Friday February 12, 2016 Home to Buxton

Got up at 6:30AM. Watched the weather. It was clear and cold in Hastings. Over night low was -10F. Wind was 15 to 20 mph out of NNW. As we went NW during the day it got colder. When we got to Buxton at 7:0PM it was -6F.

Went in the house to get some coffee. Talked to Alison and Sean. Sat with Duke. Cathy came in with Joy. Decided because of the very low temperatures predicted for Friday night and possible snow on Saturday, to head for Buxton today. sorry we will miss seeing Jay, Becky and the grand daughters. Cathy has to go to St. cloud for an MRI, so will see them then.

Had to put air in Cherokee right rear tire. It has a slow leak and was nearly flat from the cold. Pulled in the slide and was ready to go. We left Hastings at 10:30AM. Headed out on US-61, US-10 and I-694 and I-94. Didn’t stop until we got to the Avon rest area. Raised the thermostat temperature at the house from 55F to 72F with my Android phone. Called Pat and asked if he and Linda would like to meet us at Perkins. He said yes. I said I would call him when we left Alexandria.

Stopped at Mills Fleet Farm in Alexandria for gas and RV anti freeze. Got 2 gallons of -50F and 1 gallon of -100F. The -50F turns to slush at 10F. Took 52.5 gallons of gas at $1.25/gal after 4 cent discount. 7 mpg.

Stopped for pie at Fergus Falss with Pat and Linda. Pat bought. They just won $2,000 at a casino.

Drove to Fargo, where I wanted to fill the motor home propane tank at Stamart. They couldn’t get the connector to seal, so had to leave without propane.

Got to Buxton at 6:50PM. Disconnected the Cherokee and shoveled the drive. Parked the motor home and Cherokee and took Joy to play with Princess and me to have a drink with Larry across the street.

Parked at Home
Parked at Home in Buxton

Cathy heated the brisket, ribs, beans and potato salad from Glen’s Smoke ouse in Searcy. It was really good and I bet the first time Glen’s food had ever been consumed in North Dakota.

Thursday February 12, 2016 Oak Grove, MO to Hastings, MN

Clear and cold early, but overcast by 9:00AM. Overnight low was 21F. High today in Des Moines where we were at 2:30PM was 18F. As I write this in Hastings at Midnight it is 14F with light snow.

Got up at 6:30AM and heated up coffee. Walked Joy and got ready to leave. Watched GMA and read email.

We noticed some strange items in the Walmart parking lot last night. Turns out they are electric car charging stations.

Charging Stations
Electric Car Charging Stations

We left the Oak Grove Walmart parking lot at 8:50AM. We took I-70 to I-435 to I-35. When we got to the Flying J at I-35 we exited, but found it so full we drove on. Stopped at a McDonalds at 10:00AM for coffee and breakfast sandwich. Had to wait 30 minutes for sandwich. We were on I-35 all the way to Des Moines, IA. As we approached Des Moines we encountered icy roads. We didn’t see any opportunity to fill with gas. Then as we were leaving the Des Moines area we saw a Mills Fleet Farm. Stopped and filled with gas for $1.21/gal. It took 72.5 gallons and the average was 6.5 mpg. Had to wait in line for about 30 minutes to get to the pump.

Got off I-35 at Fairmont, MN. Took dark, twisty sometimes icy, two lane road for the last 42 miles to Hastings. Just as I was getting used to the dark road, had to drive through Northfield in bright lights for a few miles. The last 15 miles it snowed. We got to Haastings at 7:00PM after driving 439 miles.

Our daughter Alison had stew with dumplings ready for us. Our great grand daughter Bridgette was there. I went in first and she was afraid of me. When I brought Joy in she accepted me, but still didn’t like me. She really liked Joy. Spent the evening with the family. Our middle grandson Andrew got home from work at 10:00PM. Tony and Sean were there when we arrived. Tony and wife Amy and Bridgette left about 10:00PM.Bridgette reluctantly gave me a kiss.  Andrew, Sean and I talked until midnight.

