Took a little 1000-mile trip in early September. Joyce said it was too hot to travel, so I invited my friend Virgil Wulff, author of metaphysical mysteries. She was right -- it was really hot. But we were ready to "rough it", so the heat didn't bother us too much. We also spent most of the trip in air-conditioning.
We started from Central Florida, visited my sister Marylin in Tallahassee, visited Virgil's friends Bill and Doris in Pensacola, visited casinos in Biloxi, Gulfport, and Lake Charles, then finally arrived at my son Ron's country home in Moss Hill, Texas. Total one-way -- just over 1000 miles. So that's it! I guess you can quit reading here or go further for details, adventures, and anecdotes.
For years, most every trip out of Florida has included at least one night parked in my sister Marylin (and brother-in-law Bill)'s driveway in Tallahassee. I was a little concerned this trip, since it was the first time with the double-slide Damon. Well, my concern was unnecessary -- we fit fine. They were even able to squeeeze around the slide to get their car in and out of the garage. Had a great time there as usual, playing Cribbage, Chicken-Foot Dominos, and Pente. My nephew Michael is as much of a game-freak as I am, so we always have several very competitive series during my visits. This trip, we had an extra player in Virgil, who somehow won the big Chicken-Foot game, even though he claimed never to have played before -- I know he's a former pool and poker hustler, so I'm still wondering if he's now a Chicken-Foot hustler.
Virgil hadn't spent much time in Tallahassee before, so we took the opportunity to visit a few of the Tallahassee tourist areas. We first visited the capital building, which has been rebuilt and remodeled to a replica of the original 1800's era capital. Very interesting and entertaining, even for those of us who thought there was nothing new to see there. We wandered around the downtown, hitting an art/craft show in the park and a neat little cafe on one of the back streets. Marylin also took us on a tour of a "future house" that was on display in one of the subdivisions -- the neatest part of that was the garage, which had the walls setup so that shelves, storage bins, etc. could be attached anywhere and moved at will.
If you've never stopped in Tallahassee, check it out the next time you're roaring across I-10. It's a great town to visit, has many touristy things to see, and did you know that it's the only Confederate Capital not captured by the Yankees?
Only took one picture in Biloxi -- I figure you've either seen the casinos there or you're not interested. We stopped on the way out and on the way back, both times staying at the Southern Comfort RV Resort right on U.S. 90 across from the beach and the casinos. It cost $23/night, a little more than I usually pay, but it's worth it for the convenience. We tried staying at the Passport park North of I-10 on a couple of our earlier trips, but didn't really like driving that far to get to the beach and casinos. Southern Comfort is really the best place to camp there, with it's convenient location, great swimming pool, and readily-accessible showers and laundry. They also have modem connection at $2 for 15 minutes, which I used most every day while we were there. Virgil also liked the easy access to the Waffle House across the street, where he'd go each morning for coffee and country ham while I slept in. He really can't seem to sleep past 7:00 and I really don't like to start until after 8:00, so his early breakfasts worked out fine.
After about a week of meandering across I-10, we finally reached our ultimate destination. About 40 miles NW of Houston is the little town of Liberty, Texas. Then about 15 miles North of Liberty is the intersection of SR 146 and SR 105, where they have a 4-way stop -- that's Moss Hill. Hey! I just looked on Yahoo! Maps and they actually knew where it was! How about that?
So, a couple of miles North of the "city" of Moss Hill, my son Ron lives in a mobile home hidden in the forest on 2 acres he bought a few years ago for a hunting hideaway. He later moved there and has been working on his property ever since. I convinced him to put a power pole out front, with a place I can plug in the electric and the phone. My ISP requires the use of an 800 number while I'm there, but I essentially had about the best internet access of any of my stops along the way. You may remember Ron's place from Chapter 38, when he had wild birds in the kitchen. Well, there were no wild birds this time, much to my disappointment, but we still had a couple of interesting adventures in the few days that we were there.
Tallahassee - Old capital in front and new one towering behind.
Virgil posing with the dolphines behind the Senate Offices.
Pensacola - National Museum of Naval Aviation
Pensacola is the home of the famous Blue Angels
In the World War II display, a really clean 1941 Ford ...
Naval Museum -- with
Sea Planes ...
and bunches and bunches of all kinds of Navy planes
... and shops, bars, and stores with WWII memorabilia.
