A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.





Monday, June 14, 2021

Stanton Lake Park

 

Falls City, Nebraska

Just across the Kansas/Nebraska border lies Falls City.  They had a city park one could camp at.

This is why I came.  It had a shower!

Oh it was so nice.


After my refreshing bath I ate my Subway sandwich I picked up in town made by two grumpy women.

“This place is nice.”  I decided to stay.


I have stayed at dozens of city park campgrounds all over the country.  
This one moved to the top of my list, best of show.
Being as I don’t need hookups I could use the parking only rate.


Look at that view.
Just on the other side of the lake are train tracks.  The trains roll through slowly and with no horn blowing. That evening I laid in bed listening to the train pass by and found it a comforting sound.  
Boy, I never thought I’d be writing those words.


There was only one other camper there.  Some people would come to walk around the lake or fish.  
That was about all there was going on.  I decided to stay a second day.


That day the other camper left so I moved over to where he was to get away from the gender reveal party that was setting up in the activities cabin, just in case they blew the place up.
Sitting there in the picnic shelter I wished I had something to drink.  So I left Beans on the table secured, and went over to the RV and back.  She stayed put.  She’s such a good girl.  Just then after my first sip of lemonade a train rolled through and at the same time the party set off a minor firework.  
Beans freaked.  
I took her back home.
Okay, that wasn’t a very smart move on my part.
Oh, it’s a girl in case you were wondering.


Over in the dog exercise area I discovered some more damage from that storm.


In case any of you are fishermen or women and were curious.


Oops!  My lemonade was a Mike’s Hard Lemonade.
I was over there to the right behind the sign. 
I didn’t know...really.




Sunday, June 13, 2021

John Miburn Davis

 

Hiawatha, Kansas


I had this marked on my map from years ago when Sinbad and I traveled around but we never made it to this corner of Kansas.


Well now here Beans and I are.


I tried to copy the story from the online site here but was having too many problems.


At the bottom will be a link to the site and a repeat of my photos so it will make sense to you.


I think you will find it interesting.


I think I would have liked Mr. Davis 



For the complete story click HERE

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Scared! Scared Really Bad!

 Kickapoo Nation Reservation

We were nearing our destination for the day watching the darkening skies ahead.


Suddenly my phone blared at me.
That alone scared me enough.
Then I read it.
Okay, more scared now.


Just after I read that the blast of rain hit hard, followed by winds so intense that I could barely keep the RV going in a straight line.  This all happened with the suddenness of broken shoelace.


Mercifully the Kickapoo Casino was less than a quarter mile ahead and I pulled in.  I backed into a spot facing into the windstorm and then things went really bad.  I couldn’t even see the casino.  The wind buffeted the RV from all sides.  “Okay, this is it.  We’re done for.”
I thought Beans had went down into her hidey-hole as I couldn’t find her.  Finally I found her right there in the overhead looking at me.  What a brave little girl.
Within an hour it was over and we were okay (that is when I took the photo below), but I was worn to a frazzle.  I decided to just stay the night where we were in the parking lot.


I shot a half minute of video but don’t know if this will show until it is published on the blog.
If it doesn’t show all I can say is the scene reminded me of those you see in the Arctic where the snow is whipped up across the frozen ice.


The next day in the nearby town of Horton I saw a few trees down and three power line poles lying alongside a cornfield, wires still attached. Tree limbs were scattered everywhere.  One cornfield where the corn was two feet high now the stalks lay at a forty-five degree angle.  In the field itself were long twisted pieces of sheet metal.  Down the road I saw the barn roof they were peeled away from. This bird family lost its home.  Their two babies lay nearby.  Mama and papa were up in the tree chirping their loss.



Friday, June 11, 2021

From the Steamer into the Frying Pan


Erie and Moran, Kansas

We spent the night in Joplin, Missouri.  It’s hot.  It’s hot everywhere in the country.

We stopped in the little town of Erie, KS, a church picnic spot, for lunch.  It was 91 degrees.  So much nicer than any degrees in that horrible humidity in Mississippi and Louisiana.  Beans is happy.  Me too.


Not much further we passed through Moran, population barely over 500.
Sign upon entering town read: Home of Debra Dene Barnes.  Miss America 1968.
Wow, how cool is that?  Miss America out of a little town in Kansas.


Here she is.


She is 73 today.  This her in later years.  She was being interviewed by CBS as the pageant was disrupted at the time by a women’s lib protest.  I don’t know her age in the photo.


  As we sat there on Main St. a long funeral possession passed by coming towards us.  I stayed put. 
 It made me reflect; live every day the best regardless of the weather.





Thursday, June 10, 2021

A Bad Decision?


That afternoon in Clinton I got to thinking I should have stayed on the interstate at Little Rock for easy driving to put down some miles.  Now we were looking at mountain driving through the Ozarks.  I’ve done that before on a previous trip.  It would be a forty mile backtrack to the interstate.  Nope.  I’ll just deal with what lies ahead.  On the plus side that afternoon and night in Clinton was the first rain-free period in I don’t know how long.  Things were looking up. 

