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Journal / Blog

2021 Journal

September 14th- After reviewing our last legs home we decided to make some adjustments.  Originally our last leg was a long day.  This didn't seem like a good idea since we have lots to do once we arrive home.  So we switched our long day to the 2nd to the last leg so the last leg will be only 3 hours.  Due to availability this also means our last stay will be only 2 nights and we will be getting home on Friday instead of the next Monday.

 Our last stop will now be the Stephen Foster Cultural Center that is just across the Florida border.

September 13th- Today marks the beginning of the end of our 2021 travel adventures.  We have really enjoyed our stay in Kentucky.  Such beauty and history in this state.  We have enjoyed the many things to do here.  But all things must come to an end.  We are still contemplating our route home.  We have reservations in place but we may alter our route to better avoid Chattanooga and Atlanta.  Our experience with both of these cities would suggest we want to avoid them both.

September 9th- We had a beautiful drive going from Lexington to Frankfort.  The horse farms and pastures in the rolling hills is beautiful. We headed to Frankfort (capital of Kentucky) to tour the Rebecca Ruth candy factory.  The famous Bourbon Balls were created here. The story of the two woman who started this business back in the early 1900's is quite fascinating. The factory is still in the original house and it's amazing how they are still running this business in this old house.  Oh, and the chocolate is delicious!

 We stopped in the Buffalo Trace Distillery while we were in Frankfort. We didn't plan on a tour, they were all booked up, but thought we would take a stroll through the visitor center.  Neat place.  The grounds are rather impressive.  We did take a tour here 5 years ago, so the tour wasn't that big of a deal with us.

September 5th- We have had a flurry of distillery tours, tastings, and gift shop visits over the last few days. We've added Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, Angels Envy, Rabbit Hole, Peerless, Jeptha Creed, and Bulleit to our list of visited distilleries. Along the way there have been some pleasant surprises along with some real disappointments. In general the real unfortunate change to the Bourbon Experience is similar to Napa Valley.  What used to be an inexpensive way to explore new products and learn about the various products has turned into a real money game.  Tours and tastings generally start out at $25-$35 and up.  Far cry from the days of free tastings and inexpensive tours.  It's also disappointing to have tours/tastings booked out months in advance. Really takes away from the spontaneous exploration of the area. 

 Our biggest disappointment was Four Roses, pleasant surprise was Limestone Brewing, and favorite tour was Angles Envy and Rabbit Hole. Top tastings were Heaven Hill, Angles Envy, and Rabbit Hole.

August 31st- We were scheduled to move on the Lake Shelbyville Campground today.  Hurricane Ida is scheduled to cross Kentucky today and the forecast is for heavy rains and potential for flash floods.  Wasn't took excited about pulling a travel trailer in heavy ran and be in a flooded road situation and not being able to turn around. The campground we are going to is also in a flood plain so thought it was best to delay our departure until Friday. Fortunately our current site was available.  The unfortunate part is we had distillery tours setup for Wed and Thurs that was closer to Shelbyville so now we will have a little driving for the next 2 days.

August 26th-  We started our Bourbon Trail visits yesterday with visits to Makers Mark and Limestone Distillery. Makers Mark was the first distillery tour we had every take some 9 years ago.  The grounds are amazing but lots has changed since our first visit. We followed with a visit to Limestone Distillery which was a quite the contrast from Makers Mark.  Makers Mark is a LARGE distillery and Limestone is a very small scale enterprise. Both were great experiences.  We especially like having our lunch on the patio at Limestone.  We also got to sample a 100% malted rye whiskey right from the barrel and it was awesome!

August 23rd-  Axtel campground is awesome!  It's right on Rough River Lake and has MANY sites right on the water.  Even though our site isn't right on the water, we still have a beautiful view of the lake and a really nice campsite.

 I looking at renting a pontoon for the day sometime this week.  This seems like a perfect body of water to explore and we definitely had the weather to spend time of the water.

 We will be taking in Makers Mark and Limestone distilleries on Wednesday followed by Heaven Hill and 1792 distilleries next Monday.  Worth visiting even if you get to just smell the rick houses!

