North to Ohio – Spring 2015

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I’ll start this blog with how I ended the last one – Joe and I are celebrating today as we do every day that we have together.   We are thankful for having this opportunity to enjoy each other, seeing this beautiful country, for our health and the health and wellbeing of our children and grandchildren.  That said we send our prayers and ask our friends to send their prayers for our bother-in-law, Tom, who is have some very serious heart issues at the present time.  God be with him and his family.

As we traveled to Ohio we spent several days in two of Louisiana’s beautiful state parks.  Our first stop was at Lake Claiborne SP in Homer, LA.  Absolutely beautiful park full of very large pine trees with our site right on a lake.  The road through the park and to the sites was very narrow and steep.  After we got settled we discovered we were not able to get any TV reception.  We normally don’t care if the weather is nice enough to allow us outside but the weather was very cold and rainy.  We had paid for 6 nights but on our third day we were warned by a neighbor that was packing up quiet quickly that an ice storm was on its way and he suggested with the trees that we were sitting under that we should probably do the same.  So that is just what we did.  We did a quick pack up, stopped at the ranger station and got a refund and headed down the highway to another state park in Delhi, LA.  Poverty Point Reservoir SP had very few trees but was a very nice park.  We were sure glad we moved because the ice came.  It would have been a little unnerving sitting under those big trees with the ice pelting down.

Picnic and swimming area DSC00526 DSC00530 DSC00536 DSC00543 Our site after heavy rain

CampsitePoverty Point was about 30% full with workers.  We think they were working on the gas lines.  The park had unique cabins that where built on stilts over the water. Very nice looking cabins but we talked to a couple who were staying in one and they said because they were right over the water and it was so cold out they couldn’t get the cabin warm inside.  The ranger told us the cabins are booked for the summer.  I could understand why.  If you had a fishing boat you just drove it up to the dock by the cabin.  Great set-up!  The park also had signs up all over warning about the black bear.  But darn we never saw one.

IMG_7176 Ice Storm IMG_7227 DSC07772

Vicksburg and Mississippi RiverOur next stop was right over the Mississippi River from Louisiana into Mississippi in Vicksburg.  I would suggest to anyone if you ever get the chances to visit this area to do so.  Vicksburg is full of Civil War history.  The Battle of Vicksburg happened in 1863 where 20,000 men loss their lives when the Union soldiers fought for control of the supply link the Mississippi River gave the Confederates.  The Confederates surrender Vicksburg on July 4, 1863. The town of Vicksburg did not celebrate the Fourth of July until the 1970’s.   We visited the USS Cairo Museum, one of seven Union ironclad gunboats built in 100 days in 1862 to gain control of the Mississippi River from the Confederates.  The Cairo was struck by two underwater mines and sunk in less than 12 minutes with no loss of life.  Preserved by the mud and silt on the bottom of the river for 102 yrs, it was raised in 1964 and later restored.  This ironclad is the last remaining of its kind and it was amazing to see.  We almost didn’t go see it because we are not big into museums but were told by several people that we had to see it.  So very glad we listened.  A must to see!

IMG_7292    USS Cairo     Court House    P1030550

Vicksburg BattlefieldWe also drove the 17 mile drive through Vicksburg National Military Park.  The park commemorates the campaign, siege, and defense of Vicksburg in 1863 and includes 1340 monuments, markers, and plagues.  The park was set up showing the battlefields of both the Union and Confederates with many cannons aimed at each other on top of hills.  You could imagine the soldiers in the trenches or standing alongside the cannons.  The monuments that stood represent the states that fought in this battle.  Most states had several monuments and again the Union monuments were on one side of the park and the Confederate on the other.    This was truly a place that touched your soul.  We will try to get back to this area again to search out more in the areas surrounding Vicksburg.

IMG_7251   IMG_7274   IMG_7312   IMG_7313   IMG_7314

Tomato PlaceDoing my research again on Trip Advisor we found a unique place for a little lunch called the Tomato Place.  If you would be driving by it you would think it was a fruit and vegetable stand but even with that I don’t think I would have stopped.  The reviews were great so we had to try it.  It was really a hole in the wall (or I should say a hole in the ceiling).  First we couldn’t figure out how to get into it until someone opened the door to come out because the restaurant was behind the brown paper on the wall that listed the fruits and vegetable for sale.  Inside were maybe 6 tables in two tiny rooms that was clutter with things for sale.  The floor looked liked it might have been painted once and rain was coming in from the ceiling dripping on the man sitting next to us.  It was a very interesting place but the food was excellent.  Because it was so tiny we had a nice conversation with the two couples that sat next to us.  One of the guys came there often for lunch.  I guess that is why he didn’t mind the dripping water.  One last note – the owner sat at one of the tables and sharpened a knife on a stone all the while we ate.  It was a little ere.

