Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Pictures for the Diamond Trip

Seems I had mis-filed some pictures of our trip to the diamond mine so thanks to Sarah who emailed me and asked where so and so pictures were, I located them and here is the new slide show.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

AR Diamond hunting and Clarksdale MS Blues

After the AR women's RV forum gtg, I decided to go to Crater of Diamonds State Park in AR and look for diamonds. I had read about this place and had seen it on Treasures to Cash and decided since I was so close to go. One of the ladies, Sarah Pitman, wanted to go to so off we head.

The diamond mine was created as a volcano pipe that sent diamonds to the surface when it exploded. There were several diamonds found while we were there but none by either Sarah or I. It was so terribly hot and the temps were 97 degrees and on the field up to 110. It was cause for lots of water and as much shade as possible.

Sarah and I decided to get out when they opened at 8:00 am and stay for a few hours. The first day we used the dry sift method which consisted of renting a sifter,putting dirt in the sifter and shake, shake, shake. I took a beach umbrella which helped. I ended up using my bucket as a stool. By the time our few hours were up, I was so stiff I could barely move.

Sarah found some shade and searched her pile and moved with the shade. Good move but she still got overheated. We called it a day and didn't even consider going back that day.

Instead we went into Murfreesboro for lunch at Buddy's and decided to drive over to Nashville AR. Nothing much there but you will see what a difference Nashville AR is to Nashville TN. I've decided I may have to visit all the Nashville's in the country.

Next day we decided to try the wet sifting method. Much better. When I return, and I will, I'll only do the wet method. It consists of going to the field, putting dirt in your bucket, go back to the water trough and sift like crazy. The idea is that diamonds are heavy and they will fall to the bottom so when you turn your 2nd sifter over, there will be your diamond. Not!

It was fun and I can't wait to do it again when the weather is cooler. The campground opened about 2 weeks before I was there. It is very nice with full hook-ups, level sites, nice bath house. There are sites that will accommodate 65' so I would say that AR is really trying to attract those big rigs.

Sarah came back from the bath house the first night and she said "everything was fine but why didn't you tell me about the mechanics of the shower?" I looked at her with a dumb look on my face and she went on to explain that there is a button in the shower that you push and the water only stays on for 2 min and you can't adjust the temp. I had to tell her that was new to me but that I don't really use bath houses that much. Since the park has been redone this is AR State Park answer to conservation (I guess.) They also use solar panels at the bathhouses and laundry.

It's a lovely park. I shall return.

After we had done all the hunting we could, we decided to go to Tunica. Of course there was a bridge over the MS river at Helena AR that was very daunting but it wasn't as bad as first glance. Sarah had never been to a casino and she wanted to go so since it was on the way back to TN I told her we would go. I made reservations at the Sam's Town RV park which was very nice and very hot. Not a tree in sight. Full hook ups and $15.99 per night plus Good Sam discounts so for 2 nights the price was $25.00

Sarah was amazed by the casino. She couldn't get over how noisy it was and that there wasn't any "old fashioned" machines in the place. She found a few machines that kept her entertained. I believe she came out even for the trip. I came out about $20 down. We ate at the buffet and got a $5 senior discount on it.

Next day we decided to travel about 50 miles down the road to Clarksdale MS. Clarksdale is the Birthplace and World Capital of the Blues and location of the famous Crossroads intersection of Highway 61 and 49. There was a Delta Blues Museum and then one place that I really wanted to stop was Ground Zero Blues Club. We went in to eat a bite and 2 of the owners were in there eating lunch but Morgan Freeman was not one of them. All the walls are covered with signatures, messages and sayings. You can see in one of my pictures that even the bathroom walls and mirrors are covered. One day I'll go back to stay for a couple of days and "do" the nightlife.

Clarksdale has an original Greyhound Bus Station that they have turned into a visitor's center. A native of the area, Jim, was very helpful and full of information to share with us. I think even Sarah found a nice B&B to visit if she returns, I think it's called the Big Pink House.

We were even in the area for cotton pickin' time. I captured a few photos showing the fields and the equipment used to pick the cotton.


Friday, September 24, 2010

The Last Days of the AR Women's RV GTG

As the gtg was winding down it was time to finish up the usual rituals and one of those was to pass our mascot off to another deserving member and let Belle travel along with someone new. I was chosen to welcome Belle (a flamingo metal bell) into our household for a few months. Her motto was : I'm going to Disney World!

All her furry/feathery friends prepared for the welcoming presentation and Sedona even got dressed up for the event. We waited and waited but Belle didn't show up. She had an adventure the night before and she just didn't get her day started for her welcome. The welcome happened later that evening and now she will be sharing her adventures traveling with Sedona, Buffet, and other flamingo friends.

I was able to get in touch with one of my high school friends, Jeanne Johnston Rollins, from Little Rock. She came up one day and we went to lunch at a local farm & conference center. It was so nice to get to visit with her and get caught up on everything going on with her and her family. She made the offer that when I'm back in the neighborhood I could park in her driveway. Gee, I might just take her up on that. She looks so good for a gal her age! LOL We are the same age and she has held beauty well. Of course one has to have beauty to hold it, right?

Those of us who have kayaks took them out and that gave some of the other women who are thinking about getting kayaks an opportunity to try out and see four different types. Beth didn't get hers out or it would have been five different types. We also took an early morning spin on the water and it was beautiful seeing the water fowl.

