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I’ve Been Everywhere

10 Nov

To me, learning new things is the best part of travel. I usually plan a trip down to the most minute detail… but this time, for the first time, I left room for lots of other things to happen, and great things did!

71BB1856-40BA-467F-906F-29C0B90230C0I couldn’t find an RV “resort” in Jackson, MS, but there was a state park on the route and the price was good, or should I say, cheap? As we drove deep into the park along swampy ponds, we both got a little nervous. Things were getting closer, smaller, more jungle-like… were we going to be able to fit? As we slowly, slowly snaked our way in, we began to wonder why we even wanted to.

“If I hear banjos, we’re outta here,” my sweetie mumbled.

Having already unhooked the truck, we decided to see the Capital and the State Supreme Court buildings. Then we drove to the Fondren Neighborhood where parts of the movie “The Help” was filmed. Being sure to return before dark, I got to see my first alligator. The realization that there were alligators in that lake made me almost faint!  I couldn’t wait to leave in the morning.

A572B947-758C-4CEC-929E-5E85B9FE0150We headed to Florence, AL, hoping to have work done on our coach. Since there was a five-week wait at the Tiffin factory, that didn’t happen, but we did get to tour a Frank Lloyd Wright house, which was very close to our RV park (above) on the banks of the spectacular Tennessee River. We’ve always wanted to see one. I loved it, he didn’t like the small rooms. But the exterior, wow!

8764E0B5-7F97-4470-9C24-1C568BA02A96From there we went to Nashville, TN, and what a revelation! While Austin, where we live, is supposed to be the “coolest” city around, I disagree. Nashville is everything Austin could have grown-up to be, if we’d had leadership with that kind of vision. There are so many ways to get around Nashville that traffic isn’t the horrific experience we are used to at home… everything moved easily here. 218F7482-7209-4203-9E39-C5963F01AD3C

Staying at a spectacular park SE of town on Percy Priest Lake, we had our first taste of autumn, and the pleasant surprise of running into friends we’d made back in Natchez! We were excited to sit in their sleek Airstream and visit with them again. EC1206ED-32F3-4378-80CA-9B6DB404C9F2

We’d planned to visit with our dear friend Juliet, also a motorcycle rider. She came out to the lake to see our “casa,” one afternoon, and then we met her in East Nashville, where she lives, for a fabulous Sunday brunch at Marche. Having also eaten at Biscuit Love, I contend that we had our two best meals of the trip in Nashville!

From Nashville, we originally planned to go to Chattanooga… but headed to Memphis instead. Everyone told us to see The Ducks at The Peabody Hotel, which we thought was kind of corny… but we planned a whole day around it: lunch at a bbq joint, then explore the town, planning to be at the hotel by 4:00 to have a cocktail and see the ducks perform.

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Lunch was good, more so for the people-watching than the old rooster I’d been served. Afterwards, my sweetie suggested going to “the museum” across the street to see why tour buses were bringing people there. We saw a sign… The Lorraine Motel. It rang a bell, but it wasn’t until we got closer that I realized why:

We were facing the balcony where Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had stood and shared his dream. Where he had died. I felt my heart break all over again, and I stood and wept.

B0B5FBF1-9692-4E50-B668-96106BCB49B1The next day, we ate at Beauty Shop Lunch, in the Cooper-Young neighborhood. An actual beauty salon with dryers, booths, and sinks that is now a chic cafe, how could I NOT go there? Priscilla Presley used to get her hair done here!

Getting to see the ducks at the beautiful old Peabody Hotel, the riverfront along the Mississippi, with its trolleys, and the MLK Memorial Park I’m so glad we visited Memphis. And to think, we had originally planned to skip it!

Our final stop was Little Rock, AR, and the RV park is right downtown, on the beautiful Arkansas River. It’s nestled between two pedestrian bridges, and blocks from their trolley system. The closest bridge leads to The Clinton Presidential Library. 2AFDC78F-3D8B-4B9F-B80C-C84A984093B0

The riverfront is beautiful. The city is small, elegant, and there seemed to be lots of cultural things to do other than just bars and music. However, the very best thing, in our opinion, is the fact that the Clinton Pedestrian Bridge lights up each night! We saw LED lights on it during our walk, but were disappointed when it never lit-up before we went to bed. 50221EEA-36C3-422A-B39A-19571DC1D900

One sleepless night, I peeked out of our living-room shade and to my amazement, there was a light-show on the bridge! Even though it was 2:30 a.m. I woke my better-half up… we were both as excited as kids at Christmas. What a great finale for a wonderful trip!

XO Donna

 

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How’s That Sound?

14 Sep

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One of the things I rarely talk about in my blogs is my health… because I think there are more interesting things to talk about: great food, the fascinating people I know and get to meet, and all of the wonderful places there are to see and learn about.

But, without good health, none of this would be possible for me. Or for any of us. Continue reading

Bicycling Through Santa Fe

30 Aug

 

I know how to find my way to a few places here in Santa Fe, especially my favorites, but there is an intimacy that occurs when you ride through side-streets and alleys and arrive at a place from a different direction than the street they reside on, and their main entrance. It’s like getting to see behind the scenes. Continue reading

Almost “Go Time”

29 Jun

 

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There are only a few items left to be given away or picked up. The furniture we’ve chosen to keep; his China and glassware, and my art all go into a small climate controlled storage unit… in case we want a house again later.