Wednesday February 1, 2016 Dinner with Bob and Helen

Bright and sunny, but cold this morning. Over night low was 25F. Wind went away over night. High in Harrison, AR where we were at 3:00PM was 55F. Wind was light and variable to gusting in the 20’s.

Got up at 6:30AM and put the coffee on. Took Joy for a walk in lot next to RV Fog Doctor that had a lot of brush. She was exploring and sticking her nose into the brush. A rabbit jumped up about 6″ in front of her and really scared her. She had to act particularly brave and snoop in the brush after that. When we got back they were there to work on the window. They had to cut it out from the inside. Didn’t get to toast my bagel.

Cutting Out Window

After they cut it out they covered the hole with plastic. Then took the window in to the shop to repair it.

Window on Bench

They then took it back to the motor home and put it in from the outside with Joy helping on the inside.

Putting Window Back

They were finished at 10:30AM. I went in to pay and they said there was no charge. I was prepared to pay $275.

We took off on AR-16 and AR-25 to get to US-65. I stopped at a little town for a conference call at 11:00AM, but got a squeal at the other end, so just drove on.

We went through beautiful canyons and across rivers in northern Arkansas. Stopped for gas in Harrison. 71.5 gallons at $1.34/gal. 6.5 mpg. North of Branson and east of Kansas City we saw it for $1.19/gal.

We drove to Cole Camp where we met our friends from Imperial Dam Bob and Helen. They live on Lake of the Ozarks. We met at the Classic Steakburgers restaurant. Bob and Helen had burgers and Cathy and I had the breakfast special, 2 bacon, sausage, eggs and biscuits and gravy or pan cakes for $4.99. I had the biscuits and gravy, Cathy the pan cakes. It was very good. We got to catch up on what was going on in all of our lives.

Classic Steak Burger

We were going to spend the night at the Sedalia, MO Walmart, but they only permit Walmart affiliated semis to park in the lot over night. We drove on to the Walmart at Oak Grove, MO, 28 miles east of Kansas City.

Tuesday February 9, 2016 Flat Tire

Bright and cool this morning. The over night low was 22F. The wind went down some over night, but picked up again as the morning. The high in Searcy where we ended up was 46F. Wind was from the NNE at 20 to 30 mph, sometimes gusting higher.

Walked Joy. Then checked the motor home and found the outside passenger side dual was flat. Tried to inflate it but it wouldn’t hold air. Called Good Sam Roadside Assistance. They said they would have some one there in 45 minutes. Texted that it would be Southern Tire Mart. He showed up right on time.

He asked me to move the motor home so that he could get the truck in beside it. Wasn’t hard in the Walmart parking lot.

I lifted the motor home with the levelers so it was easy for him to get the wheel off.

Removing Wheel

The tire had a gash in the sidewall

Gash in Sidewall

We’ve had a lot of pot holes and rough pavement. He had a hard time getting the spare down. The final obstacle was a bolt that held the wheel. It was rusty and he didn’t have any wrenches, just a vice grip and his air gun. He called for help. He went in his truck to warm up and I went to Krystal to get biscuits and gravey. Out of luck, their oven wasn’t wotking. Had to settle for coffee and hash browns.  Another truck came with a wrench. It was easier for two of them to remove the spare. They got it mounted, but didn’t have a torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts. The Ford only needs 140 ft/lbs, not the 375 to 400 ft/lbs most truck wheels require.

Total cost was $114.17. Got my $69.95 for Good Sam Roadside Assistance back and then some. The spare has dry rot, so isn’t the best to run on. Will try to find tires.

We finaly got going about 11:30AM. Took US 64 and US 67 to Searcy, AR. We need to stop at Searcy to have a double pane window repaired. It is foggy and full of water. got to Searcy at 2:30PM. They have full hookups for 6 RV’s. We are the only one here.

