Summer in the South, Troy, AL – Search for Ancestors

12 Jul

July 12 Sweet Alabama

Left Biloxi and headed north to Greenville, AL. Again we are on these long “bridges” that carry you conveniently over the swamps, bayous, rivers and other bodies of water.  It is hard to imagine how explorers, pioneers, and settlers were able to find their way around.  The long circuitous routes they must have taken!!  We picked up a rental car  in Greenville, then drove tandem over to Troy.  A beautiful sunny day with verdant green woods, pastures and orchards. Lots of corn fields as well!    He plans to visit the library archives and he wants to explore some of the original land grants award to these ancestors.

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Driving along “on top” of all the swamps/bayous is really interesting.  It makes me wonder how the pioneers and settlers got to the various ares in this part of the country. They had to take circuitous routes.

As soon as we arrived at the Deer Run RV park and got hooked up it started to pour rain with lightening and thunder for the next 3 hours.  I made dinner and we watched TV.

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It stopped raining and I took Tyler for a walk around the lake.  We were surrounded 360˚ by dark black clouds with a stray lightening boult illuminating the sky. The center was crystal clear with the stars twinkling to the symphony of sounds provided by the cicadas, crickets and frogs. All at a pleasant 71˚    SWEET ALABAMA.

July 13

Troy is where Larry’s ancestors lived back in the early 1800s before migrating to TX. We are currently sitting in the Troy public library. Larry is currently viewing a microfiche with 1,300 pages of  private land sales written in old english cursive looking for when his ancestor sold  his property before moving on to TX.  I have my laptop and catching up on all my correspondence and social media.  Love free public wifi.

This library is brand new and beautiful.   In an economy that has caused other states, cities towns to close or consolidate libraries, I am really impressed with the City of Troy to maintain a quality library with services like computers, wifi, books, periodicals and archives for the general public.  Kudos.

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The local Masonic Lodge. Troy lodge #56.  The number indicates that it was the 56th lodge chartered in Alabama. This one was chartered in 1841, back when Larry’s ancestors lived here.

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After the library we went to the Pioneer Museum….

I love the covered bridges.  The only thing on the other side was this tiny chapel…used today for weddings.  I love the shot that looks like the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel.”

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Could have used this crib for my ADHD baby.  Although this one is meant to keep the bugs away, it might help keep them in the crib !!  Love the “port-a-poty”.  Larry decided this would be his next gun safe.  The two he has are already full.

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Doctor’s/dentist visit was only $1 or $2 for a house call back in the early 1900s


Sunday, July 14


Sunday was “hunting for dead relatives” day.  There is a private Golden/Conner family cemetery out in the middle of nowhere. With a few clues off we go to find it. Relatives got together and place a fence and some new headstones about 40 yrs ago, so we are going on the information.


We went through this one gas station/general store town called Banks and there was another Masonic Lodge.  This one is Anna Norton Lodge #569.

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The general store/gas station


The first attempt to find the cemetery Tyler and I walked 1/4 mile up a dirt road. Did not find the cemetery, but found the overlook of the land that Larry’s ancestors received from land grant lotteries back in the early 1800s.  At one time it was farming for as far as you can see.  But now most of the land has been planted with timber with active logging in progress.  We found other cemeteries on more of the country roads.  But not the Golden/Conner one.

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We finally found the right road.  About 1/4 mile in we noticed a chain link fence in the middle of the pine trees and there it was!


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The crosses say “Known Only to God”. Known ancestors had newer headstones with the vital data inscribed.  When we got back to the campground I google the cemetery and it actually showed up on the satellite map.  Why didn’t Larry think of this before we left?? But it was a fun adventure.  Kind of like geocaching 🙂

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Summer in the South – Biloxi, MS

4 Jul

July 3, 2013

Travel day!!! Dumped, and packed up and hit the road. Took a nice scenic route from New Orleans along highway 90. Divided 4 lanes, no traffic with lake and/or swamp on both sides. Negotiated a parking spot at Fort Pike. The military fort with all it’s walls and moat still standing as if continuing its protection of the entrance of Lake Pontchartrain from the Mississippi River. Then a stop at Wally Wold in Bay St. Louis and a quick jump over the bridge, down Beach Blvd to our spot at Cajun RV park on the beach in Biloxi, MS. Set up and rested a bit. Started to get ready to go to dinner, but it started to pour rain. As soon as I had dinner ready, the rain stopped. Oh well! We took the Casino hopper and surveyed the many casinos playing a little black jack for fun at Margaritaville. Then had another dinner while still at Margaritaville and went home.

