|Dates:||12 Sep 2017 - 15 Nov 2017|
Fall trip along the Mississippi River, from its start in Minnesota to its end in New Orleans. Trip organized by Adventure Caravan Tours.
Our last meal on the road was an obvious choice; no need to even say it.
Our last night on the road was at the Apache Gold Casino RV Park(ing lot). I forgot to take a picture, but I came out of the casino with $100 more than I entered with.
A very nice lunch in Duncan, AZ.
Enjoying a 70 degree evening in Las Cruces, NM.
Visiting the world’s largest pistachio at McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch in Alamogordo, NM.
Our next stop was the Buffalo Falls, which are about 30 miles outside of Carlsbad.
We spent the morning inside of Carlsbad Caverns, 3.25 mile walk in this underground wonderland.
Enjoying the afternoon at the KOA outside of Carlsbad, NM.
At the Buddy Holly Museum in Lubbock, TX.
A very nice river walk was adjacent to the visitor center.
It was kind of backwards, but we stopped at the San Angelo Visitors Center on our way OUT of town. It was very nice, and it made us want to return to town in the future.
One of about 20 deer grazing in our campground.
Campsites for us and the Copelands in San Angelo, TX.
This is us!
We took a tour boat on the river at “The Riverwalk.”
The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.
Best of show
Some displayed quilts. Zoom in on this one.
An action shot at the Quilt Show.
John and I went to the Lone Star Air Museum outside of Houston.
Getting ready to fire this thing up and take it for a quick flight.
John and I went to this indoor skydiving place near our campground and tried our hand at floating on air.
John and I went to NASA’s Space Center while the girls were at the quilt show. We were about to tour a shuttle and the 747 that flew them around when this pic was taken.
The Copelands arrived at the campsite to join us for the rest of our trip. They had to stop on the shoulder of the highway a couple of days earlier, and a big rig car hauler going about 70 mph sideswiped their trailer and kept on going. It appears that a bolt or rod sticking out of the side of the car hauler ripped a channel all the way down the side of their RV. A couple of inches closer would have been catastrophic, as Colette was inside the trailer at the time.
Now THIS is an RV resort—Rayford Crossing RV Resort in Spring, Texas. We will be here for the next 7 nights and will be joined by the Copelands before the day is through.
We made it into Texas on our drive today, and stopped in this park to grab a couple of geocaches.
I didn’t know that Louisiana had white sand beaches.
While walking a marshland Trail, we rounded a corner and saw this guy.
We spent the day driving and walking the Creole Nature Trail.
We next toured a decommissioned destroyer called the USS Orleck. It is pretty run down, but was interesting to tour.
We attended a local car show this morning, followed by a “boudin” sampling event. Boudin is rice, meat, cheese, spices, any combination thereof, stuffed in a sausage casing. Delicious!
Sitting by the pool, waiting for the spa to heat up while watching an approaching thunderstorm that should be here within a half hour.
This is our home for the next 3 nights outside of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Very nice place called A+ Motel and RV Park.
Our last stop (aside from dinner at Saltgrass Steakhouse) was for a mansion tour at “Shadows on the Teche.” Teche is the name of a bayou waterway behind the house; we don’t know why the house is called Shadows. Beautiful garden area around the home.
Our next stop was LeJunne’s Bakery, established in 1884. All they make is French bread and ginger cakes. I think the last time they remodeled was never. They produce 500-1,000 loaves of French bread each day.
Today’s adventure took us to the Jeanerette Museum. No real reason, just something to do. The best part was a 12 minute video on the growing and harvesting of sugar cane in this area.
Konriko Rice Mill.
We took a tour of Konriko Rice Mill, the oldest rice mill in the nation. A tour bus had arrived at the same time that we did, so we were forced to join them. When finished and the tour bus left, we asked if there was more to see. One of the owners personally showed us more of the facility and told us some interesting things about their products and marketing.
We walked the surrounding Rip Van Winkle Gardens, which were gorgeous. I have a new-found appreciation for the beauty in this state from the things that we have seen on this trip.
We toured the Joseph Jefferson House on Jefferson Island, Louisiana. He attained his fame by portraying Rip Van Winkle in the late 1800s.
