John James Audubon State Park, Kentucky

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Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 21-05-2009

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We arrived in Kentucky knowing it would be the last time we would be with the Canadians during their RV trip. They are set to return home to Ontario on June 10th. We enjoyed each minute and had a wonderful “last supper” together under the campground gazebo. Our time with the Canadians was so special and it was very hard to say good bye. We know we will spend time with them again as they are special new friends. Rarely does one find people whose company is so treasured and enjoyed and this family is one of the best we have met.

During our stay in Kentucky, we reunited with some dear old friends, Karen and Lee Cox, both of whom I worked with many years ago. They now live in  beautiful Evansville Indiana, just across the river from our campground.  Karen is a big wig over at the Evansville Children’s Museum and she opened up the museum for us to check out after hours. It is an amazing combination of education, art and beauty and is housed in a cool old library. This Children’s Museum is a great accomplishment for the people of Evansville. Karen and Lee are such a neat couple and both will forever be an inspiration to me. I am so happy we got to spend time with them and they got to see our children at this stage in their lives.

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Now we are off to Carmel Indiana where we lived for two years.  We will be spending several  weeks in the long driveway of our great friends, the Keys’ family. 

Nashville Tennessee

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Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 19-05-2009

We arrived in the land of country music, anxious to slip on our cowboy boots.  Well, not really but we would have fit in better had we had boots and a cowboy hat on!  We are still teamed up with our Canadian friends, much to the complete happiness of the girls (and all of us!)  We had a pot luck dinner in their outdoor tent the first night which is always a good idea as lots of great food and half the work.  We spent Friday taking a walking town of Nashville, checking out forts, the amazing TN State Museum and a stop at the State Capitol.  Nashville is a great city and worth spending some time discovering.  We enjoyed our day in the city (even though we were caught in a big thunderstorm) and ended it with a visit to the Grand Ole’ Opry.  The girls were excited to see Carrie Underwood on a banner as they feel they know her since voting for her on American Idol.

On May 15th, we reached our 11th month “”anniversary” of being on the road.  Boy how time flies!  We still have 13 months left on our adventure and if it had to end today, we would be happy as can be with all the wonderful memories we have as a family.  It has been the best time of our lives! 

On Sunday, we celebrated Roc’s birthday.  Ken made his famous cinnamon buns (Roc’s weakness) and we delivered a batch to their RV at 8AM.  We ended the day with Ken’s even more famous smoked brisket.  The best brisket he has ever made (so far!) thus ending the day full of food and fun!  We vowed to meet up with our new Canadian friends once a year and we really hope to make this happen.

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Huntsville Alabama

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Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 13-05-2009

A visit to Huntsville Alabama was really an afterthought as we had a couple nights free before our reservation in Nashville.  We stayed at Monte Santo State Park and it was one of the most beautiful parks we have visited in our last 11 months.  It was tucked up 1600′ and had amazing views of the valleys and hills.  There were great areas to bike (something I am completely addicted to now) and a great covered picnic area with a huge fireplace.  One night, we got together with our Canadian friends and had an amazing BBQ, complete with a roaring fire.  It was such fun and we wished we were booked for a whole week.  The historical town of Huntsville is very quaint.  It used to house many some shops and cafes but  is now home to mostly law firms.  The shops and cafes have made their way to the malls which is a shame as the town has so much potential.  Now off to the sound of country music – Nashville!  Better put on our cowboy boots!  (Darn!  Think we packed them in storage!)

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Memphis Tennessee

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Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 11-05-2009

We departed our campground during a wild storm. Ken  and I got caught in it during our morning walk and got soaked!  We were especially excited to reach Memphis as we were looking forward to our reunion with our friends, The Canadians!  It was great to be with them all again and we stayed up late, catching up on the last few months.

