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Texas to Ohio

June 2, 2013

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It was time to get back on the road.  But first, we spent Memorial Day at the beach near Matagorda, on the Texas Gulf Coast.  It was a good day of sun, sand and wind with our oldest daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter, her friend, and their dog.  We made good use of the Light Dome canopy that has been part of our art festival equipment.

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~ Day One (Tuesday) Houston, TX to Shreveport, LA ~ 259 miles ~

After a winter of back pain, surgery, and a broken wrist on top  of that, Nell was ready to kick back in the copilot seat and navigate us down the road.  We rolled out of Riverbend RV Park in Richmond, Texas on Tuesday morning, took Hwy 59 through downtown Houston and rolled northeast.  We stopped for lunch at CC’s Smokehouse in Nacogdoches and said hello to Heath Clement, the owner and the guy who treated us so nicely last year when we passed through.  He also has a small RV park next door to the restaurant.

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Our first overnight stop was at Tall Pines RV Park in Shreveport, Louisiana, one of the nicer places on our “Will Return” list.  Someday we’re going to stay here more than one night so we can sit at these nice little tables they have at every site.  This place is really nice.  In seconds, they pulled us up in their system from our one night stay back in September 2012.  We ended up with the same pull-through site we had last year.  Almost every site here has full hookups: water, electric, sewer, and cable TV.  Wifi wasn’t bad, as I recall.  The bath house was very nice and very clean.

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~ Day Two (Wednesday) Shreveport, LA to  Brinkley, AR ~ 284 miles ~
The next day, we drove north through Texarkana and Little Rock to Brinkley, Arkansas.  This place is behind a Motel 6 in Brinkley.  Kind of plain, but for an overnighter the price was right.  When we arrived, there was only one other RV here.  When we checked in at the motel lobby, Nell asked if the RV park would get filled up.  The desk clerk said “Oh yes, in fact, more so than the motel.”  And sure enough, they kept coming in until dark.  We missed our mark when we pulled into the site, so, as Nell put it, she “lost her RV driving virginity” in this parking lot.  She did a good job of pulling out of the spot and circling the lot to get us back into the spot a little closer to the utility connections.  It was her first time to actually drive the motorhome.  We had read some reviews by other RVers about how wonderful the food was at the Mexican restaurant on the premises.  Our reaction to the food was “eh”.
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There is another RV park at a motel on the other side of the Interstate.  The review on it was pretty bad, and from what we could see as we exited the highway, it looked very untidy, so we chose this one at the Motel 6.   It did have water, electric and sewer, but neither the wifi nor cable worked (we used our Verizon MIFI mobile hotspot), so we read and fell asleep early to the sound of rain on the roof.  There was a bath house, but it wasn’t very desirable, and the men’s showers were both out of order.  I connected us to the site’s sewer hookup so we could use our own.
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~ Day Three (Thursday) Brinkley, AR to Nashville, TN ~ 297 miles ~
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Crossing the Mississippi River into Memphis, Tennessee
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On Thursday afternoon, we checked into Nashville Country RV Park in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, just north of Nashville.  We had a nice visit with Nell’s sister-in-law and two nieces before turning in for the night.  This is kind of a close quarters RV campground with some long term residents, but quiet.  We lucked into one of the three or four sites that are parallel to the perimeter road, so it was easy to pull in and set up for the night.  Full hookups.  They have showers, which I suspect are kept pretty clean.  We didn’t want to walk to them, so we used the RV shower.
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A day of driving in the rain.
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 ~ Day Four (Friday) Nashville, TN to Cincinnati, OH ~ 265 miles ~
The photo above was what our day looked like almost all the way from Nashville to Cincinnati.  At times, not as bad, and at times, so bad I could hardly see the road.  55 in a 70 with flashers on.  Occasional white knuckles, but we soldiered on.  One brief bit of excitement when the motorhome almost died going up a long hill.  We found ourselves on the shoulder, stopped against the guardrail, barely off the highway lane.  We were so tight against the guardrail, we couldn’t get the door open, so we started back up, headed downhill, and to our great relief, everything ran fine the next 30 miles to the RV park.  All I can figure is that I must have inadvertently tapped the emergency brake just enough to engage it.  All seems fine with both RV and Honda.
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Indian Springs Campground, North Bend, Ohio
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We were looking for a place that would give us a fairly short run to our destination in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and we found Indian Springs Campground online.  Nell called ahead and the man said he had two pull-through sites left and would save one of them for us.  From our front window, we could see bits of the little lake at Indian Springs Campground.  This RV park is on the west side of Cincinnati, but physically it is actually in Indiana.  This is another okay place to spend the night, but I don’t think I’d want to spend a lot of time here.  Two entire sides of the lake were fully occupied by RVs, many of which looked like they were settled in for a long stay.  We did have water, electric and sewer, but WIFI was poor.  We checked out the showers, and they looked decent.
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Lunch on the road
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Highway Rest Areas with truck parking are great places to stop and have lunch.  We prefer them to Walmart parking lots because of easy on-off highway access.  As a matter of frugality, we tend to not run the onboard generator for air conditioning when we’re running down the highway, but when we stop for lunch, we start it and eat in cool comfort.
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Our spot at Rustic Knolls Campground
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~ Day Five (Saturday) Cincinnati, OH to Mount Vernon, Ohio ~ 168 miles ~
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We got an early start, pulling out of Indian Springs at 8:00 am on Saturday morning.  We had plenty of time because it was a short drive and check-in at Rustic Knolls Campground wasn’t until 1pm, but we really wanted to get ahead of the weather.  More thunderstorms were brewing just to the east of us, and they were moving northeast.  I wasn’t eager for another day of driving in the rain.
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We’ve stayed at Rustic Knolls Campground before, but always in the short term section. Since we weren’t sure how long we would be here, they put us in the long term section. Many people maintain an RV here as their weekend and vacation home.  We’re in the middle of them this time, and it’s a little tight.  Right after we parked our shiny clean motorhome, the folks next door power washed their trailer. Coincidence, I’m sure, but it still made us feel better because it looked pretty bad.  It appears that the long-term weekend folks are beginning to arrive and get their places ready for the summer.  This section was not where we were hoping to be, and it’s a bit crowded for us.   If we had been in the section where we’ve stayed before, it would be fine.  But it’s only for a couple of weeks, and we’ll be okay with it.
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Over the winter, we ordered a new Garmin Nuvi 2595 LMT to give us a little more GPS and highway information.  This one is for truckers, and shows us which lane we need to be in at highway interchanges, routes us around low clearances and toll roads, and speaks the actual exit number and name of the highway, road or street.  I really do like it.   Our original Garmin will now stay in the car for normal driving and sightseeing use.
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In general, the five day trip to get here was a good one.  We had a couple of slowdowns for construction, and for two traffic accidents, and we could have done without the rain and the brief parking brake drama, but the “new” Honda CRV towed beautifully behind the motorhome.  As we travel, the setup procedure and maintenance that Honda specifies will become routine, just as it did with the Jeep.  The most difficult part is keeping the speed under 65 mph, a Honda requirement.  I didn’t use cruise control last year, but have used it quite bit already on this trip.  It has made driving a lot easier.
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We’ll spend a couple of weeks here in Mount Vernon, visiting with Nell’s family and taking a few photo excursions while we try to pin down more definitive travel plans for the summer and fall.
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The 2013 Summer Tour has begun.
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. William R Moore permalink
    June 5, 2013 11:11 am

    Ralph and Nell, Good Luck and have a safe journey this travel season.

  2. June 18, 2013 2:57 pm

    I just love reading about your adventures! 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

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