We got going and soon I realized this route was much nicer than the one Sinbad and I did years back.  It was easy driving and the scenery spectacular.  The Ozarks never disappoint except...for two hours there was only one “scenic viewpoint” to pull off into and it was closed with construction!!  So all I have is a through the windshield photo of a so-so scene.


I stopped for lunch in a little town then reset the GPS for our overnight stay spot with half the two hour drive to be on interstate.  Claire immediately sent us up a small highway from our lunch spot.  Wait, this isn’t what I wanted!  There was no place to turn around.  Oh well, I’ll just deal with it.  The road wasn’t as bad as that one from years ago and I finally got into it enjoying the traffic-free back roads of Arkansas.  Then we suddenly crossed the state line and the up and down roller coaster roads of Missouri.  
Welcome to Missouri.


At the end of the day there were no bad decisions after all.
It was a great day’s drive.



Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Not Those Clintons!


Clinton, Arkansas
Named after DeWitt Clinton who built the Eire Canal and who became Governor of New York in 1817.
Why someone in Arkansas wanted to name their town after him, I don’t know.

Anyway, our last night in Pine Bluff was eventful as you can see from the lightening strikes.


We continued northward through Little Rock and beyond with rain most every mile.  By lunch time when we arrived in Clinton we had had enough and it wasn’t raining there.  I think we have left the dreadful humidity behind.  Now if only we can dry out.

On February 5, 2008 an EF4 tornado ripped through Clinton killing three people and destroying many homes.  We’re not hanging around.

I mark on paper maps all the roads I have traveled over the years and we are beginning to come across many of those roads again.  Its hard to find new untraveled routes but hey, its not like I can remember them anyway so why let it bother me?  I’m not.  I still enjoy the scenery.  It is like new to me.  Also I am not trying to find places to stay like normal campgrounds until we can get out from all this wet.





  

 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Stuck an Extra Day


Pine Bluff, Arkansas 

We are trying to get through Arkansas although it is nicer here humidity wise.  Rather than making it a long day’s drive through Little Rock we pulled up in Pine Bluff.  No need to hurry to go nowhere.  That evening my recent repair to the refrigerator door hinge gave way.  Those miserable Louisiana roads broke the original repair that had lasted two years.  We stayed an extra day so I could go to Lowes and make a much better repair.  This one will last for sure.

We returned to our same Walmart Camperland spot to weather out that afternoon’s thunderstorms.  I tried to get Beans out but there was too much activity.  But we met a nice young man, Anthony, who stop to see and pet Beans.  He sent this photo he took.  You can tell Beans has had enough, not of Anthony but of all the car s going by.  She was happy to get back inside.



Monday, June 7, 2021

Beans Volunteers

 

Arkansas Welcome Center

Beans sat out front welcoming visitors to Arkansas


This didn’t last long before she wanted to explore some more.


No you can’t go inside.  You’ve attracted enough attention already sitting out front.


We are putting in more miles than usual trying to put the hot humid conditions behind us.
It is getting better; we just have to keep moving.



Sunday, June 6, 2021

We Can’t Do This

 Brookhaven, Mississippi

This is me. A flat tire and I am already using my spare tire.

I feel like trash on toast.


We cannot go on any further.  The humidity is too much for us.  Everything inside has been damp and sticky for nearly two weeks now.  It never dries out.  Including us.  Beans is growing mildewy.  I have become a moldy old man.  I really wanted to tour the South again.  I love the southern states, but we’re not enjoying it.  Everyday is another day of wet heavy air, so uncomfortably thick I can slice it with a knife.  When the heat index, the measure indicating the level of discomfort the person is thought to experience as a result of the combined effects of the temperature and humidity sits at 102.6 degrees, the fun is over.  
We are turning around.

We went through this two years ago while in the mideast.  It got so bad I was laid up sick for two days in Ohio and West Virginia.  Already I have no appetite.  Beans quit eating her wet food days ago.  She just nibbles at her kibble now.  I have learned from that experience. 

I’m really disappointed.  But once I made the decision to bail and got over the initial feeling of having failed again, I felt better knowing I made the right choice.  It is only the first week of June.  It is only going to get worse.  And here I was worrying about tornados for this trip when the humidity would be my undoing.



Saturday, June 5, 2021

Tripod

 

Natchez, Mississippi

In the lawn in front of City Hall lies the grave of Tripod, the city’s kitty.


At some time in his life a three legged cat took up residence in the city hall building of Natchez.  He quickly became well loved by the city employees and residents who came in to do business.  When Tripod passed away donations poured in for a proper burial and a gravestone.  Two local monument companies wound up donating a headstone.  Local legend has it that Tripod was so loved by the community that when the donations were tallied they exceeded the money the city itself had.


Natchez looked to be a wonderful city, rich in history you can see in its buildings. 
It sits on the bank of the Mississippi River.  

We didn’t dilly-dally around though for thunderstorms were bearing down on us from the south.


Friday, June 4, 2021

I Have Been Converted

 

We were driving along and I was ready for some lunch and looking about as we passed through Jena, Louisiana for some local cuisine.  I was running out of town when I saw Popeye’s.  Now I have seen them all over the country but never went to one before.  “Louisiana Kitchen”, okay not what I was looking for but that’s close enough.


