Pictures From Jan-Feb 2020 - It's All About Having Fun!!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Friday 3-30 Driving the Natchez Trace Parkway

Driving the Natchez Trace Parkway

I woke up at 6:20 and couldn't get back to sleep so I crawled out of bed. Larry was already up and wondered why I was getting up so early. I made breakfast and then got the Minnie ready to go.

Last year when we drove the Great River Road that runs along the Mississippi River we also drove part of the Natchez Trace Parkway. This year we didn't have any plan on where we were going but as we were traveling east the Natchez Trace Parkway was coming up so we decided we would drive the rest of it. The Natchez Trace Parkway was established and is run by the National Park System. It is a beautiful road that meanders 444 miles through three states, it is two lanes with a maximum speed of 50 mph, commercial vehicles are not allowed. Along the parkway there are points of interest to learn about the history.and there are three campgrounds.

Today we drove 110 miles of it. We got on it at the City of Clinton and drove to Jeff Busby Campground. The scenery is gorgeous with tall pine trees and at places the trees drape over the parkway like a canopy. Early on we stopped at a National Park Service visitor center to get information about the Natchez Trace Parkway. The gentleman, who was a volunteer was very helpful and shared what he knew about points of interest to stop at. We stopped at Ross R. Barnett Reservoir. It was a beautiful 50 square mile reservoir. As we drove by the reservoir we saw a lot of fishermen. We drove through Jeff Busby Campground to check it out. It is a free campground and this time of year it is very busy because Canadians are headed back home from their winter stays in the southern US. There were a few spots left but we decided we would go to a National Forest Area, that is 16 miles off the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Bridge over the Mississippi River from Louisiana to Mississippi
National Park Visitor Center on Natchez Trace Parkway

The campground we chose to stay at was Choctaw Lake Campground in the Tombigbee National Forest. We arrived at the campground around 12:30. The campground is very well maintained and the sties are very level. We decided on a site that looked over Choctaw Lake. Once we setup the Minnie we had lunch. The camp hosts came by to introduce themselves and to register us in the log book. They couldn't take our money so we had to walk to the entrance to pay. The lady gave us three pages of hiking trails in the area. In our campground there is a hiking trail that goes around the lake. 

A little bit later we went for a walk to pay for our stay. We ended up walking for about 45 minutes to the entrance and around the day area. The trail that goes around the lake is a gravel trail and we walked part of it during our walk. We had a very nice walk.

Larry standing at the entrance to campground

Assembling the new grill

Relaxing before barbecuing dinner

Breaking in the new grill

A gazebo looking over Choctaw Lake

The other day we bought a new gas grill so when we got back to the Minnie Larry assembled it. When it was time for dinner he decided to break it in by barbecuing hamburgers. After dinner I walked around for a half hour to get my steps in. We had a great day.              

Friday, March 30, 2018

Thursday 3-29 Gorgeous Day

Gorgeous Day

It rained steady through the night, by 8:00 in the morning the rain was gone, the sun came out and we had blue skies.

After breakfast we went for a walk around the campground. When we got to the entrance gate we decided to walk down to the day area to check it out. Caney Lake is divided into two lakes, the upper and lower. The upper lake is where we were camped and is designated for fishing. The lower lake is for water skiing, swimming and fishing. There is a sign that shows which direction you can drive your boat for skiing. There is a beach, volleyball courts, picnic tables, grills, ramadas and restrooms. There is a very nice boat ramp and dock to pick up people and drop them off. By the time we got back to the Minnie we had walked over 3 miles. We rested until it was time for lunch.

Day Area at the Lower Caney Lake

The map of the Upper and Lower Caney Lakes

Around 1:30 we decided to get on down the road a bit. We took showers and got the Minnie ready to leave. On our way out we filled our water tank with fresh water and dumped our holding tanks. We had a super time at Beaver Dam Campground but it's time to continue our adventure.

We have had our small gas grill for quite a number of years and it was starting to fall apart so Larry had gotten on the internet to see if anyone carried the same grill. He found that Target had one in Monroe Louisiana, about 85 miles away and they were located right along the highway. After picking up the grill and a couple of other things it was about 4:30, too early to call it a day. 

