Wednesday, March 27, 2013

One of many barns along back roads

March 25th, Tuesday, Well ....this is the drive I hate, BORING !! Time to head north to Penna. We leave the Thousand Trails Camp in Arley and head toward Rt 278 to head for Chattanooga,TN. 
     About 75 miles down the road, I had an idea?? I remember our fire co selling a fire truck 20 years ago to Crow Mountain Fire Co. in Alabama. I ask around and find I am 63 miles away..well I am so near!! I guess I should find that fire co. We drove around many roads and finally up a mountain passing fewer houses as we go. We drive to a crossroad that is Crow Mountain, I ask for the firehouse and follow down the road passing more woodland than houses. I find the fire house along this road and stop to see if our old fire truck is in there? There are no windows and no one answers the phone listed. I take a few shots and drive to a house down the road to a house that looks like someone is home. A man answers after his dog barks & barks and he comes on the porch. I ask about the fire co, he knows nothing..doesn’t even know if they still have the old Seagrave Pumper. 
    So I leave and drive down this very steep switch back roads off the mountain, the other side was a gradual rise, this is straight down the mountain. I reach the bottom with front brakes Smoking!! Cool time..then a beautiful drive thru farmland with many old barns to capture on digital shots.
     We continue on to Chattanooga, arriving at 6 pm at an Airstream Friend’s house  for courtesy parking. Now there are 3 airstreams in the driveway, I only need electric for the night for the furnace. We meet briefly with Dacia as she is working 12 hour days and has to go to work early in the morning. 
    March 26th, Wednesday, Off at 9 am to Penna. I see a sign for Lodge Dutch Oven Outlets in Sevierville,TN. We first see a Coleman Outlet and then walk over to Lodge to  buy a new Dutch Oven. The visitor’s center gave us coupons for a free 10” cast iron frying pan with a purchase. We had 2 coupons and Carol and I made separate purchases and each got a frying pan for only $4.99 each... 
     Time to move up Rt 81.. we stop at Wytheville exit for a KOA , they have plenty of spaces???? There is only about 6 or 8 campers here. Brrr..Brrr it is cold, I miss Florida!! Rest and Zzzz tomorrow the last 375 miles and we will be home(then repack...don’t tell mom) See the pictures I took the past 2 days ...   
  God Bless AirstreamHobo and Mom 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dunleith Mansion in Natchez, MS.

Sorry, I missed a week of tours, We left the caravan on Tuesday (March 19) with the Blanchard’s & William’s to explore the Natchez in Mississippi. We follow each other thru little towns and stopped by the road for a light lunch in the Airstreams. We then went onto Natchez, MS. to see the Visitor center. We found a Passport America camp (River View Camp )  across the river in Louisiana along the Mississippi River. Nice sites , we all got to park as neighbors. What a view of the river ,100 feet away, we could see barges moving up and down the river all day and night.
  March 20th, Wednesday, I went along with Blanchard's and Williams to see Natchez Visitor Center. We saw a short film on the area and gathered info on the local Mansions here. We found out about a restaurant called “The Castle” and went there for lunch. Fine dining surroundings. I got the Chicken & Dumplings with side salad, only $11.75. The place was gorgeous and service was the Best !! We found out with our meal we also got a tour of the “Dunleith” Mansion here on 40 acres. The house was so big it had 15’ ceilings in each room. We could only see the first floor as the upstairs and side building housed 28 rooms for guests to stay here($200-300/nite). The tour lasted an hour and we learned so much about the old house. The grounds were picture perfect to walk around and
   Next we found the Melrose Place another Mansion. This house had 90% of the original furniture in it. The ranger showed us flags that flew over it in the past. Then he took us on  great tour of the house. He was a great hands on Guide. We saw 2 floors here, the outside was being remodeled and was under construction. The grounds had slave quarters and also beautiful gardens too. Time flies, it is 4 p.m. and back to camp we go.  Carol was feeling much better, so I took her around Natchez and showed her the places we stopped today. We then stopped by the riverside and watched the sunset behind the bridge for some beautiful colors of the sky. See the Pictures   
         God Bless... AirstreamHobo and Mom
Here is an old Travco Motorhome I saw along the road....

