2016-05-07 Hog Slaughter Mountain Bike trail, Crystal Bridges, & Horseshoe Bend on Beaver Lake

13131063_1177002675645783_3987619653223452271_oWe wanted to get back early Sunday in order to make Mothers Day Dinner, so we had to cram a lot into a little time this weekend…

We loaded up the bikes and took off after work toward Bentonville Arkansas. Had dinner at a chinese buffet and drove around to a couple campgrounds only to find that they were “full up”. No problem though, with our handy little van, we pulled into the back of a dimly lit cracker barrell, pulled the shades, and jumped into bed. As I was setting up the dinette bed, Aly said “no need to set it all up Scott, I can just sleep like this:” and she jumped into half the bed. Don’t know why I hadnt thought of this earlier; she slept longwise on the bed using the swiveled around driver seat for her feet. This kept the whole passenger side of the van clear. Easy to open the sliding door, passenger seat available for lounging, “Kitchen” open for morning coffee…

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Anyway, I thought that was too cool.

So we woke, had breakfast and headed over to the Hog Slaughter Dirt Bike Trail on the Bentonville Greenways Bike Trail system. Their systems connect with Springdale, Rogers, and Fayetteville to make miles and miles of great trails. I can’t say enough about this place, beautiful! All levels of trails, from flat and paved to stunt bridges and ramps and great single track trails. I’m told it’s one of the best trail systems in the country, and I believe it! Awesome.

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After conquering some pretty wicked downhills, I went over the handlebars and crashed while stopping to looking at the map. Jennifer managed to ride off the side of that S shaped bridge above and put a pretty good gouge in her leg, and Aly managed to keep both tires on the ground without injury..

I damaged my bike shifter and broke my seat, so we headed to Phat tire in Bentonville on the square and got er fixed up. Good people.

Unbeknownst to us, they just happen to be having the Bentonville Film Festival, AND the farmers market, and there were thousands of people in town..

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One of the spurs off the trail leads to Crystal Bridges Art Museum (which is also awesome and a must see free attraction if you are ever in NW Arkansas)… 
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These are silicone sculptures, and are NOT real people…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is…IMG_5370

More awesome trails and the Arkansas Traveler we met along the way..

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And we headed over to Horseshoe Bend COE campground on Beaver Lake, which was nearly full (and huge). Nice campground, $20.00 with hook ups, plenty of space, some “penninsula beach” sites, and some in the woods. Some were right on the water…IMG_5411IMG_5412

 

 

 

 

Our “picture window” view of the lake..

 

 

 

We peddled over to the beach:

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And had another gourmet campfire meal,
and slept like babies..

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2016-03-23 St. Augustine, Grayton Beach, Suwanee River

3/23 We started off from Jacksonville heading West early towards the emerald coast. We find ourselves so anxious to “get moving” we often jump in and start driving only to realize we have no “destination” in mind… 🙂

The weather looked to be cold and cloudy, so right after getting out of Jacksonville, we did a U Turn and headed south to St. Augustine. 2016-03-23 lions bridge

St. Augustine, though very touristy, is one of my favorite towns in Florida.  The oldest city in the USA, St. Augustine dates back to the 1500’s.

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Meara and I took a quick look around at Flagler College.  She has now changed her college plans from Paris, to NYU, to Flagler..2016-03-23 i flaglerToured a dug out Canoe display at the museum, had pineapple ice cream, the second best pizza in America, and picked up a few trinkets from the tourist shops..
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Then headed over to Vilano Beach and realized just about 10′ off the hard pack that the Travato didn’t feel to stable in the sand.  The front wheel drive dug right in, and surely would have kept digging till the belly was laying on the sand..2016-03-23 vilano beach 1So, before getting stuck, I backed out, turned around, and backed into the soft stuff..
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Making for a pretty nice view out the back bed..

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Heading in the general direction of home, Mr. Google recomended this Fuking Chinese place as one of the best restaurants in Lake City Fl. They even sold Fuking T-shirts.. 🙂

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Arriving late to the campground (as we are making a bad habit of), it was dark, and the combination gate was closed and locked… Just as we were leaving, another Van pulled up to the electronic gate, so we pulled beside him and asked if he would be kind enough to let us follow him in, and see if we could find an empty spot to camp in. All the places were taken, and he let us share his spot as there was room for both of us as we were both in Vans. He was very excited to see another “vanner dude”, and of course he was very impressed by Tony. He had a Dodge Van, the same Vintage as our other old Van, he had done some great modifications, and was living out of it, and working as an traveling electrician.

