Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, totally worn out, shouting "Wow...What a Ride!"

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

TN-Finally & Headed to IL

March 10th -April 5, 2023

Up and out of the worst COE park we've ever been in. While dumping the tanks the individual site sewer tank overflowed. We'll never stay in this project again. 

174 miles down the road and we pulled into Paradise Landing in Clifton TN, home of our new property. We headed to our lot but our contractor was still working on it, the electric meter still had not been installed and they could give no date when it would be. Seems the recent storms had hit this area and folks still needed electricity. Our friends Anne and Gary graciously offered their site to us for the next 4-5 nights, we of course took them up on it and settled in under their pole barn for a bit. While there we got a feel for how big it was and what we wanted in ours one day. 

Roads were flooded when we got here

Glad we don't own in this area

Early the following week we moved on down to our site, we did have to use our generator for a few nights but the electricity was turned on just before a cold snap. 

We enjoyed our 3 weeks on our property and look forward to the day we can build the pole barn. Sale calls on our TX property have slowed down, so we've done all the work, besides the rip rap on the shoreline, we're going to do. 

Sunrises and birds, Dave's camera will 
get a workout

Most days were spent walking the roads in our area, we could easily get up to 6-mile walks. We met a few other owners, and we spent a couple of evenings teaching Anne and Gary Dave's game. Lots of barges use our part of the river, fishing boats and a few pleasure craft were always going by. We look forward to many years of enjoying the river life. 

We rode out one tornado warning, one came down in the nearby town of Clifton, and we spent some time in our truck, the safest place around. High winds and quarter-size hail, a late night but finally about 12:30am, I, felt comfortable going back in the RV. 

One riverside fire on a beautiful evening.

Our go-to town is Savannah TN, where we can find almost anything we need. A new laundry mat, a nice Walmart, a small Kroger's, and a Piggly Wiggly. There is even a crawfish truck that comes through Friday-Sunday afternoons, Tri-State Crawfish where Dave enjoyed a few meals of mudbugs. 

One day we visited Pickwick Landing State Park less than an hour away.

Remnants of the old CCC cabins used here
when the dam was built

Many people have asked where the property is, the easiest way to find our place is to do a search on Google Earth, Google Maps has us in the wrong place, if you search for Camp Wandering Camel (soon to be changed to Camels) it will take you to where we are. Of course, the picture is a few years old and shows the area as a farm field. Driving the roads to our place you'd question yourself about where you were going, 

In order to miss driving in rainy weather we left Paradise Landing on 4/2 and headed to Rend Lake COE near Whittington AL, just 116 miles from our summer location. We were last here in early 2015, and we ended up picking the same site. Our site is electric only but we are next to the fill hydrant. 

Tomorrow we head to Forrest W Bo Wood in Sullivan IL where we'll once again spend the summer.

Until next time...

Thursday, March 9, 2023

On The Way To TN

 February 15-March 9, 2023

We said our goodbyes to our Gulf Waters family and late morning took off for our first stop. We didn’t get off to an auspicious start, a truck in the other lane nearly took us out and as we were sitting at a light in Port Aransas his foot “supposedly” came off the brake and he tapped the back of the rig. Thankfully the only damage was to Dave’s fishing cart that was riding on the bike rack. Our first stop was Yegua Creek COE on Sommerville Lake near Sommerville TX. They do not allow early entry so our 223-mile trip found us arriving there right at the 3pm check-in time. Site 19 was a nice waterfront site, with water and electric only but for 2 nights we didn’t need anything more.

On our only free day there we headed out for the crawfish Dave had been craving. The only place we could find any was in College Station, after a crazy drive in a college town we ended up at Juicy Crawfish. While the boil was good Dave was disappointed by the size of the crawfish. Afterward, we headed to Brenham TX which just happens to be home to Blue Bell ice cream, for a dollar a scoop we tried a few flavors.

