Alaska-Part II

Seward, Alaska

After family and friends left, we packed up and moved down to Seward where we stayed at the Creekside Cabins. The cabins ere very rustic but they had a new building with an upstairs and downstairs apartment with all the amenities. It was fairly nice and in a very woodsy area. We were originally supposed to have the upstairs, but it wasn’t finished in time, so we were downstairs.
It was a nice place with good views (except for the fishing boat outside our window)
This was the view from the dining area window.
The area around the building was very lush with greenery!

Kenai Fjords National Park and Exit Glacier

We realized that the Kenai Fjords National Park and Exit Glacier were just up the road a bit. What’s interesting about the drive there is there are signs on the side of the road marking where the glacier was in years past starting in 1950. It was a few miles larger then than where it is today! Exit Glacier is one of several glaciers from the Kenai Peninsula ice field on top, which is 700 square miles!
The river you see here is melt off from the glacier. The grayish tint is from the silt of the glacier.

This is a close up (via my 300mm lens) showing the detail of the glacier including the hole in the middle that was created by once flowing water of the melting glacier.

Seward Kenai Fjords Boat Tour

We love boat tours and this one did not disappoint!
The combination of dark green foliage, snow and low hanging clouds is beautiful!
Minutes into our tour we spotted a few  Orcas.
They were kind enough to put on a show for us too!

The shoreline was spectacular with lots of greenery and rugged rock cliffs.

When the captain spotted these guys he really got excited! He said it was the largest pod of Grey whales he’d ever seen! There were about 10!

There were also hundreds of gulls waiting for any scraps they might leave behind!

We passed this glacier in the distance along our tour. (Close up via my long lens)

Finally arriving at the captains destination, this beautiful glacier.
I couldn’t resist the shot of this passing gull.

This close up reveals the blue tint to this glacial ice.
Here are a couple of seals lounging on an ice flow to temporarily get out of the freezing water. It must be cold water if they consider lying on ice instead!
As we approached this chunk of ice “calved” off.

The captain had his crew retrieve a chunk of the ice and we all had a glacial cocktail!
Jan’s holding a piece here, it’s very clear ice!
Here are some sea otters playing in the ice field.

Two of the many waterfalls from the top of the glacial field.

Lots of summer foliage from the nutrient rich water and rock.

Farther down the coast we came upon these lounging seals.

This fellow must have had a rough day!
Notice the marking on the big fellow, it’s an identification marking for the rangers.
This one almost looks like a ground hog the way he’s posed!
How do those little pine trees grow up there?

We even saw a mountain goat!
This map shows where we went as well as a couple of other tours from this company. We were on the Northwestern Fjord Tour.
On the return trip I enjoyed a Puffin Pale Ale, pretty tasty!



One last shot from the boat as we returned to port.

Seward-Mural Capital of Alaska

These murals are scattered all over Seward on various buildings. It’s a day’s adventure to hunt them all down!

This one is on the local Seward Library and Museum, which is a beautiful building in it’s self as you can see below!

The views around Seward are beautiful as well.

The town itself is quaint and pretty cool!
This little restaurant was very nice. Good food and locally owned.
Seward had a 4th of July parade and street party.

Day Trip to Hope, Alaska

On the 4th of July we decided to go check out Hope since we have a very good friend named Hope! This truck and water wheel grinding wheel were on the side of the road on the way there. Anybody have an axe to grind?!?

Shortly after we arrived in Hope and after Jan was able to buy a coffee cup for Hope from Hope, the proprietor of the shop ran out the door saying”The parade is starting, the parade is starting!”, We followed to see the action! One fire engine…
One pickup truck…


Couple of ATVs…..


One convertible loaded to the hilt…
And a family on their bicycles, that’s it!
Oh, and a walker! Short but fun to watch, I’m sure everybody in town was either in it or on the side of the street watching and cheering!

This sign was in front of the store we bought Hope’s coffee cup in, pretty funny and great advice!
We stopped at this little restaurant/bar on the way out of Hope. Cute place and good food.
But they did have wine! Jan said it was actually okay!
The scenery on the drive up and back was beautiful!

