Thursday, May 16, 2019

Kansas City, Missouri

Worlds Of Fun RV Park, located on the eastern side of the city and right off Interstate 435, provided a comfortable homebase for our stay.  After a quick Internet search of things to do and places to eat, we set off to discover what we could in the three days we had planned to visit the city.  Constant showers and very cool temperatures were the norm for our first 2 days but the sun came out and it warmed up a bit our last day in Kansas City.

Our Saturday and Sunday was calm and traffic was light.  Here's a skyline view of Kansas City.

And another view of the Kansas City skyline.

Driving around the city, we notice lots of murals decorating the outside of the various buildings.
Power and Light District Mural

First on our list, we visit the highly rated City Market.  We find lots of fresh produce, fresh flowers and garden plants, shops and various eateries.  The fresh Mediterranean food we sampled was delicious..opps forgot pictures of that fun meal.

This mural in the downtown district was very eye-catching but my Internet search failed to discover it's name or inspiration.

We found these murals off of Minnesota Avenue.  My Internet research finds these eight murals were joint efforts between several artists-in-residencies and Kansas City high school students.

What a wonderful visit we enjoyed at the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum.  Built and established in 1930-1933, it houses one of the largest collections in the United States.  I easily could have spent more time here than our two hours however that did give us time to view some of its major highlights.

The rains cleared just in time for me to get a quick photograph of one of Claes Oldenburg's lawn sculptures "Shuttlecocks".

Both Museum entrances are mesmerizing.  The photograph on the left is from the newer Bloch Building.  Once inside you're greeted by this amazing wall hanging made of liquor bottle tops strung together with copper wire. Then when we entered the majestic foyer of the older Nelson-Atkins Building we were greeted with the many marble columns and several old world tapestries. I thought it was a great comparison of art expressions, new and old. Some highlights we quickly saw: a great collection of Egyptian and Roman Classical art and sculptures, rare Medieval art that consisted of a full set of armor for a horse, its rider and matching shield, Renaissance art by Caravaggio as well as other noteworthy artists of that period and a collection of several French Impressionist artists Claude Monet, Georges Seurat and Vincent Van Gogh.  The American Collection was also impressive, we saw works by Thomas Hart Benton, Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer as well as many other favorites.  Our time ran out so I missed the modern art collection so we'll need to go back again one day!  

Now, no visit to Kansas City would be complete for Ronnie and me without tasting its outstanding BBQ.  We decided to try a newer establishment and also an older establishment.  Both restaurants were very tasty, filled with that sweet and spicy tomato based sauce that slathers the tender meats.

Hawg Jaw Que & Brew, established around 2010 and voted in 2012 as one of KC's Best BBQ, was excellent.
Ronnie and I both enjoyed the pork ribs of Hawg Jaw Que & Brew.  A variety of their sauces were on the table and we loved them all!

Arther Bryant's World Famous Barbecue, established in 1908 and considered by some to be one of the most famous barbecue restaurants in the country, was delicious.  Their three types of sauces were on the table for you to apply amply yourself.  Yummmm..
Lining the wall were framed photographs of the many famous patrons, including Presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, Sally Field and Steven Spielberg. 
My choice of tender smoked turkey and onion rings were ample and filling.  I didn't eat the white bread though.
Ronnie's double meat sandwich of brisket and burnt ends were completely camouflaged by mounds of french fries.  Good thing I got a quick photo of the sandwich before it got covered up!
Our time here in Kansas City was way too short.  We had just enough time to see there is more to explore here.  We plan to come back one day and see the World War I Memorial and Museum, the Union Station and Fountains..and many many more highlights in Kansas City, Missouri.

More Later as we travel westward.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

We're Back In Travel Mode

Ron and I are finally back on the road, enjoying our travels across the United States. We loved our month-long time spent with my Mom helping her with errands, yard work, gardening and lots of visiting.  While I was having fun with her, Ronnie was completing his final maintenance items on the motorhome.  He was able to change oils and filters in it and the generator, complete an update on our water softener and more the exciting part of researching various places to visit west of the Mississippi River.  We have always enjoyed our travels in the western regions of the US, so that's where we are headed.  We hope to revisit Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks, explore more of Idaho's landscapes and go anywhere else that strikes our interest.  We have no specific travel plans or destinations right now other than to re-explore areas we visited many years ago and to also discover new, amazing places in this beautiful country.

Our first stop was the Tom Johnson Campground in Marion, North Carolina.  This location was the perfect "homebase" to revisit one of our favorite places Mount Mitchell and Mount Mitchell State Park.  Driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Ron and I reminisce about all of our many visits here and remark that this road still is one of the most scenic in the country.

This day was cloudy with forecast heavy showers.  We found the mountain views just as amazing as we have many other times.  Our last visit here was with my Mom in October 2014.  You can revisit that blog post by clicking here.

