On to OBX 2

Vicksburg is a city that I would like to investigate a little deeper.  Site of a famous Civil War battlefield and steeped in history, there is a lot to see there.  Unfortunately we couldn’t get to the battlefield because of the rainy weather but we intend on coming back this way.  So we hunkered down, restocked some supplies. We also met some nice folks from Canada and were able to sit and have a beer with them.

We drove on to Heflin on the Georgia-Alabama line and stopped at a small park that was basically a gravel parking lot with rv hookups.  The real surprise, however, was the attached restaurant.  Great service and excellent food.  This leg of our trip was longer than usual at 352 miles.  We don’t usually go that far in a day, but we were trying to make up some lost time, so we were in bed early.

Off to Livingston, SC, the next day.  Nice park that was adjoining a flea market.  We walked over but they had decided to close early.  A couple booths were still set up and we hung around, looking at much the same stuff we see at the the other flea markets in Texas, Florida, etc.

One night in Livingston and we set out for Four Oaks, NC, our last stop before OBX.  We are really excited to return to the Outer Banks, Hatteras, Rodanthe and the rest of the area, but we wanted to take a couple days to decompress.  We lucked out and found the best Mexican restaurant we have been to in quite awhile.  The restaurants around Mercedes were good but El Sol of Four Oaks was exceptional!  Mary found out they had lengua (look it up) on the menu and they prepared fajitas using lengua and shrimp just for her!  A great way to end a day of relaxing.

Day 2 we went to Smithville, home of Ava Gardner, then checked out a local winery.  Got to give them an A for effort but the wines they had were not our taste.

Finally we arrived at Camp Hatteras, our home through the summer.  We spent a week here a couple years ago but it was late March, too early for most of the businesses.  We did go to the Wright Brothers museum and will make it a point to go back.  We intend to immerse ourselves in the local atmosphere, a combination of beach, fishing and history.  We are here and ready for summer.  Yeah, we miss our Minnesota friends a lot; the decision to come to Hatteras was difficult.  Our goal, however, is to travel more and get to the corners of this country we haven’t seen yet, while we still can.

Your homework is to watch (or rewatch) the movie “Nights in Rodanthe”.  FYI – pronounced RO-DAN-THE.

On to OBX

We rolled out of Mercedes on March 26th, heading for Waco with much anticipation about the Silos and Magnolia Market.  Magnolia is the creation of Joanna Gaines from the HG tv show, Fixer Upper. She and her husband, Chip, have done an incredible job of giving Waco a much needed shot in the arm economically.  Most people relate Waco with the tragedy that occurred with the Branch Dividians back in 1993, however lately most think of Fixer Upper or the Gaines’ when they think of Waco.

The store at the Silos was well done but we found it to be pretty expensive.  It was a beautiful store, well done but the merchandise was largely things you could buy elsewhere for a lot less.  Nothing really unique or that stated “I came from Magnolia”.  The experience of visiting it and the Silos was nice and I am glad we went there.

We also visited the Dr. Pepper plant and were amazed at the number of brands they own besides Dr. Pepper.  In addition, we toured a 111 year old beautiful Baptist church which was actually across the street from the Silos.  We were fortunate to find a docent named Roy, who gave us a private guided tour of the historic church.

We next went to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to visit cousins Deanna and Peter.  The last weekend in March was Peter’s birthday and Deanna went all out.  The festivities started at their house Friday night in Keller with a family get-together with their children and grandkids.  Deanna’s sister, Kismet and their step-mom, Patti.  Great family!

Saturday everyone met at Peter’s studio, Red Kitchen Foods, for a special evening of food, drink and charity.  Peter is a well-known gourmet chef and regularly does work for a local food bank.  The admission to the party was a shopping bag of food for the charity.  Great turn-out by all the family plus many of Peter’s friends.  A highlight of the evening for Mary was reuniting with another of Deanna’s sisters, Renee, whom she hasn’t seen in something like 50 years!  All the sisters are wonderful and have added a whole new dimension of life for Mary.  FYI – Peter’s company, Red Kitchen Foods, also produces and sells some of the best seasoning and condiments in Texas. Check them out!

Sunday morning, we went out for breakfast and when we were leaving the restaurant, our truck would not start.  We had it towed to a service garage where they diagnosed bad batteries (we have 2 in the truck).  After replacing the batteries and assuring us the charging system was working normally, we returned to our campground.  That afternoon Deanna had purchased a suite at the Rangers’ baseball stadium for act 3 of Peter’s birthday, so we joined the entire family for partying and baseball.  Unfortunately, the Cubs lost but it was a great game and the perfect end to the weekend.

The next day we headed east toward Atlanta and a planned several days with my nephew Mike and his wife Meg in Duluth, GA.  We got a far as Longview, TX, and the truck again broke down.  Fortunately we were able to get off the interstate before it shut down completely.  Since we were literally motionless on a 4 lane road, we first called 911 to get a police officer.  A few minutes later a patrolman showed up and got us towed to a Ford service garage.  Did I mention it was April 1st!  The garage determined our alternator was not working but would not be able to replace it until the next day, so we got a room and had dinner at Panera.  It was late the next day before we could get on the road again.  We made it as far as Monroe, LA, and found a campground.  Had a nice dinner and went to bed early, trying to put the stress behind us.  When we closed the living room slide we heard a brief grinding noise that turned out to be the slide cover binding, so the next day we found an RV service center close by and had the cover replaced. One more day of travel lost!

The lost travel days forced us to make some changes since we needed to be to the Outer Banks around the 10th, so we notified Mike & Meg that we would have to see them in the fall on our way west.  This was going to be one of our high points of the trip, to see them, visit the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and the Atlanta aquarium.  We hated to pass by but we will definitely stop in September.

The next morning we headed to Vicksburg, MS.

I will post more in a day or 2.