Day Trip to Whittier

Whittier was a different kind of drive. The only way to get there is drive through this one way tunnel or by boat. we paid a roundtrip toll.
The tunnel is one way only, monitored by stop lights, AND shared by the railroad!
You can see the tracks in the tunnel here, they have that rubber plate they put between the rails at railroad crossings so you can drive on them. Before you freak out; they run the trains through at night and vehicles during the day!
The light at the end of the tunnel! Even though it’s one way traffic and trains only run at night, it’s still a little weird driving through it!
Oh, and when you exit the tunnel be sure to make that left jog or you’ll end up driving onto the tracks at the other end!
Once in Whittier there wasn’t much to see, it’s strictly a fishing port!
The drive there and back was pretty despite the drizzle.

Homer, Alaska

After Seward we moved on to Homer where we stayed in this lovely B&B, Juneberry Lodge. The couple who ran it were wonderful hosts! We had the room on the right of the red door overlooking their beautiful property and the bay and mountains in the distance.

This was the view from our window; this picture was taken at 11:15PM!

This is a zoomed close-up of the glacier from the previous picture, one of the many glaciers on the Kenai peninsula.
Here are a couple of more shots from our drive around Homer. We spent some time down on the spit you see in this picture. It was cool, nothing picture worthy but fun to explore the various shops.

Homer-Rainbow Connection Tour Boat to Soldovia

While in Homer, we did yet another boat tour, this time to a small town across the bay called Seldovia, population 265. There are no roads to this community, so the only way to get there is by boat.
This is one of the water taxis that goes there regularly.
Here is another familiar shot; another glacier!

Alaskan seagull taking a little nap.

Here’s an Alaskan seagull taking a little siesta!
From this angle the hole in this rock formation appears to be a heart!
I got a couple of shots, not the best, of a Bald Eagle landing  on one of the channel markers.

Another Bald Eagle in the top of a pine tree.
Here is a Bald Eagle feasting on a piece of fish on the beach. We didn’t know until the guide told us that Bald Eagles are quite the scavengers!

Here you see a fixer-upper boat and beach house!
The locals call this “Frustration Point” or, our favorite, “Man Banging his Head on the Wall”.
And here is yet another Bald Eagle!

A family of Sea Otters enjoying a lazy float.
A female Sea Otter and her pup.

We’re approaching Seldovia.

We ate at this Boardwalk Pub & Grill; this was behind their bar!

There were some great wooden sculptures here.

The interesting thing about satellite TV in Alaska is all their dishes seem to point at the ground, but the receptor is low on the dish so it reflects the signal from the top of the dish. It actually makes sense since the satellites are near the equator of earth! In researching this I also read that satellite dishes near the equator point straight up versus to the south as they do here in the US!
The boardwalk

Cooper Landing, Alaska

We didn’t take any pictures in Cooper Landing since it was pretty steady rain the entire 3 days. We had planned a float trip and wildlife center trip but canceled both due to the rain. We did make a trip out to Kenai and got a few natures photos along the way though.

Alaska with Family and Friends


Alaska was the last state to complete our map. Since Canada was still closed, we decided fly to Anchorage. We stayed at this beautiful VRBO home in Anchorage. It was a great place to stay while we adventured out for exciting day trips! By the way, this photo of the front of the house was taken at 11:30 PM! It was weird to have sun up at 4:30AM and sunset at 11:42PM! Thankfully, the home has black out shades in all the bedrooms!



Bryce, Laura and Reeve at the house.
We took Reeve To the Anchorage Alaska Museum of Science and Nature. Reeve really enjoyed all the interactive displays including this one where you can create a bubble ring around yourself!

And of course we stopped at the gift shop on the way out and Reeve got this awesome Star Wars kit. He put it together in record time!

Denali National Park Trip

We went to Denali via train; it was a 7 hour trip but lots of great scenery along the way.
Here you can see remnants of the old teletype wires along the route
They obviously get lots of rain here, everything was very lush!
If you notice, this river water has a grey cast to it. That’s silt from the melting glaciers.
Ferns, ferns and more ferns everywhere! They have a short growing season, but with almost constant daylight things grow fast and abundant! They hold many world records in the size of pumpkins, melons and other produce!

