lot and a beautiful view, so we just parked there for an hour while we had lunch. It was quiet and peaceful, and an ideal spot to unwind a little bit from the drive.
The park is only about 5-10% occupied tonight, so it’s quiet so far. They have shower facilities, which felt nice after a long day driving (not all states have opened their campground showers for use post-Covid). Our site isn’t very level, so we had to get creative with the leveling blocks to get comfortable, but I think we’ll get a good night’s sleep tonight.
Tomorrow morning we’ll vacate this site and move on to Indiana, where we have a spot reserved in a little RV park near Bedford. We’re looking forward to another week of catching up with family and seeing some parts of the country that we’ve never seen.
And after our week in Indiana? Not totally sure of the route yet, but we’ll be headed back toward our home base in Deming, New Mexico.
So this was just a high-level overview of the past three weeks or so. The rig, Lizzie 3, is really performing well, and so is Pepper, the car. As a matter of fact, on today’s drive of 235 miles, the car got 70.2 MPG. Can’t ask for much more than that! Haven’t calculated the mileage for the rig yet, but it wasn’t anywhere close to that! LOL
We hope that you’re all doing well, and that you’re also getting excited about getting back out there this year! Stay safe, stay well, and stay happy!!
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