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!

Virginia and West Virginia

virginia- Shenandoah Np and blueridge parkway

While in Virginia we stayed at Stoney Creek RV Park. A small family run park with lots of trees. A little challenging to get in and out but plenty of room once you’re in!
We took a drive through Shenandoah NP; the trees were just beginning to change.

west virginia

In West Virginia we stayed at Pipestem State Park. Very wooded and pretty site, but don’t venture out too far at night or you’ll tumble down the embankment!
Pretty spot but the picnic table was useless on that angle!
Nice woodsy view out our dining room windows!
We got a little rain and it really brought out the vivid colors!
There was this lodge at the park so we went to check it out. Not much happening since it was the end of the season but a nice lodge with a tram that takes you down to another lodge that’s only accessible by the tram.
The creek at the bottom of the ravine.
And a nice picnic area too.
The colorful trees go nicely with our red truck don’t you think?
We loved the custom wood furniture in the lobby of the lodge.
More colorful trees in the park.
There wasn’t a lot to do in West Virginia but we did find the park and museum of John Henry. It’s all about his race with the steam hammer to see who could dig more rock for the tunnel. He won but at the price of his life. His legend lives on though!
The infamous tunnel. It’s no longer used, there is a larger tunnel nearby that is larger and newer.
The museum is pretty cool with lots of artifacts and memorabilia from the old days of coal mining in West Virginia and the railroad that transported it.
All the woods used in making these beautifully crafted carvings commemorating John Henry.

New Jersey and Delaware

new jersey

We visited New Jersey for a short time to see our friends Jacques and Camille and of course their menagerie of animals. Here’s Jacques with one of their two beautiful horses. Their names are Luna and Joey, but I’m not sure which one this is.
And here is Camille with their two Dalmatians Bryce and Brody.
The horses love to run, especially if there’s the possibility of a treat (carrot)!
Going in for the night and a good dinner.
While we were there we went back to their favorite Italian restaurant.
Their neighbors and good friends Dottie and Al joined us. It was a great evening with great friends and good food!


While in Delaware we stayed at Lums Pond State Park. It was a beautiful park and the campsites were enormous!
It was late October and the colors were just beginning.
They had these cool Yurts you could rent as well. Each Yurt even came with a BBQ and a kayak!
Here’s a great view of the beginnings of the fall colors.
The pond was huge and smooth as glass!
The trail leading down to the pond.

dupont nemours estate

We were very excited that our niece Logan took the train up from Washington D.C. to visit. We visited this estate with her. Here she is with a view of the palatial gardens of the estate.
Another view of the gardens. Still pretty colorful so late in the season!
One of the fountains on the estate. The glass building in the background is the Dupont Hospital for Children.
Another beautiful fountain and pond on the grounds.
A beautiful sculpture near the entrance of the mansion.
Another sculpture on the Estate. The estate was modeled after the Versailles in France.
And, as you would expect, the interior was equally beautiful.
This was an interesting grandfather clock.
It had glass sides so you could see all the intricate inner workings!
And what estate would be complete without a portrait of its owner?
And one of his wife..
This instrument was fascinating and beautiful!
Mr. Dupont’s office.
A beautifully hand carved piece above one of the many fireplaces.
A beautiful and I’m sure priceless Chinese vase.
And on the same mantle a munition; a large part of how the Dupont’s made their fortune.
There were numerous stained glass windows too.
The huge dining room. This dining table makes the 10 person one we had look minuscule!
And in the kitchen a reminder drawing of the proper table setting for the staff!
This presidential table was in one of the sitting rooms with pictures of all the past presidents.
The ice boxes for food storage.
The kitchen.
And a chart on how to properly fold a napkin.
The hallway where the kitchen help would keep their aprons at the ready.
One of the many intercoms in the house; very advanced for the time!
One of the many bedrooms upstairs.
And it’s bathroom.
Mr. Duponts dressing area.
Next to Mr. Duponts bed was this set of buttons so he could beckon his help anytime, day or night.
This instrument in the main hallway was a wind direction indicator that was connected to the weather vane on the roof. The red light would tell him which direction the wind was blowing!
What really intrigued me though was the basement. Here are the two huge furnaces that provided heat to the house in addition to the many fireplaces. That’s a pretty immaculate furnace room, complete with tiled walls and floor!
This was the bottling room where they wold fill bottles with the water from the artesian well on the property and carbonate it for drinking. It was quite an operation! He even had a trunk there so the staff could fill it with carbonated bottled water and send it to him wherever he may travel!
The pumping system for the water.
In another room of the basement was an ice making room to provide ice for the massive ice boxes up in the galley.
There was also this huge generator to supply electricity.
The basement wasn’t all work; he had quite an array of fun stuff down there including this two lane bowling alley!
And who can bowl without a good cigar close at hand!
There was also this table shuffleboard game to try your hand at! That’s our niece Logan checking it out.
And of course a pool room!
Mr. Dupont also had an office down here so he could get away a relax in between his mega-millionaire duties.
Amongst the artwork down here were portraits of his two yachts.
This one looks more like an ocean liner though!
His trophy case.
There was even an exercise room complete with this tanning booth!