Some remnants still remain along the way of the old trains too.

While in Denali, we stayed at the Denali Bluffs Resort. Very nice resort just minutes from the entrance to Denali.
VERY Large Mosquitoes here! On the way up the entrance to Denali Bluffs they had many of these whimsical signs along the way. I didn’t take pictures of them all, but of you go to their website you can see all of them, pretty fun!
Mary and Joni braved the wind for a photo-op with the scenery from the resort deck.

The wildflowers were everywhere, sometimes growing right out of the rocks like these hardy ones!
Reeve, Joni and Mary hamming it up with their new furry friend in the lobby!
Jan and I are enjoying a cocktail on the deck.
This is a Yukon River Scow from 1915 used to haul freight during the Gold Rush.
Another view of the magnificent scenery all around us!

Denali National Park

The entrance to Denali National Park. Although it was a great part of the trip, we were very disappointed that, due to poor communication on the part of the park website, we were unable to get on a tour of the park. The park shuttle system, which their website said was running, was NOT! By the time we arrived, all the commercial tours were fully booked; so our only option was to rent a van and drive in. Unfortunately, private vehicles are only allowed to drive in 15 miles of the 92 mile trip to the Denali peak! BUMMER! This just means, we will have to return.
Our van, the only available rental vehicle we could find!
Here we see a Japanese tourist doing what they do, take pictures! Sorry, Joni, I couldn’t resist!

Despite the fact we had a limited exposure to this park and did not see any animal life, the flora and fauna was spectacular!

Reeve, Bryce and Laura did a short hike around the lake near the train station.

Denali National Park Sled Dog Kennels

We think one of the top highlights of the trip for Reeve was our stop at the National Park Sled Dog Kennels! It got especially great for him when he was told he could pet the dogs!
Royal enjoying the lazy warm days of summer!

One of the retired sleds, it appears to have had many hard miles put on it!

The cart they use in the warmer months for training of the dogs.
This is as close as I’ll EVER get to riding on a dog sled!
Reeve trying out the dog sled.
The modern day sled and cold weather gear they use.

As you can see by his face, he hated coming here! More like he hated leaving I think!

Drive to Seward and the Marine Wildlife Tour

Bryce drove us down to Seward to take the Marine Wildlife Tour, so I was able to get these few pictures of the trip down. Although it was drizzling for most of the trip, the scenery was still gorgeous, maybe even more so!

This was our vessel for the tour; we’ll ignore the misrepresentation of the current weather conditions in it’s name!
Despite, or maybe enhanced by the weather, this harbor is beautiful!
Sea Otter carved bench.

Reeve with his new digital camera ready for the adventure!
One of the many “parking lot” style campgrounds here! You better like your neighbors!

This was an apparatus used to load cargo (cement I think ) onto ships. The guide told us that the cruise ship’s captains would tell the passengers arriving here that it was a new slide for quick dis-embarkment of the ship!

Our first wildlife sighting; a mother and calf grey whale! The guide explained that she was teaching him/her how to breech!

Here’s momma showing him how it’s done!
Junior’s attempt; not bad!
She waves Adios!

There were hundreds of Alaskan sea gulls everywhere you looked on these rocky shores!
There were lots of these nests they built for their eggs too.
These strange looking birds are called Murres. They kind of look like Penguins, but are not even related to Penguins. According to Reeve, these birds can fly and Penguins cannot!

This was one of Reeve’s favorite sightings; a Mountain Goat and her baby.

This was my only useable picture of a Puffin, they’re very small and hard to photograph.
Here’s an elderly seal (according to Brandt) enjoying the sun. Jan thinks it’s an older otter.
This is one of the many waterfalls from the melting glaciers above.

Mary insisted I should be in one of my pictures sporting my new beanie from our boat! A little free advertising for the cruise company!
Jan loved this shot; silhouetted rocks in front of the foggy backdrop!
The girls! Jan, Joni, Mary and Laura, trying to stay warm and semi-dry!
This was the only Bald Eagle we spotted close up, hanging out on a buoy on our way back to port.

