Monthly Archives: April 2014

Tornado Watch and Taking Cover In The Park Restroom With New Friends

April 28, 2014 – Monday

It rained off and on all day, with more thunder and lightning. Every so often it lets up and we take the dogs out to potty. The rest of the day is spent inside.

A ranger drives up and tells us the tornado watch is getting very close to us, and will be here in about an hour. He tries to assure us that the chances of it hitting us are slim. He also says we might want to take cover in the cement walled restroom on the other side of the lake. The one on our side is closed due to structure damage. After he leaves, we started getting an “emergency bag” together with stuff like our wallets, passports, cell phones, iPads, chargers, medication, dog crates, flashlights, etc. then we decide to unhook the electrical and water, just in case we need to move in a hurry. Then we decide we are too vulnerable all the way on this side of the lake, and decide to drive over to the cement walled restrooms, just in case. We park alongside of the road and see the only other couple in the park besides us, is already over there. In the rain, we take the dogs in their crates, and our emergency bag to the women’s restroom. Bill goes back and gets our dry chairs from the bin, so we have something to sit on in there, besides the toilets. The other couple puts their dog crate next to ours under the sink counter.







While we wait, we loan them our iPhone to make a call to let family know what is going on. They don’t have a signal on their phones. We also watch the radar map on Bill’s iPad. The mood is cheerful and we all feel safe in the bathroom. After about an hour, the guys step out and talk to the ranger driving by. He says the tornado watch is over. It missed us and we can come out.

Bill and I pick a new site, near the restroom, back in and hook up. We will spend the next two night here, close to the shelter in case we need it. Our new friends park and hook up too.








We have running water in a creek next to us that we can hear, when its not raining so hard. I finally get caught up with the blog this evening! It’s 9:00 pm and I’m just waiting till it stops raining a bit between now and 11 pm so I can take the dogs out one more time tonight to potty. I’m ready for bed after our exciting day!


Tishomingo State Park Swinging Bridge and Big Storm

April 27, 2014 – Sunday

It felt good to wake up and not have to get on the road today. This morning, the couple next to us in a tent is packing up to leave. They said a big storm is heading this way. She also mentions that she felt something crawling on her back yesterday and it was a tick. Yuck, just what I was worried about with the dogs. Since I was still in bed just relaxing, Bill took Chica out for her morning potty. After she came in I saw a tick on her big old ear. It hadn’t latched on yet, so I got it off pretty easy, and put it in an empty water bottle with a lid. Then I got the Frontline Flea and Tick prevention out that I bought for the trip and put it on the dogs. Now I check them and our selves when we come back in the RV.

We checked our iPhones and iPads for local weather and saw on the radar that the storm was coming fast and was surrounding us. It was as far as Nashville, TN so we decided to extend our stay here and wait the storm out. To move the RV, requires packing everything up so things don’t slide around while driving. We drive down to the entrance/ranger station and pay for two more nights. The ranger says there will be a tornado warning in the area tomorrow. She agrees we should stay put, and it’s so beautiful here, I’m happy about the extra days.

Before we head back to our site and hook up again, I suggest we drive over to the day use area and take some pictures. Bill is worried it’s going to rain any minute and wants to hook up, but I’m driving so I talk him into it. It’s about two miles from the campground to the day use area, on the other side of the Trace. We park in the swimming pool parking lot, leave the dogs, and hurry over to the Swinging Bridge, which I’m most interested in. Just as we get to the bridge, another couple is getting off, so we ask them to take our photo and then they hand us their phone to take a picture of them. That worked out nicely, since the park is very deserted now.

Bill playing guitar this morning.









At the other end of the bridge are sets of stairs going down to the various walking trailheads. Now that I know there are ticks here, I don’t want to walk the trails.

We hurry back to the RV snapping pictures of the playground, and pool area, then hurry back towards our campsite. Of course it starts to rain on us before we can get back. I hear “I told you so…” From Bill. Along the way I snap a picture of the road and an old log cabin in the park.







