Where The Heck Has Waldo Been (Part II)

Well if you remember “Where The Heck Has Waldo Been (Part I)” was mostly about what we had been up to since our last blog in January (KremerAmericanRvExpedition 2016 Picture Review) which basically was all our time at Gulf Waters this past year.  So let’s get on with the rest of the story when we got back on the road and the wheels on the bus actually went round and round.  At the end of July off we went . . . So long Gulf Waters!  Time for a “Vacation” . . . see you in a couple of months.

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The rest of this “Where The Heck Has Waldo Been” blog may be a bit lengthy but it only covers two months so I’ll try not to bore you . . .

First stop was still in Florida . . . Inverness to visit friends Steph, Trevor, Nate and Karissa.

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Whenever we pass by Inverness we always try to stop and see them.  Always a fun get together !!

Next up was still in Florida . . . Pensacola Beach.

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We have been through Pensacola before but only drove through so we decided to check it out and stay a week.  The beaches are very nice with white sand.  The surf is much bigger this far north in Florida.  The sand is much “deeper” making it harder to walk along the beach.

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On one of my walks on the beach there I came across a nesting site for Black-capped skimmers.  Even though I stayed on my side of the line I guess a few of them thought I was just a bit too close.

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As we always do in our travels if there are any historic places or forts nearby we try and check them out.  On Pensacola Beach at the far west end is Fort Pickens overlooking Pensacola Bay.  So off we went.

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A Lisa size cannon 🙂

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As with all forts there is a “Brig” . . . and naturally that’s where I end up 🙂

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After our tour of Fort Pickens we stopped at Peg Leg Pete’s for a bit of lunch.

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Another day we ventured to Historic Pensacola and Plaza De Luna Memorial Monument.   In 1559 Tristán de Luna established an ephemeral colony at modern-day Pensacola, the earliest multi-year European settlement in the continental United States.

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In the Historic District was a re-creation of some of the early houses of Pensacola.

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We wandered around the cobble stone streets and looked at some of the later (but still old) homes in the original city.

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One evening we walked up to the Sandbar for cocktails and did I mention Lisa does Karaoke?  Didn’t get any pictures of her singing that time.  We sat at the bar and had some food.  We started talking to the guy next to us and learned his name was Tom Collins 🙂 . . . no kidding – saw his drivers license.  He said his mother’s name was Ginny 🙂

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It was a fun week in Pensacola Beach but back to getting the wheels on the bus going round and round . . . next stop . . . New Orleans, LA.

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There is an RV park right next to “The French Quarter” . . . we checked on staying there but when we saw the prices ($110 a night) we opted for a KOA nearby.  The KOA had a free shuttle down to “The French Quarter” so that worked for us.

New Orleans, founded in 1718 by Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville who was Director General in charge of developing a colony in the Louisiana territory.   In 1721, the royal engineer, Adrien de Pauger, designed the city’s street layout.  He named the streets after French royal houses and Catholic saints. Bourbon Street paid homage to France’s ruling family, the House of Bourbon.  New Orleans was given to the Spanish in 1763 following the Seven Years War.  The Great New Orleans Fire of 1788 destroyed 80% of the city’s building.  The Spanish rebuilt many of the damaged structures, which are still standing today.  For this reason, Bourbon Street and the French Quarter display more Spanish than French influence.

We took a few days to explore.  Our first trip we took the shuttle down to the “French Quarter”.  You can definitely see the French & Spanish Influences as you walk around.  Creole townhouses, with shops below and homes above.

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We made our way to Bourbon Street (Rue Bourbon).  Wandered around looking for a place to sample some local cuisine.  We decided on the Cornet.

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Even though it was very hot we choose to sit outside on the balcony to watch the people go by.

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If you look closely here you can see the beads hanging from the wires from the last Mardi Gras.

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We were only looking for an appetizer and beer.  Going through the menu, every time I would mention anything like Jubilee Shrimp or Grilled Alligator Sausage I would get this look.

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Lisa likes Snow Crab so we opted for “Marinated Crab Fingers”.   “A local favorite, crab fingers marinated in vinaigrette and served over mixed greens and cherry tomatoes”.