March 23, Saturday,
     We left Natchez, Miss. ( March 21, Thursday) saying good-bye to the Williams and Blanchards, they were going up the Natchez Trail byway.We drove about 240 miles into Alabama and found a Passport America Park along the highway for on;y $16.00 /nite. We had all the hookups you can ask for. Of course it rained all night into Fridays’ all day driving.
    March 22,  Friday,  We arrived at Hidden Cove in Arley,Al.  a Thousand Trails Park. Our membership got us 4 nights free parking. We are here till Tuesday.
       Today we went for a drive to Jasper and surrounding back roads. I found a car collector that had a 55 Chevy. that he was refurbishing  from the frame up. He had an interesting shop of signs too. We talked for an hour while I took pictures. He told me about a little old town up the road about 10 miles so I stopped there too. Lots of old buildings still standing there.
         Then I saw a sign for Natural Bridge and drove there too, it didn’t look too appealing so I skipped the tour there. On the way back to Arley I passed a building covered in advertising signs...turn around and go back! I met a man in the parking lot and ask if I could take pictures. He said yes, then he opened his garage to room full of antique signs and collections. He said he buys and sells all of them,that is his income. He showed me some of the rare signs and collectables too. I must have taken 50 ? shots here?
         Now back to camp and sitting here in the rain..again.. listening to the thunderstorm alerts. I hope this passes by. Last week they were hit hard here and had power outages for a week. They were still cleaning up everywhere.  Here are some pictures ...enjoy...
        God Bless....  AirstreamHobo and Mom