Larry knows I like to gamble so he got on his phone and asked it for casinos in Vicksburg Mississippi. It found a few along the Mississippi River. Vicksburg was 75 miles from Monroe. We drove to a casino in the downtown area only to find it had closed, we had passed a couple other casinos on the way so he drove to the first one and couldn't find a flat enough spot for us to put the Minnie for the night. We drove around the next one which was Ameristar Casino/Hotel. He found a perfect spot that looked over the Mississippi River. 

Mississippi welcome sign at the visitor center

The bridge over Mississippi River

After setting the Minnie up for the night I made sandwiches for dinner. Then Larry walked me over to the casino where I gambled for a couple of hours. I called him and said I was on my way home. He said I could stay longer if I wanted to. I told him I had given the casino enough money $8.00. While I gambled Larry watched a few YouTube videos we follow. Even though I didn't do too well gambling I still had fun. We had a super day.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Wednesday 3-28 Rainy Day

Playing in the rain

It started raining last night around 10:30 and hung around all day. At times it came down heavy. Around noon the rain stopped so Larry and I walked around the campground for 45 minutes. We walked to the entrance gate, when we were headed back it started to rain again. I was glad that Larry had brought the umbrella. When it was time for dinner I made bacon in the microwave to make wraps for dinner. While we were hanging around the Minnie we read. We both finished a book and started another one. We spent the day keeping dry.

Reading is fun

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Tuesday 3-27 Day of Hiking and Relaxation

Let's go for a hike

We woke up to overcast skies and high humidity with wind. While we were having breakfast it sprinkled but it stopped within a minute. After breakfast we hiked part of the Sugar Cane Trail. We hiked about 4 miles. Since we are just starting our trip we thought it would be best to not hike too far. The trail took us through the forest, there were lots of tree roots growing across the trail so we had to be careful that we didn't fall over them. I tripped over the roots many times. We crossed over a few creeks via bridges. The boards on the bridges needed to be replaced but they were still usable. One of the bridges had been replaced with a metal frame and thick boards. As we hiked the trail we saw a lot of small butterflies and a few mosquitoes. We were on the way to the campground and all of a sudden Larry stopped and put his arms out to stop me from banging into him. There was a big snake laying across the trail. We walked around it because we didn't know what kind of snake it was. It didn't even move. It was a great hike even though it was humid. By the time we got back to the Minnie we had hiked almost two hours and we were tired and sweaty.

The hiking trail

Snake on the trail

Larry on the bridge

For lunch Larry had a salad and I had a couple of eggs on corn tortillas. After lunch we hung around the Minnie, Larry read and I did some Sudoku and started reading a book.

Reading is relaxing

At dinnertime Larry barbecued hamburgers for dinner. After dinner we went for an hour walk around the campground. When we got back to the Minnie we read until it was time for bed. We had a wonderful day. 


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Monday 3-26 Beaver Dam Campground

Camping in a National Forest

This morning we left the casino and traveled 40 miles down the road to Kisatchie National Forest, Caney Lake Recreation area.

I woke up around 7:00, which is early for me. We had breakfast and sat around the Minnie wasting a little time. We didn't have far to go and we didn't want to get there too early. To get to the campground we had to drive through the town of Minden, while going through Minden we saw great signs directing us to the Caney Lake Recreation Area but when we got to the main turn off to the park there were no signs. Larry had read that the signage wasn't good so it wasn't a total surprise. We saw one sign to the recreation area but there are two campgrounds in the area and we thought the entrance to Beaver Dam, where we're going to stay was farther down the road, we were wrong. Larry had to turn the Minnie around on a small two lane road and back track about half a mile to the only entrance to the recreational area. 