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They were served cold . . .  guess Lisa only likes the hot steamed crab . . . More for me 🙂

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After our “appetizer ” we ventured off down Rue Bourbon.  Found some interesting signs.

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Naturally we came across some street performers.

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Everybody seemed to be having a good time . . . except for one poor soul we found who was either down and out or already had too much of a good time.

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Part of Rue Bourbon was under construction which made for some tight sidewalks to navigate.

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As the sun set more people started to fill the streets and we came across a couple more “street performers” . . . I guess they start them young here.

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During the day Rue Bourbon at times can appear quite dirty and a bit smelly but after dark one doesn’t notice it too much . . . or maybe its the cocktails and beer.

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Well that was enough for this night so we found a cab and headed home . . . unfortunately the campground shuttle was only one way 🙁 .

The KOA we stayed at (New Orleans West KOA) is actually located in Kenner, LA about 5-6 miles from “The French Quarter”.  I would take my walks through Kenner and there is a statue commemorating “The Fight of the Century” (the 19th Century). 

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The statue Marker plaque reads:
In the predawn hours of May 10, 1870, a crowd of about 1,000 people left the New Orleans Jackson Street Railroad Station for Kennerville. There, in a makeshift ring in the back of William Butler Kenner’s old sugar house, about 100 yards from the Mississippi River, Jed Mace of Beestown, Norwich, England beat Tom Allen of Birmingham, England in 10 rounds. The prize for the bare knuckle event was $2,500, winner take all”

Another morning we ventured back down to “The French Quarter”.  There is a café there . . . Café Beignet.

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We had been told that we had to go there and have a beignet.  Biegnets (pronounced ben-yays) are golden squares, usually dusted with powdered confectioner’s sugar, can best be described as a cross between a French pastry and an American doughnut.

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Very “Yummy” 🙂  We sat at a bistro table and listened to some local jazz as we ate our beignets.

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From Café Beignet we ventured to Jackson Square a few blocks away.

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In the Square was a cool statue of Andrew Jackson.

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The church beyond the Square, The Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, also called St. Louis Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans and is the oldest cathedral in what would become the United States.  The first church on the site was built in 1718.

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The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Louis, King of France.  Many of the interior decorations refer to the saint, including ten colorful stained glass windows that narrate the story of his life.  Here are a few of the windows.

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The cathedral is said to be haunted by Fr. Antonio de Sedella, more commonly known as Père Antoine.  He was a priest at the cathedral and his body is buried within the church.  He is said to walk the alley named after him next to the cathedral in the early mornings.   Accounts of his apparitions by parishioners and tourists claim that he appears during Christmas Midnight Mass near the left side of the altar, holding a candle.  The cathedral is also said to be haunted by Père Dagobert, a monk who resided in the church.  It is said that his voice can be heard chanting the Kyrie on rainy days.

From the cathedral  we headed back into “The French Quarter” perusing some of the many shops.  We came out of one shop and were passed by a bachelorette party on wheels.

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For those not wanting to walk around (or be part of a party on wheels) there are many carriages available that will take you on a tour.

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We had another fun day cruising around “The French Quarter”, not sure if we could survive a Mardi Gras there though . . . think we’ll stick with the Mardi Gras parade at Gulf Waters 🙂

Another day we took a drive about 40 miles west of Kenner, LA.  Lisa has always wanted to visit a real southern plantation.  So off we went to Oak Alley. Plantation.  Oak Alley Plantation is a historic plantation located on the west bank of the Mississipps River, in the community of Vacherie, St. James Parish, LA  Oak Ally is named for its distinguishing visual feature, an alley or canopied path, created by a double row of Southern Live Oak trees about 800 feet long, planted in the early 18th century.

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Originally Oak Alley was named The Bon Séjour plantation and was established to grow sugarcane in 1830 by Valcour Aime.  Aime, known as the “King of Sugar,” was one of the wealthiest men in the South.  In 1836, Valcour Aime exchanged this piece of property with his brother-in-law Jacques Roman for a plantation owned by Roman.  The following year Jacques Roman began building the present mansion entirely with enslaved labor.  The mansion was completed in 1839.

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We wandered around the outside of the mansion and checked out the “Oak Alley”.

