Saturday, November 28, 2009


Last Sunday in spite of the rainy weather, we drove north from Monticello, GA to Plains, GA to visit the hometown of Jimmy Carter. The town is so small I would not have been surprised to run into Jimmy on the one block long main street of town. However, it didn’t happen. We did buy some souvenirs at the old Carter peanut warehouse and sampled some of the peanut butter ice cream. The boyhood home of Jimmy is a nice, middle class farmhouse and we were surprised to see it is just left open without a docent or “guard” on site. That kind of trust is unusual.

Just a few miles up the highway from Plains, we visited the location of the infamous Confederate prison camp in Andersonville, GA. It is now a National Historic Site and is managed and maintained by the National Park Service. The gloomy, rainy weather contributed to the overall feeling of melancholy as we drove around the beautifully groomed countryside. In the National Cemetery the Union soldiers graves, lined up row after row after row led to such a feeling of frustration … and screamed the question … WHY? So many men received brutal inhumane treatment and suffered so much—so many lives lost and for what? I know I don’t have the answers but there just has to be a better way to solve our problems than war. We took a brief tour of the National POW Museum but again the suffering it represents is beyond my comprehension. I’m sorry but I just couldn’t take pictures inside.

We had a comfortable, uneventful drive from Monticello to Davenport, FL. When we arrived, we wound our way through the park until we found the site we had rented. We passed our friend, Margie out walking her adorable little Chihuahua, Buddy along the way. Soon she and her husband, Roger were at our site on their recently purchased cute little golf cart and watched as Phil backed Penny the Pace perfectly into our new site on the first try.

After one day to wind down, we attended the Thanksgiving potluck dinner in the Citrus Ridge Clubhouse. It was a wonderful meal and we were sure we wouldn’t eat again for two days. However, since the next day was our birthdays (Phil and I share the same birthday) we managed to rustle up an appetite to enjoy the steak and lobster we prepared for our celebration dinner. It was delicious!
Needless to say, this week has probably contributed to adding a few pounds, at least for me. Phil never worries about his weight no matter when or how much he eats!
Thanks for stopping by!
Until next time,

The entrance to Citrus Ridge. Phil's been told there are bass in that little lake :)

Miss Penny the Pace, snuggled into her new home for a few months at Citrus Ridge Community in Davenport, FL.

Can you tell? Joy found the dessert table!

Joy, Margie and Roger holding down our end of the table closest to the food. Unfortunately, they drew cards for the order of filling our plates. We drew number six but there was plenty of food to go around ... and then some!

Our friend Margie telling Phil where to go ... I mean where to sit :)

Part of the group who came to the potluck Thanksgiving dinner at Citrus Ridge clubhouse. The park provided the turkey and the other hot food. It was soooooo good!

So much good food ... turkey and all the trimmings at the club house.

One end of the food table at the park's clubhouse.
On Main street, this was formerly the Carter family peanut warehouse. Now this store is selling all kinds of souvenirs and peanut products including ice cream. It was delicious!

Looking toward the back porch/kitchen on the back of the house. The outhouse is real but the Carters did eventually put in a bathroom.

Sign outside the Carter farm house.

Jimmy Carter's boyhood home in Plains, GA.

This is the Secret Service gate house at the Carter Compound just a few blocks from downtown Plains, GA. The Carters still live in the only house they have ever owned in Plains only now it is surrounded by a serious security fence.

This is the main street of Plains, GA. It is the home of the 39th president of the United States, James Earl "Jimmy" Carter.

Andersonville National Historic site honors all prisoners of war.

Andersonville National Historic Site is the only National Park System area to serve as a memorial to all American prisoners of war. This place is so sad ... displaying in stark reality ... "man's inhumanity to man."

One corner of the Andersonville prison has been reconstructed to show how the prisoners were forced to live.

The cemetery was established to provide a permanent place of honor for those who died in military service to our country. The initial interments, beginning in February 1864, were those who died in the nearby prisoner of war camp. Today the cemetery contains nearly 18,000 interments.

