Let’s start by cleaning out the curious, funny, odd, weird, creative, etc., file.

  1. Somewhere along the way we passed a storage place named Chuck It In.
  2. On the interstate (can’t remember where), one of those digital signs read, “Speeding…ease up lead foot.”
  3. This company was in Colorado Springs…Dirty Dogs Done Dirt Cheap. Wonder if they use a Bon Scott sound alike in their commercials? That would be cool.
  4. On a t-shirt in Russellville, Arkansas: “Love One Woman And Several Motorcycles”
  5. I’ve written about this one before, but we saw several on the way to Colorado Springs. Entering a road work zone, the digital sign says “Don’t Hit Our Workers. Avoid $10,000 Fine.” Is that really the reason we shouldn’t hit the workers? Shouldn’t we be more focused on not killing/maiming them? Are there really people who only slow down because of the financial ramifications?
  6. An ad for this portable fishing chair cycled through on a website. Seriously?? That can’t possibly be real, can it? And is anyone really willing to walk around with all that strapped to his/her rear end?

On Monday, October 10, we didn’t have too far to go to the next campground, but we left around 8:30 AM, planning to make a stop or two along the way. Our route took us east through Canton, then south on OK-51A to Watonga, where we stopped in at the Hi-De-Ho Cafe for a little breakfast. I pictured Wilson when we saw the sign. (Can’t remember what we had, but both of us recall it being good.) After lunch we headed east again on OK-3 over to Kingfisher, the birthplace of Sam Walton. (Any of my Junior Achievement students can tell you who that is. While his stores have morphed into something he would not recognize, his initial vision, work ethic, and management style were pretty impressive. Although I don’t shop at Walmart, I can certainly appreciate the man.) Our reason for the slight detour south was twofold: 1) to take a gander at the Jesse Chisholm statue downtown, and 2) to check out the Chisholm Trail Museum.

The man for whom one of the great cattle trails is named was very interesting. Sometime around 1805, Jesse Chisholm was born in the Cherokee Nation in eastern Tennessee to a Scottish father and Cherokee mother. Before the forced migrations, some of the Cherokee moved west voluntarily, and he went with his mother to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. There he was raised in her native culture. In his early career, he blazed trails for gold seekers and between forts. He spoke English and was fluent in Spanish and thirteen native languages. That made him a valuable asset during treaty negotiations, both with the Republic of Texas and the United States. His main line of work, though, was trading with the tribes. After the Civil War, Chisholm settled near present-day Kingfisher, Oklahoma, and began trading runs into Indian Territory. During that time, he built up a military/Indian trail running from the southern tip of Texas up to the railheads in Kansas so it could handle his heavy wagons. That 800-mile stretch was initially known as Chisholm’s Trail. Later, when Texans were attempting to get beef to the railheads in Kansas, they called it the Chisholm Trail. It would become one of the greatest cattle trails in the world. During the Civil War while most of the men were off fighting, longhorn cattle roamed free and propagated all over the state. By the time the war was over, there were so many cows out there that beef in Texas sold for $2 to $4 a head. By driving the cattle up to Kansas and shipping it to eastern markets, though, ranchers were able to get $40 to $90 a head. They began rounding up the wild cattle and driving herds north. The influx of outside money was a shot in the arm to the floundering Texas economy, which began to turn around. Jesse Chisholm died in modern-day Blain County, Oklahoma, of food poisoning in 1868. It is safe to say that the life of this man directly affected thousands on the frontier, including cattlemen and native tribes alike. In 1974, he was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

The Chisholm Trail Museum was a small operation next to Horizon Hill, the Governor Seay Mansion, a tour of which was included in the price. There were displays about homesteading, frontier life, tools and equipment, and life on the trail, along with specifics about Jesse. One of the neatest sections was all maps of Oklahoma at various times. Some showed land-rush acreage, while others showed border movements and the Indian Nations. It is really cool to see how things change over time. You know I love a good western, but for the most part, they have romanticized the role of the cowboy. They only made 8 to 10 miles a day on a cattle drive that would cover nearly 1,000 miles. That’s more than 3 months of 7 days a week in the saddle, keeping an eye out for danger and ensuring that the cattle get ample water and grass. That was no small task when you are moving 1,000-2,500 cows! They were a rough bunch, but definitely men of steel!

