Monthly Archives: November 2018

Campground Review: EZ Daze RV Park, Southaven, MS

Campground Review Summary

  • Name: EZ Daze RV Park
  • Dates of stay: Nov 8-13, 2018
  • Location: 536 WE Ross Parkway, Southaven, MS 38671
  • Type of campground: Private / Independent
  • Cost: $45/night (Good Sam rate)
  • Additional fees: none
  • Stay limit: none
  • Accepts mail / packages: did not ask
  • Cell reception: ATT good
  • Website:
  • Pros: Great location, clean and new park
  • Cons: none

Full Review

Originally, we planned to stay at an RV park on the Mississippi River, in Memphis. However, mechanical issues caused us to switch our reservation to this site as it is conveniently located next door to Southaven RV center and its repair facilities.

This park appears to be relatively new. It is clean and well-laid out with level, concrete pads and wide, easily-navigated interior roads. Our pull-through, FHU paved site was long enough for bus, truck and motorcycle with room to spare. The hookups included cable TV, but since our Direct TV satellite was working again and we also pulled in a number of over-the-air local channels, we didn’t need cable. The site also included a paved patio with picnic table. However, the chilly November weather wasn’t conducive for grilling or sitting outside! Free wifi was offered (with a code), but seemed slower than my usual AT&T hotspot connection.

The park is split into two halves, with Ross Parkway bisecting the two sections. We stayed on the office side which includes the pool area, dog run, office, bathhouse and laundry facility. The other side has a building with several individual bath/shower rooms, meeting room, and a massage therapy room. Apparently on-site massages can be booked, but we didn’t investigate that amenity. That side also includes a play area and dog walk.

The website touted an “indoor spa”, which proved to be a small shed-like building with an above-ground hot tub unit situated next to the pool. Unfortunately it also proved to be closed for the season (along with the pool), which was disappointing. The hot tub would have been a wonderful antidote to the cold November weather! The bathhouse was modern, clean and comfortable.

The location is fantastic. Downtown Memphis with Beale Street and Graceland is only about 20 minutes away. The Tunica casinos are about a half hour drive. A Tanger Outlet mall is across the highway and the aforementioned RV dealer is right next door. With our Good Sam card, the price came to a daily rate of $45. Considering the amenities, this seems reasonable. There are obviously some permanent residents, but their sites are kept tidy. Office staff was friendly and accommodating when business needs required us to stay one more night than originally planned. I would stay here again while in the area.

I don’t usually give restaurant recommendations, but I have one here:  Go to the Memphis Barbeque Company! There’s one located one exit north. The food was so good, we went there twice during our one-week stay, which is quite unusual for us. The BBQ meatloaf is absolutely fantastic!

Bottom Line: Great little RV park in a super location. It would be even nicer when the hot tub is available!

Home of a Legend: Graceland

001No visit to Memphis is complete without a visit to Graceland, home of the late, great Elvis Presley. He purchased the property in 1957, early in his career, as home for his entire family, including his parents and grandmother. Originally the property was several miles out of town, but over the decades, the city of Memphis has enveloped it. After Elvis’ death, the mansion was opened to the public and has become the second most-visited home in the US (after the White House) with 650,000 visitors per year.

011The Graceland “experience” has grown to include multiple exhibits including Elvis memorabilia, his cars and motorcycles, his military service, his family, and his impact on other artists. We opted for the full tour, including his two airplanes. Although it wasn’t too busy this cold November weekday, it’s clear that Graceland has crowd control down to a science. After purchasing our tickets, we were first ushered into a small theater for a 7 minute pre-show. Then we were provided headsets and a tour ipad, and shuffled off to a shuttle bus for the trip across the road to the mansion.

This past year, Jeff and I have visited some famous grand homes – Hearst Castle being one notable example. I guess I was expecting the Elvis mansion to be more …. impressive. Instead I found a reasonably-sized, family-oriented residence. Sure, Elvis added some living space over the years, such as the racquetball building/lounge. But the home itself was surprisingly modest and cozy, for an international superstar! It also was like stepping through a time portal back to the 70’s with its shag rugs, picture tube TVs and golden harvest colored refrigerator.  As we were herded along the tour route, listening to our audio narration, we were given a history of Elvis’ career and family, and finally – his death. I had forgotten that he was so young when he passed, only 42. He had his difficulties in life, but you couldn’t argue that he was extremely hard-working, had tremendous charisma and had an enormous impact on the music scene of his day. As with all artists whose life was cut short, you have to wonder what he would have accomplished had he lived to a ripe old age.

