Elvis is in the Park

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Tupelo, MS, the trip would not be complete without some reference to Elvis Presley along the journey. Today is the day. The town of Tupelo has paraphernalia on most street corners here in Tupelo, and it should. This is the birth place of Elvis, a poor boy from a poor family.

We had lunch at this park and walked around

Easting, as we call it in the boating world

Daring man to take on a Russian woman!

There are many things to see along the way from LA eastward. Lynchburg, famous for Jack Daniels. Did you know Jack Daniels is distilled in a dry county.

Gibsland, LA! The Ambush

Bonnie and Clyde, once again the news media distorted the real image. The guy that runs the Ambush Museum is passionate about his job. He knows the story and all the lies that go with it. He was a wealth of information. One of the interesting things he told was that Bonnie never killed anyone. The media villainized her.

In this Museum there used to be a restaurant, bonnie and clyde ate there the day they were ambused. No, it’s not their real car

We left Texas

The Conductor

We left Texas on highway 79, better known as Sam Bass Road in Round Rock, TX. Highway 79 took us all the way east to Louisiana. It is always exciting to visit family and friends and it’s always a little sad to say goodbye. But we must be travelling onward, we must be in Boston, MA by the 19th, today is the 3rd. That seems like plenty of people who own a Honda Civic, but when you own a School Bus, things take a bit longer.

We were blessed again with Texas’ roads. Texas has big wide, smooth roads. They are great. But then you meet up with Louisiana, things are the opposite there.

Here are a few attractions that we spotted along the way. This was Tupelo, MS, birthplace of Elvis

We’all in Austin, TX

Family opportunity at Rudy’s in Austin, TX

We made it to Austin. Only 1000 miles out of our way, but we made it. Yes, we are actually headed to Massachusetts, slight detour. But we really have missed spending time with our family. We sure hope they missed spending time with us too!

Austin has grown up since we left, the Frost Tower, which used to be the one of the taller buildings in Austin’s downtown skyline is now diminished by the newer, bigger, taller buildings..

It’s not always fun and games. Unfortunately, while Dad and Ruth were visiting us Pecan Grove RV Park on Barton Springs, they were involved in a car accident. Someone turned in front of them. So we had some family time at the Hospital. All turned out well and everyone is recovering. It’s not as bad as it looks, but Ruth did not want to stay overnight at the hospital, but the surgeon thought it was the best choice. We spent the better part of the evening with Ruth and then had some tacos with Taya at about midnight. She sure knows how to find a good taco. Thanks for the late night dinner.

Also a special thanks to Taya for letting us use her car while we were there. It is always a pleasure to hear what is happening with her. Taya nd her boyfriend, Alejandro, are moving to Puerto Rico in August. We hope to visit them there. Safe travels!

The final stretch to Austin, TX

We left Poplarville, MS and headed west some more. We have about 2 more days of driving to get to Austin, TX. So far we have been travelling on the 2 lane highways vs the Interstates. Our bus has some issues, as you may have already noticed. The current biggest issue is the temperature issue. It tends to get a little warm if we go over 55 mph or trying to climb a hill. So we go slow and that keeps us off the Interstates. It is also much more enjoyable to travel the back highways because there is so much more to see. Such as finding this jewel of a park featuring Easter Island replicas. Honestly this jewel of a park was a little bit dicey. We didn’t stay long and didn’t use the restrooms.

In our 4 state travels so far, we have concluded that Louisiana has the worst roads. The back roads are concrete and badly cracked. Our bus lets us know of each crack in the road. For anyone building anything that drives, Louisiana is a good stress test to see if anything is going to fall off.

We stopped by a roadside market, grabbed a watermelon that we will share with our friends in Austin. The locals there said Skoolies don’t typically come by our road side market. I believe we were the first.

Of course it would not be complete without fixing some issues. Seems the tanks were coming loose along the bumpy roads.

Seems the tanks were coming loose? Do you suppose anyone’s tanks have leaked on this ground I am laying on?