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The Live Oaks were quite majestic and a bit eerie like something out of a scene from The Lord of the Rings.  The root system on these trees was pretty immense.

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We took the tour of the inside of the mansion.  The tour was guided by a young lady in period costume who was very knowledgeable of the mansion, grounds and all who had lived there.

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Here are some pictures of the mansion inside.  The hearth and the beautiful rug inside the main entrance.

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The main dinning room.

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The Master bedroom.

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Another bedroom.

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The Nursery/Children’s bedroom.

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Another look down the “Alley” from the second story balcony.

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Walking around the second floor balcony which extends around all sides of the mansion you can get a nice view of the gardens.

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From this side which is above the kitchen you can see the dinner bell.

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After the tour we found a refreshment stand just outside the kitchen serving soft and hard refreshments.  So we got ourselves a “Mint Julep” and started to wander the grounds with another walk down the alley.

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Oak Alley had quite an extensive “Enslaved” population.  Generally between 110 to 120 enslaved to run the plantation from field slaves to house slaves.  Here is a map of the plantation . . . there still are some of the “enslaved quarters” reconstructed.  There were probably 4-5 times as many quarters as shown in the map. (Click on map to enlarge)

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Here are a few pics of the slave quarters.

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Here is a picture of a “Sugar Kettle” used for boiling sugarcane.

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After wandering around for another hour or so we had lunch at the on-site restaurant Oak Alley Plantation Restaurant & Inn .  Very good food and more Mint Juleps.

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Many films, TV movies, TV shows and music videos have been filmed at Oak Alley. . . . Midnight Bayou, Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte, TV movie The Long Hot Summer, Interview with a Vampire and many others.

We had much fun exploring New Orleans and the plantation but time to head out for more adventure.  From New Orleans we headed a bit north and west.  We had reservations in Arkansas at the Crater of Diamonds State Park but not for a little over a week from the time we left New Orleans.  We did an overnight near Alexandria, LA and then stayed a few days in Texarkana, TX before heading to Crater of Diamonds.  We didn’t do much in Texarkana . . . we did find a good BBQ place to eat within walking distance.

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On the way to the BBQ place we passed by a Budget Inn leaving a bit to be desired.

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Like I said didn’t do much here . . . the excitement was kept to a minimum.  Lisa did some cone art and I went to maybe go fishing . . . or not 🙁 .

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Well so much for Texarkana, TX . . . on to find “The Family Jewels” at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, AR.

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At Crater of Diamonds State Park, you dig for diamonds in a 37 1/2-acre plowed field, the eroded surface of an ancient volcanic crater.   This is the eighth largest, diamond-bearing deposit in surface area in the world.  Over 500 diamonds were found at the park just in 2016 . . . of those 500 17 were over 1 carat.  When someone finds a large diamond they get to “Name” the diamond and keep it, then the park erects a marker where it was found.  Actually you can keep any minerals or gems you find.

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Our stay this year at Crater of Diamonds would be for 10 days through the Labor Day  weekend.  Lisa took this time off from being “Sugar Mama” to dedicate her time being a “Diamond Prospector” full-time.  She was determined to find “The Family Jewels” this year.  We had reserved a nice site where we possibly could get satellite reception.  Being our main dish is permanently mounted to the roof of Waldo you have to have an unobstructed view to the southwest and this site seemed to allow that.  Last year we had the site next to this one but unfortunately there was a tree in the way and we ended up buying a Tailgater so we hoped this site would allow us the use of the main dish without going through the hassle of setting up the Tailgater.  But alas . . . at least we had the Tailgater . . . nice site though.

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Well once we were setup “The Diamond Prospector” wasted no time in heading to the fields.

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We opted to just do surface prospecting the first day . . . basically just wandering around looking for something that resembled a diamond 🙂 .  Day one was a “Bust” for any diamond finds 🙁 .  We had arrived shortly after hurricane Harvey came through Texas and Louisiana and were hoping to get some rain from Harvey’s remnants.  They say it is easier to spot diamonds after a rain but it can be a bit muddy . . . so we had bought some rubber boots in anticipation of mud.  Never did get any rain but the cloud cover the first couple of days helped keep us from sweltering in the hot sun.