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July 4th

Slept late!! Took my trike of the cargo carrier and unfolded it and took Tyler for a run. What a beautiful day at the beach. Went down to the new Golden Nugget. Nice resort and casino with a nice marina right on the water. We had a gulf view window table for lunch. Larry got a seat at a table in the poker room. I went home and rested, fed Tyler and took a long walk. Then back to the GN to watch the fireworks from the top of their parking deck. An awesome 25 minute display with simulcast with a radio station over the loud speaker system. The storm let loose with the deluge of rain until the grand finale. Then rained and poured and thunder and lightening all night.

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Found this family making sand sculptures.

July 5th

Still raining. Took Tyler for walks when the rain let up a little. Then I walked down the beach to the Waffle House. First time trying one. Took some back to Larry. He slept till noon. We hung out reading and watching TV. Larry decided to go back to the poker room. I decided it was time to learn how to use the washer and dryer. We’ve been on the road for one week today. So time for some cleaning and washing clothes, sheets, towels. July 8 The sun finally makes an appearance.  We rented a car and went to the mall to get a few items we forgot to pack and to see the movie Despicable Me 2.  Biloxi on a sunny day IMG_0621 IMG_0627  IMG_0626 IMG_0625

July 9

Another sunny day so we meandered along the coast toward Pensacola Florida.  Stopped at Battleship Park were the USS Alabama is on display.

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Then drove along the Gulf Islands National Seashoare.

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July 10 -12 I lost track of events.

Lots of rain.  Lots of poker for Larry.  After of week of no wifi without walking up to the guest lounge…that was only open from 9-5.  So we packed up and moved to a new location for the last 2 days so we could catch up with the outside world and plan the next leg of the journey up to Troy, AL.   Will depart Friday morning.


Summer in the South – New Orleanss

2 Jul

June 29, 2013

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Arrived in New Orleans. We are parked at the Pontchartrain Landing RV park and marina located on a ship channel as it connects with the lake! A after Katrina decimated some of the industrial marine area, some creative people used the land and docks to build a place for travelers via RV or water craft. Sailboats, sporting craft and floating home community! All next to a newly built boat repair and stacked inside storage warehouse with a first class fueling dock. There are several large sailboats from the Caribbean with permanent live-boards tied up at the dock for hurricane season. Reminds me of my years hoping from spot to spot on my sailboat. Except this is the first time seeing RVs mixed in. Makes sense and a great combo of like minded wanderers!! We got settled in and first thing Larry wants to do is go to Harrah’s in town. So called a cab and made the 7 mile trip down to Harrah’s in no time. Had the surf and turf buffet and Larry went to the poker room while I continued to pig out on shrimp and snow crab. When we met up again we both sat down and played some black jack at a table with some fun people and the dealer was a hoot. When the dealer took a break, we left the table (with a little more $ than when we started I might add). Larry went back to poker and I took a cab back to the RV park around 10 pm. Good thing too. As I walked closer to the coach I could hear Tyler barking. He was pacing and barking. When I opened the door he jumped out and did his business right there. He sure had to go and he didn’t want to do it in the coach. Then a rain squall came through with drenching, pouring rain for about an hour. Larry waited out the rain storm and got back around 2 am.


Pontchartrain Landing RV Park and Marina (artist rendition of final project)  is on a ship channel to the lake. All this used to be industrial marine. However, during Katrina, it was under 12 ft or water. The 12 ft. high retaining wall to the west held. So the new development includes this RV Park that has a marina and the beginnings of a floating home community. Next door is a yacht fueling dock and marina. Then there is a mega yacht builder a few doors down.  It is a nice park with a shuttle to the French Quarter.

Here is our water front spot. Great view!


June 30, 2013
Woke up feeling like I am coming down with something. So we decided it would be a do nothing and relax day. Slept in, watched T.V., went to the pool, took a nap, walked Tyler all around the property, went to the pool and went to bed early. Weather was much cooler with a nice breeze. Felt very much like Hawaii!! Made reservations to go on a boat ride up into the swamps tomorrow and made reservations to have a car tomorrow.

