By Johnnie W. Lewis
We’ve hit several states since I last wrote, so strap in and hang on for the “catch up!” And for the next several months (at least until September), we will be moving our “home” every four days or so on our odyssey to California and back, so get prepared for a wild ride!
After leaving my brother’s yard in Cordele, GA, we trekked westward to Troy, Ala., to one “RV Park” where we will not return. Walnut Creek RV Park is not an RV park. It is a park where some RVs, FEMA houses, and mobile homes are permanently parked, and is most definitely not transient RVer friendly.
Access to the lot we were assigned was down a steep gravelly piece of a trail to a grassy pull-thru. The only good thing about the lot was that it was level and we didn’t have to back up onto the 2” thick planks of wood that we keep in the “basement” just for such use. And it backed up to the most beautiful little lake!
Troy also gave us fairly close proximity to the reason we wanted to camp near Montgomery — so we could take pictures of the state Capitol building. During our 5-year odyssey, we will stop in every capital city and photograph the capitol building to be used in a book I’ll be writing at the end at our journey's end, about all of the capitol buildings in the country, including their changes and locations. Many states have had numerous cities to serve as their capitals! BTW, Montgomery has the second-most impressive capitol that we’ve seen, second only to Connecticut’s capitol building in Hartford, in our opinions -- so far.
A night in a Cracker Barrel parking lot near Jackson, Mississippi netted us an excellent trip to the state capitol building on Sunday morning with zero traffic! Imagine driving your Class C, 30-foot-long motor home, pulling a Prius on a tow dolly, around a capitol square, with a continual stream of traffic impeding your progress. But there were no impediments. Thank you, Lord, for that!
It’s a seven-hour drive from Jackson to Gordonville, Texas, which is about twice as far as my posterior can take! But Gordonville is the bail-out point for RVs going to Lake Texoma on the Oklahoma border, where we had our first Thousand Trails reservation. Thousand Trails is an organization that has hundreds of allied RV Parks across the nation, which chose to cooperate with other parks to give deep discounts to those who “join the club.” We joined. It’s a long-winded tale that you can read about online, but suffice it to say that we’re paying ZIP out-of-pocket at this place, at this time. Paid it all in advance so we would have a break from paying through the nose for some of these park sites!
On this trip through California, using Thousand Trails, we will save about $3,000 (above and beyond the buy-in price) on lot rents over the next several months because of the discounts. Staying at Thousand Trails parks will bring the price of staying at all the parks, especially in California, down to about $10/night, instead of an average of $50/night (what we would have paid by just driving in off the street). We know that not all TT places are the same, but staying at this current park will be a good test for the future.
In trying to find interesting places to visit around our park (TT - Lake Texoma RV Park), we ran across a Texas State Park named Eisenhower State Park. Driving toward the state park, we saw signs to the “Eisenhower Birthplace.” “But I thought President Eisenhower was from Kansas!” we both said. Google proved us wrong. President Dwight David Eisenhower was born in Denison, TX, then returned with his family to Abilene, Kansas at the age of 18 months old, never going back to Denison until 1952. But that explains why his presidential library is located in Abilene. He considered Abilene his home, and the home of his parents and five brothers!
I hate this coronavirus crap! More havoc is created because of the necessity of social distancing than it’s worth. Or so I believe, at times. We pulled up to the Visitors’ Center for the birthplace only to find that all tours were by reservation only, but we were welcomed to take some of the brochures and to go “look in the windows” at the birthplace. Bummer. But at least we got some good photos of the excellent statue of President Eisenhower.
However, when trying to get into the Eisenhower State Park, we drew a ZERO. “Do you have a reservation?” the park ranger asked of us as we drove up to the entrance booth.
“No, do we need one to just go in and look?” Jimmy asked.
What followed raised my blood pressure about 30 points. The ranger was adamant that we should have known that the governor had closed all state parks in March and had only recently reopened them, with restrictions on the numbers of bodies that could be in each park at once. She slapped the sign on the plexiglass window between us to emphasize her point that the information about state park closures/restrictions is known out there by every person with a brain!
“We’re from Georgia, ma’am, and our state parks are not closed, so how would we know about this crap in your state ?” I asked her, pointing to her sign. She smirked, but went on to explain that reservations had to be made in advance and online only, and that “we are all full today, tomorrow, and Sunday.”
We would be leaving the state on Monday, do they lost an opportunity to have an objective review of their park! Dadburn it!
Next stop will be Amarillo followed by northern New Mexico, so stay tuned!
Johnnie Wright Lewis, author of 46+ books, and her husband, Jimmy, travel the USA in their RV, stopping to see whatever they can. They met and married in Athens and with cousins and friends in the Athens area, including their beloved Bulldogs, they take every opportunity to come back to where they “started.” Follow them on Facebook at “Two Old Farts Traveling” and watch the many videos of their travels on YouTube under the same name. Look for Johnnie’s books on Amazon.com under the name of Johnnie W. Lewis.