On the Road to Michigan (May 10 – 27, 2021)

On Monday, May 10th, we left Kerrville, TX and began our trip northward.  We drove 211 miles and spent the night at the I-35 RV Park in Elm Mott, TX (near Waco).  The weather forecast was calling for thunderstorms and very heavy rainfall to begin Tuesday morning so we got an early start.  Fortunately, the storm held off until we completed our 265-mile drive to the Shady Pines RV Park in Texarkana, TN.  We managed to get set up and settled safely indoors when the heavy rains came.

After a stormy Tuesday evening, Wednesday was a lovely day.  We decided to stop at Bringle Lake Park to get some exercise.  Although we hadn’t prepared to hike the full 7-mile loop wilderness trail around the lake, we did walk 2.2 miles in one direction and then returned the way we had come.  The rain had left the trail swampy in places but we were able to skirt the worst of it and didn’t get too muddy.  Part of the trail had been designated Gnomington Forest.  In this section, there were numerous little doors at the bottom of trees.  We looked into some of these doors but did not spot any gnomes.

On Thursday, we drove 235 miles to Delta Ridge RV Park in Forrest City, AR.  On Friday, we drove 273 miles to Nashville, TN where we spent eight days at Seven Points COE Campground.  We had learned a few days earlier that the I-40 bridge we had planned to take across the Mississippi River at Memphis was closed.  A bridge inspector had discovered a large crack in the bridge and this section of I-40 was likely to be closed for months.  Our next-best option was to take the smaller I-55 bridge, despite the anticipated bumper-to-bumper traffic for miles leading to the bridge.  The owner of the Delta Ridge campground suggested an alternative route that took us through West Memphis, AR and allowed us to join I-55 much closer to the bridge, thus missing much of the tie-up.  We still had a bit of a delay but managed to arrive at Seven Points by 3:30 pm. 

On Saturday, May 15th, we picked up Jason and went to watch the Nashville Sounds play the Memphis Redbirds.  The Nashville Sounds are now the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.  We were surprised to learn that Christian Yelich was starting in left field for the Sounds.  Yelich is a two-time National League batting champion, the 2018 NL MVP and the 2019 NL MVP runner-up.  He is currently on a rehab assignment with the Sounds, before he returns to the Brewers.  We had great seats, on the club level close to home plate.  The beginning of the game was rather slow, with the pitchers for both teams struggling with control issues, and remained scoreless (and the Sounds hitless) through seven innings.  After that, the game got quite exciting and there were some spectacular defensive plays.  Memphis scored two runs in the top of the eighth but the Sounds got three in the bottom of the inning. Memphis tied the game in the ninth after the Nashville pitcher hit three batters.  The Sounds finally won the game with a two-out hit in the bottom of the tenth.  The game had lasted for 4.5 hours and many of the spectators around us had already left, but we stuck it out and were rewarded with a great ending.

On Sunday, Jan had lunch with her friends, Sheila and Michelle, and Sheila’s daughter, Ashley.

On Monday, we went to Franklin to the Mazda dealer for an oil change and to Discount Tire to get one of the tires inspected.  The tire had developed a slow leak over the previous few days.  The service tech found a nail in the tire and was able to patch it.  On Tuesday evening, we got together with Lizzi and her roommate, Amanda, for dinner at Las Palma.

On Friday, Jason took the day off from work and we had quite an adventure.  Our first stop was in East Nashville at Three Daughters Bakery.  We each had a 100-layer donut, which was flaky like a croissant but quite filling.  We then headed to the Regal Opry Mills where we watched the movie “Dream Horse.”  The film was based on a true story of a small-town bartender in Wales who convinces her neighbors to chip in to help breed a race horse, Dream.  The investment pays off as Dream becomes very successful and becomes a beacon of hope for the struggling community.  Our next stop was at Game Terminal, a warehouse in South Nashville with one of the largest selections of arcade games and pinball machines in the USA.  The arcade games were all free and the pinball machines cost $1 a game.  In addition, there was a large outdoor area with games such as cornhole, shuffleboard, ping pong and giant Connect Four.  Our final stop of the day was dinner at Gino’s East, one of our favorite pizza chains from our days in the Chicago area.  The weather was ideal for dining outside so we sat on the patio and enjoyed a deep-dish sausage patty pizza.

On Saturday, May 22nd, it was time to travel again.  We drove 260 miles to Nineveh, IN where we spent the night at the Johnson County Park Campground.  The office was closed when we arrived but the host met us and led us to our site.  The assigned site was a back-in but, when Phil asked for a pull-through, the host led us to a new site that looked like we were parking on a road.  Despite having taken us in the wrong direction so our hookups were on the wrong side, the site was adequate for one night and level enough so that we didn’t have to unhitch.

On Sunday, we drove 200 miles to Elkhart, IN where we spent four nights at Elkhart Campground. On Monday, we were hosted for dinner by Phil’s sister, Barb Anderson, and her husband, Dan.  We were joined by Phil’s niece, Emily Hall, her husband, Cody, and their one-year-old son, Wyatt.

On Tuesday morning, we drove to the DRV factory in Howe, IN to pick up some parts for our RV.  Although we were eventually able to get all five parts, it took considerably longer than expected.  The computer went down at the moment Phil arrived at the warehouse.  This, combined with the fact that their operation really wasn’t set up to have customers pick up parts in person, led to a lengthy wait.  When Phil finally received the parts, he discovered that one of the parts was not what he had requested and this led to a further delay.

When we finally got our parts, we headed to the flea market in Shipshewana.  With nearly 700 booths, this flea market claims to be the biggest in the Midwest.  It was a warm day but strong winds made it more tolerable, even if the winds did create havoc for many of the vendors.  We made a lot of purchases, largely of things we didn’t know we needed until we saw them.  After completing the circuit of booths, we headed across the parking lot to Yoder’s Meat and Cheese.  We loaded our cart with lots of fresh meat, cheese curds and other groceries. 

On Wednesday, we had dinner with Barb and Dan Anderson at Davinci’s Italian Family Restaurant.  The food was very good and the portions were so large that each couple was able to share an entrée.

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