In the morning we walked a bit and looked around the Suwanee River.

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Then headed South (on the Vanner Dudes recommendation), to Perdido Bay, which he called the “Best state Park in Florida”.  Now Florida has allot of REALLY nice state parks, and I agree this is one of them (all pan handle beaches are beautiful), but I sure wouldn’t give it “Best” status.

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Ended up camping at Grayton Beach

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and stayed at the Flint Creek Campground in the Desoto National Forest of Mississippi on the way home.

Stopped for Lunch in South eastern Arkansas at a Riceland Rice Farm… Most of Americas rice is grown in Arkansas. Followed the Mississippi up for awhile, and then across Arkansas home.  South East Arkansas Delta country is NOT real exciting..

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2016-03-19 Testing the limits of a Travato

We’ve had some great weekends, and a a fantastic week long trip with just me and Jennifer in the Travato. Now It’s Spring Break, and time to test the limits of our mini-RV.  4 people, 9 days… 🙂

On Saturday, 3/19 We took off early, drove most of the day, and made it to Talladega National Park: Cheaha State Park Campground… Apparently, the tallest Mountains in Alabama..2016-03-19 alabama

I was sick most of the trip, and Jennifer did nearly all the driving. We got to Jacksonville late Sunday, and went to dinner with the crew at the “Cantina” down on Jacksonville Beach.

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Tony had some odd looking company in the parking lot..

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Chaz & Jericha seems to trade it out vehicles every time we visit.. This one looked like a comfy ride.

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You’d never guess who was first in the water..

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Mini Chaz..

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Two odd birds..                                          and two Love Birds’

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The Jax Beach skyline from the Pier

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The kids slept in the house at Jerichas.  Though the Travato does sleep 4, You have to climb over one of the sleepers if you want to get in or out the sliding door, it sure was nice to get our little “bedroom” back to ourselves for a couple nights.

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Granny sunning in the front yard.

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3/21 Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

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Was great.  Even though we heard several people say it was the most crowded they had ever seen it, it didn’t feel overcrowded. The animals seem to have adequate room, everything was clean, the trails were nice, and the entire place was a beautifully kept “wild” garden.

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And look at all these pretty creatures I found wandering around..

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These guys were not very entertaining. I think they needed a few more spoons of sugar in their cornflakes…

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Late night Ribs:
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Early Mornin Feedin:

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Whos got your nose?
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3/22 Hannah Park

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Too cold for this Old Man, but of course all the kids swam..

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With Eight people in and out of the Van at the beach we found good use for the rear shower.  Had us sum foot washins’…

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Hannah Park was fun; Beach, Park, Large Campgrounds, picnic areas, playgrounds, and all just a few minutes from Jacksonville.

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Took the scenic route “home”, and Tony got his first boat ride.

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There were Dolphins jumping in and out of the water in front of this ship.  You can’t see them in this picture, so you’ll just have to use your imagination….  ooo   ahhh   … look at the beautiful dolphins…

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Last Dinner at Kickbacks and Chaz started welding on a swing away trailer hitch for the bike rack for Tony..

 

 













 

 



 

2016-03-04 Springfield Art Walk, McIlroy Madison WMA, Wagonshed Painting, Steel Creek

As usual, we took off with plans of Jello

(the best part about owning a small Class B Van).

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Our first destination was the First Friday Art Walk in Springfield Mo. Springfield is a funky little city (3rd largest in MO) with an energetic art community. They seem to have been working on rehabilitating “Downtown” for a decade or two. We packed up some groceries and headed up the highway a couple hours North. Though we arrived a little late, we quickly slid into a normal city street parking spot and began wandering the streets somewhat aimlessly trying to find galleries and participants of the Art Walk.  Street Musicians were on nearly every block, and “people watching” was the highlight of the evening.  The local residents, rednecks, punk, goth, Rock N Rollers, clean cut college kids, 50 something tourists, farmers, business owners, art and wine connoisseurs, and many “blends” of the above, seemed to have turned out on this pleasant March Evening. I was having too much fun to think about snapping any photos. Jennifer and I shared some Soup & Veal/Portobello Mushroom Raviolli at Brunnos, a great little Italian restaurant recommended by our friend, Joe Golden. 🙂

