another front yard
This will be our longest SOWER assignment so far -- we are not expected to leave here (except for Christmas Break) until the first of February 2017. But we have a beautiful and peaceful site in the middle of an aromatic pine forest. We have Internet, there are hiking/running trails right out our back door, and the satellite TV has managed somehow to pull in a signal through all of the trees, so we are in great shape. This will also be our first time to be Team Leaders for a 2-month project. Wish us luck!
the travel bug
Safe travels, Geoff and Sue! Thanks for dinner!
[Ken 11/20/2016] We left the cold behind us, for sure! We are back in sunny and warm (74 degrees!) Texas, ya'all! The campground might look familiar -- this is our third time to stay here. We are at Escapees RV Park just south of Livingston, TX, for a few (4) days.
This time we are here to renew our license plates (this is our county of registration), make a couple of small repairs, and to get a few insurance matters taken care of. Then we'll be heading about 30 miles west on Thursday (Thanksgiving) morning to check in at our next SOWER project. It sure feels good to be back in Texas!
This is the 'center of the universe' for the United States' RV industry; Escapees is the most powerful RV lobby in the country. We are glad to have a relationship with them so that they can continue to facilitate legislation that keeps an eye open for us "Full-Timers!"
This Civil War military park commemorates the Battle of Vicksburg, the Union siege of one of those "must have" Confederate strongholds of the CSA. Ulysses S.Grant conferred with President Lincoln and agreed that these highlands were strategic and had to be taken by the Union. A win of the town of Vicksburg and the surrounding areas would result in shutting down all Confederate traffic on the Mississippi River, as well as taking control of the major north/south railway artery. The steadfast Confederate army held on for nearly two months, but in the end were defeated by a valorous Union. As we hiked around the hilly battlefield we noted that the Texas' troops were assigned the responsibility of defending the railroad line. What a cool charge that must have been!
I've always liked this battlefield (I can't remember how many times that I've been there). The rolling hills, curious-shaped redoubts, and defensive stockades all come together to make this one of the more exciting Civil War campaign sites, in my opinion. As you would expect, the monuments and cannon are positioned on the high ground -- as a child I remember running up-and-down the hills to see these. On this visit, I did the same, of course.
Today, there are hundreds of cannon, monuments and tour signs to guide you and help to bring this history to life. As a bonus, dredged from the muddy bottom of the Mississippi River, the ironclad gunboat USS Cairo, the first US ship to be sunk by a torpedo in wartime, is also on display at the park.
We are greatly disappointed in our new Jeep Cherokee. It was advertised as a four-wheels-down, towable vehicle making it ideal for towing behind a motorhome. But even after having the Jeep Dealer install a power steering modification [under warranty] we continue to have problems with its tow-ability. We are thankful to U-Haul for stepping up with this temporary work-around .
Established in 1934, GSMNP is one of the earliest national parks. The tunnels, bridges, and overlooks each represent long-standing, original CCC stonework projects from the 1930's and 1940's. The park is now expanded to almost 800,000 acres, making it the largest contiguous public lands area in the eastern Untied States. There are three(+) Visitors Centers (museums) and several clusters of restored 19th century farm buildings and grist mills. We visited them all. But of greatest interest to us were the endless blue-mountain horizons swelling with their photogenic and iconic "smoke-like vapor."
The promising and fertile valleys and mountains of the Smokys were a highly sought-after part of the new frontier -- simultaneously settled by trappers, miners, farmers, railroad workers, and lumber companies. Today there are only reminders of these once bustling communities. In my book, in 2016, there are only two reasons to visit the Park, however ... to revel in the splendid mountain scenery, and to hike the mountain trails. You could tell by our extended huffing-and-puffing that we greatly enjoyed both.