Parked at RV Fog Doctor

We went to The Flying Pig to have BBQ. The name has changed to Glen’s Smoke House. Before it was called The Flying Pig, it was called Grandpa’s. Still the same place and we got enough to have two or three more meals.

I had the pork plate with brisket and sides of potato salad and beans. Cathy thad the rib plate with sides of beans and coleslaw.

Dinner at Glen's Smoke House

Stopped at Walmart on way back to motor home. There are a lot of retail stores and restaurants in Searcy.

Watched Chicago Med and Chicago fire on TV.

Monday February 8, 2016 Ozark, AL to Olive Branch, MS

Another bright beautiful morning. The overnight low was 32F. The high today in Birmingham, where we were at 3:00PM was 49F. Wind was gusty from SW at 20 to 30 mph and gusting to 35 mph.

Got up at 6:30AM and watched the local ABC farm program. They had a set like a country store and a sign that said Hobo Cafe. They discussed the Peanut Growers Exhibition coming on Thursday and the origin of the name Goober Pea for peanuts. It is the African name the slaves had for it. It was their staple food and they brought it with them. The area got into growing peanuts because boweevils wiped out the cotton crops and the area was perfect for peanuts.

Walked Joy and talked to the neighbor who was also leaving. Went in and had coffee and bagels.

Went out and dumped the holding tanks and filled the water. Left power on so Cathy could vacuum.

Dumping at KOA

Talked to neighbor who came last night. He was from Virginia and had retired from Fort Rucker. He was in Ozark to revisit Fort Rucker. He had a problem with his water hose. He had a power reel and it kinked his hose so that no water would go through. When he talked to me he had it fixed already.

Took the Cherokee down to the KOA office and filled the rear passenger tire that has a slow leak. Went back to motor home and hitched the Cherokee to the Adventurer. Hauled the garbage over to the dumpsters and pulled the Adventurer down to fill the propane tank. It was a convenient place to fill and probably as cheap as anywhere, $3.50/gal. It took 13.4 gal.

Filling Propane

We left the KOA at 11:20AM.We took off north on US 231 to I-65. Went past Mobile and Birmingham and then west into Mississippi on I-22. Filled with gas at Love’s just outside of Jasper. 70 gallons at $1.49/gal. Stopped at the Mississipi Welcome Center. Picked up a Mississippi map. Drove on to Olive Branch where we planned to stay the night at Flying J in the RV parking. All the RV spots were filled with semi tractors. Called Walmart to see if we could stay there. They said yes, so that is where we parked. They said to park out by Krystal. Kystal is a fast food place with sandwiches like White Castle. It is the second oldest fast food restaurant in the country, starting in Chatanooga October 24, 1932. We decided to eat at Krystal. Cathy had two chicken sandwiches and I had chili and coffee. It was good.

Sunday February 7, 2016 Super Bowl Sunday

Bright and sunny this morning and warmer. Over night low was 34F and the high for the day was 60F. Winds were light and variable.

Got up at 7:30AM. Watched Fox News. Warmed up coffee and toasted bagels. Took Joy for a walk. We met two of the four Yorkshire Terriers parked next to us. One was normal Yorkie size, the other three are quite large. They got them by keeping a puppie from each litter. They are from Indiana headed to the Gulf Coast.

At about 11:30AM got a call from Kathryn that the water heater wasn’t working. She also said that Erik had cooked a pork loin. We took off right away for Enterprise. Checked out the water heater and found the bottom element open. Erik and I went to Lowes and got a water heater tune up kit. It had two elements and two thermostats. Also got a element wrench.

Erik had to leave for For Benning, so we immediately tried to drain the water from the water heater. A trickle was all that was coming out. Decided to let it run. Erik took off and Kathryn said my lunch was ready. It was really good, pork loin, mashed potatoes and squash with Shiner Amber Bock beer.

