Category: My Adventures (page 1 of 2)

Copper Canyon Trail, Hiking Trip #48

Copper Canyon Trail, Hiking Trip #48

Date: May 31, 2018

Goal: Hike Copper Canyon to crest

Weather: Beautiful, slight cloud cover. Start temp: 67 at 7:10 AM. Projected high: 94

Trail: Copper Canyon to crest

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: Projected 1.6 miles until trail hits washout then bushwhacked to crest (unknown)

Start Elevation: 5,906 Ft.

End Elevation: Same

Elevation Change: 945 Ft.

Calories Burned: 967 (at end of hike all trails showed twice but next day showed half. Not sure why???)

Do It Again: Probably not (see below)

Comments: To get to Copper Canyon you again have to drive to the south end of the Huachuca Mountains, over Montezuma’s Pass and then down the back side of the mountain, only a short drive. Not near as far as Bear Canyon. Just after passing over Montezuma’s Pass, we saw a  Coati Mundi  (actually, we only saw the tail as it crested the brim of the road and was gone).

The trailhead is right off the road, so no need to drive miles back to the trail head, as with Bear Canyon. There is a really neat rock outcropping right at the trailhead.

 

As you climb up the mountain, there are spectacular views

 

The trail was actually an old mining roadbed and would be a ball on a Can Am or Razor, with the exception that it turns out the trail is: Bad News, only about a mile long. Good News, it has an elevation gain of almost 1,000 feet over that mile! So, it is very steep! Very Steep! The mine goes back about 45-50 feet.

I went to the back of the mine while Scott stayed outside to make sure that we would get out alive (actually, he does like being inside mines). Anyway, inside the mine there were recent signs of illegals, using it as a place to stop over. Once we had checked out the mine, we tried to go to the crest, but immediately after the mine the roadbed/trail ceased to exist. There was reportedly a flood after the fire of 2011 that washed out part of the trail. In an effort to find the trail, we bushwhacked straight up the mountain for about a quarter of a mile. However, the dirt was loose and steeper than the trail had been, plus there was a large rock wall in front of us. We saw no easy way around, so we decided to go laterally hoping to find the trail; but, after about a quarter of a mile of this, we gave that thought up, too. We wondered where the illegals had gone to get out of there, NOT BACK DOWN, THAT’S FOR SURE!!!

Moving back down, we checked out the area just above the mine and found where the old miners had blasted out an area.

The green in the picture is copper and the holes are for blasting. On the way up to the mine, we had passed a spot that looked like there might have been another mine because of mine tailings; but after searching the area and sliding all over the mountain, we gave this up and just headed back down to Scott’s truck. This was probably our shortest hike but it was VERY interesting and VERY steep! We only covered 2.4 miles, round trip!!

After the hike, Scott wanted to go to the Ghost Town of Sunnyside. It was early so we headed there. On the way, we passed a deer (so, animal wise, this was a good trip as we briefly saw a Coati Mundi and a deer. There are hikes where we don’t even see or hear birds!). In the middle of nowhere (REALLY) we saw a street sign that said “Sunnyside”.

 After following the dirt road, we came to Sunnyside.

Here are two links, both worth a read: Sunnyside , More on Sunnyside We left Sunnyside and headed to Lighting Ridge Winery, as my kids got me a gift card for my birthday for two bottles of wine and lunch with my hiking buddy. But, Lighting Ridge is closed on Thursday’s (oh darn, I’ll have to go back). However, we did make it to the new brewery that recently opened in Sonoita: Copper Brothel Brewery.

This is my second, Scotts first, trip there and the atmosphere is very nice. While the menu is limited, it is very good food (they are adding items as they get more established). Starting June 1, 2018, they will be serving beers that they brewed at the brewery! We both had the Chimichanga, REALLY GOOD!! I would definitely get it again!! By the time we arrived back at Scott’s home, we had driven ALL the way around the Huachuca Mountains!! Short hike, Long ride, GREAT day!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bear Canyon Trail to Crest Trail   Hiking Trip #47

 Bear Canyon Trail to Crest Trail Hiking Trip #47

Date: May 17, 2018

Goal: Bear Canyon Springs then on to Crest Trail

Weather: Temperature 60 at start going to 90 at finish. It was sunny and very comfortable to start, then cool and VERY windy near the top, and then very warm once near the bottom and out of the wind. A Great Day for a hike!

Trail: Bear Canyon Trail

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: 5.6 miles round trip

Start Elevation: 5,917 ft

End Elevation: (Confluence of trails) 8,191

Elevation Change: 2,274 ft

Accumulated Gain: 2,175

Calories Burned: 1,987

Do It Again: ABSOLUTLY, but a long drive over dirt roads to get to the trail head, LOVING Scott’s truck!!!!

Comments: To get to Bear Trail head you must drive to the south end of the Huachuca Mountains onto Montezuma Canyon Road to Montezuma’s Pass, which is a dirt road going up from the Visitor’s Center of Coronado National Memorial. The road is paved for about a half mile past the Visitor’s Center and then it is dirt from there to the top for about 2.5 miles. Once at the top, you follow the dirt road down the back side of the mountains for about another 2-3 miles to Bear Canyon Road and then turning north for half mile or so. Arriving there, we found, SURPRISE SURPRISE, SIX Border Patrol vehicles!!

Border Patrol Parking Lot in the Middle of No where!!

We were only about 3-4 miles from the Mexican/US border BUT in the middle of nowhere!! There was one agent watching over the trucks (so the illegals would not steal them!)  informed us that the Border Patrol uses Bear Trail for training due to the large elevation change over a relative short distance.

 

The Trail: It was well marked and easy to follow BUT VERY steep! The trail was BEAUTIFUL – probably one of the prettiest we have hiked, rivaling Hamburg Trail. REALLY, THAT Pretty! The trail followed a small stream  which actually had a bit of water in it

There was plenty of canopy to block the sun which, on the way back, we really appreciated that. The trees changed from chaparral-type trees at the start to large pine trees as the elevation increased. Not too long after we started, we passed a metal water trough being fed from a nearby spring.

 

Gary By Trough

Scott By Trough

Further up the trail, Scott spotted a piece of deer antler in the stream.

As we hiked up, we passed 14 Border Patrol Agents coming down. The fastest one did the trial in one hour twenty-five minutes (or one hour forty-five minutes, depending on who you talked to)! Way faster than our three hours forty-nine minutes!! Finally, we arrived at Bear Spring where I felt a bit UNDERWHELMED, to say the least!

Gary At Bear Springs

 

Pushing on the Crest Trail we spotted what we believed to be an abandoned mine

The views were spectacular. As I said, this is really a beautiful trial!

As the trail neared the top, it opened up and you could see many trees that had been damaged by the numerous fires this area has seen.

 

 

At the Confluence of Trails

Once at the confluence of trails, we realized we had been here before but came up by way of Hamburg Trail, so now we have been to this saddle from both sides of the mountain. I found a fallen tree that I had sat on during our previous visit.

 

 

July 23, 2014

Gary May 17, 2018

 

Along the trail we passed lots of beautiful flowers, which was surprising since it has not rained in over two months!

As with our usual practice, we went to a local restaurant, Morning Star in Palominas, AZ. We had an ice cold beer in one of the few frosted glasses I have had in AZ….REALLY REALLY good after a long hot hike!! Food as pretty good, next time in the area we will visit this place again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ocotillo Trail Hiking Trip 46

Hiking Trip #46

Date: April 26, 2018

Goal: Hike the NEW trial at Kartchner caverns, The Ocotillo Trail

Weather: AZ BEAUTIFUL, very slightly over cast, warm…. And would get much warmer as hike proceeded!! High of 88!

Trail: The Ocotillo Trail

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: only 3.8 miles see below for reason

Start Elevation: 4,721 ft

End Elevation Same Start finish same location

Elevation Change: 390 ft

Accumulated Gain: 390 ft

Calories Burned: 886 (this is a new feature of All Trails App)

Do It Again: YES! But next time combine Guindani Trail loop for a little longer and little more strenuous hike.

Comments: Since this is a brand new trail we stopped at main gate to see where to pick up the trail and how long it was. The trail is actually a spur off the Foothills Trail and since it was relatively short we decided to park at the Guindani Trailhead hike over to Foothills Trial and proceed from there. Both the Foothills and Ocotillo Trails are well marked and both are easy to hike. There is not a lot of elevation change so these trails are well suited to almost anyone!

This is the first hike Scott and I have done since he tore his Achilles Tendon 30%. He did well and had no problems; this was a good choice of trails to get back in the hiking groove! We are fortunate to have so many trails nearby and such BEATIFUL scenery to hike in, these trails do not disappoint!!

On the Foothills Trail near Kartchner Caverns is a plaque describing a what is called a “Bedrock Mortar”. The American Indians used their to grind their grains.

Bedrock Mortar Plaque

Bedrock Mortar

                                                                                                             

 

Gary

Scott checking out an Ocotillo

 

 

Guindani Trail Loop Hiking              Trip #45

 

 

Guindani Trail Loop Hiking Trip #45

Date: March 8, 2018

Goal: Hike Guindani Loop Trail again, Warm up for 2018 hikes (I Hope) Guindani Loop Trail

Weather: FANTASTIC!!!! Totally Clear to start, while cool then as day progressed clouded over to keep us cool….FANTASTIC!!

Trail: Guindani Trail Loop

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: 4.2 Miles

Start Elevation: 4,743 Ft

End Elevation Same as it is a loop, Highest point 5,618

Elevation Change: 875

Accumulated Gain:

Do It Again: probably as it is an easy very pretty loop

Comments: I looked at the weather forecast for today and thought it would be cooler than it turned out to be. As I dressed I put on a long sleeve BLACK pull over, this would turn out to be a bad choice. As noted above the day started out cool and VERY sunny. In short order I took off my normal hiking jacket and just wore the BLACK pullover. Even this was warm BUT as luck would have it the clouds rolled in blocking the sun and REALLY cooled things off. NOW the pullover felt GREAT (with sleeves pulled up). We did this trail again for two reasons: A.) it is a very pretty/scenic trail, B) it is fairly easy and another “easy our way into the hiking season” trail. We did not see many animals but lots of Javelina diggings but were passed by some serious hikers; we were spotting for game as well as hiking. This is one of the prettiest trails to hike as it affords glorious canyons, beautiful vistas and as mentioned fairly easy. There are numerous mining sites in the area although most are either sealed or fenced off but you can see the tailings. One can only imagine what the old minors had to go through to bring their equipment in this area. We took a short detour trying to see a mine but it only turned out be a blasted out area with water well.

After the hike, as our usual practice, we stopped off for lunch at a new Mexican (yep another one) restaurant in Huachuca City.  Pullas Café  is a little Mom & Pop restaurant and the food was VERY good AND very plentiful, I am having my leftovers for lunch today!!!

Well until the next hike…….

For more information and pictures go to Guindani Trail Loop Hike # 31

Scott looking for Critters

Gary before shedding jacket

Scott

 

Manila Canyon,                                       Hiking Trip #44 A & B

Hiking Trip #44 A & B

Date: Dec 15, 2017 & March 3, 2018 Manila Canyon

Goal: First hike: to set up Camcorder to find out if there were any BIG deer in the area.

Second hike: to retrieve camcorder.

Weather: Dec 3: Sunny but VERY windy and cool. The wind gusts were around 35-45 MPH so on ridge lines it was darn right COLD!!!

March 3: BEAUTIFUL, it was sunny, almost no wind and warm. Ideal hiking weather!

Trail: None or very little mostly cow paths. Scott’s comment as we went under trees was that it had been carved out by cows “I wish the cows were taller so we wouldn’t have to bend over!!”

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: each trip was short, only about 3.2 miles round trip but with LOTS of ups and downs!

Start Elevation: Around 4,700 ft (a Guess as we did not take a reading)

End Elevation: 5,500 ft (a Guess as we did not take a reading)

Elevation Change: 700 ft (a Guess as we did not take a reading)

Accumulated Gain: Who cares!

Do It Again: Probably not as we accomplished what we needed to.

Comments: This was our first two part hike. Dec 3 we hiked up to Manila Canyon then down into it to place the camcorder on a trail. March 3 we retrieved camcorder. Scott and Tyler (his son) thought that because of the remote location there should be some large deer in the area. After retrieving the Camcorder and reviewing recoding they saw lots of cows (we saw A LOT of cow crap on way in and out of canyon) and a fair number of Javelinas but no BIG deer. It was a very nice hike and some BEAUTIFUL scenery!

Scott Weiss

Gary

 

Camcorder

Gary & Scott

 

Joe’s Trail (trip #3), Hiking Trip     #43

Joe’s Trail (trip #3), Hiking Trip #43

Date: January 6, 2018

Goal: Hike Joe’s trail to Coronado Peak (Third Trip up There)

Weather: Another beautiful day, I thought it might be windier on the ridges but the wind was just a nice cooling breeze. Are you wondering why we always have nice weather, we don’t hike in storms!!

Trail: Joe’s Trail (he is the guy who died of a snake bite)

Hiking Partner: Dana Binford

Distance: 7.1 Miles (From Huachuca Mountain Map)

Start Elevation: 5,219 Ft (Measured from Previous Trips)

End Elevation 6,902 Ft (Measured from Previous Trips)

Elevation Change: 1,683 Ft. (Measured from Previous Trips)

Accumulated Gain: 1,683 (Measured from Previous Trips)

Do It Again: Yep, third trip but it is one of my favorites: beautiful view of Southern Arizona and Mexico so I am sure I will do it again, sometime……

Comments: For more in-depth info on this trail go to my trips #18 and #20.

We had a very nice hike. The last part of the trail (hardest part) that leads to the top had a sign stating “Stay on trails”, and this seemed overgrown so we went the easier but longer way to the top. Views are as spectacular as always! Met a fair number of hikers today as it is a Saturday and the beginning of a New Year, lots of New Year Resolutions?? For those of you that read these you know I always like a “Carrot” at the end of a hike. Our “Carrot” today was Mimosa Pizzeria where we shared a VERY good Pizza and I had a very good glass of sangria!! Thanks, Dana, for lunch, a very nice end to a very nice hike!!

Dana on way up

Me on way up

Panorama from top of Coronado Peak

Panorama from top of Coronado Peak

Bob Thompson Peak in Background

 

 

 

Boy Scout to Gate #2, Hiking Trip #42

 

Boy Scout to Gate #2, Hiking Trip #42

Date: January 1, 2018

Goal: Go for a nice hike on New Year’s Day

Weather: FANTASTIC, Clear, slight breeze, GREAT day for a hike

Trail: Sawmill Trail to Crest Trail to Gate #2

Hiking Partner: Dana Binford

Distance: Total 7 miles

Start Elevation:

End Elevation

Elevation Change: 1,850 ft. (information form Huachuca Hiking Club Web site)

Accumulated Gain: LOTS!!!

Do It Again: Yep! Super Hike, but next time come back through or start through Scheelite Trial. Scheelite Trail was burned in the 2011 fire then washed out in the following year’s monsoon/flood, so it is hard to find/follow, and as the H.H.C. clubs says “A real butt kicker even for those with no butts!!”

Comments: To do this hike you have to enter Ft Huachuca, which requires a pass. After making it through the security check point we proceeded to have a tour of the Fort as they have changed some of the roads and neither of us was sure of how to get to Garden Canyon Rd., the road that would take us up to where our hike would begin. Once we found the road it was a really beautiful drive up to the abandoned Boy Scott picnic area. On the way up to the parking area we past 4 Coatimundi (a small raccoon like animal with long tail and black rings). I have never seen them in the wild so seeing 4 at one time was a real treat. Once we parked we headed over the locked gate which is there to stop vehicles from using the trial. The first part of the trail is an old washed out roadbed which lasts for about a mile (??), then up a steep wash covered by large rocks to large boulders. Dana was “on a mission” so I had to keep up, I mumbled something about this being only my second hike in a long while and Dana mumbled something about me getting a treadmill….. Anyway we made it to Crest Trail then “only” had 1 1/2 miles to go. I looked up and saw the peak WAY above us and asked the question “are we going there” Dana’s only comment was the devilish look in her eye and a “will see”! Yep up we went. From the time we left the parking area to the peak where gate #2 there is an elevation gain of 1,850 ft over, about 3 ½ miles, so pretty steep. Once at the top we stopped for a snack then headed back down which was WAY faster than going up!

The day could not have been nicer; at times a little cool other times warm, just a super day for a hike and this is only January 1st!!! As I said earlier I would do this again but include Scheelite Trail which intersects Crest Trail at gate #2.

Still have 1 1/2 miles to go “Almost straight up!” Well not quite…

 

Dana and yes that is SNOW!!

Me being held up by sign!

Dana Holding tree up!! She is in better shape than I am!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Mescal, Iron, Cottonwood Springs Hiking Trip #41

Mescal, Iron, Cottonwood Springs Hiking Trip #41

Date: January 28, 2017

Goal: Find Mescal Springs (AKA Iron Springs, Cottonwood Springs)

Weather: VERY, Very Chilly to start then not too bad. The sun was out which helped a lot.

Trail: There is an old stage coach roadbed we followed and Mescal River (no water in river, see below)

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: 4.1 Miles (between All Trails upgrades and my iPhone 6S I was able to REALLY track this hike, need to see how it will work when in the mountains…jury is still out on this)

Start Elevation: 4,825 ft

End Elevation: same

Elevation Change: 429 ft (see below)

Do It Again: Probably not, but really glad we did it, lots of history

Comments: Jack a friend of mine told me about Iron Springs (this spring has 3 different names, Mescal Springs, Iron Springs and Cottonwood Spring, we could not find a reason for this, other than to make it confusing). He said it is where Wyatt Earp shot and killed Curly Bill Brocius. For those who have seen the movie “Tombstone” you know who this was and which actor played the part. Here is a web site that describes the shoot out and the area. It is a short and very interesting read Shoot-out-at-cottonwood-springs/ . We drove as far as we could on a dirt “road”. Again thank god for Scotts 4 wheel drive truck AND brand new tires! From this point we walked (pretty flat so more of a walk than a hike) the remains of the old stage coach route (at times you could almost expect to see a stage coach coming around a corner). This is the route that stage coaches had to travel from Tucson to Tombstone. The coaches had to travel from water hole to water hole. Mescal Springs provided a place for travelers to stretch, freshen up, eat (at one time there were a few buildings here but very few of the foundations remain), a corral still remains to this day. Once we got to where the remains of holding tanks were we tried to find the actual spring.

 

Item of note: The spring dried up after the earthquake that flooded the mines in Tombstone and diverted the San Pedro River underground, so no actual spring.

Not finding anything that resembled a spring we decided to climb up a nearby hill to see if we could spot it, hence the elevation gain of 429 ft

.. We had been walking near the old Mescal river bed, in the shelter of the nearby hills, and as we climbed the hill the wind started to pick up and wind chill started to set in…it got cold real FAST! Not seeing anything promising we headed back down out of the wind to see if we could find any GPS coordinates on our “Smart Phones” for the spring. GREAT to have “Smart Phones” to be able to do this! Once we had the coordinates we headed back to VERY near where the holding tanks where. We had been very close to the spring but could not see anything due to the heavy brush. Go figure, a spring with trees and brush around it!! We found a small dam (Picture) and more plumbing to get the water to the tanks

. It was very cool to be in such a historic place. The hike is easy and scenery very beautiful, the spring a little underwhelming but if you realize this was a stagecoach stop and a place where Earp supposedly shot Curly Bill, and then all in all it is pretty neat. All in all a good hike/walk.

 

Bisbee to Juniper Flats & Beyond Hiking Trip #40

 

Bisbee to Juniper Flats & Beyond Hiking Trip #40

Date: December 15, 2016

Goal: Hike from Bisbee to Juniper Flats (Road to Antenna Array), then find a ridge line trail back to Bisbee.

Weather: Hate to keep saying this but: GREAT! Only slight wind, cool to start, nice and warm to finish.

Trail: Hopefully we would find one

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: approximately 8 miles

Start Elevation: 5,538 ft

End Elevation About 6,700ft

Elevation Change: 1,162ft

Accumulated Gain: 1,162ft (all uphill or downhill depending on which way you are going, NO flat spots!)

Do It Again: Parts of it yes (see below), the rest of it, no

Comments:

Definition of walk: 1.) an act of traveling or an excursion on foot, 2.) an unhurried rate of movement on foot.

Definition of hike: 1.) a long walk, especially in the country or wilderness. 2.) a sharp increase in elevation.

Our plan (another flawed plan): Our plan was to park Scott’s truck near St Elmo’s/ Bisbee Brewing so upon our return we could grab; either just a beer or a brat and a beer (this was the only part of the plan that worked), hike through Bisbee, up Tombstone Canyon Rd to Juniper Flats road (this road leads to the antenna array atop Mule Mountain), find a trail on the ridge line leading back to Bisbee, our truck and said beer/brat. We hiked or walked depending on your point of view as most of the walk/hike was on city or county roads, all up hill

until we arrived at Juniper Flats Rd, then we definitely hiked up it, looking for a crossover trail that would lead to a ridge line trail back to Bisbee. The only trail we found had a big blue shipping box on it. The box was made in China and was a LONG way from either water or home!

Reaching the top peak of this part of the mountain we saw NO, NONE, ZERO trails to get us back to Bisbee. The peak is approximately 6,700 ft in elevation so the air is a little thin.

With that is mind we headed back the way we came. Hiking down to the road then walking back down to the truck/beer/brat. Round trip was about 8 miles, 4 mi. all up and 4 mi. all down!! Trip through town on foot was neat as the roads are very narrow so when driving you miss a lot of interesting sights. As we approached our destination we decided on beer and brats (only Bisbee Brewing has beer and brats) so Bisbee Brewing it was. Our hostess on this day was especially pleasant and could tell we were BEAT so she brought the beers to us.

                   

                                    

GREAT Beers, Great Brats and another hike/walk accomplished. We will come back in an effort to find a trail along the ridge someday…..

Bisbee, Hiking Trip #39

 

Bisbee, Hiking Trip #39

Date: December 8, 2016

Bisbee out back:

Goal: Bisbee hike to Monument at Peak

Weather: Another beautiful Arizona day: clear skies, cool weather and little to NO wind!!

Trail: no name, but goes to top of mountain monument

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: 3-3.5 miles as a guess (need to get a GPS) with all the ups and downs

Start Elevation: ??? Bisbee is 5,538 and we started higher than that (GPS??

End Elevation Peak ??? 6,100 ??

Elevation Change: 500-600 ft???

Accumulated Gain:

Do It Again: Probably not – a been there done that type trail but VERY interesting!

Comments: My other hiking partner (actually hikerette partner) Dana has been suggesting we do this for over a year so since we were looking for new trails we chose to do this one. I had to call her the night before to get better directions and then called her again while we were trying to find a parking spot and trail head (we have been having a hard time with trail heads lately)! We found a good spot to park EXCEPT for the decrepit, weather beaten “No Parking” sign. We usually take Scott’s 4 wheel drive truck but since I knew about where we were going and the roads are very tight, we appropriated Patti’s little Jeep…good move. After giving up on the “No Parking’ spot we had to figure out how to get the Jeep into 4 wheel drive (not since it was new did I do this and then only to check out all the little bottoms and knobs). Finally in 4 wheel drive we went up a steep 45 degree dirt path. We did this for about 500-600ft then decided this was a BAD idea as the path took a sharp turn to the left and went down an even steeper incline. Back we go again. We finally decided to park in the “No Parking” spot, hoping that we would not create a problem…. Once parked, we found a trail head of sorts and started up. The trail is mostly very loose rock. Our guess is that this area is covered with mine tailings but could see no signs of a mine nearby. The Bisbee area is riddled with mines and the  Lavender Pit  and Copper Queen Mine  are both located less than a mile from here. Old Bisbee (there is no New Bisbee) besides being a mining town, has (to be kind) a VERY eclectic population. On the way to the monument on top we passed a few unique “religious” sites.

At the top the Monuments were interesting, for lack of better words, and the views spectacular.

 

Since the hike was not too long or strenuous we went looking for another hike and spotted a nearby hill with an interesting dirt road up

so off we went. We passed a pile of rocks; someone had been very busy or buried a body???

On our way down passed another monument

then up the other mountain. As we looked back from where we had come we could see the cross and the most recent monument on the side of the hill.

While walking up this second mountain we speculated as to the purpose of the road, again guessing that it was for taking core samples for a future mine but again saw no signs, soooo not sure as to reason of road. Lots of work/expense for a road to nowhere! Again more beautiful views can even see Mexico from here.

Well, time to head down and see if Patti’s car is still there?? We cannot believe when we were almost back to Old Bisbee we came across another religious site. This one dedicated to the Dalai Lama.

 

Did I mention the Old Bisbee is VERY eclectic!! Scott and I hiked back to where we left the car and it was still there…YEAH!! We were also able to talk to a local owner that confirmed this was private property and cars had been towed from here! Off to our final stop for the day St Elmo’s

More beautiful views:

 

 

 

Hiking Trip #36, 37, 38 Palominas to Mexican Border

Hiking Trip #36, 37, 38 Palominas to Mexican Border

Date: July 2016, Sept 2016 and Dec 1, 2016

Goal: 2 easy hikes and one new location Hike

Weather: Weather for all 3 hikes was GREAT, sunny, totally clear skies

Trail: This is to catch you up on hikes that did not make their own blogs

Hike 36 was Joe’s Trail: see 2 previous hikes for Joe’s trail for more details on this trail. On this day the only difference was we were buzzed by a Border Patrol helicopter! We were hiking the section of the ridge line that is fairly flat before the final push up to Montezuma Peak. When from BELOW a BP helicopter rose up to check us out….ever see a helicopter from above looking down on the top? Pretty neat! Once they knew we were not illegals they flew off into to sunset, well over the horizon.

Hike 37 was Ramsey Preserve Trail to Hamburg Trial: See various hikes that mention Ramsey Preserve. My big thrill on this day was that besides the Turkey I hike with, we saw over 15 wild turkeys twice! VERY cool! The turkey population is really rebounding and there is actually an open season on them.

Hike 38 Palominas trail head hike: December 1, 2016

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss all 3 hikes

Distance: Palominas: about 3 miles (hard to say with all the direction changes)

Start Elevation: fairly flat, mostly along the San Pedro River

End Elevation Same

Elevation Change: near zero

Accumulated Gain: almost none

Do It Again: yes if we can actually find the trial (see below)

Comments: Scott was looking for some new trails for us to hike and came across this trail on a map. We found the trail head without any drama but there were no maps or markers to help us locate the trail head….so in an effort to find the trail we set out on what looked like some knocked down grass heading toward the San Pedro River. After about a half mile we decided this was not a real trail so we headed back to the starting point. As we hiked back Scott made some phone calls to Forestry Service (there is a ranger office about 5 miles from where we were, but all we could get on the phone was Phoenix…no help there). Called BLM, again no help. So arriving back at square one we wondered around the area looking for a trail….all to no avail. Deciding that the day was wasting away we headed back toward the San Pedro River and hiked south in the direction of Mexico. It is hard to believe that before the earthquake barges used to go up and down the river. At places we could cross it without getting our feet even muddy!! This really turned out to be a beautiful hike, very quiet and relaxing. We saw about 12-15 mule deer, a Harris Hawk and a Great Horned owl (twice) and lots of birds. Hike turned out VERY nice and as mentioned earlier if we ever find the trial head may do it again. As is now our custom we would stop at a local beer parlor (sounds better than beer joint) and had a beer at Bonnie’s Pub (sounds better than Bar)….oh it was 11:30 AM and had a small crowd! Another GREAT day!!

Ballard and Fissure Peaks Hiking Trip #35

Ballard and Fissure Peaks Hiking Trip #35

Date: April 14, 2016

Goal: Ballard to Fissure Peaks located in the Mule Mountains near Bisbee, AZ.

Weather: Started out at 7:37 AM, sky was TOTALLY sunny NO clouds with temp 67. High was projected to be 82, with winds around 10-15 MPH. Good day for a hike!

Trail: Ballard to Fissure Peaks trail. It starts out on private land and quickly crosses over to BLM land (U.S. Forest Service). Trails follows an old fence line and Scott said the metal fence post were from around 1910-20 (old!), when the configuration was changed to a more user friendly configuration. He knew this because his Grandfather who lived in Montana had a huge pile of them…trying to corner the market??? The trail is very small and narrow but in most places easy to follow.

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: Projected to be 4.2 miles but we only did about 3.4 miles, see below

Start Elevation: 5,900 ft

End Elevation 7,370 FT

Elevation Change: 1,473 Ft over 1.7 miles (very, very steep)

Do It Again: Maybe and then only to get to both peaks.

Comments: Mule Mountain has the highest peaks in the bowl that makes up the San Pedro River Valley EAST of Sierra Vista with the highest being Fissure 1,773. On a nearby peak (not quite as high as Ballard or Fissure), but a better location, is an antenna array. I was driven to the antenna array last fall by a member of the Cochise County Ham Radio Club. The Ham Radio Club was looking into changing the design of their antenna and I tagged along to see the array.

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Antenna Array From Trail Head Parking Lot

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Antenna Array from Ballard Peak

The road to the antenna array would have made Scott happy as it was as crappy as most roads he gets us onto. The view from the array mountain is better for seeing the town of Bisbee but Ballard is way better for seeing “as far as the eye can see”, including into Mexico!! There is a small parking area where the trail head is located with an obelisk stating the road was completed between 1913-1914 by PRISON LABOR. Our current prison population would not even know where to start!

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Obelisk

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Obelisk

 

As mentioned earlier the trail to Ballard is very narrow and steep but a good hike with views of both sides of Mule Mountain. Well worth the hike. To the west (Sierra Vista side) you could see all the way to the Huachuca Mountains.

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San Pedro River Valley

The valley between the Huachuca Mountains and Mule Mountain is the San Pedro Valley River (named after our RAGING river, NOT) and to the east is the Sulfur Springs Valley all the way to the Chiricahua Mountains (this mountain range is also known as Cochise’s Stronghold), so you can see a LOT!!

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Mexico

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Sulfur Springs Valley, Old Bisbee

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Sulfur Springs River Valley

 

At the peak of Ballard there is a beautifully welded sign with 1 Kings 18:37 (God will get our attention and force us to make choices, despite our desire to avoid decisions or our wish to be secular. When the lightning strikes it may be painful but it will be about grace). The sign looked heavy and I would not have wanted to haul it up to the peak.

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Gary, Fissure Peak in Background to Right

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Scott, Fissure Peak in Background to Right

We only made it to the peak of Ballard as Scott had to save some energy to play 3 hours of tennis…REALLY sucked to be him. Fissure Peak is about .4 miles further along and it is not totally clear as to which peak is higher. There is only 3-4 ft difference between the peaks. Different maps have different elevations…go figure your tax dollars at work!