Here is the pool and the clubhouse/restaurant/small boat marina


July 1, 2013
Took the RV shuttle into the French Quarter and the took a tour bus out to the the swamp preserve. Had a great tour of the bayous and swamps. Saw lots of alligators, fish, turtles and birds. The tour was through a Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve.


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On the return trip the tour bus dropped us off at Harrah’s. We had lunch then Larry went to the poker room and I walked along the River Walk down to the steamboat doc. They were busy setting up stands all along the River Walk in preparation for the big 4th of July events. We were here for the fireworks back in 2010 and they were awesome. Then I went shopping in the French Quarter. Found a dress I need for a Eastern Star event I will attend up in Red Bay. I really enjoy the French Quarter. Larry was still in his poker game, so I jumped on the 4 pm shuttle back to the RV park to feed and walk Tyler and rest. Larry texted that he was doing really well and that I should come back to town. So I jumped on the 7:45 shuttle back to town and we went out to a lovely, quiet dinner at a steak house. Then home to our spot on the lake.

July 2, 2013
We were suppose to leave today, but will extend one more night. Took the shuttle into the French Quarter. While on the shuttle met another 2 couples that are Tiffin owners as well. One couple (Terry and Rosie) just purchased their Phaeton in Feb and are headed to Red Bay, AL as well. We got off the shuttle and I headed out to find beignets and cafe au lait with our new friends while Larry tipped the driver to drop him at Harrah’s. We went to the infamous Cafe du Monde across from Jackson Square were all they serve are beignets and cafe au lait made with a dash of chicory. How do you describe a beignet? Like a small popover or cream puff (without the filling) covered with 3″ of powdered sugar. The whole restaurant’s floor is covered with powdered sugar. What a feeling. Sitting there eating a piece of heaven sipping delicious with a cool breeze blowing off the Mississippi I begin to feel that feeling of “the big easy”.


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We decided to take a mule drawn carriage tour. They use mules because they are able to stand up to the heat. Cards were slow at the poker table, so he took a cab over to Jacson Square and joined us. We had the hour long tour that included the St. Louis cemetery #1. Incredible history.

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This is still an active cemetery.  Multiple people share the same vault.  After at least 2 years, their bones are put in a bag and moved to the side or bottom. Their coffin is destroyed and the next person is laid to rest.  The one on the right is suppose to be the tomb of Marie Leveau, the famous voodoo witch.  However, she is not buried there, but superstition has it if you leave a gift and do a ritual your wish will come true.

Then the 4 of us stopped at a restaurant along Jackson Square for lunch Larry and Rosie had hamburgers while Terry had a shrimp Po boy and I had a tempura fried soft shell crab on a Po boy bun. Terry not impressed, however, my crab was really sweet and good.


Terry and Rosie went to the flea market while Larry and I took a pedicab down to the old U.S. mint building and tribute to Preservation Hall. Larry took pedicab back to Harrah’s while I walked the length of the flea market, farmers market and up to Boubon Street.

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Just meandered and window shopped the rest of the day until time to catch the shuttle back to Pontchartrain Landing to feed And walk Tyler. Took a rest. Larry’s poker game was going well and looked like he would be there for awhile ( he was winning) so I stayed home and learned to use the washer and dryer. Terry and Rosie dropped by to exchange our contact info and to talk about Tiffin and out pilgrimage to Red Bay :-). Larry got home after midnight with enough winnings to make us very happy.


Summer in the South – Kinder, AL

28 Jun

June 28, 2013

My friend, Birdie, with her motorhome Sweet Pea and TOAD Herbie are all settled to hold down the fort while we head up to Alabama..


Got my folding tricycle secured on the cargo carrier…


We originally planned a trip up to Yellowstone and the northern states. However, RED has some issues that can not be solved at the dealers. So, we are off to the Tiffin factory up in Red Bay, AL. Our appointment is July 18. Meanwhile we are wandering along the gulf coast before we turn left and head for the far northwest corner of AL.

