Saturday, April 12, 2008

What? A Power Run?

We left Paducah, KY, bright and early on Tuesday. Our plan was to be in Denver by Friday, so I had mapped out our route with stops at about 250 miles per day. We arrived at our first planned stop at 11:30am, decided it was way too early to stop, and kept going. The beauty of no reservations. We did some quick calculations, and decided that we could make Kansas City, MO, by about 2:30pm, which was more to our liking. Donna did a quick check of our membership campgrounds, and found that there was a new resort opening in the Spring of 2008. Perfect! I gave them a call, and got a reservation "up on the hill". Donna re-programmed the Garmin, and off we went. Arriving on the east side of KC, we got off and followed the GPS through some side streets, then up and down some hills, and ended up at the trashiest mobile home place we had ever seen. This was not matching up to the description in our park book. I called the park again, and after talking with the lady for a while, discovered that the phone number in the book was actually for a park in Indio, CA! We all had a good laugh, and I headed the rig as quickly as possible from where we were. No way would we stay at this place. Hey, it was only 2:30pm, plenty of time to find another place.

Donna consulted all of our campground books, and there just wasn't anything in the area ahead of us. What the heck, we thought, Topeka KS is only 80 more miles! Let's go for it! As we crossed over into Kansas City, KS, on I-70, signs began telling us that it turned into a toll road, and Mr. Garmin was telling me to get off - I have it programmed to keep us on alternate routes if tolls are involved. So we headed a little north, then paralleled I-70 all the way into Topeka. These by-ways were beautiful, peaceful, and a lot less-traveled than the interstate. We rejoined I-70 on the west side of Topeka. Ah, a campground ahead 20 more miles...

Because the hour was getting later, Donna called ahead and secured a reservation at the Mill Creek Campground in Paxico, KS. This is the kind of place we like: small, family-owned, full hookups, but quaint. We arrived at 6:30pm, the owner checked us in, and we wandered around a bit before relaxing for the evening. There was definitely some interesting stuff here! By the way, we traveled 512 miles on Tuesday...yikes.

Hillbilly RV

The ambiance of a family owned, small RV park!

Hubcap alley

Looking at our maps, we estimated that we were half-way to Denver. Traveling west through Kansas, we would hit the Mountain Time Zone, so we could definitely get back to Monument by mid-afternoon if we wanted to do another 500 miles. As we watched the weather on TV, we saw storms and tornadoes in Kansas, so we decided not to stick around. Bright and early, we headed west. When we hit the Colorado border, we both smiled. Back in our home-base state again. Arriving in Monument, we found one of the available "winter sites", and quickly got settled in. Most of the park is closed down, as they turn off the water to keep the pipes from freezing up. In a few weeks, the park will be bustling with activity, but for now, things are quiet.

Doctors, dentists, vets, etc. were in the picture for the next few days. We managed to sneak up to our favorite Italian place, Pasta Bella (, in the Park Meadows area. The owners, John and Barbara, were there, and we had a nice visit while eating lunch. If you are in the area, try PB for lunch or dinner - it's on Chester, just north of County Line. We met John and Barb many years ago when we lived in Parker - they are from Lake Forest, CA, our old home town!

The next week or so, if it ever stops snowing, will involve us working at our storage location. We are going to downsize. Goodwill and the Task Force are getting lots of stuff. The major items we are posting on Craigslist. We'll get there, but it's a lot of work!! Every time we come through Colorado, this is our focus, but the longer we are on the road, the more we realize we don't need most of what we kept. We'll give you a deal on two sets of bedroom furniture...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Quilt City, USA

Welcome to Quilt City

When we left Nashville, the entire area had been getting rain - lots and lots of it. Rivers were rising, and more rain was been predicted. We hadn't really noticed anything in Nashville, but once we got north on Interstate 24, high water was evident everywhere. Flood waters abounded, evidenced by trees submerged far from river banks. Luckily, the roads were all in good shape, and we arrived in Paducah, a mere 139 miles northwest, with no problem (except for rain!). We stayed at a Passport America park, which gave us 1/2 off their normal rate. While the park was no frills, they had a group of long, pull-through sites for over-nighters. The owner was very friendly, and invited us to come to a music jam that evening. He had a very interesting stringed instrument (I can't remember what it was called), that had strings like an auto-harp, but was played using a bow. We gave him a definite "maybe", but at the allotted time, it was raining cats and dogs, with high winds and thunder, so we passed.