From Tallahassee, we travelled West on I-10 to Pensacola, Florida. Virgil has some old friends there from his Navy days. He was stationed in the area for several years and his friends Bill and Doris still live there. We camped in a KOA park just down the street about a mile from their home. I got a nice surprise at the KOA -- after discussing prices for a few minutes, including my little-used KOA membership, my senior citizen status, and whatever else I could think of, I discovered they were part of the Passport America network! Yahoo! Paid half-price, which was better than all the other discounts combined. Bill and Doris took us to the National Museum of Naval Aviation, which is also the showcase for the Blue Angels precision flying team. I didn't even know the museum was there, much less that it was the home of the Blue Angels. Remember the Blue Angels shown back in Chapter 49? Well, this is where they return after doing their shows.
The museum has a very large number of airplanes, displayed much like those in the Aviation Museum at the Smithsonian -- hanging from the ceiling, on the floor, and arranged in a manner that made it easy to see it all in a relatively short time. Also visited their IMAX theater, where we saw a great movie on -- what else? -- the Blue Angels. I thought one of the highlights of the museum was their upstairs display of a World War II era street, complete with a variety of shops and stores. All-in-all, I'd say this was my most entertaining visit to Pensacola, where I've been probably 30 or 40 times.
They even had planes that us kids could play in!
Trying to start the four-wheeler ...
Parked comfortably and hooked up at Ron's place
So we'll tour the woods in the Zuzuki
View thru the windshield - Knocking down trees and whatever else got in the way
A major activity in Moss Hill is four-wheeling through the woods. They have carved out a semblance of trails, most of which grow over with brush and small trees in a relatively short time. No problem for a four-wheel All-Terrain Vehicle! However, Ron's ATV wouldn't start. After trying for awhile, I suggested that maybe it was about time to try out the 4-wheel drive on my toad vehicle, the Suzuki Sidekick. What fun! Knocking down little trees, sloshing thru huge mud sloughs, and crossing narrow bridges made for smaller vehicles. We made it fine and had a great time. Virgil thought we were crazy, but I get the impression he's really not much of a nature boy.
A minor adventure was the big fish cookout -- Joyce bought me my first deep-fryer a few weeks ago and I've become quite proficient with it. A big deal for someone who's cooking talents lean more toward cooking on a grille and the microwave. I fried the Wahoo caught back in Chapter 50 and it was a real hit! Both Ron and Virgil really enjoyed both the fish and the French Fries that I prepared. But our other major adventure happened the last night we were there. We cooked out steaks and microwaved some potatos, but that wasn't the big deal. The adventure came with a little rainstorm that Ron had arranged for us. It was one of the most impressive fireworks shows I've ever seen! Lightning was followed almost immediately by bodacious claps of thunder, brighter and louder than anything I ever saw in Alabama or Florida. Ron tells me this is a frequent occurrence there in Moss Hill, and that he often leaves his mobile home to spend time in the car when the really bad storms hit. The mobile home is jacked up about 15 feet in the front and he says the whole house often rocks in the big storms. Thankfully, this wasn't one of those, even though it was by far the worst I've ever been in.
Well, there you have it. The 1000-mile trip home was fairly uneventful -- pretty much more of the same. I lost a little at Pai Gow, Blackjack, and Hold 'Em Poker -- for those who are following the Hold 'Em on the Travel Channel -- no, it's not as easy as it looks. The Hold 'Em guys in Biloxi were glad to give me a $100 lesson in how not to play. Virgil won a little in Pai Gow, Blackjack, and 7-Card Stud. We both had a fairly nice time in the casinos, however, with some winning and some losing, but free meals the whole time. You still can't beat the buffet at the Boomtown Casino in Biloxi!
Another week and I had Virgil back home in Tampa. There's a picture below that he took of me leaving -- and so ended the two-week, 2000-mile escapade.
AN AFTERTHOUGHT: Almost forgot to mention one of the more exciting parts of the trip. Friend Virgil has been struggling with getting started on his newest book The Immortality Seekers. If you've read his first three books, it's sort of an evolutionary sequel to them, especially that last one, Deadlihood, where he introduced his mind-transferral theories. He's taking that one step further in this new book and wanted to bounce some ideas off someone. What better time than while we're riding 2000 miles without a radio? (the radio in the new RV had a problem, so it's being replaced) So, I COLLABORATED on the book -- now doesn't that sound impressive? I actually came up with some good suggestions on the opening of the book, the design of some of the characters, and some tweaks in the storyline. Last week I couldn't even spell colarobrater and now I are one .. haha. For more info on the new book, check out VirgilAllenWulff.com.
52. 1000 Miles to Moss Hill
My Travel Log
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