At the mechanic in Mobile, AL

I sure wish we could keep that hood shut. This squeaking noise we have been hearing just won’t go away, so we decided to stop in Mobile, AL to have someone look at it. Ideal Truck Fleet, we stopped here near lunch time and the important person was out lunch. The nice young girl ventured into the shop to see if someone could look at our engine and one mechanic said, “everyone is on a job”. He didn’t have a lot of other words come out of his mouth that made us feel warm and cozy, but the girl assured me he is always like that. She said if he isn’t then there is something wrong.

After about 45 minutes of waiting he had us pull up to a bay and take a look. It took him about 30 minutes to diagnosis the problem and about another 30 to fix it. A bag tensioner pulley. Really, he turned out to be a great guy. He shared with us some valuable information about our engine and what to watch out for. Considering they don’t typically work on walk in customers, we got very lucky and off we go again…2 hours later.

We really need to plan better.

Welcome to Mississippi

When you fail to plan you either have to pay with Cash, as we did last night, or with lack of amenities, as we did tonight. We had trouble finding our next RV park after leaving Fort Walton, FL and this is what we ended up with. Just off the highway in a dirt lot with some abandoned RVs. Except our neighbors, they have been there for a month. Doing what, we have no idea. But at $50/night for this place, we really missed our place last night. We had to travel to Mississippi for this wonderful night. It rained, alot

The poorly made retaining wall holding us up on our dirt platform is deteriorating with the heavy rain as we type. I sure hope in the morning we can drive up this hill out of here, or worse get washed down the embankment

It’s not all fun and games out here.

Today we left Cedar Key, FL and headed back out that 25 mile stretch of highway to get back to the nearest road going north out of Florida. CampTel where we stayed was one to write home about. The whole Cedar Key is one to write home about.

Camptel is has every make and model of Tiny Homes accounted for inside it’s perimeter. Container homes, Tiny Homes, RVs, DIY Homes and one Skoolie, ours.

Chess anyone?

We travelled north and made it to the panhandle of Florida. Tropical Storm Claudette was still lingering North and west of us, but that did not deter us. What we really wanted to see was Apalachicola. We have unforgettable memories of this place. These memories are from a different time in our lives. This was our first overnight sail, actually 2 nights. We were unprepared and inexperienced. Neglecting to look at the weather or understand the land layout in the ocean, we set sail from Panama City, FL to Clearwater, FL. It was an eventful night. While we were rounding Apalachicola cape the winds were racing around the cape, the waters shallowed up and the waves increased. We both remember looking at the knotmeter and reading 0.0 kph. It was a long night.

Nevertheless, we wanted to see it again but from a different vantage point. Much less terrifying being on land.

We drove along the outer islands of Alligator Point to San Blas Cape. Stopped along the way to enjoy the beach and coffee. Claudette did not forget to rain on us, but it was still nice. Why is it always raining when we are trying to find the bathrooms walking outside.

Off we go again, it’s early afternoon and we are headed another couple hours to our stop for the night. Traveling through Fort Walton Beach, FL and all seemed to be going well. Until a distinct odor of antifreeze/coolant filled the cab of the bus. Hmmm…that seems odd, maybe it’s someone in front of us. We continue to drive and monitor the temperature gauge. The smell does not subside and the temperature gauge starts to climb. Uh-oh. Houston, I think we have a problem. As the temperature gauge continues to climb, we don’t have much room for error on the temperature gauge, for the bus runs warm the way it normally runs. We quickly pull into an abandoned bank parking lot where someone is pulled in the one time drive through listening to the car radio really loud. That seems odd too.

Pop the hood and sure enough, our 3rd coolant hose has sprung a leak and we lost 6 gallons of coolant. Check for nearest auto parts store, 6 miles, too far to walk, call Uber, Marina waits with the bus while I Uber to the O’reily’s for a hose that this store does not carry. We will just have to find one that is close. An hour later and 6 gallons of coolant later we are back on the road. NASCAR would have been proud of our repair performance.

We made it to our RV Park before dark, but without planning ahead we were stuck with the choice of $100+/night or the $200+/night choices. We choose the prior. Albeit, it was a nice park

Concrete, level parking spaces, tree lined privacy from your neighbors, kids playing in the streets, oh our neighbors won the award for kindness. We were eating our dinner, chicken again, of course. Our neighbors spotted us and proceeded to offer us about 2 lbs of boiled shrimp, still warm, they just purchased. So peel and eat shrimp and curried chicken for dinner it was.