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Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tom Sawyer's Mississippi River RV Park

(West Memphis, AR) Hi 68 Lo 47 -- The rainy weather moved out and it was gorgeous today. I sat at the back window watching all the barges go by. The river's current was very fast and we saw a few wood branches float by.

There’s a sandbar across from us near the opposite side of the river, and we watched a barge get stuck on it last night. It took a couple hours for another tug to arrive and pull it off. He was on the way around midnight. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)

The barges are pushed by tugboats of various sizes. Some are small...

....and some are quite large.

Being in the Memphis area, we wanted to make sure we had some good barbecue before we left the area. We read some good reviews of a nearby place called Ray's World Famous BBQ, so we headed there for lunch today. It's a tiny shack that looks like it's about ready to fall down, with a smoker out back. Just the kind of "hole in the wall" place we love. The pork BBQ was excellent, and the homemade pecan pie was mouth watering. The portions were so large we brought some of it home to enjoy for dinner. We're so glad we went!

Only six tables inside, and a TV on the wall showing old 50's western TV shows.

When we got back to the park Jim checked and aired up the truck tires for tomorrow’s move to Alabama. I walked around the park to take some pictures. We were here in 2012, but a new tree house has been added since then.

There’s a huge tree house at the end of the camping area.




Our site and surrounding area.



There's a small lake in the park.


The river flooded in 2011 and the water rose all the way to the second floor of this building. That's scary!

This is one of our favorite parks, and we'll be back. Tomorrow we move farther south to Alabama. so we'll see you in two days.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Making our Way South

(West Memphis, AR) Hi 71 Lo 56 -- We had a very windy trip yesterday. The strong headwind reduced the fuel mileage of the truck so much that we had to stop and fuel up on the way, which we wouldn't normally have to do on a 275-mile trip. Other than the wind it was a beautiful day, with the temperature rising as we moved south.

The fall colors were very pretty, and there were many areas where the wind was blowing so many leaves off the trees that it looked like it was raining leaves. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the fall colors. When we traveled through southeast Missouri near the Arkansas border we started seeing a lot of cotton fields.

We’re parked for a couple of days in one of our favorite RV parks, Tom Sawyer's Mississippi RV Park in West Memphis, AR. We’ll have more about the park tomorrow. It's been raining all day today so we're staying in, watching the barge traffic on the Mississippi River through our back window.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Family - Scott AFB Famcamp

(Scott AFB, IL) Hi 75 Lo 46 -- Yesterday (Saturday) was spent in the kitchen most of the day. I offered to make dinner for the family so I made the chicken and dumplings that I always make when we visit our other son, Rick. Angie and the grand boys had never had them. I cooked the chicken at home, then at 4:00 we went to Frank's and I finished the meal there. Along with the chicken and dumplings we also had salad, corn, and some cooked apples for dessert. They all loved it, I could tell because they all had seconds.

After dinner we brought the boys back with us to spend the night with us in the RV. It will probably be our last time having them overnight. They're growing up to be fine young men, and spending a night with grandma and grandpa probably won't be high on their list of things to do. Kyle will be driving the next time we see him and Kendall will be 13. It’s been fun watching them grow up.

Kendall, Jim and Kyle. The boys are wrapped in the afghans that I made for them.

This morning (Sunday) we were up early to get the boys home to get ready for church. After church we all went to lunch, then we came we came back home for awhile before going to Kendall’s football game later in the afternoon. The game was at the high school which is just one block from their house.

Kendall is #55

We watched the game (the Little Panthers lost), then had a pizza and came home.

Since we're leaving tomorrow here's a review of the Scott AFB Famcamp. The park is just eight miles from the family and we really like staying here, but with no sewer hookup we have to hitch up and move to the dump station to dump our tanks if we stay more than a week or so.

Our site
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Bath house
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There are several pavilions on the small lake, which are busy most Fridays with military unit picnics.
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One section of the famcamp is in the open with no trees (the one we try to get).
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And the other (older) section is very wooded.
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There’s three lakes nearby.
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Fall is here.
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It’s going to be in the 30’s next week. We’re glad we’ll be on our way tomorrow morning. Since tomorrow is a travel day our next blog will be in two days.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Excitement On Base and Grandkids with Pumpkins

(Scott AFB, IL) Hi 72 Lo 48 -- We had so much fun yesterday (Friday) that we didn't get a chance to do a blog post. It was a very warm and pleasant day, and I took advantage of the nice weather and took a walk around the campground. Then we headed out for some errands. We stopped at Lowes to get some boards cut to put under the RV when we get to Florida. Since it sits for several months during the winter we like to have something between the tires and the ground. We also stopped at the Base Commissary and stocked up on groceries.

