Pictures From October 2018 - It's All About Having Fun!!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Thursday 3-30 Lake Chicot State Park

 

Arkansas

Arkansas welcome sign

We decided to spend two nights at Lake Chicot State Park. They were predicting severe storms so we thought it would be best to stay until things had cleared up. 

When we arrived at Lake Chicot State Park Larry stopped at the office to get a site. The lady in the office gave him a map and marked the sites that were already reserved. She told him that they had some rain lately and some of the sites may be muddy so he could drive around and choose which site he wanted. After driving around we found one that would work for us, back to the office we went, after paying for a couple of nights we went back to our site. We got setup  and took Flo for a walk. When we got back Flo decided she wanted to stay outside so Larry kept her company while I made dinner.

 

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Lake Chicot State Park

After dinner Larry and I walked around the park. It’s a big park and it took us over a half hour to walk it. As we walked we checked out what the park had to offer. We walked by the lake and checked out the docks, they had slips for your boats. We walked by the cabins, which were very nice. The park has a playground, volleyball courts, basketball court, swimming pool and pavilions. It was a very nice walk. When we got back Larry went inside and I continued waking for another half hour around our loop and the loop across the street from us. We had a very fun day.

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Camping at Lake Chicot State Park                      Docks on Lake Chicot

 

The storm came through about 10pm. it was not as severe as they had been predicting and it was gone by early morning.  We woke up to giant puddles all over the campground. Our site looked like a swamp so when Flo had to go out we had to make sure she didn’t get in the mud. The front did bring in cooler temperatures and the sun came out.

sunshine

We spent most of the day inside, it was too muddy to hike the Nature Trail. Flo went outside occasionally just to get out of the Minnie. When she did this I sat with her just to make sure she didn’t get in the mud. Every time she went out Larry would have to pick her up and put her outside. We have the ramp with us but we didn’t set it up considering it was going to rain. Larry and I walked around the park a couple of times, once in the morning for a mile and after dinner for a mile and a half. After the second walk I continued to walk around to get my steps in. I worked out for a little over a half hour outside. Larry started and finished a book while I started reading a book on the Kindle.

 

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Reading is fun

They have been having a lot of rain lately. One of the storms must have been severe considering a big tree had fallen across from us. While we were relaxing n the Minnie one of the workers from the park decided to try to cut it up. He started using a chainsaw but it got stuck in the tree so he stopped and drove his truck to their maintenance area to get a tractor. He tried moving the tree around to get it unstuck but it didn’t budge. He took an axe and cut around the chainsaw until it came loose. After getting the chainsaw unstuck he decided he couldn’t do the job so he left. The tree is still laying on the site across from us.

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The park worker working on the fallen tree                    Father and son setting up camp              

Last night we were the only ones in the loop but this afternoon a few more campers showed up (a couple in a van, a father and son with a tent and another couple with a tent). We had very relaxing day at Lake Chicot State Park.  

Wednesday 3-29 Jackson Mississippi

 

Mississippi

We woke up to a gorgeous morning on the lake. The wind was gone and the lake was perfectly flat. Larry got up and took Flo out for a walk, while they were gone I got up and started breakfast. When they got back Flo wanted to stay outside so Larry kept her company. While waiting Larry watched the cranes flying across the lake.

After breakfast we put things away and then drove to the capital building in downtown Jackson, Mississippi. We toured the Capitol Building and the Governor’s Mansion. Both tours had a tour guide. The Capitol Building had a beautiful gold eagle on the dome. The legislators were in the final days of the session so things were really busy. The tour guide was very good, it took about an hour and we learned about the history of Mississippi and the Capitol Building. The building has eleven different types of marble and dramatic staircases that takes you to the different floors. There are two different elevators, one was a glass elevator that still uses a actual person to operate it. It was cool to watch it going from floor to floor. We had the opportunity during the tour to go into the Senate gallery and watch the senators work. It was setup a little different than others galleries, normally whomever is talking is on the opposite side from the entrance and you can see them as you enter the room but this room was arranged so that the speaker was near the door and if you wanted to seem him you had to go around to the other side, very weird. When we came out of the gallery we heard a group of teenagers singing in the Rotunda so we stopped and listened to them. They did a super job. We had a great tour.