August 21st-  It was a raining day so we headed into Paduka to go to the National Quilt Museum.  Really an impressive place.  What they call quilts where really works of art with fabric.  Most didn't resemble what most of us would think of as a traditional quilt.  

 After exploring the museum and the downtown area we headed back over to Handcock's Quilting and Fabric so Patricia could do a little more shopping.  Unfortunately they closed at 3pm on Saturdays and we arrived just before 3pm.

August 20th-  The Canal Campground is a really nice campground located at the northern entrance to the "Land Between the Lakes" national recreation area. The campground is on the canal that connects the Tennessee River and the Cumberland River. Both are damned creating two rather large bodies of water.

 The primary reason we came here is so Patricia could go do Hancock's Quilting/fabric store and also to take in the National Quilt museum that are both in Paduka (20 miles from our campsite).

 I'm starting to layout our journey home once we leave Lexington KT. Hopefully finding available sites won't be a problem since it will be after Labor Day and school will be back in session, fingers crossed. 

August 16th-  While our stay in Des Moines was short we still had a nice time.  I managed to take in both Confluence Brewing and 515 Brewing. There are other breweries in Des Moines that I haven't been to before but I have a hard time getting past these two breweries.

 Fortunately we had a nice travel day leaving Des Moines. The day was a little long at 400 miles but it was manageable.  The only complaint was the rough roads. Our destination was just outside Sullivan IL. and will be our last stop before we head into Kentucky for 3 weeks.  The Bo Woods ACC is really nice and has been mostly pleasant except for the barking dog but hopefully that was a one time event. 

 Unfortunately when we arrived at our destination I didn't have power to the power jack or the slide. A little troubleshooting isolated the problem to the 50A breaker that is mounted outside on the frame.  A little wiggle restored the power.  I will need to track down a replacement before we get stranded.

August 14th-  Our travel day from Lanesboro was uneventful with beautiful weather with light winds.  After our arrival we spent the evening with Aaron, Jane, Joni, and Jimmy and had a wonderful time. There were very gracious hosts, wonderful company, and a lovely family. 

August 13th-  We had a nice stay in Lanesboro MN. We have frequented this area many times but just loving coming back to this place.  The bluff country is so beautiful and the town is very quaint. It's the Bed & Breakfast capital (self proclaimed) with numerous lovely B&B's scattered throughout the town.

 Over the years we have come down here for Patricia's birthday. We typically have gone to the local restaurant and then gone to a play at the local theater.  Well I blew it this year.  The place we usually have gone to eat is closed and our 2nd choice required reservations.  We ended up eating bar food before the performance.  We get to the performance and the theater intro proceeded to reference the Indian tribes that inhabited these lands and that we needed to be a good steward of these lands.  The performance, while entertaining, was filled with references to global warming and the demise of our civilization. To be sure, we will not ever be going back here again.

August 8th-  I finally had some relatively nice visits with Mark.  When I say nice I mean he didn't believe I was someone else, didn't accuse me of stealing his stuff, didn't say Dad wasn't dead, etc.... Friday was a turning point with most of the visit going well until the last 10 minutes.  Saturday I brought in pizza for lunch and that was a big hit.  I brought in chicken on Sunday. Sat and Sun went really well. I think food was a big factor, I should have thought of that earlier. It was very emotional for Mark when I left on Sunday.  Not sure when I will be back for a visit, but it will likely be quite awhile.  The sadness of Marks situation is almost over-whelming. I pray he can find some level of peace and sanity in his insane world.

August 7th-  I can't really say we have enjoyed our stay in St Cloud. Most of our days were consumed with sorting, packing, and cleaning out Marks apartment.  In addition, most of the visits with Mark didn't go well.  It really sucks when he doesn't take his meds!  About the only shining light was we got to see Jackie. She was in town for a wedding and we got to see her for a short visit and had the pleasure of puppy sitting Cocoa for a couple of days. 

 There are a number of places we would really like to revisit but we were beat by the end of each day and we really only had 1 free day during our stay.  Oh well.