Outside they had some local, frontier buildings that had been moved to the site. It’s always interesting to see how folks lived in other times and places. The most interesting building history was that of a one-room cabin that originally stood in the mountains northeast of Kingfisher. Adeline Dalton lived there for the last 16 years of her life. Born in 1835, Adeline married James Dalton in Independence, Missouri, in 1851. By 1890, when she was 55 years old, they packed up and headed west in a covered wagon. Her husband died about a week into the journey of cholera, but Adeline and the rest of the family continued to Oklahoma. There she participated in the land race in the “C and A” county opening and landed a claim in Cooper Township. Have you figured out who she is yet? Ms. Dalton had thirteen children. Most of them were generally good people, including Frank who was a Deputy U. S. Marshal, but four…Gratton (Grat), Mason (Bill), Robert (Bob), and Emmett…were members of the notorious Dalton Gang. Adeline Dalton’s maiden name was Adeline Lee Younger. Her brother’s kids, Cole and Jim, were members of the James-Younger Gang. So the outlaw Daltons and Youngers were first cousins.

Before leaving, we walked across to take a look at Horizon Hill. Built in 1892, the house belonged to the third territorial governor of Oklahoma, Abraham Jefferson Seay, who also owned two hotels and stock in at least four banks. He sold the home in 1901, and over the years it changed hands several times, even serving as a boarding house. In 1965, the State of Oklahoma acquired the house, which underwent extensive restoration to return it to its original look. It is a unique home from the outside, but sadly, it has been allowed to deteriorate. The inside, while still every elegant, shows signs of water damage, and there are visible areas of roof and soffits outside that are simply rotted away. I don’t understand why a government takes on a grand renovation project without ensuring funds down the road for future upkeep. It’s very short-sighted and a total waste of taxpayer dollars, only delaying the inevitable.

Back on the road, we took US-81 north back up to OK-51 east. At Stillwater we checked out the life-sized Bumblebee and Optimus Prime, because…WHO WOULDN’T?? So apparently the guy that owns the G & M Body Shops bought Bumblebee online from Thailand, but once received, it turned out to be a bit shoddy. He spent quite a bit of time overhauling it with actual auto parts so it would stand the test of time. A few years later Optimus Prime was brought in for their other location. Too cool! After a quick stop at Smallcakes: A Cupcakery for some ice cream, we continued east on the final leg almost to Mannford, then turned south on OK-48 and east over to Heyburn Park on Heyburn Lake.

Tuesday morning I started out on my walk, only to be rained out within 1/2 mile. Yes, I know I can walk in the rain, but my camera won’t survive the water, and I take it pretty much everywhere. So, plan B was to get some work done. I do a lot in the RV, but sometimes I just have to get OUT. Since it had rained most of the night, everything was soaked. That mean’t finding a spot to park myself. (Honestly, part of it is getting away from too much togetherness as well. It gives both of us a break from the 24/7 side-by-side, and I know MW enjoys it, too. Plus, I get to talk to strangers. Bonus!) I headed over to Kellyville, Oklahoma, a few miles away and found J’s Country Kitchen, which does a bang-up breakfast business. I hung out there for a couple of hours, until it got really warm inside, then headed to the next town over, Sapulpa. I had noticed a Whataburger on my map, and by now you all know how MW feels about that. I spent a little more time working in the back corner before heading home with burgers to make him smile.