After being shuttled back across the road, we browsed through the rest of the voluminous exhibits at the Graceland ticketing complex. I’m sure uber-fans love it all, but for us it got to be information overload after a while. The number of artifacts is almost staggering. However, it was fascinating to board Elvis’ airplane (the Lisa Marie). The 1959 Convair 880 jet is equipped with a plush bedroom, lounge area, wet bar, 4 TV’s and a conference table. The seat belt buckles and bathroom fixtures are even gold plated! It must have been really something, back in the day.

As was Elvis.





Overnighting at Rest Stops

Here’s a Throwback Thursday post, first published in January 2018. We still find that stopping at rest stops is the easiest and most convenient overnight stopover, if allowed. However, we figure if it isn’t expressly forbidden (indicated by signage saying “no overnight parking”), then it’s fair game to stay!

5-tips-rest-stop-1When I was a kid, I remember stopping at rest areas while on road trips with my parents. The rest stops were equipped with clean restrooms and picnic tables. We’d have a bite of lunch and would be encouraged to run around to “get the wiggles out”  before settling into another long stint in the station wagon.

Until we bought the RV, I hadn’t stopped at a rest area in years. We took plenty of road trips, but our modus operandi was to do everything we needed in one service station stop: gas, potty, and food to go. With two kids, we could be in and out of a gas station in under 15 minutes and not stop again until the car was on E. Rest stops weren’t even on our radar.

That all changed when we bought the bus. Driving the rig can be intense and tiring. We seldom drive for more than a couple of hours without taking a break, and rest stops provide a perfect facility for that. They are right off the road, easy on/off, and offer segregated truck parking fully long enough for our bus plus toad. After all, we can’t just pull into your typical gas station! Truck stops are fine for fueling and a quick restroom break, but few have pull-through parking spaces (and we can’t back up), so there is no place for us to park for a longer stay. Rest stops are perfect. And not only are they good for a short rest break, some states even allow overnight parking.

So why would we want to park  overnight at a rest stop, when we could stop at a perfectly nice campground? The main reasons are cost and convenience.

The hardest part of moving the rig from one place to another isn’t the driving, it’s the packing and unpacking. It takes at least two hours to completely load everything, prepare the bus, hook up the toad, and get ready to move. At the destination, it takes another couple of hours to do the reverse. Because of this, we don’t want to go through all of that effort until we are somewhere that we want to stay a while. Also, since we don’t like to drive more than 300 or so miles in any day, it may take more than one “traveling day” to get to our next destination. In that case, we need to find someplace for an overnight stop.

We can (and have) gone to a campground for just one night. There are lots of options located conveniently near interstate highways. But pulling into one often requires unhooking the tow vehicle (due to lack of maneuvering room) and then, since we are paying for it, we’ll connect the hookups and put the slides out. In the morning we have to prep for the road again. But … wait … do we REALLY need hook ups for just one night? Nope. That’s the beauty of being fully self contained! We have a generator, we have fresh water, we have holding tanks – why pay $30-50 just to park somewhere?

So …enter the rest stop option. Rest stops have a safe parking area, sometimes with overnight security. We can pull in, rest, and just pull out in the morning. Rest stops have clean bathrooms. They are free. Sold! The only downside is that not all States allow overnight parking at rest stops. A summary of State rest stop policies is here.  For example, our home State, Florida, does not allow overnight parking and in fact has a 3 hour stay limit. We did stay at Florida rest stops overnight several times during our Hurricane Irene evacuation trip, but that was an unusual circumstance. I’d rather not push it. But quite a few States DO allow overnight parking, including Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. If you do plan to stay at a rest stop overnight in your RV, here are a few tips:

  • Plan ahead and pull out needed items from cabinets that are inaccessible with your rig’s slides in. You’ll have a parking spot, not a camp site – not a place to put out slides, awnings and hibachi!
  • Fill your fresh water tanks and dump your waste holding tanks before leaving the campground. Make sure you have plenty of fuel for your generator and heating/cooling systems.
  • Check the State’s rest area regulations at the link above or that State’s rest area website. When you pull into the rest area, check the signage to make sure overnight parking is not expressly prohibited.
  • Arrive at the rest stop by early evening. Later on, truckers tend to fill up all available spaces and even overflow spaces. If you arrive too late, there may not be a spot for you!
  • Be courteous and quiet.
  • Enjoy your rest!

In the states where overnight parking at rest areas is not allowed, there are parking lot options such as at a Wal-Mart. But that’s another post!


