Archive for October, 2019


The flood on the Arkansas River pushed me to North Little Rock. I took a chance as all the RV Parks were overfilled. I’d called, driven by and looked, moved on and simply decided to try the County Park and maybe get lucky.

There were dire warnings that the road into the County Park was flooded but the signs all indicated the roads were open. Many times, last minute, even if a camp is full I’ve found a spot, esp for a small Class B camper for one night. And I was lucky! Last space in the park was mine and a day or two before the roads would be closed. Was so happy not to be driving into the night fearful of floodwaters or who knows what. I’d met a couple earlier in the day who had told me, yep, they made it barely, driving their Class A from traveling East and it might be possible that I could make it heading West although they’d passed rigs that had not been so fortunate.

I have limits on the risks I’ll take, heading straight into whip you off the road gusts, massive flood waters, severe thundery storms in unstable weather, nope; if this place had been full I would have driven back to Little Rock and taken my chances in a parking lot. It wasn’t actually that late when I arrived so I took a long walk with the dogs, let them run about our camping spot and play ball, it was a nice to relax in spite of imminent flood warnings. The Park was already half shut down, the lake was closed, the dog park was closed, it wasn’t advised to drive back the way I’d arrived which was fine with me I was happy to relax. Took the other road out in the morning back to Little Rock thinking I’d wait for the flood water to arrive, but after touring for awhile I realized how crazy this idea was so headed onward. I took more than a few detours thinking I could swing up north a bit as I’d loved the Ozarks. Turns out North was not a good direction to go although I passed through some interesting and somewhat deserted lands, I finally got it, saw the light, actually I got thoroughly scared by the ominous weather, the news and warnings from friends and found a Walmart to settle into. I worried all night as I often did on this trip.

The flood waters beginning to come in near the downtown Little Rock. Although I was curious I didn’t stick around to see how high over the banks the flood would reach.

Walking with the dogs in Little Rock. We get a lot of attention.
Found a public river access off the highway for a quick swim, flooded of course. I decided to let the dogs cool off but kept them on leash close to me. The river was moving fast and hard.
Yep, another Walmart.
When I Walmart, I drive over, check it out, esp approximately the location I will return to , what side of the Parking Lot, who else might be there, then I head to a nearby park, I feed the dogs, we all go for a walk, I stay until after dark enjoying the peace, the birds, the wind in the trees then I head for my sleeping spot. This Park I came back to in the morning.
Dallas, I think. Too much traffic to stop given that I was running from Bad Weather. I’ve been to Dallas but didn’t stay long that time either.
Crossing the Bridge
Fort Worth Water Gardens.
. My dogs are kinda disgusted at me right here. It’s very hot out, I lead them to water and then what do I do!!!! Do I let them jump in and cool off, play and show those humans how it’s done? Nope, I obey those no swimming and do not enter the water, signs I see all over. You might not see it this photo, but they were majorly telling me off. Mason did not jump up on this ledge and frankly hot as it was, he did not want to go swimming!
Meal from The Black Rooster Cafe, Fort Worth’s Premiere Cafe & Bakery. Yummy for me and the dogs.
Forth Worth Museums
“Masterpieces abound in the museums of the Fort Worth Cultural District, located a few miles west of downtown. This is, without question, one of the finest collections of museums in America. In a single, park-like setting, you can span virtually the entire history of art, from priceless antiquities to Impressionist milestones to modern artworks. It’s a wonderful place to find inspiration, broaden your horizons and spend some quality time with your family.
The Cultural District is also home to the Will Rogers Memorial Center one of the top equestrian show facilities, Dickies Arena the new home of the Annual Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo and the acclaimed theater, Casa Mañana.
Near the Cultural District, explore nature’s masterpieces at the Fort Worth Botanic GardensThe Fort Worth Zoo and the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, or go jogging or biking along the river in Trinity Park. Explore the Fort Worth Cultural District by foot as all five museums are within walking distance or pick up a bike at one of the many Fort Worth Bike Sharing stations along the way. “
Next visit I will plan more time to see all these museums. The museums don’t open until after noon by which time it’s too hot to leave a pet in an RV and esp not in a car; maybe a good time for a pet sitter.
OK, anyone want to tell me why this is needed! If those that fish here are this silly they can’t tell it’s flooded are they are they really going to read and pay any attention to these signs? Yep it was flooded with more flood water on the way. Just gazing down the short path to the raging river was scary enough for me.
Mark Twain reads to my dogs on Trinity Park Drive overlooking the Trinity River, he’s reading to us from Huckleberry Finn.
Forth Worth is home to 70 miles of dog-friendly trails, more than 60 rover-friendly restaurants, 45+ pet-friendly hotels, 10 bark-friendly breweries and 4 designated dog parks and attractions.
Guess What? Flooded! Was actually hysterical, as I asked if I could camp here overnight; all the facilities along with all the nearby campgrounds I’d had in mind to stay at were underwater. Sure, the host at this little dirt parking area told me, I could stay just give her $25 cash. I moved on, went up the road to the free Walmart with a dry and lighted bathroom.
You see those trees and the buildings behind it, that’s the campground which includes a marina on the other side.
A few local folks were trying to fish here. It was so flooded I swear I thought I saw a gater out there. I did not let my dogs out of the van.
Water being let out on the backside of the flooded dam.
The river on the backside of the dam, moving fast and furious.
This is at the top of the dam down a short trail, it’s a boat ramp. There were a few boaters here and a handful of folks fishing in the water so I let the dogs go for a dip.
Another Walmart.
Nice view from my Walmart overnight.
I backed up to this nice view from my Walmart overnight.