 

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The Mississippi Capitol Building

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The dome from inside the building                   Getting ready to climb a staircase

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An old drinking fountain

The Governor’s Mansion was an easy walk from the Capitol Building. You cannot enter the mansion through the main entrance gate you have to go through security on the side of the mansion. Everyone that walks through the gate gets a wand run over them by security to make sure you’re not carrying a weapon. The security guard then calls the house and tells them you are coming for a tour. A tour had just started so they stopped and waited for us. You couldn’t take any pictures of the inside of the mansion. The tour was about an hour long and the lady that gave the tour was great. During the tour we learned the history of the mansion and the furniture inside. The current Governor lives in the annex part of the mansion and he entertains in the historic part. When you are invited to stay with the current Governor you choose from one of the four bedrooms on the second floor of historic part of the mansion. The tour consist of walking through both levels of the historic part of the mansion, there are four rooms on each of the floors. The first floor was the entertaining rooms and the second floor was the bedrooms. It was a very interesting tour.

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The Governor’s Mansion

After the second tour we headed back to the Minnie, we had been gone for a couple of hours and it was starting to get warm. Once back at the Minnie I made lunch and then we headed to Lake Chicot State Park in Arkansas.

On the way back to the Great River Road Larry decided to change up the route and do something fun. He decided to take me to see the Birthplace of Kermit the Frog in Leland, Mississippi. The Birthplace of Kermit the Frog was a museum in honor of Jim Henson the Muppet King and his most famous animal pals. He was born and lived in the area for twelve years. It was a fun thing to do.

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Larry and me with Kermit the Frog

After visiting the museum we continued on to Lake Chicot State Park in Arkansas. The drive was very nice. To cross the Mississippi River we traveled across a big cool bridge. While on the bridge I took a picture of a tug boat moving a barge down the river.

 

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The cool bridge we took over the Mississippi River

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A tug boat pushing a barge down the river

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Tuesday 3-28 Natchez Trace Parkway


Yesterday, Larry noticed that the tail pipe was hanging down on the Minnie so he crawled under the Minnie to see what was wrong. He found that the pipe had cracked at a connector. He got on the internet to see if there was a muffler shop in Natchez, he found one called Natchez Exhaust. The first thing we did this morning was go to Natchez Exhaust. The owner told Larry that it would be an hour before he could look at it. They backed the Minnie into a bay and then hoisted it up in the air so they could work on it. First of all they removed the broken piece of pipe out of the exhaust with a torch and saw. Then they cut another piece of pipe to replace the broken piece. The last step was to weld the pipe in place. We were out of there within a hour. They did an excellent job and were very friendly.

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           Natchez Exhaust                                          Working on the Minnie

After the Minnie was all fixed we went to downtown Natchez to do a little site seeing. Larry parked the Minnie by the river. There was a trail that ran along the river and a road that went to a casino. Larry and I walked the trail for a half hour. It was a nice walk that went through a beautiful city park that was very well used by people. There was a big gazebo in the middle of the park and a lady was doing yoga in it. After walking the trail we continued our walk around Natchez. We started walking around to see the historic mansions but didn’t make it too far before calling it a day due to high humidity. When we got back we had lunch.

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The stairs we climbed down to get to the trail and the gazebo in the park

Natchez is a cute little town. Guided tours of the mansions in the Historic District are offered for about $20. You can also take a bus tour where you can get on and off the bus to visit the sites.

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The tour bus

After visiting downtown Natchez we decided our next destination was going to be Jackson, Ms. which is the capitol of Mississippi. Before leaving Natchez Larry called LeFleur’s Bluff State Park to see if they had any sites available. They told Larry they did so he made reservation for the night there.

We have been following the Great River Road but to get to Jackson we had to get off it so we decided to take a National Parkway called Natchez Trace Parkway. The Natchez Trace Parkway is 444 miles through three states, 50 mph speed limit, no stops. In 1938 the National Park System established the parkway but it wasn’t officially completed until 2005. The parkway scenery is gorgeous with tall forest. There are pull offs for people to have lunch or just to enjoy the scenery. There are places for people to get off the parkway if they want to. We stopped at the Mount Locust Historic house. I walked around and took pictures while Larry sat under the trees and continued planning our route to Jackson. It was a very nice historic site. As we were driving we saw a wild turkey, a tortoise walking across the road and people riding their bicycles on the parkway. The road was well maintained. The parkway was peaceful and didn’t have a lot of traffic.

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The entrance sign to the Natchez Trace Parkway

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     The Natchez Trace Parkway                         The Mount Lotus Historic House

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One of the overpasses we drove under

We exited the Natchez Trace Parkway at about mile marker 100 which took us down I55 toward LeFleur’s Bluff State Park. The park is a big park with camping, nature trail, picnic area/shelter, playgrounds, golf, boat ramps, disc golf, Mississippi Museum of National Science and pavilions. The road to the campground was rough at places. Our site backed up to the lake. All the sites are pretty with trees. While we were driving to our site I saw this building that looked like someone’s house but it was the restrooms. The restrooms are elevated in case the park floods. You can either take the stairs or a ramp that goes around the whole building. This was so cool. After setting up the Minnie we relaxed. It was too hot to sit outside so we stayed inside under the air conditioner.