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But after the first couple days the sun came back and it was “prospecting” in the Arkansas summer sun 🙁 .  The week prior to the Labor Day weekend the park did not have a lot of people in the fields or wash stations.

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After 2-3 days of just us surface prospecting we thought we would recruit some help and bring in the “diamond sniffers”.

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Apparently they haven’t had enough training and spent most of the day lying down on the job or wanting to go back to the wash stations for another drink.  That day too was a bust.  We had now spent 3+ days “prospecting” with no luck even though each day some lucky “prospector” had found a diamond . . . but not us.  On average 2 diamonds are found each day.  So next day we decided to try and find “The Family Jewels” by “Wet Sifting”.  To “Wet Sift” we had to rent some sifting screens (two each).  One wider mesh screen and one fine mesh screen.  First you go and fill up a bucket with dirt and bring it back to the “Wash Station”.  You pour some dirt into the wide meshed screen and place it on top of the fine mesh screen and “wash”  it in the water troughs breaking down the dirt until only rocks (and maybe a large diamond) are in the top screen.  If no diamond discard the top screen and now “wash” everything that remains in the fine mesh screen.

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There is video at the Diamond Discovery Center which is at the entrance to the fields that instruct you how to “wash” the dirt at the wash stations.

Like the video says after thorough washing of the gravel any diamonds or heavier minerals will settle to the bottom of the screen in the center.  You then swiftly turn over the screen and dump out the contents on to the sorting table.  Here is a pic of one of our washes . . . does kind of look like some diamonds in the center but alas only Calcite or Quartz 🙁 .

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We spent a few days “wet sifting”.  My back was getting tired from all the bending over shaking the sifting screens when it dawned on me that this was way too much work especially if any results would probably only be a diamond that could only be picked up with a magnifying glass  and a tweezers . . . Lets go back to surface searching and go for the big one!!

So back to wandering the fields we went.  Walking through the fields and over the plowed furrows it seemed like it would be too easy to miss something.  So I would pick a spot and sit on my bucket and carefully scan the immediate area around me for 15-20 minutes and then on to another spot close by.  This way I figured I could thoroughly search an area.  I found some interesting creatures doing this . . .   Found many of these

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It is a Mutillidae, a species of wasps whose wingless females resemble large, hairy ants thus one of it’s common names is the Velvet Ant.  They are known for their extremely painful sting hence another common name for them is “Cow killer” or “Cow Ant”.

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Also had a few of these “snake” by me while sitting on my bucket.  They are Skinks belonging to the family Scincidae.  With more than 1,500 described species I am not sure which specific Skink these were.

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Many pretty butterflies around too.

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This one kept flitting around me and landed on my hand many times.  It wouldn’t leave me alone so I started thinking maybe it was trying to show me where to look . . . but alas no diamonds, I guess it just liked me.

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Once Labor Day weekend came, the park seemed to get quite busy.  We came out to the fields on that Saturday morning and it look like a day at the beach with people setting up umbrellas and easy-ups and planting themselves for the day.

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The Wash Stations were especially busy.

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Well after nearly ten days of searching for “The Family Jewels” we were still coming up empty handed.  We found lots of Calcite, Quartz, Barite, Lamproite, glass and a lot of banded Agate.  We were getting very good at spotting a piece of Quartz or glass from 50 yards away.  Here are a few of the “pretty” rocks we found . . . not diamonds.  Look close . . . there is an old rusty nut I found.  I asked Lisa if this counted any for finding “The Family Jewels”?  Her answer . . . “Nope . . . already have some of those” 🙁 .

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Well busted again for another year searching for “The Family Jewels” but there is always next year.  So we packed up and headed north . . . next stop Memphis.

We have been to Memphis before and that time we stayed across the street from Graceland for a week.  So Graceland wasn’t on the itinerary this time.  This year we stayed just across the Mississippi River from Memphis in West Memphis, AR at Tom Sawyer’s Mississippi River RV Park right on the banks of the ole Mississip.

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We were fortunate enough to get a site right on the river.  This was our view from Waldo . . . notice the small barge coming up river.

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Tom Sawyer’s RV Park is very prone to flooding in the spring.  I got some of these pictures off their website . . . don’t plan on a stay here in the spring.