Full-time RV Living: 4 Must-Haves

This is my admittedly-biased list of 4 items that I find absolutely indispensable for RV living.

progressive surge protector1. Electrical Surge Protector  You can’t ever count on the quality of a campground’s electrical feed. It can surge, experience low voltage, be wired improperly, or fail entirely. With all of the expensive electronics in our rigs these days (TV’s, DVD’s, microwaves, etc), you don’t want an unexpected power surge to take them out. The first thing I do at a campsite is plug our Progressive Surge Protector into the electric pedestal  and allow it to diagnose the circuit. After it shows normal operation, only then do I attach our 50 amp plug to the surge protector. This one is quite pricy, so in dicey campgrounds we padlock it securely to the pedestal. There are variations on this model, including an in-line option, depending on your RV’s needs.

water regulator2. Water Pressure Regulator  We are more likely to deal with low water pressure at a site than high pressure. But, we HAVE encountered instances where the campground water pressure is extremely high, risking blowing out our internal piping. Just as with the surge protector, we always hook up a water pressure regulator first, then our water pre-filter, and then our water hose. You can get cheaper pressure regulators without a gauge, but we like seeing exactly what the pressure is, and make any adjustments needed.

weboost3. Weboost 4GX Cell Phone Signal Booster   Cell signals have a tough time punching through big metal boxes, like our motorhome. This device boosts any cell phone signal and re-broadcasts it inside our rig, making decent signals stronger and marginal signals usable. Without it, our AT&T hotspot would be almost useless and we’d be making phone calls outside.  Now, it won’t help you if there is NO signal – nothing can help you with that. But for marginal to normal strength signal, the difference is quite significant.

gel pads4. Sticky anti-slip Gel Pads  One of the features I love about my motorhome floor plan is the china cabinet. It just makes the living space feel homier. But placing glass items on glass shelves with glass doors – that seems almost incompatible with a moving home. Enter — the glue pad! These sticky silicone gel pads make almost everything stick to anything. And they are re-positionable. For example, I tack down our stemless wine glasses inside the china cabinet using the sticky pad, pull a glass out when needed, and when finished, just stick it back on the sticky pad. No residue, no problem. I have stuck things down all over the bus and they stay put! You can also cut them and use smaller pieces as needed. They are like my secret weapon. Eventually, dust can coat the surface and make them less tacky. Theoretically, you can wash and regenerate them, but I just replace it at that point. They aren’t that expensive so I keep a spare package around at all times.

And there you have it – the indispensable tools that we use every single day!


RV Living: Let’s Talk Bathrooms

049Our motorhome has a lovely bathroom. It’s beautiful, clean, and fully functional. But, we frequently don’t use it, bypassing it in favor of using the campground bathrooms. Why, you ask? Read on!

The first consideration is that all of the wastewater generated in our bus (sinks, shower, laundry, toilet) goes into holding tanks (gray or black). Most of the time we do have sewer hookups, but we never leave the tank drainage hoses open. That creates problems. Not only does it lead to a build up of solids in the bottom of the tanks, it also leaves openings for undesirable pests to crawl up and take residence. Ewwww, NOT a good idea! So, tank level management is a constant task.

Secondly, what you put in the tanks has to be drained out. The less solid material you put into a tank, the less you have to drain and flush out later. For example, we are careful to scrape food residue off of dishes before washing them. We don’t have an easy method of flushing solids out of our gray water tank, so we try to keep solids out of the tank as much as possible. We DO have a mechanism to flush/wash the black tank (toilet water), but the same logic applies – the less solid material, the less tank washing required. So, without getting graphic, we endeavor to keep “organic solids” out of the black tank. Sorry if that’s TMI! All it takes is a little stroll over to the campground bathroom and it all magically flushes away.

Most RV’s have limited-capacity hot water heaters, making long, hot showers impossible. That’s not the case in our rig. We are equipped with a diesel-fired Aquahot system which provides a virtually unlimited supply of on-demand hot water. You can shower as long as your tank can hold it (which is a long time!). So why do I often shower in the bathhouse? Several reasons: the shower space is usually larger, the water pressure is better, I’m not tying up the shower/toilet area, I don’t have to consider tank levels, and I don’t have to clean it! Our curved shower enclosure is beautiful, but it’s a pain to squee-gee dry after every use. It takes a little preparation and a bit of a walk to the campground shower, but I can stand under the steaming hot water as long as I like and then walk away. It’s just easier!

