Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hightailing it to North Carolina

After we stored the motor home in Del Rio we headed east.  Our destination was Robin's parents' house in Weaverville, NC just outside of Asheville.

Vagabonding Requires a Certain Mindset
We meet people all the time who travel serendipitously - no itinerary and few plans.  I also read some blogs and participate in some forums that are full of this type of travelers.  I dream about the spontaneous and complete freedom of these folks.  Robin and I have tried it but we just can't get our arms around it.  After a few days we feel anxious and end up planning a route and a destination.  I know we are missing some great points of interest but we get destination oriented and away we go.   Sheesh.  Maybe we'll get it some day...

Great Friends, Great Food and Contented Cows in Victoria
We took off from Del Rio and hit it hard - no relaxing this day - across the state to Victoria, TX.   We were going to visit with good friends Brenda and Larry.

Brenda and I worked together at the Attorney General's Office for the last couple years of both of our careers.  Brenda hired me into the field support side of things when I realized it was time for me to move away from IT.  My time working with her were definitely some of the best years of my career.  We clicked and were a great team.

Brenda and Larry treated Robin and me to a marvelous evening at their home.  They have a small ranch near Victoria.  Their home is like something out of Southern Living.  Beautiful!  The yard is perfect for relaxing and visiting.

The evening was splendid.  We all had a grand time on their patio:  steaks on the grill, a little wine and great conversation.  Before dinner, around dusk, they took us on a tour of their ranch. They don't have a lot of cows but the ones they have are certainly pampered.    How to describe them?   They just looked - happy.  Very contented cows.  These are beef and breeders, no dairy cows, but they were as happy as any dairy cow I've ever seen.  Given their ranch and the care that Larry dotes on them I think I wouldn't mind living there myself!!!

The evening ended too soon.  We left with fond "Good Byes" and promises to get together again.  Brenda and Larry have a neat old Airstream trailer that they have done a bunch of restoration work on.  They travel as much as they can so we're confident we'll meet up sometime, somewhere.

After leaving Brenda & Larry's, we went to Goliad State Park for the night.  This is definitely a no-frills park.  The campground is pretty much just a large parking lot with an island of hookups in the center.  It was fine for an overnighter.  We would not hesitate to stop there again.   It was pretty late when we arrived so we did not get to explore before turning in.

Little Rock and the Clinton Library
The next morning we packed up and worked our way north-easterly through Houston and on to Little Rock, Arkansas.  Nothing of interest, just hammer down and pound out miles.

We spent the night right on the river in Little Rock.  Easy access to the river front activities and the Clinton Library.  The park could have been something terrific with their location but they missed the mark.  No frills.  The restrooms were barely adequate.   We will most likely not return.  Too bad, it has potential to be pretty neat.

The next day we went to the Clinton Library.  We walked in, looked around and decided that, being the skinflints that we are, it was not worth $14.

We left Little Rock and headed for Tennessee.  What a beautiful state.  We always enjoy passing through.  Interstate 40 is in much better shape than in the past.  It's a long drive west to east tho.

Relaxin' Through Tennessee
We did slow down a bit in Tennessee.  We saw Natchez Trace State Park on the map so we decided to check it out.  Wow!  What a great park.  The campground was perfect.  We drove around and picked a spot, got set up and then walked around a bit.  There is a lake and the people were very friendly.  The restroom and laundry facilities were top notch.  Clean, well kept and private.  This park rates very high on our scale.  Without a doubt, we'll be returning.

The next day, more travel and an early night at our first TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) park:  Melton Hill Dam.  Another hit.  It was fun driving through seeing all the campers decorated for Halloween.  We spent another comfortable night.  We'll be returning there too.

Phil Knocks One Out of the Park in Knoxville
We left Melton Hill and drove a short while into Knoxville.  We wanted to visit friends Phil and Dixie.  Phil was in the hospital recovering from a recent hip replacement.  We were pleasantly surprised by his recovery.  The last time we saw him he was very uncomfortable and not moving too well.  Now, just a few days post surgery and still in the hospital, he looked and sounded better than we had seen him for some time.  Good Job, Phil!  Definitely a home run!   Dixie is a rock; one incredible woman.  I could spend a full blog entry on nothing but this neat couple.  We consider ourselves privileged to be counted among their friends.

We left Phil and Dixie and made the short trip on to Robin's parents' home outside Asheville where we spent most of November.

We hit it hard for a bit and then slowed down.  We got to see great friends and some new areas.  Can't ask for more than that while we're "Chasin' Our Dreams!"