Monday, August 31, 2009

Robots and Casinos

This is a shot of the little robot that supplies electricity and water to us on demand. (The sewer connection is a bit shy.) These little connections are a welcome sight after a days drive!

We went to the Treasure Bay Casino yesterday with a $20.00 limit each. They serve "free" drinks while you gamble, which was entertaining as we were playing penny slots. Three Bud Lights and one Malibu Bay Breeze later, we were down to about $11.00 and wanted to go back to the RV. We changed the bet to "max bet" at $4.00 a pull, the machine hit big with 20 free pulls and we walked away with $184.00 and change... A good day. We were going to head to New Orleans on Wednesday, but it turns out that there is a major gay men's celebration there this weekend called "Southern Decadence"... costume contests, parades, and banana sucking contests, on top of which it costs extra to stay there during the festivities. We are going to go east to Gulf Shores Alabama for a week first, that way we avoid the festival and get to New Orleans for the first regular season Saints game... Still crowded, still have to pay extra, but a different crowd... We need to do some local research before we move...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Deserted Beaches, Beautiful Weather, Great Food!

We are considering staying here a bit longer... The local restaurants are out of this world if you ask the bartenders where the best spots are. Today we ate at Back Bay, a tiny spot right on the smaller section of bay backed into a large marina without any boats in it. We can't tell why. I forgot to bring the camera to that spot, so no photos. Yesterday we hit another spot called Shaggy's which is apparently a tourist hotspot also. Luckily, this is the off season and nothing is crowded. The shrimp boats come in to a couple of ports nearby and sell fresh shrimp for $2.00 a pound. We talked to another local fisherman who was using $2.00 a pound shrimp as bait for real fish. He said it was almost impossible to make a living shrimping due to the low prices shrimp bring. The photo of the Joleen fishing boat was taken to show the condition of many of the boats we see in the harbor. It is hard to tell from the photo, but many of these boats appear to have been built in the 1940's or 50's and maintained just enough to operate... scary.

Pay attention to the photos, as they will show missing lower floors on buildings and foundations, parking lots and floors left on the ground with no buildings. One photo shows the destruction of a fishing pier on our beach, all of the decking boards and railings were torn off. Due to Katrina eliminating the buildings and shops between the campground and the beach we have a great view of the Mississippi Sound,(inside the barrier islands from the Gulf of Mexico) the beaches are white and wide and the water is warm and shallow. At low tide, you can walk out several hundred yards from the beach and the water is probably 90 degree's or so. We have to keep close watch on Rodeo because he spots fish jumping out of the water way off the beach and keeps chasing them until he is way off the beach with them. Today, he was at least 150 yards out before we could get him to come back in, luckily, he could still touch bottom in most spots. I have never seen a dog that loved water this much!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Down in Mississippi and up to no good.

We are in Biloxi Mississippi! The drive here was uneventful. Vicki took a picture through the windshield to show the open road. We arrived in Biloxi and the devastation from Katrina was immediately evident. Notice the one photo of the No Parking sign on a parking lot that is currently located under water. Everything here changed after the hurricane. The whole area is being rebuilt slowly, and the number of driveways that lead to empty lawns with bare foundations is amazing. The dogs have never seen salt water before, and were shocked that it is not potable. They had a ball playing in the shallow water of the Gulf and could go out several hundred feet without having to swim. Apparently the water stays very shallow for a long distance here. Just checking in, much more to follow from the Gulf Coast.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Love Me Legal Tender

God bless Priscilla! She is making money hand over fist. Graceland was a letdown for us. The "mansion" is smaller than our old house, and the furnishings are (understandably) tacky. It looked like the Brady Bunch house on drugs. We paid 66 dollars to get in to see the house, the airplanes (the big one was pretty cool) and the Elvis cars. Each attraction dumps you into a gift shop that sells everything from ashtrays to sequined jumpsuits with Elvis' face on them. Because we're here during Elvis week, there are ETA's (Elvis tribute artists) everywhere!! We saw an old Elvis standing next to Elvis' grave. Young Elvis, Vegas Elvis, old fat Elvis, asian Elvis, black Elvis, female Elvis!!! Porter actually started to point out men who did not look like Elvis because it was so rare. People-watching was great. We saw the Heartbreak Hotel (don't bother), and then came home. Glad we saw it, but we still believe that the most important thing to see in Memphis is the National Civil Rights Musuem. Btw- we heard that Lisa Marie and Priscilla were in their private apartment in the mansion, but we didn't see them. Apparently, they have a family prayer service at the gravesite every year.

We have seen something at this campground that we weren't aware of before. There is a whole group of people here who travel around the country in campers working long term jobs. They raise their families in campgrounds, and the school bus stops here to take the kids to school. We met a second generation family who only know this way of life and wouldn't have it any other way. They work for a company that installs pipelines for gas companies and so do their sons. They live next door to each other in their fifth wheels. We are awakened every morning at 5 am by the diesel trucks firing up to get these guys to work. The women spend their days at the pool or the shopping centers. Certainly not the way I would have wanted to raise our kids.