We also got to see four different types e-readers and compare. That's a good reason for these gtg to look and feel and try different technologies and products. I'm gonna go with the Nook by Barnes & Noble when I get one.

I loved the campground. In section A all the sites are pull throughs (yes Margie, they will accommodate big rigs like yours) and have full hook ups (including sewer). The road up the mountain is now bad, there is a stretch of about 1 mile that is steep & curvy but it's very doable.

Good fun and I look forward to the next gtg, probably in FL.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Arkansas Women's Forum Get together (gtg)-Day 1, 2, 3

Sedona and I are at Petit Jean State Park North of Little Rock with a wonderful group of seventeen women and 4 male spouses. Great group. This blog post will consist of slideshows and not a lot of narrative but I have tried to put captions so you will understand what you are looking at.

Having a blast. Lots of eats, exercise, hiking, conversation, and just good fun!

More fun to come

Monday, September 13, 2010

Village Creek State Park, AR

What a nice park! It has full hook-ups and the roads are paved as are the sites. Quiet and a lake next to some of the RV sites. I was in site 55, it was a pull through which is great for one night so I didn't have to unhook the Grey Goose. I was originally assigned site 49 but it had not 30 amp service so I called the Ranger on duty and he said I should move to site 55.

There is a golf course, tennis courts (thought about you Carold) just right for big rigs (Margie, I thought about you) and nice walking trails. Boy, I sure did a lot just overnight.

I would recommend this park and will probably stay there again if the opportunity presents itself.

Now I'm at Petit Jean State Park just north of Little Rock. There are about 20 of us ladies (3 men) for a get together (gtg) of the women rv forum. We all met on the internet and have one (actually more) thing in common, our RVs. This is a nice park but probably won't come back here. The Big Rock Burger at the restaurant is delicious. More on this park and our happenings as time goes by.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Las Vegas Trip-Happy Birthday Becky

Theda and I decided to surprise Becky for her 60th birthday and fly to Las Vegas. It took a little planning and thanks to her LV friend, Barbara Ann and her husband, Ron we pulled it off. We checked in at Paris LV and was to meet her at Le Central in the Paris casino. She thought she was coming to meet Barbara Ann but instead, surprise, Theda and Carolyn. I was so nervous with anticipation. Finally she came around behind me and saw Theda first. Her mouth hit the ground. Another friend, Missi, who couldn't come kept saying, you know she is going to leak (our word for cry.) We fully expected her to leak but that didn't happen until we were getting ready to say our goodbyes 4 days later.

We had such a good time. First night, she and Ron stayed in our room. Ron fell sometime during the morning and as it turned out broke his arm. I told him he would have a heck of a story about staying in a room with three wild women.

Next day Becky came to pick us up and we went to her house. We had not seen it since she had moved out there 18 months ago. It is beautiful and her community is terrific. Great clubhouse, nice pool, and lots of activities. It's a Dale Webb community, need I say more. There is a great view of the LV strip so she should have no problems watching the fireworks from where she is. We also checked out several campgrounds for me and found two we really liked. Several were dumps and glad I saw them in person as their websites look better than they really are. I think I have found my winter home next year at the Oasis RV Resort. It's close to Becky and the strip.

Becky turned us on to the In-n-Out Burgers! OMG, very good. I think they even have 5 guys beat, they definitely do on their fries. Yummy.

She also took us to ethel's Chocolate factory and cactus gardens. The candy was to die for and it was nice looking around the gardens. What a fun day!

Of course we couldn't go to Vegas w/out a trip to Freemont Street. It's the summer of '70's so naturally our tye dye's were in order. Well, actually everytime the YaYa's go somewhere we have at least one tye dye day and this was it. It was fun and was especially nice having a driver take us.

Theda and I visited the pool while Becky took Ron to the DR where they set his arm and put a cast on it. Becky came down for her steak dinner at the Paris. Thanks to Theda all our meals and room were comped. Except for the flight and the $$ I lost to the one-armed bandit, it was a relatively cheap trip. I knew I sold that dulcimer for a reason.

Enjoy the slide show for the pix in and around Henderson and LV NV. Happy Birthday, Becky.


Thursday, September 2, 2010


Today marks the anniversary of my retirement. I thought I would take this time to reflect on what it's like to be retired. IT'S WONDERFUL!

I have not regretted leaving my state government job, ONCE!

I enjoy not having to get up early, unless I want to and not having the stress of the bureaucracy of state government.

I miss some of the people with whom I worked but have managed to keep in touch with those who matter.

I miss having the expendable income I once had while working full-time. I have done well and have learned that I can live on much less than I thought.

I haven't lost as much weight as I had planned for myself but now that I realize that I'm not on a perpetual vacation, I'll get serious on that health goal.

I have managed to read more since I have been retired. This is good.

With my nomadic lifestyle, I realize more than ever how important my friends and family are. I seem to touch base with them more than when I was busy working.

I haven't been a year full timing in my RV yet so won't get into my stats of traveling. But I will say that I have been in some beautiful places and experienced some wonderful things and I look forward to many more. Plus I have met some really great people along the way and I'm sure our paths will cross again.

Why is it when you leave a job, you always get blamed for all the bad things that went/are going wrong in the office? At one time that would have bothered me alot but now, it just doesn't mean anything. My, my how priorities change!

It's nice to be there for family & friends when I'm needed and not have to ask for annual leave. I can do what I want to do when I want to do it! I'm much less stressed.

I still plan on working some time but I'll do what I enjoy and what I can have fun doing!

For me, life is good!