The final statistics show the agony of Andersonville better than anything else does, or ever could. Andersonville was a prison that was meant for ten thousand troops but ended up containing over thirty-three thousand. To say Andersonville was overcrowded is an understatement. Twenty-nine percent of the prisoners housed in Andersonville died

During the 14 months the prison existed, a total of more than 45,000 Union soldiers were confined here. Some 13,000 died from disease, poor sanitation, malnutrition, overcrowding or exposure.

Because of records kept by prisoner Dorence Atwater, 2nd NY Cavalry and confiscated Confederate records, only 460 graves had to be marked unknown.

Banana bread blowout! This is what happens when you use a 8 X 4 inch loaf pan instead of the 9 X 5 inch size required (I didn't measure). Yes, it looks pretty gross but Phil says even the blowout piece as well as the loaf itself was the best banana bread I've ever made. BTW, it was made with Splenda ... who knew?

Saturday, November 21, 2009


To be (controversial) or not to be (controversial) that is the question … :) … a pointed question indeed. Do strong opinions have a place in an RV travel log? Beyond parks and eateries, probably not—so I guess I’ve answered my own question. That said, our friend, Nick Russell who is well known in our fulltime RV circles for his cross the line ever so slightly (or every so often stomp all over the line) opinions, has been encouraged to say more. He is now writing a new blog called “BAD NICK” where he pulls no punches and blatantly states his convictions on innumerable subjects. Without remorse, as only Nick can do, he lets it all hang out and stirs up more controversy than is usually seen anywhere near an RV Travel Blog. His groupies love it and without doubt there are more of them than detractors. However, it wouldn’t be real life if there were none so the few there are blast him in their comments but true to form it only serves to fuel Nick’s fire. Check it out at here if you enjoy a vigorous debate!

I make no apologies for being an Oprah fan. I have watched her show since the first day and she has entertained me as well as millions of others for nearly 24 years. I have seen her struggle over those years with her weight (boy can I identify with that) and seen her screw up, educate, bring tears to our eyes and laughter into our hearts. I have more often than not agreed with her show content but once in awhile, I have waggled my head and wondered “WHAT WAS SHE THINKING?” Her recent announcement saying at the end of her 25th year she will be leaving comes as no surprise. She has paid her dues; a quarter century in any job is enough. I agree that it is a good number and now is the time to move on to other things (not that she hasn’t already). I salute you Oprah and look forward to your last season where you have promised to “knock our socks off!”

Our dear friends, Margie and Roger (we stayed in their driveway in Tennessee back in April before they went fulltime and we joined up again at the 2009 Eastern Gypsy Rally) went to work where they are parked in Davenport, Florida. With pictures, e-mails and phone calls they helped us find our next landing spot for a few months. We want to give them a huge shout out for all their help and look forward to being neighbors again so we can spend some quality time together.

Our stop here near Monticello, Florida has been interesting. Phil found an excellent garage (Curtis Morgan Garage, Inc. Monticello, FL) and had new rear brakes put on our little trooper, The Lone Ranger. A work horse for sure, he has been a true and faithful companion for the past five years. We are ever amazed at how well he performs and how dependable he has always been. Buying that little truck was a very good decision back in 2004.

This Tallahasee East KOA is very wooded. Somehow, our Datastorm Satellite managed to find a hole in the canopy of oak trees that have bombarded us with acorn missiles day and night. The squirrels in the park are many and very entertaining. They are running up and down the trees, digging in the ground and chasing each other all day. Fun to watch but we are being diligent and keeping the basement doors closed as we don’t want to bring one of those cute little critters alone with us when we leave!

Thank for stopping by!
Until next time,

Looking out the windsheild of Penny the Pace as we are leaving Rainbow Plantation on our way to Florida.
The red dirt just amazes me! Can you imagine trying to keep it out of your house if you lived here?