Rhode Island and Connecticut

rhode island

In Rhode Island we stayed at Fisherman’s Memorial State Park, a beautiful park with lots of space and greenery (Jan’s hot-button!) surrounding us.
There was wildlife entertainment daily in this lone Groundhog who came out to eat grass every evening.
We did a little exploring and went across the bridge to Newport harbor. the first stop was this food trailer for some lobster rolls!
Here’s a view of the harbor there, very New England with the colorful lobster trap buoys!
We went to a nearby pier in Narragansett to catch a ferry to Block Island, a place that our good friend Steve Bergman told us about.
A couple of the many fishing trawlers that ere docked there.
Lobster traps ready for use!

ferry to block island

It was a rather large auto ferry, but we chose to just park the truck and walk on to it.
One of the things we saw was what remained of a large hotel that had burned down years ago. It was a part of a map we got that took us to a few key sites of the area.
This was an ocean view pavilion overlooking the beach.
Lots of greenery and flowers along the way.
Part of the walk was paved with these artistic man made stepping stones.
Interesting choices of items to include in these stepping stones!
This was a beautifully restored “Double Ender”, a sailing craft from the late 1790’s.
This was the Historical Society museum of Block Island. Nothing really picture worthy inside, but an interesting look at life back in the 1790’s.
We came across this Yellow Kittens Tavern, but unfortunately it was closed for the season, as were many businesses.
One of the many beautifully kept houses from the late 1700’s to late 1800’s.
This is the National Hotel, a beautiful hotel from the 1800’s. We had lunch there overlooking the ocean. This place is open year round but as you would expect it was pretty deserted.
the view looking towards the bay.
The surf was pretty impressive crashing on the rocks of the jetty.
And there were a couple of brave (crazy) souls surfing in this VERY chilly water!
Some attempts were not quite as successful as others!


In Connecticut we stayed at this lovely little park, Nelson’s Family campground.
Our campsite backed up to this cool little creek.
And every afternoon these geese came by to feed in our grass.
We took a driving tour and came to Gillette Castle State Park. The park land and this stone castle, built by William Hooker Gillette, was purchased from his estate in 1943. He was an actor most noted for his role as the original Sherlock Holmes. The castle took 5 years to build from 1914 to 1919.
This was the main entry driveway. It was lined with this unique wall, built from the stones from the property as was the castle.
This was a scale model of the castle.
Here is a view of the rear of the castle that sits high on a cliff overlooking the Connecticut River.
The entry arch over the driveway.
This was the river view from the castle.
The inside was just as unique as the exterior. This castle took 20 men 5 years to complete the main structure. Everything was hand made from wood or stone when possible. This is the main living area.
This table in front of the fireplace in the main living area was also hand made. Did you notice the wood things hanging down? They were put there solely to entertain the many cats they kept on the property.
This was the workshop where the workmen built the many features of the home, including hand made wooden light switches, curtain rods and windows to mention a few.
One of the many hand made light fixtures on a unique wall covering that added insulation as well as being decorative.
Some of the many beautifully crafted light switches!
All of the doors were also hand hewn wood.
We loved the red tint in the interior stonework!
One of the many hand carved windows; complete with wooden gears to open and close them!
The exterior was pretty much fireproof, but with the interior being made of wood and textiles, he even devised a fire suppression system. You would pull this handle and the water in a huge tank upstairs would come through pipes and into spray reeds located throughout the castle. Pretty ingenious for the time! He went to these measures because he knew that because of the remoteness of the castle the fire department would have difficulty getting there in time in case of fire.
This was the steel tank for the system. Luckily the system was never needed and the state now has a more modern traditional fire system in place. When they installed it they did try to use similar materials so it looks like it belongs there.
I mentioned the many cats before; he was very fond of them as is shown by the multitude of cat figurines throughout the castle.
This is the bell he used to alert the cats it was time to eat!
There was even a rock fountain indoors.
More of the unique hand carved fixtures in the castle.
Even the kitchen sink was hand made!
The massive wood burning stove in the kitchen.
One of the beautiful bathrooms. Notice the cat rug?
Aunt Polly was the name of his yacht; named after his aunt Polly who nursed him back to health at one point.
One of the bedrooms; note the handmade apparatus to turn off the light without getting out of bed. i guess an early version of the clapper and/or Alexa!
After visiting the castle we continued on and had to take this auto ferry to cross the river.
While crossing we got some final views of the castle from the river.
Another boater enjoying the beautiful fall day on the water.
One of the tour boats on the river.
Since it wasn’t too far away, we decided to visit the PEZ Museum, it was pretty cool! As this original poster reveals, the original PEZ in Austria (where it was first developed) was an adult breath mint.
The brand expanded and eventually they put a factory in Connecticut to supply the U.S. demand for their product. They also expanded to be the popular candy we know today.
Their store is filled with any PEZ related item you could want.
Star Wars sets.
Some of their historic products.
Even the Tuttles got in on the act, building a custom PEZ motorcycle for them.
Those aren’t guns they’re pointing, they are PEZ dispensers!
The custom chopper, awesome!
They even had a small packaging line set up so you can see how it’s done. Even though they have factories worldwide, they are still based in Austria.