Palmer, Alaska- The Reindeer Farm and Sanctuary

This was most likely Reeve’s favorite stop on the entire trip; the Reindeer Farm!
Jan & Laura
One of the many Reindeer they have. The reindeer are their business and all the other animals are rescues, mostly donated from the park service.
Some very impressive antlers! We learned an interesting thing about these! The reindeer loses his antlers every year and they regrow in the spring. The interesting thing is, the individual reindeer can be identified by their antlers because when the regrow, they come back in the exact configuration they were! It’s kind of like their “fingerprint”!
Here Jan and Laura are feeding the reindeer.
One of the larger residents was this Moose. He’s been here since a baby, so he is very friendly!
As a matter of fact, if you hold a small branch in your mouth, he’ll give you a “kiss”!

Reeve is giving this little guy some love!
This Bison was another interesting resident, he’s also a rescue who’s been here since he was very young! He’s not so small anymore!
Here’s a portrait of this handsome dude!
There were several Alpacas as well.

And of course they had two Yaks! They are very furry beasts!

They also had Elk but they were not as friendly, so they were in an enclosure all by themselves away from people and other animals!

This was one of my favorites; an old Ford tractor that they are still using today!
Reeve couldn’t resist petting the resident friendly Calico cat on our way out!

North & South Dakota (and a tiny bit of Wyoming)

Devil’s Tower, Wyoming

Jan and I made a day trip with her sister Carolyn and her two grand daughters, Renae and Ziann to see Devil’s Tower, it’s not far across the border from South Dakota.  They live in Belle Fourche. It was a bit misty and cloudy, but I think it made the tower pictures more interesting!
This picture with the two rangers gives you a sense of the tower’s massive size!

Renae is on the right and Ziann in on the left.
A couple of days after our Devil’s Tower adventure Jan and I had lunch with Caroyn in Spearfish.

Ta’Tanka Story of Bison Museum- Deadwood, South Dakota

This museum was put together by Kevin Costner over many years. It is the story of the Lakota Indians who he got to know quite well while filming “Dances with Wolves”, and their relationship to the Bison. Ta’Tonka means bull bison.

Ta’Tanka is the third largest bronze sculpture in the world! It consists of 17 individual pieces depicting the ingenious way the early Lakota Indians were able to kill so many large Bison with only bows and arrows riding horses bareback, it’s aptly named “the Bison jump”. I’m sure there were plenty of Indian and horse casualties as well in the process! They would herd them toward a cliff and drive them over the edge! It sounds cruel and inhumane to us, but it was a matter of survival for them at the time. If you’re interested you can learn more at .

Theodore Roosevelt National Park- North Dakota

This park is beautiful! The terrain is varied and there’s a multitude of colors in the rock set off by all the green of the prairie grass and trees! The views seem to go on forever!

But the main attraction for us was the abundance of wildlife, including these Bison!

This poor fellow didn’t make it. We saw him on one of our hikes. It’s obvious he didn’t die in vain though, the scavenger animals make sure of that!
Just past the dead bison, we saw “evidence” that there were also live bison on this trail!
And critters that make use of said evidence! The Dung Beetles!
Our favorite though were the wild horses! So majestic!
Don’t panic, the colt is not dead, he’s just napping!

Some of the lesser in size wildlife, but still interesting!
The fields were teaming with these prairie dogs!
And of course ending with a purple flower!

Enchanted Highway- North Dakota

This was the brainchild of a local artist who thought that putting up a series of giant metal sculptures randomly alongside the byways of the North Dakota rolling plains would entice tourists to venture further into North Dakota. As is obvious by this post it has worked at least once!
As you can see in this picture with our truck in the background, they are quite large!
By this one of the deer, he also constructed this maze for people to enjoy!

We saw one of the locals checking out the giant fish!

These rolling hill plains seem to go on forever: it’s like a gigantic rolling lawn!