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Ballard and Fissure Peaks in Background

We finished up at 11:44 AM.

As is our standing regimen we went on to have a beer and a sandwich. This day we went to one of our favorite haunts, Bisbee Brewing Co. where we had Brats and some REALLY good micro brew and REALLY good service……NICE!

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Pretty Spring Flowers

Reference for this blog: (really good pictures too)

http://www.summitpost.org/ballard-fissure-peaks-mule-mountains/155084

 

 

Abril Mine Hiking Trip #34

Abril Mine Hiking Trip #34

Date: April 5, 2105

Some History first:

The Abril Mine: Started by the Abril brothers around 1903 but not really worked hard until 1945-1953, it was then closed and worked again in the 60s. The mine produced among other things: Lead, Silver, Copper, Zinc, a little bit of Gold, Wollastonite (??)

The web site, below, has more information and neat pictures but not sure when they were taken as almost none of the structures still exist today, too bad! Well worth a quick visit to the web site.

Mine Web Site: Abril Mine Web Site

Goal: To reach Abril Mine and explore mine, located in the Dragoon Mountains

Weather: Sky hazy, high projected to be 82. No bright sun and not TOO hot. VERY NICE!

Trail: Nice change as we had an old mine road to hike once the drivable “road” ran out, NO Bushwacking. Most of this road was not as bad as the road to the “Rock” but it did take us about 45 minutes to go about 10 miles to where it finally gave out and we had to hike the rest of the way.

Hiking Partner: A real change, we hiked with about 12 members of the Sierra Vista Hiking Club. It was nice to talk to different folks and learn a little about them. Scott and I pretty much know each other’s likes/dislikes so not much discussions.…”just do it”. As the Hiking Club does different hikes that interest us, we will join them.

Distance: 6.13 miles Round Trip

Start Elevation: 5,844 Ft

End Elevation Same start stop point

Elevation Change: 1,110 Ft (that is equal to 110 story building over about 3 miles!!)

Do It Again: Maybe to explore the mine more (bringing flashlights, ropes or popcorn so we do not get lost inside!!)

Comments: For this hike Scott and I did a few things differently: 1.) We did this hike with the SV hiking Club as mentioned earlier. 2.) We hiked the Dragoon Mountains; never hiked there before (you can see these mountains from our backyard even though even though it is 30 or more miles away):  3.) We drove to the hike site with someone else; Gary Smith, a friend of Scott’s is a member of the hiking club and volunteered to drive. I almost could hear Scott’s truck breathe a sigh of relief or it might have been chuckling, knowing what was ahead for Gary Smith’s Toyota FJ.

Upon getting into Gary Smith’s FJ, I SMASHED my head against the door latching mechanism….going to be a long day!! We drove from the meeting point in Sierra Vista to Middlemarch RD  “road”. The rest of the drive to Middlemarch Rd was uneventful. The “road” which is actually graded dirt, for the first few miles was actually not bad. Once we passed the turn off for Nogales/Elfrida the “road” deteriorated quickly, more of a path than a road. Thank goodness for 4 wheel drive! Lucky for Scott there were no gates to open as HE was sitting in the Volunteer Gate Openers Seat (passenger seat). We stopped riding at an old windmill and started our hike. What was a bouncy/tossed around ride turned into a slip/sliding hike up the remaining road/path. The remaining road had most of the dirt washed out and was filled with loose rocks of various sizes and made hiking very problematic. The views were spectacular

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Scott and Members of SV Hiking Club

Scott and Members of SV Hiking Club

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Once at the mine we scouted around and found a shaft that went straight down for as far as you could see, with a large anchor bolt sticking out of the nearby rock. Not sure if this shaft was an air shaft or an access shaft.

Vertical Mine Shaft

Vertical Mine Shaft

There are also the remains of a chute that due to the dangerousness of the roadway and a toll charged by a local rancher, the miners used to get the ore out and trucked it to nearby Bisbee for processing. Not much remains today.

Remains of Mine Chute

Remains of Mine Chute

Remains of Mine Chute

Remains of Mine Chute

Remains of Mine Chute

Remains of Mine Chute

The inside of the mine was like Swiss cheese with tunnels going every which way! There are supposed to be 5 levels to the mine but we pretty much stayed to 2 of them. We stayed in the mine for about a half hour but did not go to the end, although some of our group did. We really saw some beautiful rock formations and colors. There are Copper and Sulfur, the gold color is pyrite deposits, VERY pretty.

Copper, Sulphur and Pyrite Deposits

Copper, Sulphur and Pyrite Deposits

Unfortunately I did not get many pictures as I did not think they would come out. Next time we go, and I think we will…someday, we will bring real flashlights ( iPhones lights are good but not THAT good) and ropes or some means of getting out…also VERY important!

Scott and Steve at Mine Opening

Scott and Steve at Mine Opening

The hike back was almost as bad as we had to hike up to the peak of the road then down to ours vehicles. As I approached our rides, I passed a holding tank the windmill must have filled back in the day.

Wind Mill

Wind Mill

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Retention Tank

Retention Tank

Off to Big Nose Kate’s for a beer and a Reuben…..I am beginning to think we hike just for this….???

P.S. We were going to do a trail near Bisbee but this came up so maybe we will do it next hike???

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rock, Hiking Trip #33

The Rock, Hiking Trip #33

Date: March 31, 2016

Goal: To Climb on top of “The Rock”

Weather: Started out 39 degrees, somewhat cloudy, then sunny and warmer by mid way up to top. Once on top of the peak leading to “The Rock” it had cooled off and we could see rain in distance coming our way. NOT something we like when we are bushwhacking! By the time we arrived back at Scott’s truck it was darn right cold and threatened to rain at any minute. Thankfully it did not rain until we were back on paved roads but unfortunately it only sprinkled

Trail: NONE – we bushwhacked our way to the peak and our attempt the climb “The Rock”

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: about 5 miles (still having problems with GPS, GPS is having problems with ME)

Start Elevation: 5,005 FT

End Elevation 5,804 Ft at peak of mountain

Elevation Change: 804 ft

Do It Again: No, as we accomplished what we wanted to do…unless we bring ropes and pitons but then we would be Mountain Climbers not hikers. Climbers have more guts than brains; hikers have more brains than guts…got it?

Comments: Last week we did Ramsey Preserve to Hamburg Trail up to Comfort Springs about 5 miles in total. For more information on those trails, go to Ramblingitalian.com. The only item of interest we encountered were the most WILD turkeys I have ever seen. Near the entrance of Ramsey Preserve there were between 20 and 30 Toms looking for hen turkeys to mate with. I felt sorry for any hens they found!! On our departure from the preserve they were all gone….hens???

“The Rock” Since I first visited AZ wine country, in Elgin AZ, I wanted to climb what I call “The Rock”. As far as we know it has no official or unofficial name so it is “The Rock”.

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As you can see from the pictures “The Rock” has either pulled away from the main part of the mountain or through the eons of erosion a deep crevice has formed separating it. I am of the opinion that it has separated due to erosion. At any rate I have wanted to try to climb on top of it!! Two weeks ago we did Biscuit because Scott and I were talking about different mountain tops. But this way we will have done both, so that part of this hike worked out well. The off road ride back to the starting point was an adventure in itself. After turning off AZ 82 we came to a gate, from this point on we would be on a private ranch which allows hiking and hunting, very nice of the rancher. The “road” follows one set of the power lines bringing electricity into Sierra Vista. I am glad we are using Scott’s truck as this “road” (more a path) SUCKS! The gate I opened would be one of four we would pass through. Since I was the passenger, I was volunteered to be Gate Opener/Closer (driving has its perks). We passed a construction crew swapping out older wooden poles for metal poles. Due to illegals in the area, there were security guards guarding the equipment, made us feel really safe for our hike….. On our return trip we had to go around the repair crew as their crane was blocking the “road”. Other than grass and a few rocks I had to move, it was hard to tell the “road” from the desert.

Once we arrived at a good place to park the truck we scoped out the best way to the top and started our hike. As mentioned it was cool at the start then warming to the point I was regretting wearing my hiking jacket….I was sweating! The hike up was pretty steep as we (me) like to go in a straight line (as straight as can be on a mountain) instead of switch backing. As we ascended the view was AWSOME.

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Scott

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The clouds gave a lot of definition to the nearby mountains. We passed more fossilized sea shells and some very pretty flowers.

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Arriving on top, we were stunned by the beauty that could be viewed from the main mountain top. The panorama was awesome. This alone made the hike worthwhile.

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Gary

Gary

 

After checking out the view and taking pictures we made our way to “The Rock”. After spending some time trying to discern whether there was a way over/around the large crevice separating it from the main mountain, we decided that we would be crazy AND dead to try to get there!

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While we were checking “The Rock” we spotted what looked like a cairn at the top so someone had to CLIMB it…..far braver and/or dumber than either of us! The hike down was uneventful with the exception of Scott pointing out a damn and the pond behind it was full of spring run off water.

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By the time we arrived back at the truck I was VERY happy I had worn my Hiking jacket and Scott was muttering something about wishing he had worn long pants!??! Oh, I did manage to run into another prickly pear cactus (which I never did see) but thankfully most of the thorns went into my hiking sock and did not present a problem until I went to take off said sock…Patti helped pull thorns out. She also removed a few that had festered since last week’s hike. I do not like these cacti!!

We headed to Tombstone for Big Nose Kate’s Reubens and to our disappointment the kitchen was closed so over to Crystal Palace for food and a few beers!!

Next week Bisbee: There is a mining trail that Scott heard about that sounds like fun!

 

 

 

Mt Bruce Hiking Trip #32

Goal: Mt Bruce (Locally know as Biscuit)

Weather: Another beautiful Arizona day (we try to hike only on nice days…and usually succeed). The high was projected to be 81 and sunny. I thought since we started on the south side of the mountain by the time we got around to the north face where we would attempt the ascent to the top that we would be in the shade of the mountain…wrong! Took us longer to get there than planned…as many of you know, many times our plans do not work!

Trail: NONE!!! Scott had been on the Sierra Vista Hiking club web site and read that there was a trail….we NEVER found it. We did find a few  Cairn  on the way up and even fewer on the way down. So basically this was a “Cross Country” hike. This may remind many of you of our Lutz Mine Hike; it certainly did remind us of it See Lutz Mine #1 if you have forgotten)

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: As best as we could measure 5.6 miles

Start Elevation: 4,733

End Elevation 6,261 (at the Peak)

Elevation Change: 1,528

Accumulated Gain: A lot due to ups and downs

Do It Again: Gary: NO! Scott: maybe (ANOTHER bad idea!!)

Comments:  Scott finally got his GPS to me and I spent a few days before the hike figuring it out (read that as trying). I thought I had the basics down, but I had it set too fine on the tracking setting so by the time we arrived at the top “Battery Low” was displayed. Once back home I re-set it and will install fresh rechargeable just before we leave on next hike to see how that works??? I will report on my success/failure after next hike.

I had been telling Scott I want to hike the mountain to the BIG out cropping on the way to Elgin (one of our really good wine areas). He called it Biscuit so I ASSUMED we were talking about the same mountain…NOT. On the drive out I wanted to get a few pictures of it for these stories. When I told him where I wanted to stop for my first picture his words “you can NOT see Biscuit from here”. Me: “sure it is right THERE!” Well, we are going to MY Mountain in about two weeks. This is where I wanted to go:

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This is where we went:

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Biscuit: Real name is Mt Bruce (if you have read our Joe’s Trail story you know it was named after Joe because he died off a snake bite…hope Bruce did not die the same way). As you can see by the pictures it is a huge rock wall on top of a mountain with a possible way up on the north side but the easiest way there is from the right around to the north. This is what we thought, but if we had gone to the left we would not have had to go as far and saved a LOT of energy. As it was, we ended up hiking almost all the way around, RIGHT AT THE BASE OF THE ROCK! At least if Scott does it again he will know which way to go! To make our hike easier we hiked up a lower mountain to the right of Biscuit which the leads over to it and here is where we found lots Nautilus Fossils

IMG_1222 . Pretty cool! We saw quite a few of these on the way to the connecting saddle between the two mountains. Also on this lead mountain is where I ran into a prickly pear Cactus.

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Cannot believe in all our hikes this is the first time either of us have ended up in PP. The spines from the PP were digging into my leg so I dropped my pants and started pulling as many splinters as I could out on the side of the mountain…not funny! As I did this I recalled when my daughter Alyssa was small. She fell into a cactus at her Aunt Linda’s home and we poured hot wax on the spines to get them out. Once home I had my wife try this but she used a smokeless candle…did not work so well! But I digress, back to the hike and Biscuit Mountain. As we made our way around to the assent side of the Rock, we found a cave but saved our energy for the climb to the top, we did not explore it.

At the summit much to our surprise there was a stone structureIMG_1240

IMG_1244 IMG_1243. I do not know who would have the energy to climb this AND then have the energy to build it at the top….CRAZY! The view from the top was incredible. We could see some of our favorite wineries, Scott could see his old homestead, all BEAUTIFUL! As I mentioned the batteries in the GPS were getting low at the peak but we were able get an altitude reading, 6,261ft. We climbed over 1,500 ft in about 2 miles, not bad for 2 old guys! The descent down was faster as we did not have to traverse around the mountain.

On a side note: I give up alcohol for Lent every year except for one or 2 SPECIAL occasions and since today was St Patrick’s Day AND we climbed The Biscuit I had brought along ( in Scott’s truck) 2 bottles of Henry’s Hard Soda , orange flavor, and it tasted GREAT!! Then we went to Big Nose Kate’s in Tombstone where we hooked up with our wives and had Reuben sandwiches and I had a 1554 beer from New Belgium Brewery, one of my favorite beers. I had set aside a special wine for dinner but my wine buddy was doing angel of mercy chauffeuring duty. Another GREAT adventure!

More Pictures:

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Kartchner Caverns,                               Guindani Loop Trail Hike #31

Hiking Trip #31 Kartchner Caverns, Guindani Loop Trail

Date: March 3, 2016

Goal: Hike Guindani Loop Trail (first local mountain trail not in the Huachuca Mountains)

Weather: Very slightly over cast, temp projected to be around 83 mid day, winds 10-15 MPH perfect for hiking

Trail: Guindani Loop Trail

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: 4.25 miles

Start Elevation: 4,646

End Elevation same~ start/stop same point

Elevation Change: 1,250 feet

Accumulated Gain: same, up and down

Do It Again: YES, very, very beautiful scenery

Comments: Just to bring you up to speed, this is the third hike I have done this year but the previous 2 were to places I have written about previously.

First Hike: was Perimeter Trail, which I did with Dana and the only thing different was weather: we started with virtually no snow at the trail head to about 8 inches as we neared the cut off on Carr Canyon road, see attached pictures…the dog is the famous/infamous Kimi. Kids sled riding in southern AZ does not happen often!!IMG_1135[1] IMG_1142[1] IMG_1145[1] IMG_1147[1] IMG_1148[1] IMG_1149[1] IMG_1150[1] IMG_1154[1] IMG_1152[2] IMG_1153[1]

Second Hike: Joes Canyon Trail with Scott Weiss. The highlights of this hike: We were passed by 2 Border patrol officers on horseback, then a while later another BP officer on a VERY slow horse, horse must have thought he was going to the glue factory. There had been a report of Coyotes (drug carrying illegal’s) and the BP folks were after them. Then before we reached Montezuma’s Peak we were passed by around 10 BP agents running (more a fast trot actually) down the mountain to help the officers on horseback. As we went down we passed the officer on the slow horse who said they did not capture any Coyotes but were still looking for them. This is the most agents we have encountered in ALL our hikes combined!

 

Today’s Hike: We have hiked many trails on the Huachuca Mountains and were up for a change of location. Guindani Loop Trail head is located inside the boundaries of Kartchner Caverns State Park  and as name says, it is a loop. In very short order the trials leads into the Coronado National Forest. The weather was perfect for hiking and we did the uphill climb on the north side in the shade of the mountain and the downhill on the south side in the sun which worked out GREAT. On the decent we had a nice breeze which kept us comfortable…good way to hike! This is a very well marked trail so we had no need to go “cross country” (always an adventure). There were a lot of small mining operations going on in the past and as we returned to the trail head one part of the mountain looked like giant gophers had been digging, or giants playing with hand grenades, pictures attached. Too bad the pictures do not really show this. There are some beautiful views of canyons and mountain tops as well the beautiful valley floor below. A relatively easy trail with lots of neat places to enjoy a picnic of good wine, cheese and Italian bread….ummmmm! Too bad we did not bring anything other than Power Bars and a peanut butter sandwich….nowhere as good, maybe next time??!!IMG_1190[1] IMG_1178[1] IMG_1180[2]IMG_1181[1] IMG_1183[1] IMG_1184[1] IMG_1185[2] IMG_1186[1] IMG_1188[2]

 

 

 

 

Bob Thompson Peak, Hike #31

 

Hiking Trip #31

Date: April 29, 2015

Goal: Bob Thompson Peak

Weather: This is getting boring: it was another beautiful day, starting temperature was 63 and by the time we finished it was 83 completely clear. Another than some dust in the air you could see forever (well almost).

Trail: Bob Thompson Trail and Peak

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: About 5.3 miles round trip: as usual we went right when we should have gone left. BUT the trail marker was not the one we were looking for so we walked 3/8 mile passed the turn off for the trail. SO before we even started our hike we hiked ¾ of a mile (round trip) further than we should have!

Start Elevation: 5,728 FT.

End Elevation 1,597 FT. ALL up!

Elevation Change: 1,597 as I said ALL up!

Accumulated Gain: 2,000 Ft as I said ALL up!

Do It Again: Possibly as we would like to find the mine near the crest of the trial but NEVER, EVER go to the peak again….more on that to follow. Dana, my other hiking partner said there is a mine; she will have to lead us as we could not fine it!

Comments: We started out at 8:30 and followed an old eroded mine “road” and as I mentioned we missed our turn off so had to back track but trail was wide and easy to hike. It is a 2 mile hike to the crest where the “road” ends. Would not drive it today in anything other than an ATV not sure I would have driven it in anything back in the day. Lots of switch backs and fairly steep as it gains over 1,500 ft in 2 miles! Once at the crest we were greeted by a spectacular view of Mexico and Hereford (a small community in southern AZ)….and a huge rock out cropping that IS Bob Thompson Peak. The trail to this point was very easy and more of a walk than a hike, although a steep walk. The trail just came to an abrupt end at the crest or saddle between two peaks! We scouted around for the mine as well as a trail for the last push to the top, which was about 500 feet straight up from where we were. Scott forgot our mountaineering ropes (we do not have any). Could not find the mine or any “real” trail to the top, Dana swears there is one…too much heat, elevation or wine??? Scott found what could be very loosely described as, at best, a miniature path, very miniature. We scrambled over rocks/boulders all the while making sure we did not fall the 1,500 feet or so to the canyon below. More than once we asked ourselves if this was a good idea…answer NO! But old guys are stubborn so we pushed ahead! Our reward for perseverance was an even more spectacular view of the surrounding area AND our second USGS marker at the highest point of the peak (see Huachuca Peak Hike). We really felt a sense of accomplishment getting to the peak. Unfortunately pictures do not really capture the full effect of the views. I even took some pictures using the “panoramic” feature of my phone and it still is only good but not great. As to scaring the wits out of you, we moved the push to the top of Bob Thompson to #2, Lutz Mine Hike #1, was the absolute worst followed by the push to the Bob Thompson now #2, followed by Hangover trail in Sedona which is now #3.

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Explore Coronado Cave, Hike #30

Hiking Trip #30

Date: April 22, 2015

Goal:  Explore Coronado Cave

Weather: Typical AZ day: cool in the morning and crystal clear, not even the smallest cloud in the sky!

Trail: Just the trail up to the cave

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: Round trip including Cave: roughly 2 miles (includes wondering inside of cave.

Start Elevation: 5,230 ft

End Elevation 5,700 ft

Elevation Change: 470 ft (roughly equitant climbing a 50 story building!)

Accumulated Gain: 470 ft

Do It Again: yes, neat in the rainy season (see below)!

Comments: I had heard from a friend of mine that the cave was nothing special so I never really wanted to do it. Scott is hampered by a bad ankle (which he has been told to “rest”) and old age. So he thought this would be a good easy hike, plus as has been our recent habit, drinking beer afterwards (getting really good on this latter item). Started out about 9:00 AM and just a great day, cool, amazingly clear…it is tough to live here….but someone has to do it. We checked in at the Ranger station to see if we needed to be aware of anything special. Found out where the parking area was and to not touch any stalactites/stalagmites and have a good time. Also found out that a group of German junior high school students were going to be caving also, so get there before them! Off we went. The parking area is about a half mile from the ranger station and paved. We strapped on our usual hiking gear, but with the exception of water and Scott’s head mounted lights did not need anything more. The hike up is relatively short, 3/4 of a mile but steep and very well marked. Once at the cave opening we strapped on the headlamps and climbed over and down into the cave. The way down is not long BUT you are climbing down over large and small boulders….not for the faint of heart. Once at the bottom the cave does not appear to be very large….deceiving as it goes back over 600 feet and opens onto two very large rooms (not Carlsbad Caverns size rooms but quite large, especially for a free cave). Once we made it to the back of the cave and explored it we turned off our headlamps: DARK, BLACK close your eyes and open them, it makes NO difference, you literally cannot see your hand in front of you REALLY. The Cave is still active, we heard a few drops of water falling and spotted small wet spots on the floor indicating moisture. It would be neat to see/hear the difference toward the end of our Monsoon season. There are a few stalactites/stalagmites and other formations. The Students caught up with us and the little bit of dust we stirred up was NOTHING compared to the dust they stirred up, a little hard to breath. Someone needs to vacuum this place! They had a ranger as a guide so we went toward the of the cave with them and listened to her. Very informative, she pointed out things we had not noticed. Then up and over the rocks/boulders and out of the cave, FRESH air! Back down to the car. So now not only are we hikers, we are cavers too.

After the cave we headed to Bisbee for Bisbee Brewing’s beer and brats, A GREAT end to a great day. Cannot wait until Scott‘s ankle heals or I cut it off and just tie his hiking boot to the stub!

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Carr Peak Trip 2, Hike 29

Hiking Trip #29

Date: March 23, 2015

Goal: Carr Peak Trip 2 (we needed a good elevation hike and Carr Peak Trail is not only this but the views are very nice.)

Weather: Started out with the temperature being about 59 degrees. There were only a few clouds to the east, but by the end of the hike the sky was totally cloud covered. The cloud cover was a light layer with sun shining through, not heavy storm type clouds. Just enough to break the suns rays…nice. Almost no wind at the start but as the day wore on we would have 10-15 MPH gusts but no steady winds…also nice. I decided to wear my hiking jacket (mainly to carry junk in) but I was glad I did as the day did not get really warm and the wind gusts cooled things off FAST. Scott wore his usual tee shirt and seemed fine (hardier or crazier than me??)

Trail: Old Saw Mill Trail to Carr Peak Trail

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: Around 8.2 miles (found out why iPhone GPS’s do not work well, when you lose cell phone signal you lose GPS too!! Looking into getting Scotts hiking GPS working.)

Start Elevation: 7,196 Ft

End Elevation 9,230 ft at the peak

Elevation Change: 2,034 ft

Accumulated Gain: 1,807 (that is like climbing a 180 story building!!)

Do It Again: Possibly to go this way to Miller Peak?

Comments: Started out at Reef Town site campground parking area. You use Old Saw Mill Trail to get to Carr Peak Trail and as soon as you start on the trail you are going up and up and UP! And you do not stop going up until you get to the peak!! The trail is well marked and easy to follow as long as you do not mind going up. Did I say UP? The views are really nice (not as nice as Sedona but nice). Because of the elevation changes you go through different climate changes too. The grasses and brush give way to Aspens then further up only scrub brush an rocks, some pines were here but for the most part killed by the fire. Since we have had a lot of rain (a relative thing in the desert) we even passed a spring that was not here last time we did this hike. At the top there is only sparse grass growing again due to the fires that periodically burn the peak. The last 1/3 mile has an elevation gain of over 200 ft (again like climbing a 20 story building and this is at 9,000 feet elevation. They start wearing oxygen masks at 10,000 ft!). On the way down we passed 8 hikers, 2 singles and 2 groups of 3 and one little Yorkie, wonder how far it went before being carried? This is about the most hikers we have ever passed on a hike. Super day, super hike!

Reef Town Site: Keep in mind this town is at 7,200 ft elevation and everything had to be brought up here either on foot or by wagon, a real feat! There is a short loop trial (we will take it at a later date possibly with the wives) telling about the town that was here to support the mines and mill. At the turn of the last century (1890 or so) the town was occupied on and off until the 1950s. The town had about 100 people, a post office (closed in 1926), a phone line to Tombstone, and even a blacksmith shop. This is a primitive campground now. My how things change.

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Sedona, Hike Hangover Trail, Hike #28

 

Hiking Trip #28

Date: March 11, 2015

Goal:   Hike Hangover Trail

Weather: Temperature started out 48 increasing to 70 while on the hike. Lightly overcast transitioning to very overcast (GREAT for hiking on a warm day, not so good for taking pictures!)

Trail: Cow Pies Trail (named after flat boulders that resemble “Cow Pies”), then on to Hangover Trail

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss, Bill Hagerl, Brian (Bill’s stepson) and Emily (Brian’s Girlfriend) and me!

Distance: 5.5-6 miles (“All Trails” still not working properly, need to get different hiking software)

Start Elevation: 4,200 ft climbing to 5,200 ft.

End Elevation Started and ended at same spot

Elevation Change: 1,000 ft

Accumulated Gain: 489 ft

Do It Again: YES!! But there are so many trails in the area it may be awhile before I do it again.

Comments: When Scott was checking in at the resort he asked the Concierge for trail information and the young lady directed him to a shop down the road called “The Hike House”. So Tuesday in preparing for our Wednesday hike, we thought we would check it out. Scott had a hike we thought we would do and told the young fellow at the shop about it….his words: “That is Really Lame”, then looked us over and said “what kind of trail are you looking to do?” (As if these 2 old dudes could even do a trail). To which we both responded “Moderately Hard”! Whipping out his map he pointed to a trail, then asked “you have a four wheel drive vehicle?” (Not finishing with “that you do not mind destroying”) again we said “yes” (I have Scott’s truck and I do not mind destroying it)!! We would come back the next day and thank him for suggesting these trails….they were THAT good!

Wednesday morning day of THE Hike: Off we go up Schnebly Hill, which is right outside the resort. It is 8:30 AM, it took us a half hour to go up the 5 mile “Road” to Cow Pies Trail Head: the road, oh! There is NO road, only a dirt bolder strewn path. We arrive at the trail head at 9:00AM. We are all amazed at the views…I am tired of saying FANTASTIC or AMAZING, “ok” how about “BLOW YOU AWAY Views”! Little did we know they would only get better! We were supposed to go to our left on the trail but in true Gary/Scott fashion we did not go left far enough and took the trail the wrong way (it is a big loop so right way or wrong way….no harm no foul). Anyway it is marked with more “Black Diamonds” warning bikers/hikers that the need to be extra careful…NO CRAP! On Monday when we did Submarine and Broken Trails we thought those panoramas were the best we had ever seen, well guess what: these are WAY better. “God does not make junk!” Hard to believe there could be better views but there are BETTER views! Some places resemble the Mars landscape, some places you hope rocks/boulders do not fall on your head, some places you hope you do not fall to your death. When, we go back to Huachuca Mountain hiking we are really going to miss these views, we are getting spoiled BIG time. There we places on the trail we were a little hesitant in hiking through because of drop offs, BUT there are bike tracks on the trail, these nuts/idiots rode theirs bike through them….WAY CRAZY!!!!! Surprisingly we did not see any bike debris or bodies parts! The pictures attached are nice but do not even come close to how it really looks. The rock formations are REALLY unimaginably beautiful! We even saw where wind erosion ground a bowl shaped depression into the side of a mountain, how cool!

An observation: Hiking boots are a must!! I have said this before but the point was well made on this hike. Scott and I had hiking boots; the other 3 had tennis type shoes. The trail is very strenuous and the boots help protect your ankles plus they grip WAY better. Tennis shoes have NO ankle support and slide A LOT, a LOT A REALLY lot!!

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Submarine, Broken Arrow, High Hog and Twin Butt Trail Hike #27

Hiking Trip #27

Date: March 9, 2015

Sedona, Arizona

Goal: good group hike (see below) and to have fun!

Weather: Started out cold 43 (Burrrrrr for us South Westerners) but it warmed up nicely to 64. There were no clouds at the start but as the day progressed clouds increased to about a third cloud cover. Nice part they were the large white fluffy cotton ball type clouds so they provided a little break from the sun and also nice shadows for pictures.

Trail: Original Goal was just Broken Arrow Trails to Submarine and then…….

Hiking Partner: Today would be a group hike as we are in Sedona with a lot of friends: This is a mini family reunion for Paul family (Kriss’s maiden name). So for this hike there were Kriss and Bill Hagerl, Amber (Kriss’s daughter) and Matt, Ambers husband, Kim (Kriss’s sister) and Kim’s husband Gerald, Brian (Kriss’s Son) and his girl friend Emily, Scott (one of my usual hiking partners) and his wife Sheri, then lastly Patti and I. Oh almost forgot Drake, a little Pomeranian. So we had 12 hikers and one dog in all. It took 2 trucks to get them all to the trail head!!!

Distance: About 3.4 miles for everyone and about a total of 5.3 miles for the harder souls.

Start Elevation: 3,500 Ft

End Elevation same

Elevation Change: Probably a few hundred feet as there were a lot of up and downs and “All Trails” software kept cutting in and out

Accumulated Gain: ????

Do It Again: Not this year

Comments: The Broken Arrow to Submarine Trail for all of us, then 5 went back to the Condo and the rest headed to Chicken Point. The trail is called Broken Arrow Trail and a side trail goes to Submarine Rock. The Submarine Rock is named after a rock formation that resembles a submarine (go figure). On the way we passed “Devil’s Dining Room” which is a huge sink hole. It is about 20-25 ft across and appears to have no bottom as it is not visible. The views along the trail are breath taking! We hike the Huachuca’s Mountains all the time and those views are awesome these are even MORE AWESOMER (bad English but you get the point). The only casualties were when Amber tried to decapitate Kriss. Poor Kriss tried to stand up and Amber was standing over her…CRASH…OUCH! Drake needed/wanted to be carried some of the time but did well for an 8 year old dog with 3 inch legs! Finally at Submarine, Matt and I were first to the top Fantastic/Awesome panoramic views. All hikers made it to the “body” of the sub but most made it to the actual top….nice job. We followed the trail back to Broken Arrow Trail and this is the point we split into the 2 groups.

