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Heading Home After Seven Months on the Road

We left home the day after Labor Day last September (2013), and have had a great time exploring America: Route 66, ABQ Balloon Fiesta, Cumbres & Toltec NG RR, New Mexico, Texas. Now it's time to push the pedal down just a little harder and wend our way back northeastward to home in New England.

 

21 Mar 14: So today we said farewell to Texas and crossed the Sabine River into Louisiana. At the state line, we had to cross the Sabine River on this rather old, rusty bridge with a low clearance of only 12 feet. Luckily a Lazy Daze is under 11 feet.

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Our destination was Colfax RV Park in Colfax, LA, on the Red River. The park is operated by the Red River Waterway Commission and is located adjacent to Lock and Dam #3. The park is fairly new and very nice. We were pleasantly surprised to find a free washer and dryer in the bathhouse, so we were able to get caught up on our laundry.

22 Mar 14: Before leaving Colfax Park, we took a walk over to the Lock and Dam Control House. We were warmly received in the office and were given a little tour of the control 14: room and got to see how the lock is operated.

Yesterday we were back on the road heading over toward the Mississippi River and Lake Bruin State Park for the weekend. Lake Bruin is a very nice small state park on an oxbow lake that was once part of the Mississippi River. The river is now just east of the park behind a huge levee - can't see it from here.

24 Mar: It took us a month to get across Texas, but only a couple of days to cover Loiuisiana. From Lake Bruin we headed north along the west bank of the Mississippi, although we never got to see it, thanks to the height of the levees. We even drove through a corner of the only Lower 48 states that we have not visited - Bill and Hillary Land. Since we didn't spend a night there though, we'll leave that the only uncolored state on our "states visited" map on the RV door. We finally did to see the Mississippi River when we crossed the Greenville Bridge on US-82. The cable-stayed bridge opened in 2010 with a 1378-foot span 122 feet above the river level.

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Our destination was just a few miles past the bridge, Warfield Point Park, right on the river a few miles southwest of Greenville, MS. We arrived at noon and were soon settled in our site just a few feet from the river, where we could watch the endless parade of tugs and barges up and down the river. It was rather amazing how many barges one tug could handle - some had 21. Trivia: they can go downriver twice as fast as they go upstream. Most of the tugs were pretty massive, but there were also some smaller ones that reminded me of Tuffy the Tugboat.

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29 Mar 14: We've been back on the move since the Mississippi River. From Warfield Point Park, we drove partway across Mississippi to Oak Grove COE Campground at Lake Sardis near Oxford. We snagged the best site in the park, right near the water and sunnier than most. We stayed two nights, and I took advantage of the extra day to explore 4 other campgrounds, all within walking distance - I did put 5.3 miles on my pedometer in the process. Yesterday we were debating the weather - the forecast was for showers and thunderstorms, but being the ace weather-guesser that I am, I felt it would be dry most of the day, so off we went. North, then east through Corinth and up into Tennessee to Pickwick Dam.

winter13-14-023 Gas prices seem to be all over the place with no consistency, even within one town. We've found Gas Buddy to be a great help in saving a few bucks here and there. At our last gas stop, in Corinth (found via Gas Buddy), we looked across the road and saw this little local eatery. Quite an interesting name!

Pickwick Dam, built in the 1930's, is located just above the point where TN abuts both MS and AL. The dam is on the Tennessee River, which runs south to north and with the help of locks is a navigable waterway. The TVA campground at Pickwick is just below the dam and across from the locks.

The dam is 113 feet high and 7,715 feet long, and has a generating capacity of 240,200 kilowatts. The lock raises boats 63 feet. We drove over that bridge atop the dam to get to the campground.

The lock is used by both commercial barge traffic and recreational boaters.

 

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30 Mar 14: After a rather wet and dreary day yesterday, we awoke to clear skies and a big sun rising over the dam and under the bridge. After breakfast we stowed things for the road and got on our way.

Destination: Arnold AFB near Tullahoma, TN. Our route was eastward along US-64, the David Crockett Highway. "Born on a mountaintop in Tenessee....." - remember that little ditty from the Walk Disney Show back in the 50's?

