Hopscotching South and West
When I was a little girl, I loved to play hopscotch. I’d get a dusty piece of white chalk and draw the squares in various patterns of ones and twos. Hop, hop, hop then rest on a two-square …. Hop, hop, hop, hop, rest. The last few weeks have been just like those hopscotch games I played as a girl.
When last I wrote we were in Red Bay, AL getting a little TLC done on the
coach. Due to the age of our coach (can you believe it has been 5 years!) we could only get into the Express Bays and for only 3 hours. As always, Tiffin got us in much quicker than expected and they were able to do more work in 3 hours than we thought possible – they fixed the shower drain leak, adjusted our back slide, put new latches on three drawers, replaced the light in the shower, and replaced a dock light. Turns out the mechanical work on the hydraulics would be done in the mechanical bay and would not count against our 3 hours so we had another
day with the mechanics to find and locate the broken wire on a solenoid. We were also able to contract with a couple of after-hours guys to get our weBoost installed and to have our yearly service on the AquaHot system. All in all, it took longer to get into the after-hours guys schedules than it did getting into Tiffin and even so we ended up spending only nine days in Red Bay four of which were over the weekends.
Since we had the break in workdays, we decided to go check out the Tishomingo State Park in Mississippi. Only a half hour from Red Bay it gave us an opportunity to stretch our legs and see some of the beautiful Mississippi landscape. We had been chasing fall colors since we left Florida and we continued to relish walking under the vibrant trees while kicking and crunching the dried leaves. We really missed fall the last two years that we spent in Florida, so this year has really been wonderful reconnecting with our favorite season.
And the intrepid videographer capturing the beauty of a waterfall ….
Once we were done in Red Bay the hopscotch game got into full swing. Our first year on the road we determined our 4, 3, 2 Rule. We drive no more
than 4 hours in a day, driving less than 300 miles, and getting into our next campsite by 2 pm. We also do not drive more than 3 or 4 days in a row before taking a break of at least 3 night. So, we hopped down to New Orleans with two days of driving with a stop in Meridian, MS at the Benchmark Coach and RV Park. This is a nice quiet campground right near the highway, perfect for a one-night stay.
One of the main reasons for our stop in New Orleans was to see our niece Rose and her husband David. Not only to catch up with them since their move from Memphis, but also to FINALLY get my hair cut again! Due to Covid it had been looonnnggg overdue and it is wonderful having an awesome hairstylist in the family!
Like so many of you we have had to make some hard choices this year. Traveling during a pandemic is really chancy but we are doing everything we can to minimize our exposure and exposing those we love. If my hair hadn’t needed attention, we probably would have skipped the visit. Even
still we made sure to keep 6ft apart and to wear our masks when indoors. Even though we were near New Orleans for 3 nights at the Pine Crest RV Park in Slidell we only had one short visit with Rose (unfortunately David had to work) and pretty much just stayed in the campground except for grocery shopping. Pine Crest is a large park, which is showing its age just a bit, but it is just across Lake Pontchartrain and perfect for visiting the Big Easy.
With a much lighter head we were ready to get on the hopscotch board
again with quick hops to Iowa, LA staying at the Cypress Bend Campground and in Schulenburg, TX at the Schulenburg RV Park before landing in Junction, TX at the Pecan Valley RV Park for 3 nights. The drive west was a bit windy and this part of Interstate 10 in LA and TX is just as horrendous as we remembered which makes for hard driving days. It was also hard to see the devastation of the record five hurricanes that hit
that area this year. Having lived through several hurricanes ourselves, we really feel for those trying to put their lives back together during a pandemic. While both Cypress Bend and Schulenburg made for good one-night stops, we really wish we had planned to spend more than 3 nights at Pecan Valley.
This farm/campground is simply beautiful. Still close enough to the highway to make it any easy stop but set in the middle of a pecan grove on the South Llano River. Our three days were quiet and refreshing and we even took a day to decompress and get our steps in at the South Llano River State Park. Hiking the winding trails along the river and through the pecan and mesquite trees we saw a fox, an armadillo, turtles, and lots of blue birds (you might just be able to make them out flitting round the branches in the video below).
After two short of a stay (we will be back) we hopped again to Balmorhea, TX staying at the Saddleback Mountain RV Park and then on to the Las Cruses, NM KOA, again both good one night stops before landing in Tucson, AZ at the Cactus Country RV Resort.
After being on the road pretty much straight for 2 weeks we knew we would need a longer break and the timing and distance worked out perfectly that we would land at the RV park where our good friends and previous Workamping buddies from Florida, John and Lucy, are working this winter. We also wanted to be off the road the week of Thanksgiving to avoid the worst of the holiday traffic. The added bonus is that we would get to spend Turkey Day again with our friends from Barberville.
As I stated before, we all are making hard decisions about how best to protect our families and balance our lives during this crazy year. We know we are driving by friends and relatives and not stopping but we are trying to keep everyone safe and to follow the health officials guidelines while at the same time trying to live full-time on the road. It’s a hard balance, but we are only doing things where we can be socially distant, staying out of restaurants, not visiting attractions except those that are outside, using hand sanitizer constantly, and wearing our masks.
In a recent article by Meghan Markle in the New York times she states,
So this Thanksgiving, as we plan for a holiday unlike any before — many of us separated from our loved ones, alone, sick, scared, divided and perhaps struggling to find something, anything, to be grateful for — let us commit to asking others, “Are you OK?” As much as we may disagree, as physically distanced as we may be, the truth is that we are more connected than ever because of all we have individually and collectively endured this year.
I hope you take the time to read the whole article, it is beautifully written and as another mother who has suffer multiple miscarriages it speaks my truth as well. I ask all of you, “Are you ok?” I’m hear to listen.
We have a lot to be thankful for this year … we are currently healthy, our families are safe and taking the recommended precautions, we have been able to stay on the road and we continue to marvel at the beauty that surrounds us. We hope and pray that you and yours are healthy and safe and we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
We will be in Tucson for a week before turning north to head up through Nevada toward Oregon and Washington. Say a pray that the passes stay open as we head to Seattle!
Till next time,