Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cameron has Arrived!

Our baby watch is over. Cameron was born on 2/24/14 at 12:44. That is the big news. Before I get to the baby pictures, we had a few more days of waiting here at Lake Dardanelle State Park. I have been getting in some bike riding, but mainly just hanging out with our grandson Connor. We have been having a blast.

We did have one real nice sunset.

A little later on the same night.

While I was sitting outside enjoying some nice 70 degree weather, I had a visit from one of the locals. This was the friendliest squirrel I have ever encountered. He grabbed a hold of my hand a took a nut from my hand. It was pretty cool.

OK, time for the baby pictures. Here are a few:
 Kim in heaven: ( She loves holding new babies.)
 Connor holding his little brother along with Audrey's sister Makinzie:

We will try to get better pictures of Cameron in the next few days. I did not take any pictures of Audrey, but I will tell you she looked great. It looks like we will be here for the rest of the week. The weather does not look good for this weekend, so we may just sit here until we get a good weather window to go north. We will see what happens.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Baby Watch

I am writing this from Russellville, Arkansas. We are on station, waiting for our grand child to be born. We have been told it will be a boy, but I refuse to confirm that until the birth.

The last entry was from Vicksburg. That was a very inspiring experience. It has caused me to do some additional research and I am now not sure if we had family members present or not. I am on the hunt and am hoping to come up with some definitive evidence in the coming months.

We left Vicksburg and headed north to Cane Creek State Park, near Star City, Arkansas. The drive was about 160 miles. We were not sure how long we would stay, but the guess was one or two nights. The park turned out to be very nice. We camped on a bluff overlooking a lake. We had a huge site and a great view.
I think we could have fit two of our rigs in this site.

Before sundown, I decided to take a hike. I ended up walking about 4.5 miles. It was a beautiful hike. The trails were well maintained and gave me some ideas of things we could do at HHR.

I decided to cook out on the grill and make a campfire. While I was getting things ready we had a very nice sunset.

We decided to only stay one night. Kim was getting antsy and did not want to miss being there for the birth. We then drove the 140 miles on to Russellville. We got set up in Lake Dardanelle SP. That is where this trip started back in November. That seems like so long ago. So much has happened. Now comes the waiting game.

The weather has been the warmest of the entire trip here in Russellville. Temps have been in the middle 70's. We did have some smoke from some controlled burns. It created a very cool sunset.

So, now we are just hunkering down and spending some nice family time with Michael, Audrey and Connor.

We will update when the baby is born. Be ready for many baby pics.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

We have a stowaway!

I am writing that from Vicksburg, Mississippi on Sunday evening. We are on baby watch. Our Son Michael and his wife Audrey are expecting their second child any day. As of now, no news yet, but it will be soon. We have moved a little over 300 miles north to be ready to make the final move to NW Arkansas to be there when the baby is born.

We ended up staying at Grand Isle for 11 days and really enjoyed our time there. Here is Kim sorting her shells from all of our beach time over the past 3 months.
It was a nice sunny day. I took a 3.6 mile walk on the beach. I saw more dolphins and picked up a number of full sand dollars. It was a great day. Here is my version of a selfe:
We then moved on to Percy Quin State Park in McComb, MS. We just stayed two nights which included Valentines day. Kim actually let me play golf, but that allowed her to relax and read a book. We ended up taking a long walk through the park and met a few other campers. We even had a nice sunset. I got this nice snap of a con trail through the clouds at sunset. It looked better in person.
They had a small chapel. It was really neat.
We  then decided we wanted to go up to Vicksburg and visit the battlefield. I was expecting a quick visit, but we ended up spending the better part of two days. The story was pretty cool how they built the National Park. Around 1900 a large number of veterans came back to Vicksburg and identified the actual locations and actions that were part of the battle. The individual states that had troops in the fight erected monuments honoring the men. All of the monuments had the theme of honor, but also peace. Each mentioned the goal of never letting something as horrible as the Civil War happening again. It was very moving and I enjoyed the entire experience a great deal. I took a bunch of pictures, here are just a few. Here is the monument to the Army of Illinois. As some of you know, we had direct family members on the Hall side serve with the army of Illinois. I talked to a ranger that did some research for me and showed they were not present at this battle. The most impressive monument was the Illinois Monument:

Here is the monument for Texas in the Confederate part of the battlefield. Kim being a Texas girl looked comfortable.
A very interesting monument was the Missouri Monument. As you may know, there were troops from Missouri fighting on both sides. Neighbors fighting neighbors. The monument was dedicated to never letting that happen again. 
Here is a blow up of the inscription at the base:

A significant part of the battle was fought by the US Navy. They had some ironclads to get by the big confederate guns at Vicksburg. A sunken ironclad called the Cairo was located back in 1956 near Vicksburg. It was raised in 1964 and is now on display at the park. Here are a couple of shots:

There was so much to see that it is impossible to write about it all. 