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 13, Wednesday, We leave at 9:30 am for Acadian Memorial Museum and Evangeline Oak in St. Martinsville.  This a Museum of Cajun life and the history of them arriving in the area. We saw & heard a presentation of sound and also a spotlight on the Mural on the wall depicting their lives and hardships that they live getting here. We also seen Coat of Arms of many families. We had a caravaner  “Blanchard” whose family crest was on display. Then we did a walking tour of the grounds then off to the church across the street. This was a beautiful old church with all it’s Art of depicting the life of Jesus. We learned about Evangeline a young lady that loved the area and that “Longfellow” the author wrote about. Pictures
  At 2 pm we hookup to head for Abbeville RV Campground. This is a beautiful city park with plenty of shade. We arrive and get site #1 and set up. At p.m. we head for Richards Restaurant for some of the best Crawfish ($34.00 for 5 lbs. ) Over half the crowd orders that the rest get the Buffet. We opted for the buffet and got a wide variety of seafood to enjoy. The place is just a small wooden story building that only opens at p.m..
  Rick comes around and says stay here and leave with him only. When all are ready we drive back 2 blocks to a lane into a barn yard? Here is this old Cattle Sale Barn converted to a Cajun Music Hall. We sit on old bidders rows of steps with long cushions only for seats. Then 3 men are here on a raised stage ( this was the old sales ring with floor on the top rail.)  ready to talk Cajun and play.. Fiddle player, accordion player, and guitar player. They sang and played a lot of songs in French and had some funny stories to pass on. We had a private one hour show just for us. The feel of Cajun music was in our blood by now!!  Pictures 
  March 14th , Thursday, We skip breakfast this am to arrive at city hall at 8:30 am  for a Welcome Party.. Here we had a continental breakfast served by the city volunteers. We had coffee, pain perdu and Beignets. After eating we were greeting by the Mayor with a  welcome speech about their town and all the festivals that they like to party at. One was The Omelet Festival, held every year in October. They have a 12 foot skillet that cooks the Largest Omelet, each year they add an egg, this year will be 5,029 eggs in the skillet. We saw pictures of the making it! Next was a Farm agent to explain the local Farming Industry. He talked about crawfish farms, rice fields, and also alligator farms. He then opened a box to show us a small 2 foot baby alligator. We passed it around for all to hold that wanted to. Some women screamed when he came out of the box. Then the volunteers were divided up in groups to take us on a walking tour of Abbeville. We saw City Hall, The Square (for Concerts every 2 weeks plus the festivals all year long) and also a church also.  Pictures
     Time for lunch, again!, give me a break?? Hungary again? We went to Shucks a local seafood restaurant. I ordered a bowl of Corn Crab Chowder soup ($10.50 ) Mmmm Mmmm good !!
   Back to the camp..relax .. then we gather for a giant big circle of happy, snacks...Again.. but also refreshments too. We heard stories from lots of airstream’s personal experiences...some are hilarious others funny...some are stinky (sewer & dumping tales)
  March 15, Friday, 8:30 am we car pool for a Crawfish farm. Here we met a man and his flat bottom boat equipped for checking the traps and harvesting crawfish. He could only take 4 at a time out into the water..what an experience.. He had and engine and hydraulic mechanism to drive up and down the rows of traps. He has 900 traps to dump and rebait , he does this in 4-5 hours each day filling 25-35 sacks each time. He covers about 160 acres of water each day. We all take turns for a 10 minute ride..he sure does move along pretty fast...picking up & rebaiting with fish chunks in  the traps and plant them again.
  Next we leave the crawfish Farm and head to Kaplan to an American Legion Club for lunch. We have a delicious meal served by the ladies of Crawfish with noodles and pasta. We met the WBCCI Band Leader here helping to serve.. John Landry and wife Yvette.
  After returning to camp ,we hookup and hit the road again to Eunice to Northwest Center Campground. Tis was a big pavilion that the tow vehicles pulled into the pad and left the  Airstreams on the grass at the edge. We had electric and water here. The center was great for happy hours, we were under cover here. Pictures
   Time for Dinner, we loaded up and followed Rick to Di’s Restaurant for our meal. This is another Dance/restaurant that was hoping tonight with a Cajun Band. All came here to dance. We met a bus load of people from Galveston, Texas here for 3 days ..great bunch of fun people!! Their leader even gave me a Crawfish Bead necklace, everyone in my group was jealous ?? We filled up and some danced then left for camp after a few hours. Zzzzzzz
March 16th, Saturday, We divide into 2 groups for today’s tours. Ours leave for Fred’s Lounge in Mamou. The place is only open Sat. mornings. This is a bar with Cajun Music again. The place is wall to wall people. A radio station broadcasts from here. Dancing... for all again.. We see the Texas group again, this place is packed and having fun. I got a t-shirt from here. We go outside for air? We see motorcycles everywhere, they come from all over to see this Historic Place for Cajun Lifestyle. Pictures
   Time to switch to another tour. We drive down the road to Eunice to see Savoy Music Center. here they make accordions by hand, the craftsmanship and also the sound from these instruments was awesome. In the back we see the workbenches and hear about the steps to make these accordions. Then in the store there is a big circle of musicians playing what else?? Cajun Music !!! We watch the old timers with their instruments play along with everyone. You can buy the Savoy Accordion for $2,495.00  (Mom says NO !! )   
   Now it is noon, guess what? Time to eat ...we drive 3 blocks to Nick’s Restaurant for a delicious dinner of Beef tips over rice, Cole slaw & corn. Then I went next door to see a western wear shop.  $$$$ it is expensive to be a cowboy...$65. shirts..$55 pants.. $300-600 Boots.. $75 Hats... The the outfits sure do look pretty.  Pictures
  This afternoon we got to the Acadia Culture Center to a performance of a Harmonica
Group from Chicago... they were a fun group. Then we look around the center at the history of the area. Back to camp.... at p.m. there is a Cajun performance at the Liberty Center in Eunice. This is an old theatre that has been preserved for all kinds of shows. We saw the Harmonica Players again then a new band played for an hour. They had their regulars and also a 5 year boy that played a accordion flawlessly.   Great sounds tonight.  Pictures
  March 17th, Sunday, we leave for Bayou Wilderness RV Resort in Lafayette.  At 4 pm we have a scavenger hunt around the time.. we were all winners. At 6 pm we had a Wine and Cheese Party in the camp building. 22 boxes of pizza and 5 kinds of  wine too.  Later tonight ‘Obie” did a show of makeup of a clown for those interested.  Telling stories of make a Wish and Give Kids the World. A good time by all. Zzzzzz
  March 18th, Monday, The last day of caravan... We had a continental breakfast in the building. We then retreated to our Airstreams to get ready for the final banquet. Some one suggested we leave early to see the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist  est. in 1821 in Lafayette. This was the Diocese of Lafayette. We arrived to see a tall beautiful Cathedral surrounded by a large cemetery. There was also a 500 year old Oak tree here. The limbs were so heavy that they had pole braces under some of the limbs.
  At p.m. we went to Don’s Seafood for our final banquet.We had choice of seafood or rib eye steak.After eating Marilyn had a few words of farewell. I then went up to the front to present Rick & Marilyn a token of our appreciation for the past 2 weeks. We gave them an embroidered Pillow of Louisiana with the Cajun Caravan inscription on the back, we said this was for their 60th Anniversary on April 11th. We also had a card signed by everyone with a token of our appreciation of a Fun Filled Caravan.  Good Bye everyone.. see you down the road .....Time to move...  Pictures
In closing, I just want to say THANK-YOU Rick and Marilyn for an unforgettable tour of Cajun Country in Louisiana . I have learned so much in 2 weeks and also now have Cajun Music ringing in my ears!!! I also met some fun loving people from all over the USA this week. Many happy hours and dinners together made us like family. Here is a album of all the caravan attendees.. enjoy..
   God Bless.. AirstreamHobo & Mom 
  Any Comments ..Please email me I would love to hear from you hope you enjoyed the trip from your computer..