Our intrepid Penny the Pace traversing a backroad to Florida from Summerdale, Alabama.
This is State Highway 16 and US Highway 90 east that connects with I-10 north of Pensacola, FL. Beautiful drive, beautiful day!

Newly cut and baled hay ... in November!

There are many beautiful rivers (sorry didn't catch the name if this one) in Florida.
Being the scardy cat that I am, I can't help but wonder what swims in the shade along the bank ... !!

Penny the Pace crossing the stateline. Our destination for the winter of 2009-2010.

The courthouse in Monticello, Florida about five miles north of our KOA campground. Couldn't find much on the description of the building but the town is proud of its history. It is the hometown of country singer Trisha Yearwood and the filming location of the 1992 comedy, My Cousin Vinny. We also found a great book exchange in a local eatery where we had brunch, an "Organic club sandwich with homemade chicken/corn chowder soup". Pretty good actually.

Took a little day trip in Georgia after picking up one of my prescriptions in the Thomasville Wal*Mart. Saw lots of Pine tree forests, logging trucks and even a pulp mill. Lots of swamps and not much else on the route we took. However, it was a beautiful day for a drive.

The Lowndes County courthouse is widely acknowledged as one of the most beautiful county courthouses in Georgia. Built in 1904 in Valdosta, Georgia it is a beautiful example of Neoclassical Revival architectural style.

Patiently putting up with the bombardment of acorns, here is our wonderful Penny the Pace nestled in the Oak forest at the KOA near Monticello, Florida.

The oak trees that surround us are loaded with these little half-inch acorns. Day and night we have been flinching at the sounds of them dropping on top of our very patient Penny the Pace. We'll have to make sure they are all swept off unless we want to grow a forest on our roof ... LOL!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


This is another sad week as our family lost another precious lady. My cousin, Norma from Buhl, Idaho passed away after an extended illness. She was 81 years old and had been staying with her sister in Arizona. Norma has been a delightful part of my life for many years—assisting me with my genealogy work and sharing her incredibly sharp memories of the “olden days” in our family as well as copies of the pictures that had been handed down to her from her father. My mother’s mother and Norma’s father were brother and sister. She was a very special person, one of a kind, and she will be missed!

After much discussion, Phil and I decided to sit out Hurricane Ida when she was downgraded to a Tropical Storm before making landfall here in southern Alabama earlier this week. After the calm before the storm, we had some windy days and quite a bit of rain but for the most part, she was actual fairly mild-mannered in this area. Watching her path we have been amazed how much wind and rain she had left in her as she made her way north and east. Ida certainly went out with a bang on the east coast. As I recall, Katrina did the same thing back in 2005. We were in Massachusetts that year and remember the rain and flooding from Katrina, days after the devastation in New Orleans and the Gulf States. Hurricane season ends in less than two weeks and hopefully most of this wild weather is over—until next year anyway.

I have never eaten any part of a Pomegranate before. One day on the web I watched a video about how to cut into them and extract the seeds. Because of my curiosity, I bought one last week when I found them on sale. W-e-l-l-l-l have I ever told you about my mild case of diverticular disease? (I know ... too much information!) Anyway, they were delicious and I sprinkled those bright red seeds on my salads and my cereal for two days—then they hit me! It took another day to put two and two together but when I did, was I ever relieved! I really had been suffering and I was certain I had developed a life threatening condition. Just a friendly warning to all who suffer from a similar problem Stay away from pomegranate seeds!

Phil and I drove to Pensacola, Florida on Saturday. The Blue Angels were performing in an air show beginning Saturday afternoon and we were swept up in the bumper to bumper traffic with thousands of show goers and ended up on the Naval Air Station. It took almost an hour to find a place to get out of the line, turn around and get back to the main road. Had the air show been earlier we might have joined in the fun but when we are in a strange area, we do not like to drive after dark. On our way out of town, we found the famous seafood purveyor, “Joe Patti’s” market. The store was jammed with people and what a wonderful assortment of fresh seafood they provide. I also bought a small bowl of gelato while we were there. Another first for me and it was delicious! We bought scallops and shrimp for our freezer.