Lunch at Kathryn and Erics

Watched Property Brothers while waiting for the water heater to drain. Kept checking on it and it it didn’t seem to be making much progress. I decided to remove the element. I did and got Kathryn and Cathy to sweep the water out the garage door. The element was really shot.

Water Heater Element

Got the new element in and filled with water. Went in to the living room to watch the Super Bowl. Corey, Erik’s room mate went to the Super Bowl party across the street. After about an hour checked the hot water. Seemed to be fine

Cathy and I went to the Publix grocery store to get some breakfast bread that Publix has in their bakery. It has walnuts and cranberries in it. Also picked up some lunch meat. Stopped at the gas station near Erik and Kathryn’s house and filled the Cherokee at $1.64/gal. We had left Joy with Kathryn and went back and picked her up. Checked the water heater and said good night to Kathryn, Whisky and Maggie.

Got back to motor home and finished watching the Super Bowl. Denver beat Carolina 24 to 10. Kind of a disappointing game, but nice for Peyton Manning. Had ice cream for dinner and watched Shark Tank. Finished off the night watcing Cheers.

Saturday February 6, 2016 Folklore Brewing and Meadery

A little cool  over night, but bright and sunny this morning. Warmed up fast. Over night low was 32F and the high today was 57F. Wind was 5 to 10 mph.

They shut the water off last night. It got turned on again at about 9:00AM.

Got up at 7:30AM. Made coffee and started watching the Fox News Sataurday morning financial shows. Joy got up and I took her out for a walk. Came back and had coffee and bagels.

Put clips on motor home headlight assembly. Couldn’t get the outside one on completely. It is good enough to get home I think.

Took Joy over to the dog run. There weren’t any other dogs, but she enjoyed exploring it. Tomorrow I will take a ball along.

Noticed that there is a storm shelter over by the dog run. It is a very large and beautiful RV park.

At 3:30PM we headed to Dothan, AL to meet Kathryn and Erik at the Folklore Brewing and Meadery. We set the GPS and took off. Went through a lot of retail, many large shopping centers. Finally got out of town, then into the woods and I thought I was in the wrong place, but there it was the brewery.

Folklore Brewery

I ordered a sampler of 10 beers and Cathy had a Momma’s Rattler, half lemnade and half IPA and only 3% alcohol.

Folklore Sampler
Folklore Sampler of 10 Beers

As you can see in the picture, they allow pets. They also have a resident cat. We played Cards Against Humanity and Kathryn won. It was a lot of fun.

After dark the trail to the brewery is lit with strings of lights.

Folklore Lights

We had chili and pulled pork sandwiches to eat from the Fly By Night Grill.

Stopped at Walmart in Ozark for bagels and yogurt. Got to motor home and watched TV.




Friday February 5, 2016 Headlight Bulb Replacement and Shopping

Bright, sunny and cool this morning in Ozark, AL. Over night low was 30F and the high this afternoon was 55F. The wind was calm today. Looks like we are leaving a trail of over night freezing temperatures behind us.

Got up and heated up coffee from thermos and toasted a couple of blue berry bagels. Joy wasn’t here, so didn’t have to walk her. Kathryn said Joy was a brat and we could have her back. She did a lot of barking.

Cathy and Kathryn went to Dothan to do wedding dress shopping. We had a low beam go out on the drivers side of the motor home. I looked on the Internet for instructions on how to change it but there weren’t any. Turns out the headlight assembly is from a 2001 Impala. Got it removed and went to Walmart for a replacement bulb. Got it all back on the motor home, but still have to put on the retaining clips. That won’t be easy.

Adventurer Headlight
Adventurer Headlight Assembly

Took Joy for a walk over to the dog run. This KOA park is really large. It is pretty and very comfortable. It even has a still.


About 4:30PM Kathryn and Cathy came back to the motor home. The water heater went out at Eric’s house, so we were going to look at it when he got home. Cathy and Joy went with Kathryn and I drove the Cherokee with tools and hoses to work on water heater.