The rain turns to thunder and lightning. Bella who gets stressed just being in a moving vehicle, is really stressed over the sound of lightning, thunder and loud rain on the RV roof. She tries to hide in the RV on the floorboard of the cab area. She is panting and wild eyed. I can’t comfort here, so I just cover her up with one of her blankets hoping she will feel more secure. Later she peeked out and I took this photo. I tried to get rid of the “red eye”, so her eyes look extra weird.




I know she is stressed when she won’t eat her treats! Chica on the other hand isn’t bothered by the noise and plays or sleeps thru it all. The pretty dogwood tree behind us has white flowers. The wind blew so many flowers off it looked like snow.


The rain stops and we take advantage of it by walking the dogs to potty and get some fresh air. It’s Sunday and only a few campers are in the park still. Most people returned to work and school. We do meet another couple on our walk who have a nine month old Maltese puppy. Chica and the puppy have fun chasing each other around, while we get tangled in their retractable leashes. Bella sniffed noses with the pup but she doesn’t actively play like Chica.



This nice couple drive a Chinook class B motor home and have a three wheel motorcycle in a trailer that they pull. They were parked on our side of the lake but moved over here by the cement bathrooms for protection in case of a tornado. Her husband was a Marine Corp Reserve about the same time Bill was in the Marines, so they struck up a conversation while the wife and I talked about our fur babies.

The weather turns cold and feels like rain again, so we start walking back to our RV, but it rains before we get back. It was kinda fun walking in the rain! Bella, who usually walks slow, was walking fast. She wanted to get back to the RV, while Chica was in heaven sniffing every thing around her and just having fun. When it stopped again, and we took another walk, all the dry streams were running with water and sounded pretty.



While editing photos for the blog, my good friend Judy calls to ask where we are. She was watching TV and saw that a huge storm and tornado watch was where she thought we might be. I told her we were fine and staying till the storm was over. So far the tornado warning is for Nashville we think, which is still about 140 miles north of us.

Tishomingo State Park on the Natchez Trace Parkway

April 26, 2014 – Saturday (Continued)

After the visitor center we head north, not knowing where we would spend the night. When we got to mile post 304, we came to the Tishomingo State Park. I figured they would be full like the other places I checked, but we lucked out and they had openings! They gave us a map of sites available and let us drive thru and pick one we liked. I think the park was about 3/4 full and we marked on the map sites we thought were big enough for our RV. Then we came to the best spot in the park and it was available. We drove back up to the ranger station and paid for two nights it was so pretty here. With Bills senior status we paid just $13 a night, for electric and water hookups. I’m so happy to get to stay here two nights. That will give me time to update the blog and research Nashville for when we get there.

We set up our chairs and put the dog crate out on the picnic table and enjoy the view!













This is a large park and the day use area is way on the other side of the park. From there, you can take various hikes, go swimming in the pool, rent cabins, and see the Swinging Bridge. Since its too far to walk, we plan on driving over there the day we leave, so we don’t have to unhook the RV again.

We spend the rest of the day taking walks around this side of the campground, Bill plays guitar and I relax and read.


Natchez Trace Parkway Headquarters & Visitor Center

April 26, 2014 – Saturday (Continued)

We left our visit with Elvis, and got back on the Trace heading north for a short distance to one of the official Headquarters for the Natchez Trace Parkway at mile marker 266. Today they had some exhibits and demonstrations outside of the visitor center. The teenagers at the booths loved the dogs and were on their hands and knees playing with them.




While Bill stayed with the dogs, I went inside the visitor center.




The center had a nice wall display about the history of the Trace, a gift shop, and a room showing a video about the Trace. Back outside, we looked at some of the exhibits, such as turtles, alive and shells. There were animal pellets hanging off one of the tables. Chica walked up to them, took a smell and quickly backed up like she was afraid but kept going back up to smell them again.





More Elvis Stuff at Tupelo Fairpark

April 26, 2014 – Saturday. (Continued)

After seeing where Elvis got his first guitar at age 10, we heard over to the Tupelo Fairpark. They put up a statue of him, reaching into the audience just waiting for photo opportunities. We also find more six foot painted guitars to pose next to.

