Wednesday the sun was back, at least partially, and I was able to get in a nice, 3.6 mile walk. Sometimes I get up thinking, “I REALLY don’t want to go this morning.” If I push myself, though, I always end up enjoying it. I didn’t see any animals, but I did pass an older woman twice. Both times she was walking along while looking down at her cellphone. There are entire campaigns about driving while texting, but did you know more people are injured when walking and looking at their phones. They walk out in traffic, fall into holes, trip over bumps, veer off course, etc. Seems like a good way to break something! Both times she just glanced up once from whatever enthralling video she was watching as she passed. Man, she was REALLY missing some pretty stuff, though!

After getting dressed, we headed out for a long drive over to Oklahoma City to check out the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. We arrived right at lunch time, so our first stop there was the Museum Grill, which had some cold salads, sandwiches, and chili dogs. (The GIANT chili dog was enough for two!) The museum, itself, wasn’t really what either of us expected. Don’t get me wrong; it was very good. We both just thought it would be a lot of cowboy stories and paraphernalia. There was some of that, but the majority of the exhibits were cowboy art…paintings, sculptures, etc. (I’ve included pics of some favorites.)

One of the current exhibits was traditional cowboy arts…handmade hats, belts, saddles, etc…some of which were for sale IF you had a LOT of jack! There was another on hats that I really enjoyed. There were samples from famous ranchers and western stars. They had cowboy hats with the sweat of Dale Robertson, Steve McQueen, John Wayne, Barbara Stanwyck, Sam Elliott, and James Arness, to name a few. RANDOM SIDE NOTE: You guys know that James Arness’ brother was Peter Graves of “Mission Impossible”, right?

There were also sections on rodeos and their stars, typical western towns, authentic western wear and gear, and life on the ranch or out on the plains.

Finally, outside were several different styles of Native American dwellings. (That is another area where the movies have drastically missed the mark.) The museum store had plenty of souvenir and gift items, too. Overall, it was a good experience. I was totally worn out, though, after adding another 2-1/2 hours to my walking for the day. Whew!

I wanted to go see the Oklahoma City National Memorial at the site of the 1995 bombing next, but friends Ian and Jess told us the museum was a must, and my legs just simply said no. I added that to our list for the next time we are this way, though. So, our next stop was Walgreens for our annual flu shot. Except the first one we stopped at only did them by appointment. Ugh! I called the one just north in Edmond, and they said come on over. MW thought it was kismet because there was a Taco Bueno next to the second one, and Jimmy Grimm said we HAD to go. (Much better than Taco Bell and on par with Taco John.) By the time we made it back to the campground, we were exhausted.

Heyburn Park on Heyburn Lake is located about 25 minutes west of Sapulpa, Oklahoma, and just down the road from Kellyville. Amenities include a double boat ramp, dock, playground, beach, picnic areas, and two group shelters. Boating, water sports, and fishing are the predominant activities, but during hunting season there are opportunities for both waterfowl and deer, plus turkey, quail, and other prey on neighboring project lands. The campground has 46 sites with water and electric, some with 50-amp, that also include picnic tables lantern posts, and grills/fire rings. Cell signals for both Verizon and AT&T were adequate, and over-the-air tv had a handful of channels. It wasn’t a bad park, by any means, but the size and lack of trails would take it off of our list unless we needed to be in that area. For this visit in October 2022, we paid $75.00 for 3 nights.