Turns out the high temperature limit had poped. Reset it and it started heating again. Hopefully that is all it is.

Eric went over to the Barrel Room and got sub sandwiches and served them with Shiner bock beer.

Joy and Whisky finally started playing. They run and jump up, over and off the sofa. They do a lot of barking.

Joy and Whisky

We left Kathryn and Eric’s at 9:15PM and went back to motor home. Watched the news and Perry Mason.

Thursday February 4, 2016 We Get to Where Kathryn Lives

Got up at 6:30AM. Bright sunny day. 42F at Walmart in Gulport, MS. Over night low was 32F. The hight today in Ozark, AL where we ended up was 57F. Wind was 10 to 15 mph all day.

Took Joy for a walk and got things ready to leave. Didn’t make coffee thinking I would stop at a McDonalds for breakfast. Turns out that was a mistake, didn’t find any McDonalds that were easy to pull in and out of. Pulled out of the Walmart lot at 8:00AM. We had 234 miles to get to Kathryn’s house.

Drove down I-10 and crossed into Alabama. The Welcome Center was being rmodeled and was relocated to a office a little off I-10. I picked up a highway map and campground and park directory.

Went north on I-65 and then turned onto a two lane, narrow, curvy and hilley highway for the last 90 miles. Finally got to withing 20 miles and ran into construction with a delay waiting for the pilot truck.

Got checked into the KOA in Ozark, AL. Very nice.

Ozark KOA

Got set up and left for Kathryn’s in Enterprise 17 miles away. Had to go back on Hwy 27 and the same construction and wait again for the pilot truck. Got to Kathryn’s and thought Joy would enjoy playing with their room mate’s dog Whisky who is only 1 year old and loves to play. Joy was nasty to her.

I let Cathy and Kathryn get caught up while I read. Eric came home after work and took us to the Barrel Room, their neiborhood bar owned by Burt, some one they have become good friends with. Kathryn has also worked there.

Barrel house

He wasn’t cooking to night, so after a drink we went to the White Oak Ale House. We had some really good burgers and fries with beer.

White Oak

We left Joy with Kathryn and Eric for the night. On the way back to Ozark we went down Hwy 27 with out having to wait for the pilot truck.

Wednesday February 3, 2016 We Make It To Gulfport, MS

Got up at 7:30AM. Sunny but cool at 42F. The over night low was 33F. The wind was strong out of the N all day, gusting to 30 mph. The high in Houston as we went through at 3:00PM was 62F.

I put the coffee on and walked Joy. Cathy went to the club house to take a shower. I dumped the tanks and got ready to leave. Jim came over to say good bye.

We stopped at the Shell station just down the street from the park. Put in 70 gallons at $1.49/gal. We last filled in El Paso. We made 10 mpg with the wind behind us.

Took  Hwy -46 to Seguin at Jim’s suggestion. It was 16 miles to I-10.

We took I-10 east towards Houston. Houston seemed to stretch on farther than El Paso did, didn’t think to see how far across it was. Traffic was heavy on I-10. Almost bumper to bumper like LA. This continued through Louisiana.

I-10 Traffic

On the east edge of Houston we filled with gas at Flying J, 20 gallons at $1.42 with the discount. 8 mpg. We continued on to Louisiana. From Beaumont to the Louisiana border I-10 was terribly rough. The last Texas exit on I-10 was 880. We had driven 880 miles across Texas from New Mexico to Louisiana.

Last TX I-10 eXIT

We planned to stop for the night at the Mississippi Welcome Center, but there wasn’t any space left. Drove on to Gulfport Flying J and filled. Took 50 gallons at $1.42/gal with discount, 7.3mpg. Couldn’t park in RV parking, because cars and bob tail tractors were parked in the RV parking. Decided to go to the nearest casino, but spotted a Walmart on the way. We parked there for the night.