Enough of the City. We headed South and found a great free (out of season) COE Campground called Cape Fair Marina.  As Jennifer slept off her Zuppa, late into the night, I was having a ball listening to the stereo, following Siris instructions on the GPS, and driving through the darkness over the twisty hilly roads in the Ozarks down to the lake. …and we camped in Style; Lakeside, Free, Again 😀

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In the morning, we started out early looking for something to paint from a list of “attractions” another friend had recommended… The first “must see” item was a shabby place called the Golden Museum… It was closed…  2016-0305 17

 

Next, was the “Little Golden Gate” Beaver Bridge.. ehh…

 

 

 

Then we stopped by “Roaring River State 2016-0305 15Park” and Fishery, only to discover it was the first week of trout season, and the place was packed with THOUSANDS of fisherman (literally -Thousands- spaced every 10 or 20′ along the river for 2 miles fishing) It was a ridiculous sight, and so disappointing we didn’t think to photograph that either… They did have a cool spring there though, and we got in a quick steep hike; up, over and around this canyon.

So, that was enough of planning. We just decided to “drive” after that… Got out the good old fashioned DeLorme Arkansas paper atlas, and went to check out Withrow Springs State Park in Arkansas, which was nice. A modern state Park with new, well maintained facilities (and a $32.00 Big Rig RV camping price to match).  I really don’t like paying that sort of money just to park and “camp” alongside a bunch of others in big R.V.s. so, another look at the atlas showed a much larger Wildlife management area, just a few miles up the road, where there was Free “Primitive” Camping. 🙂

A few miles down a lovely rough gravel road and BINGO! A perfect little spot, right beside a creek, and a cave just across the field!

heh heh heh… Life IS Good.
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And This was in our backyard… About 20′ away from the Van 🙂

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Finally, something inspiring…

 

So, I went to work; slaving away in the hot sun…

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while the “Queen” did what she does best….

 

😉

 

She did warm up some of her Homemade Chicken Soup (which she made for me last week when I was feeling a little ill), and we hiked around a bit to check out our new place..

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That is NOT the road we drove in on… But it wasn’t much different.

It dropped down below freezing Saturday Night but we didn’t know it, because we were cuddled up sleeping with our silent furnace in our toasty little Travato. In the morning, I got up early and turned the cab in to my own little personal painting Studio..

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Jennifer made us Eggs on the “fire” and we painted and read some more, and went to check out a Spring and Cave nearby..

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We hung around awhile, and then headed towards home.  On the way, we rolled down to Steel Creek, and took a stroll down the River..

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Tried to get these folks to flip there Canoe for a more interesting picture, but they just wouldn’t bite..

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There’s just no place like Newton County..

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Got a start on a new painting,

and shared another great weekend with the one I love.

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2016-02-26 Falling Water Waterfalls & Richland Creek

OK; This weekend, we only had a day, so we took off Saturday Night and got to Richland Campground by evening. Hot Dogs cooked (very well done by Aly) 🙂 on the fire  .  We got to show off our LED “porch” lights, and slept very comfortably in our cozy little Steel tent.. 00

We came armed with Tim Ernsts Waterfalls guide, and took off on a little mini tour of the falls on Falling Water Creek.  Drove up the road to the first wide spot, parked the Travato, and scrambled up a big deep canyon to Keefe Falls.01
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It’s hard to get the scale of these falls in my pictures; this one didn’t have tons of water, but was impressive none the less. Click on the pictures for bigger views

 

 

Just another mile or two up the road we found another spot wide enough to pull over, and checked out Six Finger Falls. This picture was taken out the door of the van parked on the side of the dirt road.

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We took off our shoes and “waded” through the ice cold water to the other side.11

And from there, just a short hike downstream to Fuzzy Butt Falls. This one was up in a shady box canyon.  It would be a great place to be in the hot summertime (if there was any water in the creeks).19

I thought Fuzzy Butt was the most picturesque of the waterfalls… Another one on my list to return to and paint..20 21 23  

 

 

 

 

 

From Fuzzy Butt, we went back up the same trail, and then further up river (past 6 fingers), to Horse Tail Falls.

