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  • April 15, 2104 Flora and Fauna

    We decided that it is better (and more organized) if we tried to add a weekly digest of what we did or photographed in each category. Not all...

  • Early morning storm clouds last week

    There’s been very mixed weather lately, even though it is supposed to be spring. In the last week we’ve had very cold starts, storm clouds and now...

  • Duck Crossing

    Who believes that ducks can read, or was it that the people saw where the ducks cross before they put up the sign. I prefer to think...

  • More wildlife

    Not a lot to write about but I did finally spot the illusive – but noisy, woodpecker and another Red Cardinal. The Lesser The woodpecker wasn’t being...

  • The Mighty Guadalupe and Not so Mighty Colorado

    Our recent excursion to the Texas Hill Country found us, once again, going down dirt roads to see what was at the end of the line. This...

  • Late February walks and sightings

    There hasn’t really been a lot to report lately. We were away for a week in the ‘frozen’ Texas Hill Country – it’s supposed to be a...

  • Really Cold Walk

    Well, we did take our usual walk this morning at sunrise however the weather wasn’t too kind. Blustery north wind at about 15 miles an hour on...

  • A crisp yet sunny morning

    Just at sunrise Rusty took me for a walk. I’m sure it’s supposed to read the other way around but he decides which way we go once we...

  • Another chilly day

    Today Rusty didn’t need his bright yellow slicker, it was dry but chilly. When we walked Christmas Day someone had hung a red decoration on a young...

  • Happy New Year – 2014

    We saw a little of the local wildlife on the walk this morning, first were the ‘crazy’ ducks. We say crazy as they just seem to be...

  • Morning walks with Rusty

    Every morning Rusty takes one of us for a walk around the green belt area we just call the ponds. There are 3 ponds, 2 of them...

  • England 2013 – Windermere and Knaresborough

    We spent a great day with Mum, Eve and Lewis in Knaresborough and then just Mum to Lake Windermere. At Windermere we took a short boat trip from...

  • Amarillo and Wichita Falls

    Our Wichita Falls and Amarillo road trip. The Fort Amarillo RV Park is nice enough, good pull through sites, fairly level, a bit restrictive with where dogs...

We finished our trip a little early, so here we are in our small house in East Texas with a rental car on the new driveway. Junior (RV) and the Toad (CRV) are both in the shop getting a ‘face lift’ from the deer hit in New Jersey (Blog).

Our last post was Kentucky through to Heiskell Tennessee, our next stop was Nashville the State Capitol of Tennessee. There is a really imposing Capitol building at the top of a hill with 140 steps leading up to it – yes we counted them – on the way back down. The building overlooks the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park in Nashville, an urban state park opened in June 1996 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Tennessee’s statehood.

One of the other sights in Nashville, apart from the Grand Ole Opry, is the full scale replica of the Parthenon, built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. The original structure was plaster and wood and was rebuilt on the same foundation in the mid 1920’s; it is now the home of an art museum.

After Nashville we headed to one of our favorite campgrounds – Tom Sawyer Mississippi River RV Park in West Memphis Arkansas, right on the banks of the great Mississippi river. We weren’t able to get a river front site this time, just one row back but still with amazing views of the barges pushing their cargo up and down the river, really peaceful – until the evening of 4th of July.

Rusty was due to be groomed so as we did in Montana, we took him to the groomers, went for some lunch and then headed for the Zoo. Memphis Zoo is very different and much larger than the small zoo in Montana – and it was very warm – so the shade and misters were very welcome havens.

From West Memphis we drove to Vicksburg in Mississippi and there we toured the Civil War site, not quite as big as Gettysburg, still impressive in size and the number of cannon and monuments, here is just a small selection of the monuments and battlefield views. Also some images of the USS Cairo, one of 7 ironclad gunboats built for the Union Navy at the start of the Civil War.

Nearly to the end of our shortened trip, leaving Vicksburg a couple of days early to stay one night at the Shreveport KOA so we could dump out our tanks ready for the short trip to East Texas. To say it was an eventful trip is an understatement – seriously considering ‘bull bars’ on the front of Junior or is a deer hit a little like lightening – rarely strikes twice?