Next to the factory is the Jungle Gardens of Avery Island, also owned by the McIlheney Family. This place is breathtaking. We spent a couple of hours driving and walking this 3 mile loop.
We were able to drive to within 10 feet of these guys, who were basking in the afternoon sun.
Thousands of barrels of Tabasco Sauce are aged here, a three year process.
We are staying in Duson, Louisiana for 4 nights. We took the car about 45 miles to Avery Island, the home of Tabasco Sauce. We spent the morning touring the premises.
We took a guided tour of an oil rig platform.
While seeking something to do, we decided to check for geocaches. We were able to be FTF on a cache in the pictured tree. What are the chances of being first to find in the state of Louisiana!
There are lots of Cypress trees with Spanish Moss around here.
We have turned to the west and are headed in the general direction of home. We didn't make it very far; spending three nights at Cypress Lake RV in Berwick, Louisiana. This lake is part of the RV park.
While waiting for others in the group to complete their flights, I passed the time watching freshly caught tuna being cleaned at the fishing port where the float planes were located.
The final event for our tour was a float plane flight over the Mississippi River Delta.
This guy was at our lunch stop.
The last full day of our tour began in a bad way--Diane was ill and would not be going. The group first stopped at Woodland Plantation for lunch. This is the home depicted on the Southern Comfort Whiskey label.
We walked around City Park and their 5 acre sculpture display area. The Park was beautiful except for litter, the sculptures got boring to us non-artistic folks, but they did have a giant spider.
Excellent BBQ lunch here.
We saw swamp dwellers.
We saw more gators.
We saw swampland.
We saw gators.
We had a "free day" today to do our own thing. We started with a swamp tour on an airboat.
A stop for an afternoon treat--beignets and cafe au'lait.
We stopped at a cemetery and viewed the above-ground burial sites.
A walking tour of the French Quarter was next on our agenda.
We had lunch at New Orleans School of Cooking. Gumbo, jambalaya, bread pudding, and pecan pralines.
My queen; we lost some weight walking around on the trip.
They make and store items for Mardi Gras parade floats.
Our day began with a tour of Mardi Gras World in New Orleans.
Some of the RV sites at this campground.
We were going to go for a swim, but we spotted the Creature from the Black Lagoon already swimming here.
Our final campsite on the organized portion of our tour. This is Bayou Segnette State Park, and the RV sites are awesome.
A friendly cicada came out to see us off this morning. I may not have been as friendly, as I think I ran over it when we pulled out. Next stop--New Orleans.
We toured the Longwood Mansion in Natchez, an unfinished masterpiece. The surrounding grounds were beautiful.
A horse and buggy ride in downtown Natchez, Mississippi.
Sunday morning on the Mississippi from our RV park in Vidalia, Louisiana.
Stopped for lunch at this unique place. It was a buffet; the fried chicken was excellent, and everything else was ehhhhh.
Our final stop for today was the Cedar Grove House. Built in 1840, it took 41 cannonball hits from ships on the nearby Mississippi during the Civil War.
Lunch in Vicksburg on the 9th floor, open-air restaurant of the town's bank building.
There are 17,000 Union soldiers buried here.
The USS Cairo, sunk by a mine on the Mississippi and submerged for 100 years until recovered and placed on display at the National Cemetery.
Our next stop was the Vicksburg National Military Park, the battleground near the end of the Civil War.
Weapon found in recent history.
Civil War projectiles
I think the doll on the left killed the other doll.
Our first stop today was at the old Courthouse Museum. This was probably the most interesting museum we have ever visited. Lots of Civil War stuff. Highly recommend and would gladly visit again.
A nice large and grassy site in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
After lunch we took a tour of the Gibson Guitar factory. Although it was noisy and difficult to hear the tour guide, it was very interesting and worth going to.
We (just the two of us) had lunch at a hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant, and the food was A+. We were the only customers they had during our time there.
We visited the Mud Island Museum, which has a scale model of the Mississippi that is about a half mile long. This pic is of the delta area where the river ends.
Beale Street at night. It wasn't as flashy as I thought it would be, and the local beggars come out at night.
Went to downtown Memphis for some Memphis-style ribs. I loved them; Diane thought they were just OK.
Our next stop was the Metal Museum, a collection of jewelry and yard sculptures.
Burial site. His parents and grandmother are also buried here. Elvis was a twin, whose brother was stillborn.
