The RV Road Trip Blog - September 2010
The expense summary for last month has been posted for those who are interested in that. You can get to it from the RVer's Library (see menu on the right of every page). Starting in September we will separate food from non-food items bought at grocery stores. We did not eat $353 worth of food last month! We track our expenses using RVer's Notebook and it works well for us. An yes, it works just fine on Windows 7. I know some folks use Microsoft or OpenOffice spreadsheets but we are not skilled enough with them to use them.
Also, many may not know of all the pages we have on our site so we have a site map that shows every page in every section. You can view the site map by clicking the link near the bottom of the home page or you can click here.
We had our grand daughters again this weekend and they had a blast with all the kids around. We were glad to have them since it will likely be a very long time before we get to see them again. We took a few pics over the weekend and added them to the Tannehill gallery, it is now up to 84 pictures. Here's one of Jerry and Gracie off to find her first ever geocache.
When we leave here on Tuesday, we'll hop over to the Dewayne Hayes COE Park near Columbus, MS. We're not sure how long we'll stay there... at least long enough to see all the sites nearby and to hunt a few geocaches.
Good thing you stayed tuned! We're now in the Dewayne Hayes Corp of Engineers Park near Columbus, MS. As we arrived in the campground, we started setting up and a car pulled up with a big CBS logo on it. They asked if they could interview us and we said sure. Here is the clip that aired...
I added this campground to the picture gallery, but not many pictures are in there yet. This is a beautiful park and we'll be taking lots of pictures... plus we'll also get some pics of the historic downtown area.
We also rode over to the Barton Ferry recreation Area but there is nothing there. It appears it is used for hunting only so don't bother going there unless you are going to the Town Creek COE Campground. That campground doesn't have sewer hookups and is more "in the woods" than Dewayne Hayes Campground. I'm glad we are at DHCG as I don't like all the debris from the trees falling on the camper.
We decided to stay here for 7 more nights, can't beat the rate of just $10 per night for full hookups and we like the park. Here is a shot of our camp site, I forgot to put one up when we first got here. The water behind us is a canal off of the Tombigbee Waterway. Pleasure boats use it but it is not big enough for barge traffic like on the Tombigbee itself. There is a fishing dock at our camp site and I guess you could swim if you wanted to. Maybe if I was younger... LOL.
We had originally paid for 4 days having us leave today, the 11th. Checkout time is 3:00pm but we had folks asking us when we were leaving so they could have our site! That's when we went down and paid for 7 more nights for this "walk-up only" site.
Weatherman says rain later today so not sure how much more scooter riding we'll be able to get in. We've already ridden so much we had to put more gas in them! $5.26 to fill them both up and we're good for another combined 260 miles.
We'll spend Saturday and Sunday the 25th and 26th in Lexa. This is the small town Jerry lived in from ages 9-15. We're really excited about visiting the area. After that, it is off in the direction of Hot Springs National Park!
We didn't get the greatest news from the VA about Jerry's disability. Because Jerry's condition is deteriorating and to help keep him mobile, the VA is providing him with a power wheelchair. He's getting the Nutron R51 LXP model. He can still walk just not very far because his left leg has gotten so weak. We're still staying in the area so we can get a lift installed in the bed of the truck that will hoist the chair into the bed. It looks like we'll have to sell our Honda Ruckus scooters so we can fit the wheelchair in the bed of the truck. If we can afford it, we'll try to find a single scooter large enough to carry both of us, maybe a Yamaha T-Max or similar. We need something other than the truck to sight-see with, as fuel is so expensive.
We visited the Tunica River Park that is next to the Mississippi River. It's pretty nice and offers a great view of the river. We also looked around downtown Tunica and it has a few cool things to see like the war memorial, the old Pure station and some neat old buildings. It is also cotton picking time here so we snapped a few shots of that going on. Jerry grew up on the other side of the river in Arkansas and is very familiar with cotton and soybean farming. He said it sure brings back memories.
Since we don't care to gamble in the casinos, there isn't a whole lot for us to do here while we wait to hear back from the lift installers. Luckily, there is free wifi here at the park so we can catch up on the blog and work on mapping our stops after we depart here. After we leave Lexa and "if" the chair lift has been installed, we'll head in the direction of Hot Springs National Park. We're excited about visiting there!
We've been thinking about the best way to adapt to the fact that Jerry will have to use the power wheelchair now, and how we can continue full-timing normally (we're certainly not going to stop!). We've looked at all of our options and the 2 most reasonable are...
1) Sell our 2 Ruckus scooters and get one larger scooter that will carry us both. This will free up space in the bed of the truck for the wheelchair.
2) Trade our camper for a 5th wheel toyhauler. The camper could carry the Ruckus scooters and the wheelchair plus Jerry could ride the wheelchair up the ramp to get into the camper.
Jerry likes option 2 better but the problem is being able to afford a 5th wheel toy hauler. A new one is out of the question but it is not unreasonable to think that we could find a good used one. Towing it would not be a problem as our truck is a 3/4 ton and was previously set up to tow a 5th wheel. We'd only need to add rails and a hitch to haul one again. Also, a 5th wheel would have to be one of the shorter models, no longer than 30' total length.
We had a friend tell us about the Outback 230RS and it looks pretty nice. Only drawback is that we'd have to drop the dinette and sofa to let the rear slide in... but to have wheelchair access would be a tremendous bonus. We'll keep our eyes open as we travel.
We had a great time in Lexa, Arkansas seeing all the places I played as a kid. Many things took a turn for the worse, like the nearby city of Helena is now virtually abandoned. It was like a ghost town except for a few businesses on Cherry Street. The crime rate here is extremely high and most people simply left. Nearby West Helena has grown a little since I was a kid but not much. The biggest changes are new fast food places and a Walmart. Lexa itself has shrank... there isn't even a single convenience store there anymore. There were 2 when I was a kid. The old, small post office moved into a brand new building but that seems to be the only positive change.
The following pictures are the population sign for the town and a picture of the house I grew up in. It has expanded, been through a remodel and changed colors but I still remember it fondly.
My old swimming hole, Wooten's Pond, has been filled in and no longer exists. The old fishing hole, Ray's Catfish Pond, was all dried up. That was kinda sad. I did notice the dove, rabbit and squirrel populations exploded since I left. My brother and I hunted them relentlessly not realizing at the time that we provided most of the meat for family meals.
Overall, it was good to visit the area as it brought back lots of great memories. Of course, it was a little sad to see some of the changes but that can never erase the good times I had there as a kid. The 30 year high school reunion is next year and depending on what month it is, we may head back for that. It would be neat to see how everyone has changed.
We'll be getting the truck's rear end gears changed while we are in Texas. It has 3.73 gears now and we will be lowering that to 4.10. This alone will increase max trailer weight from 8,200 pounds to 10,200 pounds. It will also increase the GCWR from 14,000 pounds to 16,000 pounds. The new camper we need to get is heavier than the one we have. Ours weighs about 5,000 pounds fully loaded and the new one will weigh 8,300 pounds loaded. That would put us right at 14,000 pounds GCW so the new rear end gears will give us our cushion back.
Cynthia is getting the laundry done up so everything will be clean when we pull out from here Saturday morning. The machines here are cheap, .75¢ to wash and $1 to dry. Every little bit helps. This month we'll be about $300 under budget and that is great. More money to put back towards the new camper!
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