Loretta Lynn’s Ranch Hurricane Mills, TN
As I understand Loretta bought the entire town and turned it into her guest ranch.
The property includes museums, homestead, mansion, western town, camping, music… I wanted to attend the upcoming concert I learned about but the campgrounds had been completely booked so I moved on after a short stay. The area I camped in was mostly unoccupied and the dogs were able to run unfettered; up on the hill under the cool pines it was full. Fun walking with the dogs listening to people playing and singing and exploring the extensive grounds.

I found this place by chance as it was nearly that time of day to rest, a nice change from Walmart parking lots, hot shower all to myself, very peaceful.
You can see my van where I’m parked for the night.
The dogs love to chase their balls and to explore.
Found in the bunk-house style bathroom.
More yummy Southern food. I don’t know what they do to make it taste sooooo good. Food is very fresh. You get a choice on each item you’d like from a list of options.

I miss Southern Food now that I’ve tasted it. Fried okra, Pineapple compote, Hush puppies and popovers, red beans and rice, black-eyed peas and lima beans, fresh greens, boiled peanuts, mac and cheese, slowed cooked BBQ chicken, chicken pot pies, seafood gumbo, everybody has their own special recipe for biscuits.
I arrived in Memphis before a big event so the downtown area was blocked and/or under construction which led me to explore different areas than I’d been to before. I did a lot more driving than I’d expected and lots of walking with the dogs.

It was very hot even at night, too hot to leave the dogs in the van so I forgo the nightlife other than to drive around a bit. Camped for free in the parking lot of the Bass Pro Shop, great location esp for catching public trans or walking downtown, very friendly, noisy and hot. I was directed to the location by the Visitors Information Office. I’d wanted to stay at the Tom Sawyer’s Mississippi River RV Park on the Arkansas side as I had before. I drove across the bridge in hopes of doing so to find it was so entirely flooded even the road in was deep under water. I felt so sad, I wonder how the Park is now, still flooded?
The King is everywhere, esp around Beale Street with bars, restaurants, shops and live music venues.
Stopped at this bakery heading west. They had amazing pies, I bought a lunch, was my last really delicious southern meal and a desert bar to go.
Another day, another stop, coffee shop for breakfast. I often choose a coffee shop for a mid morning breakfast, it serves as breakfast, lunch and a pick-me up coffee, tea or cappuccino. Sometimes I find something to save for dinner if I don’t feel like cooking. My preference is a local independent establishment that serves food.
A “modern” breakfast toast… was yummy.
Little Rock, Arkansas
Not far from this painted wall / mural is another favorite RV Park with a fantastic view of the Arkansas river and easy walking across the bridge, Downtown Riverside RV Park. I’d been here before and enjoyed the view, it’s nothing fancy but I love being near water. I like the sights and sounds of a waterway as well as the vista. All the sties are 50 amps as the Park serves the bigger guys but I still had my 50 to 30 amp adapter I’d bought here years ago. The problem was FLOODING. Heavy food waters were headed directly to Little Rock. Folks already flooded out were crammed into this campground as long as it would stay safe. The flooding was terrible and was going to get worse… I finally found a place at the County Park… I got the last spot.