On to Chicken Head: On this part of the trail we came to a marker that showed a map and warned mountain bikers that this part of the trail is dangerous (2 black diamonds, Scott, Dana (my usual hiking partners) are not used to having any/many trails makers so this was highly unusual).

As we hiked Broken Arrow to Chicken Point we kept looking for a rock formation that resembled a chicken….never did see one. When we arrived at “Chicken Point” the views are spectacular but we never did figure out why they call it Chicken Point. Unless someone dared someone else to jump off and called that person a chicken??? A VERY LONG WAY DOWN. On the way back we passed another sign/map (I could get used to this) that showed another trail back to the trailhead. So instead of backtracking we took it….High On The Hog Trail, turns out there are 3 trails in the Hog Trail system: High on the Hog, Hog Heaven trail and Hog Wash but we only did High On The Hog. We then picked up a trial called Twin Butt back to the Truck. We met a biker along the trail and he looked like he was having a ball. I think he was CRAZY as this part of the trail is fine, even good, for hikers but has some serious drop offs! Scott projected we would be back at the truck (only 1 as the 1st group took 1 truck back to the condo) around 12:00 we arrived there at exactly 12:00 ….good guess Scott! What a hike. What fantastic views. Enjoy the pictures!!!

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Charleston Rd. to Fairbank Trail Head Hike #26

Hiking Trip #26

Date: February 25, 2015

Goal: Hike Charleston Rd. to Fairbank Trail Head: while seeing Petroglyphs, Boston Mill Site and Lil Boquillas Ranch on the way.

Weather: Another fantastic day started out a little cool (44 Degrees) but like most days we hike it turned out GREAT. A few light wispy clouds and temperature rose to around 60 by the time we finished, very low humidity (remember it is high desert). Nice weather to hike!

Trail: Charleston Rd. to Fairbank Trail

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: Planned about 8 miles. Actual miles about 10 miles. Damn trail markers or LACK thereof! This is our longest hike to date but one of the easiest due to the terrain.

Start Elevation: 3,900 ft

End Elevation 4,100 ft

Elevation Change: 200 ft.

Accumulated Gain: about 200 ft.

Do It Again: Maybe after the summer monsoon to see change in vegetation.

Comments: The trail is fairly flat and very well marked with the exception of Boston Mill Site (more on that later). We started out on Charleston Rd. near Millville Mill site (see Charleston Millville Blog) then followed the scenic trail 3.5 miles to the Petroglyphs site.

Petroglyphs: These Petroglyphs were done between 300 AD and 1450 AD, and are really worth the hike, especially due to the relatively flat terrain. The local Indians did these Petroglyphs by scraping off the “Desert Varnish” from the rocks. The “Varnish” is the accumulation of deposits of minerals such as Iron Oxide and Manganese Oxide that form on the rocks in dry climates. By scraping these deposits off they expose the lighter rock underneath. What is amazing is these Petroglyphs are still very visible today. (See Pictures)

Boston Mill: Continuing on to Boston Mill site which is about 1.5 miles from the Petroglyphs. We were doing GREAT except there are NO markers (NONE, ZERO NADA) to show you how to get to the mill. We could see the mill up ahead, but stayed on the main trail about another ½ to ¾ of a mile looking for a side trail leading to the Mill. I am big on “Bushwhacking” but after our experience on Lutz Canyon Trail (still need to upload this hike) Scott is not too keen on following me on my bushwhacking endeavors. SO when all else fails you call the BLM (bureau of land management) even though the BLM is supposed to “manage” this area they tell you to call the Forestry Service. Thank God for cell phones!!! After our call to the Forestry Service (they tried to be helpful) we headed back the way we came and found a wash that headed in the right direction. Finally we arrived at THE Mill! Boston Mill was founded 1881 and supported the mines in Tombstone until the mines flooded, closing all the mines as well as the mills in the area. The Southern Pacific Rail Road supported the mill and the nearby town of Emery and supported the nearly 100 employees working at the mill. The only remains of the mine are a massive retaining wall still standing and a few foundations/walls still standing. There are no remains of the town that we could find. (See pictures)

Lil Boquillas Ranch: Since we had already traveled over the trail (both going and coming due to the lack of signage) we headed to the ranch by way of the abandoned rail road. Along the way we passed a huge rock (BAR>>>>Big Ass Rock) (see picture) in the middle of the road bed. Wonder what would have happened to a train if it had hit THAT??? Lil Boquillas Ranch means: “Saint John of the Little Springs and Walnut Trees” and was part of the Spanish land grants. One of its famous owner was William Randolph Hurst (cannot make this stuff up). Some of the land was sold for the towns of Fairbank/Emery and other developments. Once the mines and mills closed, the area died a quiet death. It is now part of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. The ranch house and out buildings looks like they were abandoned yesterday although they have been vacant for years. We saw an old Glass Gas Pump that was in fairly good condition considering it has not been used for decades (See picture). Finishing up we preceded to the trail head at Fairbank. Along the way we past an active holding pen for cattle although we saw no cattle in our 10 mile hike??? (See picture). As with most of our hikes (well almost all) we headed to someplace to get something to eat and drink…off to Tombstone!!

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Grand Central Mill and Fairbank River Loop, Hike #25

Hiking Trip # 25

Date: February 4, 2015

Goal: Hike to Fairbank Cemetery and then on to Grand Central Mill coming back to Fairbank by way of River Loop

Weather: FANTASTIC! Started out cool (48 Degrees) but was totally clear and by the time we finished it was about 65. High today is 72 which it is as I write this. TOTALLY clear not even 1 cloud in the sky. I could take 365 days like this (it could rain at night)

Trail: Fairbank to Mill to River Loop

Hiking Partner: Scott, no wives today ,which allowed us to do a slight detour, more on that latter.

Distance: About 4 miles neither one of us can get our tracking devices to work properly????

Start Elevation: 3,860 Ft.

End Elevation or Highest Point: 3,910 Ft.

Elevation Change: 95 ft.

Accumulated Gain: N/A

Do It Again: Probably not: a very nice hike but too many other places to go, VERY glad we did it! Very Pretty!

Comments: Started out at Fairbank (for more info on Fairbank go to Presidio Santa Cruz and Fairbank Hike), headed to the cemetery which is about a half mile from town and on a very narrow, hilly trail. Not sure this is how the local inhabitants got there, as dragging a coffin here would be a bitch, and I cannot imagine the deceased helping! The cemetery does not look very large but there appears to be quite a few plots (see pictures). One can see why they chose this site for the cemetery as the view is really spectacular. If one has to spend eternity somewhere this is as good as any other place.

We then headed to the Grand Central Mill; this mill was evidently larger than the mill at Millville (see Charleston Millville hike) as this mill  had 10-15 “stampers” (rods) going up and down pounding rocks into dust 24/7 where the mill at Millville only had 2. These “stampers” would go up and down up to 100 times a minute crushing the rocks brought in from the 50 Tombstone Hills mines. It was noted that the sound of 2 “stampers” was bad, cannot even imagine 10-15 going at once!! Scott comment: the town is about 1 ½ miles away and the noise was probably the reason?? Gee where is OSHA/EPA etc?? There are pictures of what remains of the Mill and surrounding debris field. Our little detour took us to the top wall of the old Mill wall, not sure we would have done this with the wives (I am sure we would not have!).

Time to head back. We took the Fairbank River Loop back. Last week it rained here Wednesday night until Saturday morning. We had about 2.25 inches of rain over the period. The length and amount of rain this time of year is unusual, remember this is a desert! The rain made the San Pedro River run wide and deeper with the extra water (see pictures). We finished up around 10:45 AM so that left us with plenty of time for a few beers, before Scott had to paint a door frame at his son’s home (Sheri volunteered him for the job) and me to write this!

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Presidio Santa Cruz de Terrenate and Fairbank Town Site #24

Hiking Trip #24

Date: January 28, 2015

Goal: Presidio Santa Cruz de Terrenate and Fairbank Town Site

Weather: Another great day for hiking, a few light fluffy clouds and lots of sun while it was cool in the morning, then as the day heated up the clouds increased to keep it comfortable. Temperature forecast to be 72. Gotta love southern AZ in the winter

Trails: Presidio Santa Cruz de Terrenate, Fairbank Town Site

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss and his wife Sheri, myself and wife Patti (a first for the guys to “let” the women hike with us!)

Distance: Presidio: about 4 miles, Fairbank: there is a parking area right by the former township site. Not sure what we are going to do when we start real hikes again! Start Elevation: 3,960 ft.

End Elevation 3,870 ft. (by the San Pedro River)

Elevation Change: 90 ft.

Accumulated Gain: Only 7 ft overall start to finish

Do It Again: Presidio probably not, very nice hike but SOOOO many other places to see. Fairbank, yes as there is a festival in the fall that I would like to attend (cannot find a date at this time)

Comments: Presidio Santa Cruz de Terranate;  We arrived at the Presidio parking site at 8:38 AM and passed through the barrier that requires horseback riders to park in another area, then proceeded to follow the trail to site of the fort. The trail is slightly downhill and easy to follow; good for our wives (more mine than Scott’s). There are only a few walls still remaining as the fort was built by the Spanish in 1775 (see pictures)! There are placards describing either what was here or what is still standing today. The adobe walls are unprotected so every time it rains they deteriorate, so glad it does not rain often here….someday there will be nothing left of this site. Sad. The Fort is on a bluff overlooking the San Pedro River and near the edge there is a placard showing where Muerio en Battalla was killed. He was killed on July 7, 1776, 4 days after our Declaration of Independence was signed (see Picture). Five years after the start of construction the Fort was abandoned due to the high fatality rate from Indian attacks. The design of the Fort, while working in Europe, did not work well against the American Indians, guess they did not attend the same school of modern warfare? There are numerous signs stating “Do Not Remove” any artifacts, Scott being the revolutionary he is, had to pick up one (see picture) actually is was just a rock and he left it where he found it. After visiting the Fort we proceeded to hike down to the river (Patti was getting adventurous, Sheri is always up for a good hike, but it needs to be flat). Going over the side of the river bank Patti was using the “Butt Mobile” to get down to the river (see Picture).

Pick a nice day and hike this historic site before it is gone!

Fairbanks Town site:   After hiking the Presidio we loaded up Scott’s truck and drove to Fairbank (once at Fairbank we found out there is a trail (mostly old bed) that goes to the Presidio, we may do this in the future) Fairbank was first settled in 1881 and once the railroad was completed in 1883 it was the closest rail stop to Tombstone’s mines. It was named after Nathaniel Kellogg Fairbank. The 1890 census shows that there were 478 inhabitants in the town. At its peak there were 3 restaurants, a post office, jail (gotta have that), 4 stores, and 5 saloons (hence the jail), a school house, there was/is a public 2 seat outhouse and building lots were selling between $50-150.00 (proved to be a bad investment) by the 1970 census there were zero inhabitants. Info on Ghosts towns can be found at: http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/az/fairbank.html

After all this excitement we had to have lunch (this was the bribe we used to get the wives to go hiking with us). We headed to Big Nose Kate’s Saloon in Tombstone. Big Nose Kate was Doc Holliday’s girl friend (Big Nose did not referee to her actual nose but that she was nosey). Once at Big Nose Kate’s all except Patti had an adult beverage (it is 5:00 somewhere) and FANTASTIC Reuben Sandwiches.

Another great day in the Southwest.

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Murray Springs, Clovis Site and Clanton Homestead #23

Hiking Trip #23

Date: Wednesday, January 21, 2015

 Goal: Murray Springs, Clovis Site Loop Trail and Clanton Homestead

Weather: Started out 8:25 AM Temperature was 52 degrees, dark clouds hung to the east but broke up to light wispy clouds latter in the day. High was 68. Ended hike at 12:00 (high noon), wind starting to pick up. GREAT weather to hike.

Trail: Murray Springs and the Clovis site are one short loop (1/2 mile). Trail to Clanton Homestead about 2.3 miles long and is an old rail bed until the last ½ mile which is just a path. Then we went down to the San Pedro River more on that later.

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: total 7.12 miles (finally got the GPS to work, hope I can keep it working, operator errors!)

Start Elevation: 4150 FT went down to 4000 ft then back up.

End Elevation: N/A

Elevation Change: N/A

Accumulated Gain: 226 ft

Do It Again: Yes on a cool day, fairly flat trail with interesting history.

Comments: Again I learned more about the area’s history; never knew there was a Clovis hunting site so close to home. The Clovis Hunters were prehistoric Palo-Indian hunters who used “Clovis” Stone tools (Named after Clovis, New Mexico the place where these tools were first identified). In 1966 Archeologist found where Clovis hunters killed a Great Woolly Mammoth using Clovis spears. They named the Mammoth Big Eloise. This site is 13,000 years old and is a rare high elevation Clovis hunting site as most sites are found at lower elevations. There is not much to see today as the site has overgrown since the discovery. We did see a huge pile of rocks from the dig site (see picture). A very neat area and only about 15 minutes from home! For more on this site go to: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100412100017.htm

On the way to the Clanton Homestead we pasted a pipeline feeding water from the Huachuca Mountains to the town of Tombstone. Tombstone has its own well but it does not produce enough water for the town so it is piped from Tombstone. Picture

Murray Springs: You cannot actually see a spring as we think of it, the spring starts out as damp ground then further down the depression there is mud, further along a slight bit of water then finally even further down actual running water (see pictures) Clanton Homestead: This is the home where Ike Clanton grew up (yes THE Ike Clanton that was present at the OK corral shoot out in Tombstone). He was the one that ran during the gun fight and survived but was killed 6 years later – accused of cattle rustling. For more info on the go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ike_Clanton Scott and I argued over which was older him, me or the wall. I still think Scott won oldest! See our pictures below The hike down to the San Pedro took a little detour; once done viewing the Clanton Homestead we headed back to the rail bed, and then decided we should go to the river SOOOOO back down past the Clanton place to the river; this only added a mile to the hike! As we approached the river we saw debris left over from the last time the river flooded (picture) this is about 200 yards (600 ft from the river!). Once at the river it is about 10 feet down to the water, when this sucker floods it REALLY floods!

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Charleston & Millville Town sites #22

  Hiking Trip #22

Goal: Charleston & Millville Town sites

Weather: Totally cloudy, 54, when we set out and cleared somewhat as the day progressed. High projected to be 55 but only rose to about 50 by the time we finished.

Trail: Charleston, Millville Town sites and Petroglyphs

Date: January 14, 2015

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: roughly 3 miles (we walked around Millville Town site and the Petroglyphs)

Start Elevation: N/A

End Elevation N/A

Elevation Change: N/A

Accumulated Gain: about 300 ft (only hills)

Do It Again: YES! Very neat, in the future I want to hike to the top of a large hill in the area for a better view, Scott needs to heal up after hunting season, guess he is getting OLD

Comments: Today due to the cool weather, we wanted to stay low and stay where we might get some sun. Scott had previously done some of this trail and wanted to see more. Some background history which I hope you find interesting: There is a road that runs from Sierra Vista to Tombstone (yes that Tombstone, OK corral shootout, “Town to Tough to Die”, etc etc). I had no idea that there was a town near this road named Charlestown (and never heard of Millville) and always assumed the road was named after a rancher located on the road. After years of research I never did figure out why it is/was called Charleston (ok it was only about 5 minutes I gave up). Millville was named after 2 silver ore mills that were located here to process the silver ore that came from Tombstone. There was very little water in Tombstone so the nearest water was the San Pedro River thus Millville was founded and the town of Charleston was built for the workers of Millville. At its peak Millville produced 1.3 million dollars of silver (this is $1.3 million in 1881-82 dollars!!!). The town of Charleston at its peak had a population of 400 inhabitants and had over 40 buildings including a Post Office, restaurants, saloons (go figure), doctors and lawyers. The sound of the mills running 24/7 had to be horrendous. The mill pounded large ore bearing rocks in to dust so the ore could be extracted using water/mercury slurry (yes, the mercury that your mother told you not to play with). The mercury would dissolve the ore and bind itself to the ore and then these geniuses would heat the mercury/ore combination vaporizing the mercury, leaving behind the silver/gold/lead ore and lots of sick millworkers! Not all these sick millworkers were buried, the town of Fairbanks downriver of Charleston used to joke about bodies floating by saying they were “slow boats from Charleston”! All was going well until 1886 when there was a huge earthquake flooding the Tombstone mines (no water shortage now). Large pumps were brought in to counteract the water but the mines were never again very profitable, of note this earthquake rerouted most of the San Pedro River underground so most of the water that the mill used was gone and the mine was flooded. Prior to the earthquake small barges could go up and down the river. Now it is a small stream (pictures attached). SO the mine is flooded and the town has little water….hence a ghost town now AND if that were not bad enough during WWII the U.S. Army used the ruins as a “urban combat site”

Petroglyphs: with all that has happened in the area it is totally amazing that Indian Petroglyphs have survived in the area. We saw 5 separate sites, but only 1 could be photographed so you could see it (picture attached). GREAT DAY, very interesting and learned a lot about the area we live in. IMG_0428 IMG_0427 IMG_0425 IMG_0424 IMG_0423 IMG_0422 IMG_0421 IMG_0420

Hunter Spring #21

 

Hiking Trip #21

Goal: Hunter Spring

Weather: January BEAUTIFUL sunny almost no clouds, temperature projected to 70 it was 39 at start of hike and about 58 at end. Nice hiking weather.

Trail: Hunter Springs Trail

Date: January 7, 2015

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: Projected 1.4 one way. We actually did about 2 miles one way or a total of 4 miles round trip. See comments below

Start Elevation: 5,650 Ft.

End Elevation 6,600 ft Peak

Elevation Change: 950 Ft.

Accumulated Gain: 950 Ft.

Do It Again: After we have done all the other trails there are around the area.

Comments: When we got out of Scott’s truck we noticed mine tailings not far from where we were heading. We are suckers for mines so we thought we might hike to it depending on how the rest of the hike went.

 

Our goal was to see/find Hunter Spring. After following a reasonably good trail the trail kept deteriorating, finally ending in what we thought was the spring (picture attached). There was no water but that is pretty typical of AZ “springs”. On the way back down Scott heard water running in the wash so we made our way to the wash where we found water…yeah! We followed a little stream (very little) back up the mountain. After about 400-500 feet back up the mountain we found what we guessed to be the spring. It was not much of a spring but way better than our first guess…still wondering why Scott did not hear this on the way up, it would have saved us about a mile of hiking!

Re: Back to the mine. We lost sight of the mine shortly after starting our hike and did not see it again until almost back to the truck. I was “all in” for going BACK up to it but Scott was a little tired since this was our first hike in over a month. He did go part way up until he found a nice soft bolder. I left him there and went to the mine…TOTALLY underwhelming! About 3 feet deep and 4-5 feet wide…Scott was way smarter than Gary! All in all, a great hike and a great way to start the year.

 

Happy New Year to ALL

IMG_0414 IMG_0413 IMG_0412 IMG_0409 IMG_0408 IMG_0406 IMG_0404 IMG_0403 IMG_0402 IMG_0401 IMG_0400 IMG_0399

 

 

Joe’s Trail (Second time), Hike #20

 

Hiking Trip #20

Goal: 

Weather: Sunny Start 58 degrees, end 68 degrees

Trail: Joe’s Trail (he is the guy who died of a snake bite)

Date: October 22, 2014 Started: 6:38 and finished: 10:18, Arrived at peak: 8:17

Hiking Partner: Scott Weise

Distance: 7.1 miles round trip

Start Elevation: 5,219 ft

End Elevation 6,902 ft

Elevation Change: 1683 ft

Accumulated Gain: 1683 ft

Do It Again: Yes, Beautiful scenery really nice well marked trail (except for one spot Scott wants to go left on both times!)

Comments: Scott had not hiked for a few weeks and I have not hiked for almost 8 weeks so we wanted to do a trail we both enjoyed and was not TOO strenuous (last 500 feet is a real bitch)

Just GREAT day: cool, sunny, slight wind, no color change on vegetation. We both did better than either thought we would, no major pains or problems….loving life! We did find/see a rain gauge that we had not seen before put up by USDA (picture attached).

IMG_0340 IMG_0341 IMG_0342 IMG_0343 IMG_0344 IMG_0345 IMG_0346 IMG_0347 IMG_0348

Pat Scott Peak, Hike #19

 

Hiking Trip #19

Goal: Pat Scott Peak (if we have the energy once we get to the area of the Peak as there is no trail to the top)

Weather: Forecast: High 82, sunny, with a 35%, no 20% no 10% chance of rain more on that latter

Trail: Hamburg Trail to Crest Trail to Pat Scott Trail

Date: Aug 20, 2014

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: 10.5 miles including the trek up to Pat Scott Peak

Start Elevation: 5,525 at Ramsey Preserve

End Elevation 8,700 ft on Pat Scott Peak

Elevation Change: 3,175 Ft (over 3.95 miles, STEEP)

Accumulated Gain: 3,175 ft

Do It Again: Yes, in the dry season, see below creeks and weather

Comments: Pat Scott was a prospector and not killed by a Rattle Snake. The weather Monday: 1 1/2 inches of rain, Tuesday: ½ rain, forecast for Wednesday sunny with a high of 82. It was actually slightly overcast, which is good for hiking and cool, more on the weather later. We have hiked Hamburg four times now and are fairly familiar with it. The trail winds back and forth across a wash, a normally dry “creek” bed. BUT after all the rain we have this Monsoon season the “creek” was actually a small stream and while crossing it when dry is nothing, crossing it at full tilt is an adventure each time you do it, which would turn out to be MANY, many times! When it is easy you think nothing of it and do not count the times BUT when it is an adventure, and the “adventure’ goes on for about 30-40 crossing it got REALLY old, really fast! I think when Scott was growing up his Mother would not let him play in puddles because he did not miss a chance to splash/play in the water! Oh and as to those really nice socks Dana help me pick out, when only one gets really, really wet (read that as really heavy) you tend to walk in a circle due to the added weight in only one boot! My boots are about 2 inches shorter than Scott’s…more water! The few small ponds (puddles) that are there in dry season which act as breeding pools for those nice friendly knats/flies/mosquitoes are gone: totally washed away…yeah no bugs, well almost none!

Guy talk: as we climb our trails we fantasize about a beer girl at the top of the trail. Scott said if he had the money, he would hire a helicopter to fly in the Bra topped Margarita girl (hopefully you have seen her on the internet)!

Back to the hike: At the top of Hamburg Trail, where it dead ends into Crest Trail you can see San Rafel Valley below on one side of the ridge and San Pedro Valley below on the other SPECTACULAR! As we walk along the Crest Trail the views just blow you away….especially this time of year EVERYTHING is green! As we approach Pat Scott Peak we debate whether we want to climb it now or come back and do it at a later date, Scott “let’s go for it” so we do…we make a straight line to the top which is only about a ¼ mile up but we have already hiked about 5 miles and have another 5 to go! We make it and this is the sixth peak we have done this year…wonder how many there are?????

Now the Coup de Grace: about 1.5 miles from the end of the trial there is a steep rock path climbing 300-400 ft to a ridge then going down the same amount to Ramsey Preserve, our starting point. As we approach the last big uphill hike it starts to rain (WHAT there was only a 10% chance) by the time we reach the ridge it is a total down pour…soaked! Totally soaked! Then we get to hike down the last ¼ mile of mountain then stroll a ½ mile to the Preserve in a torrential downpour. Even the inside of my ears were wet! The first hike this year to Miller Peak was during an ice storm so it is fitting that the last hike (for a while) would finish off in the total down pour! Oh my new Huachuca Mountain map just about dissolved, had to buy a new one.

 

Start time: 6:17 AM, Finish Time: 2:38 PM almost 9 hours to hike 10.5 miles…boy do we walk slow!

Gary on Pat Scott Peak 2 Gary on Pat Scott Peak get-attachment[2] get-attachment[4] get-attachment[5] get-attachment[6] get-attachment[7] IMG_0282  IMG_0284 IMG_0285 IMG_0287 IMG_0289 IMG_0290 IMG_0291 IMG_0292 IMG_0293 IMG_0294 IMG_0295 Running water 2 Scott at abandoned mine

 

 

Hike Joe’s trail to Coronado Peak, Hike #18

 

Hiking Trip #18

Goal: Hike Joe’s trail to Coronado Peak

Weather: As I watch the Weather Channel: Flood warnings and 80% chance of rain….and we are going hiking??? On the trail: the day was slightly overcast and actually on the cool side when the wind blew…turned out GREAT weather for hiking…..no floods…not even any rain!

Trail: Joe’s Trail to Coronado Peak

Date: August 12, 2014

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: 6.8 miles

Start Elevation: 5,209 ft.

End Elevation 6,858 ft

Elevation Change: 1,649 ft

Accumulated Gain: 1,525 ft

Do It Again: Yes other than a few steep spots a very scenic trail with beautiful views of Mexico. Last .3 miles a real bitch!

Comments: I read a review of this trail and the review called the trail “Bi-polar” and that it is! It starts out with relatively steep switchbacks, then has a gradual incline for about 2 miles then the last .3 miles, like I said earlier is a real bitch, just shy of needing a rope! The trail cannot seem to make up its mind as to what it wants to do. Views: FANTASTIC this is one of the prettiest panoramic view trails we have done. There are little to no large trees due to the fires so there is nothing to impede your views. You can see the border fence, Old Mexico, nearby mountains and into canyons (see pictures). We past a number of other hikers at the top and on our way down, nice to see other hiker nuts! The elevation at Coronado Peak is 6,858 ft. so this is nowhere near our highest peak but it is another peak in the Huachuca Mountains that we have been on. At the peak there is a shelter with a few benches which on a sunny day would really be very welcome….the benches were welcome today (see picture of El Capatan (Scott))

No knats or flies to speak of…yeah!

Oh forgot to mention: We are about 2/3’s of the way up and Scott asks if I know the history of “Joe’s Trail”. NO, I assumed it was named after the guy who cut the trail…NOT!! It was named after a guy who got bit by a rattle snake and died. My comment: let’s not have it named Joe, Gary & Scott’s trail!

Flowers Gary IMG_0239 IMG_0240 IMG_0241 IMG_0242 IMG_0243 IMG_0245 IMG_0246 IMG_0247 IMG_0248 IMG_0250 IMG_0253 IMG_0254 IMG_0255 IMG_0256 IMG_0257  Road upEl Capitan at Coronado Peak View from top

 

 

Hike Hunter Canyon, Hike 17

Hiking Trip #17

Goal: Hike Hunter Canyon

Weather: Slightly overcast, just enough clouds to break intense sun 71 to start 85 at the end, VERY humid!

Trail: Hunter Canyon Trail to Miller Canyon Trail

Date: Aug 9, 2014

Hiking Partner: Dana Binford

Distance: 3.4 miles (the shortest yet but it was really humid!!)

Start Elevation: 5,600 ft

End Elevation 6,125 ft

Elevation Change: 525 Ft

Accumulated Gain: 525 ft

Do It Again: Nice trail but there are others to do!

Comments: A very nice trail, hard to follow in spots, not very strenuous but a decent assent to the ridge that separates Hunter Canyon from Miller Canyon. Very pretty view of Miller Peak (Huachuca Mountains highest peak at 9,466 ft), and the reef (picture attached). They call it a reef because it looks like a reef. Neat picture attached of “Lonesome Pines” these are the only trees on the ridge that survived the 2011 Monument Fire. There is a picture of Dana and her dog Kimi. People take it for a bear at first; it is fun to watch their faces change expression as they realize it is a dog! Knats: friends of mine, Janet and Tom, read the Wednesday hike report and said that dryer fabric softener sheets will repeal them….I can tell you that either I tried the wrong kind or they do not work, DEET did not seem to work either!!

Dana and Kimi 1 Dana and Kimi  IMG_0230 IMG_0231 IMG_0233 Lonesome Pines Reef 1 Reef

 

 

 

 

Palmerlee Town Site off the Miller Canyon Trail and to Holenstein Mine Trail, Hike #16

 

Hiking Trip #16

Goal: Hike to Palmerlee Town Site off the Miller Canyon Trail and to Holenstein Mine Trail

Weather: Overcast in the morning, sunny and WARM later!

Trail: Miller Canyon to

Date: August 6, 2014

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: Round trip to mine and town site 5.4 miles, our shortest hike so far

Start Elevation: 5,750 ft

End Elevation 7,250 at the mine

Elevation Change: 1,500 ft (but only over 2.5 miles so very steep)

Accumulated Gain: 1,500 ft

Do It Again: probably not…”a been there done that!”

Comments: Last week we hiked Miller Canyon Trail to Hamburg Trail to Crest Trail passing the side trials to the Holenstein Mine and the short trail to Palmerlee, this week we went back to check these sites out.

To get to the Holenstein Mine Trail you have to hike up MCT to where HMT forks off…calling this a trail is a misnomer as it is at BEST a path (at the very best) the hike is pretty steep and the F#$King knats where out in force, even DEET did not slow these little suckers down! We followed a mine road for awhile then onto the above mentioned trail (path). Before we reached the actual mine we passed a huge ore bin (12 ft x 12 ft x 4 ft, used for loading ore into wagons, it was dragged up here in one piece, see picture). There was a large chute going up the mountain leading to the mine. Once at the mine we were underwhelmed by its lack of size (see picture). We discussed the lack of size versus the entire infrastructure supporting it (roadway we used to get here and smelting area we passed further up MCT, which we passed last week). I went to a web site called Mindat.org and found this: The existence of a road the length of Miller Canyon to the mine and the presence of a large ore bin at the top of the mountain are inconsistent infrastructure for the size of the workings and this condition is indicative of a possible mining stock scheme. Scott and I never verbalized this but I think we both had an idea this could be a possibility! The only “real” mine we have seen while hiking so far was Lutz Mine (see previous stories ). It actually appeared they could have possibly made some money. We scouted around the mine and saw lots of debris from the illegals (see picture).The web site Mindat.com said there were reports of lead, gold, silver and copper mined here but the official report has none of this, just crystalline stones (pretty much worthless).

Hiking back down the mountain we came to the Palmerlee Town Site. There is only one building foundation (see picture) and it is hard to believe in 1904 there was a post office and dance hall, as well as 200 people living here….where did they live?? The area is really pretty with water running from the mountain springs and plenty of shade trees. You can see why they chose this location. As we hiked back to the truck Scott spotted a large green beetle (see picture). Really neat looking, neither of us has seen one like this before.

Crap in Mine Green Bug IMG_0206 IMG_0207 IMG_0208 IMG_0209  IMG_0211 IMG_0213 IMG_0215 IMG_0216 IMG_0217 IMG_0218 IMG_0221 IMG_0222 IMG_0223 IMG_0224 Palmerlee Foundation Scott and Mine Scott and Ore Bin

Hike Miller Canyon Trail to Crest Trail, Hike 15

Hiking Trip #15

Goal: Hike Miller Canyon Trail to Crest Trail

Weather: Partly overcast which was nice because a lot of Miller Canyon Trail has little to no shade.

