Apr 16, 2014

OK!

After visiting a variety of state parks in the last few months, from Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Alabama, I've become quite the park system fangirl (and critic). I've found that state parks are a really good gauge for gaining insight to a state's political, social, and environmental values. (BIG differences from north to south) So after visiting Lake Murray SP in Oklahoma, (and wishing we had more time to visit their other parks) Oklahoma appears to be on top of their state park game.


Lake Murray SP is Oklahoma's largest and oldest state park, it was built by the CCC and WPA. It's BLUE.
The vegetation begins to get scrubby in Oklahoma, and the trees don't grow so tall. They even sway differently than we're used to...we're getting closer to the desert!


The rain finally stopped Monday evening and we were able to enjoy a week of lakeside camping with beautiful sunsets every single night.


Throughout the week we biked 40 miles around the lake, the hills are friendly but the wind is mean.



Oklahoma is also on top of their hand-painted sign game




I was so excited to finally visit a nature center! We have not seen one since leaving Indiana. The Tucker Tower nature center is beautifully designed and thoughtfully curated. It features half of a meteorite found in the park in the 1930's, which is the fifth largest meteorite found in the world! From there, it's a short hike up to Tucker Tower, which is full of CCC and WPA displays and memorabilia. *swoon* Oklahoma, you really know the way to my heart. Now if you could just install recycling facilities...another thing we haven't seen since Indiana.






We hit the road on Saturday, headed for Amarillo. Had to stop in Chickasha and eat a fried onion burger before leaving Oklahoma. This place. So much, so good. We didn't eat again until the next day.


Stopped on the walk back to gawk at the gorgeous art deco courthouse


Then,

Apr 7, 2014

MS to OK

Last week we got the perfect sampling of Mississippi resort-living at Lake Tiak-O'Khata. It's a family owned place with a rich history, and you can tell that it is run with lots of love. Handpainted signs, pretty landscaping, nice people. It oozes southern charm.

We picked a spot next to Ruby's Pond, pretty sunsets and a nice enough view of the night sky. We've identified Gemini and are getting the hang of the spring skies. We used our new binoculars to see the nebula M42, Orion's sword (until we learned it's name, we were calling it Orion's tobacco pouch:) It's an incredible view, even from here!

We found a godswood tree on the nature trail

This gorgeous wisteria vine was in bloom. It's almost 50 years old, the wheel it's consuming is from farm equipment from the property in the late 1800's. This stuff was in bloom everywhere, and down the roads from Mississippi to Louisiana. Prettiest invasive species evar!

Bowie doing his thing..?

One evening we strolled over to the restaurant for pie and wine. It was. The best.
"Pie and wine is whatchu asked for, so pie and wine is what you gonna get."

We left Friday, and roadtripped our way across the rest of Mississippi, through Louisiana, a piece of Texas, and into Oklahoma. We were able to jump onto Natchez Trace in Louisiana for a good 80-some miles. We first heard of this road from a woman in Berea's local yarn shop. It is gorgeous and fascinating. So, there's another roadtrip that we're already planning for next year. In the teardrop perhaps? (Mom, Dad, meet you on the Mississippi??)

The arrowhead signs are great.

Magical cypress swamp




We made a stop at the site where Bonnie & Clyde were ambushed. Here is their memorial.

And just to the right, is a memorial for the vigilant (yes) and brave (?) law enforcement officials who, some might say were a bit excessive in their force...it is quite the juxtaposition.

"Each of us six officers had a shotgun and an automatic rifle and pistols. We opened fire with the automatic rifles. They were emptied before the car got even with us. Then we used shotguns ... There was smoke coming from the car, and it looked like it was on fire. After shooting the shotguns, we emptied the pistols at the car, which had passed us and ran into a ditch about 50 yards on down the road. It almost turned over. We kept shooting at the car even after it stopped. We weren't taking any chances." 

It's interesting, all of the attention that the Bonnie & Clyde monument gets, they are clearly the main attraction. (That's who we came to see! We've definitely been called Bonnie & Clyde before lol)

We somehow found ourselves in Miranda Lambert's hometown and shop, the Pink Pistol. We were lured in on the pretext of a winery, and didn't realize where we were until we were. Not really my style, but I can dig what they've got going on there. Handmade stuff, gypsy/vintage clothing, re-purposed junk (ok maybe it kind of is my style). This Texas flag was super cute.

It was fun to take a break from camping, to go on a roadtrip! As we head west, I am seriously missing boiled peanuts, and grieving the near-absence of Waffle House, but we've had some great bbq, and picked up some regional beer along the way.

We're now at Lake Murray SP in Oklahoma. We chose a lakeside site with a very promising view of the night sky. No neighbors except for the campground host. If only this rain would freaking stop already!

Mar 31, 2014

Alabama to Mississippi

What a hectic Sunday. Quick recap.