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Our first stop was The Chousatta Casino with a very nice RV park in Kinder, LA. The RV park was over sold. Parked out in the parking lot. There were several others as well, parked far from one another. I’m guessing to avoid each others generator exhaust. Fed and walked Tyler. Left generator and A/C on while we had dinner at the casino. Larry played poker and I play some slots. Then I went back out to walk Tyler. Good thing, because we got a rain squall. Helped cool things down a bit. We were hoping there would be a cancellation or “no show” at the RV park, but no luck. So, we spent our first night “dry” camping. It made me nervous running the generator and A/C all night. But everything worked OK and we had a relatively good night sleep.


Slept late. I walked over to the Casino hotel and got some coffee and giant cinnamon rolls. Then we hit the road. Next stop New Orleans!!

Shrine Circus Houston 2013

24 Apr

April 21
Moved RED down to the Ft. Bend County Fairgrounds and got her parked and all set up. The fair ground has about 20 full hook up spots. The Arabia Shrine of Houston holds a circus each year to raise funds for the Shrine Hospital. Larry is part of the clown unit and they let the women dress as clowns as well. It is so much fun, but exhausting.

April 24-28, 2013


The clown room is set up for us to change, put make up on and to relax.


Each year the circus publishes a program book that has caricatures of each clown. The kids love to ask the clowns to autograph their individual page. My clown name is “Rainbow” and Larry’s is “Surfer Dude”.


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Larry Wrote:

“His name was Sammy.
I saw him in his special chair with his family where we clowns greet the kids.
I was on my mobility scooter so I was right at eye level with him.
He was so excited and animated at the sight of my big red foam rubber nose.
He was waiving his arms, smiling and giggling.

I went back to the dressing room and retrieved a “child’s sized” nose like mine.
I went looking for him and found them in the handicap/vip seating area.
When I approached, he again became all happy, excited and animated.
I put the little nose on him and he REALLY enjoyed that.”

Now, for the rest of the story:

“Sam’s last day on this earth was spent with people that loved him the most. He was greeted in the morning by his Daddy and played with…”daddy-style”. Sam was smiling from ear to ear and giggling as they played. He then spent a few hours at the Fort Bend Shriners circus where he was the only person in the crowd to receive a clown nose from one of the clowns. Sam continued to enjoy the rest of the day surrounded by loved ones. The autopsy report concluded that Sam’s passing was directly related to the injuries he sustained during labor/birth. Sam aspirated during his sleep.” ~Excerpt from Houston Chronicle Obituary May 6, 2013


Larry and 4 of the clowns went to Sammy’s memorial service. They held it on what would have been Sammy’s 3rd birthday.


Clowns Cutter Bill, Putt Putt, Hot Rod, Surfer Dude and Tatter took balloons for Sammy’s memorial/birthday.

RED’s first adventure

29 Mar

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March 17 – 29, 2013

As many of you know Larry and I are members of various Masonic organizations. One of them is the Shrine. Larry belongs to the Shrine and participates as a Shrine clown at the circus to raise money for the Shriners Hospitals. We have friends that are also active with Shrine clowns that lived in Hawaii and now are in St. Charles, MO. The Moolah Shrine in St. Charles held a circus March 21-24 and we decided to go up and clown around. My grand daughter, Talon, sent me a Flat Stanley, a cut out paper doll that teachers use as a geography project. Students send their Flat Stanley to various people around the world. You take pictures with Flat Stanley and give information about the place Stanley is visiting and send it back to the student. Flat Stanley arrived just in time for this trip. So you’ll see him in most of the pictures.

March 17 & 18

We left on Sunday, the 17th and drove 315 miles up to Lake Murray in Oklahoma. We stayed at Tips Point campground for 2 nights. My friend, Dawn, is working as a camp host this summer. Another friend, Birdie, drove over for the weekend as well and we had a great get together.

View of our spot on Lake Murray

You can’t miss the camp host’s site. Dawn loves Pink Flamingos!!

My friends, Dawn and Birdie, and I went on a hike around the lake.



Tuesday, March 19 we drove 445 miles across Oklahoma and Kansas. It took 9 hours. Many call it flat and boring. But I love every new thing I see. I see beauty in the flat miles and miles of crops. This really is the bread basket and heartland of the USA.

Larry has a buddy, Greg, from their college days that now lives in Weston, MO just north of Kansas City. We met Greg and Debbie at a BBQ restaurant in St. Louis and then followed them to their home in Weston. We perched RED on the top of a hill at their farm and spent Tuesday night at their place.



The guys got out their toys and went “plinking”.