We have camped in many National Forest before, sometimes the roads are paved and others are dirt. The road to Caney Lake Recreational Area is paved and very well maintained. Beaver Dam Campground cost $15.00 per night and $9.50 if you have a pass. The sites have power and water, the restrooms have running water and there are shower facilities by the restrooms. The restrooms are old but they are usable. Most of the sites have beautiful views of the lake. There is a hiking trail called Sugar Cane, it is 7.6 miles long. The sites are very roomy and there's a lot of gorgeous trees. This is a terrific campground and offers so much for such a small price. Not often you find a forest service campground with electric hookups and showers.

Camping at Beaver Dam Campground

About half of the sites are reservable, being this is a Monday the campground is almost empty. Once we setup the Minnie we walked around the campground to get familiar with our surroundings. Then Larry barbecued Hatch Green Chili sausages for lunch. They came out excellent.

Hatch Green Chili Sausages

Larry having fun barbecuing

After lunch we went for a short hike, about an hour, 2.5 miles round trip. We walked around the campground and part of the Sugar Cane trail to the trail head. On the way back to our site we walked the main road to the campground that was closed. We found out why it was closed, a big pine tree has fallen across the road. We climbed over the tree and walked around the campground. The sites don't have power so it only cost $10 a night. After walking around the campground we walked to the boat ramp and took the trail back to our campground. The hike was very peaceful. The trail took us through the forest and the terrain was very easy to hike. By the time we got back we were sweaty.

Some of the trees in bloom with white flowers

The hiking trail

Caney Lake

When it was time for dinner Larry barbecued hamburgers. In the evening we walked around the campground for an hour. Then we sat outside for a while. We had a great day enjoying the forest.  

Monday, March 26, 2018

Sunday 3-25 We made a decision.

Which way should we go west or east?

When we started our trip we really didn't know where we were going and we still don't know where, but, we made a decision on which direction, we're going east. 

By deciding to go east we had to go across Texas, we started in Abilene Texas and drove 375 miles to Shreveport Louisiana. We drove Interstate 20 all the way because it was the easiest and shortest route. Larry prefers to drive two lane highways and scenic routes considering they're more interesting and you see more things. The drive through Fort Worth and Dallas wasn't too bad because it was Sunday morning. The road itself was very good until we entered into Louisiana. It was so rough it seemed like they had speed bumps in the middle of road. Last spring on the first day of our trip we entered into Louisiana via I10 and the road was so rough we lost a hubcap. Had to go the entire trip with a missing hubcap, drove Larry bonkers.

We didn't have any information about Louisiana so we stopped at the welcome center. It was very nice and the workers were very helpful and friendly. After getting some information we continued towards Shreveport. 

Larry knows I like to gamble, he found that the Horseshoe casino lets RVs park overnight in their parking lot.

Once we parked the Minnie Larry and I went over to the casino to check it out. The facility is very nice with cafes, restaurants, shops, motel rooms and a casino. The casino isn't that big but it has three floors. When you enter the casino you enter on the second floor, the third floor is where the high rollers play and the first floor is where the penny slots, nickle slots and other lower money slots are. 

Larry got me down to the first floor and we located some machines that I thought I would like. While I stayed to play Larry went back to the Minnie. I was there for about an hour and a half, I left the casino $8 ahead.

After dinner I went back to the casino and gambled for another two hours.I found some penny slots that kept me occupied, when I got back to Larry I told him I couldn't find the slots I played earlier but I found other ones. He asked me which floor I was on, I said I went upstairs, he explained I had went to the wrong floor, not sure how I got confused. At the end of the day I came home $2 richer. You're probably laughing but percentage wise I made !0 percent gambling for over three hours. I'm not a big gambler I just gamble for entertainment. I have fun doing it.

We had a long day of driving but it was fun.        

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Saturday 3-24 Outstanding Day of Dancing

We had an outstanding day of square dancing. There was a morning and afternoon workshop and each had six squares of very good dancers. Darryl Lipscomb worked us on a bunch of left handed moves such as left square chain thru, left track two and left chain reaction. Darryl did a super job of keeping things fun. The club did another outstanding job of keeping us fed with donuts in the morning and snacks in the afternoon. By the end of the second session everyone was tried and they were grateful that we had two and a half hours to rest before the evening dance.