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That one was so tall you couldn’t get back far enough to get the entire waterfall in one picture.32

Where the Horse Tail run off meets Falling Water Creek, there is another pretty spot.
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Another short hike up the trail and we met the road, crossed over Falling Water on the Old CC Bridge, and headed back downstream on the other side. With the help of Tims book, we took a short detour to “Intersection Falls”. This picture was taken from the top of the Falls, looking down into Falling Water Creek..
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The entire Hike only amounted to a few miles of pretty good trails.  Made for a great day of seeing some beautiful country.  Get the book, take the walk.  Life is Good.

2016-02-18 Amelia Island, Savannah, North Georgia

Jericha and Chaz had work and school and appointments (poor saps 😉 ), and we needed to go back and face the same.  So we were off again on Wednesday night. On the way out of town, we made a stop at the Sand Dollar at (another highly recommended seafood spot by people in the know) and listened to Joe Cocker’s younger brother… or, some guy who sounded like him anyway.

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We meant to stay at the Fort Clinch Amelia Island State Park, but when we got there, the gate was closed (how very rude), so we wandered down the road a couple blocks and found a nice city park with subdued lighting, and just parked and jumped in bed again… (I’m liking this sort of “camping”). When we awoke, we were VERY pleasantly surprised by the view in our “backyard”

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There is something special about hot coffee on the beach at 6:30 in the morning…

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Did some beach combing, found a few good shells, went for a stroll, and headed back to the van to continue on on our journey.  Found some fresh baked muffins in the sleepy little tourist town of Fernandina beach, and headed back to the now open fort and state park…

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The Live Oaks, canopy roads, and Spanish moss are something to see..

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And, who’d a thunk it?

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…More Beach…

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The Fort was a pretty humbling experience, it’s hard to imagine how rough they had it in 1863…  In the Florida Jungle, with no A/C, or fans, or “OFF”… Of course, we’re here in February so heat isn’t a problem… But the wind would get old in a hurry…

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Even if I took dozens of pictures, you probably couldn’t get a feel for the size and craftsmanship and astounding amount of labor this place must have took to build…

An Aerial View of Fort Clinch

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After some time touring the fort (and only seeing one other person), we found a good shade tree, and took a short hike down the “pond trail”..

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This ain’t like no “pond” I’ve ever seen..   Nor  have I ever seen  “Alligator Warning” signs in the Ozarks…

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Even the trees were creepy in this place..

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Back to the Van, and we headed up the coast to Savannah Georgia.  On the way we stopped at a touristy little Peach shack and got delicious Peach Slushes. If you ever have the opportunity, get one. (along with some peach cider, peach candy, peach butter, peach jerky, peach preserves, peach wine, and on and on and on.

Savannah is a beautiful city.  Gardens all over the place, old quaint buildings, a huge art college (the biggest in America they tell me), restaurants, Art galleries, specialty shops, Bars, tea rooms, bed and breakfasts, cobblestone streets, etc.

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I’m sure one could spend a few days easy lolly gagging around this place.

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Oh.. and Bars, did I mention the seafood and bars?

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From Savannah, we headed up through South Carolina and found another great state park and camped by the Lake at Hickory Knob.

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Had another great night, coffee and breakfast, and headed into the North Georgia Mountains on Highway 76 (great drive). Stopped in the charming little town of Clayton and did some shopping and had a great lunch at the “Universal” restaurant.

Took a great ride west on Highway 74 through the Cherokee National Forest and the Nantahala National Forest, and the Chatahoochee National Forest, along side the Ocoee River.

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This is an area I plan to return to.

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Crazy whitewater rafting and tons of what would look to be beautiful hiking and biking trails

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Drove up a narrow steep forest road a few miles looking for tumbling creek campground only to find a sign that said it was 7 more miles. We turned around and camped on the Ocoee river for $12.00.

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Glamping: Hardwood grilled home raised organic steak with sauteed mushrooms and onions, fresh salad and anti pasta.. Thanks Kenya and Nathan!

Sleeping on a great bed, in a heated van, with a beautiful girl, in an empty campground, under a full moon, playing “cards”, and having a dos equis.. That’s what I’m talkin’ about 🙂

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SATURDAY: Woke up to realize why they called our campground “thunder rock”. Sometime around 6:30 in the morning, someone obviously opened the flood gates of the dam about a mile up river from where we were camping. The Ocoee river, turned from a fast and dangerous (and somewhat loud) 1′ deep river into a crazy powerful 4′ raging churning thundering river! The sound alone made is sit up in bed and take note.. Quickly. We got up and went outside to make sure we were not going to get washed away .

