Finally .... the Beach

Believe it or not but Ed was up at 6:15 ---- not coherent but up and moving around. By 6:50 we were on the road. Both the GPS and my mapping program gave us routes on the main highway through Houston. When I looked at the map I decided that we should drive a couple of lesser highways staying far away from Houston. The drive was much nicer and it got us to our destination at least a half hour earlier than the GPS predicted. Once again I was correct in not believing the GPS. Our destination is Mustang Island State Park in Corpus Christi.

The ferry docking at Port Aransas ---- first you drive across a large bridge, then several miles along a causeway before you reach the ferry. The ferry ride takes less than five minutes. Alway wonder why they don't build a bridge here but I guess it has something to do with channel.

Finally I'm in capris and a t-shirt and at the beach.

One happy puppy.

Zaph managed to find three tennis balls during our walk.



Friends Everywhere

It never fails Zaph always seems to find a friend. We were walking at a park near Tyler where Zaph met Hudson.



Still Hanging Around Tyler

Tim is going to get really strong thighs if he keeps giving Timmy rides.

Sarah with her new doll and Omar. The doll can be feed and then, lucky you, gets to the change the diaper. Sarah asked me to help her feed her baby and as soon as water was leaking out of the diaper, surprise, surprise, I got to hold the baby. Yup, even though I had a paper towel I still got wet, just happy that we didn't add the powder that simulated poo!!!

The downtown of Kilgore is all decorated for Christmas. Kilgore is known for it's oil and has a Oil Museum and many oil derricks.



Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy American Thanksgiving. We had a lovely day --- a walk around downtown Tyler and a small park at the north end of the city and a yummy Thanksgiving dinner.

Tyler is known as the Rose Capital of America and each year celebrates with the Rose Festival. Darryl, Carol, Andy, Zaph and I outside of city hall.

The old train station .... it's now a bus terminal and museum.

Down town.

Zaph decided that mommy's lap was a comfortable spot to sit .... mommy thought Zaph was a little heavy and he was evicted to the back of the van.

The Greenberg Smoked Turkey .... it was amazing. My sister has declared that she is no longer cooking a turkey for the holidays --- from now on it's a Greenberg. Greenberg is a local company that is famous for their turkeys which they ship all over the US, more than 200,00 a year. One year the Greenberg Turkey was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show and everyone in the audience was given a smoked turkey. Think that helped business a lot.

The master carver at work

Everybody got to enjoy the Thanksgiving dinner.

My niece Kim and her son Omar.

Timmy riding Andy

My nephew Ted with Sarah and Omar.

Timmy, those are big shoes to fill. Carol, my nephew Tim with his son Timmy, yup he's a junior.




We arrived in Tyler last evening and visited with my sister and family today.

My niece Kim has two children Sarah (6) and Omar (3).

Zaph and Andy love it when the kids are around as extra cookies are given out.



Did You Know....

Did you know that there are Pandas at the Memphis Zoo? I didn't even know that Memphis had a zoo until I was flipping through a Tennessee Tourist Guide and saw an add for the Pandas at the Memphis Zoo. Take one guess where we went today ---- yup you're correct the Zoo.

As far as zoos are concerned the Memphis Zoo is not a large zoo but I was impressed with the variety of animals and the over all look and feel of the exhibits.

First stop China.

When we arrived the Pandas were doing one of the two things Pandas do .... sleep. We were listening to the "zoo keeper chat" when the male Panda, Ya Ya, started to do the second thing that Pandas do .... eat. After eating for a few minutes Ya Ya decided that he was done with the food that was in his pen and he wanted fresh food. First Ya Ya walked over to his exit door and stared at it then he walked to the temporary holding area where he gets treats and finally he walked over to a rock and proceeded to pout .... well it looked like he was pouting. As the "zoo keeper talk" was pretty much over, the zoo keeper headed into the enclosure to deliver some food.

Stalking about asking for food.

The zoo keepers are never in the enclosure with the panda, so the bear is enticed into the caged enclosure where he is fed treats while the fresh bambo is delivered to his main pen.

Happiness is ..... some fresh bambo.

The female panda, Le Le waiting for her treats.

The zoo keeper uses "treat time" as an opportunity to check the pandas health. When the pandas first arrived at the zoo they were taught a number of hand signals that allowed the keepers to check their paws, teeth, etc. We caught one of the checks on video ..... hope it works as it's our first video up load.


Good kitty .... I walked across the front of the tiger enclosure and Ed said the cat watched me.

The newest section in the Zoo is called Teton Trek and it comes complete with a lodge inspired by Yellowstone's Old Faithful Inn and three Grizzly Bear cubs that were orphaned this summer.

