Twin Bridges, Oklahoma - BIG FISH

We're passing by Knoxville, TN on our way to the Smoky's, and had a few moments at the market with WiFi, so am posting a couple shots from Twin Bridges State Park in Oklahoma, about 8 miles from Seneca. We spent a couple nights there at the end of March, and had a terrific view across the Spring River there at the north end of Grand Lake. We also discovered the annual 2-month Paddlefish season. Our campsite neighbors have been coming to this for 12 years, and each of them catches a 35lb+ fish, each day of their 5-day license - the record this season was 72lbs, so far. They shared some fish with us, turns out to be excellent eating, though they are kinda ugly, prehistoric looking things. You catch your fish, drop it off at the processing center, come back in 30 minutes to pick up your fillets and a bag of ice. Nice. (The guys running the processing plant are making a fortune on the eggs, which sell for $500/can as caviar.) So Gary got a license and just about everyone in the family had some time on the boat. On the last day, Gary and Uncle Dan finally got the hang of it and pulled in a 35 pounder (that was after the 45 pounder jumped clear out of the water and got off the hook - at which point Dan said...uh, we need a bigger boat)! Now we have a freezer full of fish which will get us through some boondocking. :-)
Rexie relaxing on the deck.

Will post later if we have a connection somewhere in the smokies.

Gulf Shores, AL and Florida panhandle

We visited a friend in Gulf Shores, AL whom we met on the cruise out of Mobile. He was kind enough to invite us to his home - and it is fantastic! The yellow house in the middle below - water behind is the bay, and in front is Gulf of Mexico. What a beautiful location - it nourishes the soul.

We stayed in Navarre, FL at Navarre Beach Campground - a terrific stop where we lucked out that our stay coincided with their annual pig roast. There was still plenty of evidence from Ivan and Katrina in the coastal areas (not much remaining of many docks and piers). We left Florida and made our way north across Alabama, across Mississippi and into Memphis, TN, where we checked out Graceland (below) and took a riverboat ride on the mighty Mississipppi. There were many beautiful state parks where we would've liked to have stayed for a week or so, but didn't have the time, as we had to get back to MO for all the family's arrival in April.

We are currently in Nashville (seven points park on J Percy Priest Lake - wow!). We will post some more later on our family visit and Gary's BIG FISH!!! Will be out of pocket for possibly two weeks while we head through the Smoky Mountains.

Cruise from Mobile, AL

After our cruise returned to New Orleans, we then drove the 2-hour drive south to Mobile AL and took a short cruise from there, again to Cozumel and surrounding area. We had a great time at the Xcaret park which is like a Sea World / Aquarium / Snorkel park all rolled in one. But, it was not cheap! Cost more than Sea World!

The snorkeling right off the boat was great in Cozumel.

We left Mobile and went south into the Florida panhandle. Along the way, I thought Fairhope, AL was absolutely beautiful. In fact, all of Alabama that we saw, was fabulous. I was not expecting so many evergreen trees and never realized how fabulous the southern coast is!

March trip to the South

We spent late February and most of March exploring the southern states. Drove down through Little Rock (Clinton Library was really neat, enjoyed the replica of the oval office and situation room), then down in to southern Arkansas, across the Mississippi River through Mississippi, into Lousiana, to New Orleans. We took an NCL cruise out of NO to several carribean stops. Here's a shot of our boat awaiting departure from New Orleans, and our first stop in Costa Maya (a shopping area built just for tourists) - we headed out by Taxi with our friends Dave and Barbara to visit a nice area on the nearby beach..

The cruise also stopped in Cozumel, Belize and Guatemala, each of which has its own charms.

More shots in MO

We were visiting the Wildcat Glade Conservation and Audobon Center north of Seneca and thought Shoal Creek there might be an excellent place to launch our kayak. Fortunately, we scoped out downriver to find the Grand Falls (a 25 foot drop which would have been exciting in the kayak!)

Here's Mom and Dad on the bus to the Springfield, MO rally for Barrack Obama on the last Saturday before the election. It was a terrific experience; there were 45,000 people there and we had a front row seat, thanks to all Mom and Dad's hard work for many months!

We visited Branson twice, once with Mom and Dad, and then we all went back with Steve, Diane and kids in tow. It was a great little trip and the kids loved the indoor pool. Here's a picture of Table Rock Lake in the Branson area.

A week at Grand Lake, Oklahoma

In October, we spent about a week at Grand Lake, a nice park called Bear's Den. The full hookup sites were up on the highway, but the electric only sites were out on a lovely point in the lake. It was windy but beautiful. We saw a few of the pelicans that migrate through here by the thousands each year.
Also, there's plenty of buffalo around.

Time in Missouri

Here's a shot of downtown Seneca, MO, where we've spent our winter. It was a mild winter (though folks just south of us got hit with the bad ice storms this year. Also, a shot of the 4 dogs (sans Rex) eagerly awaiting their dinner.

The titanium in Mom and Dad's driveway; this was early fall when the trees were really getting pretty.

Catching up on the blog....

Greetings, friends and family!

Sorry for the long delay in updating our blog. I will be catching up over the next few weeks.

We arrived here in Seneca Missouri in mid-October. Unfortunately, just after our arrival, my grandmother became ill and was in and out of the hospital until she passed away just before Christmas. This was very unexpected and hard on everyone, but we take comfort knowing she is reunited with Grandpa, her husband of 65 years.
Grandma was a terrific lady with a lot of spunk; she was always busy, and was an expert crafter who could sew, knit, and crochet, not to mention an excellent baker and cook. I have very fond memories of making chocolate chip cookies together when I was little, and will always love the smell of fresh baked bread which reminds me of her kitchen. She never slowed down to the very end - still taking regular walks down and back up a very steep hill with her dogs. We can all hope to have so much energy at 86!

We spent some time this winter getting Grandma's house cleared out. Mom and Dad have also taken in her two dogs (Tutti - yorkie, Caysee - Shihtzu) - so we have had FIVE dogs in the house (Mom and Dad's Shihtzu Mollie and Schnauzer Maggie, plus Rexie our sweet old Mal). Rexie is particularly fond of Maggie the Schnauzer who is definitely Top Dog. For a while, Tuttie the yorkie would show her teeth so Rex usually gives her a very wide berth. The shihtzu's are very easy-going and get along with everyone! Rexie is going to miss the whole pack when we hit the road.

We have taken a few "side trips" while staying in Seneca, which I will post soon.