Our friend had never before held a gun, let alone shoot one.  So Larry made it his personal responsibility that she learn!


Wednesday, March 20

We originally planed to stay a few days. However, the weather gurus were predicting some snow that probably would get us stuck on the top of the hill and we needed to be in St. Louis by Thursday. So we hit the road heading East and drove 260 miles to St. Charles, Missouri. Parked at Sundemeier RV park right next to the Missouri River. Rented a car for the week. We were really tired. The RV park is right next to the Missouri River and the Katy Trail that runs 150 miles along the river. Tyler and I really enjoyed walking along the trail and the beauty of the river.




Thursday, March 21

We just slept and rested the morning away. Then in the afternoon we drove over to the Cahokia Mounds. They have a wonderful interpretive center with a great media presentation. I was fascinated with the history of this huge Indian settlement and its large earth mounds. We both wondered why we had not heard about these during history in school. However, they were not discovered until the 1960s. Fascinating.


This is a rendering of what it looked like back over 1,000 years ago.

Thursday night was the first performance of the Moolah Shrine Circus at the Family Arena in St. Charles, MO. Our friends Patti and Carl live in the area and are members of the Moolah Shrine in St. Charles. Both Carl and I live on Oahu these past 30 yrs. Carl grew up in MO and dated Patti in H.S. He and Patti are now married. A similar story for me and Larry. We all met while we all lived in Hawaii. We are now in TX and they are now in St. Charles. Patti has a son that live just a couple miles from our house in Houston, so we get to see each other several times a year.

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Let the clowning begin

Doing 2 and 3 shows a day can be tiring for humans…and the animals as well.



Saturday, March 23

The weather gurus were predicting snow for Saturday night. Everyone said that it would just melt off, nothing would stick. However, some of the Shrine Circus volunteers staying at the RV park left Saturday afternoon because that did not want to get stuck because they needed to be home for work on Monday. When we got back to the RV park it had just started to snow.


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Tyler watching the snow

Sunday, March 24

When we woke up there was 13″ of snow on the ground and it was still snowing. The city of St. Louis and St. Charles basically shut down. There was too much snow on the slide out awnings to be able to close the slides. On Monday a service came out and removed the snow from the top of RED home and the slide outs. We needed to leave on Tuesday and it would take at least 3 or 4 days for it to melt off naturally. Next time we will know to close the slides. However, “they” only predicted a few inches and it was not suppose to accumulate!!


Tyler still had to go for his walks with on a regular basis. So I bundle up and out we go.IMG_0124

Tuesday, March 26

I wanted to stop in Memphis and other sites along the way. But decided I wanted to get home ASAP. My daughter, Janelle, called and announced that she had accepted a contract to teach in Seoul, South Korea and would be leaving the following week. She was in San Antonio for the Texas State Science Fair and would return to WA on Sunday. So if I wanted to see her before she left I needed to get back home. She was taking a bus from S.A. to Houston and would arrive Thursday night.

The roads were plowed, so we hit the road.


We drove 525 miles to Little Rock, Arkansas. It took us eight hours of driving and it was a very long and tiring day. We parked right on the Arkansas River looking at downtown Little Rock. President Bill Clinton’s presidential library is just across the river.

Wednesday, March 27 We drove 293 miles to Nacogdoches, Texas. We spent the night at Paradise Lake RV resort.

Thursday, March 28 we drove the rest of the way home to Houston. This spot was the storage area for the recliner chair. But it is a much better space for Tyler. He loves watching the road go by when were are on the road. So the recliner is in the barn. LOL

Except for the unexpected cold and snow, we really enjoyed our first adventure in RED.

Meet RED

26 Feb

February 26

We went to the Houston RV show at the Reliant Center. Met up with some friends from the RV Forum; Mark and Maggie while we shopped for a motor home.


Larry originally wanted a diesel pusher. But now after our trip to Arizona and back he has issues with getting in and out of the truck so much and with the hitching and unhitching. So we traded in the Montana 5th wheel and bought a new 2013 Tiffin Allegro RED 33aa, A rear engine diesel (RED). It says RED right on the front! I call her RED because that has been one of my nick names most of my life…having to do with the color of my hair, not my rear end!! Larry just calls it “the coach”

On February 26, 2013 we took delivery of RED. Meet RED:



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