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Here is a picture of the sign out front . . . same sign as the one in a few pictures back.

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On my walks around the park I came across some “Treehouses”.  I imagine the park staff use them to watch over the park during floods.

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Staying along the banks of the Mississippi one could just imagine Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Fin drifting by on the river.

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We were hoping to see a classic riverboat pass by but even though there was a lot of river traffic no riverboats.

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Just many barges and some as long as two football fields.  Here are just a few.

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We had a full moon while in Memphis and one bright clear evening we watched it rise over the river.

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While staying in Memphis we learned a couple of our Gulf Waters family were staying nearby . . . Jeff and Robin.  They had already visited Beale Street and the last time we visited Memphis we spent an evening on Beale Street so we planned a get together in Overton Square.  We didn’t want to drive into downtown Memphis for a night out and Jeff and Robin told us they used Uber to get around and it was very reasonable.  So we opted to give it try . . . our very first Uber experience.  We meet Jeff and Robin at Bar Louie for a few cocktails and then decided on dinner at Bayou Bar and Grill just down the street.  We had a great time with Jeff and Robin talking about our summer travels and just having a great time!  After dinner and a few more cocktails we said our goodbyes and see you at Gulf Waters and each got our Ubers for the ride home.  Very fun time!!!

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Well we had a fun stay again in Memphis but time to get back on the road.  From Memphis we continued heading north . . . final destination for the summer before heading back to Florida was Nashville, TN.

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We visited Nashville the first year we started this adventure in 2013.  That time we stayed in Smyrna about 20 miles south of Nashville.  We had friends that lived there so we stopped for a visit.  This year we stayed at the Nashville KOA just a few miles from the Grand Ole Opry.  We stayed for two weeks so we would have time to check out the sights.  The KOA was on the route of the “Downtown Shuttle”.  For $10 it would take you to downtown Nashville and drop you off just off Broadway Street . . . Nashville’s “Honky Tonk Highway”.  Unlike the shuttle in New Orleans the “Downtown Shuttle” would return you home when you were ready.

On our first trip into town was during the day.  The shuttle dropped us off at 2nd Ave. and Commerce St. just one block off Broadway where BB King’s Blues Club and Coyote Ugly are.

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As we made our way to Broadway we came across our first Nashville street performer.

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As we rounded the corner on to Broadway you could see all the “Honky Tonks” going all the way up the street all the way to the old Ryman Auditorium (the Original Grand Ole Opry).

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We figured before we started having beer and cocktails we should probably eat something so we stopped at Rippy’s Barbeque Bar and Grill and had some great BBQ and listened to some “Country Twang” 🙂 .

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From there we ventured up Broadway to the Ryman Auditorium.  On the way we came across a few more “Street Performers” . . . if you could call them that.  They were having their pictures taken with anybody that was willing to pay . . . when I held the camera up from a distance they turned away . . .

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In this picture you can see the front man with his hand out for money.

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We didn’t think we needed to pay for any “Fake News” so I just waited for an opportune moment 🙂 .

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We finally made it to Ryman Auditorium.  We had visited it and took the inside tour the first time we visited here.  The Ryman Auditorium (formerly Grand Ole Opry House) is best known as the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974. This a picture of us in 2013 inside the auditorium on the tour . . . a bit blurry 🙁 .

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Originally the Ryman Auditorium opened as the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892.  Its construction was spearheaded by Thomas Ryman (1843–1904), a Nashville businessman who owned several saloons and a fleet of riverboats. Ryman conceived of the auditorium as a tabernacle for the influential revivalist Samuel Porter Jones.  Ryman had attended one of Jones’ 1885 tent revivals with the intent to heckle, but was instead converted into a devout Christian, and soon after pledged to build the tabernacle so the people of Nashville could attend a large-scale revival indoors.  Here is a picture of a painting of the tabernacle hanging inside from when it originally opened.

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Here are some more pictures of it today.