Following Elvis Around His Home Town

April 26, 2014 ¬†– ¬†Saturday We are in Tupelo, MS, birthplace of Elvis Presley! After leaving Walmart and getting gas, coffee and biscuits and gravy, we head for Elvis Presley’s birthplace which includes a museum, gift shop, memorial chapel, a bronze statue of Elvis at age 13, the two bedroom house he was born in, and the family car. The 15 acre Elvis Presley Park is pretty and in a residential neighborhood right off the Main Street in town. The two bedroom house was built by Elvis’s dad, grandfather and uncle. The church is the actual one the Presley’s attended. It was moved to this location from a few blocks away. image imageBill sitting on Elvis’s porch swing. image image imageimageimageimage ¬†image image image

We are here before the museum opens, so we don’t get to see in the gift shop or church, but we are happy with what we saw for free on the outside.

Next we track down the Tupelo Hardware Co where Elvis got his first guitar. Story goes…In 1945 Elvis and his mom Gladys go to the hardware store to get a present for Elvis’s 10th birthday. Elvis wanted a 22 rifle, but the hardware store owner and family friend told his mom how dangerous they were and refused to buy it for Elvis. Elvis had a fit in the store and to quiet him down, a sales clerk opened a guitar case and handed him a guitar. Elvis loved the guitar and his mom bought it for him instead of the rifle.

The city has a bunch of painted, 6 ft guitar cut outs all around town in honor of Elvis.



Exploring The Natchez Trace Parkway

April 25, 2014 – Friday

We wake up to sunny skies. It rained hard last night.

We didn’t realize just how close the Trace was to the visitor center, just a few minutes up the road. Before getting on it, we gas up and I see hot peanuts for sale at the gas station, so I get a small bag for Bill and a coffee for me while he fills up the gas tank. We aren’t sure how many gas stations will be along the Trace so we keep it topped off when possible.

The Natchez Trace Parkway for those that don’t know is 444 miles going through three states and 10,000 years of history. It is a designated National Scenic Byway and an All-American Road. It starts south in Natchez, LA at mile post 1, but we didn’t get on it till Clinton, MS at milepost 90.

Our first stop is mile post 100 at the Mississippi Craft Center, a state of the art facility in the trees along the Trace. The center displays the artwork of more than 150 artisans. There are crafts like baskets, pottery, quilts, wood carvings, jewelry, paintings, folk art and sculptures. The center was designed for the display, sale, demonstration, and teaching of fine crafts.

They allow us to bring the dog stroller in and comment that they are better behaved than most kids. We look around and take photos.
















Mississippi Craft Center

Next we pass the Ross R Barnett Reservoir which runs along the Trace for about eight miles.


Next stop is the Cypress Swamp at mile marker 122. We leave the dogs in the RV and walk down the stairs to the bridge over the swamp.













Bill goes back to the RV and I walk the short 20 minute loop trail around the swamp.

Back on the Trace, we head for the Kosciusko Visitor Center, mile post 160. Did you know that Oprah Winfrey was born in Kosciusko? She lived here till she was three years old. The visitor center didn’t have anything but one painting of her. They said we would have to exit the Trace and drive a few miles away to see the church she attended and a street sign named after her. We decided to skip it and took a few pictures in the very small visitor center.





It’s hard to believe Oprah came from here. The visitor center was disappointing, only having a map of the Trace and dead stuffed animals.

We stopped at Jeff Busby park, mile post 193, for lunch in the RV surrounded by trees. It was too early to stop for the night, so we continued up the Trace. We checked out Davis Lake, mile post 243, but they were full. I called Trace State Park at mile post 260 and they were full too. By this time I’m getting tired and I go to my trusty Overnight RV Parking website and look for a place to stay. Good old Walmart is just off the Trace in Tupelo mile post 260, so we head there. We went in to get permission, more food and Bill got a haircut. Walmart to the rescue again!


Overnight RV Parking