Our first stop was at Georgetown in Kentucky, just east of Louisville – not a bad park, just all gravel sites. We decided to give Louisville a miss the first couple of days – it was going to be crowded due to funeral of Muhammad Ali on the Friday. Again we were surprised to learn that what we thought was the State Capitol was wrong, we thought that Louisville was the Kentucky Capitol, when in fact it was the smaller city of Frankfort which was part of the first day drive.

We found a covered bridge, a bourbon distillery (surprise), an old mill, an odd water tower and the state Capitol – so that was the tour. The Switzer covered bridge was first, a real disappointment due to the graffiti covered historic building, though we still include a picture here – such a shame. The Old Mill was the last working mill in Kentucky, not so much the mill as the river at the side of it. The water tower is in the shape of a Dixie cup – on the site where they make the cups (obviously!). Rusty was allowed in the distillery however they wouldn’t give us a sample for him, but we had a small taste – not really impressed. The grounds of the state Capitol were really well kept with a large floral clock. So that was Frankfort and the surrounding areas.

We did make it to Louisville and had a really great walk around the Louisville Waterfront Park, I should say Rusty did, he must have rolled in the grass a couple of dozen times. The Lincoln Memorial at this park is really amazing, really impressive and very quiet, no crowds – peaceful.

From Louisville we drove over the river to Indiana – really great views of the river and the site where Lewis met Clark in 1803, and they set off in 1804 from St Louis on their expedition to explore what was the Louisiana Territory and then to the Pacific.

Our next stop was at an Escapees Campground in Heiskell, Tennessee just a few miles from Knoxville for trips around Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg – hoping to tour some of the Civil War areas. We were really disappointed in both those areas – the hardest part was driving through the towns with the hordes of tourists spilling out from the sidewalks. The highlight of this tour was really the Great Smoky Mountains and in particular the Cades Cove loop. This is a one way road of about 11 miles through a really secluded area with a few old, and in some cases completely restored, buildings from the mid 1700’s. That is where we came upon the traffic jam – a black bear had decided to take a nap in a tree over the narrow road – photo op all around.

We also took a drive through some nice windy roads past Norris Dam, marina, grist mill and Big Ridge State park. Next stop Nashville, then Memphis and the Big Mississippi River.


After the encounter with a deer in New Jersey we were a little deflated, we had already talked about cutting 4 stops from our planned route through Vermont, Maine, Canada and Niagara Falls, the ‘funk’ only lasted through the Memorial Day weekend. On the Tuesday after Memorial Day we called all the planned sites cancelling the 4 and rescheduling the other stops, the most important stop including the 4th of July weekend – we were back on it, let’s go.

Not far from the campsite in Moodus, Connecticut was Wadsworth Park waterfall and we love exploring those, so Connie plugged her iPhone in for directions – it seemed a little strange when it directed us to a cul-de-sac in a quiet neighborhood and told us to park and walk the rest of the way. It had directed us to the nearest point to the ‘text’ on the map, not the park entrance, so it was back to good old map reading.

Another really interesting park not too far away was Gillette Castle State Park. The Castle was built by William Gillette, a silent movies actor who often portrayed Sherlock Holmes. Built on a high point overlooking the Connecticut River, quite astonishing stone work, with not one straight line or flat finish anywhere. From the Connecticut State website: “Atop the most southerly hill in a chain known as the Seven Sisters, William Hooker Gillette, noted actor, director, and playwright, built this one hundred and eighty-four acre estate, the Seventh Sister. The focal point of his effort was a twenty four room mansion reminiscent of a medieval castle.”

We took a road trip from the camp ground to Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where we toured the WW II ships in Battle Ship Cove area, in Fall River, Massachusetts, quite a long round trip so only time for that stop and eating at O’Briens Pub in Newport, Rhode Island – a really quaint town, all one way streets.

On our way again, back through Pennsylvania – first near Scranton and then New Castle just 2 or 3 days stopover. One campground had a high population of Chipmunks and Rusty was going crazy trying to catch one, nearly pulling the leash out of our hands a couple of times. They were so fast and scurried into the rocks that he would never have caught one, but he was trying.

Our last stop on this section before Kentucky and Tennessee was in Sunbury, Ohio – in the middle of nowhere so really just chilled for 2 days getting ready for 3 weeks in Kentucky and Tennessee.