While Ronnie and I were visiting Marion's Mica Town Brewery, we were informed by some locals, there was a town marker erected in honor of native son Roy Williams, the University of North Carolina Men's Basketball Coach. Being the Tar Heel fan that I am, Ronnie and I set out on our mission the find the street marker.  Easy to spot, it was located in front of City Hall.  We had no idea Roy Williams was born in Marion, NC, we just knew he was from the Asheville area.  Another fun fact and memorable experience added to our full-time RVing travels.

While we are trying to dodge the spring storms that are marching across the central part of the US, we made the good decision to stay a couple of extra days in Marion.  That made just enough time for us to discover Jalapeno Fresh Grill, a fantastic Mexican food restaurant located on the outskirts of town. Yummmy!

We're now moving across the US on Interstate 40 where we stopped for 2 nights at the conveniently located Downtown RV Park in Little Rock, Arkansas.  We stayed here last summer for a week while getting a couple of quick repairs done so we knew this was a good place to pause.  Again, we needed to wait a day or two for the storms and flooding rains to pass.

Onward to our next location, Kansas City, Missouri.

More later..

Saturday, March 2, 2019

March 2019, Finally A Blog Update

It has been awhile since an update from Eas-on Down The Road.  We are still here in "blog-land", just not posting as much due to being busy with everyday living activities.  When we usually arrive in North Carolina, we tend to spend our time with family and complete annual medical appointments rather than sight-see and explore the region.  We spend our winters in Florida, were our motorhome gets all of the attention for important maintenance items, any needed repairs and/or upgrades. Usually, when we leave Florida after those 3 months, we go back to North Carolina to spend a little more time with my family before we get back into our traveling and exploring routines.  My blog has always been about sharing with family and friends the interesting places we see while we travel rather than a diary or blog about our everyday activities.  That's why I just don't blog much when we are completing life's necessities, those important details that allow us to enjoy our travels the rest of the year.  Bare with us, if we don't blog much during December, January-April as those months are spent keeping ourselves and the motorhome up and running smooth.

Here is a very brief update from the past 3 months.

I enjoyed a nice lunch at the North Carolina Museum of Art with fellow retired art educators.

We celebrated Christmas with my family.  Little Boy has been very good so he received a gift from Santa too.

Arriving to Florida, the issues/repairs with our motorhome get addressed.  Ronnie needed some rare assistance with an on-going AquaHot problem (that's our hot water/heat).  He has been very successful at troubleshooting and solving questions but this one had him stumped. A certified AquaHot mobile technician confirmed Ronnie's suspected diagnosis and with parts on hand, solved that annoyingly deceptive electrical matter.
Next: caulking, caulking and more caulking..the entire motorhome. Ronnie is now in the middle of a big project, he is recaulking all of the its fiberglass seams.  On an older coach like ours, it is important to keep the moisture out.  The Florida weather this winter has been very cooperative for this type of project: sunny, warm and dry.

Strawberries!  We are eating our fill of fresh Florida strawberries.

In between all of the maintenence jobs, we still find time for fun. We enjoy good times with our friends from Iowa,Virginia & Pennsylvania.

We look forward to getting back out on the road, enjoying our traveling lifestyle but annual maintenance and repairs are expected and needed.  It is part of the full-time RVing style of living we have chosen.  Soon, I"ll be back to posting more about our travels as we continue to on Eas-on Down The Road.

More Later..

Friday, November 30, 2018

"We'll Clean This Mess Up"

The title for this blog is the headline from the Mississippi Sun Herald's front page, September 3, 2005.  The quoted comment was made by then President George Bush, promising federal aid to rebuild the Mississippi Gulf Coast and help its residents rebound and restore from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. I do not know the final monetary amount provided by the federal government but the number mentioned in this newspaper's article was an initial first installment 10.5 billion dollars.  Looking at photographs from the destructive storm and now driving through the towns along the coastline, visiting shops, restaurants and campgrounds, to see the immense recovery it is nothing short of miraculous what these people have accomplished in 13 years.  Now, I am sure there are irrecoverable things we cannot see.  There are elements that will never recover such as the personal tragedies of the people. However as a tourist, the onlooker-visitor that we are, it appeared to us as we are "outside, looking in", that the Mississippi Gulf Coast is working its way back.

Yes, they did and still somewhat that mess up.

Fall has arrived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

This is a beautiful stretch of white sand beach along Highway 90 west bound between Gulfport and Bay St. Louis.

Many of the old live oaks that line Hwy 90 are showing regrowth and resilience after the rage of wind and salt water from Hurricane Katrina.

Our destination is the Waveland Ground Zero Hurricane Museum. Housed in this old school building built in 1927, it too has been restored after the storm's destruction. The Museum's purpose is to represent the resilience of Waveland and its Gulf Coast residents as they rebuild and rise up from the catastrophe.  It displays photographs, mementos and personal stories of the storm from Waveland as well as the surrounding community's rebuilding process. The exhibits were quite interesting and it is all an inspirational testimony to see how the people have survived despite this unbelievable adversity.  The Receptionist/Curator was also informative about many of the items and photographs there.

