Posts Tagged With: RVtravel


From Mary’s desk:

Memorial Day, Wendy Jaillet and daughter Jaime marched 3 miles in the Essex Memorial Day Parade, near Ivoryton. Wendy is a girl scout trip leader. I bought a poppy, forgetting that they still do that. I hadn’t seen a vet selling poppies since moving to Murphys.
This county put their flags at half staff for a local man who recently died in Afghanistan.
I’m conflicted because I’m against wars as a way of solving problems because it causes so much pain and sacrifice. The cost is not only human carnage. Right now, the trillions spent on our current conflict could more productively be used to assist nation building and lower our national debt.
Remembering those who served and sacrificed? On this trip since January,  I’ve visited Fort Bowie in Arizona, The huge Pacific War Museum at Fredericksburg, Texas, Chalmette Battlefield, the Cabildo, Port Hudson and the LaFitte National Parks of Louisiana, covering the Revolutionary War of 1776, The War of 1812,  The Spanish American War and the Civil War. More Civil War battlefields in Gettysburg, PA, and Harpers Ferry in W.Virginia. War is a vivid culture of countries, men and politics like no other.
In short, Memorial Day reminds me of the service and sacrifice made by our armed services and many civilians as well, but it also reminds me of the killing machine going on right now. I despise that it is deemed  necessary. I sometimes think my friends believe people who are anti-war are unpatriotic. Not true. Patriotism is as much about keeping the peace as it means fighting for our country’s values. Defining those values is not a straight street, and I take it very personally.

My partner Jim Jaillet in 1961.

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This was the scene at the edge of town when I drove into Murphys. Its spring, the daffodils have come and gone? The fruit trees are blooming? What’s even worse,  my partner is sitting in Louisiana in 73 degree weather. He isn’t called the weather wimp for nothing.
I’m only pretending to complain about the snow. Its pretty stuff and it melted in about two hours. The very best kind of snow in my opinion.

The inside of the house was frigid, as you might imagine when you see my living room ceiling with sheet rock missing. Pounding rains, while I was on the road,  leaked through a faulty flashing and soaked the ceiling until it turned to mush and gave way. My neighbor, Karen Phillips came in with the mail and luckily discovered it before the damaged ceiling hurt my furniture and flooring. Now, any attempt at heating the house sends heat up through the attic vents.

To deaden the shock, my neighbor brought me a bouquet of roses.

An old friend of mine, Frank Balma used to say “I can fix anything but the break of day or a broken heart.” I have a sweet neighbor and a  pretty smart friend.

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When you know you have to go, when you know you must face life’s little realities like taxes and a leak in the roof…the vacation is over.  Home for five weeks and then back to the motor home in a whole new state I’ve only whisked through before, North Carolina.
Yesterday was the last hurrah, a pass through N’awlins, some  good food and beer; a last little gander at the balconies, the beautiful iron work,  the signs…oh nostalgia.
The oyster shuckers, Ebony and Ivory, their nicknames, neither were working. No oysters until late in the day.
Instead we had a great beer at Crescent City on the balcony and enjoyed the view,  moved on to the Masparro Cafe. A salad so loaded with fresh grated cheese, I thought it was pizza. A jambalaya so loaded with shrimp, I couldn’t take a mouthful without a shrimp in every bite. Washed down with a turbo dog. Ahhh! N’awlins  is a great city. ( (I learned the correct pronunciation at the Jean LaFitte National Historic Museum.)

Getting into town was a difficult; several closed streets and parking taken up by Hollywood Trucks. We ran into a movie set. We didn’t want to watch and moved on. And, they wouldn’t let us park on the sidewalk, can you imagine?

But on our return walk to the parking meter, the Hollywood Trucks were everywhere with snacks for the workers, a honey-wagon, light boxes and equipment literally by the ton. Big picture show stufff.

We asked, what movie and who? Reds the name, with Morgan Freeman and Bruce Willis. Didn’t figure we’d see them anyway, but now we can look for the scene in the movie when it comes out. The camera crews were still doing side shots and the gawkers were fun to watch.

This Jean LaFitte National Park was the smallest of the six cultural centers they have in Louisiana. With this one, we’ve seen them all. I wasn’t in  museum mood.  The day was sunny and  beautiful; the streets normal instead of a mob, except, for the crowds around the movie set. Peeked into the souvenir shops, and art galleries, enjoyed the ironwork.

The last thing I heard as we were climbing back into the Bronco was the clip-clop of horses hooves and the driver of the carriage admonishing his horse gently, “Now, you know you can’t beat that car,” as he reined him in before crossing the street. Such good memories.
I hope all of you have enjoyed this trek with me. I expect I’ll be absent from these pages for a bit as I get back into the home groove, but not for long.

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I’ve always enjoyed watching the political conventions when the speaker would introduce the state representative, and he would identify himself as being from “…the Great State of Louisiana.” Or the great state of Iowa, with that fun bit of fanfare and pride.
As I get ready to leave for home tomorrow to take care of business, that voice is speaking in my head and reminding me of what I now know from “…the Great State of Louisiana.”

Folks along the way have asked me, what was your favorite place? What did you like most? Some places we visited are more or less interesting than others, but it is the whole experience, of slipping through small towns that seem to move you back in time about 40 years, or dallying along the many River Roads lined with bowers of giant oaks and stately mansions, or quaint subsistence shacks and  rusty swamp water. The hundreds of bridges and canals and waterways and  boats you can’t get away from if you wanted to. Watching the season change in the swamps from no leaves, to feathery greens. Pulling into town and seeing another Washington St., another Main St., another Iberia St. Enjoying the background sounds of Cajun music from a nearby campsite as people play with their kids and roast marshmallows. The many unbelievably beautiful sunsets that traveling in a motor home allows you. From parish to parish, the difference in how they care for their roads. Do they recycle, do they  keep things neat an clean? The signage is slightly different.  The cities tout their own special appeal, their food, and attractions. Each unique. Its been an educational and fun ramble.

Then I thought to find a picture from each town we went through. Too difficult, too many to choose from.  Suffice it to say I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to spend almost 8 weeks in one state and do and see whatever popped into view . I now know why each speaker says with such pride, “I’m from the Great State of Louisiana!” Its real!

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I currently maintain a tub of water for bats, but I was totally unprepared for a gift of a bat house even though I’ve been accused of being slightly batty.
You will never know how delighted I was to receive a bat house given that bats are the best thing that ever happened to a mosquito, in my opinion.
I’ve had several encounters with bats. One got caught in an old fashioned fly strip, those sticky spirals one hangs in the barn to keep down the flies. Its wings were not removable without doing the bat fatal damage and, in the end, I had to kill it. It taught me that the bat would most likely have eaten twice the number of flies in my barn and I never put up another fly strip.
As kids we used to throw rocks wrapped in white cloth up in the air and watch the bats dive bomb them. One time, I scored by clunking a bat on the head and it came down with the rock. We kids stood in awe and opened its wings and got a good look at it. It trembled for a bit before it was able to fly away.
But the most exciting encounter was in Austin, Texas. A bridge there attracts millions of Mexican red bats under its corrugated structure. At dusk, tourists like myself sit comfortably about the banks and watch as the bats take flight in enormous waves from under the bridge to launch themselves on the insect population up and down the river. For me, what is memorable about that experience, is my husband’s reaction. He grumbled for days claiming: “I can’t believe I’m going to Austin so you can see a bunch of !^#*) bats.” When we returned home, all he talked about was those bats. It was quite a sensation.
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