Thursday, March 14, 2013

One more tour today.. We drive to PHI Helicopter Office and repair center. They supply helicopters to transport oil workers to rigs in the gulf, air medic, and private use. This place was so clean you could eat off the floor.
At 5:30 we leave for Pont Breauxs Restaurant for a Cajun dinner and also they had a Cajun Band to entertain while we eat. Some stay to dance also.   
Ok, this was a long day, back to camp to ZZZZZZZZZZZ....  God Bless Airstream Hobo and Mom

Next we go to Konriko Rice Mill, The oldest rice mill in USA. We see a short film then tour the mill for a visual tour. Next ??? Back to the Gift Store... There Many Many kinds of their products. I think everyone bought a bag full of goodies( Rice, coatings, seasonings, t-shirts, and the usual tourist things) Mom stock up the Airstream Gallery with lots of products.
Time for lunch at Victors’ Restaurant which is a lunch cafeteria style to pick your meal. I had a Beef Stew and Salad, very good.

March 12, Tuesday, at 8 am we leave for Shadows on the Teche,  a National Historic House, we are in 3 groups to see the house and all it’s grandeur. The grounds were pretty too. Pictures

Then we drive across the island to see the Tabasco Factory. This is the only place that it is made, over 700,000 bottles a day. We see a short movie on the products made then a walk thru glass hallway watching workers run the machines. Then of course there is a gift shop to walk thru many samples .. and also many, many things with the Tabasco logo for sale as well as the sauce is for sale.

This is the Caravan Gang pictured at Avery Island.....
March 10th, Sunday, We leave for Catfish Heaven Campground a 70 mile drive. We arrive after p.m..  Some of us are  backed up to the pavilion where we have a steak dinner tomorrow. At 4 we leave foe one mile drive to Lake Martin to see the largest nesting of wading birds. We see lots of birds, white, pink & blue.We are here for about 30 minutes to see and take pictures of them. Back to camp for another GAM , then supper on our own. This campground has a laundry which many get caught up on the dirty clothes. Good for another week in clean duds !!
March 11th, Monday, Today we car pool to Avery Island near the Tabasco Factory. This is a reserve of beautiful gardens ,lakes, and even a Buda in the gardens. We drive thru the trees which are big Oaks and Cypress trees, very beautiful to see, we wind around the garden and stop to see the Buda and walk around there.  Then onto the Bird sanctuary to see nesting birds again..lots of them here over the water to raise their newborns.  Pictures
God Bless... AirstreamHobo and Mom 