Trail: Miller Canyon Trail

Date: July 30, 2014

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: 8.5 miles Total round trip including hike to the actual crest about Revised from info at Trail Head from 6.3 miles)

Start Elevation: 5,750 ft. (revised from 5,850 this was from Hike AZ)

End Elevation about 8,958 Ft (at the crest)

Elevation Change: 3,208 (Revised due to above 3,118 ft)

Accumulated Gain: 3,208 (Revised due to above 3,118 ft)

Do It Again: Yes: this is a steep hike but the panoramic views and views of old mines are very spectacular.

Comments: The trailhead is at an apple orchard (yes we have apples orchards in AZ) that was badly burned in the 2011 Monument fire and is in the process of being replanted. The trail goes around the perimeter of the orchard then heads steeply up past 2 side spurs, ones goes to an abandoned mine the other an abandoned town site (we are going to do both next week). The trail is really pretty especially this time of year. The creek has a fair amount of water coming off the peak and the sound of running water is really neat! About half way up we came an abandoned smelting area (see boiler). Tons (literally) of debris and all this had to be hauled up…we had a hard time hauling our butts up! At the intersection of the trails we had a snack break and Scott is reading a map trying to figure out the best way to the actual crest (see picture). Both of us assumed the trail dead ended into Crest Trail AT the crest but we were about 300-400 below the crest so we went “Cross Country” to the top….another beautiful view (see pictures). Where the two trails meet there is a spring called “Bathtub Spring” (see picture attached you will figure out why it is named that). There was a home on this site at one time; can you imagine dragging up a real bath tub up a 3,100 ft elevation gain through the woods??!! NOT!

Bathtub Springs boiler Crest 1 Crest IMG_0186 IMG_0187 IMG_0189 IMG_0190 IMG_0191 IMG_0192 IMG_0193 IMG_0194 IMG_0195 IMG_0196 IMG_0198 IMG_0199 IMG_0201 IMG_0204

 

Hamburg Trail to Crest Trail, Hike #14

Hiking Trip #14

Goal: Hamburg Trail to Crest Trail

Weather: High 96 with a 40-60% chance of showers (we planned a hike that was mostly away from the crest of the mountain chain due to the possibility of lighting)

Trail: Comfort Trail/Hamburg Trail

Date: July 23, 2014

Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: 8.1 miles round trip (includes detour to Hamburg Town site)

Start Elevation: 7,381 ft Ramsey Vista Campground

End Elevation 8,129 ft. Bear Saddle on Crest Trail

Elevation Change: 1,405 ft (leaving Ramsey Campground you go down a steep incline to about 7,173 ft then back up to a peak of 7,382 ft then down to 6,724 ft where Comfort Trail meets Hamburg Trail THEN up to the crest to Bear Saddle at 8,129 ft. So it is a lot of big ups and downs!)

Accumulated Gain: Comfort 432 ft, plus Hamburg Trail about 1,405 so a lot!

Do It Again: Yes Hamburg Trail is one of the prettiest trails in Southern AZ

Comments: Another great hike, we did Comfort Trail again as it is the “easiest” way to get to the Hamburg Trail. As mentioned there are A LOT of up/downs so at the end of the hike we were pretty beat (heat did not help) BUT it never did rain or even threaten rain/storm. This trail is really beautiful but this time of year with the monsoons it is even prettier. The washes have water in then…we even heard waterfalls in the distance (yes in the desert!). Trees are blooming and flowers are budding out, spring comes to the mountains.

Once at Bear Saddle I found a really comfortable log to lay on….for about 10 minutes it felt GREAT but then it REALLY hurt as I tried to get up, muscles do not like to cool off! Bear Saddle is beautiful as you can see both San Pedro Valley (our valley) and Santa Rita Valley (see picture). On the way back we detoured to the old Hamburg mining town site. There is not much left as it has been abandoned for about 100 years. We did see a few building foundations, some mining equipment debris and the ruminants of a kiln (see pictures)

Gary on a Log IMG_0163 IMG_0164 IMG_0165 IMG_0166 IMG_0168 IMG_0169 IMG_0170 IMG_0172 IMG_0173 IMG_0174 IMG_0176 IMG_0177 IMG_0178 IMG_0179 IMG_0180 IMG_0181 IMG_0182 IMG_0183 Kiln Scott at Comfort SpringBear Saddle

 

 

Huachuca Peak, Hike #13

 

Hiking Trip # 13

Goal: Huachuca Peak: with finishing this hike we have climbed all 4 major peaks of the Huachuca Mountains; Miller Peak 9,466 ft, Carr Peak 9,220 ft, Ramsey Peak 8,725 ft and lastly Huachuca Peak 8,410 ft.

Weather: Another FANTASTIC day, with Monsoons here it has been cool in the mornings and just great for hiking, a LITTLE humid thou!

Trail: McClure Canyon Trail to Rock Springs Trail to Huachuca Peak Trial

Date: July 12, 2014

Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: 4.2 miles (with huge elevation gains, a 2 mile trail, going up over .65 miles)

Start Elevation: about 5,000 ft

End Elevation 8,410 ft

Elevation Change: 3,410

Do It Again: Yes, in the fall when the foliage changes.

Comments: We started off at 7:00 AM from the trail head that Scott clawed his truck up to (glad it was not my truck as we would have been walking long before the trailhead!). The days weather was great all the while we were on the trail, it did rain later in the day. The trail is listed as “strenuous” this is due to the steep elevation changes but was not any worse than any of our other hikes and NOWHERE near as bad as Lutz Canyon 1 (I have a feeling as long as we RETURN from a hike it will NEVER be as bad as THAT hike). On our last 2-3 hikes the flies have been terrible and getting worse as Monsoon approached, so I bought some “Deet Max”, which we did not use as there were hardly any flies this hike…should have bought this stuff long ago maybe then we would never had any flies??? At the peak there is a plaque dedicated to “Those who influence soldiers” (picture attached) very cool. There were also millions of Lady Bugs and I literally mean millions, they covered everything, also very neat (picture). There are the remains of a fire tower at the peak. I would not have wanted to have THAT as my job, a bummer hike every time you went to work and I bet the lighting strikes would have been terrible (Huachuca means “Thunder Mountain” in Indian). I had my neighbors Fred & Sook over the night before and Sook brought some FANTASTIC cookies which I brought along for a snack….Thanks Sook for the GREAT cookies, we really enjoyed them! We finished the hike around 12:00 noon.

Last two items: I made Scott almost fall down laughing and/or wet his pants when I jumped back from a rattle snake, which was RATTLING on the trail. I did the “Rattle Snake” retreat dance in QUICK TIME (I did not think it was SOOOOO funny)! In all our hikes this was the first snake we have seen…I hope the last too! Something I have not mentioned; after each hike Scott usually looks like he lost a fight with a huge cat (big lion???), never knew someone could lose THAT much blood and still walk but on this hike he did not have a scratch on him….wonder if he would have fallen down laughing at me if he would have cut himself???

IMG_0137 IMG_0138 IMG_0139 IMG_0140 IMG_0141  IMG_0144 IMG_0145 IMG_0146 IMG_0147 IMG_0149 IMG_0151 IMG_0152  IMG_0155 IMG_0156

Scheelite to Ramsey Peak (This time we made it), Hike 12

Hiking Trip #12

Goal: Scheelite to Ramsey Peak (This time we made it)

Weather: The Forecast for today: 99 Degrees with a 30% chance of rain (a really big deal as we have had a 0% chance of rain since the middle of March)

Trail: Scheelite Canyon Trail to Ramsey Peak Trail (turns out there is no real Ramsey Peak Trail unless you count the Illegal Alien path)

Date: July 2, 2014

Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: Slightly less than 10 miles!

Start Elevation: 5,221 Ft

End Elevation 8,725 Ft

Elevation Change: 3,504 Ft

Accumulated Gain: God only knows way over 3,500 ft!

Do It Again: Hopefully not…ever! (Would do lower Scheelite Canyon Trail and that will probably this fall when the trees change color)

Comments: With the weather forecast saying there is a 30% chance of rain and this past springs fire really taking its toll on the upper trail we felt it was today or never to make the peak as what is left of trail would be washed out with the rain. The Scheelite trial hike was pretty much like last week’s hike except we made it 40 minutes faster due to not going “cross country” (lost) as often. We had lunch at Ft Huachuca gate #2, (picture attached) this is area is really beautiful, relatively flat, tall pine trees, pine needle covered ground, a great place for a picnic (as long as a helicopter brings in the food and beverages). From the gate area we THOUGHT we could see Ramsey Peak, boy will we find out we were wrong! After lunch we followed a trail that we thought would lead up to the peak…it shortly disappeared in an area that the fire had burned but was re-growing in plants similar looking to big dandelions. We could see “The Peak” so just headed up to it “cross country”. Once there we looked the west and south BREATH TAKING! We could see Canello Hills Mountains, Parker Canyon Lake, and into Mexico…just spectacular! As we turned to the east our heart sunk, there was a peak about 200-300 ft above us and about a ½ mile away, and this is the REAL Ramsey Peak! Can you say disheartening? We looked at each other knowing we had to go for “it” as A.) We were never going to get here again B.) The trail was going to be washed out when the rains came and the mountain “sloughed” due to the spring fires, C.) We just had to do it. We looked around for a trail but saw none, so off we went. We had to descend 200 Ft-300 ft. to get down to the ridge that seemed to lead up to the peak, go down 200 ft to go up 400 ft! As we went down we came across debris left behind by Illegal aliens. We would follow this mess most of the way to the peak….those Illegals are hardy little suckers! There was a trail of sorts, mostly not. On one side was large/huge boulders with a BIG drop off, on the other side of the ridge was under brush that we had to push through. We actually broke through to the peak sooner (not soon enough) than we thought.

The view: SPECTULAR 360. We could see the false peak, Mexico, Carr and Miller Peaks simply fantastic. The Peak: WAY underwhelming, we ended up taking turns standing on the highest rock (not even a boulder to stand on but a rock) to get a view (pictures attached). As we descended the clouds thickened. Finally just as we touched the truck we heard thunder the first time and it was relatively close! The hike back down was uneventful but long, the whole round trip took us 8 ½ hours. A fitting end to a great day: Scott, Sherri and I sat near our pool drinking beer (Sherri had a peach margarita (more than one so we found out all about her childhood!), more beer for the guys) as it finally started to rain, more a good sprinkle by back east standards than a hard rain but since it was the first rain we have had since March it felt wonderful. The rain noted the beginning of Monsoon Season 2014. Turns out that a few days latter is rained so hard it washed out a foot bridge to the nearby Petroglyphs and closed Scheelite trail.

Carr and Miller Peaks Gary at Ramsey Peak Gate 2 Rest Area IMG_0110 IMG_0112 IMG_0114 IMG_0115 IMG_0116 IMG_0117 IMG_0119 IMG_0122 IMG_0126 IMG_0127 IMG_0128 Ramsey Peak Scott At Ramsey Peak

 

 

 

 

Scheelite Canyon Trail then on to Ramsey Peak, Hike 11

Hiking Trip #11

Goal: Scheelite Canyon Trail then on to Ramsey Peak (8,725 FT)

Trail: Scheelite Canyon Trail

Date: June 24, 2014

Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: 7.2 Miles

Start Elevation: 5,521 FT

End Elevation 8,350 FT

Elevation Change: 2,829 FT

Accumulated Gain: 3,173 (Source: Hike AZ)

Do It Again: Yes, because we did not make it to Ramsey Peak due to time constraints! That is unless we find a better way!

Comments: The “Hike AZ” Guide lists best months the hike this trail; April, May, Sept and Oct…reason why; it is hotter than hell at the end of June and this is June!

We can also answer that age old question “Do Bears S#%T in the Woods”? Yes, and we have proof….see picture!

Currently this is our second favorite trail, Hamburg being our favorite. Scheelite Trail is very beautiful BUT very strenuous, did I mention beautiful!! The trail is not very well marked (understatement) and where this spring’s fire burned, the trail is all but none existent. Guess what; we had to go “cross country”, yes again, BUT with WAY better results than when we did our first Lutz Canyon hike (See Lutz #1). We ended up on the “Crest Trail”. Scheelite dead ends into “Crest Trail” so we just followed “Crest” until we found where “Scheelite” and “Crest” meet. Oh we had to do this as we lost the trail due to the fire. The two trails meet at gate #2 on Ft. Huachuca. The clearing at gate #2 is one of the nicest places we have seen. Fantastic views to the west and south, plenty of pine trees and plenty of pine needles to relax under. Ramsey peak is SO close but too far to make today, so back down we go to do this again on another day.

An item to note: we came across some stones with what looked like rust spots all over them, very neat looking. At that point 2 lady hikers were heading back down the trail (they gave up as they kept loosing the trail….us being, guys would NEVER give into that! NOT when you can go “CROSS COUNTRY”!) anyway we asked (yes we can ask questions) and they said it was the fire retardant dropped while the “Hot Shots” were putting out the spring fire.

 

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Finish Comfort Springs Trail and do Ramsey Vista Camp Ground to Old Saw Mill Trail, Trail, Hike #10

Hiking Trip #10

Trail: Finish Comfort Springs Trail and do Ramsey Vista Camp Ground to Old Saw Mill Trail, Trail

Date: June 18, 2014

Partner: None, Scott was with his family fishing in the White Mountains, Dana at work.

Distance: Finish Comfort Trail about 5 miles round trip, Ramsey Vista about 1 mile round trip

Start Elevation: 7,381

End Elevation 7,381 Start finish same point

Elevation Change: 350 ft

Accumulated Gain: 350 ft Does not sound like much but it IS

Do It Again: Now that I have finished these trails, probably not

Comments: Weather: The weather was fantastic. There where large white fluffy clouds with bright blue sky behind, very pretty! Most of sun was blocked by clouds and there was a nice breeze/wind, with very low humidity…GREAT day for a hike!

Comfort Springs Trail: I started out at the Ramsey Vista campground which is the end of the trail, walking back to where Scott and I thought the spring was. After 20 minutes I past a concrete water box with a pipe coming out of the ground, if there was any water it would fill the box so animals/people could drink out of it. But alas no water (I would latter find out that this IS the spring the trail was named after, VERY underwhelming, see picture of box). I continued on to where we thought the spring would be. I went down what looked like a side trail about 8 feet and the “trail” dropped off over an 8-10 foot cliff…..oh well no trail here. Since we had already done this part of the trail I headed back to the car. As it turns out when Scott and I were hiking we were only 250-300 yards from what is actually the spring.

Ramsey Vista Camp Ground to Old Saw Mill Trail: After getting back to the car I decided to do the part of Old Saw Mill trail we had not done. This trail is just another way to access Carr Peak Trail. Trail is very rocky. A decent, short hike with nothing much to note.

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Hamburg Trail to Comfort Springs and almost to the Ramsey Vista Campground, Hike #9

Hiking Trip #9

Trail: Hamburg Trail to Comfort Springs and almost to the Ramsey Vista Campground

Date: June 9, 2014

Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: 9.6 Miles round trip

Start Elevation: 5,550 FT

End Elevation 5,550 Ft (started and stopped at Ramsey Preserve)

Elevation Change: O Ft (started and stopped at Ramsey Preserve)

Accumulated Gain: 1,763 FT (Highest Peak we hiked over was 7,313 Ft)

Do It Again: Since this is in the same area as Hamburg and we actually use most of Hamburg this whole hike is the prettiest we have hiked. The trail once you leave Hamburg is actually prettier than Hamburg …if that is possible??!! So answer yes, after we do other trails.

Comments: Today was sunny and HOT projected to be 98, so we opted to do Hamburg to Comfort Springs trail to Ramsey Vista Campground as it is mostly follows the river bed (actually a big (HUGE) wash that directs the runoff from the mountain) and is mostly in the forest/woods. As mentioned above this is just BEAUTIFUL, it looks and feels like Colorado! We did not see any special wildlife but did hear a rare Elegant Trogon and passed a hiker “communicating” with these birds (too much heat??) We did not make it all the way to Ramsey Vista Campground as we had a late start. The Ramsey Preserve is a fee area that we have to pass through and they opened up late due to a computer problem, so we simply ran out of time. We were only about .2s of a mile away (Scotts new favorite term)!

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Lutz Mine Trail, 2nd Try…..”We made It”, Hike #8

Hiking Trip #8

Lutz Mine Trail, 2nd Try We Made It!

Trail: Lutz Mine Trail

Date: June 4, 2014

Partner: Scott Weis

Distance: Approximately 7 plus miles

Start Elevation: 5,800 Ft

End Elevation 5,800 Ft (this was our starting point)

Elevation Change: 8474 Ft

Accumulated Gain: 3,074 Ft That is a lot!

Do It Again: Probably not as there are so many other trails to do, but is a good hike, as long as you don’t miss the trail and go on a cooler day!

Comments: Do not hike on the hottest day of the year (so far) by the time we finished is was 95 degrees, no clouds, low humidity equates to VERY HOT!!!

Unlike our last attempt we stayed on the actual trail and made it to both the small mine ( about 15 feet into the mountain) and the much larger mine (have no idea far it goes back as all we had was Scotts iPhone flash light). Unfortunately the larger mine had a large amount of debris for illegal aliens. It was a cloudless day and the whole hike was on the Southeastern side on the mountain, hence in the sun hence we cooked! Since the fire 3 years ago there is no shade! We tried to make it up to Crest Trail (the top of the ridge) but due to heat stopped short by about a quarter of a mile! At the smaller mine there were 2 large pieces of equipment that we think were used to power jackhammers….pretty cool. The debris from the mines in the area are really neat. Folks back in the day were some hardy souls! We hiked here and were tried, they had to work up here AND bring everything they used, ate and drank up to the mines!

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Brown-Hamburg-Comfort Springs Trail, Hike # 7

Hiking Trip #7

Trail: Brown-Hamburg-Comfort Springs Trail

Date: May 22, 2014

Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: 9.6-10 miles Hiked to Comfort Springs Trail and headed back down to Ramsey Preserve. Do not do CST. Ran out of time and by the time we got back to the car had enough hiking for one day!!

Start Elevation: 5,500 ft Brown House

End Elevation 5,550 Ramsey Preserve 

Elevation Change: 50ft

Accumulated Gain: 1000 ft

Do It Again: YES very beautiful!

Comments:

Brown Ranch is was todays starting Point Brown Canyon trail    is not my favorite as it is fairly open but once you get to Hamburg trail (one of our favorites) it is beautiful. Hamburg is a great trail to do in the heat of summer as it is tree covered and super scenic; parts of it actually have water in the washes. We saw a Elegant Trogon (a black bird with red breast, very rare), Wild Turkey (about 8-10 ft away from us), 3 deer. I received a call from United Health Care after doing about 8 miles of trial, wanting to set up a health appointment…my comment “I am climbing a mountain about 6,000 ft up and have hiked over 8 miles to get here…I think I am pretty healthy! Thanks for the call! Hiked through Ramsey Preserve, always nice here and usually see a lot of animals, none today, but saw Hummingbirds at the Preserve (they have feeders here). If you park in their parking lot and walk to the hummingbird area it is a very short easy walk and a neat place to visit even if you do not like to walk/hike. Generally you can see lots of hummingbirds. A nice way to finish up the day. Scott’s wife Sheri dropped us off and picked us up….thanks Sheri!

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Carr Peak, Hike #6

Hiking Trip # 6

Trail: Old Saw Mill Trail to Car Peak Trail

Date: May 15, 2014

Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: 8.2 miles

Start Elevation: 7,196 ft

End Elevation 9,230 ft

Elevation Change: 1,807 ft.

Accumulated Gain: 1,807 ft.

Do It Again: Yes relatively easy and a pretty trail

Comments: Beautiful, 360 view from top. The trail is well marked and winds around the top of the mountain to get around a large rock outcropping. Most of the trail is out in the open so not a good trail to do latter in the day, best to start VERY early. The view as you hike is stunning, well worth the time to hike this trail. Enjoy the views!

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Brown/ Hamburg Trail, Hike #5

Hiking Trip #5

 

Trail: Brown/ Hamburg Trail

Date: May 10, 2014

Partner: Dana Binford

Start Elevation: 5,014 ft

End Elevation: 6,498 ft add about 500 ft for Hamburg

Elevation Change: 1,414 ft add about 500 ft for Hamburg

Accumulated Gain: 1,660 ft add about 500 ft for Hamburg

Mileage: About 11 miles total

Do it Again?: YES! Bring camera. This is a must do trail!

Comments: Beautiful trial, bring camera next time! Probably the prettiest trail yet!

Dana leads a FAST hike. Kimi was SUPER tried…Gary too! Brown trail is an“ok” trail but once you get to Hamburg Trail it is FANTASTIC. There are 2 ways to get to this trail: through Ramsey Preserve or by way of Brown Canyon both require a good hike before you arrive at Hamburg but you are VERY well rewarded for the effort.

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Lutz Mine Trail #104, Attempt #1, Hike #4

Hiking Trip #4

Trail: Lutz Mine Trail #104  , Attempt #1

Date: May 8, 2014

Partner: Scott Weiss and Tess

Start Elevation: 5,769 ft

End Elevation Probably around 8,000-8,500 ft God Only Knows! (see comments below)

Elevation Change: God Only Knows (see comments below)

Mileage: About 8 miles God Only knows (see comments below)

Do It Again: Added to my ‘Bucket List” need to find mine!

Comments: We lost the trail (yes again, we really have this part of hiking down pat) and ended up going “cross country” to the top of a God awful ridge trying to find mine or trail. Climbed about 70 Degree Mountain in our effort to find trail/mine. Used dead/burned tress, scrub brush or whatever we could to advance up mountain. Had lunch while debating how to get off the ridge we were on. Finally climbed, slid, tripped, clawed, fumbled our way down! A couple of times were “GOD moments”, like in: God please let me make it from this dead tree to that dead bush!! Terrible experience! Not sure if better or worse than Miller Peak hike! Those spots on Scotts shirt are blood…really

View View from ridge  Scott at the top  Gary Top of ridgeTried GaryHiker Gary

 

Pomona Trail Mine Trail #116, Hike #3

Hiking Trip #3

Trail: Pomona Trail Mine Trail #116

Date: May 1, 2014

Partner:  Scott Weiss & Tess (Normal Size dog)

Distance: About 6 miles (info on web site not correct)

Start Elevation: 5,564 ft

End Elevation 7,261

Elevation Change: 1,691 ft

Accumulated Gain: 1,759 ft

Do It Again: Maybe someday, a “been there done that trail!”

Comments: Lost trail but went “cross country” and found it again (this will be a recurring theme on our hikes). Beautiful scenery, rugged at points, not a trail for beginners but well worth the time and effort. Along the way we saw an old truck frame, and some equipment at and/or near mine site. Passed tower and cable for mining operation, neat! “Mine” more like small cave (about 30 ft deep), lots of tailings from where they must have removed part of mountain. Climbed to top of ridge and found REALLY pretty meadow AND a helicopter landing pad used for fire fighting. VERY COOL!!

Gary Business call on mountain Gary By Mine View

 

 

Perimeter Mine Trail Hike #2

Hike #2

Trail: Perimeter Mine trail

Date: March 2014

Partner: Dana Binford & Kimi (BIG Dog)

Distance: 5-6 miles (No trail references)

Start Elevation: About 5,000 ft

End Elevation Loop

Elevation Change: Maybe 1,000 ft

Accumulated Gain: Maybe 1,000 ft

Do It Again: Yes as an easy trail.

Comments: Nice easy trail, very scenic! Again bring camera!

Hiking Gary 1 Gary & Kimi Dana & Kimi

Miller Peak Hike #1

Miller Peak #1

Or

We Walked In the Clouds

Or

My Fun Meter is Pegged at Zero

Back Ground:

Miller Peak: Elevation 9,466 feet high (Chiricahua Peak 9,759 feet highest in Cochise Countyty)

Montezuma Pass: Elevation 6,575

Distance from Montezuma Pass to Millers Peak 5.3 miles (10.6 miles round trip)

Elevation change 2,891 Feet (over a 5.3 miles! hike)

Participants: Phil & Lisa Sloss, (and their 3 dogs), Mark Wallace, Alan & Michelle (and their 1 dog), Richard & Tammy (No dogs) and me (also with no dogs)

Some random thoughts from our Jacuzzi while drinking Rough Stocks “Black Label” Whiskey (114.8 proof)

We left Montezuma’s Pass at 8:50 AM, temperature 39 degrees, wind 25-35 MPH with gusts up to 45 MPH and arrived back at the starting point around 3:00 PM not a lot warmer, wind even worse…one long, cold, windy day.

Starting out we could not see the mountain top or much else due to low hanging clouds (we would not see the top very often on this day). Along the way we went into the clouds, then an” Ice Forest”, then thru the “Ice Storm” , finally just plain high velocity wind at the top!.

Ice Forest: The winds were driving the clouds up the mountain side, forcing the moisture from the clouds to deposit and freeze on the grass, brush and trees. When the sun would come out, which was not often, it would reflect off the frozen landscape, like diamonds. BEAUTIFUL BUT SOOOOO COLD AND WINDY.

Ice Storm: While the Ice Forest was beautiful, the ice flying off the trees at 45 MPH HURTS. Conclusion: east side of mountain “GOOD” (no wind), west side of mountain “Bad” (windy side).

While the wind was always blowing, once at the top it was at least 45MPH. Wind chill: God only knows what the wind chill was BUT it was COLD and WINDY! Phil found a small 18” high ledge, at the top, which we huddled behind while we ate lunch. Visualize this: 8 adults hunkering down behind a 18” ledge, trying to stay warn and eat all the while trying not venturing above 18”into the wind. Ok, some of us are short BUT not THAT short. Lucky for us, while we were at the summit, the clouds broke and the sun came out so for a few minutes we had a spectacular view of the surrounding area below us.

If we walked 10.6 miles the dogs walked 25, as they would run up and down the pathway we were hiking on. Oh did I mention that the path was only 18’’ wide? Most of the time and when the dogs past you by, they just blew by….made for some very interesting moments when the drop offs are 500-1500 feet straight down!!!!!!!!!!!!

About half way back Phil made the comment “My fun meter is pegged at zero”!! Arriving home Mark wanted Cherie (his wife) to come fetch him with the wheelbarrow so he would not have to walk home…Phil, being the good driver/neighbor drove him ALL the way across the street to his home!

This whole adventure was my idea (I just had not planned on doing it this day) and I said “if I EVER have an idea like this again, kick me in the ass” AND if these people ever go along with another one of my ideas I will kick their collective asses!

Injuries: MY Toe, when I arrived home other than being totally exhausted, worn out and generally beat up, I felt pretty good…until I took off my left hiking boot (not really boots but they are NOW! I would latter buy Kerr hiking boots). My next to small toe, on my left foot hurt while I was hiking but not all THAT bad. After viewing the toe, a ½ inch piece of skin was hanging from it: INSTANTLY it became excruciatingly painful…ouch!! My little piggy hurt too! Oh I smacked my head when I feel so maybe that is why I wrote this…brain damage???

Note from Patti – “the brain damage happened waaaaay before the hike!!!!!”

Phil more ice Phil and Gary Mark and Gary ice IMG_2023.JPG IMG_0397 IMG_0393.JPG Ice View beautiful view wit ice At the top ice

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America The Recap

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America The Recap

The Queen Mary sails Again-Eastern America

Last Day On Road: Monday, Sept 26

Favorite Cities: New Orleans, Mobile, Atlanta, Nashville, Pigeon Forge/Branson, Hot Springs

Least Favorite Cities: Jackson, MS, run down very near Capitol.

Favorite R. V. Parks: Lake Lanier Island Campground, mostly because we were all by ourselves. Ozark Country Campground (Branson), because everything worked: nice flat, tree covered sites.

Least Favorite RV Parks: Mardi Gras RV Campground, New Orleans, we did not stay here but pulled in and decided not to stay. Lynchburg Wilderness RV Park, a dump, no air TV, no Wi-Fi, no nothing! Almost worse Enon Beach RV Park, Ohio or back to mediocrity. It is bad when your 12 year old RV is almost the best one in the park! We have a site but no Wi-Fi, junk RVs all around, air TV. Not the worst park but pretty bad.

Favorite Capitols: Louisiana, just very nice! Topeka, KS; beautiful, lots of marble (4 colors), brass and copper stairs…really neat. Little Rock, AR really pretty!

Favorite or Interesting Places/Things: Atlanta Aquarium. Auburn, IN Auburn, Cord Duesenberg Museum. Corvette Factory Tour.

Least Favorite Places/Things: Talladega Speedway, LAME! Per Patti…”the worst!”

Interesting Signs: Coming out of the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. 2 signs on the same road: 441 North; 321 South, make up your mind!!

Goof: El Paso, missed turn off (of many goofs but the worst)

Arrived Home: Monday, Sept 26 Final Mileage: Second Half 3,911.8. Total Mileage: 8,675.7 Miles. Average Cost of Fuel: $3.92 (last year it was 2.99, what a difference a year makes!)

Fuel Used: 754.6

Total Day on the Road: 59

 

Las Cruces, NM,                                       Enchilada Festival, Part 56

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 56 Las Cruces

Date: Sunday, Sept 25, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Sunny Acres, Las Cruces, NM. Sounds like a retirement home…Patti said come winter it probably is! The Park is really nice, flat, large sites, some trees (I did not park near one).Very nice gravel driveways and pads with NICE grass between sites. We have great cable, poor Wi-Fi…it comes and goes…it is gone right now.

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Drive back to Sierra Vista, AZ the party is over, back to work!

Today: Drove to Las Cruces, NM. You can see the effects of the drought. When I left Sierra Vista the monsoons were just starting and had been light but things were starting to turn green. We drove from  Roswell, NM to Las Cruces on U.S. 70, a great secondary road, and everything was brown, just like in the winter, very sad. We drove through  Ruidoso, NM, it elevation is 7,600 ft., back east they call 1,100 ft hills, mountains!

In Las Cruces we stopped at a gourmet food shop and they were roasting Chilies, I asked if I could buy 1 or 2, their response was they only sell them by the bag…oh a bag is a 50 pound burlap bag…I passed. But we met a couple from Tucson (small world), who drive here 2-3 times a year for the peppers. They gave me 2 and encouraged me to eat one there….hot, but REALLY good! Then we headed over to the  Enchilada Festival where they make the worlds largest 3 layer flat enchilada But could not find a parking place…it is really popular, so back to the QM.

Observations:

Comment:.

This half of the trip was pretty light on big animals, cows/horses do not count. So far all we have only seen are 2 deer at Palo Duro and an antelope. This does not include the thousands of bugs we have splattered all over my windshield.