Thursday we headed over to Kellyville and south to Slick. (NEWS HEADLINE: Slick Roadway Gets Slick Henderson in Slick, Oklahoma…Okay, I made that up, but ice storms have to provide good writing opportunities, don’t you think?!) From there it was east to Preston, south to Okmulgee, east to OK-72, then a curve through Checotah. It was one of those zig-zag days, and we turned south again and spent a few miles on stale road down to Whitefield. Then it was east to Stigler, Oklahoma, where we stopped for lunch at Joey’s General Store. This was an odd place, and not our first pick. As we drove through town, the first place was closed, and the second, a Chinese joint, was a buffet, which we weren’t in the mood for. While circling the block to park, we saw a sign that said “We Have Barbecue”. Okay, but it was in front of a store that sold overstock grocery stuff. Hmmmm. We decided to take a chance, and MAN what a find! When you go in, there are a few tables to the right, and the smoked meat smell is incredible. The brisket and pulled pork sandwiches were amazing, and their beans were off the charts. Large servings meant extras for later, and MW even left with some freshly-made peach cobbler. Yum! Full, we pointed Brutus, you guessed it, EAST on OK-9 and crossed into Arkansas just south of Fort Smith. The final leg was on AR-22, where we passed the Cowie Wine Cellars and Vineyards in Paris and their 60 bells. No kidding! At New Blaine, we headed up to Shoal Bay Recreation Area on Lake Dardanelle. It had been a long day, and we were happy to finally arrive. Getting into the campsite was a bit of a chore, though. The roads were narrow, and the sites weren’t terribly wide, either. Ours had trees right along the edge on both sides, so we had to park all the way to the right to be able to use the slide. I always check stuff out before MW backs in, and this time it saved us. There was a 4-5″ piece of rebar sticking up right at the edge where MW would have run over it. (It had been used to secure the wood edging, which was rotted out and laying off to the side.) He was able to pull forward a couple of times to straighten her out, then get situated. Glad we dodged that bullet! Those trailer tires are almost new!!

Friday we got in about 2.8 walking miles before I headed into town to take care of the laundry at the 24/7 Coin Laundry in Russellville, Arkansas. It was a very clean place with plenty of machines, but the washers kind of ripped you off. They had top-loaders, which I don’t like because you have to time putting the fabric softener in during the rinse cycle. It was okay, though, because the small front-loaders, were actually a quarter cheaper. I loaded all of my stuff and put in the detergent, then started the first one. You know, most places will increase the amount by 25 cents or so if you switch to hot water. (I know a lot of people like to wash in cold, but I prefer hot for sheets, towels, etc.) Well, in this case, switching from light wash to normal = plus a quarter; switching from cold to hot = plus a DOLLAR! What the heck!! I think the amount posted on the front of the machine should be the most you might have to pay! *grump* *grouse* *harumph* After finishing the chores, I headed over to Feltner’s Whatta-burger for lunch. Serving since 1967, this place is a crowd pleaser, and the basic burger joint food is pretty good. I found a booth in the corner and got a little tax work done, too. Then it was back to Petunia to check up on MW’s progress on the stinky mouse issue. (We’d been getting a little “whiff of death” occasionally. EWWWW!) Yes, he did find a dead one, but it was outside of the ducting. There were also lots of holes scratched into one of the duct lines. He removed the defective stuff and cleaned and sanitized the area. After working a little more in my outdoor office (the picnic table), we spent the evening watching a couple of old movies. (One was a spaghetti western that DID NOT have Clint Eastwood. I didn’t know there was such an animal!).

A little before 10 PM, the nice couple next door’s son and daughter-in-law (DIL) showed up. There were greetings, initial chats, etc., then right at 10 PM when quiet hours began, they started setting up their tent. Understandable…they just got there. The DIL, though, was hollering at him to bring stuff from the car, slamming lids on totes and coolers, and generally just being REALLY loud. The tent, was about 25′ from our bedroom window, and we were patiently waiting for them to get done. Finally, it was all set up, and they said their goodnights. The nice older folks went in the RV, and the younger couple adjourned to the tent. That was about 10:45 PM. We thought that would mean peace, finally. NOPE! Once inside, the DIL continued to loudly instruct her husband on moving stuff around, setting up sleeping areas, whose head should be where…the list goes on. When they finally did lay down about 11:15 PM, she decides now is the time to chat…loudly. By then I was up sitting in the living area, where I could still hear her pretty clearly, and at 11:30ish, we had finally had enough. MW came down to go say something, but I already had shoes on and went instead. I walked to the side of the tent and said “Excuse me guys, but quiet hours started 1-1/2 hours ago.” The DIL immediately interrupted loudly with “Well, we JUST got here, so we are trying to get settled.” Not true at all. “Everything you say is right in our bedroom, so could you please just stop talking?” “Sure, and when we have sex in a little while, we’ll try to keep that quiet, too!” WHAT??? Who says something like that? “We would appreciate that, and when we get up at 5:30 AM, we’ll be quiet and not wake you.” The DIL’s response…”Oh don’t you worry, we’ll be up by then!” Drugs? Alcohol? Or was she just a b****???!!! In any case, the talking stopped, and we were FINALLY able to get some shut eye.