As you can see, these are made from whatever scraps of various metals he could find. According to what we read, before he decided to do this he had never built or welded any thing in metal before! He was self-taught!
This picture Jan took of me was the last picture my trusty Nikon D7000 took before it decided it was done. Not to worry, I’ve replaced it with the newer model D7500; I figured 10 years and 60,000+ pictures was pretty good for one camera!

Quick Spring Trip to Southern Arizona

Hotel Gadsden- Douglas, Arizona

We stayed in Douglas Arizona at this great old hotel, The Gadsden Hotel! This was their grand lobby. We were there checking out different RV parks while our trailer was in the shop.
From the grand lobby this was the even more grand stairway to the second floor!
Amazing detail! This hotel was originally opened in 1907. It was recently purchased by a young couple who are slowly bringing it back to it’s original glory.
Beautiful stained glass skylights!
The front desk
The original shoeshine both and telephone booths
There was a beautiful grand piano in the lobby as well!
The sweeping chandelier in the lobby.
The all original ornate entry to the lobby tavern.
The dining room! They had good food too.
The breakfast room fireplace. The fire has been updated to a modern gas unit, but has kept the old charm.
They had framed copies of the original floorpan drawings that were hung in the rooms. 
And pictures of how it looked back then.
This was a mosaic the original owners wife had done for the dining room. The picture was inspired by a postcard she had picked up in Italy.

Hotel McCoy-Tucson, Arizona

While in Tucson we found this quirky little hotel. It was run by a young couple and was very 60’s-70’S! We will be staying at a near by park Sept. 29th-Dec 19th. We suggest you visit us and stay here!
An old school motel from the 60’s reborn!

The most interesting part of this Hotel was the beautiful artwork murals everywhere! 
This one was outside our room. Even though it’s a GM truck (Chevy or GMC), it’s still appropriate I suppose!

Colorado Stay Beginning July 2020

Paint Mines Calhan, Colorado

It’s pretty easy to figure out why the name is “Paint Mines”!

It was amazing to us that this was out here in otherwise mostly flat or rolling hills and grassland of the Colorado plains!

Black Forest Equestrian Competition with Aneka

While we were staying at Falcon Meadows out east we attended Aneka’s performance at the Black Forest Saddle Club competition. This is Jan and Mary giving Aneka some last minute pointers (haha)!
Amber and Rich doing the same!
Aneka doing what she loves most; going fast!

Pikes Peak with Steve & Mary

While at Falcon Meadows with the Bergman’s we decided to make a day trip up Pikes Peak. It was a perfect early fall day for it!
On our way up we saw this accident. Somehow this poor fellow’s car fell down the mountain to the street below. It appeared that he had parked near the edge and didn’t secure his parking brake or something; ruined his day I’m sure!
Beautiful views!

The extensive new additions to the top of Pikes Peak and the tram were still in progress. It’s supposed to be done now so we’ll need to check it out before we leave Colorado!

Cherry Creek Reservoir Campground

After Falcon Meadows we went to stay at Cherry Creek Reservoir, one of our favorites! Bryce, Laura and Reeve came to visit us there. Reeve and Laura had fun playing Corn Hole.
Reeve sporting his new dinosaur bike helmet we got him!

We also had some other visitors while staying there.
These guys were definitely not shy or afraid of us campers!

And they were very friendly with each other too! The Magpies obviously liked hanging around the deer!

USAF Academy FamCamp

After Cherry Creek we moved to the Air Force Academy, which ended up being all winter, not what we had planned but this primo spot we ended up with made it much more bearable!

Day Trip to Victor and Phantom Canyon

The fall colors were starting to show. For some reason I like RED!

Downtown Victor was pretty much deserted. We suspect due to Covid and end of their season.
Here’s a nice fixer upper mountain cabin!

When we left Victor we decided to go out the back side and check out Phantom Canyon. As you can see it was a dirt road, I saw truck dusting in my future!

The dirt road through Phantom Canyon also involved a couple of sketchy tunnels!

We made it through both unscathed, other than lots of dust!

Our (Unplanned) Winter Stay in Colorado Springs

The end of October gave us our first taste of winter at the Academy.