028Now, I wouldn’t use nasty bathrooms, but the vast majority of bathrooms we’ve encountered are perfectly acceptable. It doesn’t have to be fancy, as long as it’s kept clean and well-maintained. It helps that we often stay at higher end RV resorts. In fact, some of the bathrooms have been SUPER nice – nicer than I had in my own home! Two notable examples include the chandelier bathroom in Paso Robles, and the gorgeous spa-like bathroom in Moab. Using those facilities was a true pleasure.

Of course, there are always exceptions. Occasionally the bathrooms just don’t meet my standards. Or the weather sucks. Or it’s the middle of the night. Or someone isn’t feeling well. In those cases, our beautiful bathroom works quite nicely.

Memphis Sings the Blues

Memphis is known for two things:  Blues and BBQ. We experienced both the other night as we headed downtown to historic Beale Street.

005Shivering in the chill November air, we parked the truck and walked a couple of blocks to the Beale Street entertainment district. It was early (just after 5 pm), but there was already a line outside of the Blues City Café. We were seated at one of the last remaining tables for two, in the center front row, directly in front of the stage! It was bit loud there, but we got the full blues experience as we enjoyed Blind Mississippi Morris and his band. As two full sets played, we sipped a local brew and munched on BBQ ribs and home-made tamales.

After dinner, we meandered on down the street. Blues music slid through every doorway, tinkling brightly onto the pavement. The Beale Street entertainment district is surprisingly small, only a few blocks long. Large guitar statues are scattered around and brass musical notes (celebrating different artists) are imbedded in the sidewalk. We didn’t especially want to pay a cover charge, but found a small venue without a cover and sat down at the bar while another (younger) blues band readied to play. They played classic blues and rock N roll blues – including some of Jeff’s favorite Allman Brothers tunes!

Another beer, and another music set, and we were ready to travel back to our rolling home. Just another day on the road!

Travel Day Near-Disasters: Follow up

follow_upI described the “interesting” experiences we encountered on our way from Bentonville to Memphis. I thought you may want to learn how everything turned out.

After all of the excitement, we made it to our RV park uneventfully. We didn’t even bother to fully hook up or put our slides out, because the next morning we drove the rig directly next door to the Southaven RV repair center. They took the motorhome right in to look at the window leak and take care of the satellite dish repair.

While that was in progress, we drove to the one and only Blue Ox dealer in Memphis. We showed the owner our broken unit, and he immediately went to work to get us a new one. He’d never seen this kind of failure, so we still don’t know exactly what happened, other than it shouldn’t have! Unfortunately, he didn’t have a unit in stock, but contacted the manufacturer for a warranty replacement. We hope to have it in hand in a few days, before we leave for Birmingham. No haggle, no hassle.

Back at the RV center, we were told that getting access to the window leak would be quite involved, so we elected to punt the issue until next summer, when we’ll be at the Entegra factory. It’s only a problem when water is blown under our slide topper, which is an abnormal situation. They did replace our satellite dish turret motor and arranged to return the old part. All no charge, done under warranty. Our satellite dish now works great.

Jeff figured out why the bicycle rack failed. He has been fighting slow leaks in his mountain bike tubeless tires due to the harsh environments he’s been riding in. He loaded and secured his bike the night before, not knowing the front tire slowly went flat overnight – loosening the bike in the rack. While the truck was towed by the motorhome, the bike was shielded from wind and stayed on. But when I started driving the truck separately – wham, bam! The front wheel slipped out of the rack, flipped up, the bike went over backwards, and the back strap popped apart from the pressure. It wasn’t a bike rack problem, it was Murphy’s law at work. The back strap part even fell into the back of the truck – Jeff retrieved it and re-assembled the strap so the bike rack is completely fine.  Jeff vows that he will zip tie the tires to the rack from now on. That should do it!

We carefully inspected the motorcycle and found the only real damage was a dent in the windshield chrome strip. Somehow, miraculously, the pedal (or frame) hit that one spot and NOT the fairing, which would have cost major dollars to repair. We replaced that chrome strip for $50. Jeff was able to rub out a few other superficial scratches and the bike looks just as good as new. No harm, no foul. And, his mountain bike is completely undamaged. The truck got one minor scratch but hey, it’s a truck. We can just touch that up and it will be fine.

So, after all is said and done, we avoided catastrophe (twice!) and it only cost us $50 in repairs. While traveling, I always pray for protection by our guardian angels, and I look to this as confirmation that our angels are working overtime on our behalf! We are mightily blessed.

And now we can relax and enjoy touring Memphis!