Wagon Wheel Square Dancing Hall in Tye
Darryl Lipscomb
Our Sundancers friends having fun dancing to Darryl

Other friends having fun dancing

Having fun with friends

Friends out of the Dallas area laughing and having a ball

The evening dance also had six squares. Darryl was just as challenging as he was all day. He is a very good caller and makes you think, which is great. We like challenging calls. We had a great weekend dancing with friends all over Texas and two couples out of Kansas. LIFE IS GOOD!!! 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Friday 3-23 On the Road Again

Back on the road

For the last week I have been talking about going on a spring trip and you might be wondering where we're going. Well, we really don't know. We have no plan. The only thing we know is that we're starting the trip out by going to Abilene, Texas for a  A-2 square dance weekend. The event is titled, The 14th Big Country Spring Fling at the Wagon Wheel, it is in Tye and Darryl Lipscomb is the caller. 

We started from the house at 9:00 am and drove 200 miles. I was proud of myself I didn't fall asleep during the drive. The drive was very peaceful down mainly two lane highways. The scenery wasn't that exciting but it wasn't boring. We saw some wildflowers such as Indian painters on the side of the highways. We didn't see any wildlife but we did see herds of sheep and a lot of cows. The wind blew all the way to Abilene.

Before we left the house Larry researched places to park the Minnie for the weekend. He found that the VFW Post had rv parking for $35 a night. We showed up around 1:30 and Larry went inside to get a spot. The lady checking people in asked if he was a VFW member or if he had served. He said no. She said he couldn't get a site. He explained that the website indicated the park was open to non members, she said nope. We were sitting in the Minnie looking for another place when a gentleman came and knocked on the window. He apologized for what happened, he said he was the post Vice President and he would sponsor us for our stay. So back to the office Larry and the gentleman went. He told the lady that he was going to sponsor us so we could get a site for the weekend. The lady said she didn't know that was all we needed to get a site. Another gentleman said if that's all we needed he would have sponsored us. Now we have a place to call home for the weekend.

The Wagon Wheel Square Dancing Hall is about 5 miles away from the VFW. Once we got a site we drove around to see which route was the easiest routine to take to the hall. We have the motorcycle with us but we preferred to drive the Minnie. We found a great route. When we got back to the site we rested until it was time to go dancing at 7:30.

In the evening we went over to the Wagon Wheel. There were six squares and an extra couple which is great for the opening dance. The club provided, peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip bars, oatmeal cookies and miniature chocolate candy bars. Some of the cookies were made with Splenda instead of sugar. They also had coffee and water. Darryl did a great job of calling. We had an excellent time dancing with friends that we don't see too often and others we dance with all the time. We had a great day.    


Friday, March 23, 2018

Thursday 3-22 Special A Dance

We had a super day. Started out by going to the UPS Store and letting them know we would be gone for awhile. Then across the parking lot to Walmart and on the way home we stopped at Jack 'n' Jill for a couple of donuts.

After lunch we finished getting the Minnie ready. I loaded our clothes while Larry did a little tweaking to the motorcycle carrier. He also backed up our computer and started getting all of our electronic devices ready.
When we go on a trip I always like to leave the house clean. Once the Minnie was ready I vacuumed the house and mopped the floors.
Doing weekly chores

Larry and Patricia Daniels met up with us to go to our weekly A dance. This evening we had a special dance, Randy Dougherty called it. We had three squares and an extra couple. Everyone had a great time. Randy made the dance very challenging and fun. We had a great time. 

I love square dancing

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Wednesday 3-21 Getting Ready for our Spring Trip

Getting Ready

For quite a number of years we have taken a trip in the spring, we are normally on the road for around 6 weeks. It's that time of the year and we are getting the Minnie ready. 

This morning we went to Mister Car Wash to give the car a bath. It wasn't that dirty but we wanted to get the underbody washed again considering we had taken it through snow and roads treated in salt. Yesterday when we went grocery shopping I had forgotten to pick up a couple of things so after the car got a bath we stopped at Walmart. 