We passed the time and kept sane by doing day trips to Cherry Creek, Chatfield and Pueblo State Parks! It made our yearly pass a bargain!
The geese don’t seem to mind the lake being mostly frozen over!

Sunset on our way down 83 to the Springs.


Casa de Ziegler II Update, sheltered in place.

April 16, 2020

Hello friends and family. We hope all of you are safe and healthy. 

We arrived back in Santee just before the virus outbreak. We were fortunate to have friends from Colorado and Pasadena come visit the first weekend we were here. And a nice visit with Lane, Ron, Lynn, Lee and Anderson early on. Now we are waiting to be able to see others and our doctors as well. The day park and front gate (where we were working) of Santee Lakes closed and we are now being tasked with other jobs to earn our free spot.  We feel very fortunate that we planned to be here for three months and not moving each week as we did most of last year. As you all know, most of the state parks and many campgrounds are closed. Definitely not anything we could have imagined when we chose this retirement lifestyle!

Unfortunately, we have learned that the rodeo in Cripple Creek where our granddaughter was going to perform was cancelled mid -June. So we decided to push out our departure and leave Santee July 1st. That will give us another month to hopefully see family and friends that we haven’t been able to see since we arrived. We will be moving to another spot and do not plan to work that month. Time will tell when the day park will open up and we can receive guests. We are certainly anxious to see everyone when the time does come. 

Also, given our limited (aka almost non-existent) connection we cannot post any pictures at this time! So we have a bit of catching up to do since we were in Tyler, TX!

Love to all,

Jan and Brandt

Tyler, Texas

We stayed for a few days in Tyler Texas at this beautiful park, aptly named Tyler State Park!
As you can see here, our campsite was huge!
This was our morning view from bed, very relaxing!
Our dining room view was great too.
The lake was glass smooth!
And this young lady is the reason we came to Tyler, Denny’s sister Penny, who turned 100 this past May. This was a picture her son took on that momentous occasion! She even made the local news! What a wonderful treat to visit with her! We also got to visit with her son Bruce and his family, unfortunately we were having so much fun we forgot to get pictures. But that’s Okay because we plan to be back next year! We love visiting old friends and meeting new ones.

Hot Springs, Arkansas

While we were in Hot Springs, AR we stayed at Catherine’s Landing, a really nice RV park. The spots were very spacious and since it was so late in the season there were hardly any campers there.
As you can see, pretty empty. Brown, but empty!
And right behind us was a finger of the huge Lake Catherine.
Our main reason for this stop was to get another National Park checked off our list, Hot Springs National Park. This park is very different from most others in that a good portion of it is in the city of Hot Springs! This end building is the offices for the Hot Springs National Park.
The hot springs and the surrounding 4 square miles was designated as protected federal land in 1832, way before there were any national parks, so in that sense it’s the oldest National Park even though it wasn’t designated as such until March 4, 1921.
This model shows that office building on your right and, from right to left, the current bathhouses; Lamar, Buckstaff, Ozark, Quapaw, Fordyce (which is the park’s visitor center and open for tours only, not an operating bathhouse), Maurice, Hale and Superior.
Looking down “Spa Row” from in front of the offices.
Lamar Bath House
Buckstaff Bath House
Ozark Bath House
Quapaw Bath House, named for the Indian tribe who occupied this area for many, many years before the white man invaded.
The front of this spa has a sculpture paying homage to those indians.
Fordyce Baths which is now the visitors center and open for tours. Very interesting as you’ll see.
The original entrance to the U.S. Hot Springs Reservation as it was called.
As this sign states, this was and I believe still is a popular designation for baseball players as well as other athletes.
We toured the Fordyce Baths. This is the women’s locker room/changing area.
The ladies lounging area.
The ladies lockers for their personal effects while at the baths.
One of the massage rooms. That vibrating massager looks like Dewalt made it!
Another ladies only massage room. The ladies and men were kept separate on two different floors.
The gym was much like todays gyms.
Some of these apparatus they used look a bit harsh! No pain no gain I guess!
Speaking of pain, they had quite a few of these electro therapy machines.
There was even an electro therapy bath! Kind of like throwing the toaster in your bath? That’s the control box on the wall behind the tub.
So after all those shocking apparatus, we saw this hot tub, pretty cool!
That is until you realize that board is to lower you into the hot water completely submerging you! I wonder if they tied you down first?
And of course the steam cabinets.
And then there’s this Hydrotherapy room.
We couldn’t quite figure out what this table with the slot in it and a big drain under it was for.
Until we saw this! Something to do with enemas, YIKES!
And this was a Needle shower. You could thankfully at least adjust the intensity!
And after all that torture there was this beautiful big spa room with its stained glass ceiling and a massive sculpture in the center that was the hot spring fountain.
Some time in your visit they apparently taught cursive writing as well! They could re introduce this now, maybe with some of those electro therapy things as incentive to learn!
The lounging room also had a beautiful stained glass ceiling.
I even got my picture with Santa!
After our tour we went to check out the town. They have many of these water stations where anyone can get fresh hot spring water for free, just bring your own jugs.
Some of the architecture was truly beautiful and well preserved.
The Army–Navy Hospital which is now a Rehabilitation Hospital.
A mural downtown.
We also went up into the death trap, I mean Mountain Tower, which is up behind the Baths Row. Its steel and cement so relatively safe I guess! Great view from up there, even though the weather wasn’t all that great for pictures. Baths Row is just below here, hidden by the trees.
The view looking down 216′ to my tiny little truck in the parking lot! NO RETIREES WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS BLOG!

