Our Travels

Our retirement began February 3rd, 2006. This is an account of our travels. We hope you enjoy them. You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge the picture. Please leave a comment for us...we love to read them.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Installment # 12

Remember, you can click on the pictures if you want to see them ‘close-up and personal’. You can also leave comments on the bottom of the blog. It has been suggested that everyone list their home location so other readers know where everyone is from. The web sites are included because they often tell the whole story and have good pictures.

Tony needed something to do one night – so we now have a dvd/vcr player attached to the front television – gave him something to figure out for an evening! It is much nicer watching DVDs on a larger screen rather than the laptop.

We toured the Tifton Mobile Home Manufacturing plant in Red Bay, Alabama (http://www.tiffinmotorhomes.com/about/ourStory.html) . These guys make the Allegro motorhomes mainly at the rate of 13/day. Although they are a different make from ours it was fascinating and very informative to see just how these things are really put together, to see the levels of insulation and weatherproofing and how to access some of the difficult-to-get-at features, and also to witness first hand the levels of quality and inspection they all use – we came away very satisfied.

The 100 year old water tower held together with ropes was on the Tiffin property.

Next we went on to Tupelo, Mississippi, to see the birthplace of Elvis Presley (http://www.elvispresleybirthplace.com/) . Elvis’s home where he was born (very small) was open for visitors. All around the home and behind the home, the city had built a park for tourists to visit, complete with a chapel and museum. The city did a real good job commemorating Elvis’ life in the short 13 years that he lived there. One statute in the park was Elvis with a guitar at 13 years old.

A thunderstorm in Brinkley, Arkansas, was welcomed to clean the car from the Georgia pollen….the tornado warnings were not so welcome. Our next drive to Little Rock, Arkansas, was slowed down by a huge fire on the interstate (a camper had caught fire). By the time we were allowed to pass, the camper was nothing but a small pile of charred remains. The amount of semi-trucks on this highway was amazing – one six mile count came up to 5 RVs, 83 semi-trucks, and 72 cars.

Somewhere along the last 24 hours, our spare wheel for the tow dolly came up missing – seems we would have noticed if it fell off – so we have to assume that someone needed the spare wheel more than we did. Ironically while touring around the Arkansas River, we saw a wheel float down the river – unfortunately, I couldn’t get Tony to go after it!

Again in Little Rock, Arkansas, we had a very capable chauffeur/tour guide, my niece, Kelly. She wore us out with all the places we walked and drove to – the Clinton Library was first (http://www.clintonlibrary.gov/) – we learned a lot – one interesting fact – Clinton was the 42nd president of the U.S. after he had been the 42nd governor of Arkansas. There was a full-size replica of the Oval Office (picture) and the Cabinet Room in the Library, as well as one of the presidential limousines. I couldn’t resist sitting in the Presidential cabinet chair (just a little taller than all the other chairs). One of the pictures is of tables set for some event at Clinton Library. A walk to the Clinton Museum Store gave us a glimpse of some of the Art along the River Front.

Next stop in Little Rock was the Central High School – their 50th year of being known as the "Little Rock Nine" crisis (www.nps.gov/chsc) A visitor center was across the street in an original site of the Mobile gas station and had a lot of information about the event – one little known fact was that after the first year, one of the nine students graduated – in the audience at the ceremony was Dr. Martin Luther King.

We then went on to the Arkansas State Capitol Building ( http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/) for a look inside and outside where they had a statute commemorating the Little Rock Nine. A last stop for the day was the "Dam Bridge" – a pedestrian bridge across the Arkansas River and over the dam, built to encourage exercising by people who live in Little Rock. The bridge is connected to at least 20 miles of walk-way on each side of the river. We walked from the parking lot to the top of the bridge and half-way across, before going back to be treated to Kelly’s great home-cooked meal.

The next morning we went for breakfast where Kelly works part-time – the Java Roasting Company (http://www.javaroasting.com/) – a very nice place – two couches beside the lit fireplace, wi-fi available with plug-ins for laptops along a bar, and an extensive latte menu as well as Paninis - breakfast sandwiches. We needed the energy for our next adventure – going "geocaching" again. This geocache was a three part hunt (http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=6d27a721-5486-4786-9f89-d8b1869754ac), but with Kelly’s youth and Tony’s GPS, we found it – we had to go to the first coordinate to find one number to add to the second coordinates, count the rungs on a slide to find out the third set of coordinates, and then finally found the cache under the bridge we walked over in the beginning of our search. This cache had a disposable camera in it for us to take our picture – the instructions said the picture would be posted on the web when the camera is full.

Our next stop was the most unusual small park we have ever seen – the Old Mill Park (http://www.northlittleorck.org/old_mill.html) More pictures at this site (http://www.cherylsgardenparty.com/GardMoNov03Mill.htm) . There was a wedding in process when we got there (according to the brochure they have about 200 weddings a year). This park was featured in the opening scenes of Gone With the Wind, believed to be the only remaining structure from the movie. The park was also the site of the unveiling of the Gone With the Wind commemorative stamp. Senor Dionicio Rodriguez, a sculptor and artist, was responsible for all the details of each piece of concrete work made to represent wood, iron, or stone…..all the steps, railings, walkways, no matter how ornate are made from good old-fashioned concrete. Rodriguez has sculptures in seven states – it would be fun to see what else he did.

Next stop was a side trip to the Flag and Banner store in Little Rock (http://www.flagandbanner.com/) . It was a neat little store, but unfortunately it didn’t display the biggest selection of American Santas at this time of the year as advertised in my tour book.
By this time Kelly and I had arranged a surprise for Tony – a trip to a British Pub in downtown Little Rock – their logo "Great Food, Great Beer, Great Britain" – Kelly and Tony had fish and chips – Kelly even tried to eat with her knife and fork as Tony does – take a look at the plaque under churchill’s picture (http://www.theundergroundpub.com/history.htm) .

On the road again on Saturday, April 7th, Day 100 of our trip, we found Sam Walton’s original "five and dime" store in Bentonville, Arkansas, which had been made into a museum and Wal-Mart Visitor’s Center (http://www.walmartstores.com/GlobalWMStoresWeb/navigate.do?catg=7) . One of the more clever displays depicted their motto about the customer always being right – the display showed items that had been returned to Wal-Mart – one a large yellow plastic outdoor thermometer (customer brought it back and got their money back saying it never kept good time) – another item, a thermos bottle that leaked (customer got their money back – it did leak – but the thermos bottle had been manufactured and sold at least five years before there ever was a Wal-Mart store). One picture shows Sam’s library in his office, just in case anyone wants to know which books he read to become so successful. We bought a miniature Wal-Mart shopping cart that now sits in our motorhome front window to hold the GPS that guides us to each tourist spot and each Wal-Mart. The greeter at the visitor center was a lady from Orofino, Idaho, close to Moscow. She was so excited to see someone from Idaho.

Our next stop was to learn about another Sam – Sam Butler - at his Precious Moments Inspiration Park (also home to the world’s largest Precious Moments gift shop) located in Carthage, Missouri. This was such an appropriate stop for Easter Sunday morning with all the teardrop-eyed children depicting Biblical events. There was a huge gift shop, TV video to show how a Precious Moments figurine is made, a walk through a park to the Chapel for a guided tour of the paintings by Butler, a memorial room to his son who had died, another memorial room with books to sign "In Memory Of", as well as larger than life-size Precious Moments figurines. This would be a stop I would highly recommend for everyone. (http://www.preciousmoments.com/)

Thanks again for all the phone calls, emails, and blog messages. We enjoy hearing from everyone.

~~Sharon and Tony

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