Last night on the road. I will send out a recap in the next day or two. Hope you all enjoyed our commentary

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average. L L L

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 3,635.7 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 296.5 Gallons so for

MPG: 12.2 going down…. L LL held it’s own today

Cost Per Gallon: $3.65 now that we are almost home diesel fuel is going down! Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

Roswell, NM, Part 55

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 55 Roswell, NM

Date: Saturday, Sept 24, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Town & Country RV Park, Roswell, NM : Very nice park, all gravel, nice flat sites, large; you are not on top of your next door neighbor! We have Wi-Fi AND cable…life is good!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Drive to Los Cruces, NM, ,

Today: We drove to Roswell on major secondary roads, all very nice. We saw a lot of New Mexico, pretty flat, lots of cows! We went through Hereford, NM which is the “Beef Capitol of the World”. This might be self proclaimed but the feed lots here are the BIGGEST we have seen AND we have seen a lot of them! Farwell, TX has a population of 1300 AND has a country club…really…go figure!

Observations: We were in Roswell 4 years ago. This was our first RV trip with the QM & Tug. Roswell seems bigger and doing very well, we liked it then and still like it…and you get aliens too, the outer space kind!

Arby’s welcoming Aliens to Roswell

Aliens at Roswell

 

Comment: We deleted Albuquerque, and Hatch as we have been to both and will be back for this year’s Balloon Festival.

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 3,435.0 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 279.4 Gallons so for

MPG: 12.2 going down….  held it’s own today

Cost Per Gallon: $3.73 Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

Canyon, TX, Groom *(Stations of The Cross), & *Palo Doro Canyon State Park, TX, Part 54

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 54 Canyon, TX

Date: Friday, Sept 23, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Palo Duro RV Park. …can you say desert? There is virtually no grass, but I was able to park the QM near a tree, too near. We can not raise the TV antenna SOOOO we have NO TV tonight! Wi-Fi does work fairly well and I was able to clear off my e-mails. The Park is flat, some trees, full hook ups…what more could you ask for??? TV???

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Drive to Roswell, NM, we have been here before so it will just be our fresher trip to outer space.

Today Groom, TX. This is where the  Stations of the Cross are and a 190’ tall cross. REALLY moving! The grounds are beautiful, green grass (everything else around it is dead), very tranquil, and really nice place to take a break and very well worth seeing.

Groom Cross

Palo Doro Canyon State Park, TX.This area is known as The Little Grand Canyon of TX, a well deserved name. It is no where near as large as G.C. but almost as pretty. We drove down to the bottom of the canyon…I must really like to drive, and took Kayla for her first really good hike of this part of the trip. There was either no place to walk her or it was raining. This State Park is a little out of the way but if you have time it is good for a break.

Kayla and I

Observations: Roads; I have to amend my comment on OK roads, they are only bad around OK City, the rest are pretty good. Must be a rule of some sort that if you have a population center, that pays taxes, give them bad roads!!

Comment: This part of OK & TX is flat. I saw “yesterday” behind me and “tomorrow” in front of me…oh and a few cows too!

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 3,187.6 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 260.4 Gallons so for

MPG: 12.2 going down….

Cost Per Gallon: $3.81 Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

Ok City, OK, State Capitol, *******Myriad Botanical Garden, *******Murrah Memorial Museum , Part 53

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 53 Oklahoma City

Date: Thursday, Sept 22, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Oklahoma City, Council Rd RV Park. Decent park…they are all looking the same at this point. It has a concrete pad to step out of the QM onto, Wi-Fi is working well, air TV is the best we have ever seen…really, 27 channels and they all work, we usually get 4-5, if we are lucky! This park is rated 4 out of 5 stars, not sure why??? Trees over RV sites??

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Drive to Amarillo, TX and if we are up to it see Palo Doro Canyon State Park, or see it Saturday. Palo Doro Canyon is a little Grand Canyon, could be underwhelming…we will see!

Today OK,  State Capitol: OK became a state in 1907 and work was started on the Capitol in 1910. This Capitol is much like the U.S. Capitol BUT the Dome was only added in 2002-2004. The original designed called for a dome, but between the WWI and running out of money it was not built until recently. The building is very stately, and has a nice look to it. The original building is all sandstone on the exterior. The dome, while appearing to look like the old construction, is all man made materials, so it is lighter and was made to match the “look” of the old construction. Inside it is huge; again, mostly gray granite. Like I said, very stately, not pretty. They do have some beautiful murals…stunning actually. Most of the murals also recent – 2000 and newer, and were made to look “back in the day”. The inside of the Rotunda was very nice as were the House and Senate chambers. The Bar Association was graduating its class of 2011 law students…Patti’s comment “soon to join the ranks of the unemployed”. Cruel, very cruel. On the Capitol grounds there is an oil well that actually produced oil until the 1980’s. Thanks Ron Faulkner; would not even noticed it until you asked if it was still there!

After the capitol we had lunch with one of my son’s oldest friends and his wife at a really neat Mexican restaurant,  Celiento’s Mexican Restaurant, in the Bricktown area, REALLY neat area. THEY EVEN HAVE A RIVER WITH WATER TAXIS…really!

Myriad Botanical Garden: well besides being hard to find we enjoyed it quite a bit. The Garden was only about a ½ mile from were we had lunch but “Garmi”, our GPS, sent us off, on foot, in the wrong direction. Went back to the Tug and drove the ½ mile… took us 2 turns around the block and asking where it was…I was parked in front of it, hidden by trees! Patti said it was 7 stories high so we were looking for a tower…read on. The Garden is really a “Crystal Bridge” containing the garden. It is a Steel/Aluminum cylinder, laying on it’s side. The cylinder IF standing up would be seven stories high but on its side is 224 feet long tube and contains over 1000 plants. They just completed a $36,000,000 renovation. Really beautiful! This is a must see…if you can find it. While we were at the Garden we befriended an Asian young lady who latched on to us, for our time in the Garden and rode over with us to the Murrah Memorial. When we could understand her she was very interesting.

Murrah Memorial Museum. Very beautiful but very sad. On one end there is a large wall with 9:01 on it on the other is an identical wall that has 9:03 on it with a reflecting pool in between, very tranquil. The bomb blew up at 9:02. 9:01 everyone normal, 9:03 the world changed! On the footprint of the Murrah building there are 168 chairs representing those killed in the bombing of April 19, 1995. 19 of the chairs are smaller representing the children killed that day…very moving. Part of the original fence separating on looker from the rescue workers is still there and people still add items to it…like I said VERY SAD!

On a brighter note: As we were driving to OK City from Topeka, KS we passed a cement truck on a rotating display, and I pointed it out to Patti. On our way back from Downtown OK City we passed is again and Patti’s comment was “I guess he does not have a GPS” my comment to her was “OR you are the navigator!” Cruel, very, very Cruel!

Observations: Roads are worse than we thought; we heard that Kent State sends their Civil Engineering students here to find out how NOT to build roads!!! REALLY

Comment: You have all heard about the drought this area is having. Well last night we received 1” of rain, just over night. Did not end the drought but it is a good start!

Forgot to mention that the Cattleman’s restaurant features “Lamb Fries”. Every waiter/waitress asks you if you want their specialty “Lamb Fries” as your appetizer. These are consider a delicacy in some parts…you will have to guess what they are!!!!!!!!!

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 2,857.3 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 228.3 Gallons so for

MPG: 12.4 going down….

Cost Per Gallon: $3.89 Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

Oklahoma City, OK, Cattleman’s Restaurant, Part52

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part52 Oklahoma City

Date: Wednesday, Sept 21, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Oklahoma City, Council Rd RV Park. Decent park…they are all looking the same at this point. It has a concrete pad to step out of the QM onto, Wi-Fi is working well, air TV is the best we have ever seen…really, 27 channels and they all work, and we usually get 4-5 if we are lucky! This park is rated 4 out of 5 stars, not sure why??? Trees over RV sites??

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: OK State Capitol, Botanical Garden, Murrah Memorial Museum

Today Mostly a drive day from Topeka to OK City, 5 hours pulling the QM…Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy! One good thing – we had dinner at  Cattleman’s Restaurant, not affiliated with the   Cattleman’s Restaurant, El Paseo, TX  but just as good. One of the best steaks I have had in a long time, Patti had Beef Kabob almost as good. Before we arrived I told Patti that it was Wednesday so it would probably not be very busy…WRONG! They had a waiting line but because there were just the 2 of us, we got seated fast. The place is quite large and was packed, they had a lot of help and service was very good.

Observations: The roads were not bad UNTIL we were near OK City then they were terrible, way worse than the one section in Arkansas. It felt like we were riding a wild horse….I guess when they were giving away Stimulus dollars OK City did not receive any!

Comment: Forgot to tell you abut  Pat’s Pigs BBQ building, a real dump, I mean really a dump…sorta clean…sorta. Friends of ours, Tom & Janet, have actually been there, talk about a really small world!! I was told Tom has a shirt from there that says “The Best Hand Rubbed Meat in the World” Oh did I mention this was NOT a classy place??

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 2,857.3 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 228.3 Gallons so for

MPG: 12.4 going down….

Cost Per Gallon: $3.75 Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

Topeka, KS, State Capitol *and **Harley Davidson Tour, Part 51

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 51 Topeka

Date: Tuesday, Sept 20, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Topeka, KA, Central Topeka KOA: Nice campground, gravel roads and pads AND it has Wi-Fi AND cable TV…I am in heaven! Looks like a good RV Park for kids; they have a play ground, pool, fishing ponds (2) and a dog park….nice place.

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals:

Today  Harley Davidson Plant Tour: Not as nice as the Corvette tour, you could not see as much of the assembly here, but an informative tour. It is similar to the Corvette assembly as it takes 3 days to assemble a bike which is the same time frame as the car, but this line goes way slower, only one bike comes off the line every 55 minutes. They work 2 eight hour shifts or roughly 16-17 bikes a day. Unlike the Corvette Plant you can not buy your bike here, can not watch it being built, and can not pick it up here. Those things all have to be done at a dealer!

When I wrote about the Corvette factory tour, Sue, a friend of mine in Hubbard OH, asked why the car costs so much. At that time I told her jokingly they had a lot of people on the line. I now have a better answer: The Cars and Bikes costs so much because: EPA restrictions, Union Dues, Lawyers, Legal fees, Crash Testing, and Liability Insurance costs. Mostly unrelated to the actual cost of building the vehicles.

Topeka Kansas   State Capitol. The Capitol is once again built similar the U.S. Capitol only it is taller by 16 feet. The building is undergoing renovation on the outside and inside, there is scaffolding everywhere. The dome is copper so it has turned green with age, which looks good. The rotunda was closed off on all floors so you could not see the seal on the floor or the dome art work, VERY disappointing as these are always special. The Capitol was built from 1866 to 1903, so there are some variations in construction types and materials. Most of the building has 4 colors of marble, which came from Belgium, U.S., Italy and Mexico. The colors are all reds, and shades of tans….BEAUTIFUL. The ceilings are gorgeous, again shade of tans. The Senate and House have columns made of brass and cooper and were hand cast in Italy. Fantastic; this is one really nice building! The stairs are brass and copper, we have seen wood, marble, granite and steel used for stairs but never brass and copper…not cheap!

 

Kansas State Capitol Sign

Dinner: We had asked the owner of the KOA for a suggestion for GOOD BBQ & Ribs…when in Kansas do as Kansans do. He told us to go to  Pat’s Pigs BBQ…we HAD to try that. I had Sparky’s platter: ribs, chicken wings, Chicken tenders, pickles, and onion rings and Patti had the pulled pork plate. Both were very good. I still like Nashville or Memphis better but these were still tender and tasteful

Observations:

Comment:

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 2,533.1 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 200.3 Gallons so for

MPG: 12.6 going down…. Wind??

Cost Per Gallon: $3.75 Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

Jefferson City, MO, State Capitol, Part 50

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 50, Jefferson City

Date: Monday, Sept 19, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Jefferson City, Osage Campground and More. After setting up the QM I made the comment to Patti either Osage Campground and Less or O.C. and More of What??? Not the worst park we have been in but pretty bad. No Wi-Fi and only 2 Air TV channels, one ABC the other religious, we did get to see the Season Premiere of 2 ½ Men, more by force than by choice. Sites are flat (a good thing), grass covered, no gravel (not a good thing due to all the rain we have had) and not big on scenery unless you call broken VW Bugs, broken “Sand Rail and broken Dune Buggies, broken boats scenery….the more I think about it the more I might it to the “Worst Park List”

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Harley Davidson Plant tour, and Topeka Kansas State Capitol.

Today Jefferson City, MO.  State Capitol Building: The building is similar to the U.S. Capitol but made with gray stone. At first we were a little disappointed in the Capitol building. On the exterior there is a lot of deferred maintenance, cracked stone walks, crumbling steps, a dirty, generally run down look. On the inside it is beautiful! It is all stone, granite, limestone and sandstone, all the stone came from Missouri except the columns inside the House and Senate chambers which came from Maine. There are a number of beautiful murals, one cost $16,000.00 in 1933 and is value at $10,000,000.00…good return on the investment. It is also HUGE, way bigger than it looks on the outside. All the murals were done on canvas, some done in France and England and shipped here. Once the sun came out, the outside of building did not look so drab, but the broken stuff was still broken. A note, this is their 4 Capitol building: the first is still standing near ST Louis, the second and third burned! I wish we had set up a matrix showing how many states had Capitol buildings that burned. You would think that with all the fires some states would have built their buildings out of stone from the start!??!

Jefferson City is relatively small for a capitol but nice, clean and people are friendly. We stopped at a yogurt shop where you grabbed the size cup you wanted and poured as much of 9 different flavors as you wanted…you could mix and match to your hearts content….very neat, and GOOD too!!!!!!!!!!

Observations:

Comment: We stopped at the MO “Visitor Welcome Center” located in the middle of the state. Do not ask us why anyone would put a “Visitor Welcome Center” in the middle of a state instead of at both ends, where it would seem to be of greater benefit. Anyway, the “Visitor Welcome Center” was one of the cutest we have seen any where. The picnic tables were all done in a Route 66 motif. Each table had a front on it like an old fashion filling station; the paved path through it had a yellow line like a road…very cool… very neat. You would have thought I would have taken a picture!!

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 2,239.9 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 174.0 Gallons so for

MPG: 13.0

Cost Per Gallon: $3.75. Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

Branson, MO, Titanic Expo.,***** Day 3, Part 49

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 49, Branson 3

Date: Sunday, Sept 18, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Branson, Mo. Ozark Country Campground. VERY: nice, decent size wooded flat sites. Even though the Campground is on a hill they have they have leveled the sites front to back, side to side…very easy set up! They also have working cable TV AND working Wi-FI…..Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy! EVERTHING works…WOW

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: See Jefferson City, State Capitol

Today Woke up ready to move the QM to Jefferson City and see the State Capitol. After watching the Weather Chanel we saw that there was an 80% chance of rain, with thunderstorms and 1-2 inches of rain expected, revised our plans and decided to stay here an extra day. Patti did laundry and cleaned up the QM….I relaxed! As the morning preceded it got nicer and you could see the sun at times…gotta loved the Weather Channel! Decided to go to Landry’s Seafood Restaurant  for lunch, which was very good. After lunch we headed over to the Titanic Expo. Friends of ours, Tom & Janet, said it was a must see. While at lunch, the sky broke open and a deluge was upon us, by the time we arrived at the Titanic Expo we were SOAKED….gotta love the Weather Channel! The Titanic Expo was very interesting. It tells you interactively  all about the disaster. You could hear some of the actual survivors, see a huge model of the ship; beautifully done, find out all kinds of facts. Did you know they had 40,000 eggs on board?? There was no hole in the side, the iceberg ripped out rivets loosening plates that made up the hull, allowing water in. VERY worth while!! NO pictures it was raining WAY TOO HARD!

When we arrived back at the RV Park there were places were water had made gullies in the roadway…we got alota water! It is raining again so maybe staying put for the day was a good idea!??!

Observations:

Comment: First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 1983.5 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 152.0 Gallons so for

MPG: 13.0

Cost Per Gallon: $3.92 (Tourist Trap). Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

Branson, MO, Day 2, Part 48

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 48, Branson

Date: Saturday, Sept 17, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Branson, Mo. Ozark Country Campground. VERY: nice, decent size wooded flat sites. Even though the Campground is on a hill they have they have leveled the sites front to back, side to side…very easy set up! They also have working cable TV AND working Wi-FI…..Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy! EVERTHING works…WOW

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: See Jefferson City, State Capitol

Today Well it is 3:10 PM, Saturday in Branson MO. And we are sitting in the QM…you might want to ask WHY we are not out seeing the sights?? It has been raining almost since we got up this morning, at one point we had a hard time hearing over the rain. It is 54 degrees, raining, lighting and thundering….NOT nice. We gave it a good effort: ran to the truck, 10 feet away…soaked, then headed to the Park library, to exchange some books…wetter yet! Then went to a Quilt Shop (yes, I am desperate for something to do…or Patti made me do it…your choice). The Quilt shop was huge and just so much fun I could hardly contain myself BUT after the Quilt Shop, Patti took me to a wine tasting shop…now I am in my element!  Mount Pleasant Winery: wines were OK, expensive $35-40. I think AZ wines are better and better value at $20-25. We had lunch and gave up! So here we are sitting in the QM on a Saturday afternoon!

There are 32 theaters in Branson that have live music, making Branson the “Live Music Capitol of the World”. Presley’s Presley’s Show  was FANTASTIC! This is the oldest show here and it is still going strong. Most of the people in the show are family, four generations! They sing, dance, and tell jokes…totally entertaining! This is the only show we saw BUT after seeing it, it is a must see if you are here. The only time they stop is for a 10 minute intermission, the rest of the time there is something fun going on.

Observations:

Comment: There is a fish hatchery near by, Patti asked that we not go, and then her eyes rolled to the back of her head and she started laughing hysterically!!! So being the wonderful husband that I am, I assured her we did not HAVE to go….but it would be fun….we did not go!

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 1983.5 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 152.0 Gallons so for

MPG: 13.0

Cost Per Gallon: $3.92 (Tourist Trap). Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

Branson, MO, Part 47

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 47, Branson

Date: Friday, Sept 16, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Branson, Mo. Ozark Country Campground. VERY: nice, decent size wooded flat sites. Even though the Campground is on a hill they have leveled the sites front to back, side to side…very easy set up! They also have working cable TV AND working Wi-FI…..Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: See more of Branson, the Show for tonight is the “Presley’s”.

Today Branson Branson, MO: Drove up from Eureka Springs, see comments on roads. Branson is very much like Pigeon Forge, only bigger. As we drove down the main street Patti’s comment was “it is just what I expected but bigger!” There are tons of beautiful hotels, lots of really neat restaurants and ALL kinds of ways to spend $$$. The RV park manager told Patti that 2 days here is not enough to see and do all the things here. After seeing downtown, Patti’s response should have been “But it is all we can afford!” They have a free trolley which we thought traveled around the whole area, unfortunately it only covered the original old Downtown, nice but we really would have like to see more of the area. Everything is BIG here; we saw a church that we thought was a big hotel!

Observations: We road out the remnants of a tropical depression and the weather really got nice, we have another front from the North Pole this time and it is down right chilly. The high today was 70 (it never seemed that warm), we had our jackets on, even during dinner! We also have the “Cube” heater on in the QM. It is overcast, no blue at all, rained on and off all day!

Comment: Did I mention NOTHING is flat…Oh and there is nothing straight either. The secondary roads are in good shape, just Not flat, Not straight….makes driving the QM VERY interesting!

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 1983.5 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 152.0 Gallons so for

MPG: 13.0

Cost Per Gallon: $3.87. Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

Eureka Springs, AR, **************Great Passion Play, Part 46

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 46, Eureka Springs

Date: Thursday, Sept 15, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Eureka Springs, AR. Wanderlust RV Park. The Park is good sized but the sites are short, which is usually not the case. They are usually narrow because you can pack more in. The roads are nicely packed gravel, with some grass between sites. It is VERY clean and everyone is VERY friendly AND best of all it is only ½ mile from the Passion Play.

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Branson, MO

Today  Eureka Springs, AR,   Great Passion Play

Eureka Springs is a really cute little town; it looks a lot like Canada or Northern CA. The town was voted as the Coolest Little town in AR. It has a population of 2,200 and seems way bigger. There are lots of REALLY cute Hotels/Motels and Restaurants….there are also lots and lots of tourist trap type shops…lots! There is a Trolley system running around the area, a nice place to spend some time…wish it was warmer, see below.

Passion Play: VERY NICE! The Stage is actually a small slice of Jerusalem, VERY 3D, the Garden, the Tomb, and Calvary all are depicted. There are 176 actors, lots of sheep, camels, horses, and donkeys – ALL REAL! This is a fairly large facility. The amphitheater seats over 4700 people and we had about a 1000…oh the weather was sprinkling, windy and cold (58) and most people were wearing ponchos, and they still got about a 1000 people!! The play is 1 hour 54 minutes long. Very moving and well done, a very nice way to spend an evening (maybe just not this evening)!

Statue of Jesus

Observations: The high today was 63, we have our “winter” clothes on AND are going to the Passion Play which is outside…we are allowed to bring our own blanket!

Comment: Ozarks are really beautiful, I would bet in the Spring/Fall this is spectacular! The countryside is rolling, have not decided, either big hills or small mountains and the road to Eureka Spring, U.S. 65 was great. It was 2 lanes on your side when you were going up hills, which is half the time and 1 lane going down hill, which is also half the time – there is nothing flat! I was worried about taking the QM over back roads but these were great…way better than the Interstates!

There is a county called Faulkner, Ron was this named after any of your family?

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 1906 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 146.0 Gallons so for

MPG: 13.0

Cost Per Gallon: $3.99 ouch, ouch, back up again. Still not the $2.99 we paid last year! Patti wants to send Obama a Thank You note for the increase in fuel costs!

Hot Springs, AR, Part 45

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 45, Hot Springs

Date: Wednesday, Sept 14, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Still At I-30 RV Park, still no Wi-Fi at the site but I was able to go to the office and connect through their Wi-Fi, which is not available at the sites

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Eureka Springs, AR, Passion Play

Today   Hot Springs, AR:  this is another case of expecting something and getting it wrong, which in this case was a good thing. First, this part of Arkansas is very hilly or if you want, small mountains, very pretty. Second the town of Hot Springs is a lot bigger than we thought; it is quite large and a very beautiful town. It is very much as it would have been back in the 1920s, stately! Spa row is Gorgeous, too bad many of the buildings are empty. They have been restored and just waiting for someone to do something with them. There are a lot of shops but not your tourist junk shops, nice upscale shops.1946 was the peak year for Hot Springs and tourism has been declining since then. They now have a Racetrack/Casino which is helping bring in tourists in the winter extending their season.  Magic Springs Water Park in growing again! We almost went there by mistake….silly us!

The first building we saw was the old Army/Navy recuperation hospital. This is a huge building, 7 stories, two huge wings, beautiful building which was used during WW II to aid in healing our wounded…oh and the poor could also use the springs here for free, as the government felt they should. The building is now being used as a rehab and mental health facility.

This area is really pretty; we drove up to the tower above Hot Springs; you really can see forever but today was very overcast! I would think on a clear day this would be spectacular.

Observation Tower, Above Hot Springs

On the way down we stopped at a free water filling station and had some water right out of the mountain! It was cool, clear, refreshing and best of all had no taste, just tasted good!! I have some and will try it with Markers Mark 46 tonight! For lunch I had ice tea made with the water and it was really good…tasted just like ice tea! We also washed our hands in it and your hands feel soft, almost like you had lotion on them. Oh they sell 1 gallon plastic jugs for $1.85 each so you can take some water home! When milk is on sale in AZ you can buy 1 gallon of milk for $1.99 ….with milk in it! There is a water company that sells bottled water, 24- 12oz plastic bottles selling for $12.95….good mark up!

The water comes out of the ground at 143 degrees. All the springs are capped and routed to a central distribution point so that it will not become contaminated. At the few operating Spas (we think there are only 2 left) they mix the hot spring water with already cooled water to get it to their desired temperature. The Spas still use “Steam Boxes” like you used to see on TV….I think they call this torture?? At the closed Spa which we toured, they even had a Mercury Bath for extremely ill people; wonder how they were afterward….dead???

Observations: So much for weather, it is raining, but the day was fine!!

Comment:

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 1570.1 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 122.7 Gallons so for

MPG: 12.8

Cost Per Gallon: $3.87 ouch, back up again. Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

 

Little Rock, AR, State Capitol,**** Part 44

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 44

Date: Tuesday, Sept 13, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Little Rock, I-30 Campground: Basically the part we are in is a big field with hook-ups, we do have a concrete pad, and all the roads are dirt/gravel/grass. There is Wi-Fi but no one can connect, supposedly an ATT problem. Air TV is not too bad…at times… it comes in and out. The front part of the Park does have large pine trees and does not look TOO bad. Not going to make our favorite or worst list.

What Were We Thinking: This is a good one: Yesterday Patti called the AR State Capitol to see if they might have RV parking and was told “sure”. Well, having been to over half the State Capitols in the U.S. as we decided to go to the RV Park and back track….VERY wise choice!! We had a hard time finding a parking space for the truck! Also Little Rock is WAY more hilly than we thought. One hill with the QM would have buried the transmission….memories of the road to Astoria Column.

Tomorrows Goals: Hot Springs.

Today: Little Rock,  Arkansas State Capitol: This Capitol moved to near the top of our list as one of the nicest State Capitols. We were told it is designed after the US Capitol, but turns out it is the same Neo Classic style as the US Capitol. Beautiful building, the outside is Arkansas limestone, while the inside has marble from Wisconsin and Vermont. There are 3 sets of front doors, each set contains 2 doors, and each door weighs 1000 pound. The doors were designed by Tiffany’s. They are made of Bronze and are polished EVERY day! The inside of the rotunda has a beautiful chandelier, of which only 2 were made. The Utah State Capitol has the other one (we need to go back to our video to check it out). The inside of the domes in both the House and Senate are done in beautiful stained glass and today was sunny so you could really appreciate them. The colors are stunning, spectacular. We also saw portraits of Bill Clinton (looked like a little kid) and a portrait of Mike Huckabee (looked like an older chubby little kid).

Observations: The weather has been GREAT, the last 3 days have been warm, high 80’s low 90’s BUT the humidity low…loving it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Roads: While most of the roads in TN (see below) are good, most of the roads in AR are terrible (sorry Ron & Shirley). A few miles inside AR on I-40 the roads were as bad as Ohio’s! Then the rest of the roads do not have chuck holes (hard to dodge with the QM behind you) but the roads are not flat. At 65-70 MPH with a fifth wheel, the roads set up a harmonic oscillation that make it feel like you are riding a wild horse!

Comment: Little Housekeeping. The Graceland RV Park was very nice, it had paved roads, which were named after Elvis’s songs or lyrics. One road was Jailhouse Rock Rd another was Teddy Bear Lane (where we stayed). I was disappointed in the Wi-Fi and Air TV. Sites were level, requiring no front to rear leveling…great for fast setup/teardowns.

Marlow’s  Rib Restaurant where we had dinner Monday night, had been on “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” on the Food Channel, it is that good…and that much of a “Dive”!

The roads in Tenn. were for the most part FANTASTIC, unlike Arkansas (see above) but my comment again: why is the most traveled road in the state (Elvis Presley Blvd) in such poor shape???

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 1570.1 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 122.7 Gallons so for

MPG: 12.8

Cost Per Gallon: $3.69 getting better. Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

 

Memphis, TN, Graceland, Part 43

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 43 Memphis

Date: Monday, Sept 12, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Memphis, Graceland RV Parl. Right across the street from Graceland & right behind Heartbreak Hotel. If you are going to Graceland this is the best place to stay, we walked to it!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Little Rock, State capitol of Arkansas, then on to Hot Springs.

Today: Memphis:  Graceland: We spent 4 hours between the Museums and Graceland. Graceland is a must see even if you are not an Elvis fan. He bought the Mansion at the ripe old age of 22, and only paid $100,000.00 for it. The tour only lets you see the main floor as the upper floor was always private, it was set off just for the family. Elvis was the consummate show man, before he came down he was totally dress, everyone could hear all the “bling” (he started “Bling”, before it was called “Bling”) as he came down the stairs. There is a: “Fashion Museum” showing many of his outfits; An 68 Exhibit showing parts of his 1968 come back; Hip Shaking Museum, showing all the commotion his hips caused back in the day; an Automobile Museum, some motorcycles too; a gallery showing ALL of his awards. The whole place is tastefully done, and brings back a lot of memories. One of the exhibits shows all the commercials that were/are made around his likeness!

Observations: We are cutting some things off the trip. Hardy is off, sorry Scott & Sherry, as is Bismarck and Sallisaw.

Comment: Friday in Nashville we ate ribs at  Calhoun’s , yesterday in Memphis we had ribs at  Blues City Café, and today had ribs at Marlowe’s Marlow’s Rib Restaurant. They all have the tenderest ribs I have ever had. The ribs at all three places literally feel of the bone, all 3 sauces were good. Patti like Blues City best, they were made with maple syrup and sweet, I liked all three but I like mine a little Spicer…I added hot sauce today. They even had BBQ spaghetti, NOT ready for this yet! We are ribbed out so what next???????

Marlow’s Rib Restaurant

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 1383.6 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 107.8 Gallons so for

MPG: 12.8

Cost Per Gallon: $3.69 getting better. Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

Memphis, TN, Mud Island, and ***Night life!!, Part 42

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 42 Memphis

Date: Sunday, Sept 11, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Memphis, Graceland RV Park. Right across the street from Graceland & right behind Heartbreak Hotel, Nice park, very clean, sites a little small, Wi-Fi slooow and only fair air TV BUT the park is nice…really!!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Memphis: Graceland

Today: Drove around Memphis, really a nice city, very clean. Nashville Honky-Tonk area is very “Classy & Upscale” (remember these are all relative terms) Memphis is about half way down the scale with New Orleans being at the bottom….not of fun, just of smell, safety, people watching.

First stop was  Mud Island . There is a scale model of the Lower Mississippi River. 30 inches equal 1 mile. This model covers ½ mile. It starts out showing the states that the Ohio watershed drains, then Mississippi Watershed on down until the Mississippi drains into the Gulf of Mexico, the whole thing is built on a slop that is actually to scale …very neat. There are information placards; each tells you about the geology of the river at that point, some info about what happened during the Civil War and what has happened since the war. Very cool place!! AND it is free!