Tennessee, the rest of our time there!


After our week in Kentucky we went back to Tennessee. We stopped in Nashville and stayed in this cool park, Grand Ole RV Park. Jan had pre-arranged for a guy to wash and wax our truck and rig; both long overdue!
When we arrived we learned that they have live music in their office/store every night. As we walked up the steps to get our seats, we heard the music start; the guy was singing one of the songs from our wedding, I Cross My Heart by George Strait! We were blown away, Jan cried a little, as our 23rd anniversary was just the week before. BTW, the banner behind him is hiding the store shelves with RV supplies! He was great, played lots of variety.
After getting a good nights sleep we woke up to snow and frozen rain all over our newly shined truck & trailer! What a bummer! Luckily we didn’t have to go anywhere early and later in the day it warmed up enough to dry off the roads so we didn’t have to get the truck dirty already!
The second evening we were there we decided to go see some Nashville entertainment. We had gotten a tip to go to the 3rd & Lindsey Bar and Grill to see their show because they said that on Monday nights Vince Gill often showed up to jam with the band; that’s him on far right!
Here’s a closer picture. He was definitely not all spiffed up like at concerts; just one of the boys! We thought he’d stay for a song or two but he stayed the entire evening! They played for two and half hours.
We only stayed in Nashville two nights and then moved on to the Memphis area. We stayed on a Navy base there; Midway RV Park in Millington. It was a really nice park and the commissary and NEX were very close by!
As you can see it was also pretty empty.
While there, we went to see the Memphis Cotton Exchange Museum.
This is where they did all the business of selling cotton, it was much like Wall Street except for just the commodity of cotton.
The ledger board where they displayed all the current prices and such!
The phone booths where the deals were made; no cell phones or computers back then!
Some of the wares of the time all made from cotton.
The telegraph office.
Another place we visited was the Memphis Metal Museum.
The current artist whose items were on display was Sarah Perkins. Beautiful things, its hard to believe they’re made of metal and a glass veneer over it! All done with lots of talent and painstaking attention to detail!
On these next two pieces she made the bowl image to match the painting you see on the wall behind them; amazing!
Another artist made these huge metal bugs, this one is a cricket I think.
Very intricate detail!
And of course this being cotton country; a pair of Boll Weevils!
This was another amazing piece. The artist had to get the medium up to 1800 degrees to get the colors and effects she wanted!
Outside was pretty cool too. That’s the Mississippi River in the distance.
Some pretty artistic metalwork here.
Even the local birds like the art!
This piece was, shall we say, “different”?
Nothing says “I Love You” like a piece of rebar through the eye socket!
And last but not least, a giant ant with a doughnut/bagel/Cheerio?
On another day we ventured on to Beale Street, the Home of the Blues music in Memphis.
There we visited the Rock and Soul Museum.
Lots of great memorabilia and artifacts to tell the story!
An old Seaburg Selectaphone jukebox that played 78s from 1934.
A little more modern jukebox that played 45s from the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Some early Elvis memorabilia.
Country star Lee Adkins memorabilia.
Some of the multitude of memorabilia from all the soul and blues musicians.
And some not so pleasant reminders of the times.
After the museum we went to find lunch and I snapped of few street pics.
We found a great place for lunch, Silky O’Sullivans. They advertised oysters so we had to go there! Very cool inside, it was a bar years ago during the 1920’s. They had 14 bartenders all working at once back then!
This caught my eye, pretty funny I thought!
And our reason for the visit, cheap oysters, $16/dozen!

