05/08/19 Rogersville, AL-Tiptonville, TN

DAY #200

Woke up this morning before the alarm went off and while still laying in bed, I was looking out through the screen door. It was warm last night so I kept only the screen door shut, As I was looking out, the male cardinal landed on a branch where I could see him and there he stayed for a short time singing away. it was almost like he was saying goodbye, and letting me know that he was looking out for me. It reminded me of the first day when the female cardinal came by and did the same thing. I don’t think I could have had a better send-off. Of course by the time I got set up to get a photo, off he went. Oh well, I’ll just have to keep getting that special photo of a cardinal on my list of things to do.

Another five hour day on the road so it was up early (8:00 am). Getting the trailer ready to travel went smooth, it was really convenient that the camp site had a sewer connection, so dumping the black and grey tanks was a snap. One thing I noticed while staying in Alabama State Parks, they have pretty good amenities and overall, their parks are kept up quite well. Once packed up and ready to go, it was onward and upward to the next destination, Reelfoot Lake State Park just outside Tiptonville, TN.

The drive was pretty uneventful (no flat tires or breakdowns) which I’m always thankful for. The roads started out by being a series of relatively narrow, winding, and early on, up and down (pretty hilly) roads where I averaged about 45-50 mph. Once into Tennessee, the roads began to become straighter and flatter and there were more four-lane expressways (one step below freeway level). The drive was quite a bit easier with speeds of 60-65 mph. it worked out pretty good, even though I really enjoy the narrow, slow going roads, they can and do get tiring to drive after a while, so it was a nice relief to just set the cruise and go.

A couple of highlights on the drive was going through the town of Savannah, TN. It was in this area that the Civil War battle of Shiloh was fought. Not far from Savannah, I went through the town of Adamsville, which is the home of Bufford Pusser, the sheriff depicted in the ‘Walking Tall’ movies. I could have stopped and gotten some photos but towing the trailer for me is cumbersome to maneuver around (of course seeing people do it with 5th wheel trailers, Class A motor-homes, etc, make this somewhat of a lame excuse). The biggest reason for not stopping was time, so I saw what I could and moved on.

The final twenty five miles of the trip was an adventure . the iPad map app had me going down some pretty sketchy roads. They were uber narrow without lines and seemed to be little more than farm roads, although they were paved (and straight). In fact, I spend a couple miles going down one of them behind a big (really big) tractor, the kind used to spray the fields. The area was composed largely of farm fields dotted with blocks of trees, something that’s been a while since I’ve seen. It was neat to see farmers in their tractors working a number of the fields.

I did come across a sight that had me do a double take while driving down one of those way back roads. I came by a bunch of donkeys in a pasture, I thought that was cool in its own right but then there it was, in among all the donkeys was a zebra. Thinking back, I probably should have gotten a photo so I don’t get a lot of; yeah, sure you saw a zebra in Tennessee.

Finding the campground turned out to be a bit of an effort. The park is broken up into a number of areas around the lake. There’s a couple of day use areas, a boat ramp area, and a museum, in addition to the campground. After driving up and down the road for awhile, I finally found the campground.

Checked in and found out that I was at the South Campground and my reservation was for the North Campground. I had known this when I made the reservation but I thought that both areas were located in the same general vicinity. Man was I wrong, it seemed the North Campground was about 15 miles away, so after getting instructions on how to get there, off I went.

The drive to the North Campground took me away from the lake and for the most part, civilization in general, man I was out in the sticks. About the only sign of civilization was a large prison complex about a quarter mile off the road. Along the way I saw a sign informing me of a wildlife refuge which was located in Kentucky was fifteen miles down the road, I didn’t know I was that close to the border. I finally found the place and while I was OK with it even with it being so isolated, it did not have any Verizon service (hardcore camper I ain’t), I couldn’t even make a phone call. At this point, I guess I’ve been spoiled by the niceties which included Verizon service and a somewhat close proximity to shopping, etc. Since I had no cell service, I just headed back to the South Campground, explained my concerns, and was able to get a campsite within the grounds. I was relieved and very thankful.

Setup the trailer and I was home for the next week. The site is level and water/power hookup seem good. The site has a nice view of the lake and yes, decent Verizon service. OTA TV reception was limited to three channels but I do have Amazon Prime and Netflix (I watched Cool Hand Luke last night).

The weather looks to be rainy and possibly stormy for the next couple of days and the temperature is set to drop. That wont be all bad since today was almost ninety degrees and humid.

I made it to the destination and got settled in, all is right in my world for tonight. I’m thankful.