Then on to Beale St. this is where Memphis parties, as stated above it is not as nice as Nashville BUT these people know how to party and eat! BBQ Pork, ribs, chicken. You can purchase drinks from walk up windows and drink them in the Beale St. area.…my kind of area. We drove around the outskirts to get a feel for the area, and I saw a parking place on the other side of the street, I turned around the Tug (21 feet on a 23 foot street) backed into the spot leaving 1 space between me and the next car. A REALLY nice newer Cadillac pulled in between us. I asked the Africa- American gentleman, if this was a safe place, his reply was “is the hitch welded to the truck”!! We just met our new best friend, Lonnie! Turns out he used to be the Chef at Rendezvous ( while we were at the Grand Ole Opry someone told us about this place and it had an interesting write up in AAA….”delightfully Rustic” but turned out to be closed on Sundays). We told him after we had a drink at  Rum Boogie(Patti is a sucker for rum) we would have dinner where he was working, Blues City Café . Memphis is more like a normal city. They start to party later, the area was only moderately full and only a few places had live music when we arrived. After Patti had her drink, we walked back to Blues City Café and there were MORE people and MORE music. To start, Lonnie suggested Gumbo….as good as Ethel’s (Sorry Ethel).The ribs were super tender, not like the ones earlier in the year that made my teeth loose, Patti like this sauce better, I like the other sauce but not the tough ribs….WHINE, Whine, whine! Lonnie told us about his life and we had a fantastic time. Back out on the street, Patti headed for  Wet Willies for a frozen Pina Cola which she drank while we walked the street listening to the music coming out of various bars/restaurants…another GREAT place to relax. Tomorrow on to Elvis.

Observations:

Comment: We listened to CDs, Lynn, a friend of mine gave us, called Big Band, very nice music to drive to. Thanks again Lynn! Roads from Nashville to Memphis GREAT…except for last ¼ mile right by Graceland…terrible…how can you have nice major highways and the street that goes to your cities major attraction SUCKS???

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 1383.6 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 107.8 Gallons so for

MPG: 12.8

Cost Per Gallon: $3.74 Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

Nashville, Grand Ole Opry,****** Part 41

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 41

Date: Saturday, Sept 10, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Nashville Country RV Park, Just outside Nashville. Wi-Fi does work…just very slooooow!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Memphis: Large walking scale model of the Mississippi and see some of Memphis.

Today: Drove around Nashville, really a nice city, very clean, well laid out, GREAT night life. A nice place to live, one of our favorite cities!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Grand Ole Opry: Both Patti and I were not sure what to expect, as we (me) are not big Country   Music fans but the show was super, better than we expected. The “show” is actually a live

Radio broadcast so between performances there are commercials, different!! This is the oldest continuous live broadcast in the world. This is their 85th year; they even had the show following last spring’s floods! We saw “The Whites”, Jimmy C. Newman, Randy Montana, Jimmy Dickens (90 years old and tells GREAT jokes about 90 year olds), The Rocky Top Express (The Rocky Top song), Mandy Barnett, Ray Pillow, Stonewall Jackson (another old guy still going strong), Russell Moor & Third Time Out, Opry Square Dancers (can not see them on radio, really good), Mike Snider, Connie Smith, and lastly Danny Gokey from American Idle. They all put on great performances, a really good evening!

Observations:

Comment: When in Nashville, Grand Ole Opry is a MUST see!!

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average. L L L

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 977.4 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 78.4 Gallons so for

MPG: 12.4 J

Cost Per Gallon: $3.74 Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

Nashville, Tenn. After Dark, Part 40A

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 40A

Date: Friday, Nashville After Dark, Sept 9, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Nashville Country RV Park, Just outside Nashville. Wi-Fi does work…just very slooooow!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Friday & Saturday: Nashville!!! State Capitol, Bicentennial Park, Country Music Hall of Fame, Grand Ole Opry, Night life…even old folks go out!

Today (Actually Friday Night) I thought we would go to one of the Night Club Areas (Broadway and 2-5 Aves.) would arrive about 7:00, and find easy parking (dance places usually get going around 10:00 PM). As we crested a slight hill, the lights were already on and people were EVERYWHERE, and this was 7:00. We did find a parking place 3 blocks over and 3 blocks up from where we wanted to go…I guess Nashville starts early!!??!! As we walked to our first destination you could hear LIVE bands playing everywhere…it was only 7:00. Earlier today we asked a young fellow about a good night spot to hang out. His response was  Tootsies . I had read about it in AAA book but felt if it is in AAA it probably was a place for “Old Folks”. So on his recommendation our first stop was Tootsie’s. You would assume if it is in AAA it would be large…NOT, it is only about 30x 80 with a stage (only big enough for 3 people) by the door. The place was JAMMED…have I mentioned it was only 7:00?? Tootsie’s is bigger than I thought, but only longer. There is another room up a few steps where another band was playing. This room has a real stage but the room is still only 30 feet wide, it was also jammed! We heard 3 groups play, all were very good. Oh, as I would find out, there is NO cover charge at any of the night spots we visited, drinks are a little pricy, rum & coke+beer=$11.75 but again – there is no cover. After Tootsie’s we went to  Second Fiddle . This was a little quieter, but the band was not as good, then on to  Cadillac Ranch . They had a group playing called The Springs The group was “Country Group of the Year” & “Country New Group of the Year” for 2010 AND all five of them are only between 20-22! Really great show, they played for almost an hour of really great music….and I am not a big fan of Country Western Music! We had a super time, never did find out what time it all starts. I did ask someone and he said they open at 10:00 AM! So as to what time it starts, we do not know but they were sure hitting it hard by 7:00!

Gary Inside Cadillac Ranch

Observations: What a BEAUTIFUL night, it was warm, around 75, just a GREAT night for walking around Downtown Nashville night spots!

Comment: Patti apologizes for the poor quality of the picture but said it was hard for her to focus her auto focus cell phone after 3 rum & cokes!

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

 

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 977.4 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 78.4 Gallons so for

MPG: 12.4

Cost Per Gallon: $3.89 Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

Nashville, TN, State Capitol, Part 40

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 40

Date: Friday, Sept 9, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Nashville Country RV Park, Just outside Nashville. Nice Park, the flattest we have had so far this half of our trip…easy to set up the QM. We have real cable….FOX is on…yeah!!!!!!!!!! Wi-Fi was working well, then totally dropped off, so the jury is still out on how nice this park really is! Sites are small; we could REALLY reach out the living room window and touch our neighbors RV…HONEST! Park is clean!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Friday & Saturday: Nashville!!! State Capitol, Bicentennial Park, Country Music Hall of Fame, Grand Ole Opry, Night life…even old folks go out!

Today: Went to the Tennessee  State Capitol, nice building. No rotunda but a tower like structure on top, and no access to the tower. Very nice on the inside, it was renovated in 1988 bringing it back to the way it was in 1859 when it was completed. We had to walk up about a million steps to get up to the building, Patti said “Cardio” and it was!

After we left the Capitol we headed to the Bicentennial Park BUT on the way we found a REALLY neat Framers Market in the shadow of the State Capitol (we are suckers for Famers Markets). We bought some good tomatoes and a really nice red pepper. We also found a food court where we had to have some Shrimp Gumbo, good but not as good as our friend Ethel’s! Oh the Bicentennial Park was nice, very relaxing. There are granite blocks showing important events in either U.S. History or Tenn. History. Nice relaxing park.

Then over to Grand Ole Opry for tickets for the Saturday nights radio show which is the longest running radio broadcast in the country’s history…and we are going to be part of it!!!!!! We went over to the Gaylord Opry Hotel complex were I was going to buy Patti a drink (I needed one just knowing we are going to a Country Western show Saturday night). We pulled into the parking lot and they wanted $18.00 just to park… not including the drink….we are going to Downtown Nashville for our drink tonight!

Observations: FINALLY, it is 78, and sunny, the nicest day we have had since we arrived in Auburn…WONDERFUL!

Comment:

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 977.4 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 78.4 Gallons so for

MPG: 12.4

Cost Per Gallon: $3.89 Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

Bowling Green, KY, Corvette***** Factory and Museum, Part 39

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 39

Date: Thursday, Sept 8, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Bowling Green KOA, park is nice with decent site…Wi-Fi can not connect as this time BOOO. I am not liking KY!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Friday & Saturday: Nashville!!! State Capitol, Bicentennial Park, Country Music Hall of Fame, Grand Ole Opry, Night life…even old folks go out!

Today: Bowling Green, KY, GM’s  Factory Corvette Tours: We arrived at the factory at7:30 A.M. for a tour that starts at 8:30! We did not have reservations and wanted to be sure we would get in for one of the four tours today. Not only did we get the first tour, we were first! It turns out this time of year they get only about 100 people total where in the summer they get around 500 people a day! They have a neat film showing the assembly of a Corvette which helps once you actually get to see the real car being assembled. They build 8 cars per hour 10 hours a day 5 days a week. All Corvettes built are already sold, even though some are sold to dealers. The tour lasts between 1-1 ½ hours and you get to see the complete assembly of the Corvettes. One of our tour members got to be the first person to start a newly built car! We also found out you can go to the engine assembly plant and help build YOUR engine, AND you get your name plus the actual assemblers name on the block. And for $5,800.00 you can watch your car being built, which takes 3 days…such a deal!

National Corvette Museum: Also really cool, There are about a hundred Corvettes on display at any one time and almost all are owned by individuals. They have the 1,000,000th car built; the last car built in St Louis, the first car built here, some really neat concept cars (really cool). Nice way to spend 2-3 hours, Patti was able to relax; she did not sleep this time BUT really did relax! There is a section dedicated to all the major engineers/designers/ marketing people….nice!

Observations:

Comment:

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 882.7 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 71.3 Gallons so for

MPG: 12.3

Cost Per Gallon: $3.89 Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

 

Bowling Green, KY, Part 38

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 38

Date: Wednesday, Sept 7, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Bowling Green KOA, park is nice with decent site…Wi-Fi is SLOOOOOWWW, Cable you need a special converter (our TV is OLD school) so we only have 3 stations, with CW being 1 and tonight is the GOP Presidential Debate BOOO. I am not liking KY!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Bowling Green, KY, GM’s Corvette Factory tour and the National Corvette Museum…another happy day for Patti

Today: First stop:  Bardstown, KY: really neat town, I wish we had a day or two to spend here. There is a Tavern that was built in 1792 and still open! Bardstown either is or was the Bourbon Capitol of the U.S. could not find a definitive answer. The town has a number of log cabins still in use!  Basilica St. Joseph Proto Cathedral (Proto…is first Basilica in the Diocese, it is no longer a true Basilica, the Pope does not stop here). The Basilica covered what is now 10 states, there are 44 Diocese covering the same area today. The building was built of 900,000+ hand made bricks, and was the second largest building in the U.S. behind the U. S. Capitol building! It was consecrated in1819. There are 14 pillars holding up the sanctuary roof, inside the columns are 17 in x 17in beams. They have a cut away so you can see an actual bean…very cool. The Paintings, of which there are 9, were made around 1650 and shipped to the cathedral in the early 1800’s from France. Bardstown has a population of 10,000 and the Cathedral has a congregation is 5,000 (half the town!!)

On to  Makers Mark Distillery  (good combination of tourist attractions): Markers Mark is near a town called Loretto. On the way to MM we saw a market that was featuring frog legs: $16.99 for 5 lbs, I am not sure if that is “neat” or not??? MM has a beautiful facility, immaculately maintained…real attention to detail. What makes MM different from other Bourbons is they use 16% Soft Red Wheat, instead of Rye…very smooth! They are now making a MM 46 which is just like regular MM but has special added staves which are added a few weeks before being bottled. The 46 comes from the stave supplier and this is his special toasting #46….WOW. This is darker and smoother than regular MM….I HAD to buy a bottle…it made me….honest.

Observations:

Comment: On the way to Bowling Green from Loretto we somehow got turned around and due to navigational problems did not realize we were going East instead of West for a half hour. Really glad diesel fuel is so affordable, NOT!

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 882.7 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 71.3 Gallons so for

MPG: 12.3

Cost Per Gallon: $3.85 Still not the $2.99 we paid last year!

Louisville and Vicinity, IN, Part 37

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 37


Date: Tuesday, Sept 6, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Add-More Campground, IN (just north of Louisville). Still here, still nice…Wi-Fi is a little intermittent and no cable but could be worse…honest

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Bardstown: Basilica of St. Joseph, Loretto: Markers Mark Distillery

Today:   Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum: Patti won, we did not see this and AFTER ALL the car museums, wineries, car shows, breweries, and distilleries I have taken her to!!!??!!

After not seeing the Slugger factory we did see the Ohio Falls. This is a section of the Ohio River, just north of Louisville, that the U.S. Corps of Engineers cordoned off from the main river flow so wild life and fossil remains would be protected. We stopped by the  Cathedral of the Assumption. The Cathedral was built in 1852, very nice but not as nice as the Cathedral we saw in St. Helena or NO where near as nice as St. Pat’s in NY. Then on to  Old Louisville. This is a 48 block area of “Homes of Historical Significance”. We walked “Central Park” and about a 15 block area. Yes, Patti wanted to buy a lot of them, except I reminded her: it SNOWS here! There are some really beautiful homes (Mansions). Most of them are now divided into apartments, to house students from the University of Louisville. This is a VERY nice relaxing area…a little cold and rainy today. Had lunch at  Third Street Café which has super food, we passed on the BBQ Tofu and Vegetable Reuben. Patti had a real Reuben and I had the Café Burger, rare, with bleu cheese WOW really good! Next we drove past Churchill Downs as no races were running this time of year…BOOO! The Downs are WAY bigger than either Patti or I thought. More beautiful buildings. The whole Louisville area is really nice (this time of year), very clean, people are very friendly and helpful.

Churchill Downs

Observations:

Comment: I know you will not believe this but the QM and associated stuff really do not break as much as I let on BUT yesterday I had to: Fix the sewer hose (end came off, and yes it was as NASTY as it sounds); fix the fresh water supply hose…again (I did it BEFORE the sewer hose); TV remote batteries died, and a light in the QM burned out for the second time….I need to retire….I work tooooo hard, Oh DARN I am retired! AND to top all that off I have to drive an ungrateful wife around, see above re: Louisville Slugger Museum.

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

 

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 574.4 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 47.2 Gallons so for

MPG: 12.1 J

Cost Per Gallon: First fill in Ohio $3.85, refill in Auburn $3.85

 

Louisville, KY, Part 36

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 36

Date: Monday, Sept 5, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Add-More Campground, IN (just north of Louisville). This RV Park is connected to a mobile home park. Normally both parks are fairly crappy, BUT both parks are really nice! There is nothing for kids to do, which they tell you before you check in, also makes the park very quiet!!! AND the water is good….no smell!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Louisville, KY, & vicinity. We are going to check out Ohio Falls Parks (used to be a waterfall here), Church of the Assumption, maybe the Louisville Slugger Museum (Patti says no), and a 48 block area of Old Louisville.

Today: We met Patti’s cousin and his friend Fran, both are super. We had a really nice time with them. After a visit at Dave’s house, we went to a restaurant on the Ohio River. Very nice view.

Observations We left Ohio on Saturday and it was hot and steamy as we hooked up the RV. In Auburn, IN it was officially 95 (my truck showed 102). Saturday night we had a good thunderstorm, and by Sunday morning it was cool and a really beautiful day. By Monday the high was 69; cloudy, still windy and very cool….we put light jackets on! REALLY a BIG change!

Comment: Indian Springs RV park should be renamed Stinky Springs; yes the water was THAT bad! It was so hard that rocks came out of the shower head…not pebbles or small rocks BUT real large size rocks…..Honest! (no, not really, but it was really hard water)

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average. L L L

 

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 574.4 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 47.2 Gallons so for

MPG: 12.1 J

Cost Per Gallon: First fill in Ohio $3.85, refill in Auburn $3.85 J

 

Auburn,. IN,. Auctions America,.. Part 35

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 35

Date: Sunday, Sept 4, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Indian Springs, Indiana (near Auburn) IN. Still here, did I tell you the water stinks! AND still no Wi-fi!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Press on to Louisville, KY, and meet Patti’s second cousin David.

Today: “Arts & Crafts Show” in downtown Auburn was our first stop, they had lots of Arts and Crafts stuff, then on to a “Community Garage Sale and Flea Market” they had second hand “Arts and Crafts” stuff. Then on to something REALLY good ….a car auction! There were 2 auction companies in Auburn this weekend. I chose to go to Auctions America by RM because they answered their phone when I called for info! This place was HUGE, hundreds of acres of cars, car related items and HUGE swap meet. As usual I had a really GREAT time watching the auction. Patti was reverse engineering items she saw at the Arts/Crafts show! We saw a 1931 Patti Wagon (Paddy Wagon/Jail Truck) sell for $4,500.00 (in really bad shape), a 1931 Ford Woody Wagon sell for $5000.00 very nice shape, but needing some work and a 1966, 425 HP, Corvette roadster sold for $71,000. While we were there over half the cars did not meet reserve…too bad, some were really nice cars but sellers were asking too much $$$$.

Observations: On the way to the “Arts & Crafts Show” a Black Cord 810 was in front of us….WAY TOO COOL! Beautiful car, I want Patti to buy me one…it is hard to drive while profusely drooling!

Comment: Had another Corn Dog… Corn dog was toooo good …..I hate Daryl!!

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average. L L L

 

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 279.8 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 24.7 Gallons so for

MPG: 11.3 low???

Cost Per Gallon: First fill in Ohio $3.99, refill in Auburn $3.85 J Fuel on the Indiana Turnpike was $4.09, we chose not to buy it here.

 

Auburn,.. IN,… Auburn,… Cord,… Duesenberg Museum Part 34 B, We Are Back!!

 

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 34 B, We Are Back!!

Date: Saturday, Sept 3, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America Part 2

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Indian Springs, Indiana (near Auburn) IN. This park is very large and they only have 5 “pull through” type site! Bad News: our site is WAY in the back, very close to the Arctic Circle, Good News: the “roads” are all gravel so there is a lot of dust from traffic, but there is not much traffic by our site. Park is ok, water stinks…really, and it is well water and stinks! Oh, Labor Day weekend and the Wi-Fi is down! GOOD TO BE BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Auctions America, car auction (Patti has never been to one, I bet she stays up all night with anticipation) and possibly garage/flea market (happy, happy, joy, joy!)

Today: Auburn, Labor Day weekend is 4 days of celebrating all things Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg. First stop the   Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg Museum. It is the 75th anniversary of the model 810 Cord. The museum is in the actual Art Deco building where they built and sold all 3 models. These cars sold anywhere from about $1,100 all the way up to $18,000 and this is when a Ford sold for $440! All are works of art. While I was drooling over the cars Patti found a chair in front of a TV showing a re-creation of a 1922 sales pitch…..she really slept for over half an hour!! This is really worth the time; the museum only costs $10.00 PP. Every car here is stunning in its own way. Gary: FANTASTIC, AWESOME. Patti: BORING, BORING, BORING. Then to add to the day’s enjoyment, the city of Auburn had a smaller “Cruise In” today (anything with an engine). The main “Cruise In” is Friday and limited to A, C, & D cars! While we were in the Museum the ACD club was having a car show with over 300 ACD cars positioned around the town square! Some of these cars sell for Millions of dollars and we missed most of them!

Observations: Toll road in Ohio: We left Warren which is almost on the edge of Pennsylvania and drove across Ohio to Indiana….the toll for this joyous event was $30.25…Holy shit Batman, that is a lot of cash just to use a road, some of which was NOT very good!

 

Comment: A good friend of mine, Daryl Perry, LOVES hot dogs, he and his lovely wife stayed at our home a few days during this years fire. Since Daryl LOVES hot dogs, I made Chile Dogs for dinner. While he was eating he mentioned he also loves corn dogs. While I am NOT a hot dog connoisseur like Daryl all I have been thinking about are corn dogs…Thanks Daryl. Sooooo the first thing we did after leaving the ACD Museum was find a corn dog stand……YUMMM, YUMMM Good…thanks Daryl! I have now had my corn dog fix for the next 20 years.

To make it feel at home (AZ) the temperature was 95, 15 degrees ABOVE normal…with 80% humidity…NNNNICE.

Pictures are from the ACD Museum, mostly of Boat Tail cars. Another friend of ours has a friend who has one and wanted some pictures of them.

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,998.4 First Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 2:

Second Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 49,788

Trip Mileage: 279.8 Miles

Fuel Used Second Half: 24.7 Gallons so for

MPG: 11.3 low???

Cost Per Gallon: First fill in Ohio $3.99, refill in Auburn $3.85 J Fuel on the Indiana Turnpike was $4.09, we chose not to buy it here.

Recap of Summer Events, Part 34 A, We Are Back!!

5th Wheel  Trip, Eastern America, Part 34 A, We Are Back!!

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Date:  August 31, 2011

Title:   The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma,  (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location:

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Warren…done for the summer

Today:   We are going to head out Saturday, Sept 3 and head to Auburn, IN for the Auburn, Cord, and Deisenberg festival. They have a “Drive In” that is scheduled to have over 500 cars….Patti is having a hard time containing her excitement!

Observations: We are off again, to finish the trip back to AZ. Some updates: Casey went to Doggie Heaven; I came back to Ohio for 1 week for my parent’s 65th wedding anniversary (Dad 94, Mom 91). The weather in Ohio this time of year is nice (see I can be nice to Ohio)

Comment:

First Half Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far:  4,998.4 First Half of trip Second Half

Fuel Used: 398.8 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $4.17, Most we paid yet!!!  Last year we paid about $2.99 average. L L L

Part 2:

 

Second Half  Mileage on Truck: Start:

Fuel Used Second Half:

MPG

Cost Per Gallon:

Ohio, State Capitol,– Part 33,—–Done for the Summer

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 33 Done for the Summer

Date: Saturday, April 16, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Cross Creek Camping Resort, Delaware OH (this Park only cost $1.00 more than the sty we stayed in yesterday). Very nice park, it won Best Campground for 2009-2010. It is a little wet (not their fault). It has paved roads, but gravel sites, decent size, no Wi-Fi, but “Air TV” which is not too good, play ground for kids looks nice (Patti choose not to play in the rain)

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Warren…done for the summer

Today:   Ohio State Capitol (as long as we have lived in Ohio neither of us have been to the Capitol Exterior: like U. S. Capitol EXCEPT there is no dome, a rotunda, but no dome. The outside is Ohio limestone, gray. It is a nice stately building, a dome would be nice. Inside: we entered through the ground level (we would find out this used to be the basement) and it was all painted brick, not very nice! Once we went to the upper floors it is a nice building. The walls are generally sandstone and plaster, but it look nice. Once you enter the House and Senate chambers it is beautiful, very, very nice, and very ornate. It was renovated in 1986 at 100 times the cost to build it ($1 million vs. $100 million)! When they renovated it they used the original color scheme: pink, mauve, burnt orange, actually looks good. After you get past the exterior and lowest floor, it is nice but not great.

Observations: Ohio Sucks, since we entered the state (Yesterday) we have seen more rain than we see in a year in AZ AND it is COLD! Not to complain BUT IT IS COLD!!!!

Comment: I am going to stay in Ohio for a month or so then fly back to AZ , then when Mrs. O has had enough of Ohio, I will return to pick her up and finish the trip….looking at fall for this. Wonder what Diesel will cost in the fall??????

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,763.9

Fuel Used: 381.5 gallons so far

MPG 12.4

Cost Per Gallon: $4.19, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average. L

 

Ohio, Wright Patterson AFB &.- Museum, Part 32

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 32

 Date: Friday, April 15, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Enon Beach RV Park or back to mediocrity. It is bad when your 12 year old RV is almost the best one in the park! We have a site but no Wi-Fi, junk RVs all around, air TV. Not or worst park but pretty bad. Oh there is now a “Quadfecta” You can have an interstate, airport, train tracks and a river, we have 3 of the 4: interstate, rail road and river. The river here is called Mad River….Patti said it is mad because it has to go by this park!!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Ohio State Capitol (as long as we have lived in Ohio neither of us has been to the Capitol)

Today:   Wright Patterson AFB Museum: Patti has added “air plane” museums to her verboten list. We spent 3 hours at the museum and really only saw 1 of the 3 hangers and basically walked fast through 2 in order to make it to the movie “Hubble” showings at the Imax. I was at WPABF over 30 years ago so I do not remember much BUT it is a lot bigger today! The first hanger features “Early Flight” & WWII, the second hanger features Southeast Asia & Korean era planes and the last hanger features Cold War displays and planes. I could spend days here!! I need to hook up with, Dan Clarke and/or Ron Faulkner both who would enjoy this as much or more than me! The IMAX movie was really great, it showed the repairs to the Hubble telescope and pictures taken by it…IMAX size and sound

Observations: Georgetown, KY: on the way to I-75 we went through Georgetown, KY, where the Toyota plane is located. The town is really nice, like towns used to be 30-40 years ago. It looked very prosperous; clean, a lot of beautiful old homes (all in great shape, very nice)

Comment: Today’s forecast for today for Frankfort was worst than the one we heard yesterday for today. Today: 1-2 of rain, large hail, flooding, flash flooding, thunderstorms…it was a nice park hope all is well for them!

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,654.4

Fuel Used: 373.1 gallons so far

MPG 12.4

Cost Per Gallon: $4.19, Most we paid yet!!! Last year we paid about $2.99 average. My home state and some of the most expensive fuel!!!

 

Frankfort, KY, More Distilleries, Part 31

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 31

Date: Thursday, April 14, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Elkhorn RV Park, Frankfort, KY!!! Decent Park: Third day here, the park is drying out and very nice.

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Wright Patterson AFB Museum

Today:   Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory (finally made it): This is a small, l family run candy factory that features “Bourbon Balls”. This is a local favorite, a little like a rum ball but with bourbon cream inside, chocolate covered with a pecan on top…very good. We have been eating these at Woodford Reserve and Buffalo Trace (Rebecca Ruth provides these and has a special recipe for each distillery, which is different from their in house recipe). We also tried their “Mint Julep Bourbon Ball”, cream mint inside, chocolate covered outside; also with a pecan on top …Patti pronounced it VERY good!

 Four Roses Distilleries (Lent Travel Rules): The main buildings comprising the Distillery are all done in Spanish style, very nice and on the National Register of Historic Places. When Seagram’s owned them they exported all their products to Japan and Europe. Since 2006 they have reintroduced it back to the U.S. Their claim to fame is: instead of huge aging warehouses ( as high as 60 feet) theirs are only 6 barrels high, about 15 feet, this way the variation from bottom to top is reduced. They have 20 such warehouses that hold 24,000 barrels! We tried the “Yellow” label (what you normally see on retail shelves), “Small Batch” and “Single barrel”. The “Yellow Label” is aged 5 ½ years, “Small Batch” is aged 6 ½ years, and the “Singled Barrel” is aged 8-10 years. Patti complained that it all burned her mouth …wuss….so you guessed it – I HAD to taste hers too…oh darn! My favorite was the “Small Batch”, really smooth.

 Markers Mark Distillery (my second favorite, after Woodford Reserve): Never made it there, we ran out of time! Maybe sometime we will visit here again and I will get there then?? (Patti said “I am wined, bourboned, and beered out) …think she is trying to tell me something?

Observations: Yesterday when we were in Frankfort the whole town smelled of baked bread/potato, after visiting all the distilleries we now know that was the smell of grain fermenting…bourbon being made! When we were in Napa a few falls ago the whole valley smelled of fermenting wine, it did not smell any where near as nice as freshly baked bread/potato!

Comment: This morning when we were watching the Weather Channel they projected a beautiful day for today, which it was, BUT they are projecting storms for Friday & Saturday with rains in the 1 ½ -2”. We are leaving for Wright Pat so we are “outta here” but these fine people need a break from the rain!

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,353.1

Fuel Used: 351 gallons so far

MPG 12.4

Cost Per Gallon: $4.05, Holly Crap Batman – this is expensive! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Frankfort, KY,- Distillery Day,—–Yeah!, Part 30

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 30

Date: Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Elkhorn RV Park, Frankfort, KY!!! Decent Park: Second day here, the park is drying out and pretty nice.

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Four Roses and Markers Mark Distilleries (Lent Travel Rules???) and Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory (third try at the candy factory)

Today:   Frankfort, Capitol of KY: Capital has 27,000 people and is a nice town, smaller than I would have thought for a state capital. The Capitol is styled like the U.S. Capitol, needs a pressure washing! The building is really nice, lots of intricate detail work, beautiful marble, too bad it is all GRAY! The only marble that is not gray is in the House/Senate/ Supreme Court which is beautiful beige, very nice actually. It is all nice just too gray! The stairs going to various floors are spectacular marble, but again gray.

Buffalo Trace Distillery: they have three tours, 2 require a reservation, which I forgot to get so we did the “Tourist Tour”. It was very interesting…Patti is seeing whiskey barrels in her sleep. One of 12 ageing warehouse they have has 325,000 barrels of bourbon in it!! One of the 12 aging warehouses has only 1 barrel in it, it is the 6,000,000 barrel and was put in there in 2008 to be tapped in 2016 (Buffalo Trace ages their bourbon 8 years, Eagle Rare Single Barrel is aged 10 years). B. T. also makes Van Winkle and Weller to name a few, they also make “Rain”, organic vodka, using only organically grown white corn. There may be different recipes but all B.T. bourbons, no matter how they label it, goes through 2 distillations. I sampled something called “White Dog”. It is 150-160 proof alcohol right out of the second continuous distillation tower. It is totally clear and has ZERO aging. Surprisingly it was “relatively” smooth. I had thought it would be like battery acid, but was decent, just can not drink a lot! Patti found their new “Bourbon Cream” really to her liking…she bought a bottle (it is only available in KY at this time, so you will have to visit AZ to get a “taste”.

Observations: As soon as we got up this morning we checked the river (found out it is the Elkhorn Creek, hence the name of the RV Park). It had breeched the levy and was heading toward one of the park’s access roads. One of the Parks hosts said it was very close to cresting and the QM would be fine, turns out it was. On the way to town we had to go through about a foot of water…Water, Water Everywhere…really!!

Elk Horn River Flood

Comment: There is a Toyota assembly plant near here, which we had planned to tour BUT they are doing construction from Dec 1 to May 1…bad timing AGAIN!

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,353.1

Fuel Used: 351 gallons so far

MPG 12.4

Cost Per Gallon: $4.05, Holly Crap Batman – this is expensive! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Corbin, TN, KFC & Museum and Woodford Reserve,Part 29

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 29

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Date: Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Elkhorn RV Park, Frankfort, KY!!! Decent Park: roadways paved, lots of grass, pads gravel, and nice wood decks on each site. Wi-Fi poor, to nonexistent (they are working on it), cable very good (BUT you need a digital converter to use it, first time we experienced this). Now for the interesting part: due to all the rain, the river that runs around the back of the Park is almost over the levy that keeps it from flooding the park. The levy is 3 feet high and the river is currently about 6” from the top….so the park is lower than the river…makes an interesting view…shades of New Orleans!