Tennessee & Kentucky

Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, Tennessee

While in Pigeon Forge, we stayed at this small family run park Creekside RV Park. Nice large spots and a great location to see the area.
We had booked a Pink Jeep Tour of the Smoky Mountains and the day we were to go turned out to be one of the coldest days yet this year! We went anyway and because of the weather I suppose, we were the only passengers for our tour, so we got a private tour! This was the Skybridge, the longest suspension pedestrian bridge in the country, 680′ long and 140′ up. There are apparently plexiglass panels in the middle so you can see straight down! NO, we did not go out on it!
A nice view of Gatlinburg down below. Fall colors are here!
The road our guide took us on was a one way narrow road deep into the woods. Beautiful fall colors everywhere!
As I said, a cold day, but even our guide was surprised to see snow so early in the season!
We saw this plant throughout the area. It looked too tropical to even be here! We learned from the Jeep tour driver that it’s called a Mimosa plant. It’s much prettier not covered in snow.
The bare trees you see in this shot were a result of a previous fire.
Partway through the tour we were taken to an old homestead. It was alongside this creek and was pretty cool; left just as it had been years ago (except for the gift shop of course!)
This was the maine house. The family lived here for years; the parents and 9 children!
Notice the precision with which they leveled the house?
This was the enclosure for some of the animals they kept, pigs, goats, chickens, etc.
A storage structure for their food staples.
A small waterfall nearby.
The obligatory gift shop!
The house needed a little roof work.
The stable
Its very green here, stuff grows on anything stationary!
Those are grindstones for the grist mill that’s run by water from the creek.
There were a couple old Dodge trucks on the property. Just a little clean up and they’re be good as new!
The gate was pretty cool!
Like I said, stuff grows on anything that doesn’t move!
Creekside of the mill.
One last look at the snow and fog. The fog is what gave these mountains their name, Smoky Mountains!

our fall colors drive

On another much warmer day we took a drive through the Smoky Mountains to see the colors without snow and ice.
Chimney Tops was in full color!
A pretty roadside creek.
You can really see the “Smoky” Mountains here!
We even were lucky to come across this small herd of Elk grazing on this meadow.


While in Kentucky we stayed at Dale Hollow State Park. It was beautiful and because it was the last week of the season to be open for camping, pretty deserted.
The colors were out here too.
Our campsite was nice and big, but the placement of our water source was a bit odd! Luckily I carry a 75′ hose!
Set up just in time for sunset.
The rains brought out the mushrooms!
We did venture down to the Marina but as you can see, it was pretty deserted as well.
It’s a pretty nice marina with a store, bar and restaurant. Too bad they were closed!
My artsy shot of the pier!
We didn’t do much in Kentucky but we did venture out one day to see Mammoth Cave National Park. This was a house we saw along the way and I just had to get a picture of it! Kind of cool don’t you think, in a fixer-upper kind of way? Hmmm, I’ll bet our rig would fit right next to it!
We entered the park and loved the scenery, but unfortunately for us a bridge was out so we couldn’t explore much of it. We went to the Visitor’s Center and learned about the cave but decided we didn’t need to see another underground cave on such a nice day as this! Much of the road through the park is one way.
This was about all we saw, kind of disappointing but, hey, we got another NP sticker!