05/07/19 Rogersville, AL

DAY #199

Last full day in the Tennessee Valley and Alabama, then it’s off to the next destination in the journey. The time has gone by fast. Seems like I just got settled in and now it’s time to hook up and head out. Enjoyed being able to spend another nice sunny day by the river, even with the continued high humidity. I don’t like feeling clammy (like that word).

Didn’t see the cardinal today. Alas, no photo.

I did get up early which is a good thing, but then I started watching TV again and those darn Court TV shows (Peoples Court, Judge Mathis, etc) and don’t forget ‘Hazel’ (man I’m pathetic), they just suck me in and nothing else gets accomplished. I also got distracted by a number of Facebook posts and ended up spending more time than maybe I should’ve responding back and forth to them. By the time I finished, the afternoon had pretty much slipped by.

In communicating with people, It amazes me how some think. Now I understand that everyone has a right to their opinion and generally, I respect that, but sometimes they go beyond reasonable and being the opinionated person I am, I can’t just let it go. I consider myself as someone who’s progressive, yes you can call me a liberal, although not a bleeding heart, snowflake kind of liberal. I try to see both sides of a story before reaching a conclusion. I’m not perfect and certainly not above learning and/or seeing the other sides thinking. But when their positions are so closed minded, so extreme, ARGH……….

I did take a quick trip into town to pick up some hot-dog buns and chips (fine dining). On the way back into the campsite, came across a number of deer, they’re prevalent inside the park and their faces are just so darn cute. Like the cardinal, they won’t stand still long enough for me to get a decent photo of them.

Getting ready to leave, my impressions of the area have been mixed. I love the water and the mature trees of the park and while the area still has a southern charm, it’s a little different. The people don’t seem quite as cordial and can come across somewhat rough in their personality’s. I’m seeing where the term ‘Redneck’ comes from, although that isn’t meant to indict the entire area. In all fairness, I haven’t spent as much time meandering around the area as I could have and maybe should have. I’m feeling a bit guilty about that.

Maybe another day I’ll be back, and when I do, I’ll give the area the once over it deserves.

05/06/19 Rogersville, AL

DAY #198

The day started out well. Woke up around 9:30 am, which I look at as progress. Going outside it was a beautiful morning. After a couple of gloomy, cloudy, and rainy days, seeing the sun and blue sky’s again was invigorating.

There are so many cardinals in the area, and I never get tired seeing them. I tried to take a photo of the one that hangs around the campsite but that little bugger just wouldn’t cooperate. He would stay close enough, but whenever I tried to get a photo he would move just a little farther out of range. I’m thinking he was playing with me, oh well, maybe I’ll get a decent photo of him yet.

Went into Rogersville and gave the truck exterior a through cleaning, then came back and finished cleaning the interior (including vacuuming). It needed it.

I had no sooner cleaned the truck when guess what? Oh yeah, a couple of birds flew by and crapped on the hood and windshield. They’re trying my patience, the little thugs. By the time I finished it was getting late in the afternoon and if I went anywhere I’d be getting back after dark. This time of year that means bugs, lots of bugs, all smashing into the front of the truck.

Maybe tomorrow will be more active.

05/05/19 Rogersville, AL

DAY #197

Another lazy day in the Tennessee Valley of North Alabama. The rain stopped in the early morning, and by noon the clouds were slowly beginning to break up and unlike yesterday, there was no forecast for anymore rain. The temperature has dropped as well and the humidity, well it’s still here.

It is a very pretty place to be.

Most of the weekenders have left and the park is once again quiet, really quiet. It feels like the area around me is mine alone, now that’s how I like it.

Actually did something. I’ve accumulated quite the collection of bugs on the front of the truck. I had some ‘bug remover’ spray, so I used that along with a bit of elbow crease and viola, the bugs are gone. Afterwards, I found a new (and shorter) route into Rogersville while doing a little meandering.

Kind of neat seeing the corn this high so early in the season.

Not a very exciting day, but some days (or in my case most days) tend to be like that. C’est la vie. (that’s it, that’s all the french I know).

05/04/19 Rogersville, AL

DAY #196

Today was a washout. Woke up (again fairly early, a good sign) and it was raining outside. The rain continued until around noon, and then only the clouds and gloom remained. The forecast was for more rain (at times heavy) to come back into the area by late afternoon.

After spending the morning watching TV (old western TV shows), I headed into Athens. Went to Walmart around 3:30 pm to get a brush that I plan on using to help get the bugs off the front of the truck (and there are a whole lot of them), and some more pods that you put into the ‘black water’ tank to help with odor and to break down the waste.