Saturday morning we headed back over to Russellville to Lowe’s to get the stuff MW needed to finish up the mouse repairs. I noticed the parents and son sitting outside next door, so I walked over and said “I’m sorry about last night. I wasn’t trying to be rude, but we could hear everything.” The son immediately apologized and said he didn’t realize the sound carried so well at night. (Seemed like he may have related the story to his parents, I’m sure without the sex comment, and they gave him the heads-up.) We chatted for a minute and wished them luck fishing. That was about 9ish, and sleeping b****y was still in the tent. After the Lowe’s stop, we popped into Shipley Do-Nuts, because it was there, and we hadn’t seen one since Texas. Reasonable, right!?

Before heading back to the campground, we decided to take in some scenery. My Uncle, Russell Houser, grew up in Scranton, Arkansas, which is about 30 minutes or so from Russellville. He gave us a little guidance on cool sightseeing spots, which led us to Mount Nebo State Park. It was BEAUTIFUL! The warm weather brought with it some haze, though. It also made for large crowds. We couldn’t find parking at the Visitor Center, so we drove out to Sunset Point and walked around a bit. This part of Arkansas has a relatively low and rolling landscape, so you can see forever from the top. Next we headed to the opposite end of the ridge (Sunrise Point). It is a beautiful park, and there are plenty of things to do, including camping. However, if your camper is longer than 24′, it’s a HARD NO. There is only one way in and out, and some of the switchbacks are almost too long for long-bed trucks. This is the first time we’ve driven past a campground that was mostly filled with tents. Sunrise Point was covered up with people and motorcycles when we arrived, so we opted to head down the mountain. I didn’t get a pic, but the sign just as you turn on the exit road says it is an 18% grade. Wow!

Next we headed over to Scranton to see if we could find Uncle Russ’ childhood home or other places he talks about. Aunt Pat sent me info for the farm, the house his parents later built in town, and his high school. We drove around quite a bit, but could not find anything that looked like the pics. The school is newer, the house is no longer there, and we never were quite sure about the farm’s location. That’s okay, though. The drive was nice, and I enjoyed picturing him running around this beautiful countryside as a boy. In my mind it was a little like Opie Taylor, but with Uncle Russ’ eyes and smile. After all, there’s a little bit of Mayberry in all of these small, rural towns, don’t you think?

As with most recreation areas, Shoal Bay centers around water activities. The 40,000-acre Lake Dardanelle, on the Arkansas River, has 315 miles of shoreline and offers plenty of boating and fishing opportunities. Park amenities include a playground, boat ramp, beach, picnic areas, amphitheater, hiking trails, and group pavilions. The campground offers 45 paved, level, reservable sites, most with 30-amp electric, water, fire rings, picnic tables. There are only four sites that are right at the water’s edge, and site A2 is probably the best in the park. It is down at the water and pretty isolated. The bathhouse was very clean, and one of the camp hosts did a fair amount of leaf blowing. (Honestly, I’d rather have the leaves than listen to the blower.) Cell signals for both Verizon and AT&T were good, and there were plenty of over-the-air tv stations. Our site was very close to the ones next door, which left us feeling a little bit like we were stacked in at a private campground. That said, the rest of the park seemed to be more spread out. If we returned, we’d be more careful about which site we chose. For this stay in October 2022, we paid $54.00 for two nights.

