Tuesday, November 13, 2007

2007 11 08 - Alabama Bound!

We begin our longest adventure yet – 1300 miles roundtrip to Jacksonville,Alabama, in 6 days!

We left from the GD parking lot, late Wednesday afternoon, and were to Kamper Kompanion, our Litchfield, IL overnight destination by about 7:30pm. Trish, the owner was there to greet us and put us into a site where we could comfortably pull-thru and keep the toad hooked up.
I’ve been very lucky to get good information on RV parks from fellow RVer’s on the website http://www.rvparkreviews.com/. For this reason, I’ve decided rather than set up my own campground review page on our website, I’m providing a link (look left!!) to our reviews on that website. I just started putting in reviews with this trip but hope to contribute my fair share so that others will find this site as helpful as I have.

It was expected to be a chilly evening and Trish suggested we not hook up any water lines unless/until we needed them. After our earliest outings in 20 degree weather, Ken had decided it would probably be a good idea to have some auxiliary heating options in the motorhome. After doing some investigation online, Ken decided on the Lakewood CR-30 1500 watt ceramic heater.

This ceramic heater is both efficient and safe and takes up very little room, sitting very inconspicuously on the bedroom vanity.

While the furnace in the motorhome seems to do a fine job in cold weather, the ceramic heater allows us to focus the energy use in the room where we need it while keeping the thermostat lower for the rest of the rig. Between this new heater and the two dogs lying at our feet, the bedroom stayed downright toasty. I also like having that extra little bit of heat when getting out of the shower in the morning.

Since my unexpected spike in cholesterol at my last doctor’s visit, I’ve made every effort to get back into my ½ hour daily Nordic Track regime. I also found it much easier to keep to that if I get up the same time every morning, 5am, and work it in, when there is nothing else that can interrupt or take precedence. Ok, yes, sleep could take precedence! ;-) Once back in the routine, my body seems to wake me up naturally at that time to get a move on!

The Nordic Track actually stores quite nicely next to the bed in the motorhome Before bed, I move it into the ‘living room’ so I don’t wake Ken up in the morning. Since I don’t seem to need an alarm, I can get up and do my morning routine while he gets in a few more Z’s.

Since we had both snuggled in to our warm bed early Wednesday night, I was able to get in my exercise, shower, packing up while Ken took the dogs out and unhooked outside, with Baby back on the highway before 7:30 am.

This put us at our next stop, the Nashville KOA by mid-afternoon, Thursday. We’d selected this RV park since we’d won gift certificates at the Missouri Coachmen rally for two free night’s stay at KOA RV parks. We certainly would not have paid the $52 a night otherwise!

Here is Baby in the Nashville KOA. The site has nice concrete patio, and little portable fireplace.

The KOA was very nice and the location would be perfect for all kinds of Nashville sightseeing, being on the same exit as Opryland.

They had a unique amenity--a special fenced area called ‘Camp K-9’, designed especially as a playground for traveling furkids.

Since we can’t let Sox and Ditka off-leash outside the motorhome, this was a special treat for them.

It also turned out to be another lessoned learned for us as well.

You might notice if you look closely at the picture above that the spaces in the fencing on the left are tighter than the fencing on the right.

Here are Sox and Ditka checking out the ‘big dog’ play area. This picture was taken about 1 minute before Sox squeezed through the fence and bolted out on her own. Camp K-9 had an escapee!

My heart was in my throat, terrified that she would bolt toward the very busy 6- lane highway. Luckily, and very surprisingly, after a little romping about the RV sites and pool area, she did come back to me.

Another nice feature of this KOA was that there was shopping and restaurants in walking distance so that with our long pull-thru site there was, again, no need to unhook Jeep.

Despite having made several online purchases, Ken and I had never actually been inside a Camping World store and so we strolled over for some exploring. We were actually a bit disappointed as both of us had expected the store to be larger. I did see a jack-knife leather sofa there that we tried out. That is on my future wish list since I don’t like how much room is taken up by the full queen sofa bed when its made out and also I like the look of the leather so much more. Maybe a birthday present for me next year..hint…hint!!!

On the walk back we stopped at the Cock of the Walk restaurant to put their boast of the world’s best catfish to the test.

This restaurant’s décor puts you in the mind of the days of the keelboatmen, serving family style on tin plates and cups. The name comes from the 1800's when these riverboatmen would meet and each boat's 'champion' would fight to gain the honor of being named 'Cock of the Walk'.

Besides 4 catfish fillets per person, they also served a variety of Southern-style fixin's -- fried potatoes, cole slaw, jalapeno hush puppies, pickled onions and cornmeal skillet bread served by a waitress who could flip it from pan to ceiling before slicing and serving at your table.

Ken had several refills of good ol’ Southern Sweet Tea while I had a couple of glasses of wine. This meant that as soon as we got back to the RV, I fell asleep while Ken was bouncing off the walls from the sugar and caffeine high.

Thursday morning, I was up early again for Nordic Track and shower, then took the dogs back to the play area for a romp while Ken finished tearing down camp. Since Nashville early morning traffic snarls are notorious, we waited until after 9am to hit the road.

Ken got to make use of the jake break as we started into the Appalachian foothills. We were to Fort Payne, and DeSoto State Park by mid-afternoon.

For those of you not familiar with the area, Fort Payne is the hometown of the musical group, Alabama. It's easy to see in this beautiful area where the got the inspiration for their 'mountain home' lyrics since they grew up on the cotton farms on nearby Lookout Mountain. This was the first time I can recall seeing cotton fields and the first time Baby got to climb something called a mountain since we went up Lookout Mountain to get to the park.

We were exceptionally pleased to find out that they had a cancellation and we were going to be able to get a full hookup, pull-thru site.

As one of the earliest to arrive for the weekend we were able to get our pick of the pull-thru sites and settled in to the one at the end of the section where we have total privacy with nothing but wooded area beyond our fire ring.

We did chicken breasts on the grill for dinner and had a nice evening by the campfire.

Stay tuned…tomorrow we head to Jacksonville State to watch the Panthers take on the Gamecocks!

Hugs, C

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