Also in his patch collection was Ontario PD and Burbank PD.
Elvis wanted to be a police officer if he didn't make it in the entertainment business; his patch collection included Covina PD.
The front of the Graceland Mansion, purchased by 22 year old Elvis on 14 acres for $100,000.
What is a trip to Memphis without a visit here?
Radio DJ workstation.
At Sun Recording Studio, where Elvis and others got their start. This microphone was used by Elvis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and many others.
Famous Beale Street in Memphis.
The small bathroom window is where the shot originated.
The balcony where MLK was killed.
The motel where MLK was assassinated.
Downtown Memphis from the rooftop of the Peabody Hotel.
Our first stop today was at St. Jude Research Hospital for Children. A memorial garden at the burial site of founder Danny Thomas is pictured.
We stopped for lunch at Lambert's Cafe, famous for throwing dinner rolls across the room to their guests. There were about 10,000 people here waiting to eat.
Looking down at the river from the top of the Arch as a barge passes by.
Downtown St. Louis from the top of the Arch.
This is what the viewing room at the top of the Arch looks like.
A pic of the Gateway Arch from the Mississippi River.
We took a riverboat tour of the St. Louis area.
From the base of the Arch, looking up to the top that is 630 feet in height.
We saw a skeleton climbing up the side of the cabin where Ulysses Grant lived.
We started the day with a trip to Grant's Farm. Some of the Budweiser horses are stabled here.
Our last stop for the day was a tour of the Busch Brewery.
The view from the first base dugout area.
The view from the radio booth.
The first World Series Trophy ever awarded, won by the 1967 Cardinals. Prior to this, the only award was a pennant to the winning team.
The tour of Busch Stadium was very cool.
We lunched across from Busch Stadium, prior to our tour.
We started our day with a tour of Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis.
We will spend the next 4 nights in the St. Louis area at this KOA campground.
We took a tour of the cave where Tom Sawyer ran into Injun Joe...scary memories!!!
This is the 'Welcome' sign when arriving from the river.
The home where Twain grew up, as well as the whitewashed fence.
Nearly everything in this part of town is about Mark Twain.
An overlook view of the Mississippi River.
Loading onto the trolley for a tour of Old Town Hannibal.
We need one of these for our RV.
A mostly relaxing day; the only things on the schedule was a one-man Mark Twain stand-up story teller (at the campground) and a potluck dinner.
Today had its ups and downs, as it has been 3 years since Jordan left us. Thank you all for your kind words, prayers, and encouragement that reaffirmed something that we already knew--we have great friends that love and care for us.
We are staying in the scenic Mark Twain Campground in Hannibal, MO for the next 4 nights.
Breakfast at "Iowa 80," the restaurant at the world's largest truck stop. This place is definitely worth visiting!
Starting the day with a stop here.
Our final stop today was the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library.
A tour of the Amanda Woolen Mill.
We are spending most of the day in the Amanda Colonies, Iowa.
We were given an overview of the booze making process, provided with a tasty sample and a nasty tasting sample, then headed back to the RV park after a long day.
Our last stop of the day was the Mississippi Distillery Company.
Our next stop was at the home of American Pickers, from the TV show of the same name. We were disappointed; there really wasn't anything very cool on display, and the stars of the show were not there.
After lunch we went to Isabel Bloom, a small production facility that makes artistic statuettes. Isabel is well known around here; we never heard of her, but we enjoyed the production demonstration.
We had to wear hair nets to view the candy making demonstration.
Our next stop was a small chocolate store, where all of their chocolates are made by hand.
One of Deere's first production tractors.
Our first stop was the John Deere Pavilion, just across the river in Illinois.
The tour bus has arrived and we are headed out for a busy day.
Simulating catching a monster catfish with a bare hand.
Chatting with Mark Twain.
Our group stopped at the Mississippi River Museum while in transit to Davenport. We are not museum people, but there was enough interesting things here to keep us there for a couple of hours.
A scenic overlook of the Mississippi River not long after we entered the state of Iowa.
Our site in Prairie du Chien, the place where our first real problem emerged. One of the bedroom slides will not fully extend, but it will be more of a minor annoyance than a problem (until we get the repair bill once we get it fixed).