Capt Jack...Swamp Tours
Now we take a break for 3 hours at camp than at 1:30 we got for a swamp tour. We board Captain Jacks Cajun Tour Boat. This thing has a 250 HP motor to take us to the swamp. We hear tales of the swamp while going there. Then slow down to see all mother nature. We do pass some Cajun Cabins(Homes) along the way. We even see some on the porch and Capt. Jack talks to them wishing them a good day. We hear all about some of the cabins and their way of life. After 3 hours on the water we are back at camp.
We have a Drivers Meeting after supper. We discuss tomorrows move to the next campground. As you can see we have a very well planned Caravan..Our Leaders have everything ready for Us to follow. 
  God Bless.. AirstreamHobo and Mom 

March 9th, Saturday, We rise early again to see the local sights. We are broken to 3 groups of 8/9 people in each. We go first to the Petroleum  Museum. Here we board a Oil Rig Platform which is a training center for future oil workers in the Gulf. This place is BIG.. living quarters.. Kitchen.. oil drilling area.. mechanics shop, a city on a platform. Workers learn to stay aboard for a week first to see if they like the confinement...some do  some quit after a few days. When they pass the job test, they start on an oil rig. They work for 28 days then 14 days off to go home. They work 12 hour days while on the rig. The job is very demanding for all.We got to see all the areas and learn a lot from our tour guide which is also an Instructor on board.
God Bless.. AirstreamHobo and Mom 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

March 8th, Friday.... Time to move on... to Frenchman’s Wilderness Campground, only 110 miles away. We leave in the morning and take our time to arrive after p.m.. We are driving along the Mississippi River at times and pass many Plantations also. We stop at Wal-Mart to wait for 2 pm to arrive.
   Wow..a beautiful lake frontage campground. We have the whole back section which each of us back up to the waters’ edge.The view across the water is breath taking. The wind is very brisk and we decide not to open awnings. We set up and rest, then at 3 pm we drive 1 mile away to Brownwell Memorial Park and Carillon Tower. We drive in and walk to the water,on the way there is a tall church tower with bells which sound off each 15 minutes. At the hour we hear a complete song to the bells. We also walk to the waterfront past trees covered in stringy moss hanging, sort of like Christmas Glitter on a tree.
   Back to camp, it is our turn to have GAM with others. The wind is faster so I park the van along the water between trailers to block the wind. But we all arrive with heavy coats on. The snacks were shared and chit chat too. The rest of night is off.  

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 7th, Thursday, We load the same bus at 7 am and start the tour. We stop at a local bakery for Beignets and coffee. These are holes.. with 10X sugar on them..there goes my sugar count?
 We drove over to the old State Capitol ..Gorgeous..The building was restored to a beautiful building. See the pictures ..
Then back to camp for another GAM.. we meet 5 new couples at this one..Brrr.. Brrr.. it is cold tonight.
  God Bless  AirstreamHobo and Mom

March 5th, Tuesday, We start to see Airstreams arrive. All are ask to arrive by 3 pm. We have welcome meeting at 3 then at 6 pm we have a catered dinner by the campground.. Gumbo & Desert.... My first time..delicious !!  Chicken & Sausage & Roux broth...and also potato salad and cake. Then we see a movie on Louisiana History...time for bed !! Early day tomorrow!
 March 6th, Wednesday, We load up the tour bus at 8 am and head for the Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge. We take a tour and see the first floor only.  Then we load up for the tour of the State Capital Building. After the walking tour, some of us went up to the 28th floor for a look of the city below. Noon, Time to go to the  Hollywood Casino for a buffet lunch..nobody starves here. We sit at the window and watch barges on the Mississippi  move up and down the river.
  Load up again for Louisiana State Museum across from the Capital. Here we see the Louisiana History, very well done Museum. Back to camp by 4 pm.
Tonight at 5 pm we have a GAM...Get acquainted Meeting.. get to know your fellow caravaners. We meet in groups of 8-10 people to exchange our personal history with the club. When did you get your first Airstream, where are you from, where have you been, where did you work & how big is your family?
At 7 pm we met in the building to learn the Cajun 2 step... we all had to try it. I can’t count to 2 so I only danced with mom 2/3 times in practice then sat and watched the rest. Some caught on quick.
  God Bless...AirstreamHobo and Mom