We did something we had not done before. We camped in the RV park at the Ameristar Casino. We did not gamble, but it was convenient to all that we wanted to do. 
We did get to see a nice sunset over the Mississippi river brides from the area around the casino.

We also made a visit to the Courthouse museum while we were in town. There were many artifacts. The building was built just before the civil war and was the most prominent building in the city.

Now, about the stowaway. No pictures. We have a little friend that joined us at Percy Quin SP. It is a little field mouse. He is quite cute, but is NOT welcome. We will need to do what we need to do to eliminate the mooch.

It was a full weekend. We will leave here on Monday and head north to around Pine Bluff, Arkansas. 
Thanks to all for reading and I hope you find this interesting. We did.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Better Weather

We had some pretty cold and cloudy weather last week, but things started getting better on Friday and kept getting better through Today (Sunday). It was about 70 today and mostly sunny. It was so nice, we decided that we are going to stay at Grand Isle longer. It is great to have the flexibility to do that. On Saturday, I did a long walk on the nature trails and on the fishing pier. They have a nice observation tower that give you a good look around.

Here is the pier from the observation tower:

Here is a picture of one of the small lakes behind the campground. There is many birds to see including great Egrets. There is one taking off in this picture if you zoom in.
I also got a good look at an Osprey, but not a good picture.

We took a long walk on the beach. We took off the shoes and enjoyed walking in the water picking up shells. I did finally find a full sand dollar. 

While we were walking we had a group of dolphins come right up to the shore in very shallow water. They were about 20 yards from us. It was very cool, but again no good shots.

I finished off the weekend with an evening walk and a nice sunset.

Note: You should be able to click on any picture to see a larger image. I hope you are all enjoying the weather where ever you are. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Moving on from New Orleans

We were ready to move on from New Orleans. Our plan was to move to the coast of Louisiana. Grand Isle was the destination. We got going and were ready to leave about 10:00 AM, but I wanted to say a quick good bye first. I had met a couple that were camped just a few sites down earlier in the week. We actually came into the park at exactly the same time. I could tell by a few indicators that they were full timers. As it turns out, Gordon and Laura have been full time for 19 years. Kim and I went over to give them a card and say good bye. Instead they invited us in and we talked for about 2 hours. They shared great stories from the road and gave us many good pieces of advice and information. It was great. We then made the 3 hour drive down to Grand Isle. Here are a few snaps of the park.

The bathhouses are very new and very nice. The sites are large and are all easy pull through sites. It was quite foggy, but warm. 
The beach is not a pretty as the Florida white sand beaches, but it is very nice with many shells. As you know by now, Kim loves beaches. Here is shot of her doing what she loves to do, hunting for shells.

We met another couple from Iowa. Dick and Maribeth are part timers, but had some great stories of trips to Alaska. The crazy thing is their daughter lives in Ozark, MO and Kim knows them well. Another small world incident. One critical piece of intelligence was provided by Dick. He told me where to go to get shrimp right off of the boat. We went out and bought 2 pounds of huge shrimp. Then I fixed shrimp K-bobs for dinner. Yummy. While cooking, I caught a few nice sunset shots.
The weather turned cold today. I think the high was about 50 with a stiff north wind. It is expected to be colder tomorrow. We may just stay in and relax, but who knows. 
Thanks for reading

Sunday, February 2, 2014

New Orleans Cemeteries and Museums

We took some time while we were in the New Orleans area to check out some of the cemeteries and museums. The cemeteries are very ornate and very old. We started by going to the Chalmette Battlefield. This is where the battle of New Orleans was fought in 1815 at the end of the war of 1812.

The National Battlefield is right next door. There are veterans buried there from all wars from the war of 1812 to Vietnam. It was very thought provoking.

There was one of the most awesome Live Oaks I have ever seen. It was by the visitors center at the battlefield.

We went to New Orleans and Kim wanted to check out some of the old city cemeteries.
This is a monument dedicated the the confederate soldiers from the Ladies Benevolent Association of Louisiana in 1874. 
Here is one for the Moore's. Kim knows how much Donna loves cemeteries. 

Kim was REALLY wanting to go to Cafe Du Monde for some bignets. Here is the proof she gets what she wants.
I saw this sign. I almost bought it.

  On Saturday we went to the WW2 Museum. It was very good, but I did not take a bunch of  pictures. They did have a Sherman tank and a number of really nice aircraft. 
The best part of the visit was the film by Tom Hanks. Every person in America should see that. Here is a picture of a German 88, and MG42 machine gun and a DKW motorcycle. All very cool. 
We took a drive down to Shell beach. It is not really a beach, just a local fishing community. It was hit very hard by Katrina. The entire area that we have been staying in was hit very hard. Everywhere you look, you can still see things left over from 2005. These Pelicans looked pretty interesting.

At the end of the road, this memorial was placed. 

We have had a good time visiting New Orleans. This is not our normal thing to do, but I am glad we did. We will move on to the coast tomorrow and see what new adventures we can find. Thanks for reading. You can sign up to become a follower if you want to get an alert when I put a place a new post.