Vacation Day Four-A Lazy Kind of Day

There comes a time in every vacation when you start to forget even what day it is. For us, we are almost there. I begrudgingly got out of bed at 7:30 and that was only because the img_2550dog needed to go out for a walk. We texted some of our other family members an hour later and the kids (who are normally up by 6:30) were still sleeping .

Today is Sunday. We are suppose to be in Church and we were planning on going to church….only….we couldn’t muster the energy to get there. I hope God understands.

Instead, we had a relaxed pancake brunch and played around camp.

Later, we are going to have dinner on the beach and go ghost crab hunting! Such fun!

We arrive at the beach around 5:30. As we were arriving droves and droves of cars were leaving. I guess 5:30 in the evening is not a popular time to visit the beach. (which was great for us) We had no problem finding a picnic spot. After dinner it was still early enough that the kids were able to enjoy the water.

it was awesome watching the sunset!

And playing in the sand!

Everything we did was a lot of fun. But, we probably had the most fun chasing the little ghost crabs.

 

 

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Gulf Shores- Here we come!

Today’s adventure? Gulf Shores, Alabama. More specifically, Lulu’s for the twelve people in our group and Sea Paws Dog Resort for the four legged one.

Gulf shore is a fair piece away from the Milton KOA. Now, one might ask “Why are you traveling and hour and a half away just to go to a restaurant?” It’s because Lulu’s isn’t just any old restaurant, Lulu’s is an adventure! (Or at least it was a few years ago)

img_2525-2img_2540Our dog Lucy is along for the ride because, I have not been comfortable with the idea of leaving Lucy, our Labradoodle, in the camper for our six plus hour excursion to Gulf Shores. So, I researched ahead of time Doggy Day Cares. I hope she enjoys her little outing to Sea Paws. And, I hope she returns to us a little less energetic. It’s really hot in Florida in July. Plus, she is greatly underwhelmed by the fenced in dog run at the KOA. We can almost hear her say, “Oh no, not a trip to the big kitty litter box again. Do I have have to?” This morning I took her and threw a ball a few times. By the third time, her slobbery spit had covered the ball and collected a fair amount of sand. It was too gross even for a dog. Lucy went over and sniffed it and said, “No way, mom. That’s just plain nasty. Even for me!”

We just dropped off Lucy. For now it’s just my husband and I. The others are taking in a movie and will meet us at Lulu’s later. DSC_0132

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Lucy seemed to have a good time in doggy daycare and we had a good time at Lulu’s.

DSC_0139Lulu’s was still a ‘cool’ place, but it was hot! Really hot! Have I failed to mention, Florida in July hot! Lulu’s is kind of a large outdoor restaurant, complete with a sand beach, founded by Jimmy Buffett’s sister Lucille.

The younger kids enjoyed playing in the sand and water before dinner. Not so much the teenagers. I guess for teenage boys the magic wears off somewhere around the age of twelve?DSC_0157 (2)

It took us a hour to get seated. But, it was worth the wait. We had a giant picnic table where we all sat together, under a patio, on the canal. Boats sauntered by as live music played in the background.

I order a burger. A half pounder is as small as they come. I barely finished and I could not finish my fries.

DSC_0189The service was a little slow, but Lulu’s is not a place you want to eat fast and leave in a hurry. Nor, do they really want you too. Folks sometimes just stick around after dinner, listen to the music and watch their kids play.

 

We are now full, tired and happy and on our way back to camp. How about a little Jimmy Buffet, anyone?DSC_0196

 

Navarre Beach

I am a beach ‘whim-wam’.  -Translated, I am a big sissy.

DSC_0083Today is our first day at the beach. This season, at the beach, people are coming down with rashes all over their bodies…caused by microscopic jellyfish! When we arrived at the beach today, purple flags were flying high! Warning-dangerous marine life!

Because of the warning, it took me a hot minute to get in the water. I paced back and forth, just looking. Honestly, when I am at the sea or a lake, I go through this ritual every time… Unseen things floating, buried, swimming in the murky depths… What if something eats me?

Finally I am in the water, and I am perfectly fine. But, the worry-wart in me is still skeptical. I will let you know if I get jellyfish rash!

The beach is beautiful. Today, lush, emerald-green water is gently lapping the warmDSC_0045 white sand. I think the beach is God’s canvas, and I love the way God paints a different picture every day. Minute by minute, the picture changes.

Majestic. Powerful.

Here in this place, I pause to ponder…I am a grandmother with seven grandkids, and the beach is usually the focal point of our big family vacations. Over the years, I have watched my grandkids grow and change too. During the first family vacation, the oldest grand baby DSC_0028was only seven, and the youngest was just a few months old. Today, the oldest is fourteen and practically a young man.