We have an agreement that in 6 months we are going to take a day and revisit what’s in storage – especially seasonal clothes – and do more clearing. But, not now.

None of this letting-go has been as much of a challenge as turning-in my leased Mini Cooper tomorrow. This will leave me “without my own wheels” for the first time since I was 17. As a fiercely  independent woman, I’ve struggled with this… what does it mean for me, or about me, if it means anything at all? What do you think?

I have decided that, like so much in life, we GIVE meaning (for better or worse) to the events in our lives. It’s not like I’m stranded –  we’ve still got a truck and a motorcycle.
Being able to have this conversation more than once, and many others like it, are the reason I know we can make this move and enjoy it.

They say that the two happiest days of a boat-owner’s life are the day he buys a boat… and the day he sells it! That was how we felt about owning our house.

It’s taken us 24 months to be ready to move into a motor-home – which we will do on Tuesday, July 4th. This will be a memorable Independence Day for us. The movers come the next day to take our things to storage, as do the people from St. Vincent de Paul Society. Did you know that you can donate mattresses in good condition? Neither did we. They are  sanitized and then donated, or sold affordably.

We’ve bought ourselves a few house-warming presents; a spotted cowhide rug, an ottoman with storage inside, (necessary) and some very soft, very artsy pillows to replace my scratchy kilim pillows. And, of course, getting our bar properly set up for guests is of utmost importance. Sure, we could use plastic cups, but how sexy is that?

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I’ve found the perfect, sturdy, multi-purpose glasses that will serve wine, a salt-rimmed margarita, or a hearty Old Fashioned, fashionably.
Y’all are always welcome to come visit. There will be photos next time, and I hope you will be in one of them.

XO
Donna

Easy, like a Sunday morning…

1 Jun

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I’d been feeling stuck this week. Sad. Resistant. Frustrated. And had even gone so far as to question my long-held belief about wanting to live a gypsy life.

Continue reading

Hello, Dali!

5 May

IMG_5336I’ve missed you!  It wasn’t my intention to be offline for a whole month, but we found that there was no wi-fi connection in almost all of the places we went. In case you don’t know where I’ve been, we drove from Austin, TX to Key West, FL and back!

It was a multi-purpose trip: a dream vacation to celebrate our semi-retirement. Our first long-distance “shake-down” cruise to see if the coach was up to snuff. And, more to the point, to see if we were up to snuff since we have been considering living full-time in our RV to travel for a year.

How would we do together for 30 days, going 3,000+ miles, in under 300 sq.ft. of living space? Would we have fun, or would claustrophobia set in, quickly followed by snarkiness ?  The jury is in – we did really well together!

I know I can speak for both of us when I say we didn’t feel claustrophobic. Since the weather was great for most of the trip, we spent the majority of our time outdoors. We stayed in some stunning RV parks, and some not so stunning ones.  We made the best of every  situation, let go of things needing to be a certain way… and things turned out even better than we’d planned!IMG_5335

For example, in Key Largo we didn’t go to  a restaurant we’d planned on, because a neighbor in the RV park told us another was even better. He was wrong… their service and their food were awful. But because of it’s location, on our way back to the RV park we found the absolutely best Key Lime Pie in Florida! Returning a week later, I met the owner and had a nice chat with her as I bought a whole pie to take up to Boca Raton with us! It’s called Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory. It’s in Tavernier, just south of Key Largo.

Another happy accident occurred when on the spur of the moment we decided to go to the Salvadore Dali museum in St. Petersburg. As it turns out, there was a Frida Kahlo exhibit that was in it’s final week, and I just had to go!IMG_0959

Re-entering the main hall, a docent told me to get in line quickly and we could experience a Virtual Reality Tour of a Dali painting. They only take a small group of people to do this a few times a day, so we hurried over to the door she’d pointed out, and in a few minutes we were lead to a private room. Huge goggles were placed on our heads, the process explained, and once started, we were INSIDE a Dali painting! I could move from place to place just by looking at small white dots, and I’d instantly be there, able to see 360 degrees in all directions. At one point, I watched as elephants on stilts approached, and I looked up at their bellies as they stepped above me, and walked on past! This was way better than the 60’s!

After the museum, we stopped to eat lunch at The Columbia in Ybor City, a historic neighborhood in Tampa founded in the 1880’s. It was a bustling cigar manufacturing city up until the depression of 1930. The Columbia is the oldest continuously operated restaurant in Florida, and with it’s Spanish architecture, debonair waiters, and delicious food, I can see why. As much as we liked the Rodeo Drive glitz of downtown St. Petersburg, we loved the vibe in Ybor City even more. After eating, we went for a walk to buy some good cigars, then headed back to Tampa.

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To get caught up on everything I have to share, I invite you to visit: 1010ParkPlace.com  and under the Life tab look for my story: “Something’s Changed.”
I also posted “Just Us Chickens,” yesterday on my travel website, Damned Gypsy.  You’ll find that right here: wp.me/p4FfqG-x2

As always, I thank you for reading. I have lots more to share with you in the next few weeks. P.S. –  I love your questions and comments!

XO Donna

Puzzled

3 Mar

Just like a jigsaw puzzle, our plans hinge on putting all of the pieces together, and creating a finished product – which in this case is a big trip to Florida this month!  Continue reading