It was time to get serious about getting east, so Sunday was a long, all-interstate travel day. Ugh! We headed back over to Russellville, then took I-40 east. The highlight of the day was getting to stop at Nick’s Bar-B-Q & Catfish in Carlisle, Arkansas. When our daughter, Amber, lived in Texarkana, Texas, this was our stop along the way and with good reason. It is AWESOME! This time we both walked in wondering why it felt familiar, but different. Turns out it’s a new building right next to where the old one was. After they moved in, they tore down the other one to make room for a giant truck/RV parking lot. That makes them even more awesome in our book. After a good lunch, we continued on I-40, briefly crossing into Tennessee and skirting the south side of Memphis, where we turned south on I-55. Within a few minutes, we were in our destination state, Mississippi, where we finally exited the interstate at Sardis. The drive was uneventful, but long, and we were very happy to finally arrive at John W. Kyle State Park.

This park is about half-way down on the back side of the dam on the lower lake along the Tallahatchie River. Sunday night MW mentioned a walking route for Monday that would take us down the backside of the dam, up to the top and across, then back to the park on the lower road. At the time he said, “I can’t really tell how far that is.” We were guessing 3-4 miles. We were wrong. Although it was obvious we had underestimated, it wasn’t until we reached the other side of the dam that we found a sign saying the dam is 15,300′ long. We cut off the final little corner, but by the time we made it back to Petunia, we had covered a little less than SIX MILES!! My 4-mile legs were screaming! It was a beautiful morning for a walk, though. In the afternoon we headed over to Batesville for fuel and found the New China restaurant for lunch. It was pretty good, and plenty of locals seem to agree. After that, the only steps I had left in me were used to pick up a few groceries at the Kroger next door. Then it was back to Petunia to sit on my keister.

John W. Kyle State Park is a beautiful park just about 25 miles from Oxford, Mississippi, and Ole Miss. (We visited there a while back.) The park is divided into two portions: one on the upper Sardis Lake with cabins, and one on the lower lake below the dam with RV and tent camping. While there are more entertainment options on the upper lake, the camping area had a playground, a bathhouse, and shore fishing access to the lower lake. There is a boat ramp and marina next door in the Corps of Engineers park, too. Reservation.gov shows 224 available sites, but many of the ones on the map appear to be in areas that have been closed for quite a while. In the open areas, the paved sites were spaced out nicely and included 20/30/50-amp electricity, water, picnic tables, and grills. It is in a bit of a hole, so there were only a few over-the-air tv stations available, and cell signals for both Verizon and AT&T were minimal but usable. It was fairly peaceful with a little traffic noise from the road behind the dam. We would stay again if in the area. For this stay in October 2022, we paid $53.50 for 2 nights.

The most direct route from Sardis, Mississippi, over to Huntsville, Alabama, runs across the north end of the state, so on Tuesday we started by heading northeast through Holly Springs up to US-72 east. After crossing into Alabama, we found JJ’s Restaurant in Cherokee, which was a very busy, home cooking joint that is clearly loved by the locals. (I had the special, chicken and dumplings. Yum!) After that, it was pretty much a straight shot through Muscle Shoals and Decatur, then on to Huntsville and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Campground. We arrived mid-afternoon, and there were kids out at the launch area testing their rockets. That’s always fun to watch. You can see the remnants in all of the surrounding trees. LOL After getting set up, we headed over to visit with Colin and Peg Bagwell. As you may know by now, Peg is MW’s stepmother, and we always enjoy getting to visit. She is also an amazing cook, and the food is pretty much unbeatable! By the time we made it back to camp, we were exhausted.