The next day, we took off for the city of Memphis, tour map in hand.  We stopped first at the famous Peabody Hotel.  We have never heard of it but it seems it’s an internationally renowned hotel.  Why?  Because of the ducks.  Yes, ducks.  Twice a day, they take six ducks from their home up on the roof of the hotel, bring them down the elevator and walk them along the red carpet to the hotel’s fountain in the lobby.  We can say we have seen the famous ducks and feel more complete now!  After our duck experience, we walked across the street to the Rendezvous Rib Joint.  This restaurant has been an institution in Memphis for more than 50 years and many of the waiters have been with the restaurant for more than 30 years.  The pork ribs were super yummy and almost as good as Ken’s ribs!

On Saturday afternoon, we headed over to Collierville to visit the Bassett family.  We knew Julie and her family since our days in Carmel Indiana.  In kindergarten, Julie’s son Blake had a crush on Nikki, even professing to buy her a Corvette when they eventually got married.  It was fun to see him again (six years later!) and see if the spark was still there!   Blake and Nikki would have adorable kids so Julie and I will keep them in touch to see what happens. 

That evening, we adults made our way to Beale Street which is THE street for blues, beer and partying.  They block off about 3 streets and people roam around, alcohol in hand.  Helen and I even got tattoos, much to the horror of our offspring.  The kids actually thought we got REAL tattoos.  Did they really think we would subject ourselves to that kind of pain?  I guess so!

What better way to spend Mother’s Day then to visit the home of the KING – Graceland!  What a production!  We bought tickets on one side of “Elvis Presley Blvd.” and then were shuttled across the street to his mansion.  The house was not huge (by today’s standards) but it felt like a home and the grounds were spacious and beautiful.  The house was just how he left it, shag carpet and all.  We learned more than just the glitzy part of the man.  We learned he was a very generous man and a loyal friend to many.  If anyone came to him that fell upon hard times, he was quick to help them out.  He also donated to over 50 charities and continues to do so through his estate.  He would be a mere 74 years old if he was still alive and it sure would be great to have him with us still. 

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Continuing our adventure in the South, we are now off to Huntsville Alabama.

Louisiana

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Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 06-05-2009

The drive to New Orleans was a bit too long for one day  so we made an overnight stop at  a woodsy state park with just a few other campers .  We could really feel the difference of  being in the deep south as the air was thick and fragrant and the landscape was green and marshy.  

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On our way to New Orleans, we took a detour and visited Avery Island, the birthplace of Tabasco  (our very favorite condiment).  Avery Island is a beautiful place and you can see they have created a nice balance between man and the environment.  We took a tour of the Tabasco plant and couldn’t believe they produce over 700,000 bottles of the spice concoction each and every day.  After they pick the peppers at their peak (using a stick painted the correct shade of red (or a “baton rouge”) ), the peppers are crushed and salt is added.  The peppers are then placed in barrels for three years!  Very impressive!  We each received teeny sample bottles and got to taste Tabasco ice cream and other yummy sauces.  We feel more complete in life now that we have visited Tabasco’s birthplace!

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The campground near New Orleans is a mere 30 minute drive to the ferry which, in 15 minutes, takes you FREE to the other side of the Mississippi River and the French Quarter.  We arrived and walked down the Riverwalk towards the famous Cafe Du Monde.  Here we enjoyed world famous beignets (french donuts) and cafe au lait.   Cafe Du Monde has been a New Orleans landmark since 1862!  We then make the trek towards Bourbon street.   The New Orleans Jazz Fest was the same weekend and I would imagine it’s quite a bit busier in town than normal.  (Although they seem to have festivals of some sort every weekend!)  Bourbon Street was packed full of bars, bars and more bars.  And people roaming the streets with beer or a daiquiris in hand!  An adult Spring Break of sorts!  We had dinner at an historic landmark, a former house which was given to Napoleon at one time!  He died before he could move into his “house in the New World” but the history is still compelling!

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Now we are en route for Memphis for some blues, famous pork ribs and the land of Elvis!