Here and there we noted a few little interesting scenes - nothing spectacular.

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arnold afb18  6 Apr 14L: Back on the road today after a delightful week at Arnold AFB. We liked the campground so much we extended our stay several days so we could enjoy our waterfront site. The price was right, as well - only $12 a night for electric and water hookups. We also discovered that there were miles of bike and hike trails near the campground so that each day we could take a different route through the woods.

Today we headed east on US-70, doing our best to avoid I-40, although we did end up on it for about a dozen miles near the end of the morning's drive of 137 miles. Our destination was Melton Hill Dam, a TVA campground a little southwest of Knoxville, TN. It's a pretty nice campground and we'll be here at least two nights, sitting out the next batch of rain. As you may have gathered by now, we don't do rain. We're not in a hurry to get anywhere so why should we? Looking ahead, though, we'll probably be home sometime next week.

Spring is trying to make an appearance - let's cheer it on! arnold afb21

10 Apr 14: On we roll....only a few more days remain before our arrival home. On Tuesday we left Melton Hill Dam and made it up to Virginia, just over the state line to Sugar Hollow City Park in Bristol, VA. Had the place almost entirely to ourselves - with 75 sites available, we had 74 from which to choose. This was a convenient stopover spot, being only a couple of miles from I-81 and US-11. Yesterday morning we left Bristol and had to put up with some showers most of the morning. To avoid the dreaded interstate and that horrendous spray from passing trucks, we meandered our way up US-11. One of the neatest towns around is Abingdon, which looks quite prosperous and historic.

Our stop last night was at Camping World in Roanoke, VA, where we had a shopping list with quite a few items on it. On top of that, we always manage to find a few things that weren't on the list as well. The big ticket item was a new faucet for the kitchen sink - the old one had chipped paint and I could not keep the handle tightened. At first I planned to install it myself when we got home, but then we noticed a special installation deal for President's Club/Good Sam members - only $40. They weren't able to schedule it that afternoon, but put us down for first thing this morning. We're quite pleased with the results.

Since we had only 45 miles planned for the day, we were able to get the faucet installed and still make it up to Buena Vista's Glen Maury Park by noon. We've been stopping at Glen Maury on our way northward for quite a few years now. A major attraction is Nick's Pizza, within walking distance - very good pizza!

We managed to fall victim to another problem last evening: although I knew our house batteries were going to need replacing this summer, I hadn't counted on them dying completely before we made it home. Well, last night they did - just shortly after dark, lights were getting dimmer and I had a reading of 9.8 volts. Not good at all. This morning I called a Trojan battery dealing up in Harrisonburg, VA, through which we'll be passing tomorrow, but he had none in stock and couldn't get them until Monday. We have one more night of dry-camping and then for our last two nights on the road we will have hookups. So there's a "to-do" item to take care of when we get home. And of course there's the matter of a rather dirty rig to get cleaned up.

14 Apr 14: Following our night in Buena Vista we headed northward to Straburg, VA, where we visited an old high school chum. Along with our visit, we enjoyed a delightful dinner at the Strasburg Hotel, a beautifully restored hostelry.

The next morning we were back on the road, heading up across eastern WV and MD with a goal of spending the night at French Creek State Park near Pottstown, PA. Alas, it was not meant to be: being a Saturday on a pleasant weekend weather-wise, the campground was full. French Creek has 100% of its sites designated as reservable, with none held back for first-come/first-served travelers such as us. Oh well, on into Pottstown and a night at Wally-World.

A very short night, as it turned out; we were awakened at 0330 by the propane gas detector going off. It wasn't a propane ploblem, but instead a low-battery issue. Our house batteries were down 7.7 volts! After that little excitement, we couldn't get back to sleep, so we after an hour or so, we decided to get up and hit the road. Being Sunday morning, there was little traffic and we were making good time, so we rolled right on past our planned stop in NJ and after pausing at the Danbury, CT, rest area to dump our tanks, we pulled into our driveway at noon.

Almost 7000 miles in 7 months. A great trip! Now we just have to get everything put away in the house and settle into our "at home" routine.

Thanks for your interest in our trek!