Thanks for stopping by!
Until next time,

Our dear Norma with her sons, Marc on the left and Kirk on the right.
We will miss you dear lady!
America's first European inhabited settlement in 1559!

We took a short drive and found our way to Florida. We will be saying goodbye to Alabama and moving over here next week.

We didn't know that Pensacola was the home of the Blue Angels.
You learn something new everyday :)

As the traffic crawled by the golf course, this sign told us what was going on and what time it would start.

In our traffic jam, we inched by the beautifully maintained cemetery on the base. There was a large section with just women's names which we thought was odd. Segregation?

Just a small part of the thousands of people walking in to see the air show. Later we passed trolleys coming on the base to help transport the crowd.

Bridge across Perdido Bay into Pensacola, Florida.

Just a few of the dozens of huge condominiums built along the shore near Pensacola, Florida.

On the waterfront in Pensacola, Florida.

This is the crowd just inside the door at Joe Patti's. What a popular place!

Our purchases at Joe Patti's Seafood Market. Phil loves shrimp and I love scallops so we now have a package of each in our freezer. Can't wait to give them a try.

This restaurant in Elberta, AL advertises, "you kill it, we grill it" but they were closed.
We were so disappointed because we had planned to eat here ...

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Unfortunately, I am starting my post today with a sad report. My biological father died over 40 years ago but he had been absent from my life since I was seven years old so even though I was saddened by his untimely death (he was 54) it was not devastating. Shortly after he left my world, he remarried and had two children, a boy and a girl. His second wife passed when the little girl was very young and their grandmother, our father’s mother, raised these children. He did not marry again and as an adult I had a couple pleasant visits with him. When our father died, my half brother and sister decided to ignore my presence in his (and their) life and we became estranged. That was in 1968. I tried to communicate over the years without any luck. Thanks to my genealogy work, a cousin on my father’s side of the family has reestablished contact with me after several years and her first bit of family news was that both of my siblings have died. My half-brother last year and my half-sister just last month. Both were only 60 years old. It was a shock but for obvious reasons I am not deeply saddened, maybe a bit stunned because they were both so young. Honestly, I am more concerned because my father died from a heart attack and both of these children also died of sudden heart attacks. Without going on too much more, I have to admit I am a bit apprehensive even though my heart has been just fine in all prior tests and I will be a chipper and thriving 70 the end of this month. I wish my siblings and I had been able to solve our problems during the past 40 years but it was not to be. Hopefully, they will rest in peace.

Now, moving on to happier news. We drove The Lone Ranger to New Orleans, LA (NOLA) and had a great vacation for two days in the French Quarter where they had virtually no water damage (on high ground) and are going great guns! What a fun place but we had to admit—so wasted on old fogies like us. We had a good time even though dancing and club hopping were not on our agenda. Our advice, go to NOLA when you are young—it is a real party place!! Music coming from every doorway (shops too, not just bars), dancing and street musicians on every corner, The weather was perfect—no humidity to speak of and in the mid-70s during the day. Balmy evenings and cool nights, can’t ask for much better than that. Our hotel was on Bourbon Street in the middle of the French Quarter and was a bit noisy at night but it was good music so we just let it lull us to sleep. The food we ate while there was very good but I gave up on the oysters and switched to steak. I’ll tell you about that later. We took a three-hour city tour, which started out kinda shaky but ended up being very well done and informative.

We drove I-10 west to NOLA (good road but SO boring) but our drive home (east to Summerdale, AL) on US highway 90 was much better. Much of it was along the gulf and we got a good look at the Katrina damage and restoration going on. We are keeping an eye on Hurricane Ida … may have to make a run for it. Fortunately, our home is on wheels ;) Lots of pictures to share this week … enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by,

My siblings, Mary Joanne and Wayne about 1965. Happier times before our father died.