Wednesday thru Friday were spent restocking (Target, Fresh Market, Publix, Home Depot), scouting at Monte Sano State Park for a future come-around with our U.S. Naval Academy alumni group (more on that down the road), checking out a new Amerigo Italian Restaurant with Colin and Peg, visiting, and generally having fun. I did manage to keep up with my walking schedule, and one was down past the Space and Rocket Center to get a closer look. They have an SR-71 parked there. If you’ve read much of this blog, you know that is my favorite plane. It was retired in 1990 and briefly returned to service in 1991. The last few years it flew for NASA as a research platform until its final retirement in 1999. That beautiful piece of machinery STILL holds records for highest altitude in sustained flight (85,069 feet) AND speed (2,193.2 mph) for a manned, air-breathing craft. Sadly, it has been replaced by satellites and unmanned vehicles, so we may never see another conventional airplane that can touch those numbers. On March 6, 1990, when the beautiful Blackbird took its last flight before initial retirement, I got to stand in Central Flow in Washington, DC, and watch the radar returns on the giant national screen. It flew from Los Angeles, California, to Washington, DC, in 64 minutes, 20 seconds. Those blips were MOVING across that map! Too cool!! (MW says I’m wrong…the F-4 is the coolest. I’ll grant you, it has a certain rugged elegance, but can’t touch this black beauty!)

We had a particularly fun night at a First Presbyterian event (Peg and Colin’s church) on Thursday. Tate Farms is a large, working farm in nearby Meridianville, Alabama. Every fall for as long as anyone can remember, they have transformed into a huge attraction with lots of stuff for the entire family. Among many options, there are giant slides, hay rides, a petting zoo, and of course, a pumpkin patch where you can pick your own. In addition to Peg & Colin, our group included MW’s brother and sister, Scott and Ann, and nephew Caleb with girlfriend Molly. It was a perfect night with cool, crisp, fall air. I particularly loved the animals and the hay bail art. Every person takes home a pumpkin, so Colin made out like a bandit, ending up with his, Peg’s, mine, Ann’s, and MW’s! (Where were we going to put two giant pumpkins?? Besides, he makes a mean pumpkin pie, so will freeze the good part for future use. I’m sure we will benefit on the next trip down. Yum!)

On our final night Peg had a little gathering that included friends Joe and Sandra Sasso, and Colin’s son, Eric, and his wife, Nancy. It was good to see everyone. Joe and Sandra used to travel in their RV quite a bit, and now he keeps up with us and is on the road vicariously through this blog. I am always a bit blown away when someone brings up something I’ve written about. There are quite a few regular readers, and for that, I am truly grateful.

The U. S. Space & Rocket Center RV Campground is just off of I-565, right next door to the facility, and an easy drive to Huntsville and Madison, Alabama. The only real amenities are a laundry and bathhouse located near the office. Available sites include 22 back-in and 5 pull-through, which will accommodate any size rig. All are full-hookup with 30-amp electric, picnic tables, and grills. There are concrete pads and a paved road, but don’t count on any of that being in good shape. (We’ve been staying here for 4 years, and this is the first time we’ve seen them making any attempts to fill potholes. This time a guy was filling them with sand, which is a very short-term solution.) The park gets a lot of overnight business, and there are a few people there for extended stays as well. While not the best facility, it is very convenient and inexpensive for doing anything in this area. Monte Sano, on top of the mountain, will give you a park atmosphere and beautiful views, but it’s a haul up there for the places we need to be when visiting family in town. For this stay in November 2022, we paid $123.00 for 4 nights.

Near the campground there is a sign that is a little perplexing. At the intersection, traffic can go left, right, or straight ahead. Apparently someone felt spending taxpayer money on this was necessary. Why not just put up a sign when you are actually limiting something?!?

Saturday we headed out early to get back to Tennessee, taking US-72 up to I-24 through Chattanooga. We stopped at Firehouse Subs southeast of Knoxville for lunch, but it was slammed with a bus crowd. We ended up breaking my “no eating at gas stations” rule and getting sandwiches from the hot food bar at Flying J and eating at a picnic table outside. Surprisingly, they weren’t bad. It was University of Tennessee football day, so the crowd in orange was very large. After passing through Knoxville, we hit I-81 up to Morristown and rolled into the barn by mid-afternoon. It was nice to get set up and relax.

So now we are back in our little valley. The weather is projected to be great for the foreseeable future, and we are enjoying the fall color. Next up…catching up with our Sneedville peeps, a loss, and a special wedding. See you on the path!


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