Saturday, June 23, 2012

Texas to Knoxville...

I don't know why I haven't sat down here to blog lately, lazy I guess. So I will try to catch things up in one posting. Let's get started....

After leaving the Kilgore area, we headed for Livingston, TX and the Rainbows End Escapees Park. For those that know, Rainbows End is the headquarters for the Escapees club that we work for. We spent a couple of days visiting with friends in the park and then it was off to Surf Side Beach to visit with son Jesse.
We left the rv at the park and rode the Harley south. The trip was only about 150 miles. The worst part was having to get through Houston. I thought we left late enough to miss all the traffic, but guess what, we didn't. We sat in traffic for about an hour. After we made it through, it was a clear shot on south. Jesse  was working so we stopped at a Harley dealer along the way. 
Entering Houston traffic

Louise' reflection in my helmet.

Jesse's pad
We ran around with Jesse for a couple of days, then he had to work again.  We took that day to ride the bike  to Galveston for the day. The road from Surfside to Galveston runs right along the beach for some 40 miles. It was a nice day but a little windy. The wind was blowing right off the ocean. When we got back you could write your name in the salt film on the bike and on our helmets.

The new pier park in Galveston

After a hurricane blew down a bunch of trees around Galveston, chainsaw carvers were brought in to carve images in the stumps that remained.Some of these were really impressive carvings. We followed the map we picked up at the  visitors center and took pictures of most of them. We looked around town at some of the houses there, then took off back to Surfside.
Tree stump carving

We ran out of our time with Jesse and headed back to Livingston. 

A view of Houston from the south

When we returned to the park we started to get things ready to move on. Our goal was  Birmingham, AL. The trip there was a pretty easy trip, mostly state roads. It took us 2 days to reach our goal. The first night on the road we stopped at  the River View RV Park, in Vidalia, LA. This park is a Passport America park and as the name indicates, is right on the Mississippi River. It is a very nice park with a great view, swimming pool and a public walking path that follows the river.

The next day we continued on to Birmingham. We actually we stayed in Bessemer, AL at the Elks Lodge. We had 50 amp electric and water hook ups. The down side to this Lodge was where it was located. It was not in a very good neighborhood. We had planned to stay there through the weekend but decided to leave after 2 nights. While we were there, we headed out to Tannehill State Park. This park is the site of one of the many blast furnaces in the area. This was a big steel making area years ago. There is still a modern steel plant in the area. The park has a nice museum about the making of iron and it's rolel in the civil war. They have a lot of log cabins, a blacksmith shop, and several artists on site along with a rebuilt blast furnace. The bad thing was that all the craft people were only there on the weekend and were there on Thursday. After Louise and I talked it over, we decided to head on to Knoxville instead of staying at the Elks over the weekend.
The blast furnace at Tannehill State Park
Friday, we hooked up and headed on to Knoxville and the Escapees Raccoon Valley RV Park. This will be our home till the end of September. We arrived there on the 1st of June. We were not scheduled to start to work there till the 1st of July. As we were pulling off the interstate on the road to the park I got a call from the manager there. He wanted to know if we could start early. Since we were there anyway, why not save our free night stays we have earned. 

A couple of weeks ago I rode in a Ride Against Autism bike ride . I have done several donation rides in the past. This one cost $10.00 to ride in. There were around 60 riders in it. The ride covered about 60 miles. After the ride they had several bands playing at the Harley dealer. 
The line up for the charity ride

We stopped at the dam on Norris Lake for a break
On Thursday of this week Louise and I rode to Muddy Pond Tennessee. Muddy Pond is a Mennonite settlement with several leather shops and various  general stores selling all kinds things. We had been there several years ago. There are 2 other families in the rv park that have motorcycles. I suggested that we go for a ride and they were all for it. The ride was 180 miles round trip and took us on some really curvy roads. We all had a great time and the scenery was beautiful.   
Our riding partners in my mirror

Jim and Lanette


Louise and yours truly

So it's on to our next adventure. We leave Knoxville on Tuesday heading to Englewood, Ohio for the Harley Owners Group State Rally. We will ride the bike up there, 300 miles.  We will return to our rv park the following Monday. We have never been to a state rally so we are looking forward to finding out if we like this sort of thing or not. What better place for our first big rally than our home area.  I hope to have lots to report when we get back.

Till next time
Duane and Louise