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W.C. Fields, Will Rogers, Charlie Chaplin, Bob Hope, Harry Houdini and John Philip Sousa (among others) performed at the venue over the years, earning the Ryman the nickname, “The Carnegie Hall of the South”.  The Ryman hosted lectures by U.S. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft in 1907 and 1911, respectively.  World-famous opera singer Enrico Caruso appeared in concert there in 1919.   A local country music radio program known as the Grand Ole Opry (originally called the WSM Barn Dance) had become a Nashville institution was first broadcast from the Ryman on June 5, 1943, and originated there every week for nearly 31 years thereafter.  Ryman lacked a true backstage area. There was only one dressing room for the men, while women were relegated to an inadequate ladies’ restroom.  The shortage of space forced performers to wait in the wings, the narrow hallways, and the alley behind the building’s south wall. Thus, many performers often ventured across the alley to Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and other bars, where they would drink alongside – and sometimes perform for – patrons.  Here is the backdoor to Tootsie’s in the alley next to the auditorium.

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This year we opted not to take the tour and just wandered around the outside and in the gift shop.  Found a couple of statues of Bill Monroe and “Little Jimmy Dickens” . . . “Little” Jimmy Dickens was only 4′ 11″ tall.

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After visiting the Ryman Auditorium we ventured across the street to AJ’s Good Time Bar and went up on the rooftop terrace for beers and cocktails.  From up on the terrace you could see Tootsie’s and the Ryman Auditorium across the street.

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After a few cocktails we wandered around some of the shops and stores.  We came across a place Lisa said “we’ll have to come back here” 🙂 .

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Well so much for a fun afternoon on Broadway Street so back to Waldo we went planning on returning in the evening to check it out at night.  On the way back we stopped and checked out the new Grand Ole Opry House just a few miles from our KOA.  It was closed so we only wandered around outside.

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By this time Hurricane Irma had just finished ravaging Florida (Thank goodness we were on vacation 🙂 ) and we were getting a couple of days of drizzly rain in Nashville.  So one of these days we opted to go check out the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center which is just next door to the current Grand Ole Opry House.  The Gaylord Opryland has nearly 3000 rooms.  The hotel is spread over 9 acres and has a Garden Conservatory resembling a Victorian garden.  There are two atriums connecting all the rooms of the hotel.  The original one . . . The Cascades Atrium has a 3.5-story waterfall.  The Delta Atrium was added later which incorporated a quarter-mile-long indoor river (The Delta River).  Flatboats were introduced to carry guests along the river.  Water samples from more than 1,700 rivers throughout the world (including every registered river in the United States) were poured into the Delta River.  The atriums maintain a constant temperature of 71 degrees and house more than 20,000 plants.  We visited it on our last visit but couldn’t resist going back . . . especially on a rainy day.

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Here is the Delta River and boarding station.

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There are actually a few waterfalls . . . here is a couple of the smaller ones.

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The large waterfall is actually a double waterfall.

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You can walk behind the large waterfall which makes for some interesting pictures.

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There are many shops, restaurants and bars and at night the place comes alive with many lights of all colors.

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You sure could tell you were in “Music City”.

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We had a fun day and evening perusing the Gaylord Opryland.  We were looking for somewhere for dinner but either the lines or the prices kept us from any of the fancy places.  We ended up at the Fuse Sports Bar . . . nothing to fancy and reasonable.

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It was a good thing we opted to Uber again . . . when we left we came across this sign  . . . just an example of some of the prices at the Gaylord Opryland.  But we had a fun time.

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Another day we wanted to take time and visit with our friends who lived south of Nashville . . . Frank & Denise and Dave & Christy.  Frank & Denise and Christy couldn’t make it so we met Dave and his daughter Anna for brunch at Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant in Franklin.  Didn’t get any pictures of Dave and Anna but we had a great visit and the food was excellent.  After brunch Lisa and I wandered around Franklin’s Main Street for a few hours checking out all the quaint shops.  At the end of Main Street is the “360 Public Square”.

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In the years following the Civil War, cities and towns across the nation began to erect memorials for their war dead.  Several Franklin women founded a chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy, raising $2,700 to purchase this monument; it took 17 years of bake sales and quilting bees to raise the money.

The group chose November 30, 1899— the 35th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin—as the day for the dedication.  A few days beforehand, the statue arrived on the train.  After placing it on a wagon and hauling it up to the square, workers began hoisting it up to its place atop the column. Something—no one knows what—caused the statue to slip from the ropes and crash against the base, breaking off a piece of the hat’s brim.