Over the past couple of decades we have built up a number of bottles of left over prescription drugs, they are all well past the expatriation date and we wanted to dispose of them properly. Larry checked on the web and found only a few Walgreens accepted them and none were close to us, if you live in Austin there are only two Walgreens in the entire metropolitan area that participate. CVS did not offer anything. He could not find anything on the Walmart site so when we were there he asked them how to dispose of them. They told him they thought the Temple fire stations and police stations would take them. There was a sub-station on the way home so we stopped by, they said that the main police station downtown had a disposal kiosk. So off to the main Temple Police Station we went. Larry went inside, he said he didn't even have to go all the way inside, the kiosk was right inside the door, actually it was more like a metal safe, you put the bottles in a built in metal tray and turn a crank and they fall inside the safe.

The last few weeks we have been seeing Apple Maps vans going around town taking pictures. Today we saw one of the vans parked at the gas station by the house so we stopped and Larry asked if he could take pictures of the van, the lady said no problem. Click on the picture for a better look at the van. It has cameras all around the van and some spinning cylinders on each top corner, very neat. A couple of years ago we also saw the Google Maps cars in our area.

One of the Apple Maps vans

After lunch we started loading the Minnie. I started by wiping down the refrigerator. Then I loaded it up with food. I restocked other items for the bathroom and kitchen areas. Larry moved the Minnie to the front of the house and put the motorcycle carrier on. Then he loaded the motorcycle on the carrier. Once the motorcycle was loaded up he added more air to the air bags on the rear suspension. When he finished we took the Minnie for a ride to see how it handled the extra weight on the back. Larry said the Minnie did excellent. When we got home we covered the motorcycle up. Now it's for the trip. 

In the evening I did laundry while we watched our YouTube videos and the rest of the first season of Inspector Lewis. Tomorrow I will finish getting the Minnie ready. We had a busy day.    

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Tuesday 3-20 First Day of Spring

Enjoy smelling the flowers

We had a beautiful brisk first day of spring. It's time to get the Minnie ready for our Spring Trip. 

First thing we did was go to by the post office to put our mail on hold. Then we went to O'Reilly Auto Parts to pick up a small gas container for the motorcycle. Then it was time for grocery shopping at HEB. Next we went by the UPS Store to pick up our mail. On the way home we stopped by the Little Bohemian to get a cinnamon roll, Larry bought a couple of them. We had them for our dessert after lunch and dinner.

It was a pretty day with a little breeze out of the north, seemed like a great day to mow the grass. We haven't started the lawn mower this year so Larry checked the oil and put fuel in it. He started it up for me considering it was the first time this year, it started right up. I mowed the frontyard and the front half of the backyard. Larry ran the weedeater and the blower. It took me an hour and a half to mow.  

Mowing the yards

When we travel we have a lawn service company come and mow so the yards don't get out of control.    

There is a nature area by Lake Belton called Miller Springs. A volunteer group ran it for 25 years and the lease came up. They couldn't get enough volunteers to keep it running so it has been closed for a long time. The cities of Belton and Temple have been getting calls on what is going on with the area and why is it closed. Lake Belton is run by the Corp of Engineers, both cities met with the Corp to discuss what was needed to get it reopened. The Temple newspaper had an article about a meeting scheduled for today to talk about reopening Miller Springs and to let the citizens know what's going on, we attended the meeting. We were glad to see a lot of people showed up. The city of Temple has committed to have a couple of full-time employees working the area and the city of Belton has a person in charge of getting volunteers to help maintain the trails along with submitting for grants to help fund the area. Both cities are working with the Corp to get a contract to reopen Miller Springs. The citizens there were very responsive to what is going on. People volunteered theirs services. It was a very positive meeting. Another meeting is scheduled for Thursday in Belton for people that couldn't make it today.

In the evening we watched our YouTube videos and started watching Detective Lewis through the Amazon. We had a great day of sunshine.    

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Monday 3-19 Spring is here!!!!

Spring is not officially here until tomorrow but it appears to already be here. For the last week as we were driving around we have been seeing blue bonnets and other flowers springing up along the highways. Some places they're coming up thicker than others. It looks like we're going to have a good wildflower year. 

