Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Dec 28 ---
We slept through the night witout incident, no tornadoes but a lot of wind and rain. Up early to reports, on the telly, that major storm and tornado warnings issued during the night would expire but 8:00am CST. We made a decision to delay our departure until after that time. The forecast called for high winds but no weather. High winds meant twixt 30-40 mph gusts.

When i said telly i meant our digital antenna television. In Traverse City at our house we can receive 3 channels. in Marion we picked up 5 channels and in Memphis we had 10. One channel had vintage movies, Hopalong Cassidy played a bad guy to rid the town of evil characters in a film from the '40s. Three channels had religious programming, of course, what did i expect on Sunday? The rest delivered an assortment of paid programming and news. Hence the weather in the morning. At least the weather man did not talk down to the viewers.  He gave the information about the storms coming without comment. Quite refreshing.
After the main round of bad weather cleared we headed for Archadelphia, Ar. The town where my mother and father got married. Actually, we headed for Crater of Diamonds State Park outside of Murfreesboro, AR. Archadelphia stood at an interchange of our trip to the park. We intended to pay for our trip by finding diamonds at the park and selling them for much money. That and winning the Powerball lotto will make me rich. So far Deb and I will fund this trip out of our own pockets.
We encountered major head wins on our drive to The park. We average 65mph as a middle ground to speed and gas costs. Our mileage peaks at 65mph. Faster, we get to our place sooner but at a cost of gas. Slower and we never reach our destination and don't save much in gas. so on the road i drove and found the predicted headwinds. I would drive straight down the road then the crosswind of (?)30mph would hit on my left front blowing me sideways until i steered into it and stabilized just in time for it to stop blowing and i had to adjust all over again. A grueling task for 4 hours. Our mile dropped from about 10mpg to 8 due to headwinds!
I believe the Army sent my father to Archadelphia and my mother followed. The town has a small almost dead downtown and K-Mart outside of town. Go figure K-Mart has headquarters in Arkansas. I did take a picture of the Town Hall, place where my parents may have gotten their license and tied the knot. I know no more. I am such a softie!
On to the diamond mind and riches!!! We arrived at the state park and got our camp site.Then we went to the open pit and began our search. One can find diamonds in three areas of the world. South Africa, Russia and Arkansas, possibly more if you check Google. You need and ancient, ancient volcano that exploded and got covered and eroded out.

In the cone that descends into the earth you may find diamonds. Diamonds found in these locations have the same quality and value. So when Deb or I find the big score we will buy drinks for all. Don't hold your breath!
Cold, wet,  back aching and tired we retired from the diamond field. At he camp site we found no digital channels and resorted to reading for the night. Next stop the Louisiana coast and 70 degrees!!!!!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Dec 27 --
We left Marion. Il early. We find our internal clocks to not keep proper time. Has to do with driving long distances, getting dark early, boredum and more. Of course, we, then, wake up early as well.
On the road means watching the sun come up. It would have if the clouds didn't obscure the sight. The storm pattern covering the middle of the country lies just to the west of us. While we don't get the big rains we do get constant overcast and drizzle with the occasional storm squalls. Also, an intermittent cross wind that makes driving tiring favors us,

Even with that we saw the confluence of the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers. Believe me when i say you could fill many bathtubs with all the water that we saw there. The Ohio had many barges and tugboats. Some moored on the shore and some in route down river. They seem bigger live than in the pictue books. On to Memphis!
We made Memphis after stopping for a fill-up at a non-descript gas station whose sign claimed "Pit B-B-Q". We filled our tank and bought two pork sandwiches. The pork slab looked like 3/4 of an inch thick. It had  a real live smoke ring, that made the experience that much richer. We took our sandwiches on the road to save time. About 1 mile down the road we wished we had bought several more. They tasted like pork heaven.
 When we arrived in Memphis the weather cleared a bit. No blue sky but no rain as well. We walked Beale street, The Gibson Museum and saw the Holy of Holies, Graceland. Then the best part.  Imagine sitting in Silky O'Sullivan's drinking beer, watching football and listening to live blues. Don't know which i liked more, Pork Heaven or Bluesy football!
 We arrived at the T.O. Fuller campground with 5 other campers already installed. Our campground host said if the high school siren goes off heard for the bathroom. The weather service announced a tornado warning for 1AM.
Good Night!
P.S. We found Elvis and BB King.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Arrived at Marion Camp Ground no worse for wear. The drive had little to talk about. We hit rain just outside of Chicago and drove in and out through all of Illinois until Marion. We saw several cars who must have traveled at high speed during some of the harsher weather as they spun out. No injuries that we could see as we sped by at high speed.
We drove for 11 hours... or so, and covered about 700 miles. We hardly used our camper as, you know, we used highway miles. We have driven the longest leg of our trip, that we have planned so far. From now on our trips will last no longer than 4 hours, at least in our plan.
I'd like to tell you about the flat fields of Illinois but the rain hid all but the closest wettest fields. Still a very nice drive.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, whichever greeting you use.
Today is December 25, 2016 and Deb and I(hereafter referred as "We") are packed and ready for motor travel to southern USA. Our hope is to travel Florida and such returning to Traverse City towards the end of January.
Those of you living in TC already know that our weather has been anything but normal. We have enjoyed 50 degree days and rain rather than snow. Should normal weather systems set in while we are on the road, Deb and I will return to snow and cold. Why then are we going now? Because we can!
At 8:00ish tomorrow morning we will embark on an epic journey and test our mettle of living in a 19' travel van for a month.
The participants in this trip include Deb, myself, Brittany and Fern. Details to follow.