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville: music, dining, history, culture, street art, plantation houses, vintage cars, nature parks and bight lights.
These electric scooters are all over, just jump on one and go. I was going to try one but I didn’t, I decided to walk. I know they’ve had troubles but overall I liked them.
Words in the Wild – a beautiful script mural in Nashville, TN with the quote “as long as the moon shall rise, as long as the rivers flow, as long as the sun will shine, as long as the grass shall grow” from the Johnny Cash song, “As Long as the Grass Shall Grow.
Angels & Monsters mural located in the parking lot at 236 5th Ave N
Beau Stanton mural 
The Father of Bluegrass Music, Bill Monroe (1911-1996)
Shelby Bottoms… went for a long walk with the dogs and visited the nature center. “The park is primarily rich river bottom land as the name implies with boardwalks over streams and wetlands and great overlooks of the river. The open fields and wet areas give much diversity to the land with an abundance of wildflowers, birds, and amphibians.”
Lane Motor Museum
Lane Motor Museum is one of the few museums in the U.S. to specialize in European cars. Some cars are in showroom condition, while others represent typical aging. Efforts are made to restore each vehicle to near-original specifications.

Loved visiting here, took a lot more photos of some very unusual and hand restored vehicles.
https://www.opry.com/

It’s been called the “home of American music” and “country’s most famous stage.”
It began on the night of Nov. 28, 1925, when an announcer on Nashville radio station WSM introduced fiddle player Uncle Jimmy Thompson as the first performer on a new show called “The WSM Barn Dance.” 
The love story. May I have this dance.
Love you as long as the moon shall rise, as long as the river flows, as long as the sun will shine, as long as the grass shall grow.
What, can’t take my dogs on a 2000 mile walk, darn or does this mean off leash only (ha-ha)
100 species of native trees found in the Smokies!
Tons of Traffic in the Great Smoky Mountains but totally worth it. Jammed with butterflies in migration, wild horses, wildflowers in bloom, black bears, amazing trees, birds, elk, coyote, white tailed deer, waterfalls.
The Great Smoky Mountains
Southern Cooking… cheap, easy & delicious
Heading towards Hayesville North Carolina… wound up on an motorcycle road. I had to laugh, it was easy driving compared to others I’ve been on. They had those photo stations set up for the bikers, I saw them take my picture as I wondered what they thought of a middle aged solo woman cheerfully driving her old camper van on the skyway.
This campground looks so nice and calm. Very early in the morning 5 strikes of intense lightening hit directly above, all I could do was huddle the dogs under the blankets as I kept counting the hits. the dogs were shaking hard. At least (this time) my van was (amazingly) not stuck. After the scare everyone in the campground came out of their vehicles and started their day playing in the water.
Visiting a Friend
More yummy Southern food. Visiting, delicious eating and socialization is good in North Carolina. People kept asking me why in the world I lived in California.

Traveler

I’ve been long remiss from this blog in the non-wandering life. Death, changes, issues, socializing, persistent sinus trouble, dental surgery and the joy of Jeana’s puppies.

Here will be more of the photos I took on my Southern cross country drive and if I can find them, my trip to Sequim Washington where I went to bred Jeana. Jeana is a Lagotto Romagnolo and she has three sweet newborn puppies. Come January (although my dental work will take at least until next summer) we will all pile in the van to continue exploring. Am planning to attend the RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous) The location for 2020 is still being decided. I will seek travel companions, maybe it would be a good place to find them; van travelers and overseas travelers although I’ve decided I am willing to continue to travel alone and to go further, I’ve joined a group for international solo women travelers over 60. Can I afford it, who knows, probably not, but this is life, it’s here and I want to, need to live it, to fill life with more love, more adventure, a lot less fear and anxiety.

So I will post photos, not much text. Enjoy them or not at least they will be here to remind me of why I need to be on the road.

For the van travelers out there my transmission failed at about 172,500 miles on the engine. My camper got me home, I consider it a bit of a miracle since the transmission gave no warning of imminent demise. The dogs and I might have been stranded at some dive hotel in the baking California heat, if I could have even obtained a tow that would allow all my dogs in the cab and if I could have found a capable mechanic. The morning after I returned (and once reverse failed) I drove without stopping on hope that my van would keep going forward, I started for my mechanics, Frans was following me, good thing, as I had just entered the freeway when my camper failed. Would not start, would not run so I still needed a tow, thank you AAA, but was not too far. My mechanic sent out the transmission and it was completely rebuilt, all that remains is for me do a test drive which will happen in January. Perhaps it’s up for another long trip? Can I trust my van to make the Northern / Canadian – US route to the northeastern shore?

Sunlight through the windshield, rain on my dogs backs, wind blowing, thunder booming, surprises around the next corner. The lonely road is where I am least lonely, the long long vistas where I feel the most found.

Cherokee, North Carolina