Today was another laid back day. Larry received the connections and wire for his motorcycle battery jumper project. He built an adapter that he wired to the motorcycle and an extension to connect it to a jump start start device.

In the evening we went to Sun City to dance with the Sundancers. There were seven squares. Brad did a super job of calling. We had a lot of fun. 

When we got home I watched my weekly shows on KLUR. We had a great day.   

Monday, March 19, 2018

Sunday 3-18 Super Sunday

Having fun with friends

We had a super day of dancing with friends. Once a month Jimmy Johnson calls a DBD Dance in Briarcliff, which is a two and a half hour drive from our house but it's well worth it. The dance consist of two dance sessions, each is two hours long with an hour break in between the sessions for dinner. Today we had three squares and an extra couple. The dancing was challenging and a lot of fun. We hadn't danced to Jimmy since December so it was great to see Jimmy and our friends. 

Before going to Briarcliff I baked sugar cookies and blueberry/lemon cookies to take with us. They were a hit. I also put a cooler together with sandwich makings for our dinner.

We got back to the house about 9:00pm, we watched a couple of YouTube videos and relaxed before going to bed. We had a super Sunday of dancing.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Saturday 3-17 Happy St. Patrick Day

Happy St. Patrick Day

Happy St. Patrick Day!! It didn't get as warm as yesterday but it did get in the high 70s. 

Our motorcycle is out of the Houston area and it had a small amount of rust on a few places on the edge of the gas tank. Larry sanded down those areas, next he applied primer and then touched up the paint with with gloss white. Now you can't even tell it had rust.

While Larry worked on this I did some Sudoku puzzles. 

In the evening we watched YouTube videos and the last The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King. After the movie I worked out with Just Dance for a half hour. We had a very relaxing day.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Friday 3-16 Let's go for a ride

What a beautiful day

We had a beautiful day. It got to 87 degrees. The sun was shining and there was a little breeze.

I spent the morning doing Sudoku puzzles. Larry decided to make a jumper cable adapter for the motorcycle in case the battery needs a jump start. He didn't have the right size wire or a connector to do the project so we went to The Home Depot where he bought the wire but they did not have a connector that would work, he wasn't surprised.

When we got home he went on Amazon and found exactly what he wanted. While he was ordering the connector he decided to also order some silicone wire, the wire he purchased at The Home Depot is quite stiff and silicone wire is very flexible. The parts will be here Sunday.

It was such a beautiful day in the afternoon we decided to go for a ride on the motorcycle. Larry wanted to test the work he did on the motorcycle with two people on it. We rode to Belton and Roger Park, in total we put about 20 miles on the motorcycle. Everything worked great and the ride was very nice.

The other day when we were in Walmart we bought a new Lord of the Rings Two Towers dvd to replace the old one that quit working. This evening we decided to watch it. Afterwards I worked out with my Just Dance for a half hour. We had a very nice day.   

Friday, March 16, 2018

Thursday 3-15 More Errands and Dancing

Outstanding day

We had an outstanding day. The temperature got to the low 70s but the wind was back. The wind was a little chilly, which was a surprise considering it was out of the south. 

Larry wanted to get a haircut so this morning he tried to check in at Great Cuts online but he couldn't because the shop wasn't open yet. We arrived at the store a few minutes after it opened. They already had two customers they were taking care of, we were the only ones waiting so the wait wasn't too long.

Time for a haircut

We are getting things ready for our Spring Trip so we stopped by Walmart and then we went across the street to Dollar Tree. Then we went to Aldi to buy some pulled pork. The last stop was Target to pick up the chili we like.

Grocery Shopping

After lunch Larry blew the leaves out of the garage and off the porches. I vacuumed the house.

About 5:00 Larry and Patricia Daniels came by the house to drive together to Sun City to do our weekly A dancing. We had three squares. Bob called a couple of tips and we danced to tapes. We had a great time. 

When we got home I worked out for a half hour with Just Dance and then I watched Poirot Season 12 Dead Man's Folly. We had a very nice day.