They are growing and changing ever day. But, so am I. Where has time gone? “Just yesterday”, I was a young girl. “Just yesterday”, I was married and our own children came into the world. “Just yesterday”, our children were married and my first grandchild was born. “Just yesterday”….

Today I am content to just be. Here, now, in the moment. As I write, I am sitting under a pavilion, listening to the sound of the birds and the laughter of children. I feel the breeze lovingly brush my skin.  God’s kiss.

This is my happy place.

 

Does She Cry?

statue of libertyI wonder if the Statue of Liberty ever cries? Her motto is “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

I think we have forgotten how we became a nation in the first place. In the beginning (unless you were born a Native American) we were all immigrants.

The last two hundred years, as a country, we have not really been faithful to the words at the bottom of our statue. In 1916 there was a bill before congress requiring immigrants to be able to pass a literacy test. Thankfully, the bill never passed. It went through Congress twice and was vetoed by two different Presidents. I read a commentary from a newspaper article, dated 1916, which argued that a Bill preventing illiterates from entering the country would not accomplish it’s purpose. You see, many thought the poor, illiterate people would bring more crime into the country.

From 1840 to 1930, 900,000 French speaking Quebec natives immigrated to New England. It was a time in Quebec history where Timber Barons ruled the land, farming produced low yields, and the general population lived in poverty. Some came to America hoping to return home with enough money to buy land. Others came to stay.

A246E68F-5120-48FD-A852-9DBF0022746FSome of my ancestors hopped the boarder continuously. They couldn’t decide which nationality they wanted to be. I think they lived where they could find work. My great-grandfather entered the United States for the final time in 1923. But, he had lived here before from 1895 to 1908. My older Great Aunts and Uncles were born in the United States. My Grandmother, who was one of the younger children, was born in Quebec. She came to America in October of 1923, at the age of 14, accompanied by only her five younger siblings. The whole family did not cross the boarder together. They wanted to make sure they were welcome and could find work before settling in the whole family. I don’t believe they were required to have formal paperwork to work in America. They just came. They lived in a little town in New Hampshire. They worked factory jobs, that nobody else wanted, in textile mill, and they lived in a little ethnic conclave. They were bullied…called names like frogs, pea-soupers and Canucks. Or, worse dumb-canucks! They were told they needed to speak white! They worked for lower wages than their English speaking counter-parts and were often used as strike breakers. You see, people did not like them because they refused, or were slow to assimilate.

0A40D30E-483B-494A-9E55-56245D656D76One newspaper article from 1923, during the era of prohibition, said that “Quebec was a wet province and that extra immigration officials had been called to the boarder to take care of the endless procession of Canadians lured to the United States.” I wonder if my great-grandparents were amongst the endless procession of Canadians mentioned in the article? I wonder if they were ever accused of being boot-ledgers? I wonder if my Great grandparents ever became US citizens? I think my grandmother eventually did. I wonder if our country ever thought about just packing them up and sending them back to Quebec?

71894EBE-6099-4609-A43D-3490396407BFMy great-grandmother never learned English and my grandmother did not speak English until she was 16. Her english was very accented and her spelling was atrocious. My great-grandma never assimilated. My grandma was only partially assimilated. She was proud of her French-Canadian heritage. My mom was born here and really embraced American culture. I never really thought about my mom being French or Canadian at all. Her daddy was an English speaking loyalist, born in the USA, with strong Quebecan roots. Me? I’m 100% American. Culturally, I’m a mixture of all who have settled this country before me. I love tacos, spaghetti, pizza and roast beef. I’m Yankee and Hillbilly, all mixed together. I speak Southern with a Mid-west twang. Total Heinz 57.

Because of our French brethren and others, we can have a little tête-à-tête. We might have it on the patio while grilling Bratwurst and enjoying our little dash hound puppies. Because of the influence of other countries, we are not brought down or destroyed. Yes we are changed. We are enriched.

Our country has not suffered because a century ago, 900,000 French speaking people crossed the boarder to immigrate. French has not become our national language. My French-Canadian ancestry has not caused me to be a criminal or ever engage in criminal activity. Nor my mom, my grandmother, or my great-grandmother. My family was just a poor family coming to America to try and forge a better life for themselves…just like our Mexican brothers and sisters.

It is awful how illegal immigrants are being treated now. When will we stop this and come up with a better way? When will we say enough is enough and truly allow our differences to become our strength. When will we realize that our great diversity all melted together is who we really are and why do we frown so much at those who choose to remain different?

When we learn from our past?

 

 

 

Motor Home Repairs

68932F16-AEAC-4B1C-9541-4F33D8C708B8My idea of Motorhome service and repairs has changed over the years. I used to think if I needed a repair I could go and get service cheaply and quickly. Right? I thought we could drop off our Motorhome at Camping World, pay our $250 dollar deductible, have our Motorhome serviced, and after a few days pick her up and live happily ever after. Pretty nice vision?? Right?