What Were We Thinking: Yesterday when we left Pigeon Forge, TN I did not top of the tank, which I almost always do! Due to all the hills and rain, when we dropped the QM we had only 20 miles of fuel left…WAY TOO CLOSE…note to self: ALWAYS top off!

Tomorrows Goals: Frankfort; KY State Capitol, Buffalo Trace (Lent Travel Rules???)

Today: Corbin: this is the home of  KFC and Museum; this is the first restaurant that Col. Harlan Sander opened and it is still operating both as a restaurant and museum. We arrived at 10:10 AM, we were their first customers of the day (a little early for lunch). The Colonel started this in 1932 as a full service restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, then acquired the gas station across the street. Over time he built a motor court (motel) next door. He replicated this combination, but we never saw how many there were at the peak. No motor courts exist today. He was a great marketer: since “The lady of the house” picked the place the family would spend the night, each restaurant had a replica of the motor court room on the way to the ladies bathroom. GENIUS! The museum has tables, chairs, place setting, napkins from the actual restaurants, including the “motel room” on the way to the bathroom.

Patti with Colonel Sanders

Woodford Reserve (did not do Capitol today due to late arrival at park, stressful ride and crappy weather, so did this today instead). This is my favorite bourbon so I was looking forward to visiting the distillery. Woodford Reserve is the smallest distillery and oldest in KY. Each distillery has a claim to fame. Buffalo Trace (which we plan on seeing today) is the oldest continually operating distillery. Woodford shut down a few times, Probation being one. We saw where the ingredients are brought together to be fermented then transferred to 3 pot stills. Woodford uses 3 distilling pot stills as one step in getting their smooth taste. Pot stills are not as efficient as continuous still but give better flavor. Once distilled the alcohol is transferred into toasted/charred barrels to be aged 8 years. One man does the complete operation of mixing the ingredients, distilling the liquid and barreling it…one man! From the distilling building we went to the storage building, it contains $45,000,000.00 of bourbon …smelled fantastic!!! I was in heaven. We got to sample Woodford Reserve bourbon… I got most of Patti’s ! Mmm Mmm Good!

Observations: The roads are mostly interstate, but KY does not do the best job of maintaining their roads. Add to that, we heard on the news, there were places that had 3.5 inches of rain. So visualize this: driving at 45-65 in driving rain, crappy roads, dragging the QM up and down mountain interstates…makes for a really “fun” day!

Comment:

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,353.1

Fuel Used: 351 gallons so far

MPG 12.4

Cost Per Gallon: $4.05, Holly Crap Batman – this is expensive! Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

 

Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg, TN, ..Part 28

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 28

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Date: Monday, April 11, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Eagles Nest RV Park in Pigeon Forge TN. Third day here.

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Corbin; KFC Museum, Frankfort; KY State Capitol, Buffalo Trace (Lent Travel Rules???)

Today: Trolley: We rode around Pigeon Forge and Seiverville on a GREAT trolley system (too bad 80% of the funds that run it are paid by the Federal Government…your taxes…thanks!!). Basically Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Seiverville are one big town; back in the day they were 3 distinct towns but have pretty much run together. We had 2 super drivers (one twice) both are retired and love this place. TN has no income tax, very low property taxes (both gave examples that were LOW) but has a sales tax of almost 10%, which in TN case is fine because of all the tourism! We really like it here, a big change from what I had thought of Pigeon Forge. People are very friendly but are still fighting the Civil War (War of Northern Aggregation). Pigeon Forge has about 5,000-6,000 full time residents, and accommodations to handle 60,000 tourists, so unemployment is low and prices are low as there is a lot of competition for your dollars. If you want to do something, legal, it is here somewhere!

The towns run 10 months a year, with only Jan & Feb slow. There is going to be a car show this coming weekend and the cars are starting to show up and it is only Monday. The one hour trolley ride we took today will take 4-5 hours due to traffic. Almost all the rooms are already booked. Sometimes we do get the timing right…just not often!

Observations:

Comment:

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,016.2

Fuel Used: 321.9 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $3.84, Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

 

Pigeon Forge &. Gatlinburg, TN,..Part 27

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 27

Date: Sunday, April 10, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot

Campground/Location: Eagles Nest RV Park in Pigeon Forge, TN., second night here.

What Were We Thinking: We have 2 for today! WWWT #1) We went to  Clingman’s Dome, this is the highest point (6,643 ft) in  Smokey Mountain National Park. I wanted to do this second, see below as to why we did not. There is a ½ hour drive to the dome. The temperature at the bottom is 87 and at the top 66, big drop! Anyway, once at the Dome there is “a little” walk involved. The “walk” is a ½ mile (not so bad) to the top except it is at 45 degrees and at 6,600 ft. after a few stops along the way we made it! No heart attacks! The view is spectacular, you can see about 18 miles of the Smokey Mountains (more on clearer day) Tennessee mountains on one side N. Carolina mountains on the other. As long as no heart attacks are involved it is a VERY worth while hike.

WWWT #2) Laurel Falls: this was supposed to be our 1st stop but you still have to see below to see why it was not. Anyway, again there is “another little hike” involved. This one is 2.6 miles round trip and it is now 87 degrees (this is why I wanted to do this in the morning). The falls hike is rated as “not strenuous”. Well, after a ½ mile hike at 45 degrees to the Dome and this hike, I list it as “strenuous”! The falls, once you arrive, are very nice. Not Niagara Falls but nice, and the air near the falls is surprisingly cool…a real break form the heat.

Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls

Strange Signs: Have not had any until now: Coming out of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. 2 signs on the same pole: 441 North and 321 South make up your mind – are we going north or are we going south??!!

Tomorrows Goals: Ride trolley around Pigeon Forge

Today: Ride trolley around Pigeon Forge:…plans changed, we decide to see the Park today as tomorrow another weather front is coming through. See “What were we thinking” and “comments”.

 Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede”: What a great evening! The set up is a lot like “Medieval Times” only “North vs South” themed and really geared to kids (we liked it too). They have a lot of audience participation: little kids chasing chickens, adults pitching toilet seat (like horse shoes) and Guys and Gals riding stick horses! The main show was really a spectacular show, neat horse tricks, little pigs races and little horse races, beautiful dresses that light up, really neat. The food was good…more fingers for utensils. A very nice end to a sometime stressful day!

Observations: As we drove up to  Clingman’s Dome , we had  ll Divo, (Italians Dudes, thanks again Lynn) CD playing. It is really breathtaking looking at Gods creations and listing to beautiful, peaceful music. At GREAT way not to have a heart attack, see comments below!

Observations 2: Patti had been to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg before but I had not. This place is huge! I had expected 2 little towns with, a few shop and hotels. There are hundreds of shops and dozens of hotels, a number of miniature golf course, Lazar Tag places, water slides, a real “tourist trap” ( but in a nice way) a great place to visit, a week could easily be spent here (if you have the $$$$). The really surprising thing is there are hundreds/thousands of people here (April 10), and this place is not near any really big cities.

Shrub Sculpture, Pigeon Forge, TN

Comment: Our first stop at Smokey Mountain National Park. Pk. was the Visitor Center, in order to find out what are the “highlights” of the Park. While there Patti bought a map of the Park. I have come to the conclusion that giving Patti a map is like giving her a roll of toilet paper except for one difference – Patti knows what to do with the T.P! Immediately upon exiting the Visitor Center we made a wrong turn (how can you exit something and be lost????????). We ended up on the road to the Dome instead of the falls, which I have already explained I wanted to do in the morning while it was cool. BUT with the help of the Italian Dudes and telling myself “This is pretty Gary”, “This is pretty Gary”, over and over all the way to the top, we made it!!

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,016.2

Fuel Used: 321.9 gallons so far

MPG 12.4

Cost Per Gallon: $3.79, Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Athens, TN, Mayfield Dairy……….Farm, Part 26

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 26

Date: Saturday, April 9, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Eagles Nest RV Park in Pigeon Forge, TN. After last night’s park this place is HEAVEN! It is built at the foot of a mountain not on the side of one! These sites are actually flat! It is a nice park, gravel drives and pads, lot of trees, cable TV, Wi-Fi and a stream or small river runs behind it. (Not liking RV parks near rivers during thunderstorms after last year RV Park disaster (see below)). Really like this Park…so far!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Ride trolley around Pigeon Forge, see Dolly Parton’s “Dixie Stampede”, maybe drive to Smoky Mountains.

Today: Athens, TN: home of  Mayfield Dairy Farm (makers of Mayfield blue cheese) I was thinking of Maytag Farms makers of same really great blue cheese, this is not the same…opps! We did visit Mayfield Farms; they produce the milk in the yellow jugs. The tour was very informative…Patti kept saying “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” more on that latter. They produce 8,500, 1 gallon plastic jugs per hour. A shinny silver tanker holds 6,500 gallons of milk, so they use over 1 truck per hour. It takes 20,000 cows being milked twice per day to keep the plant going…..lots of cows, lots of milk! “Ok” Patti finally got her ice cream, “Turtle Tracks” …I had “Blueberry Cheese Cake” both were really GOOD!

Observations. In this part of TN the Dogwoods are both pink and white and are in full bloom, these are some of my favorite flowering trees and they are everywhere!

We lost .1 miles per gallon today; this is offset by 4,000 miles of traveling! The Tug does not like to pull the QM up mountains, loves downhill! We are in the Appalachians Mountains, which are really nice this time of year. When you come over the top of a mountain and see a valley it looks a lot like Wyoming, green, trees, mountains, and blue skies…until you get out of the A/C and your neck starts to sprout gills…oh did I mention HUMIDITY???

West Coast trip: was the rainy trip, Mid America: was the snow and wind trip, this year we are dodging tornadoes. Yesterday we heard on the radio of some projected bad storms in the area for today. As soon as we set up I turned on TV (we have cable) and went to The Weather Channel. They were showing golf ball and softball size hail north of us. We found a local channel that was showing radar…have you ever seen Purple on the map?? It was coming our way but by 6:00 PM the sky started to clear and we only had a few drops of rain. Glad it missed us but getting tired of wondering how fast we can pull the slides in and run to the office for cover.

Comment: GPS: in the past we have had some problems with our Garmin but this year after we updated it they seem a little worse, and when you are dragging around the QM a little problem is a BIG problem. It will say turn left/right when there is no road or the wrong road. This morning as we left the “Park from Hell” Patti was having problems A.) Garmin wacked out, Garmie could not find her A#%, or B.) Moonshiner provided maps so revenues could not find their stills or C.) Patti, wacked out, Patti could not find her…..choose one. “Oh Lord do not send me a Mercedes Benz, please send me a navigator”. “Did I say that out loud”?

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 4,016.2

Fuel Used: 321.9 gallons so far

MPG 12.4

Cost Per Gallon: $3.79, Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

 

Lynchburg, TN,. Jack Daniel’s……Distillery, Part 25

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 25

Date: Friday, April 8, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Lynchburg Wilderness RV Park: Can you spell the “Pits”! This place is on the side of a mountain with gravel poured to “level” the sites and not very well at that. The last park was clean, organized, well laid out (and I thought it a bit too barren). This place looks more like a dump site than an RV site. NO TV, not even “air TV”, NO Wi-Fi, NO nothing. It made our worst camp site list (the first RV Park this year)…a wild turkey (the bird not the whiskey) just walked by…honest!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Athens, TN: home of Mayfield Dairy (makers of Mayfield blue cheese) then on to Great Smokey Mountains.

Today: Lynchburg, TN: Jack Daniels Distillery (Lent Travel Rules). After fixing 1 door (read below) we went to Lynchburg to try and find the distillery….almost no parking at the visitor center, turns out we were at the towns visitors center not Jack Daniels. Walked around Lynchburg, which is a town of 5,000 so it did not take long to walk it. EVERYTHING is done in Jack Daniels lettering, EVERYWHERE they were selling J.D. stuff, some of it neat, some “not so much”.

Headed over to the distillery, and pulled into a good sized parking lot which was nearly full, remember the town only has 5,000 inhabits.…..Patti’s comment “who woulda thunk it?” There were more visitors here than lived in the town and this is a Friday in April. The tour takes about an hour and is very interesting, EVEN Patti found it interesting! J.D is sold in 140 countries! They have 5 stills but only 3 were running, 2 produce 40 gallons per minute, the other was putting out 20 gallons a minute that is 100 gallons of 140 proof pure alcohols a minute! The state of Tennessee produces only enough corn for ONE DAY OF PRODUCTION, one day! Thus, they get the corn from the Midwest. We saw: the cave where the limestone filtered water comes from; where they make the charcoal for their filtering process and saw the filtering process. Since Moore County is “dry” it is known as the “wettest, dry town in America” and since it is “dry” there are no samples…so much for “Lent Travel Rules”. They were not even allowed to sell any bottles at the Distillery until 1995, when the state granted them a license to sell “Special” commemorative bottles that are only available at the distillery. They have 5 products: Old No7 (no one knows why it is called No.7), Gentleman Jack, Single Barrel, Green Label ( not aged as much) and the latest product Honey Jack (Jack mixed with honey, it is 50 proof). Once we get out of this area I am going to buy a sample bottle of each to try. I will report back once I do! The things I do for you!!!

Lynchburg, Welcome Center

Observations: Over all the years we have been traveling with the QM we have been very lucky. When we open the Queen Mary, and have gotten a little complacent. Neither of us checks the drawers or doors to see if anything opened or shifted. When we arrived at this fine park (NOT), Patti started to open the living room/dining room slide as usual and as usual I was outside watching to make sure it did not hit anything. As I watched I saw it jump and stop…not good! When I got inside I saw Patti trying to close a cupboard door that was wedged between the slide and the cabinet…too late – the hinges were ripped off but the door was ok! Back to opening the slide…the door at the other end was jammed also, BUT all I had to do was removed the hinges and bend them back in shape….no harm no fowl….just need 2 hinges!

Do not like humidity – it was 71 degrees and very high humidity…I was sweating and it was not hot! It was 71 and we turned on the A/C…go figure.

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 3,761.7

Fuel Used: 300.3 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $3.79, Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

 

Birmingham, AL: __________________Botanical Gardens, Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, Dreamland BBQ

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 24

Date: Thursday, April 7, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Hoover RV Park near Birmingham, AL. Starting to like this Park, Very few RV’s here, wide open, CLEAN (like in no dirt on the concrete…very nice), good hook ups and can wash RV’s so I washed the truck and had planned to wash the QM, see below as to the reason I did not!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Lynchburg, TN: Jack Daniels Distillery (Travel Lent Rules)

Today: Birmingham, AL:  Botanical Gardens: When we arrived the place was packed…translates to NO parking. I spotted a gentleman and asked “what are they giving away” His answer, “There is a seminar on Domestic Abuse” and since he was leaving we could have his parking space…very nice! I backed the Tug into the spot, which if the Police Officer that parked the Police Van behind me had stayed in HIS spot all would have been well, he happened by just as we were going to leave the Tug where is was and moved his van to give me a better space…these people are REALLY nice. The Complex is a very nice complex but like things done by the Government, they like to build stuff but do not allow funds to maintain stuff. The main building is very impressive with a restaurant (first we have seen at a Garden), library (very nice librarian – she helped us get out of the building and into the Garden), restrooms, meeting rooms, and a gift store, very nice! The outbuildings including the Green House (which was closed until “further notice”) were in bad repair…build it and maintain it!

The Gardens are huge, (no idea as to how big because with all the commotion going on from the seminar, there was no one to ask for a garden map) but like most things we do we are either late or early. The tulips were mostly gone; azaleas, nice but we have seen a lot of them; peonies, not open yet; iris, just starting to open; Native Azaleas, my new favorite flower, were BEAUTIFUL! The flower looks like Honey Suckle but is in clusters similar to hydrangeas and pink in color. This is the second time we have seen these but this is the first time we knew what they were! The Garden is very nice but as mentioned above they need to spruce it up!

Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame: Not in the best neighborhood, but not terrible either. Guess what?? They are open Tuesday thru Saturday, today is Thursday…so one would assume they would be open…NOT! They were having try outs at the University of Alabama, Birmingham for 26 students and the museum was CLOSED. Patti’s words of wisdom “timing is everything” This is the second time I have heard it today!!

 Arlington Antebellum House and Gardens: A real Mansion (found out what Antebellum means: before the civil war). Built in 1850 and had 4 owners before it was donated to the state. Very good shape, very nice with a GREAT tour guide, very informative, a nice place visit!

Dreamland BBQ: Jack Hopwood, a friend of ours from Tucson, suggested that if we are in or near Tuscaloosa we stop at “Dreamland” a REAL BBQ restaurant, but since we could not get into the Mercedes plant we were not near there. I called him to see if there were any other “Dreamlands” and one was in Birmingham…guess where we went for lunch…Dreamland. Neat place – A REAL BBQ place, packed with customers! The BBQ sauce has a lot of mustard in it which gives it a totally different taste, very good but different. I liked it better than Patti did. We started to a half slab each and the waiter said one slab, he saved us $1.50 which he ended up with in his tip. We had a ton of ribs, really good, but on the tough side, my jaw hurts…Jack said we would need tooth picks after the meal…we did.…lots!

When we got back to the QM, I noticed a little water under it where there was nothing that would leak. On further investigation the whole carpeting in the hold was soaked. After emptying out the hold (a lot of Patti’s S#%T to Ohio) we found out the water pump that had been replaced had a loose fitting…a little Teflon tape and tightening it up a fitting, the fix was in! But EVERYTHING in there was soaked so it all sat out while I washed the Tug. When we get to Lynchburg we are going to have to empty it out to dry….Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!!

Observations:

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 3,551.3

Fuel Used: 283.7 gallons so far

MPG 12.5

Cost Per Gallon: $3.79, Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

 

 

 

GA, Food Expo and…. Talladega- Raceway, Part 22 & 23

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 22 &23

If you do not want to receive these just let me know

Date: Tuesday & Wednesday, April 5 & 6, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Hoover RV Park near Birmingham, AL. A big parking lot with RV hook ups! Very clean…easy, just let the rain and wind blow it off! It really is nice, green areas for the dogs and near a semi pro baseball field…hope they play a game tomorrow, I will watch it!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Birmingham, AL: Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, Arlington Antebellum House & Gardens, And Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Today: Survive the storms: Watching the news Tuesday we realized how lucky we were. We had no damage and when we drove to Dom’s restaurant we saw almost no damage. All the trees, flowers and homes in the area were fine but not far from us trees and power lines were down. Wednesday as we traveled toward Birmingham the news reported that power for some would not be restored until tonight at the earliest! A BAD storm for some!!

Tuesday: Food Expo with Dom. SUPER! This was only open to restaurant owners and operators. Various food vendors provided samples of their products…. How do you say Mmm, Mmm, GOOD! We had 2 shrimp dishes, salmon done 3 different ways, mussels, calms, chicken, Wagyu beef (really good), Angus sliders, lamb chops and veal. I am not a fan of grits; as a matter of fact I never had any I even liked!! One of the vendors had “Stone Ground” grits with goat’s cheese…fantastic!! They were creamy, not like eating sand paper. We had a really good time…what’s not to like, GREAT food??

Hang new curtains at Dom’s 53: Tuesday night the drapes were up, ran into a few problems but got them up and they looked great!

Dom’s curtains At Dom’s 53 Restaurant

Wednesday: On the way we stopped by Talladega Motor Speedway for a tour…REAL lame (my words), It sucks (Patti’s words) I have been around the track at Indy and wanted to do the same at Talladega…not to be! Once we boarded the bus (after we purchased our tickets) we were told the track was closed for “some reason to due with next week’s race” so lame/sucks about says it all.

Later today we had planned on seeing Barber Vintage Motor Sports Museum, but after Talladega decided to skip it. We also had planned on seeing the Mercedes Benz Factory tour Thursday but were told the earliest open date is April 19…not a good day, decided just to hang out at the RV Park the rest of today.

Observations: Kriss & Bill gives us “Book on Tape” every trip. This year we have Glen Beck’s “Common Sense”. A very good read (hear)…we need more people like him! Danielle Steele’s “Southern Lights” not done with it but very entertaining, makes the time and miles fly! Plus a third book, I fail to recall the name. Thanks AGAIN guys!!!

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 3,551.3

Fuel Used: 283.7 gallons so far

MPG 12.5 pulling the Queen Mary, must be going mostly down hill!

Cost Per Gallon: $3.84, Last year we paid about $2.99 average. L

 

 

Lake Lanier and Storm, Part 21

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 21

If you do not want to receive these just let me know

Date: Monday, April 4, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Lake Lanier Islands Campgrounds & Resort, North of Atlanta, GA.

Day 5 here – neighbors! One camper family showed up down the hill and across the access road…and they have a dog….Patti is not happy…oh well we had it to ourselves for four days!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Survive the storms and go to a food Expo with Dom. Hang new curtains at Dom’s 53

Today: Patti finished the drapes for the restaurant this evening. I started reading George W. Bush’s book Decisions Points….so far I can see why his mom, Barbara has white hair…tended to get into problems as a kid/young adult, definitely had a drinking problem! Patti made Paella for us for dinner…Mmmmm Good!!

While Patti was working on the curtains I made her take a break to drive around the park, something we had not done yet and I wanted to see the trees/flowers before the storm tossed them around. The place is huge and really nice. There are 2 beaches in the park and probably more around the lake. The lake has over 600 miles of shore line! It is a manmade lake so when they dammed it, water went back up the tributaries making all those miles of shore line. There are 2 water slides, a miniature golf course, a real golf course, beautiful lodge and convention center. The trees/flowers are in full bloom. There are Dogwoods, both pink and white, cherry trees, some other trees that have a flowers like honeysuckle (except it is pink and a tree), really pretty.

Observations: Tuesday morning after the storm: We rolled in the slides as a precaution, to prevent damage from hail, wind and falling branches. We received, by my guess, about a ½ inch of rain, no hail but a lot of wind, thankfully no damage. They were 20 reported tornadoes in many states and unfortunately a few deaths from falling trees, and downed power lines. Some people had up to 1 ½ inches of rain and many communities are without power. The storm started out as wind with mild rain, for us it did not get much worse than that. Around 2:30 this morning the rain stopped and the wind started REALLY blowing then the temperature fell about 20 degrees in and hour…got darn right cold in a hurry!

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 2,675.5

Fuel Used: 222.3 gallons so far

MPG 12.3 Going up, not pulling the Queen Mary!

Cost Per Gallon: $3.74, Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Part 20 Chateau Elan, Brasleton, GA

Date: Sunday, April 3, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Lake Lanier Islands Campgrounds & Resort, North of Atlanta, GA. fourth day here and STILL no neighbors. There are more campers here but still none by us…yeah!!!!!!!!!!!! It is almost like having the Park to ourselves.

What Were We Thinking: We are staying an extra day, as there is BAD weather coming through Monday evening-Tuesday morning AND there is a purveyor food expo Tuesday…and We Love Food!!!

Tomorrows Goals: Patti will finish making curtains & help Dom hang them. (not very exciting)

Today: Finished fish tank. Patti started on curtains for Dom’s 53.

We had a very nice dinner at  Chateau Elan (wine tasting is allowed under travel Lent rules!!!). The complex is better than beautiful! There are 2 gorgeous buildings. One houses a restaurant and the guests rooms, it is huge, do not know how many rooms there are but it has to be a lot. Some of the Capitols we have seen are not this nice! The other building is where the wines are made – wine tasting is done here and this building also has 2 restaurants. We did a small wine tasting; we only tasted 2 reds, a Syrah and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Both were good. The Syrah was the better of the 2. Their red grapevines died in the 2008-2009 drought and have been replanted with irrigation this time. The reds we had came from California grapes but the wines were made at Chateau Elan. We also had a “Port” and it was very good, very good! We ate dinner next to the wine tasting rooms. This is their casual room. The dinner was very good, and service, as you would expect, was top notch. Thanks Dom for the nice dinner.

Observations: The last 2 days have been warm and more of the flowering trees are opening up. Too bad with the storm coming through tonight all the flowers might get blown away. We will let you know tomorrow.

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 2,675.5

Fuel Used: 222.3 gallons so far

MPG 12.3 Going up, not pulling the Queen Mary!

Cost Per Gallon: $3.74, Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

 

Part 19 Helen, GA

Date: Saturday, April 2, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Lake Lanier Islands Campgrounds & Resort, North of Atlanta, GA. Third day here and STILL no neighbors. There are campers here but none by us…yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!

What Were We Thinking: Oh we may stay an extra day, as there is BAD weather coming through Monday even-Tuesday morning AND there is a purveyor food expo Tuesday…and We Love Food!!!

Tomorrows Goals: Help Dom with fish tank, make & hang curtains for Dom’s 53, Chateau Elan for dinner and wine tasting (wine tasting is allowed under travel Lent rules!!!)

Dom’s Daughter Cheyenne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today: Helen, GA, German Town: 2 years ago we went to Leavenworth, WA where they have a “German motif’ town. It was very nice and we had a good time. But it was converted to “German Motif”. This year we have been to Fredericksburg, TX and it was a German town, built by Germans but not real German looking. Again we had a good time but it did not have many “German motif” buildings. Patti says I have never been to Germany so what do I know. Helen IS what I consider a “German motif” town, it was built that way…it was built as a tourist trap! We ate lunch at a “German” restaurant, I had Schnitzel, (super and really good too), Dom & Marisa had hamburgers (in a German town…although Hamburg is a German town???), Patti had a Reuben (terrible, BAD, garbage,….get the point). We had a good time in town shopping. Guess what Patti bought…..a cookbook….”Favorite Brand Name Cookbook, Collector Edition”…it is 2 ½ inch thick. Just what we need in an overweight, small RV!! She has wanted one since she saw it at Pat Davis’s home, an Ohio friend.

Me, Marisa and Dominic in Helen, GA

 

Marisa Playing Keno at Key West Restaurant

Observations: On Saturday the Aquarium opened an $110,000,000.00 (that’s right – a 10th of a billion dollar) expansion to the Aquarium. We missed it, but the Saturday early morning news, said that due to weekend construction on I-75, the new feature at the Aquarium, “Wrestle Mania” and Spring Break, traffic would be backed up so leave early and get used to sitting in your car…or take MARTA. We did not know about the expansion until we were at the Aquarium but Dom told us to stay away from downtown Atlanta on ANY weekend…REALLY GLAD we went Friday!!!

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 2,675.5

Fuel Used: 222.3 gallons so far

MPG 12.3 Going up, not pulling the Queen Mary!

Cost Per Gallon: $3.74, Last year we paid about $2.99 average. L

Saved as: 5th Wheel Trip Retirement Eastern America Part 19

Part 18 More Atlanta, GA, *******Aquarium, Johnny Rockets

Date: Friday, April 1, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Lake Lanier Islands Campgrounds & Resort, North of Atlanta, GA Second day here and Park is open, still no neighbors….yeah

What Were We Thinking: Asking how to get to the Aquarium, we were told  MARTA (Atlanta’s light rail), we decided to drive as we were short on time due to Patti’s dogs back at the RV. Driving, BAD idea! It is about 1-2 miles from the capitol to the Aquarium soooo how long could it take? Lots of aggravation and a half hour latter we were parked, another $10.00 shot. We had to park in a parking garage, not a big deal in a car, but WE have the dreaded “Tug” which is 6’ 4” tall. Makes for a very nervous ride in a garage with a 6’6” ceiling…MARTA would have been the way to go!

Tomorrows Goals: Helen, GA, German Town

Today: Atlanta State Capitol of Georgia: U.S. capitol like, but with a gold dome and beautiful stone work, VERY nice! The Capitol grounds are not very large, even thou the Capitol building is very large, so there is little in the way of landscaping. No land left for flowers? Inside was a little disappointing: beautiful wood and marble wainscoting but very little to nothing on the walls?? The rotunda’s dome had no artwork of any kind and the paint was peeling! There is a nice museum on the forth floor showing a lot of Georgia history, and 2 beautiful staircases going from the first floor to the second …very nice. Other than that the building is large but plain…underwhelming!

 Johnny Rockets: Parking is $7.00, expensive (at least by “country bumpkins” from AZ standards) so while we were parked near the capitol, we went to the “Underground” for lunch. Marisa had never been to J.R. so it was off to J.R. for lunch. We had a GREAT waiter, he gave us a nickel for the jukebox and Patti asked what songs they danced to: answer; “Respect” and off the wait staff went. Our waiter was the best dancer, he really got into dancing. Marisa had a good time…and the food was very good too.

 Atlanta Aquarium: WOW Very nice to say the least! It is the nicest Aquarium we have ever been to. Coolest things: tunnel, you actually walk through the 14,000,000 gallon tank (it would take 15 months to fill it with a garden hose…BIG); Glass wall to the tank that is about 25-30 ft by 15-20f.t It is the biggest glass wall in the world…very impressive. They have all kinds of fresh and salt water fish, seahorses, sharks, manta rays, penguins, and otters…just a ton of water related critters! The Aquarium is really neat, Marisa has been there a lot but always enjoys going. Expensive and they have NO problem charging for upgrades: a 3D movie $5.00, a backstage tour, $15.00, this is on top of a $25.00 entrance fee…ouch! BUT it really is a good way to see a lot!

Marisa and me at the Aquarium

Dom’s restaurant: We got back to Dom’s restaurant about 6:00 dinner time and all the tables were filed…very good for just opening! It stayed that way until we left at 8:30…GO Dom!

Observations: Traffic is terrible, even without the Queen Mary attached, streets are one way and a LOT of cars. MARTA or walking is the way to go!

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 2,675.5

Fuel Used: 222.3 gallons so far

MPG 12.1 Going up, not pulling the Queen Mary!

Cost Per Gallon: $3.74, Last year we paid about $2.99 average. L

Saved as: 5th Wheel Trip Retirement Eastern America Part 18

Part 17, Atlanta Area, GA

Date: Thursday, March 31, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Lake Lanier Islands Campgrounds & Resort, North of Atlanta, GA This is the first time we have stayed in a state park as most do not have sewer hook ups. This park does not have a lot of “full” hook ups but since they are supposed to be closed until April 1st, we had our pick of sites. We are the first campers of the year. We are staying for 5 days and since we were here only 1 day early, they let us in early. We have the best site and no neighbors…we are loving it, even the dogs like it, no other dogs…they said yeah!!! No internet or challenging air TV. This PARK is FANTASTIC (not so much the campgrounds, which are “ok”). The Park has: water slides for the kids (not opening tomorrow as it is only 40 degrees now with a high of 68); docks for boats; really nice roads, not so much in the campgrounds; a resort like lodge (have not seen it yet); beach for swimming (if the weather EVER gets warm, we have been cold for only 2-3 days on this whole trip and I am wining already, I do not do cold well)

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Atlanta Aquarium, State Capitol, and Dom’s restaurant.

