Sunday, October 31, 2010

My latest carving

This is my latest carving. I found the pattern on the web and thought I would give it a try. I think it turned out pretty well, hope others like it to.
We are just about done with all the doctors here in Shreveport. One more to go, the dentist on Wednesday. I think we will head to Livingston, TX for a week or two before heading on to Deming, NM. We have an appointment to get the last of the things fixed on the trailer while we are in Livingston. . At least I hope it is the last. When we are not going to doctors we have been working on project here, me carving and Louise sewing. I have the Christmas ornaments for the grandkids about done. I had 9 to make year, who knows how many it will be next
Till next time
Duane and Louise

Monday, October 25, 2010

The "HAIL" you say

What's left of the vent covers
Hail stones on the ground

Louise holding some of the stones, BIG HUH !!!!
The first night spent in Shreveport was an exciting one! About 10 PM it started to pour rain followed by pouring hail stones. It sounded like a 1000 hammers hitting the roof. Then the sound of breaking! The hail stones were riddling the roof vents. I had put Max Air covers on 2 of the vents that we keep open a lot. The 2 that we hardly use I didn't put covers on, BIG MISTAKE!!!! The ones with the covers survived just fine, the ones without, not so much. As soon as the hail stopped I headed to the roof to put plastic over the broken covers to keep the rain out till I could get them fixed. It was lightening and raining so I didn't spend much time up there. Luckily it didn't rain much after that. This morning I had to go get some blood work done for one of the doctor appointments that we are here for, then we headed to the rv supply place here in town. They had the covers in stock that we needed and I picked up Max Air covers to put over the new ones. We seem to be the lucky ones here. Some of the rv's have broken air conditioning covers and fridge vent covers. Several had awnings out that look like they were hit by a shotgun loaded with really big shot. The truck has some dents in it to, but not to bad. I hope that is the last of the hail storms we have to go through, but I doubt it. Oh the life on the
Till next time
Duane and Louise

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Two weeks of grandkids!

Girls and their purses
Fun being pushed

Front porch in Celina (TX)

Emma and Ava

Girl time

Gramma and Emma

Daddy (Duane Jr.)

Sick baby Ava

Emma likes pretzels

Playing nicely

Momma (Brandey) and Emma

Green snake at Kilgore, TX

Luke driving the Deere

Need for speed

Grandpa peeling Cyprus knees for carving

Circus parade!

Gram, Allie, Luke

School handiwork

Jeremy and Grandpa on the back porch

Allie up a tree
With Grandma

Looking for 'skippers' on the Sabine

New boat ramp
Well! Those two weeks went by very fast! After exiting the Natchez Trace, we spent a day touring Natchez, then forgot to blog about it! Take my word for it, it is worth the stop for food, historical tours, and sitting by the river watching the Mississippi traffic go by. From there we stopped overnight in an RV park outside Tyler TX, then on to Celina. (Interesting note for Ohio people: Celina, Farmersville, and Greenville are towns west to east on Tx St Rt 380.) Here we parked at Lincoln Park RV park. We spent mornings (after our walk) doing chores and errands. Afternoons and evenings we visited son Duane Jr, daughter-in-law Brandey and the twins Emma and Ava (16 mos). They are 1 1/2 months younger than Judah in Ohio. The girls love playing outside being pushed on their little carts, playing in the sandbox, walking around looking at stuff, and playing inside looking at books, pushing cars and balls down the long hallway, and walking around looking at stuff. Unfortunately, just after we arrived they started with runny noses. By the time we left Emma had an eye infection and Ava had an ear infection and fever. The pix of them sitting in laps reflect their resulting lack of energy. In spite of fussy girls and (parental) lack of sleep, we all managed to have a good visit.
Next we retraced our drive east to Kilgore, TX and son Jeremy, daughter-in-law Jennifer and Allie (5 and in Kindergarten) and Luke (2 yrs). As you can see from the pix above (and from pix of visits to Ohio and CA) the cousins are growing up in different environments from suburban Bay Area, to Midwest farm country, and Tx housing development in the country to reclaimed oil land. It makes for interesting visiting among all the family members when time and funds permit. At Kilgore we were more active since the grand kids are older, though we followed the same pattern of doing our stuff in the mornings and visiting in the afternoons and evenings. ( One morning we spent walking around the woods looking for trees Duane can carve into walking sticks and canes. That's where we saw the little green snake. ) With Allie and Luke we played in the tree house (yes, Luke climbed right up and down by himself--he's a climbing monkey just like Grandma), took walks outside, jumped on the trampoline, skipped rocks on the Sabine, swung on the hammock, read books and colored, played made-up games. Jeremy and Jennifer built their house from the ground up (and up). They are in the process of putting a roof on the porch which runs around three sides of the house. Jeremy is proud of his new boat ramp. It is about 100' long. The banks of the Sabine (right now) are about 20' vertical feet below the top. When the river is in flood, the boat ramp will disappear! Saturday was out last day there. That's when Duane was working on his cypress knees. He is sitting on the arrow target. He shot all of those arrows from the back porch. Pretty good for the old man, huh!
Today (Sunday) after church and breakfast at Denny's we made a short hop to Shreveport, LA. We are parked at Travel America RV park for the next 1 1/2 weeks to visit all of our drs. before we move west. In our down time we will get back to making stuff for our family members for Christmas, so don't be surprised if we are quiet for a while.
Basta por hoy!
Louise and Duane