We're leaving here Tuesday and heading to Biloxi, Mississippi via Jackson.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Walking in Memphis

I can now cross a couple of things off my bucket list! Today we drove to Beale Street and walked the block where Johnny Cash worked as a door-to-door salesman and Elvis recorded his first hits. We stood in the park next to W.C. Handy's house and savored the blues music roaring from the entrance of BB King's club. It was amazing. Porter helped me track down the Rendezvous restaurant, which Bobby Flay says has the best ribs he ever ate. It's in a basement down an alley off 2nd Street. When we walked in, we were told that they don't "technically" open until 4:30, but if we wanted to have some ribs, slaw and beans, we were welcome to stay. The place was hopping, with waiters yelling like Whitney yelled at Bobby..."hey bah-BEE! Gimme one half and two whole with extra slaw!" The guys working the rib pits had the orders out in under two minutes and the food was without a doubt the best barbeque we've ever had. The beer was cold, the atmosphere was remarkable and we really felt like we were experiencing the best that Memphis has to offer.

After lunch we walked a few blocks to the National Civil Rights Museum. We were really moved to be standing at the Lorraine Hotel below the balcony where Dr. King was assassinated. The museum is beautifully presented and very comprehensive in its depiction of the long, brutal struggle. I spent just a few minutes in Dr. King's room looking at the spot where he fell before I had to walk away and compose myself. Across the street is the boarding house where James Earl Ray carried out his insanity, and Porter and I both had mixed feelings about touring it and looking at his belongings displayed as evidence. One thing I took away from it was the disparity between the grace and intelligence of Dr. King and his coworkers, and the cowardice and sleaziness of Ray's life.

After touring the museum for several hours, we walked to the Mississippi River bank. Very impressive river! We then went back to Beale Street for a beer in a little blues/pool hall joint and conversation with some colorful locals.

It was a great day- I got to do some things that I have dreamed of doing for years. We still have to see Graceland and Sun Studio. Graceland will be interesting because it's "Elvis Week" in Memphis. He died on August 17th, and I think every Elvis fan in the world is here to commemorate it. We'll let you all know how it goes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Grand Old Opry House and Incredible Hotel

We went to the new Grand Old Opry House yesterday, it's a big building where really famous people play music. The resort hotel next to it however, is incredible! Indoor river and water falls, HUGE fish and fantastic plants and scenery. Check out the photo of the atrium! We also toured Cooter's, the incredible collection of everything Hazzard County has to offer. The General Lee was a 383 car slightly modified.

We made a uneventful trip to Memphis today and are staying at EZ Daze Campground in Mississippi. We figure about a week here and then move toward Biloxi. Hello to all!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Typical Tourism and Animal Abuse

Well, we took a basic bus tour of Downtown Nashville, what a beautiful city! We got to wander through the Ryman Auditorium,(the original Grand Old Opry) it was really awe inspiring to think of the careers that were built there and the history. We also stopped in at Legend's Corner for a Corona while a live band was performing. The bar is amazing inside, a collection of music related items from all time periods and all types of music. The whole strip there is a collection of bars and unique shops and restuarants, most of which have live performers playing, so music is everywhere. Music row was interesting, with each studio posting congratulations outside for each recent hit song that an artist recorded there. Big hits, tiny studios. The Country Music Hall of Fame was very interesting and included everything from original lyrics written on napkins to cars and motorcycles that belonged to past and current stars. There is a huge park in Nashville that has a full size reproduction of the Parthenon... Go figure, they call Nashville the Athens of the South. We are right across the street from the new Grand Old Opry and our tour guide gave us some inside information on an entrance that avoids the $18.00 parking fee. We'll probably check that out today.

Notice how stressed out the dogs look in the photos, they are adapting well and always glad to see us come home. They certainly make for good company and supply us with nose smudges on every window in the RV, including the windshield...

Maintenance issues persist as always. The Mobile RV Repair guy was very friendly when he looked at our Gorilla taped in and disassembled door awning. His repair advice was "Take it to a Fleetwood dealer.", so I guess we're on our own for now. Of course the manufacturer of the awning had a factory fire and is not supplying parts at this time. Oh, I almost forgot, the Jeep broke another swaybar link. Luckily, I have a spare in the console, always fun in a gravel lot in 95 degree heat and 100% humidity... After what we've seen in the RV parks, Jeep should have been quite profitable, every other towed vehicle is a Jeep! Well, thanks for your interest and you can always e-mail me(Porter)@ By the way, thank you Brian, for showing Frank the blog and giving Keith and Matt the address. Keep in touch guys! Porter and Vicki


About Me

My photo
We began full-time RVing on 06/30/2009 starting immediately after settlement on our home in southeastern PA. We hope to see a lot of what this country has to offer in the next few years.