Trail Review: Bentonville Mountain Biking

Jeff is getting more timely in his trail review posts!

IMG_4966Bentonville as a mountain bike destination has been on my bucket list for a while, therefore, it seemed fitting to squeeze it into our trip back to Florida. Ten years ago there was essentially no mountain biking in Bentonville, but the Walton Family Foundation (founders of the WalMart) donated some land and wrote a check for about $13 Million to fund trail building in the area. Apparently, a couple of the Walton grand kids are avid mountain bikers who thought this would be a great place to host a trail. Cities and Counties who wanted to be part of the system matched the funds put up by the Walton family. Fayetteville, home of the University of Arkansas, Bentonville and some adjoining cities constructed over 100 miles of trails, most of which are connected by the 36-mile Razerback Regional Greenway System. As such, you can add some serious variety to the riding experience by linking the various bike trails with the greenway.

On several days, MB and I parked near the Greenway, and she would walk along the paved sections while I romped on the hand-crafted mountain bike trails. There are three main trail systems along the greenway: the Slaughterpen Trail System (land donated by the Walton family), the Coler Trail System, and the Oz Trail System (actually in Bella Vista). These trails were built by five different trail building companies, with support from the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA). The Oz system alone has over 40 miles of buff single track built through Bella Vista, which borders Bentonville to the north. I had the pleasure of riding both the Slaughterpen and Oz trail systems. Both trails weaved through a hilly forest, at times picking their way up, down, and around limestone cliff faces. Trail artisans shaped large stone pieces into berms, jumps, and other features. These trails are made to last, with limited opportunity for erosion from mountain bike tires or weather elements.

My last trail day was spent on the Back 40 Loop, which provided a seemingly never-ending single track excursion through the forested hills and valleys of northern Bentonville and Bella Vista. Although the trail provided an excellent wilderness trail experience, you were never far from civilization occasionally riding behind back yards and across paved roads. One section provided a mountain bike first for me where the trail system cut right through and around an 18-hole golf course. Not quite adventure golf, but close. The trail was well marked and also provided bicycle repair stations and water fountains along the 24-mile, 2,200 foot elevation gain loop.

The Bentonville trail system provides a unique experience for both the mountain bike and road rider. Since the mountain bike trails started downtown, one can feast at many of the trendy downtown restaurants and coffee shops after emerging from the trails. This place will definitely be on our list again!

Travel Day Near-Disasters

I’m starting to not like travel days. It seems that some kind of problem always surfaces. We’ve had tires replaced (on an emergency basis) at a rest stop. On our last trip we had our toad air brake line disconnect, leaving us without brakes in the mountains. We managed to get that line re-connected, but not without some angst. At an over night rest area stop, we attempted to deploy our satellite dish, only to experience a “motor fail” code. Jeff had to extract our 15 foot ladder, deploy it (in freezing rain), and climb up onto the roof to make sure the dish was completely down before it was safe for us to move. (The replacement turret motor is currently in a large box in the back seat of the truck).

We already are sort of on Plan B for Memphis. We were originally going to stay at a park right on the Mississippi River, just for a couple of days to visit Graceland. But, while in Santa Fe, we noticed a water leak at the top of one of the living room windows. We were experiencing high winds and rain was blowing under our slide topper and pooling just above the leaking spot, which is not a normal situation. But, still, the window shouldn’t be leaking! It is likely a problem with a seal somewhere. So, we identified an RV dealership just south of Memphis that just so happens to have a very nice RV park next door. We booked there, extending our stay to almost a week, to deal with the repair and have ample time to explore Memphis, which we’ve never visited before.

IMG_4710We knew we had a long drive day (for us) from Bentonville to Memphis, so we packed up the night before and only had to make final preparations and hook up the toad. We left in good time and headed east. After a fuel stop, I had identified a likely rest stop for a lunch break. However, before we could reach the rest stop, Jeff suddenly noticed in the rear camera that the truck was swaying dangerously behind us! One of the tow bars had disconnected! (Red Alert!) With no time to even reach the next exit, Jeff managed to quickly, but safely, bring us to a stop on the side of the interstate. We hopped out to discover that one “wing” of the Blue Ox tow bar had completely separated in two, partially disconnecting the truck from the motorhome.  That is NOT supposed to happen!!! With some maneuvering of the truck, we were able to get the other bar in position to be able to disconnect entirely. I had no choice now but to drive the truck separately to our destination.