Jennifer made steak and egg burritos with cheese and onions 🙂 we took off and worked westward through the Ocoee river valley for another hour or so. This is a beautiful part of the world, and Jennifer’s “most scenic” part of the trip. The aqueduct 100’s of feet over our head running for MILES through the valley was worth the price of admission alone ($0). The cost in labor for that project had to be phenomenol! There seems to be countless waterfalls and trails in this area. WE WILL BE BACK

Made a quick detour to Chattanooga and drove up lookout mountain to see the famed tourist traps of “rock city” and “ruby falls” only to find each one of them wanted a $20.00 admission to get “in” to look at nice mountain views, rock formations, and an underground waterfall…. Don’t think so… Judging from the photos, we can do the same thing at home for free..

Instead we talked to a national forest employee at a civil war museum and gift shop and found a free trail to hike around the mountain. The painting below was about 25′ wide.. Tons of figures, many you can not see in the photo. The artist recreated the whole scene with guidance from the soldiers that were there fighting. Monumental work; very cool. Civil war history buffs must go nuts on this mountain; very well documented with books, monuments, markers and headstones.
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And once again, Jennifer finds a tree oddity.

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After our hike we headed west through the south of Tennessee on #64 . This used to be a picturesque drive dotted with small towns and tons of stuff to see.  The new 4 lane highways have bypassed all the towns, and now it is somewhat depressed looking. Progress is sad…

Camped at the Meeman Shelby Forest State Park, had a great burger and spent another peaceful night.

Had to stop in Memphis and see what the Humongous pyramid shaped Bass Pro shop was all about… It’s a Humongous pyramid shaped Bass Pro Shop…20160220_104200

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A quick drive by of Beale Street.

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And great Ribs at Central BarbeQue in downtown Memphis…

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From there it is a straight, rough, and rather boring ride home through central Arkansas.  It’s always sad when a trip comes to an end.. 

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But we are still two very happy thankful campers 🙂

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2016-02-12 Trip to Florida to meet Ansleigh

This might get long…

We took off from the Ozarks Friday afternoon at 5:01 in search of a new grand daughter…

Made it just passed Memphis before getting tired, so we thought we’d take a stab at “metropolitan boondocking”, and we pulled over in a Cracker Barrel parking lot, pulled the shades, turned on the furnace and hit the sack (it actually was pretty peaceful, and we had a good nights sleep). The Van curtains and shades seal off the outside world very well.

In the morning we were up bright and early, drove through Mississippi and Alabama with a road side stop to make a hot lunch in the Van. By dusk we made it to an old friend of Jennifer’s, who has a beautiful home on the Flint river near Bainbridge Georgia. Had dinner and drinks with Ted, he cooked us breakfast in the morning and gave us a tour of his nearly complete handcrafted stone and wood Barn (now Jennifer wants one).
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We shot down in to Florida and stopped at Wakulla Springs where we toured the old 1930s lodge and hiked a few miles in a foreign land.

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Jennifer was quick to find an abnormally large tree.

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We made lunch in the Van at the park, and were anxious to see some beach, so we continued straight south to St. Marks.

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Tony the Travato got to see his first Palm Tree..

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AND the first of his kind in “the wild”..

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From St. Marks Wildlife Refuge, we headed east towards Jacksonville. We were expected on Monday, so we tried out an old KOA in Perry Fl… about what I expected, but it was cheap, quiet, and had clean hot showers.. Jennifer made us breakfast in the morning and we were back on the road.

Arrived in Jacksonville right on time,

and got to wrap our arms around THIS!  🙂

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Meet my grand daughter: Ansleigh Ella Starr. Born 2/5/2016, 2 days before Moms 21st birthday… The first born of my first born. 🙂

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Got to do a “Day in the Life” on Day two with Jericha and crew and spent some time with and Ashlynn and Chaz Jr.

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Picked oranges and grapefruit in the back yard 🙂

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And did a little more of this…

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Went to Dinner at Singletons Fish Shack with the whole bunch including GREAT grandma and grandpa, but didn’t get the “whole family at the table chowin down shot” ..oops, sorry Great Grams and Pops, but we’ll be back soon … (with our little people too).