After a fun-filled week in South Carolina with Cori's uncle, we said to ourselves, "Hey, let's go to the ocean." Then we looked at the weather. And all the crowds. And then we said to ourselves, "Yeah, let's stay away from the ocean this time around - we already saw that one anyway." And so we headed west.

We found ourselves, once again, in Alabama - sort of picking up where we left off last fall. Spent a week on water front property in a place called Wind Creek State Park. Which allegedly has the largest state-run campground in the U.S. - almost 600 sites! It was a pretty site with lovely scenery, although our view of the night sky was often obstructed by tenting lanterns across one of the many lake fingers. A very pretty park, but I doubt we'll be back.


After that, we trekked onwards into the west, setting our sights on Lake Lurleen state park in Alabama. We got there after a night of boondocking (which is made extremely easy with solar panels, by the way), and the park is BEAUTIFUL. Very nice little park nested around a little gem of a lake. BUT the woes of having to remain employed on the road held us back this time around - the internet was unusably slow, in spite of our many efforts to move, re-seat the antenna, and scream in frustration.

So we continued on west - to Louisville, Mississippi. We're currently parked in a privately-owned campground in a little lake-resort area called Lake Tiak-O-Khata. It's a nice, fully-forested campground with a great layout. The resort area up the road is borderline hilarious, though - Cori said it looks like they could have filmed Dirty Dancing here. Not a bad place at all - we'll call it home for now.


 Pretty view from our front door at Wind Creek

 These funny ducks were a permanent fixture the whole week

 Bowie cat sittin pretty

 Back on the road after leaving Wind Creek. God rays over Alabama.

One of the nice things about driving west, is you always get a sunset view.
(or completely blinded for 30 minutes if there are no clouds)

 Snapped a picture of this gorgeous courthouse we drove by. I looked it up later to learn there's a ghost story, and a face in the window that you can still see. Super bummed we didn't know about this (actually I did know the story, just not that this was the courthouse!) would have loved to see it :( It is the old Pickens County Courthouse in AL.

Golden ribbon road in Mississippi. It was a charming drive through the
little Alabama and Mississippi towns between Tuscaloosa and Louisville.

Mar 25, 2014

South Carolina

Our visit to North Augusta was great! We got to see Uncle Ed and Hannah, and make new friends with Dale and Arthur. Ed's house is close to downtown, and is adjoining a pretty park, with everything you need in biking/walking distance. We had a whole fenced in yard to ourselves, didn't feel like we were in the middle of a city. The chickens really add to the ambiance. 5 star location :)

Guess What

All week we were kept busy, well fed, and engaged in great conversation. Ed is a founder of The Clubhou.se, a new Makerspace in downtown Augusta. (It's this kind of community action, that is making the world a better place!) We got a tour, and met some other makers. This week, Hannah and Ed's project was making light up shoes! I helped!


Ed and Hannah making copper roses

Seriously, they've got the best little urban homestead going on.
Complete with a blacksmith forge out back

Mar 20, 2014

Uncle Ed gave us a metalwork lesson! Pretty good for my first go, eh? btw I was totally not afraid of the torch and plasma cutter..

Mar 15, 2014

Kings Mountain

After a few bumps in the road, we are finally back at it again. This nasty winter kept us in town longer than planned, but for most of that time, there was nowhere warm in the country for us to go anyways! Moving back into the ship took longer than expected, but we managed to make a quiet getaway during a little break in the frigid winter weather. The first day driving was all nerves and excitement, then some panic and wtf?#*¿! when the water system that worked just 2 hours ago springs a leak. In a pretty much impossible-to-reach location. Stress! But we put our game faces on, and pushed through to Kings Mountain State Park. We arrived exhausted and frustrated. After filling up our water jugs and settling into our campsite, we found ourselves sitting around in a silent, defeated daze. I decided to turn on some Grateful Dead since they always lighten the mood. My favorite GD album, Working Man's Dead, was exactly what we needed. Oh dang that first line completely snapped us out of it. Just perfect. Tears and laughter!

                                 

 We had a great week. Hiked and biked everyday except for Friday because my legs were too sore. Had a little refresher course on our constellations, and quickly fell back into the groove of fulltime RVing (without water. Like, real camping. Ha). We hiked into King's Mountain National Military Park, and around the battlefield. We learned a lot about the Revolutionary War, and this particular battle, which marked the turning point in the American Revolution.

CCC dam forming Lake Crawford in Kings Mountain SP

 Today in the home depot parking lot, Ed fixed our leak with a new hose, some choice expressions, and a couple fittings...luxury! Relief! We spent the day cruising around South Carolina on our way to visit Uncle Ed. We made a few stops for groceries and other odds and ends. Lunch consisted of peach cider, peach ice cream, boiled p-nuts and scuppernong juice. Did I mention the temperature is in the 60's and 70's? SPRING!

Mar 10, 2014

Shit's already falling out of the fridge after we stop. We are officially back on the road!
Shout out to #OutdoorIndiana magazine #roadtrip #keys #fulltimeRV #beerwecantgetathome