 I don't know what the future holds for Mark but it's likely not going to go well.  I'm sure we will be back at some point and have to deal with the belongings that we put into storage.

August 3rd-  Unfortunately our time in St Cloud is going to be a working visit.  We are emptying out my brothers apartment and moving it into storage.  Nothing like have to deal with someone else's stuff/mess.  I also have a number of visits to look forward to at the VA with Mark and numerous staff.  Oh boy!!  We did make really good progress yesterday and today and are hoping to be done with the packing tomorrow.  We have movers coming to do the lifting on Friday and to delivery to the storage unit. 

August 2nd-  Our wonderful hosts in Sioux Falls (Ron & Hellen) made our time in Sioux Falls quite special. We really enjoy Sioux Falls but their company made out visit extra special. Our evening meals were always blessed with wonderful food and company.

 I did get a chance to visit one of my favorite craft beer venues (Monks) and even got to experience one of the best beers ever while I was there (Dogfish Head Brewing Raison D' Extra).  At 16% abv its quite the ride!

 As with all good things, it does comes to an end. We had a very uneventful travel day to our next destination (St Cloud MN)  

June 26th-  Our week on the Missouri River has just flown by! Can't believe we head out tomorrow.  We've met some really nice people here and hopefully will connect with them again in our travels.  Patricia got to visit one of here favorite quilt shops, Thread Expressions, that literally is in the middle of nowhere.  There isn't even s sign posted, you have to know it's there.  The owner has an on-line business that she can't keep up with. We also got a chance to meet our friends Arron, Jane, and their kids for lunch at Al's Oasis.  It was great to see them. They were on their way to the Big Horn Mountains while we were returning from the Big Horns.  Fortunately we will meet up with them again when we pass thru Des Moines.

 The scenery between here and Chamberlin is breathtaking and I've really enjoyed my trips into town to run errands.

June 20th-  TRAVEL DAY. The weather forecast was for triple digit temps so we decided it would be best to get an early start to minimize drive time in the heat.  We were on the road by 5am and got to our destination at Big Bend Dam around 2pm. A very uneventful day!  The drive across South Dakota is just spectacular.

 We have a very nice spot that has an unobstructed view of the Missouri River, we feel very fortunate.  With the Senior Lifetime Parks Pass the site was only $9/night. While it does have electric hookup it does not have water or septic.  Both are available in the park however. We also have Verizon and AT&T reception but no T-Mobile reception.

July 19th- It was nice to be back in the Big Horn Mountains and the city of Buffalo WY. The area has a great vibe. We ventured out to Kirby WY to check out the Wyoming Whiskey distillery. Unfortunately the haven't starting up the tours yet but we had a great tasting experience in there tasting room/gift shop. Good stuff!  This was a little bit of a drive, it's only 12 miles from Thermopolis, but it's a beautiful drive thru the Big Horns to get here.  We also stopped at the Ten Sleep Brewery on our return and had a beer while enjoying the amazing view.

 Our stay was dampened a little by the unbelievable grass-hopper population.  The matt and awning were literally covered with hundreds of grass-hoppers and if you walked you would be swarmed.  We had a great view from our site but stayed inside while we were at our site.

June 16th- It was good to be back on the road after being down for 2 weeks in Kansas City. Unfortunately we had a blow out on the trailer just before we got to our 1st destination after leaving KC. Don't understand it. The tire pressures were right on and the tire temps were good.  Oh well.  Fortunately we found a tire shop as we travelled to Spearfish. 

 Fortunately we didn't lose our reservation at the Spearfish City Campground. We really like staying here.  We had a nice two weeks and were fortunate enough to have a visit from our Daughter Jackie.  She flew in on the 10th and stayed for 5 days.  Really had a nice time.

 Our journey to the Big Horn Mountains was uneventful and was a nice travel day. We ended up having to setup twice since the Ranger informed us that the area was going to be closed for spraying.  Would have been nice to know that before setting up!