Riverfront Wall

I'm not sure about this panel!

This panel looked 3-D in person

Attack of the Fords!
3-panel paddle wheel panorama

My personal favorite
We got into the RV park at lunch time, so after Donna made us great salads, we headed into town to see quilt stores and other interesting places. Donna had been to Paducah a few years back with some quilting friends, so she kinda knew the layout. Paducah was preparing for their annual quilt festival, and all the shops were busy stocking for the onslaught that would begin in late April. After visiting a few shops, we ended up at the National Quilt Museum. We were inside walking around in the gift shop, when a "lady-in-charge" pointed at me and said "NO PETS allowed...ah, can I pet your dog?" I smiled and told her "NO" as Abbey and I exited. After wandering around town for a while, we had a BBQ dinner at a small cafe, followed by some very, very good, homemade pie, then headed over to view the Ohio River and the painted wall. The river was definitely experiencing high water. A local told us that it wasn't expected to crest for another few days.

The paddle boat won't be leaving today!
The waiting area for the paddle boat
This was our last big stop before beginning the trek back to Colorado. What could possibly happen - we're only 1000 miles from Denver...stay tuned.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Music City, USA

About a year ago, we went through the Nashville area, but stayed out of town at a quaint (think "trailer trash") RV park. It was a long drive into the city, so we really didn't get to do what we had hoped for. This time, we stayed in town, about 2 miles from Orpyland. When I made the reservation, they asked if we needed a site that would get satellite, so I told them we did. Of course, when we got there, our site was in the middle of some large trees, so no satellite. That's OK, we weren't here to watch TV!

We managed to get tickets to a taping of the Crook and Chase Show. We used to watch this show many years ago, and thought it wasn't around anymore. Turns out CMT dropped the show, but it was picked up by RFDTV. It was quite interesting to watch a taping, so if you get this channel, which is only on Direct or Dish satellite, watch for the show that originally aired on 3/27/08, and you might see us.
As we did in Savannah, we elected to take a guided tour of Nashville and the surrounding area. The campground recommended that we take a "Tommy Tour". Tommy is the only independent tour operator in the city. He is also a stand up we had a very fun time on this tour. If you ever are in Nashville, we highly recommend his 3 hour tour.

Martina McBride's estate

Alan Jackson's spread

Entrance to the Union Station Hotel

The hotel
Inside the Union Station
The ceiling in the lobby
The other big thing we wanted to do, was to attend the Grand Ole Opry. We went on a Saturday night, for the 6:30pm performance. The show is done in 3 segments. The middle segment is broadcast on TV. On this night, the headliners were Neil McCoy, Kelly Pixler (of American Idol fame), Vince Gill, and the Charlie Daniels Band. The show ended at 9:00pm sharp, and we were back at the RV park in about 15 minutes.
Right across from the Grand Ole Opry is the Opry Mills mall, which has a Gibson guitar store. It's the store where they make some acoustic guitars, as well as mandolins. I took my old L-50 acoustic in to show them, and they told me my investment in 1965 had appreciated by about 3000%! Whoo-hoo! I bought a restoration kit to clean up the metal parts, condition the fretboard, and polish the body. I also bought a new case, to replace the one that was falling apart. Needless to say, that guitar is looking real fine!! Now all I have to do is remember how to play it!
We came, we saw, we listened! Mission accomplished. Next stop, Paducah, KY.