The next morning we headed out for one of our favorite campgrounds, Magnolia Ridge COE, on B A Steinhagen Lake, near Woodville TX. The ride became a bit stressful as we went through Conroe but after 175 miles we arrived and went straight to site 27. They have no gate attendants but we did see volunteers around the campground. Aside from going to check out the other nearby COE park, we like Magnolia Ridge better, we found a place for Dave to get crawfish, otherwise, we just enjoyed walking the campground. Pop’s Kajun Kitchen did not disappoint. Our 3 nights there went by quickly and before we knew it it was time to head out.

A 200-mile stress-free ride found us pulling into Clear Spring COE, on Wright Patman Lake, near Texarkana TX, this year we were in site B08, we had last been in this site about 8 years ago. As with our visit to this park 2 years ago we were disappointed in the amount of trash we found in our firepit and what trash we found as we walked around the park. Such a disappointment.

This area isn't open yet
good thing the water's high in it

Old road into the campground
part of our daily walk

The area only has crawfish available Thursday through Sunday as they get their deliveries on Thursday. We did find a decent brewery, Pecan Point Gastropub, and Brewery was a nice find where we enjoyed some good food and Dave enjoyed a beer tasting.

200 miles across the top of Arkansas found us in Lake Village at Lake Chicot State Park. This is an older state park, there’s a camping area that has been decommissioned and is now being turned into a large pollinator garden someday. We were in an area that has FHUs, the area along the lake is electric and water and would not fit us. It never got busy but I imagine the summertime would be busier. It’s a fine park for a few days but I doubt we’ll be back again. 

Since we were there over the weekend we figured Dave would have better luck finding crawfish, and he did. Seafood Your Way in Greenville MS was a success, not only crawfish but some awesome cheesecake with caramel and pecan topping. Another afternoon he went to a local crawfish food truck in Lake Village.

Our next stop was 156 miles away at Wallace Creek Campground, on Enid Lake, where we ended up staying for 9 nights as our lot in TN isn’t ready for us. We were on our favorite site, 28, and were enjoying a fire our first night there until the lights came on. We had never noticed the lamp posts in the area as they had never bothered us but recently they changed out to very bright LED lights, it seemed like someone was shining their headlights into our site. Ruined our enjoyable fire and never had another one while we were there. One nice thing is the site is now an FHU site so we didn’t have to conserve tank space.

We did have one day of really bad rainy windy weather, actually clocked a 70mph gust. Thankfully the rear end of the rig was facing the wind.
calm before the storm

Batesville is the nearest town of any size, we enjoyed a Mexican lunch out and Dave of course found another crawfish place. He liked Big Ern’s so much that he went back a second afternoon.

Since we had a few days to kill before we headed to TN we moved up to South Abutment Recreation Area on Arkabutla Lake in Coldwater MS only 66 miles away. This has got to be the worst COE campground we’ve been in. The sites and surrounding areas have trash everywhere, garbage all over the place by the dumpsters. some sites are covered in pine cones, needles, and branches. There appear to be sites that have people here for long stays, not sure if they’re volunteers, but those sites look really rough. So for us, this is a one-and-done place.

Our friend Debbie said she had trouble commenting on the blog, I tried changing things and she could comment but I couldn’t reply to comments. So I’ve changed things back to their original settings, has anyone else had trouble commenting? If you have, send me an email ( drop me a comment on FB.

On a sadder note, Dave's Uncle Ed passed away on 3/7, we last saw him in FL in 2019. At the time Alzheimer's was setting in and he was having trouble remembering things, such as our visit. Dave's siblings moved him back to southern NY, where Dave is from. Uncle Ed played a big part in Dave's life and was the first family member Dave introduced me to. We'll miss him.

Tomorrow we head to Paradise Landing in Clifton TN where our lot is. The septic and water are in, the electrical inspection is done and just waiting on the meter to be set, we have a crete pad, packing compound, for now. We’ve had lots of inquiries on our TX property but to date, we’ve not had a reasonable offer on it so no more developing of the TN property.

The beginning 

Until next time...