Five days later, before a crowd of 10,000, the statue was unveiled, broken hat and all.  The statue represents an anonymous infantryman at rest; locals now call him ‘Chip.’

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Here is a closer look at “Chip” . . .  Look close and you can see the missing part of the brim on his hat.

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It was fun checking out Franklin’s Main Street and the “360 Public Square” and learning about “Chip” but time to head back to Nashville.  We wanted to go back to Broadway Street for the evening.  We hopped on the Downtown Shuttle again and off we went.  When we got off the shuttle I needed to get a picture of the AT&T skyscraper  . . . also known as “The Batman Building”.

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We figured we better eat first before imbibing our favorites beverages.  I was in the mood for a steak so we opted for Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery.  Rock Bottom is a Craft beer brewery which I am not a huge fan of but Lisa helped me pick one out that I would like.  She loves all the craft beer places so she had no problem finding one she liked.  I did get a good steak . . . the Brewery Steak – very good . . . can’t remember what Lisa had.  Well after eating and a few beers off we went down Broadway.

We came upon the Johnny Cash Museum.  Opted not to go in . . . just gazed in the window at the gift shop.

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Well first stop was the place Lisa wanted to come back to . . . WannaB’s Karaoke Bar . . . Gee imagine that.

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The place only had about 12-15 people inside so Lisa’s chance of singing in Nashville looked good.  She actually made it on stage a few times.

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Well after a few songs and a few more beers off we went to check out more of the nightlife.  We wandered up towards Tootsie’s.  On the way we came upon another street performer.

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She was really “Kicking up her heels” here!!

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We finally made it to Tootsie’s.

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We were looking to go up onto the rooftop bar to do some “people watching”.  As we started for the stairs we were stopped by one of the “Bouncers” . . . I was thinking they were going to “Card” us . . . well at least Lisa . . . but nope . . . I was wearing a sleeveless t-shirt (imagine that 🙂 ) and to get into Tootsie’s one needed at least some sleeves . . . Oh well.  We walked next door to Legends Corner but they didn’t have a rooftop bar.

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So on down Broadway we went looking for rooftop bar that would let us in.  We passed by this guy who wanted to sweet talk Lisa.

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She finally got herself free of him and on we went.  We came across The Stage on Broadway and from the music coming from above there was undoubtedly a rooftop bar here.

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We found the stairway entrance and started to go up . . . and yep . . . more “Bouncers”.  This time I went up to one and asked if would be allowed in without any sleeves . . . he smiled at me and said “Did you just come from Tootsie’s?”.  I replied “Yes” and he said ” No problem here . . . we’ll take your money” 🙂 . . . so up we went.  We like rooftop bars because the music isn’t so loud and if you get a spot overlooking the street the views are great . . . and there is always great people watching.

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We had a very fun evening “carousing” in the bars on Nashville’s “Honky Tonk Highway” but there always comes a time to stumble back home  . . . Thank goodness for “Downtown Shuttle”.  We only had to make it to the shuttle stop and they brought us to our doorstep.

Well our two weeks were up in Nashville so it was time to head back to Florida.  It was now 10 days or so since Hurricane Irma had come through Florida but we didn’t know how Gulf Waters had faired.  We had been keeping in touch  with some of the Gulf Waters “Family” and had seen many pictures on Facebook of the park.  Some trees down and some water damage but it seemed the park dodged a bullet this time.  We weren’t scheduled to come back until November 1st so we called the park and got the OK to arrive October 1st so we could help with any cleanup or offer any assistance that may be needed.  On our way “Home” we came across this truck at a rest stop in Alabama heading south . . . our guess it’s destination was Florida too.

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It took us just over a week to get back to Ft. Myers Beach with stop overs in Birmingham, AL, Northern Florida and a brief stay again in Inverness, FL to visit Steph, Tevor, Nate and Karrisa again.

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Well “Vacation” was now over and we had a very fun time and covered a lot of ground in our short two month get away . . . but now back to the “Grind” of another winter season here at Gulf Waters 🙂 .   Any of our “Northern” family and friends are always welcome to visit us here in Ft. Myers Beach this winter to help us make our next six months more bearable  🙂 .