Practising looking ferocious.

Aw come on in ... the water is great.

The bears were having a great time "fighting" in the water giving some kids a close up view.

For some reason the Polar Bears weren't interested in swimming this afternoon. The zoo keeper threw some fish in the water but they just wouldn't go in.

The fierce Komodo Dragon.

The Black-footed Penguin is found in South Africa so it is quite happy with Memphis's warm summers. These two penguins were born at the zoo and thus enjoy hanging out with the zoo keeper.

This enclosure is home to both the White-cheeked Gibbon and the Asian Small-clawed Otter.



Off to Memphis

It's about a 3 1/2 hour drive from Nashville to Memphis .... makes for a nice easy day; which it was except for the hour traffic tie up. We arrived at the Tom Sawyer RV Park in West Memphis Arkansas and were given a spot with a great view of the Mississippi River. Great vantage point for watching the barges go by.



I Thought We Were in Nashville

The Parthenon --- no we didn't time warp to Greece. Nashville was known as the "Athens of the South" which influenced the choice of the building as the centre piece of the 1867 Tennessee Centennial Exposition. The building was originally built of plaster, wood and brick with the intension that the building would be removed at the end of the exposition. A public outcry save the building and it was rebuilt in the 1920's out of concrete. This building is a full size replica of the Parthenon in Greece.

The lower level of the Parthenon houses an art gallery and the upper level houses the statue of Athena Parthenos. The statue is a reconstruction of the long lost original to careful scholarly standards.

The Parthenon can be found in the beautiful Centennial Park just west of the downtown area.

We watched this little guy carry the container across the lawn and up the tree. Don't know if he ever managed to get into the container.

Gaylord Opryland Hotel. I think this should be referred to as a city not as a hotel. It's amazing.

The hotel has several beautiful garden areas and everything is getting decorated for Christmas. I betcha it's prettier than ever with all the twinkly lights.

One of the many orchids.



We're off

The November weather has been amazing so we were able to have a "leisurely load" of the trailer. The only thing is we seem to have more space than we did last year so we're kinda of wondering what we're forgetting. Hopefully nothing too expensive.... Departure day was a beautiful sunny day with very little traffic on the road even at the border, only a five minute wait and easy questions. For the first time ever we were questioned about Zaph's dog food and luckily we were able to say that we had an unopened bag of food from Missouri. It's usually a push to make it to Troy, Ohio (something to do with 1 or 2 hour waits at the border) but today we arrived around five pm after a leisurely drive. With darkness approaching and Dayton and Cincinnati on the horizon we decided to call it a day. If you never eaten at a Bob Evan's it's worth a try.

Day 2 was to be a short day as we were only going as far as Nashville. Unfortunately it didn't end up being as short as we would have liked. Ed had to put the breaks on when we were going through Louisville and the trailer breaks responded with a good squeal. He turned off the break controller and stopped at the next rest stop. He checked the break pads and found that three of them perfectly fine not showing much wear but the fourth one was missing. Somehow the break pad had fallen off while we were driving through Louisville, guess the nut had worked itself loose. Ed being Ed, he needed to get a new break pad NOW. After calling several shops he finally found a break pad ---- of course they were back in Louisville. A half hour later we were parked behind the break shop and Ed was installing a new break pad ---- I always wondered why we carry all the tools we do. Then it was back on the road with us arriving at the campground in Nashville just before 5pm Central time.


Loving Being in the Trailer

It's great being back in the trailer again. So far I've found that I've only forgot to pack a few things --- wine bottle plug .... a trip to the dollar store should fix that and the pillows that we normally sleep on ..... we have pillows just not our regular ones. Ed wanted to go to the store to look for a few things and we needed groceries so the morning was spent doing errands.

After two days of riding around in the truck Zaph deserved some exercise so we drove to the Moss-Wright Park in Goodlettsville and went for a long walk.

The Bowen House built around 1787 can be found in the park.

"Mansker's Fort is an authentic reconstruction of a 1779 frontier forted station typical of early Cumberland settlements."



It's Finally Done!!!

It's taken a year but the bookcase is done ..... can't wait to put books on it. Part of the hold up on finishing the book case was deciding what to do with the area beside it and the building the "popcorn" bar. It is a theatre room after all.

The bookcase / bar end of the room. The furniture is arranged for optimum movie viewing.

I'm starting the count down for the trip south ---- 14 sleeps maybe less if the long range forecast is correct. I'm really looking forward to some heat after the cool summer and getting away from the "to do" list. I've already started the lists for the next two years .......

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