Friday, September 28, 2018

Pensacola and Tallahassee, Florida September 25-28, 2018

Tuesday, 25th, we left Westwego, La. about 8:30 am and traveled east on I-10 to Pensacola, Florida, 214 miles.  Pensacola RV Park was our campground.  Getting in a little past noon we set up and then went out looking for a place to eat.  The Shrimp Basket, a casual seafood restaurant, proved to be a perfect place as they had all you can eat steamed shrimp as their special on this day.  Boiled potatoes and corn on the cob went along with the shrimp which were seasoned with some seafood spices.  Very nice meal.  After eating we then drove to the National Naval Aviation Museum.  There were more than 150 historical aircraft on display in this free museum.

We stopped to watch a film about the aircraft carrier, Forrestal, that had a serious fire and were quite taken back when we recognized a sailor, Milton Crutchley, that had been in a very dangerous situation during that fire.  Excerpts from an interview with Milton was seen throughout the film.  We knew he had been on that ship but didn't realize the danger he had to face.

Wednesday morning, 26th, we left Pensacola (8:45 am) continuing east to Tallahassee, 204 miles a little past 1pm camping in Tallahassee RV Park.  We went to a restaurant, The Wharf, another casual seafood place, and enjoyed another nice seafood dinner.  We then found a car wash to get the dirt washed off the Jeep.

Thursday (27th) we set out visit the city of Tallahassee, the capitol of Florida.  The Mission of San Luis, an Apalachee-Spanish Living History Museum, was built in 1633 by Spanish Franciscans in an area inhabited by Apalachee indians.  People in period costumes gave information about life in this mission as we walked about the grounds.  Kool Beanz, a restaurant recommended to us at the Mission, was a restaurant with a menu based on the available produce in the area.  It was different but not a big winner with us.  After lunch, we went the Capitol Complex.  The Museum of Florida History is located nearby this complex and has a parking garage.  After going through the museum you can receive a token to be used for the garage parking fee.  The museum is a free museum and interesting starting prehistorically and going through World War II.  A short walk from the museum is the Florida Capitol, a tall 22 floor modern building.  We started at the top, 22nd floor which is an enclosed observation deck.  The 5th floor is the viewing galleries for the House and Senate, no sessions were going..  Interesting building.  the old historical capitol is located in the same complex but we didn't go to that area.  In the evening, we started preparing our return home and organizing those things we needed to take to the house.

Today, Friday 28th, we were underway by 8:25 am to make the final 213 miles to the storage lot and home.  We stopped by the house to unload and then made our way to the storage lot and by 12:50 pm we were on our way to find lunch.  Another nice trip- revisited places and visited some new places.  We traveled 5,222 miles with the motorhome on this trip plus additional miles on our Jeep

Monday, September 24, 2018

Beaumont, Texas and New Orleans September 22-24, 2018

Saturday, 22nd, we left Fort Worth, Texas at 8:35 am traveling on I 20 through Fort Worth/ Dallas and then we cut south to I 10 taking us  through Houston.  We traveled in rain most of the way.  Traffic moved well.  We were sure glad that it was Saturday without heavy work traffic.  We spent our third night in Texas in Beaumont, 361 miles, at the Gulf Coast RV Resort, arriving here about 2:45 pm.  This is a passport America park and really nice although not directly on the Gulf.  We didn't even see the Gulf.  It was very wet but all the campsites had concrete pads so we didn't sink in the mud.

Sunday, 23rd, we started with the breakfast that the campground offered,  this is the first campground that includes breakfast, not the greatest but it was breakfast somewhat like hotels do.  Continuing on I 10 east after getting on the road at 8:30 am we finally made it out of Texas into Louisiana.  276 miles and we were in  Bayou Segnette State Park, Westwego, La. campground at 1:30 pm.  This campground is just across the Mississippi River from New Orleans.  Tom had asked the young lady checking us in about places to eat in this area.  She recommended several but we chose to go to Perino's Boiling Pot.  We selected shrimp, sausage, corn on the cob, and potatoes which was all very good.  It had rained here before we arrived and there is lots of water laying around.  There was some clouds but no rain on this day.

Monday, 24th, we spent the day in New Orleans.  We drove the Jeep to the area to catch a ferry.  We parked the Jeep  in a lot, $10.00 for the day, and the boarded the ferry, $1.00 for each of us senior rate.

The ferry only takes a few minutes to cross the Mississippi. The World War II museum was recommended to us by 2 people so we went there. It was a very impressive museum, We spent over 3 hours there and feel we somewhat skimmed over parts but after a time we get overloaded.
 Leaving the museum we came across a Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant where we had lunch and the returned to the ferry for our return trip across the River.   We did have a couple showers today mixed with sun.  Tomorrow we move on to Pensacola, Florida.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Fort Worth, Texas September 20 & 21, 2018

Thursday, 9/20/ we left Midland, Texas traveling on I 20 east about 8:40 am to Fort Worth, Texas, 295 miles.  This route through Texas is to my way of thinking is through the prettier part of this state as it is in the hill country.  We were taken back at the fuel prices in Midland, the heart of the oil business.  Diesel was $3.79/ gallon and as we got further away from that area the price was decreasing.  In this Fort Worth area we have seen diesel at $2.89/gallon.   The office lady at the campground in Midland told Tom that they are price gouging there and have caused such hardship for those not in the oil business that many people have moved away.  Teachers are needed but they can't afford to live there.  After arriving at Cowtown RV Park after 1:30 pm we had lunch and made a trip to a local grocery store.