Ouside Tomato Place       Door to Restaurant        Inside Tomato Place        Outside Tomato Place

LillyOur poor little Lily got bit while we staying in Vicksburg.  We stayed at a private campground that was about 50% full of workers.  We were out walking around the park with Lily and passed two large dogs walking this woman.  The dogs did not like Lily but we were far enough away not to worry.  Our next time out with her we walked by their camper and the door open and out shot one of the dogs.  It all happened so fast there was nothing we could do.  The dog grabbed Lily by the hips and I screamed, the dog let go and took off running.  The owners never came out but just stood in their doorway and called the dog.  We don’t think they were even aware of what happened.  Thankfully, Lily just had broken skin on her hinder but she was really afraid.  We had a hard time getting her to go outside again.  I wanted to report them to the office but Joe was concerned because of the dogs owners appearance.  I guess we watch too much TV and worry about the guy with the gun because this guy had at least one gun if not more.  Scary dude!  Lily survived as did I.  Hoping if we go back to this area we can find a different place to stay.

Our View from CamperOur next stop was at another beautiful Corp of Engineer Park in Tuscaloosa, AL., Deerlick COE.  This campground was on the bluffs overlooking a river.  We couldn’t find a site in the park that wasn’t fabulous.  We did have an issue with dragging our backend (that is the RV’s backend) as we tried to park in our site.  We ended up having to take the bikes off and letting the air out of the hitch but it worked.  We would love to go back to this spot but realize with the size of our RV and the steep inclines in most of the sites that some sites would work better for us than others.  I made a note of that in my journal for our next time and would suggest anyone stopping to check out the site before you reserved it.

Cold Morning Campsite on hillside Barges going thru Lock and Dam More Views inside camper Our campsite Deer every day thru Campground

Made an overnight stop in Cornersville, TN and then we intended to stop for two nights in Elizabethtown, KY.  Something happened to Joe’s back and we ended up in Urgent Care in Elizabethtown and an extra night.  We probably would have stayed longer for his back but our son Eric,  from Minnesota, was flying into Cincinnati on the 13th of March so we needed to move on.   A couple of days of not being able to bend, walk, sit or sleep and a day of throwing up sent us to urgent care with Joe’s back.    A couple of prescriptions, a few exercises to do, telling Joe to skip the heat and use ice and off we went back home.   It was enough to scare both of us.  Joe was worried that it was more than his back and I was worried about who was going to hook-up and drive.  It made me realize how dependent I am on Joe and his staying healthy.  He always tells me that there are many people in campground that would help but I still don’t want to think about him not being able to take care of things.  I try to be his shadow and learn all the outside things when hooking up but it is one of those things that if you don’t do it all the time you forget or at least I forget.  The trick is to stay healthy.  It is scary to see your love one in so much pain. So we are now in Ohio and after ten days on pills and following doctor’s orders, Joe is doing much better.  He is not 100% yet but getting there.

Eric flew into Cincinnati and stayed with us for four days.  We had a good time.  First time he was able to see his brother Zach’s house.  It was nice.  Zach and Lauren are busy working on their new home with the closing of the old house just a few weeks away.  They have set a move-in date for only a week away and they still have to finish the bathroom.  No doubt Zach will get it done.  Their new kitchen and the refurbished floors are beautiful.  The original floors from the 1930s look like they were just installed only you couldn’t buy floors that look like this now.  BEAUTIFUL!  It is all coming together and it will look even more spectacular when we return in the fall.

In less than two weeks we should be back in Minnesota.  Can’t wait to give those two little grandkids hugs and kisses and of course our kids also.

Life is too short and we don’t know what tomorrow brings.  Don’t say I’ll do that someday or tomorrow or when I have more time or money.  Each day is a gift – enjoy it!

Celebrate today and each other!  Stay safe!  Love to all!

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