With semi-trucks whizzing by inches from the bus, the side of the interstate isn’t the most comfortable (or safest) place to be. So, as quickly as possible, we readied the truck to drive separately. We hopped into our respective vehicles and carefully pulled back onto the highway, intended to pull off at that rest stop in a few miles and re-group.

However, I had just reached highway speed when I heard a strange noise and glanced in my driver side mirror. Horrified, I watched as Jeff’s bicycle detached from the rooftop carrier and somersaulted over the cab into the rear truck bed. (OMG!!!) Once again, I quickly pulled over onto the side of the interstate highway, as Jeff and the motorhome receded into the distance ahead. Jeff phoned me a few moments later and I explained what happened. When I hopped out, I found that somehow, miraculously, the bicycle seat had caught underneath one of the motorcycle straps, which restrained the bicycle and held it to the truck bed instead of catapulting out into traffic behind me. Could you just imagine? Not only would the bike be scrap metal at this point, it could have killed someone!  I wrestled it out of the truck bed, removed the front wheel, and managed to jam the bike into the back seat (working around the giant satellite TV turret motor box). Whew! Meanwhile Jeff had pulled off at the next exit and texted me his location. I carefully pulled back out onto the highway and made it safely to the rendezvous point. The incident created a few scratches to motorcycle and truck, but everything was otherwise intact.

We did stop at that rest stop a few miles up the road, to allow our adrenaline rush to subside and get a bite of nourishment. Sincerely hoping that bad things DON’T come in three’s, we saddled back up for the remaining 100 plus miles to our RV park, the one conveniently located next to the RV repair shop.

Thankfully, we are here for a few days. Hopefully long enough to fix the leak problem. And the satellite dish motor. And the tow bar. And the bike rack. Sheesh!

It could have been so much worse though. A bit of a scare, a few scratches, but nothing really major. Our guardian Angels really worked overtime on our behalf!

All’s well that ends well. Until the next travel day ……

Bentonville Wrap-Up

030We are at the end of our two week stay here near Bentonville Arkansas. We’ve seen some glorious Fall color and some beautiful cool and clear days. But we’ve also had quite a few gray, cold and rainy days – which reminds us just why we abandoned the Midwest in our youth!

002The gray and rainy days weren’t all bad though. It gave us time to catch up on inside tasks. Jeff had some business affairs to manage for his Dad’s Trust. I painted a new batch of inspirational rocks and worked on a knitting project. I cooked, stocking the freezer with chili and baked ziti. We saw (and loved) the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody”.  I visited a local church on Sunday morning. There’s always something to do!

001.JPGOn the beautiful days, we took full advantage of the fantastic trail system that has been constructed in this area. We explored a couple of different sections of the paved Razorback Greenway trail by bicycle (one day 15 miles, another day 20 miles). The trails interconnect parks with amenities such as bathrooms, bicycle repair tools, and water fountains. The trail is clearly marked, always segregated from traffic, and wide enough for pedestrians as well as bicycles. There are even interesting sculptures interspersed along the way. The Walton Foundation and other supporting towns/organizations have done a stellar job putting this together – I wish other towns would take notes!!  It is our favorite feature of this area.

I also love that the mountain bike trails are interconnected with the paved multi-use trails. So when Jeff went out mountain biking, I went too, and we each would do our own thing. I had started ramping up my walking mileage on the nice trail around our Santa Fe campground, but really increased the mileage here. When Jeff went off mountain biking, I walked the rolling paved trail: 9 miles one day, 6 miles another day, and then finally a 12 miler. It’s been quite a while since I went that distance and it’s nice to know I’ve still got it. I haven’t given up the idea of doing another half marathon some day, who knows? I’d have to seriously work on my speed though.

We also had the opportunity to stop in at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Founded by Sam Walton’s daughter Alice (and funded by the Walton Foundation), this free museum’s collection spans 5 centuries of American art from Colonial days to the present. Organized by era, it is a stroll through artists perception as shaped by their times. The display is as much outdoors as in, with 3.5 miles of sculpture-strewn trails. We had already explored those on our bicycles.

One beautiful sculpture sits just outside the entrance. Although it appears to be a stainless steel tree, it’s actually a depiction of a dendrite (neural cell). Cool! Another favorite exhibit is the pile of gold-wrapped candy mints. Yes, you can eat one and yes, I did! Or the realistic “guy on a bench”. It made me look twice! (Eerily lifelike.) Altogether, a beautiful museum in a beautiful setting, and definitely worth a visit.

Now we’re off to Memphis for some needed repairs (again) and Graceland!