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Sleep, Eat, Poop, Repeat…

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“But I kaint do it”… Sure you can… “I kaint do it” …sure you can… ”

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Jericha and Chaz got ’em a great little family going, They have a great adventure ahead… Makes a Daddy proud.

 

 

2016-02-08 Haw Creek, Hurricane Wilderness

01 IMG_4474Another great weekend with our new adventure rig.. When getting ready to leave, I couldn’t help notice the difference in size between “the Van” and the new VAN.. 🙂

Jennifer and I set out to “camp” and hike several waterfalls in the Richland Creek Wilderness Area.  Started descending into the valley to find the Forest Service was doing controlled burns, the entire valley was filled with smoke, and you could hardly breathe down there..  So… Change of Plans.

We figured we’d drive over and camp at Haw Creek.02 772

When we got over there, the campground was closed… So we found a parking spot and took off hiking. Through the campground,

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and beyond…

Up a draw,

 

 

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Past a Hobbit Tree…

 

 

 

 

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To

Pack Rat Falls

 

 

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After I asked my muse to

“strike the pose”  🙂

 

 

 

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We “scampered” up the side of the hill and continued on

 

 

 

 

To an even “cooler” place.06 8 w

This waterfall would not be accessible in higher water.

 

 

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A Really Beautiful little waterfall               at the end of a miniature slot canyon.

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Back to the Van for a little lunch.

 

 

Then we crossed the road 10 5 wand took off up the hill for “Pams Grotto”

 

 

11 1 wWhich is a very impressive place and worth the steep hike up the hill.  We discussed going back for my painting gear.. (next time I won’t leave it behind)

 

 

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Another day in life where all that was planned, did not happen.

All that happened, turned out to be the perfect plan.

 

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We climbed back down the Hill (meeting some nice folks along the way), and back to the Van. We took the dirt road down a mile or two to where the Hurricane meets the Piney, and found an awesome little parking spot..

12 3

(Campground not needed after all) The view of the Hurricane out our sliding door:

 

12 5 wSunday Morning we took off hiking up the Hurricane. Every bend was more beautiful than the last. One long deserted old homeplace sat in the bend of this horseshoe in the river, surrounded by aqua blue waters and flat rock bottomed creek. I would love to hear the stories from the people who lived there.

13 1 w

Beside an old pioneer road, we “found” this Natural Rock Bridge.  …OK OK, the little wooden sign with the arrow that read “Natural Rock Bridge” helped a little. 🙂

 

13 1

 

Stopped on a nice big flat warm rock along the river and had lunch.

 

 

Just an awesome place.  13 2 w

Very hard to capture on film. Click on any of these pics to zoom in.

13 space rock w

 

 

 

Figure this one out:

 

13 5 w

 

 

So after several hours of hiking, Jennifer sees these trail markers for the Ozark Highlands trail, and decides it “should be” a shortcut.  We take off and hike for a mile or so in the wrong direction… Luckily, I convinced her of her err, and we left the trail.

14 lost w

 

Of course, -I- have to get her back on course 😉  , so we blaze our own trail through the woods…

 

14

 

 

But, as the ever patient and understanding gentlemen that I am, guess who has to get their feet wet  -AGAIN-?

Is this becoming a routine?

 

15We did finally make it back.. (with the aid of my uncanny sense of direction). Had a brief rest back at the Van, and started home. On the way out we saw the “shortcut” where the Ozark Trail that we were on crossed the road. Jennifer got out and checked the sign: It was FIVE MILES to the Hurricane River from that point (VS. the two mile hike we took).

 

Another great weekend with 20 happy campersa couple Happy Campers:

 

19 w
Next Week: ROAD TRIP!

2016-02-01 First Trip in the Travato: Petite Jean State Park

1 Travato at Jens So, after a Year plus of looking, researching, comparing, pricing, shopping, reading blogs, reviews, visiting RV Dealers and RV Shows, and generally obsessing, I finally made the leap to buy a new “RV”. I was intrigued when I first saw the new front wheel drive RAM Promaster. I knew immediately it would make a great Van to “convert” into a camper due to its interior stand up height, relatively low exterior height, and straight up walls. I was completely in love after driving it. The Promaster drives as much like a car as a box this big can be expected to drive. So to make a long story short, I finally convinced Jennifer how badly we “needed” this Van as an upgrade to our Old Dodge…  2 walmart dining

Here we are Dining on our first meal in the Walmart parking lot.