Today, Friday (21st), after breakfast we drove the Jeep into Fort Worth to the Stockyards.

  The Stockyards no longer function as a stock exchange yard and now has become a tourist attraction.

 Along the street there were 2 places that long horned steers with saddles were tied to a fence and for $5.00 you could climb up on the saddle while your friends took your picture.

  There are numerous shops and restaurant to while away time until at 11;30 am a cattle drive comes through.  Long horned steers, about 20, are "driven" down the street by 6 or 7 cowboys.  This cattle drive is done again at 4 pm.

 We had lunch at Riscky's Steakhouse, good steaks as we expected and, shortly, thereafter returned back to the motorhome.  It was cloudy most of the day with a shower while we were at the Stockyards and this evening it has been raining more. Tomorrow we are moving onward east.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Oil Country September 19, 2018

Today we left Las Cruces, New Mexico at 8:20 am(MT) continuing a south east direction.  Rather than driving on I-10 through El Paso, Texas we took a route around the city that many other RVers use.  Tom had the directions written out and I read each step as we skirted around the city.  We finally reconnected with I-10, continuing on that route until we picked up  I-20.  Our travels had an occasional town but was mostly just open land.  It is greener and oil wells began to appear.

  A little past 3:30 pm (CT) we arrived in Midland, Tx, 345 miles today.   We had lost an hour yesterday and then another hour was lost today as we crossed from Mountain time to Central time as we entered into Texas.  After getting a site at Odessa Oil Patch RV Park I quickly prepared a meal as we had not eaten since breakfast.  We seem to be right in the heart of oil country, many oil wells in the area, refineries and this campground looks to have many work campers here.

  The weather is cooler with the high at 90 degrees and breezy.  Storms are expected tomorrow but we hope to be eastward before they hit.

Tucson, Arizona and Las Cruces, New Mexico September 17 & 18, 2018

Monday, September 17, we left Camp Verde at 8:22 am heading south on I 17 to Phoenix.  Tom had made an appointment at a Cummins Coach Care to have our exhaust problem looked at.  They were not certain they would be able to do the job.  We were to be there at 11am.  We arrived about 10 am and had to wait until their break period was over at 10:20.  Looking over the problem and the temporary fix it was determined that they could not do the repair but they also thought Tom’s temporary repair would hold up until we are able to get it repaired.  We decided to keep going with Tom checking it periodically and hopefully we will have it repaired once we get home.  Leaving that facility, we continued  on to Tucson, a total of 237 miles for this day.  We camped at Justin’s Diamond J RV Park, a campground we have stayed at before.  It was a very hot day with temperatures above 104 degrees.  Needless to say, we didn’t do too much after arriving at 1 pm  and having lunch in the motorhome.  The high temperatures in Arizona are said to unseasonal for this time of the year.

Tuesday, the 18th, we were underway by 8:20 am and traveling east on I 10 to Las Cruces, New Mexico.  After 285 miles we arrived at Coachlight Motel and RV Park.  It is about 10 degrees cooler here but still hot.  We travel with generator running in order to keep the A.C. going throughout the coach but we quickly get electric hooked up once in a campground to be able to turn off the generator.  We changed time zones ( Arizona keeps the same time year round, no daylight savings) to Mountain daylight savings time, New Mexico time.  We unhooked the Jeep and drove a short distance to the Plaza in Historic Old Mesilla and had lunch at La Posita de Mesilla, a registered National Landmark.  This was a stop on the Old Butterfield Stagecoach Line.  The southwestern meals were really very good with more food then either of us could eat. The restaurant has been located in this building since 1939 but the building is thought to have been built in the 1700’s.  The interior was many rooms all ornately decorated.

  After eating we did walk around the street checking out a couple shops not finding anything of any great interest.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Camp Verde and Sedona September 15 & 16, 2018

Saturday morning, September 15, we had a delayed start.  Tom drove to a hardware store to get some necessary supplies to patch the exhaust pipe until we are able to get it repaired and then he set to work patching the pipe.  (Tom posting; I was so busy making the temporary exhaust pipe repair that I did not take any pictures during the patching repairs.  I used two layers of flashing material held in place by three hose clamps.  Next I used the three cabinet braces and three hose clamps to hold the tailpipe onto the exhaust pipe.  I than wrapped several layers of heavy duty aluminium foil around the repair area for some additional insulation against the hot exhaust.)
This Photo of my Repair was taken after Arriving at Camp Verde.  It looks like my temporary repair worked.