June 30th- We currently have a Victron Power System in our travel trailer that is comprised of an Inverter/Converter/Charger, Solar Charge Controller, and a Battery Monitor. I use an App on my phone to control the system. I open the App on my phone yesterday and all three devices are not accessible since a firmware update is required. The Solar Controller and Battery Monitor updates went smoothly but the Inverter update indicated that a factory reset would happen after the update.  This makes me VERY nervous. I didn't install the update and contacted BattleBorn about this update.  They proceeded to tell me that there are numerous issues with the latest update and Victron is working the issue.  I'm holding off on the update for now but this means I don't have the ability to turn the inverter/charger on or off. 

 We get a call from the shop while were were out quilt store shopping.  The are ready to work on our trailer now and are waiting for us!  No warning, no estimate of when the axle would be delivered.  Good thing were were only 30 minutes away and not off on a day trip somewhere. They got the axle installed and we were ready to be back on the road.  

June 29th #$@#$%@$  I was laying on the ground jacking up the bad axle after dumping our tanks. I had my phone on the ground so I could see the Levelmate Pro screen and the jack tipped over and cracked to screen
! Unfortunately it cracked it in such a way that the display is totally black. I do have equipment protection but with our uncertain departure date I really couldn't rely on getting a new phone before we leave.  I've had this phone for 2 years so I thought I probably should just take the opportunity to upgrade to a new phone.  Yeah, the shelves are EMPTY. I was sent to a T-Mobile store 40 minutes away since they apparently fixed phones on site. I get there and they only do SPRINT phones. I pursued 3rd party repair services and found UBREAKIFIX. After calling numerous shops I finally found one that had my screen in stock  The repair took 3 hours but they got it in right away and I was back on-line 24 hours after the incident. The crazy thing is UBREAKIFIX was in the process of being bought out by Asurion which is the company that my Equipment Protect is with.  If the timing was a little different I would have been able to get this repaired using my protection plan :(

 We are still waiting on the axle. It's getting to the point that even if the axle is repaired this week we will likely have to wait until after the 4th to travel since getting a spot will likely be impossible.

June 24th We had a wonderful day yesterday. We took a drive down to Springfield MO to visit Patricia's yoga friend, Debbie and her husband Paul, from LeLynn.  We went out for lunch and spend some time in the BassPro Flagship store.  The place was amazing!  Felt like we were at Disney World and not in some shopping complex. We finished the day having a nice visit with them on their patio with perfect weather!

 I talk to talked to TransWest yesterday, they have an axle on order that is waiting to be shipped.  They also ordered one directly from Dextor, which has a 4 week lead time, that they will cancel once we have the other in hand. I am regretting cancelling our reservations 4 weeks out.  If we get back on the road early we will be faced with trying to find a place to stay over the 4th of July, not a pleasant prospect.

June 18th- I talk to the service department again and they now indicate they possibly found an axle in Texas. It's a bare axle so they need to track down brake assemblies etc. Now it's possible that we would only be out a week!  Why the heck did I cancel those reservations? Especially at Spearfish!  We still have no confirmation but we will need to stay put until things are firmed up.

 We had our mail service send our mail to Marquette KS since we were suppose to be there at this time. I had to take a 7 hour drive (3.5 hours each way) to go retrieve our mail. Oh well, nothing else to do I guess.

 And when it rains, it pours.  We are sitting in a parking lot with no shade and it's 98 degrees out.  Now the air conditioner is popping the breaker! Now isn't the time to be without air. A little investigation suggested that the breaker might be bad. I ran off to Home Depot, no luck, out of stock on the breaker I needed. Found the breaker I needed at Lowes.  Fortunately a relatively quick install and the problem was solved. Whew, it was going to get interesting if we didn't have air with the almost triple digit temps.

June 17th- I talk to the service manager in the morning and he says absolute best case would be a week out but they are still searching to locate an axle.

 We head up to Hamilton so Patricia can go to the Missouri Star Quilt shop.  The whole downtown is setup around quilting!

I talk to the shop and they tell me that an axle will be 4 weeks out!  We start considering our options but I went ahead and cancel our reservations for the next 4 weeks.