 

 

3 travato parking

We then headed up the mountain to Petit Jean State Park (which was ridiculously crowded because we weren’t the ONLY ones that figured out that 68 degrees and sunny was a beautiful way to end January!

4 ali jen view

 

But even with the crowds, it was a awesome place, and it’s a great State Park.

5 cedar falls

 

 

Cedar Falls. Click on the picture to zoom in and see the size of the people.

 

6 cedar falls closer

 

 

There’s Jennifer and Aly. Jennifer tried to convince Aly to climb the “trail” up and behind the waterfall, but she couldn’t work up the courage…

22 scott at cedar falls

 

 

When she finally did, she ended up on the wrong side of the creek. Somehow -I- ended up getting wet, trying to help her back across.     🙂

8 ali on tree

She ended up walking downstream till she found this tree to use as a bridge. She’s a pretty resourceful, independent kid… but -I- ended up with the wet foot…

9 travto at night

We successfully got back up the mountain to the Van, and Jennifer made some beef stroganoff for Dinner.  We made a fire, played Uno, and showered at the campground with NO hot water…

 

11 braiding

Sunday, we had great french press coffee in the morning while Jennifer braided Aly’s hair..

20 making coffee12 arch

We took another great Hike; on Seven Hollows Trail and saw some more great sites..

 

19 scott and aliIts a 4.5 mile trail through some beautiful hollows with strange rock formations and beautiful countryside.

14 jen

 

 

 

It was a great time with a great new fun machine; great trails, beautiful park, and beautiful people.  21 all three

 

 

 

17 petit jean

 

On the way out we stopped at Petit Jeans Grave and learned about her legend and some other history of this beautiful place.

 

(Click to read)

24 petit jean legend

 

 

 

 

 

15 ar rivber

 

 

Pictured is a view of the Arkansas River from her gravesite.

 

23 ali and hammock

 

 

This is what it’s all about.

Life is good. very good.  🙂

New year, New Chapter; Meet Tony.


A couple paragraphs to say thanks..

I have lived a truly blessed life. From day one I was born into a great family; I was encouraged, supported, trained and nurtured well by two of the greatest people on earth. I had good teachers and roll models through public school. Our family moved from Chicago to the “country” where as a child we played in the lake, and hiked and rode bikes in the woods and fields. I made art. My mother was involved and supportive every step of the way, while my Father worked tirelessly to provide everything for us all, and never left us wanting.

I left home early, started a business in California before I was 18.  I worked on Highway crews in Montana, Panned for gold in the Sierra Mountains, and spent time in Texas and most of the Western States, working at a dozen different trades in construction. I lived and camped out of a Van for several years, and lived in dozens of different towns and cities. I drew pictures and gave them to friends along the way. I traveled and experienced more before I was twenty five then some do in a lifetime.

I returned to the bustling family business and worked as a laborer, truck driver, warehouse man, flooring installer, and supervisor before running my own division of the company. I built a large log cabin and owned boats, campers, and all the toys. I started painting more seriously.

At age 30, I sold it all and moved to the backwoods in the Ozark Mountains and “homesteaded”. I built a solar powered home, and raised a garden and a large variety of small livestock. I spent my days hiking, 4 wheeling, horse back riding, and painting.

I started selling my Artwork on the side of the road, and then to Gift shops, Craft shops, and galleries. I tore down old barns, built my own frames, made prints, and attended art and craft shows, had my own exhibitions and painted commissions. I grew to a point where I was wholesaling to more than 300 shops and galleries across the south and Midwest in 20+ states.

I built a second log home nearly solo, and reclaimed an 1860’s barn and turned it into my studio. Recently I helped to design, build and run two Art Galleries in our little town of Jasper and I have my own studio and gallery in the mountains. I helped to bring two beautiful girls into this world (one of which is out to have her own baby), and now, as life would have it, I met the woman of my dreams.  We both love traveling and spending time together, and just last week I made an investment in what will be essential to the next chapter:

Meet Tony:

tony-w

Life is good 🙂      Life is very very good.