We were only moving to Camp Verde, 82 miles, and check in was stated to be 1 pm.  A little after 10:30 am we  were on the move, we needed to be out by 11 am.  Leaving Williams heading east toward Flagstaff on I 40 we soon noticed smoke and then we were able to smell it.  We later learned that there were a couple forest fires in the area.  We left I 40 and picked up Az. 17 south to Camp Verde.  We arrived at Distant Drums RV Park a few minutes past 12 noon and was checked in and escorted to our lot.  We will be here 2 nights.  This is a really nice campground that we have been to on several occasions.  After getting set up we drove to Cottonwood for lunch at Black Bear Diner.  Driving through Cottonwood was challenging due to a motorcycle rally occurring here, motorcycles and people everywhere.

Today, Sunday, we drove to Sedona, a most beautiful area of red rock mountains.  We drove through Sedona and up through Oak Creek Canyon, about 12 miles, to the look out area.

  In addition to being a look out area, there are Native Americans selling their jewelry, flutes, pottery and other Indian artifacts. Returning to Sedona we stopped at a Visitor Center to get some information.  It was suggested to go up to the airport for great views which we did.

  We saw a hiking path that went to the top of one of the smaller rock mountains so we stopped and took the path to the summit.  It was a fairly easy walk for the most part, we just needed to take it slow and rest a couple times.

 Driving back to the downtown area and getting a parking spot, we walked about that area getting lunch at a southwest style restaurant.

  After lunch and a gelato for dessert we were back in the car driving on south through this gorgeous area.  A brief stop was made at a craft/art show and then a stop at the National Park Visitor Center as we returned back to the campground.

 The smoke from the forest fires around Flagstaff caused some smokiness in the Sedona area.  The weather here is warmer than Williams as temperatures were near or at 100 degrees these 2 days with bright sunshine.  Of course, it is a dry heat, right, it still was HOT.

Williams, Arizona and Grand Canyon September 13 & 14, 2018

Thursday, September 13, we left Sun Valley at 9am continuing on I40 west.  Tom had seen that Flagstaff had a Sam’s Club and thought he would get fuel there.  We had the directions in the GPS but when we arrived the GPS did not alert us as to what side Sam’s Club was so, of course, we were on the wrong side and there was lots of traffic.  So we had to find a place to turn around.  Finally, we found a parking lot that a turn around could be done and we were on our way to Sam’s Club.  We wanted to get some Irish Spring soap to put in various areas of the motorhome to deter mice plus a couple other items.  So we went inside and got our purchases.  In the meantime, getting to the fuel pumps looked to be impossible so we got back on I 40 and continued on .  A Pilot station was our next option and although that station was not the best designed we did get fuel.  We got to Williams, Az. a little before 1pm and 140 miles.  We had not made reservations and the first campground could only accommodate  for 1 night and wanted to stay at least 2 nights.  Tom called Canyon Gateway RV Park  and we were able to secure a site for 2 nights with them.  El Corral Restaurant was recommended by the campground for lunch and we were not disappointed with the chicken enchiladas that both of us ate.

  I had commented about how hot the cold  water was  whenever we moved to another campground.  Tom noticed something did not look quite right with the exhaust pipe and upon further inspection found a sizable hole rusted out in the exhaust pipe. 

Friday, 14th, started with Tom going in search of an Auto shop to get something to make a temporary repair to the exhaust pipe until we are able to get it replaced. The auto parts store did have anything to make a repair. After his return and eating breakfast, we decided to get ready and go to the Grand Canyon has we had planned to do today.  The Grand Canyon is 57 miles from Williams so it took an hour to get up there.  At this time of the year the buses are the means for getting through the park.

  We had to take a bus from the Visitor Center to a transfer point where we caught another bus that traveled out to Hermit’s Rest making 9 stops along the rim.

Looking at the North Rim from the South Rim

Grand Canyon Village

Hiker on the Trail to the Canyon Floor

 We were able to get off at these stops and walk out to the viewing areas and then catch another bus to continue.  Buses come by every 10-15 minutes.  Tom and I got off at most viewpoints, 7 of the 9.  At Hermit”s Rest,

 we got a snack and then after eating we caught a bus on a return trip which only stops at 3 viewing areas.  And again at the transfer station we had to get another bus to take us back to the Visitor Center.  When we were in line to board the transfer bus the bus driver pointed at Tom and said for him to get on first, no explanation was given but Tom had his Navy Veterans hat on or maybe, we just looked that much older compared to others.  Even though we have been to the Canyon ( twice to the south rim and once to the north rim) before we still are taken in with the beauty and expanse of the Canyon.  Leaving the park we stopped in Tusayan, a village outside of the park, for dinner at a steak house.  Tom had planned to work on the exhaust pipe when we returned to the motorhome but a campground maintenance man gave him another suggestion of materials to use.  So in the morning Tom will be going to a hardware store for more materials and hopefully do a repair before leaving.   The weather was beautiful today but this morning it was chilly at 49 degrees.  With the bright sun the temperature rose up into the 80’s.

In Talking with the campground maintenance worker, I decided I needed to get some metal flashing, six hose clamps and three straight cabinet braces.  I will purchase them when the hardware store opens up in the morning.