Coming back it began to rain once again and when I got just outside of Rogersville (about five miles from the campground) whoa, the sky’s opened up and it went from a steady rain to a downpour, it was so intense I had to stop and sit on the side of the road. One good thing about the particular four-lane road I was on is that it actually had a shoulder, something that’s a rare commodity in these parts. Once it let up, I headed out and made it back to the campground.

The rain continued throughout the rest of the evening and it was still raining as of 1:00 am. No leaks noted in the trailer and for that, I continue to be so grateful.

I got my excuse for not doing anything today. Oh well, I guess in life, a little rain must fall.

05/03/19 Rogersville, AL

DAY #195

Spent the first part of the day watching TV (The Peoples Court-twice), and lounging around although I did wake up fairly early (10:00 am). It was a warm, humid (not a big fan of the humidity), and cloudy day, with a thunderstorm rolling through the area in the early morning hours. Along with some rain, there were a couple of claps of thunder that almost knocked me out of the bed, they were soooo loud.

Watching the Peoples Court and Judge Mathis on TV I couldn’t get over all the commercials from lawyers trying to drum up business, all promising big payouts if you’ve been involved in an accident. It was one commercial after another, each one seeming to try to out do the other. I’m beginning to see why our car insurance rates are so high.

When I stepped out in the morning for a quick what’s up, the people across from me were gone and the campground (at least around me) was really quiet.

My initial impression of the campground is positive. The site I have affords a nice cushion of space on three sides although the sites across the road are a bit close. I can’t quite figure out the site across and to the left of me. It’s so close to the road that when the campers staying there put their awning out on their trailer, it goes almost half way across the road.

The bathroom/shower is just up the hill from my site and seems to be in pretty good shape. TV reception is spotty with the cursed fade in and out reception, but at least the Verizon service is decent.

The campsite sits on the banks of the Tennessee river. I got to see a barge floating down it this afternoon.

Not the greatest photo, I blame the weather.

Saw the female cardinal along with a couple of squirrels and a robin. It never ceases to give me a smile just watching them as they go about their business.

Spent the majority of the day working to catch up on the blog. When I add a lot of photos to a day’s blog, it really becomes a slow process, especially since my internet connection using my hot-spot is at such a low rate of transfer speed.

I did go into Rogersville, which is only a couple of miles once you get outside the park and picked up some fast food from the local McDonald’s. When I left to go into town, I noticed that the park had really filled up with the weekenders. Driving the park road both out and when I came back, saw a number of male cardinals (they are so darn cute) and quite a few deer. Coming back I also saw a skunk just rambling along about thirty feet from the road. first skunk (alive) I’ve seen and it was a noteworthy sighting.

It started raining sometime after midnight and I forgot that I had left my window open in the truck. I went outside to shut it and as I reached the truck door, I saw something on the ground next to the truck. I’m not sure what it was since I didn’t have my glasses on but whatever it was it moved and moved fast as I just about stepped on it. I think the only thing that moved faster was me. Curious what it was.

Tomorrow is forecast to continue being gloomy with rain. I’ll adjust my activities depending on the weather. Maybe I’ll have an excuse to do nothing.

05/02/19 Rogersville, AL.

DAY #194

Weather is pretty warm and man, it’s humid. Wind and rain blew through around noon, but it came and went pretty fast and poof, the humidity was back.

I was stretched out on the bed watching TV when outside the trailer came a female cardinal. It seemed she just wanted to check on me and when she saw I was doing OK, off she went. Such a cool sight to see.

I did sleep in late today since I had little sleep the past two days. My sleep pattern continues to be out of sync from the norm, staying up until 4:00 am or later and then not getting up until 12:00 pm or even later. Gets kind of hard to do things when you start the day so late. The last couple of days I got up early and that seemed to help me fall asleep at a decent time last night and woke up fairly early this morning. I just need to get up when I first wake in the AM and not listen to that little voice encouraging me to fall back asleep.

I finally did get up and moving around in the late afternoon, taking a trip into Athens, AL, to do some shopping at Walmart and Publix (Yes, I was so happy they had one). Athens, is approx. 18 miles from the park and it’s a four-lane highway to get there. Going into Athens, you don’t feel (at least for me) like you’re in a rural area what with all the business’s and what not along each side of the road. There’s just enough fields, beginning to show the crops sprouting to make the drive enjoyable (for me). Traffic in both directions was heavy.

I’m getting the feeling again that once inside the park, everything is honky-dorky, outside, not quite as much.