I walked up to the door...locked. 
The bottom sign reads: Lobby closed due to labor shortage.
I sidestepped to the takeout window, told the woman I’m in a large RV and she said “Go to the door, someone will be with you.”  Right away another lady opened the door.  
“What can I get you?”
“I just want a sandwich.”
“Anything else with that?”
“Nope.”
“ONE CLASSIC!!!” She hollered over her shoulder.  “That’ll be $4.37.”
I handed her a five and she was back within a minute with my sandwich and change.
Fastest transaction ever at a fast food place.


It seems darn near every business, especially fast food places, I drive by have signs out “HIRING”.
There seems no shortages in jobs to be had these days.  
I’ll stop there and say no more on the subject.


I walked back to the abandoned furniture store parking lot where I had found shade to park in to have my lunch.  I unwrapped it and was impressed with just the bun alone.  It wasn’t like the typical buns seen at all fast food hamburger places (see the Whataburger bun at the bottom).  Inside was a thick piece of Louisiana fried chicken.  Now I am not all that much about chicken sandwiches; I’ll go with cow all the time.  Not anymore!  This thing was good!  So good that it now stands at the top of my list for a road food sandwich.


Amanda wanted me to make sure I tried Whataburger’s onion rings and Dr. Pepper shake before I left Texas.  The rings were very well done.  Near perfection.  Dr. Pepper is my soft drink of choice.  That shake was 32 ounces of goodness that took me all day to finish.  



Thursday, June 3, 2021

Gum Springs Walkabout

 

After a good hard rain off and on through the night the next day was all set for some exploring.

For some reason the day use area was ribboned off “CLOSED”.  

I walked all the way around to get to this.


Is this Gum Springs?
I could see picnic tables on the other side but there is no access.  Why?
The water didn’t look inviting what with a lot of weeds just below the surface.
We’re getting close to gator country too.


On one tree with the tape wrapped around it was a sign folded over in half due to all the rain.  I lifted it up.  A live wasp nest was attached!  I didn’t stick around  read it.


Continuing on I found another notice lying on the ground.  It was all about warning the visitor of the potential of falling trees which had become a more constant concern since hurricane Laura passed through here in August of 2020.  Laura was a Category 4 hurricane, a tie for the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana with sustained winds of 150 mph recorded.
Maybe this is why the campground looks recently redone.








Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Gum Springs

 

Between Natchitoches and Winnfield, Louisiana

We left the snake roundup of Mansfield the next morning stopping off at the neighboring Tractor Supply for propane before leaving town.  Our goal was another Forest Service campground.


This is a very nice campground looking very much as if it had been recently refurbished.
And no one else was here!  Ten dollars a night, half that for Beans and I.
No electricity and water only at certain points along the loop.  Cell service is weak.


In my mind I think reestablishing the Civilian Conservation Corp today would be a good plan.  It would give the homeless a place to stay, feed them daily and provide jobs for the unemployed all the while rebuild our country’s public lands.  Then again, the generation back then in the thirties and forties were not adversed to work.  Hmm...guess that is why we don’t have a CCC today.
  

Beans likes this place.



Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The Great Mansfield Snake Hunt

 

Walmart, Mansfield, Louisiana

A lot of loud talking was going on outside while I was trying to rest.  When the police showed up I had to get up and see what was going on.


It seems these two guys saw a snake slither in up under this car.
That is the cop investigating the prowler.


First they sprayed WD-40 into where the snake went in at the right rear wheel.  A lot of poking and banging with tools and then a big stick ensued.  The two guys  went into the store and came back with a four-pack of Raid insect fogger cans.  The three of them set off the foggers waving them all around under the car.  Then a large can of Raid ant spray came into play.  A lot more poking and beating on the car and gas tank continued.  The guy in the white shirt drove buy and offered up his garden pump sprayer filled with weed killer.  That’s what is going on here.


Back-up was called in; two more police officers arrived.  More stick action followed even by the two new officers as if they will succeed where everyone else failed.
  This poor car took a beating let me tell you.


After two hours of this nonsense the cops retreated leaving just the two guys unsupervised.  Their buddy came by and passed them a can of gasoline and one of them goes around pouring gas on all four wheels.  Okay, now I am getting ready to make a fast exit for the two dudes have been smoking cigarettes off and on the entire time.  With that done they leave a note on the windshield and go on their merry way.


The end of the story.  A tour bus stops by later and lets off a bunch of folk who must have just took part in a casino tour of the area.  The car belongs to one of the bingo players.  Gasoline man just happens by and informs them of the day’s happenings...in great detail.  All the gamblers stand around at a safe distance looking and listening.  The two ladies who came in the car want nothing to do with it.  The bus driver gets in and takes the car for a spin in the parking lot.  Gas man gives the two ladies a ride home.  Later one woman returns in a pickup truck with an old man driving.  He drives the car away and she, still not wanting anything to do with her car drives away in the truck.  

Walmart camping, always interesting.