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Entrance sign to the campground

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The restrooms in the park                Camping by Mayes Lake

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                 The primitive camping area                 Our campground from the other side of the lake

Larry barbecued hamburgers for dinner. I needed to put in more steps to get my goal so I told Larry I was going to walk around the campground. While I was doing this I decided that I would walk to the other side of the lake to the boat ramp and day area. It was a very nice two mile walk. When I was walking back to the Minnie Larry was worried about me considering he hadn’t seen me for awhile so he came looking for me. I told him where I walked and then continued walking. I walked around the loop where our site was four times and then called it day. I completed my step goal plus a little more. By the end of the day I had done 13,258 steps. We had a fabulous day in Mississippi.  

Monday 3-27 Downtown Baton Rouge


We spent Sunday night in the Hollywood Casino parking lot. It’s right by a railroad track so every once in awhile you heard a train go by and I heard a few employees coming and going but it wasn’t bad. Today we did a bit of a walking, site seeing tour of downtown Baton Rouge. Unfortunately some of the things we wanted to see were closed on Monday’s. 

We started out by walking across the casino parking lot and across a main street to get to the Louisiana State Capitol Building. It is open to public and the tour is a self-guided tour. The front of the building had a gorgeous staircase that leads into the main area of the building but it was closed and you had to enter through security in the basement. We thought it had been closed due to security concerns but they had actually closed it because pieces of the building were falling and they had not yet fixed it. Each step of the entrance staircase represented the 48 states listed in the order of their admittance to the Union, Alaska and Hawaii were added to the top step when they entered the statehood. This building was built during the Great Depression in the 1930s. Huey P. Long was the governor at the time, he was a powerful politician that convinced the public and the Legislature that it was the thing to do to help Louisiana. He was assassinated in the same Capitol Building in 1935 and is buried on the grounds. It is the tallest Capitol Building in the United States with 34 floors. There are beautiful statues of Patriots and Pioneers who created Louisiana throughout the building and on the grounds. We walked around the building and looked in both the Senate and House Chambers and we went to the observation deck on the 27th floor. We had to take two elevators, one took you to the 24th floor and the another one took you the rest of the way. Once there we went outside and looked at the magnificent views of Baton Rouge. The inside of the Capitol Building was pretty with different marbles. The grounds were very well maintained by prisoners from the local prison. While walking around we saw the prisoners mowing the grass and the guards watching over them. It was a very nice tour.

After touring the Capitol Building we walked around downtown Baton Rouge. The downtown is terrific, it has walking trails through the center of town and along the Mississippi River. They have many attractions for tourist to see. As we walked around I took pictures. There were a lot of different churches. St. Joseph Cathedral caught our eyes so we walked inside to check it out. It was very nice but not as impressive as others we have seen. It did have a gorgeous organ and a gentleman was practicing on it. As we continued our walk we saw sculptures, museums and people enjoying the walking trails. We stopped by and took pictures of the Old Governor’s Mansion and the Old Capitol Building, both were closed on Monday. When we got to the river we rested, watched tug boats moving barges down the river and I took pictures of USS Kidd DD-661. We walked around downtown Baton Rouge for two and a half hours and had a great time.
 
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The Capitol Building

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A couple views from the observation tower in the Capitol Building

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St. Joseph Cathedral

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The Old Governor’s Mansion                           The Old Capitol Building

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                      The USS Kidd DD-661                     Drinking fountain for adults, kids and dogs

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A tug boat pushing a barge down the river

As we were walking back to the Minnie we met a gentleman and lady who were promoting the Egg CafĂ© by giving away free samples of their beignet’s which are a deep fried pastry covered in powdered sugar, they are similar to doughnut holes, they gave us a bag of 6. We had them for dessert after lunch, they were really good.

When we got back to the Minnie I took Flo for a walk and then I made lunch. After lunch we left the Hollywood Casino and headed down the Great River Road towards our next destination.

The next stop was Natchez State Park in Natchez, Mississippi. On the way to the park we drove through the city of Natchez and decided that we would explore it tomorrow.

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Larry had read that the entrance road to Natchez State Park had a lot of chuck holes and very rough. It wasn’t as bad as we feared, we have driven much worse. We stopped at the office to check in. Larry was told that they only had one site available, they only had one of the two camping loops open. While he was getting the site I walked around and took pictures. After checking in we went and found the site. Once we setup the Minnie for the night we took Flo for a walk. We hadn’t gotten far when we met our neighbor. She had a dog and he wanted to say hi to Flo. While we were visiting she asked if we wanted a book on Natchez, we thought that was very nice of her.