March 3, Sunday, we hookup and leave for Frenchman’s Wilderness Campground off  Rt 10 at exit 121, we arrived at 3 pm and got site #4 with full hookups.  We arrived 2 days early so we can clean up and relax before the caravan. We head down the road to a little store that has a Laundromat  in a little wooden building. I went into the store to see it, They have all kinds of supplies, the traffic today seemed to stop for liquid refreshments.  I purchase a t-shirt with store name on it. This is little fishing community along the river/bayou. Fishing is poplar here !! There is one other Airstream here..Buchers.. The rest come later.
    Monday, March 4, Rick and Marilyn  Solera arrive today and we chat for a while. This is their 25th (?) year of leading caravans..this one and also the Yellow Head Caravan. They are a delightful couple and are so easy going with everyone. More Airstreams arrive today  and setup. Rick tells me to drive down the road again past the store to see the fishing camps and to read the comical signs in each yard that owners name their camp. What a Fun Drive !! Then back to camp. See pictures..

Sunday, March 10, 2013

We left for Louisiana on Friday, March 1,  About 200 miles across Rt 10. We arrived in New Orleans about 5pm and had some Van problems. The campground directed me to a garage he recommends.
      I called them and they said come over sat at 8 am and they will check it out. After 2 hours of repairs we were back in business.
     We were at Pontchartrain Landing which is on the out skirts of New Orleans. The campground is on the  waterway canal with nice sites.  Note: This campground people were so helpful in setting up and locating a repair shop, they even offered to pick me up at repair if they needed to keep the van overnight. They were so concerned when I came back after repairs they stopped by to see if I was satisfied with the job done. This campground went way above the service I expected. This was also a Pass Port America Campground. Stop here when in town, they even have a shuttle into downtown 3 times a day. 
  We then drove downtown to the French Quarters. Found a lot to park near to everything. We walked over to Bourbon St. and blocks around. We checked out some of the stores, they had all kinds of party items..skirts, masks, necklaces(beads) and hats etc.We saw a gang of people in the street dancing to music and then move onto the next block, they were all on bicycles decorated with St. Patricks’ Theme. I don’t think they were sober? 
    We walked over to the church square where in the walks around it were Artists with their beautiful art for sale. Anywhere from $15.00 to hundreds. The colors were so vibrant. We decided to catch a surrey ride for a tour of the French Quarter, we were with 2 other couples. only $18.00 each for an very informative ride.
     We then walked around and ate lunch at a food court, the restaurants were very expensive. After 4 hours downtown we went for a drive around town. We even found a cemetery that look interesting and drove thru looking at all the above ground gravesites with large tombstones and Mausoleums with several burials in them. 
    Then back to the camp to rest for take off tomorrow for our caravan meeting place.  See Pictures ..

God Bless .. AirstreamHobo and Mom 
   I Love Airstreams!!! There were also Airstream diners along the square serving all kinds of food. each one had their specialty . We ate at one and had a delicious lunch with Bill & Joan Bucher. Then walked around town. Check out my Airstream Shots... 
Thursday, March 28, We left Mexico Beach for Grayton Beach State Park. We arrived to find it full ..while talking to ranger that we were meeting other Airstreams there, she said wait a minute and found an open site for 2 nights only...yeah.. we are with friends ( Buchers and Burns ). We got a new site with full hookups.
On  Friday we drove to Seaside to see the village of very expensive cottages(?)The stores downtown were way..way over our budget.We walked around the stores just looking at the art works and clothes too.
All the cottages were different and no two alike, $399.00 to $4,000,000.00 each. And some are only vacation cottages/homes. The beach here is like white sugar so clean to see.
  Back at camp we had happy hour with the Airstreamers and had a good time with 4 couples.
  See Pictures ..

  God Bless .. AirstreamHobo & Mom