While we were at the commissary we had just gotten all our groceries scanned when the electricity went off. It came back on right away, but it brought down all the store's computers. We went through some anxious moments wondering if we'd have to have everything re-scanned, but it turned out we didn't. Whew! We then went to another store on base (OK, the liquor store) and fire alarms were going off and all the clerks were standing outside. We had to wait for the base fire department to come and turn off the alarm. The electricity outage tripped fire alarms over a wide portion of the base so we had to wait quite a while. But we were determined to wait it out. A girl needs her wine!  :)



After dinner we headed to son Frank's for a pumpkin carving/s'mores party with the grand boys. They had some friends over and it was fun watching them do something you don't see kids do much anymore... play outside! We also had a great time with Frank and Angie talking about the growing up years.

Frank is cutting the tops off a couple of pumpkins to get them ready for carving.

Kendall (left) and his buddy Clay.

Hearts, one with an arrow through it.

Kyle on the right with his friend Nick.

What the boys lacked in artistic ability they made up for with fun and enthusiasm.

Around the fire pit, Angie, Frank and Jim

It wasn’t long before the boys started throwing the pumpkin guts at each other.

Frank had a nice "campfire in a can" going. The s'mores were great!

We stayed pretty late so when we got home we went straight to bed. We’ll have the boys with us tonight so it’s going to be another late night. We’ll tell you about it tomorrow.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Movie Day

(Scott AFB, IL) Hi 62 Lo 36 -- We're really happy with our new heat pump, it's keeping us warm during these cold nights. I'm glad we're on the way south to warmer weather soon.

It was a normal relaxing morning, then we went to see the movie "Gone Girl". It was a good movie, but with all the critical acclaim it's received we both thought it would be better.

We made it a "movie and dinner" day by going to a Chinese buffet our son Frank recommended, Ginger Buffet and Grill in Fairview Heights. He didn't lead us wrong. It was great! They had a huge variety of food, including crab legs and frog legs. I over stuffed, and so did Jim. 

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lunch With An Old Friend

(Scott AFB, IL) Hi 64 Lo 39 -- Today we went to have lunch with a dear friend from my military days when I worked at the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) in St. Louis. Steve is a civilian analyst at DMA. His job is so secret that, although I've known him for about 25 years, I'm still not sure what exactly he does. :)

Steve is one of the most intelligent guys I've every known, and I look forward to our annual lunches. They remind me of a terrific movie from the 70's called "My Dinner With Andre." Just two guys conversing over a meal. But today wife Dee and son Frank were included, and we had a ball discussing our families, and subjects ranging from the Beatles to world affairs and politics. We met at Sqwires, a wonderful pub in the Lafayette Square area of South St. Louis.

For all you foodies out there, here's what we had:

I had a sausage and pepperoni pizza. I don't know what kind of cheese was on it, but it was different, and delicious!

Dee had a Greek Wrap Sandwich with seasoned fries.

Son Frank had a huge order of nachos.

And Steve had meatloaf, smothered with seasoned green beans.

Everyone rated their meal excellent! After three hours of stimulating conversation we reluctantly had to say goodbye. Thanks Steve, we'll see you again next year!

We have a movie day planned for tomorrow. See you then.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Relaxing Day

(Scott AFB, IL) Hi 67 Lo 40 -- We made today a relaxing down day. We caught up on reading: blogs, websites, Kindle books. I went to O'Fallon for a massage by a therapist I had been to a couple years ago. She's expanded her office since my last visit and now has several other therapists working with her. One of my projects this winter will be to list all the massage therapists I've been to and in what states, so I have a handy reference when we travel.

We lived in O'Fallon for 12 years when Jim was stationed here at Scott AFB. We still have friends here, including Butch and Ruth.

I paid them a visit today after my massage. We spent a couple of hours catching up on our lives, then I headed back to the RV. It was great to see them both again. 

A few years ago when we were in Pennsylvania we had an infestation of stink bugs. It took a couple of years before they (mostly) disappeared. Here we're getting a lot of lady bugs inside the rig. I guess they want to escape the winter and go to Florida with us. At least they're harmless, but they do tickle when they land on you. :)

See you tomorrow.