Diane was thrilled to be able to stop in Red Wing, MN enroute to our destination today. We went to the Red Wing Pottery Museum (yes, I said pottery museum) where we looked at pottery that was on display. Diane scored some souvenirs, then back on the road to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.
We went to the Mall of America after our lunch cruise. We went on an attraction called "Flight over America." It was awesome. We also went to their Aquarium, which was nicely done and worth the visit.
We took a two hour lunch cruise on the Mississippi today. Good food, great cookies.
Deep within the corn maze.
At our third orchard stop we decided to go into their corn maze. We had never done one of these before; probably will never do another!
They also sold mums; Diane is choosing the ones that were leaving with us.
Apple orchard stop; they also grew very large pumpkins.
We had a free day from our tour activities, so we visited 3 different apple orchard farms. Our timing was good, as it is currently harvest time.
A pic from inside the theater.
Today's outing was to Chanhassen Dinner Theater for lunch and to see a stage production of Grease. Really good food, really good show!
Our last stop was the Minnehaha Falls. A busy day for our tour group.
We visited the St. Paul Cathedral, 4th largest in the U.S. The interior was incredible.
A view of the Mississippi River and downtown Minneapolis. This pic was taken from an outdoor balcony at a playhouse theater in St Paul.
A bus tour of the twin cities led us to the old federal courthouse, which had been beautifully restored in recent years.
We started the day with a cave tour in St. Paul, MN. This was an underground bar and restaurant in the 1930's, where gangsters liked to frequent.
We went to the Bemidji Woolen Mills for a tour and light shopping. Diane spotted Paul Bunyan and invited him to tag along with us for the rest of our trip. He will be posted as a sentry in our windshield, just in front of the 3 pumpkins that are already there.
Some photos of the area where the Mississippi River begins.
To the right of the rocks behind us is the starting point of the Mississippi River. This water will reach the Gulf of Mexico in about 90 days, according to our tour guide.
Fall colors are here! This half-mile path is on the grounds of the Royal Oaks RV Park in Bemidji, MN
We went exploring in town; saw Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, went out on a pier on Lake Bemidji, and posed with a friendly spider on the wall of a business.
We have arrived at the kick-off point for our caravan adventure, Bemidji, MN. We will be here for 4 nights; the caravan doesn't officially start for two more days.
On the road at 7:20 AM with clear skies and 38 degree temperature.
This is a very nice KOA! A couple of pics I took while we walked around the grounds.
One of us has an insatiable attraction to these types of stores! This one is in Bismarck, ND, where we are spending the night in a nearby KOA campground.
We crossed into North Dakota this morning, and stopped at a scenic turnout for a bowl of cereal and the beautiful view.
Just arrived in Miles City, Montana. We drove 336 miles today and it rained on us every foot of the way! We lunched at a historic bar that was built in 1907 called Montana Bar. We then went to the Water Works Museum for a free tour of local artists' work. We stayed at the KOA, which was the second KOA ever opened.
We stayed at Ennis RV Village, a short distance away from downtown Ennis. We walked the downtown area as a thunderstorm approached, but finished before the rain could soak us. As I write this note at 5 pm, it is raining and 44 degrees.
We stopped to make breakfast in a rest area, then discovered that there were two geocaches nearby that we had to grab. One was an earth cache pertaining to a lava formation at the rest stop, so we walked the trails through the lava formation and gathered the information we needed.
Another beautiful morning sky. We hit the road at 7:30 and had an enjoyable and scenic 310 mile drive through Idaho and into Montana.
Night number two will be at Golden Spike RV in Brigham City, Utah. Nice little spot.
Quaint downtown area. This pic was taken outside of the local quilt store (where we left some $$).
I am sure that this will be the first of many Cracker Barrel stops. This happens to be the very first one we ever ate at, many years ago.
Needed a little more than half a tank. Ouch.
Our sunrise this morning in Cedar City. We hit the road at 7:30, headed to Brigham City, Utah.
First stop: KOA Campground in Cedar City, Utah.
Passing through the Virgin River Gorge, just before the state of Utah.
We are off on our big adventure! We hit the road just before 8:00 am.
|Dates:||12 Sep 2017 - 15 Nov 2017|
Fall trip along the Mississippi River, from its start in Minnesota to its end in New Orleans. Trip organized by Adventure Caravan Tours.