June 16th- It's time to leave Eureka Springs and Arkansas behind us and continue our journey north. We are headed towards Cameron MO, just north of Kansas City. The plan was to stay here a couple of nights at the Elks Lodge so Patricia could go the Hamilton MO which is a big quilting town. Unfortunately 25 miles south of Belton MO (southern Kansas City) I look in the mirror and see smoke billowing out of the trailer wheel well. I pull over and discover a broken axle! I call our roadside service and we waiting a couple of hours for assistance to come. Of course they come with the wrong equipment and we end up removing the wheel and driving on 3 wheels for 25 miles to Transwest (RV/Truck dealer/service center). Fortunately they have electrical hookups so we can stay in the trailer. 

June 15th- Tomorrow we move onto our next destination.  We really enjoyed our stay in the Eureka Springs area.  The Passion Play was a great experience and we just love the town of Eureka Springs. Our journey over to Bentonville to take in the WalMart museum and the Bentonville Brewery was wonderful.

June 10th- We had a soggy stay in Hot Springs AR. Rained everyday with a few breaks. The breaks were unpredictable so it it limited ventures with the scooter.

 I took the opportunity to get the Tranny flushed and fluid changed in the Truck.  It was due and we were experiencing the "shuttering" problem that has been identified with this tranny that is resolved by switching to a full synthetic Mobile1 tranny fluid.  The problem immediately went away after the service.

 We did venture out for dinner at the Pho House one evening, which is a very authentic Vietnamese restaurant, and had a wonderful dinner.  Trish went to the Quapaw Bathhouse and had a facial.  Previously she had gone to the Buckstaff Bathhouse for a soak and a massage but she wanted to try something different.

 All in all we enjoyed our stay in Hot Springs.

June 4th- We hit the road at 7am and had a relatively easy travel day since out destination outside Hot Springs AR was only 260 miles.  We did encounter some rough roads but we didn't have any routing issues, traffic/construction, and none of our stops were problematic (getting in and out of some places with the travel trailer can sometimes be a challenge).

 We arrived at our originals destination (Brady Mountain Rec Area) at 11:30am.  Unfortunately check out at the campground is 4pm and the person occupying our spot was clearly not in a hurry to leave. We didn't feel like sitting around all afternoon so we headed back into Hot Springs and checked out our preferred campground Gulpha Gorge National Park Campground.  We originally didn't plan on staying here since they don't take reservations.  We LUCKED OUT and a spot was open!! 

 I had a package arriving at a Amazon Pickup Spot (the forgotten bike cover) so we headed into town after getting setup, picked up my package, and did a little grocery shopping.

June 3rd- We had a 455 mile journey today with our final destination in Vicksburg Mississippi. Not only a long day but we encountered a 45 minute delay due to construction/traffic and some rough roads. We also had a GPS routing issue when going thru Mobile AL.  I never fully trust the GPS but by time I caught the error I was committed to exit :(.  Added another 15 minutes to our day.

 We are staying at an Elks Lodge (we are members) and lucked out since it was there dinner night and we had a wonderful chicken dinner.  We didn't even unhook the trailer and were able enjoy a beverage and dinner without leaving the grounds.


June 1st- We are up at 5am to finish closing up the house, hook up the trailer, and hit the road by 6am. We have the typical feeling of what did we forget? (So far I have found I forgot the cover for the scooter). 

 We have a good travel day with easy gas stops and not traffic issues. We arrive at the Eastbank Army Corp of Engineers campground that is located on Lake Seminole, just over the Georgia boarder, close to Chattahoochee Fl. We had an incredible campsite right on the waterfront. 

 We took the opportunity to visit our swamp land down by Fountain FL that my grandfather bought for me after I was born.  It's nothing but an overgrown lot in a defunked development. No evidence of squatters.

 The weather was beautiful and we really enjoyed our 2 nights here.  A GREAT start.


May 31st- T-Minus 24 hours to our departure.  We are down to the last minute packing and preparing our new house for our extended absence.

 We added a security system, that includes cameras, and we have a wifi thermostat so we can keep tabs on our house.  We really aren't concerned about break-ins, since we live in a "gated community", but feel better about having a way to keep tabs on our new digs.

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