There are two markers in front of the building, one to mark the return of the community from Hurricane Camille and the new sign dedicating the volunteer efforts for Hurricane Katrina.

This is the repaired building now.  The next photo is from the Museum's collection of what the building looked like immediately after Hurricane Katrina.  This was the only building left on this street as well as the only public building left after Hurricane Katrina.

These beautiful handmade quilted wall hangings were made by Solveig Wells.  The Curator told us the artist collected scraps of fabric recovered from her home's wreckage and fabric remnants salvaged from the community's debris to create these geometric wall hangings.  They're evidence one can make something beautiful from the shredded fragments left by the storm.

This torn and tattered US flag somehow survived the storm.  It was found still on the flagpole in the debris of Waveland's Library.

Here, Ronnie is standing in the vestibule area of the Museum.  The hurricane's water level here was about 25 feet with huge waves on top of all that water!

These three photographs, from several on display in the Museum, made an impression on us.  Note the one on the left.  It is an 18ft Carolina Skiff boat on the roof of someones home.. that's even up on stilts.  What a tremendous force of nature must it have been to wash or blow that heavy boat up that high.

It is sad to think of all the immense, old-styled mansion homes that once lined the coastal highway that were literally washed away in the storm.  This photograph from the Museum's collection shows what happened to this beautiful three story mansion. Note: before and after the storm below.

Displayed front pages of the Sun Herald's September 5, 2005 publication.

As we drove by this stately group of old live oak trees, we realized that the empty property most likely held one of those 'old south-styled mansions".  It appears the owners only chose to rebuild back a small version of what was once was a stately home.

We saw a lot of rebuilding and new construction.  Most of the new homes now rest on stilts that are at least 20 feet high.

As the Mississippi Gulf Coast communities continue to regroup and promote regrowth, someone had the unique idea to create art from the huge old oak trees that did not live after the storm.  Click this link to see some of the creative carvings made from the dead trees in the Bilioxi area.
Hurricane Katrina Tree Sculptures
This particular carving from one of the dead live oaks is the The Angel Tree of Bay St. Louis.  It stands impressive along the shoreline in town.  This old tree once saved from being cut down, saved the lives of three people and a small dog during Hurricane Katrina.  They all clung to that tree as the storm surge washed around them.  Unfortunately the tree did not survive the salt water so the owners of the tree had this inspirational sculpture made from it and placed the carved tree in this prominent spot. It got our attention.

Now this huge dignified live oak survived Hurricane Katrina's winds and storm surge of salt water.  Look closely down to the end of the street, that is how close it is to the ocean.

Bay St. Louis is on the rebound from the hurricane.  We spent a few days here in July of 2005.  We recalled the artist community and town lined with art galleries and restaurants.

More rebuilding and reconstruction.

This is the new Waveland Beach Comfort Station now under construction.  There were so many places where we saw renewal of the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast region that we fondly remember.  Everything looked new and fresh yet the old regal live oak trees made the rejuvenated landscape look very natural and serene.  Welcome back!

Thanksgiving Day 2018, the Biloxi shrimp boats are in port.

The Biloxi Lighthouse and newly built Biloxi Visitor Center.

Ronnie enjoying a chilly but sunny Thanksgiving Day along the white sand beach in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Just a quick comment about the delicious food of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  We have really enjoyed some outstanding fresh seafood most notably shrimp.  We also found tasty Greek and Mexican food restaurants in Biloxi.  Discovering some incredible food deals in the casinos, we did manage to save a little money too.  Many of the casinos we visited offered discounted buffets, some costing us nothing or only a few dollars each. They'll do anything to get you inside to play their gambling machines.

  Quality Poultry and Seafood
 Desporte & Sons Seafood
 Mr. Greek Mediterranean
 El Milagro Mexican Grill
Beau Rivage Casino, Biloxi
Red Pearl Casino, Biloxi
Hard Rock Cafe Casino, Biloxi
Island View Casino,Gulfport
Silver Slipper Casino, Waveland

Unfortunately the motorhome's steps quit working a while back.  "Don't ya hate when that happens." This was a good stop to get a new motor shipped.  Here, Ronnie makes the needed repair.

This wraps up 2018 and our travels of this year.  We plan to spend the month of November at my Mom's in North Carolina where we will complete the annual medical exams and enjoy the Christmas Holidays with her, family and friends.  We plan to spend the winter 2019 in Florida, on our rented RV lot at Deer Creek RV Park in Davenport.  Thanks to all the people who happened to stop by and read my blog throughout the year.  I appreciate it.  This November marked our six year anniversary of being full-time RVers.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

More Later in the year 2019.