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day Four

Sorry there are no pix, but after our adventures today we were too tired to do anything but park. This was our longest day-160 miles. Ridiculous way to see the Trace, but the nearest campground was too close (40 mi) and the next one was at Jackson, so away we went. There are less historic spots along this stretch, but a couple of sites require some time to explore. One of these is Jeff Busby. This site is primarily a picnic/camping area, but it also boasts one of the highest points in MS along the Trace. At 603 feet it afforded a very nice view. The road to it was like all the pull-off roads--narrow and twisty, but manageable and the view was worth the drive. The next must-see site was French Camp. This is a living history settlement with historic buildings moved from nearby sites and sometimes costumed interpreters. We pulled in front of the parking area and stopped to contemplate. Too small for a turn-around, even without the cars. Hmmm. Then some guy in a car says that there is a drive around the outside and we should be able to make it. Throwing caution to the wind we pull in and start around the drive. It turned out the parking lot guy didn't pull a long trailer. Go figure. The drive was just wide enough for our wheels and very curvy. All went well until we got out of the curves. Then we found a very low hanging branch. I stood outside while Duane put the left hand wheels in the grass and inched under it with 3 inches to spare, then went in front and guided him safely away from a parked car with 4 inches lea way. Good deal. On to the road and freedom--almost. Just before the road is a small gravel pile, then a 3 foot culvert. Across the road is a similar culvert with a driveway across it. After three failed attempts at missing the culvert with the trailer wheels, Duane drove over half the gravel pile, put the outer wheel halfway over the ditch, and got us out of there ! Back at the parking lot we finally got wise, parked on the street, and toured the grounds on foot. After lunch we got on more narrow roads because of repaving, then turned into Myric Creek site. Too late we saw the sign that said it wasn't a turnaround. Forward we went, found a field to turn around in, got back on the drive, back on the road and kept on going. Phew! A couple more stops and we were glad to exit the Trace and head to our campground in Clinton, just outside Jackson. We had enough energy to set up, drive the truck up to the corner to gas up, and then called it quits.


Louise and Duane

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Days 5 and 6

Rear of Mount Locust

Mount Locust Front

Part of the Vicksburg campaign

Divided pews

Two doors

Part of the Vicksburg campaign

Shirley house

Remnants of ironclad ship

Confederate view of Mississippi River

Various monuments

Blue signs marked Union lines, red for Rebs

Bridge in distance joins Vidalia LA with Natchez MS

Our house at River View RV park

Twin bridges at night w/Isle of Capri riverboat

Day five we packed lunch and went to Vicksburg. We had been to the National Historic Park before but then it was raining so we toured the Visitor's Center and called it quits. This time took the auto tour. The Union road winds along the bottom of the hill. Blue markers mark the Union lines. Various monuments and markers list the various Union states represented from Kansas to NY and parts of TN and KY. The top of the hill was similarly marked by red metal signs for the Confederacy with their monuments and markers dedicated to soldiers from Texas to KY and Virginia. We stopped for lunch at the Museum of Cairo, one of two picnic sites along the way. We shared a picnic table and conversation with a couple from CO. The we toured the museum and the recovered remains of the USS Cairo, one of five ironclad ships built for the Civil War naval campaign. A few more stops after that and we concluded that we finally "did" Vicksburg. We headed back to Jackson for more fun. We stopped by the house for a pit stop then headed for the Mississippi State Fair. By northern Midwest standards it was county fair size, but by southern standards it was state fair worthy. We strolled around for a couple hours soaking up the sights, sounds and food. How things have changed. All sandwiches are $5-7. There was one salt water taffy booth instead of 20. No waffles three for $1, only $5 elephant ears or funnel cakes. Lots of rides and games (no change there except in prices). All-in-all we spent a little money for a couple of hours of fun before we headed home to end another long day.

Day six we finished our Trace tour. We spent a leisurely day poking our big selves into more small spaces, but nothing we couldn't handle. Key among those were two sites where battles were fought when Grant's army marched from their Mississippi River landing site to Jackson before he headed back to Vicksburg. Two were representative of the kinds of people and their lifestyles that popped up along the Trace. One was the town of Rocky Springs a thriving little community of 2616 before the Civil War, the boll weevil, a yellow fever epidemic and over use of the loess fields left it empty of people, eroded, and overgrown with brush. All that is left is the rebuilt church to give mute testimony to a once-thriving community. (Poetic, aint I?!!) The other building is Mount Locust Inn and Plantation. The house was built in 1740. The last family member left in 1944. The National Park Service began restoration in 1954, returning it to its 1820 appearance.

Mount Locust being our last stop on the Trace, we said good by to one of our most pleasant trips and took the highway toward Natchez. Arriving too tired and too late to stop at the Visitor's Center we kept going across the river to Vidalia, LA and the River View RV Park. This is a very nice resort park with spacious paved and gravel pull thrus and some back-ins, a pool, store, laundry, and very nice staff. Nice views of the river too. Very relaxing after our long trip, although we did have to use the laundry. Just before we left Jackson our washer threw a belt and we drove the last two days with wet laundry hanging in the shower. That out of the way, we were ready to spend a quiet evening before our next day of touring.
Enough already!
Louise and Duane