Natchez Trace

This was not really a vacation or trip… it was work on the motorhome. Per our CCR we cannot have the motorhome in our yard more than 24 hours at a time, so what can a person do, but go to Thousand Trails (TT) for a couple of weeks and work on it! This site is along the Natchez Trace Parkway, part of the Federal Park system, which is a roadway from Natchez, MS to Nashville, TN.
The motorhome has been in storage on the Trace for the last six months and we needed to get it in shape. The last time we used it, it was to move. We had not cleaned it since then, and we needed to restock it. The opportunity came when there was not much going on, so we decided to take two weeks in the motorhome to get it ready for when we really can go out in it. So, except for the Wednesdays of each week that we had appointments, we were able to go out and enjoy the camp. Bruce and Cheryl came to visit on Saturday on the motorcycle, and Andy and Karyn came on Memorial day with Hailey and Kelly 🙂
After seven years, there were several maintenance jobs that we had on the list including closet door latches, molding reattachment(and replacement with larger molding),

fixing fallen drawers, replacement of kitchen faucet, cleaning and waxing outside, and general cleaning including cleaning the carpet inside. The priority job was when the water was turned on, black water came running out below the kitchen sink. The charcoal filter had frozen and cracked! What a mess! With the list we had, we expected to work the whole time! But being retired, we have no time to rush! We still have molding replacement and fallen drawers to do. Not bad!

We also visited Hohenwald, a small town close to the Natchez Trace. We toured the museum there that included the fourth largest big game trophy collection in the western hemisphere. It also included a great display of eggs and information on Meriweather Lewis, of Lewis and Clark. The site of his death and burial is along the Trace, about 14 miles from the camp.

We found the most beautiful falls along the Trace!

They were in two tiers and just absolutely gorgeous. Since it had rained for two and a half days prior to our hike, I think they were even more full of water and thus larger than usual.
Another short hike found an abandoned Phosphate Mine.

I think the highlight of our most recent adventure was our “3-hour” canoe ride.

We had gone on a canoe ride once before together about 20 years ago. So this was only the second time we had been in a canoe. We followed the lake to where it became a river, passing a lot of roots (even getting stuck on top of roots at one point). Of course, we came to a fallen tree crossing the river, but that did not mean we needed to turn around! We did not have our trusty winch, but that did not stop Paul from getting through!! We stopped to have lunch along the way, “wading” on shore through muds that literally sucked in our feet up to our ankles.
This is just an hour away! We really feel fortunate to live in such a beautiful area. We love our new home state!!


All it took for me was to find out there is a Mimi’s restaurant in Murfreesboro to want to go! So we had lunch at Mimi’s and looked around Murfreesboro!

Cannonburgh Village
This village, although it was not officially open yet for the season, was available for us to explore….so we did…. We found a huge array of farm equipment and tractors. I think Paul took as many pictures as he could of these tractors for his dad Jake….who I am sure will remember everyone of them! Here are just a few! There were three carports full of these!

Stones River National Battlefield
Also in Murfreesboro is the site of one of the bloodiest battles over Dec. 31/Jan.1, 1863, at the same time Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

It is an amazing feeling to walk around these sites and realize that this was an actual war site. It is so hard to visualize. We spent time in the visitor’s center then toured the rest of the park by car.

Tennessee Renaissance Festival
On the way to Murfreesboro, there is a castle that can be seen from the 840 Highway. This was a dream come true for the owner who designed and has been building his home for almost 30 years. Each weekend in May, he opens his home and land for a Renaissance Festival. Last Saturday, Karyn and Hailey joined us to check it out. It was great fun! We took in several of the shows listed, met the “Queen” (who, we learned on a show called “Tennessee Crossroads”, designed and made her dress, which weighed 60 pounds!), took the tour of the castle, and just enjoyed the day! Check Karyn’s blog for pictures….she is the photographer of the family!!

Pass Christian, Mississippi

It has been a month since we went to Pass Christian with a Southern Baptist Disaster Recovery Team (SBDRT). This town is right on the gulf and was severely hit by Katrina….I know….that was a while ago. But there are still those who were affected that have not yet gotten back home. They are just now in the process of rebuilding the high school across from her. The library and police station are still in portable

We joined a team and spent a week helping to complete a home a couple of blocks away from the gulf itself. It was a wonderful week. To be blessed when you are trying to be a blessing is such an awesome experience!! This single lady, Miss Lydia, had lived on this block all of her life. The home she lost was a family home passed on through generations, as were the rest of the homes on the block, now gone. She told me a story, in the 60’s, when there was so much discrimination against the blacks going on in Biloxi, to the east, that the blacks were not allowed to swim in the same swimming pool. She said they all just laughed at that because they were allowed to join the whites, and she felt no discrimination growing up! Even when she went to Atlanta with her mother, there was a sign on the bus stating that blacks could sit anywhere as long as they were behind the sign. So she just moved the sign to the front of the bus and sat where she wanted! Her mother did make her move it back to the back where it had been originally! 🙂 I should have asked her if she was related to Rosa Parks!! Her attitude was so wonderful. Instead of mourning what was lost, she was so excited by what she was getting! Before we left, she had us each sign her Bible….I was amazed at how many signatures she had… there were a lot of people who have worked on her home….what a treasure!

We picked up supplies at the Grey Hut. I had heard of the Grey Hut as being an organization formed to supply building supplies for rebuilds, beginning with Katrina, but ultimately reaching out to other disaster relief efforts. What a surprise when I saw the building….perception is a funny thing. I now know how the organization was named…the color and size of the building! Nearly every morning, supplies were picked up at either Grey Hut warehouse or the local hardware store.

The home we were assigned to was almost completed. To be a part of the end of a project is great, because we saw the end product rather than having to try to picture it. When it is all volunteer help, sometimes the quality of work is not the best. Paul worked on the electrical…mostly trouble shooting since there was major problems and walls were already covering the wires. But it kept him out of trouble! I could keep my eye on him!
My original assignment was working in the kitchen. But after the first day, I was bored. We served breakfast, and kitchen clean up was done by 9, they took their lunches to the sites, and dinner was not started until about 4. I helped out in the office the first day, then opted out of kitchen clean up after breakfast and joined the guys. I was assigned caulking and painting door frames and doors, and touching up the walls. The home was a three bedroom, two bath home, maybe 1200 square foot. Miss Lydia was able to choose all of the colors,

lights, fixtures, cabinets and doors.

The cabinets and plumbing in the kitchen and the bathrooms were installed by our crew.

The SBDRT were currently working on six homes. When we were there, there were several teams from East TN. Mid TN and West TN will be assigned homes in the next few months as part of a blitz to get them finished. The church we stayed at housed an office for the SBDRT for consistency, and Miss Bonnie was in charge of the kitchen and meals, while her husband assisted the various teams in the field. They have been there, in their motorhome since last year, serving people every week. Makes you realize how little you do, when you see such dedication. They are planning on closing the office at the end of the year. Lord willing, most of the work planned will be completed.

Southern hospitality and food are a challenge for us… it is so hard to lose, not to mention maintain, our weights! On Wednesday, another church hosted lunch, as they have done for the past year, every Wednesday!
Such dedication! One evening one of the groups from Knoxville area hosted a “shrimp boil” (‘boil’ is pronounced ‘bowl’). Everything is boiled along with spices, and it was fantastic!! We even brought some fresh shrimp back with us.

Mississippi is still on the list to explore more thoroughly!