I was willing to pay top dollar insurance premiums for the ease of these inexpensive deductibles, that covered almost anything that could go wrong with our Motorhome.

This is, or was, until….

The fan motor on our furnace went out last year. We price fan motors, purchased one ourselves, called Good Sam Extended Service Plan and Camping World to schedule a repair date. We called them mid June. The soonest appointment they had open was mid July. So…we brought it in mid July. Two weeks later they finally got around to looking at our needed repair. It was at that point, they told us we needed a brand new furnace. And.. they said Good Sam would only cover a portion of the cost. They said we needed a new furnace because our furnace parts were no longer being manufactured! We gave them the right part that we had just purchased off of the Internet! So…for another three weeks we went round and round with Good Sam and Camping World trying to get straight answers on what was covered and what wasn’t. In the end, we told Camping world to please just repair the furnace with the part we supplied. Which is what we wanted in the first place. They refused. So after a month and a half, we picked up our camper that still had a broken heater.

My loving husband and son-in law did the repair themselves with the part we purchased. The heater preformed wonderfully last winter with it’s new part.

Since the heater incident, we dropped our Good Sam Extended Service Plan to a one thousand dollar deductible, just to cover anything major that might happen. Otherwise, we are attempting the small to medium repairs ourselves.

We have replaced the TV antenna, the front door locking assembly and the awning. Lastly, just this last weekend we replaced the air conditioner.

We purchased our new unit from Amazon. They delivered to our door with free shipping via prime. YouTube is a great resource for how-tos. There are videos for most of your RV how-to repair needs. We watched a video on YouTube by He provided step by step instructions on how to remove the old unit and replace it with the new unit. In less than three hours the old air unit was removed and the new unit was up and running. Here are some pictures of our progress.BEF41FAA-EC1A-49B9-A0A4-F44DB93DAB46

The old unit is out!

 

The new unit is in!

The Hollywood Casino

img_2207Hollywood Casino RV Park is one of the best kept secrets in the Mississippi Delta. Located in Tunica County just one hour south of Memphis, it could provide a great home base for visiting the south.

We have camped there several times. One of the greatest benefits is cost. It is very inexpensive (as long as you do not touch the slot machine!) A one night stay cost 25 dollars a night (that figure includes taxes).

This last Memorial Day weekend we visited with our Daughter and Son-in-Law. Plus, all seven of our grandchildren! The park was half empty so we had ample space to just ‘be’. The kids enjoyed riding their bikes around the park and swimming in the indoor Olympic sized swimming pool!

The park features decent Wi-if, full hook-ups, covered picnic pavilions and ample img_2213wildlife. Deer often play in an adjacent field, and blue matin zoom playfully in and out of their ‘martin’ homes scattered throughout the park. There is a small pond stocked with some sort of fish. Carp maybe?

 

Activities in Tunica are somewhat limited (Unless you really, really love gambling). On Memorial Day weekend, we were going to go and visit the Mississippi River Park. However, unfortunately, it was closed. We did stumble upon a Quarter Horse Show in the Tunica Expo Center. It was interesting and free. Neighboring towns do have a lot  Cultural History and interesting museums about the south.

Now about food. I, personally, am not wild about Casino Buffets. The buffets are expensive and the food quality is not really my cup of tea. In Tunica, however, there is a really nice family owned restaurant, that was established in 1927, called the Blue and White. One interesting fact about the Blue and White (other than their great food) is that their building is an old Pure Gasoline Station.

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We took seven kids and four adults. They easily accommodated our large party. And…they are very family friendly. When the kids accidentally knocked over two large soda glasses, they were very gracious and acted as if it were no big deal at all. They made us feel comfortable.

The kids had burgers and fries, which they compared as on par with Memphis’ Huey Burgers. (Huey’s is the best burger joint in Memphis!) I ate from the Buffet. The food was fresh, yummy and delicious!

The downtown district of Tunica is kind of rundown. However, it would be interesting to just park and walk. There is a cabin, circa 1860, located off one of the side streets.

DSC_0002I guess the thing I like best about Hollywood Casino RV Park is the ability to do nothing and still have all of the comforts of home.

 



Sabino Canyon

We took a trip to Sabino Canyon this morning. The weather was a perfect 75 degrees, with plenty of sunshine.

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I love looking at saguaro cactus. They amaze me because they remind me of people. Each one, uniquely different, yet in essence the same. I share much in common with my fellow man, yet God created me unique and different.

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I think I also like the Saguaro because they are hardy. They can grow anywhere. Silently and without complaint.  Beautiful and solid. Stretching limbs that reach for the sky remind me of God’s abundant grace.