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The book on Natchez our neighbor gave us

When we got back to our site it was early so we sat outside at the picnic table and relaxed. A lady stopped by and said they had a RV just like ours except it was 27’ and ours is 21’. We talked to her for a little while.

When it was time for dinner Larry barbecued hamburgers. I was going to heat up leftovers but Larry said it was way too nice of a day for leftovers. After dinner Larry and I decided we wanted to go for a walk. We were just about to do so when another lady showed up and wanted to talk about the Minnie. While talking to her we found out she was with the other lady that had the bigger Minnie. When she left we decided to go for our walk before it got dark. As we were walking we stopped by the two ladies Minnie and visited with them for a little while. 

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Larry barbecuing dinner

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The neighbors’ Minnie and our Minnie

Natchez State Park is very beautiful and has a lot of trees throughout the park including the camping sites. It has a cute little lake with a fishing pier. The day area is pretty with a group picnic area and a playground for the kids. It has two loops and a nice bathhouse. The bathhouse is set up a little different then other state parks we have visited. You walk into a building and there is a washer and dryer along with a soda vending machine. There is a door to the ladies bathroom on one side and a door to the men’s bathroom on the other side. The bathrooms had showers in them.

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The fishing pier at Natchez State Park                       The playground for the kids



Monday, March 27, 2017

Sunday 3-26 Our Trip Begins


Oil Change

I’ve been talking about going on a camping trip with the Minnie and you are probably wondering where we’re going. Larry has been thinking about following the Mississippi River from where it ends in Louisiana to where it starts in Minnesota for over a year. There is a road that follows the Mississippi called the Great River Road, it is a National Scenic Byway. The road takes you through ten states. A few months ago when we decided to take a Spring trip Larry suggested the Great River Road, I told him it sounded great to me. Larry normally requests information from all of the states we will be traveling through but this year he got a small amount of information mailed to us from the Great River Road website, using this information and maps from each state that he already has will get us started. He plans to find anything else we might need via the internet. Much less to carry and it should prove interesting. Got to change with the times I guess. As the we were getting closer to leaving I was getting more excited.

Today we started our adventure to the Great River Road. We left the house at 9:00 am. The wind blew very strongly the entire day. We stayed mainly on two lanes highways. The only interstate we drove was I10 which we picked up a bit east of Houston and drove it to Baton Rouge. The drive through Texas to Louisiana was pretty with wildflowers and beautiful tall pines. After driving through Orange Texas we hit Louisiana which turns to swamp land. We drove on a bridge that went over swamps for miles and miles. As we driving across the swamp area we saw fishermen fishing in the swamp. We drove over a couple of big cool bridges. As we were driving through Lake Charles, Louisiana along the beach area we saw people enjoying the beach and the park on the beach. Some people were swimming in the water. Larry was going to stop at a casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana but when we got to Lake Charles we decided to continue on down I10 to Baton Rouge.

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The bridge we drove to get over the Mississippi River

Larry asked me to call the Hollywood Casino and see if there is RV parking at their casino. The lady said we could park our RV anywhere in the parking lot, they didn’t have a RV Park. She was very nice. We programmed our GPS to take us to Hollywood Casino. By the time we arrived in Baton, Rouge Larry had driven about 450 miles, we were on the road for 10 hours.

We arrived at Hollywood Casino at 7:00 pm and the sun was starting to go down so it was cooling off. Once we got settled in I fed Flo and then took her for a walk. When we got back Larry and I went over to the casino to check it out.

Hollywood Casino is located in downtown Baton Rouge so it’s very convenient to other attractions in the downtown area and on the Mississippi River. It looks like an old riverboat, that was used years ago that paddles down the Mississippi River. It has three floors and a deck that goes around the boat on the second floor. You’re allowed to walk outside and look at the Mississippi River but most of the deck is chained off. As you walk through the casino you can look out the windows and see tug boats moving barges down the river. During the day when we were entering into Baton Rouge we crossed the Mississippi River via bridge but at night it is lit up and looks cool. As we were going into the casino I asked a guard if there was a non-smoking area. He told us yes and gave us directions to the area. The non-smoking area was very small. It was right next to the smoking area with nothing in between the areas so you still had to put up with smoke. After checking the casino out we went back to the Minnie and had dinner.
Entrance to Hollywood Casino
Hollywood Casino billboard at nighttime
The State Capitol Building at nighttime
After dinner Larry walked me over to the casino so I could give them some money. I like to play the penny slots and Larry’s not into gambling. I was there for almost two hours and gave them $4.00. As I was leaving I called Larry to let him know. He met me at the casino and walked me home. I could have walked back to the Minnie by myself considering the parking lot is very well lit. I really didn’t have to walk back because they have a shuttle to take you back and forth to the casino. We had a long day but we had fun.  Smile