Going Atlanta, GA to visit my oldest son, Dominic. Once we got set up at the campground, Dominic drove us to his new restaurant. For only being open 3 weeks, and the only restaurant experience he has is eating in them, he is doing GREAT. The location seems good. It is the middle of a small strip mall, lots of traffic, bar with only bar food at one end and an upscale liquor store at the other. The Restaurant has a really neat sign; hopefully we will get a picture of it. Inside he has about 10 tables, most seating 4 patrons, lots of help and they all seem to be having fun…AND the food was good (which is important for a restaurant)…NO Dom does not cook, only tastes. He has put on 15 pounds since he started on this project.

We picked up my granddaughter, Marisa, and as a surprise, Dom had gotten 4 tickets for “Medieval Times” from a friend of his, who is the main character in the medieval play. A very nice surprise and a GREAT way to spend time with my son and granddaughter! I have been to 2 other medieval shows and this was the best one!

Marisa and an Actor From Medieval Times

Marisa, Me and Dominic

Inside Dom’s 53

Inside Dom’s 53

Sign out front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Observations: We drove past 2 foreign auto plants, one in Alabama (Hyndai), and the other in Georgia (KIA). Both plants parking lots were full of employee cars. Auto plants in the North used to be like this, poor decisions, unions and taxes drove them out.

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 2,675.5

Fuel Used: 222.3 gallons so far

MPG 11.9 going down again…Hills!!

Cost Per Gallon: $3.79, Last year we paid about $2.99 average. L

Saved as: 5th Wheel Trip Retirement Eastern America Part 17

Part 16 Montgomery, AL, ********State Capitol

Date: Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: The Woods RV Park, Montgomery, AL: Decent Park, gravel sites with concrete pads for picnic tables not for RVs. We had a lot of rain last night and today, so this place is really WET (see below). “The Woods” has No trees even though it is called “The Woods”???? It does have a small pond. Decent Park!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Atlanta, GA my oldest son

Today’s Johnny’s RV Park, Mobile: Last night we had tornado warning until 5 AM then extended to 10:00 AM. There were hail warnings and Johnny’s RV Park has 150-200 year old “Live Oak” trees covering the whole park: Good news it blocks a lot of the rain and we had 1 inch of it; Bad News the trees drop branches, and these are not little branches that would bounce off of RVs and cars, these are the kind that would CRUSH RVs and cars!! So we pulled the slides in and slept in the “short bed” last night. To add to the excitement – remember we said there are train tracks REAL close to the RV? Every time a train went by we both thought “how do you tell the difference between a real train and a tornado, since they both sound like “trains”???

Montgomery AL, State Capitol: A U.S. type state capitol smaller and not as nice, understated elegance. The Capitol sits in the middle of a square surrounded by a beautiful white government building. The whole is better that any of the parts, very nice! Inside the Capitol building is also understated elegance, very nice but not beautiful, but nicer than “just nice” …I would say elegant!

First White House of the Confederacy: this is where Jefferson Davis lived and ran the Confederacy during the early years of the war. His bedroom was right of the front foyer, with his wife’s directly behind his, unusual as most bedrooms are usually upstairs. There are 6 bedrooms in all. The Davis had 4 children, 2 boys, 2 girls. It had a big parlor and dining room. The home is very nice, a small mansion. It was moved from its original location by taking it apart in 3 sections then moving it and reassembling the home…a real fete 100 years ago.

The Davis home is now located across from the current Capitol building. Down the street is a home where the Secretary of War of the Confederacy gave the order to fire on Fort Sumter starting the Civil War. The city of Montgomery is huge on history, but the downtown area is slowly dying, at one time it must have been very nice, but now is only a shadow of it’s former self.

Jefferson Davis’s Baby Crib

Old Alabama Town: This is an area of relocated turn of the century homes (1900 not 2000) nice but not what we thought. We had in mind a historic shopping district…something like Mobile….not!

Observations:.

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 2,675.5

Fuel Used: 222.3 gallons so far

MPG 12.0

Cost Per Gallon: $3.79, Last year we paid about $2.99 average. L

Saved as: 5th Wheel Trip Retirement Eastern America Part 16

Part 15 Mobil, Al Day 2

Date: Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Johnny’s RV Park, Mobile, Alabama,

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Montgomery, AL, State Capitol, First White House of the Confederacy, Old Alabama Town

Today’s Mobile historic districts: Both yesterday and today we easily found parking, even for the TUG…loving this town! We took the free trolley around the historic district to get a feel for it. The trolleys are really nice and a nice way to see the downtown area which IS the Historic District. Then got off and rambled around. Mobile looks a lot like The French Quarter but smells nicer and is in better condition…Mobilian’s are allowed to fix up their buildings, N.O. can only maintain, not improve them in the French Quarter. On the trolley we went past a renovated theater with a long line of ladies waiting to get in, most were holding a book. While walking, we past the theater and the line was longer, my curiosity was peaked, so when we past some nicely dressed ladies holding a book we asked what was going on. We were told it was a book signing for the book “The Help”. Since we had not heard of it we went into a local bookstore (also on our walk) and asked about the book. It has been on the “Best Sellers” list for quite a while and is about a wealthy woman and her trials and tribulations with the hired help. Just thought that was interesting. Our first impression of Mobile was confirmed today. This is really a nice town, very pretty! We asked 2 different people where the locals go for good seafood and both said Wentzell’s Oyster House, so off we went. Like the city, it did not disappoint: I had oyster basket Patti had the shrimp basket…I helped her finish hers…I am such a good husband!

After lunch we did part of the “Historic Driving Tour”, there are so many beautiful mansions in the area. Mobile was spared much of the destruction most of the South suffered at the end of the Civil War so a lot of the early mansions are still standing. Patti was going crazy, wanting to turn one mansion after another into a “Bed and Breakfast” Did I say this is a beautiful town??

Bragg Mitchell Mansion: Built in 1855. We had planned on seeing this before we arrived in Mobile, turns out it is one of the houses on the “Driving Tour”. Mr. Bragg was the original owner and this was only a winter home for entertaining! His REAL mansion was in Montgomery but was destroyed during the “Civil War”. The only real damage the home suffered was by the Confederate Army cutting down the huge oak tress so they could use their canons to better affect, which they never had to do. Mr. Bragg replanted the trees using acorns from the original trees…neat. Also of note Fort Bragg was named after his brother! The Mitchells were the last family to live in the home, hence the name Bragg Mitchell Mansion. A beautiful mansion.

Brag Mitchell Mansion

Observations: Boiled peanuts: I had tried these once before and HATED them but since they sell them all over the South and since Patti had never had the pleasure of eating them, I thought we would try them again. This time I bought them from a peanut shop that actually made them on site. The young fellow serving us asked if we wanted them hot…sounded good so said yes. While they were being heated I told him I had tried them and was not impressed. He said he did not like them either!! Too bad he did not say that before I paid for them! Turns out that if made fresh and if heated they are not too bad…not too good, but not too bad either.

Weather: We have been blessed so far this year. Today’s weather report: 30% chance of rain today, 80% tonight WITH FLOODING tonight!! Oh boy! Evening news – there is now a tornado warning for just west of here, Oh Boy, Oh Boy!

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 2,416.9

Fuel Used: 200.9 gallons so far

MPG 12.1 Getting better

Cost Per Gallon: $3.74, Last year we paid about $2.99 average. L

Saved as: 5th Wheel Trip Retirement Eastern America Part 15

Part 14, Hattiesburg MS, & Mobil AL

Date: Monday, March 28, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again…Eastern America

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Johnny’s RV Park, Mobile, Alabama, a very nice park. Very big, very well laid out, large pond, lots of huge shade trees. We give it a Ata Boy! If you have been following these posts since we did the west coast, you will remember my comment that all RV parks are near railroad tracks, airports or interstates. Well Patti almost hit a home run; this park has 2 out of the three!! We have a small airport nearby AND railroad tracks about 200 feet away!!!!!!!!!! When the train is running, the RV vibrates! Still a nice park!!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Mobile historic districts, and possibly Brag Mitchell Mansion

Today’s events Hattiesburg, MS  (Armed Forces Museum): The Armed Forces Museum is closed on Monday. We knew that but were hoping that we could see something. However, a very nice lady at the Hattiesburg Welcome Center told us everything is inside. The Welcome Center and Convention Center are beautiful. Both are 6 years old and look like they were opened yesterday…very, very nice!!

Mobile, AL: We stopped by the Welcome center to see how we would proceed with our visit. Another good call, the ladies inside could not have been more helpful (a little too helpful we have too many things to do!!). We decided to visit Mobile Botanical Garden today, then tomorrow take the trolley around Mobile Historic sites, have lunch (MORE SEAFOOD), do some walking around before going to the Mitchell Museum.

 Mobil Botanical Garden: After diving to the RV Park, downtown Mobile, and to the Garden, it was nice to relax looking at beautiful flowers and plants. Our timing is still off. Last year we were too early (International Garden was mud and brown sticks instead of plants), this year we missed the Daffodils and early blooming flowers but the Azaleas were in complete bloom and they were everywhere! This is the largest garden in the U.S. featuring Japanese Azaleas, really pretty. There are all kinds of hybrid Azaleas, some bloom in March, some in April and even some that bloom in the fall…never knew that.

Observations: As we traveled from Jackson, LA to Mobile, AL we encountered lots of rolling hills! I would have thought it would have been flat, slopping down to the gulf…not the case, lots of HILLS!!

Both Patti and I thought Mobile would be a rundown depressed area due to all the hurricanes, and the bad economy. BOY were we WRONG! Mobile is super clean, lots of nice construction in progress, a very upbeat city. We drove to the Botanical Garden by way of Springhill Ave. and on both sides of the streets were beautiful mansions…super way to see the city! Way better than Jackson yesterday.

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 2,416.9

Fuel Used: 200.9 gallons so far

MPG 12.0 Getting better

Cost Per Gallon: $3.76, Last year we paid about $2.99 average. L

Saved as: 5th Wheel Trip Retirement Eastern America Part 14

Part 13, Jackson, MS

Date: Sunday, March 27, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Swinging Bridge RV Park Byram Mississippi (just outside Jackson), not one of our favorites

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Hattiesburg, MS (Armed Forces Museum) on to Mobile, AL

Today’s events Jackson, Old Capitol Museum: Built in the US Capitol style. Renovated many times since it was completed in 1839, the most recent renovation was after hurricane Katrina blew off most of the roof! The building is really beautiful; it looked like it was built yesterday, lots of displays, some interactive. The displays explained MS history, and the history of the Old Capitol building.

We were not going to see the Jackson, New Capitol until tomorrow, then go back to the RV
park to pick up the Queen Mary and head out. But since we were so close I thought we would drive around the New Capitol and check out the parking situation. Most of the parking spots were taken, and this is Sunday! We went in hoping we might be able to see inside even though they were supposed to be closed on Sundays. A REALLY nice guard let us in but we were only allowed to see the first floor. There was a special session going on. We peaked into a room where Governor (possible Presidential Candidate) Haley Barbour was speaking…very neat. The New capitol was again built in the US Capitol style, nice, but it needs to be pressure washed! Grounds are not very large nor are they very elaborate….just “OK”. What we saw of the inside looked like it could be very nice…based on the first floor. We are not going back as parking was tough on Sunday…probably impossible on Monday. We drove around Jackson a little; one block over from the Capitol building the town is very depressed, surprising that the area would go down hill so close to the Capitol…sad. Some of the damage might have been done by Katrina but some by just lack of caring and neglect.

Observations: We overslept this morning…Opps! Got up, made a really good breakfast and still got off only 15 minutes late…GO team “O”!!

We left New Orleans this morning and it was 72 degrees. They called it humid; I called it plain muggy (either way it SUCKS). I was sweating due more to the humidity than to the late start. As we started out we had the A/C on but as we moved north we turned off the A/C and by the time we reached Jackson we had the heater on…it was only 55 degrees…BRRRRRRRRR.

Remember the “Crackling”? I finished it today….Mmm, Mmm Good…I feel my arteries closing up! Also finished yesterday’s seafood dinner (from Deanie’s)…not as good as when it was fresh but still really good!

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 2,205

Fuel Used: 183.9 gallons so far

MPG 12.0 Getting better

Cost Per Gallon: $3.76, Last year we paid about $2.99 average. L

Saved as: 5th Wheel Trip Retirement Eastern America Part 13

Part 12 New Orleans Day 2

 

Date: Saturday, March 26, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Pine Crest RV Park, Slidel, LA (near New Orleans…yeah)

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals: Heading to Jackson, MS. Old Capitol Museum.

Today’s events A “no move day” so we slept in this morning. There is what I thought was a pond on the RV property, so I went fishing. Turns out it is actually a big creek/small river and is tidal so it is brackish. I lost a few lures on submerged tree limbs, caught a real nice bluegill, lost a few more lures, and caught a gar (about 18 inches of body, 4 inches of snout, full of teeth!). As I am bringing it to shore, I am wondering how I am going to get it off without getting bit; it bit the line, so no problems! There went another lure. River: 6 lures, Gary: 2 fish (if you count the gar)

New Orleans, French Quarter: Yesterday we got to the French Quarter and found the perfect parking place for the Tug. Today the parking lot was full as were all the ground level lots so we headed to the parking lot for the Wyndham Hotel which is multi level. As I pulled in I had Patti get out making sure we would clear the ceiling. The Tug has an “On Star” antenna that sticks up about 4 inches, and a CB antenna we added that sticks up 6 inches. The “On Star” cleared but not the CB antenna, so Patti pulled it off. We drove a circular ramp inside 4 levels before we got to where cars could park, the whole time the little antenna was JUST an inch or two from the concrete ceiling…very nerve racking!!

Friday we strolled around the French Quarter: today we rambled; went to  Cafe Du Monde, for Beignets but the line was way too long so we skipped it; bought some souvenirs; went on over to the Preservation Hall, it does not open until 8:00 PM (we are in bed by then…not really). They had a private party going on and we could hear the music on the sidewalk, but no matter how hard I tried the hostess would NOT let us in…DARN.

People Watching

We headed to Deanie’s Seafood Restaurant lunch…our new favorite place in NO. As we sat down, I looked around to see what people were eating. The lady in the next table over was eating this HUGE, REALLY HUGE plate of fried seafood. I asked her what it was; it was a half order of their Seafood platter, a half order!! Patti and I ordered it and we are having the rest for dinner tomorrow night! As we were eating, a nearby table ordered a whole order for 4 people, they threw about ¼ away. Ours had shrimp, soft shell crabs, oysters, and catfish (only second time in my life I have had it where I liked it), Crawfish stuffing balls, French fries… AWESOME. Now for a different twist, instead of bread or rolls they served seasoned boiled potatoes, really good…a neat idea! Leaving the parking garage the tug sat lower due to the extra weight Patti and I put on, so we were able to leave faster than we entered!

You know you have been in New Orleans for too long when $12.00 parking for 4 hours does not sound to bad…time to leave. To get back to the Queen Mary from New Orleans you take I-10. We passed an alligator coming out of the brush, it was about 4 feet long…no, we did not stop to take pictures!

Observations:

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 1,869.4

Fuel Used: 159.2 gallons so far

MPG 11.9 Getting better, LA is flat so the mileage is up…prices are pretty flat!

Cost Per Gallon: $3.69 going down J Last year we paid about $2.99 average. L

Saved as: 5th Wheel Trip Retirement Eastern America Part 12

 

 

Part 11 New Orleans!!

Date: Friday, March 25, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Pine Crest RV Park, Slidel, LA (near New Orleans…yeah)

What Were We Thinking: Yesterday Patti picked out a RV Park right in New Orleans and made reservations for a “pull through” site, remember I do not back up!(she normally does this ahead of time so we know we have someplace to park). We pulled in to the RV Park not really liking the area but for 2 days we could do it. Patti went to “check in” and was told just pick a site and come back to register…not usually a good thing. We pulled through the park looking for a “pull through”, finding none Patti went back to the “check in” as was told to try a certain site. If I had a bulldozer to flatten it and could block it so I would not be blocked in by anyone it would have been fine. As such, she made some phone calls while we sat in the RV Park and found this Park. Good neighborhood, very nice sites, a little far (25 minutes) from N.O. but a much better choice. Their loss!

Tomorrows Goals: New Orleans, Jackson Square, Patti wants to go to Pat O’Brien’s AGAIN! Lunch at any Seafood Restaurant I feel like.

Today’s events New Orleans, Walked around N.O. saw Jackson Square, did a little shopping, made Patti thirsty so on to Pat O’Brian’s for a Hurricane…Since it is was lent I got to watch as they only had O’Doul’s which I hate. Then on to Acme Oyster Co. for dinner. You just show up and wait in line until you get to the front! I had a dozen Oysters, which were as good as I remember. Patti and I shared a Shrimp/Oyster Po Boy which we both agreed was not as good as the one I had at Floyds in Beaumont…maybe we will go back???….Not!

 Patti at Pat O’Brian’s
The only place she like in N.O.! 

 

Observations: A.) On Texas and Louisiana Interstates they actually paint the Interstate number on the pavement at major interchanges as well as put up the normal signs…VERY helpful! While on the subject of Interstates – both states have huge tangles of interstates that someone recently dubbed “Spaghetti”. A good name for them! As they are just like “Spaghetti”! Really fun pulling the Queen Mary.

B.) There is supposed to be a drought here but by all the water EVERYWHERE it is hard to believe (at least more water than AZ!)

C.) The “Turducen” sausage was very good, a lot like Kielbasa but better and firmer meat.

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 1,869.4

Fuel Used: 159.2 gallons so far (would have been less if we had not gotten lost)

MPG 11.7 Getting better, LA is flat so the mileage is up…prices are pretty flat!

Cost Per Gallon: $3.74 going down?? L Last year we paid about $2.99 average.

Saved as: 5th Wheel Trip Retirement Eastern America Part 11

Part 10 Baton Rouge, LA

Date: Thursday, March 24, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Cajun Country RV Park, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Sorry we are not sending these out daily but now that we are in “mere mortal” RV Parks, Wi-Fi is hit and miss…today, so far, it is a miss.

What Were We Thinking: This is one of the “good” “What were we thinking” and they are very few and VERY far between! After we blew off the Plantation (see below) we stopped at Bergeron’ Boudin & Cajun Meats have gone to HEAVEN. This place is like a candy store for fat people. Boudin: we have been hearing/reading about it so we tried some (you do not want to know what is in it…really). It looked like Knockwurst but was soft in texture. It had good flavor but we were not nuts about the texture, soft, mushy…we opted not to get any BUT we bought shrimp etouffee, pork something (looked good), “turducen” (turkey/duck/chicken sausage), cranklin (think fried pork rinds with meat, deep fried and seasoned…hmm, hmm good, the only thing in the world that gets better for you when you fry it). Lastly we bought smoked chicken breast for dinner tonight…if I lived near here I would be on a first name basis with the staff…until it killed me! Wonder if wine goes with this stuff??

Tomorrows Goals: New Orleans, Acme Oyster Co., Jackson Square, Acme Oyster Co., Acme Oyster Co. and Acme Oyster Co.(one of my all time favorite places in the world…Honest). Patti wants to go to Pat O’Brien’s and since it is Lent I guess I’ll be driving home…crap!

Today’s events Baton Rouge Louisiana State Capitol As we drove up to the Capitol, Patti and I both thought of the Capitol building of N. Dakota, the “Skyscraper of the Prairie”. A tall building, nice but not great, a little plain. The Capitol of Louisiana was very beautiful inside, not what we thought from the outside. The inside was done in various colors of marble/granite, really nice. The view from observation tower on the 27 floor is spectacular, this is the tallest State Capitol in the U.S. The grounds below were in bloom…spectacular! Looking back at N. Dakota it might have been nicer if anything had been in bloom! Huey Long forced the building of this structure through the state legislature by a lot of arm twisting. He is buried on the grounds…a real ego manic!

State Museum: This was a real surprise; it has only been open four years and is really well done. We had to park the truck on the street due to its size, so we were forced to use the parking meters. Not knowing about the museum until we were at the state capitol, we did not allow ourselves enough time at the museum; we could have spent a lot more time there. It gave a nice time line of the history, had a lot of really neat displays, including a real full size shrimp boat, a giant crawfish, plus a real Confederate Submarine…all very cool!

Old LA Capitol

Old State Capitol: The old capitol is only about 2 miles from the new one. It looks like a castle from the outside and upon entering there is a beautiful metal staircase, going up to the second floor. There is no dome on the outside but on the inside there is a beautiful false glass dome. The Governors office was VERY under whelming and possibly this is the reason Long wanted a new building? There are numerous statues of Long around both buildings, and a room is dedicated to him in the Old Capitol. The tour does not take long but it was time well spent.

Brec’s Magnolia Mound Plantation: Drove to the Plantation, Patti saw it and said “No more stinking plantations that look like plain ol’ houses. If it don’t look like a Mansion I do not want to see it” or something like that! So we did not stop.

Observations:

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 1,753.6

Fuel Used: 149.5 gallons so far (would have been less if we had not gotten lost)

MPG 11.6  so far.

Cost Per Gallon: $3.74 going down?? Last year we paid about $2.99 average….OUCH, Ouch!

Saved as: 5th Wheel Trip Retirement Eastern America Part 10

Part 9 Baton Rouge LA

 

5th Wheel Trip, Eastern America, Part 9

If you do not want to receive these just let me know

Date: Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Title:  The Queen Mary Sails Again

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Cajun Country RV Park, Baton Rouge Louisiana…Yeah another state!! It took us a week to get out of Texas. Cajun Country RV Park is more like a usual RV park – gravel drive, pad, “air” TV and little to no Wi-Fi (so far we have not been able to connect)…just like old times!! (Not good old times, just old times)

What Were We Thinking:

 

Tomorrows Goals: Baton Rouge, Louisiana State Capitol, Old State Capitol, Brec’s Magnolia Mound Plantation.

 

Today’s events St. Martin DeTours Catholic Church: Construction on the church was started in 1765 (old, very old) and finished a few years latter. Since it was completed the church has always been in use and never restored just maintained, it is just like it was when built very, very beautiful but OLD. The stained glass windows are not very ornate, but considering they were shipped from France in 1765 they are nice. Around the alter there are beautiful statues. Each row of pews has a short door off the main isle and each door has a place for a name plate…interesting! There is also an 1883 replica of the Grotto at Lourdes, France A very neat church.

  Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem about the Acadians called “Evangeline”. It was about this area. The area was settled by Acadians, who were displaced by the British from Nova Scotia. The plantation was founded by a wealthy Creole Charles DuClozel Oliver in the early 18 century. He had 27 slaves in total, including a blacksmith, carpenter, cook, 3 maids and the rest were field hands growing sugarcane, the main cash crop. This was NOWHERE as nice the McFadden-Ward house we visited yesterday. More a basic 2 story home, better than a cabin but no mansion, not the kind of plantation you think of when you are thinking Southern Plantations.

 

Observations: ONLY in Louisiana can you find “Drive Thru” Daiquiri stands…Honest! The trees are almost fully leafed out and a lot of flowers are in bloom, very nice. Way greener than Sierra Vista. Now for the BAD news. We drove into St. Martinville and got into the Queen Mary to freshen up before going into the church. As I was getting out Patti said “what is that hissing sound?” Turned out to be a sliced tire that was slowly losing air. After a few phone calls and a 2 hour wait we had a new tire and went on to visit Longfellow-Evangeline site. I love camping!

Another flat tire!!

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far: 1,753.6

Fuel Used: 149.5 gallons so far (would have been less if we had not gotten lost)

MPG 11.6 L so far.

Cost Per Gallon: $3.79 L Last year we paid about $2.99 average….OUCH, Ouch!

Part 8 Beaumont, TX

 

Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Title:   The Queen Mary Sails Again

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma,  (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot, lot!

Campground/Location: Golf Coast RV Park, Beaumont, TX, still.  This is the first RV Park that had a Continental Breakfast! We had Waffles shaped like the state of Texas and like EVERTHING they were big…and GOOD TOO!

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals:  St Martinville Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site & St. Martin DeTours Catholic Church then on to Baton Rouge for the night.

Today’s events: Botanical Gardens: Arrived before they opened so we walked the outdoor gardens. The azaleas here are in full bloom, roses mostly just starting, trees mixed stages of filling out. The park has a very nice waterfall, easy access walks. I guess due to the moderating effects of the Gulf, plants bloom early. We are only 30 miles from the coast. The indoor gardens very nice, a GREAT place for a wine tasting!! Always on a look out for a place to taste wine…If only we had some wine with us.

Edison Museum : Is housed in the Travis Substation, which was in use until the 1980s some, some real old equipment in use here!! A small but well done museum dedicated to the inventor. Lots of displays showing some of his inventions. Neat place to spend a litle time.

McFadden Ward Home

McFaddin-Ward House: Can you say BEAUTIFUL? Picture above. The McFaddin-Ward families owned the massive home. It has 12,000 square feet and the Carriage house has 8,000 square feet…both pretty good size! The home is decorated with what was original to the home…very cool. When it was built they plumbed and wired it, WAY advanced for the period! The fortune started by cattle, rice farming, and real estate, ( Ward said “I do not want all the real estate, I only want what is mine and everything next to it!). Then oil was found on the land he owned part interest in! The tour takes over 90 minutes and since we were there early we had a private tour…or no one else showed up…you decide! The McFaddin-Wards had 9 servants including 2 chauffeurs, a cook, gardeners, butler, and maids….a VERY nice way to live!

Floyd’s Cajun Seafood House

We did this all before lunch…oh we had lunch at Floyd’s Cajun Seafood House restaurant (the Docent at M-W home told us about it) very hard to find (poor directions) but REALLY worth the effort. The best Oyster “Poboy” I have had this week/year/last year/ or in the last 5 years “ok” it was the only one I have had in all those years BUT it was really, really good…did I say it was good? Patti had her usual shrimp and was very pleased with it.

Observations: Yesterday we drove over the Galveston Bay Bridge, BEAUTIFUL Bridge. Glad it was 5 lanes wide. The wind was blowing (go figure) and I used only my lane plus half to the right, and half to the left…glad there was no traffic!

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far:  1,499.9

Fuel Used: 128.7 gallons so far (would have been less if we had not gotten lost)

MPG 11.6 L so far.

Cost Per Gallon: $3.79 L  Last year we paid about $2.99 average….OUCH, Ouch!

 

 

Part 7 Beaumont, TX

Date: Monday, March 21, 2011

Title:   The Queen Mary Sails Again

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma,  (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot!

Campground/Location: Golf Coast RV Park, Beaumont, TX. Another really nice park, it only took Patti 4 minutes to check in…..never had that happen, ever….even in Hotel/Motels!! Nice grassy sites, good Wi-Fi, Cable, concrete drives and pads…I am really getting used to nice parks.

What Were We Thinking: Changed plans, only did Space Center – Johnson Space Center today. The day started off nice as the Space Center & JSC do not open until 10:00 AM so we slept in a little, made a nice breakfast and got off to an early start…a good thing. After driving the Sam Houston Toll Way the day before I looked at a way to avoid it at all costs, traffic is terrible especial when haul a 14,000 pound RV!! So we headed south, but by the time we turned on our GPS we had passed our turn. Garmin kept telling us to turn around but it used a different name of the street (garbage in garbage out) so we ignored it. We ended up going 35 miles out of our way…on a 45 mile ride!!! Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

Tomorrows Goals:   Botanical Gardens, some flowers maybe?? Edison Museum, McFaddin Ward House (tell you about it after we have been there).

Today’s events: Space Center & Johnson Space Center: We only arrived a little late (see above), found a good parking spot for the Queen Mary & Tug, headed inside. I thought the Space Center and JSC were one in the same. The Space Center is run by a private non-profit and backs up to JSC. We took a tram over to JSC and had a tour of the facility where the astronauts train. The building was full of full size actual mock ups of various parts of the Space Shuttle and the Space Station, very cool. At another part of the complex we saw a real Saturn 1 rocket…HUGE…also very cool. They had 2 robots: one was like a man from the waist up and it’s fingers could text on a Blackberry ( I can not even see the buttons to text) but from the waist down it had wheels; the other was called “Charlotte” and looked like a giant spider. Once back at theSpace Center we saw movies: one was on the history of the space program (Americans did some amazing things), it had footage I had never seen before. Then a movie called Blast Off which detailed different type of launches; then a demonstration on life in space.” Input” is fun….chasing food around weightless space,” Output”…. not so much! Other things we saw: actual moon rocks and the equipment for studying them; we got to touch one…felt like a flat piece of plastic. There were lots of things for kids to do “Hands On”. You could try on a real helmet, simulation of landing, and a docking with the International Space station. They had real time viewings of inside the Space Station, and astronauts in the water training for weightlessness. A very cool day…once we arrived!!

Observations: RE: Fox News – 2 years ago when we were in California we had a hard/ impossible time finding Fox News (I am a Fox News Junkie) and if we did find it was always channel 59 or higher. In Texas, Fox is everywhere and it is usually 7-9 I love it!! Gotta Love Texas!

Houston Rodeo: there were over 2,000,000 people attending the Rodeo week….no wonder there was soooo much traffic.

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far:  1,499.9

Fuel Used: 128.7 gallons so far (would have been less if we had not gotten lost)

MPG 11.6 L so far.

Cost Per Gallon: $3.79 L  Last year we paid about $2.99 average….OUCH, Ouch!

Part 6 Huston, TX

Date: Sunday, March 20, 2011

Title:   The Queen Mary Sails Again

Itinerary: To see: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma,  (maybe not in that order)

Projected Mileage: unknown at this time, but a lot!

Campground/Location: Advanced RV Park, Houston.

What Were We Thinking:

Tomorrows Goals:  Space Center then on to Beaumont, Tx: Botanical Gardens, some flowers maybe?? Edison Museum, McFaddin Ward House (tell you about it after we have been there).

Today’s events: We had a super afternoon at Julie and Andy’s home (Patti’s cousin’s daughter), great time, very nice dinner and even went fishing at a pond near their home. Their son Drew has the neatest battery operated jeep…I want one!

Observations: A day in the life of an RV’er: On travel days we (me) like to be on the road by 8:00AM, so we get up by 6:00AM, exercise (me again, Patti is STILL in bed). I usually make breakfast while Patti gets beautiful. We eat breakfast then pack up. We have packing up/down pretty well in hand and can do it in about ½ hour…faster w/o sewer hose (my favorite part of the whole thing (when I win the lottery I will hire a person to tag along to do the job for me…..or just stay at a hotel…even better)). This morning was an off day so we slept in until 8:00 AM. This does not even happen in Sierra Vista,AZ. Patti made pumpkin pancakes (box mix), bacon and tea…I am living LARGE!

Mileage on Truck: Start: 43,379

Miles Traveled So Far:  1,252.3

Fuel Used: 109.1 gallons so far

MPG 11.4 L so far.

Cost Per Gallon: $3.79 L  Last year we paid about $2.99 average….OUCH!

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