Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Plan Fizzled!

OH NO! I only blogged to day two of “A week of Food.” 

oh no blonde thumbnailCA64NZN2

My plan took a turn and pretty much fizzled out when we arrived at Kelle and Joe’s.  Those of you who know Kelle will be shocked to hear that she cooked for us most of the week, even Thanksgiving Dinner!  Well, we did eat out a few times: Tex-Mex at Christina’s in Southlake one night, seafood at Joe’s Crab Shack another and, of course we had to hit Rudy’s BBQ in Frisco.

And, so I will move on…but stay tuned, more food adventures are sure to surface.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Week of Food. . .Day two

Today's food highlight: Ralph & Kacoo’s in Bossier City for the BEST hushpuppies we've had! OK, so Gary's étouffée with catfish and Southern-style green beans was pretty scrumptious and my shrimp "stew" on rice was mouth-wateringly good. (I have leftovers for dinner tonight!)

We found Ralph & Kacoo’s in the same way we often find a place to eat:  drive by, name of restaurant sounds good, lots of vehicles outside, yes, we will give it a try.  It works!


NOTE:  Will Gary ever tire of catfish?

A Week of Food. . .Day one

Yesterday I had Red Beans & Rice with water cornbread for lunch at the Cotton Boll Grill in Shreveport...yummy! Oops almost forgot: Southern fried chicken, lima beans and purple hull peas for Gary...he says "best fried chicken ever"

When the waitress asked if I wanted water cornbread or regular cornbread I just stared at her, then said I have no idea what that is but I'll try it and I did and I loved it. When we got home I looked it up on-line: just cornmeal, water, a little salt and sugar mixed with boiling water then shaped into a palm-sized patty ( kind of almond shape) and fried. A little crispy outside. (sounds like poor person's cornbread doesn't it?)


Hot Water Cornbread Recipe

(found on http://www.grouprecipes.com/26114/hot-water-corn-bread.html)

  • 2 cups corn meal
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (optional but I recommend this)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. sugar or other sweetener (optional)
  • vegetable oil to fry in
How to make it
  • Put the corn meal, salt, and sugar in a bowl that can handle boiling water.
  • Pour the boiling water in slowly, stirring all the while until it makes a thick paste.
  • Use your hands (yes, it's hot but you get used to it) and form the paste into palm sized patties, slipping them carefully into hot oil (we use canola or EVOO).
  • Fry to golden brown, turning once.
  • Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

I may have to give it a try!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Found in Shreveport. . .Lampshade light poles!

Are these just the cutest?  Yesterday while we were exploring downtown Shreveport we turned onto Texas Street and saw these lampshades on the light poles.  Designed by Shreveport native Marjorie Kouns, these realistic-looking lampshades appear to be about 6’ tall.  I hope to get back to the area to find the other 34!


Seems that the exhibit was last Spring so maybe the other 34 have been removed! I checked it out on this website:  http://artspaceshreveport.com/mainspace/shades-of-shreveport/

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In search of Bonnie & Clyde. . .

But their run from the law ended on May 23, 1934 when they were ambushed by law enforcement near Gibsland, Louisiana.  Ted “Boots” Hinton Jr., curator and host of the Ambush Museum in the little town of Gibsland, was the son of Ted Hinton, one of the six officers who finally tracked them down.  After two days of waiting on the lonely gravel road (now paved LA Highway 154) and about fifteen minutes before they were to give up on their vigil, Bonnie & Clyde came roaring down the road in their stolen 1934 Ford and the officers opened fire.  Both Bonnie & Clyde took at least 50 gunshots thus ending their life of crime and murder. Why didn’t the officers attempt to capture the pair? Bonnie & Clyde and their associates were masters of shooting their way out of a situation; eleven of the 12-14 people they murdered were law enforcement officers!
Photographs are not allowed in the museum which in 1934 was Ma Canfield’s restaurant where Bonnie & Clyde bought two sandwiches just moments before they met their end. (Only two bites were taken from the sandwiches.)   We watched a video which features footage commonly seen on the History Channel and also a segment featuring “Boots.” 
Even more than going through the Ambush Museum we enjoyed talking to Boots, a retired U.S. Customs Agent, about his father’s (he refers to him as Ted) role in Bonnie & Clyde’s end.  Stories abound in newspapers, books, newsreels and magazines about what actually took place the day of the ambush.  The six officers involved in the shooting made a pact that none would tell their story as long as any of the others were still alive.  Ted Hinton was the last survivor but waited until 1977 to tell the story and, with the help of L. Grove,  wrote Ambush (The Real Story of Bonnie and Clyde).  It was published in 1979 after his death. 
The marker located at the ambush site has been vandalized and
marked with graffiti.  Why do people think it is OK for them to take “just a little piece” of a historical marker?


Next month in Dallas, where they are both buried, we will have to continue our “In search of Bonnie & Clyde. . .”

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Southern food with a few plantations thrown in

As usual we made the Visitor Information Center our first stop in Natchitoches, Louisiana (pronounced “Nak a tish” or “Nak a tosh” or “Nak a dosh” or “Nak a dush” but never as it is spelled!) 


Of course, after we picked up brochures and maps for the area our next order of business was lunch.  While driving through town “Meat Pie Kitchen” caught my eye so we decided to try Lasyone’s (no idea how to pronounce Lasyone’s!) Since it was Homecoming Weekend for Louisiana Tech the place was especially busy-lots of visiting between tables and everyone wearing Tech. purple. (yes, Gary went to the game Smile)


What a find for a great lunch on our first day!  A Natchitoches specialty, Meat Pies (shown on the upper plate in the photo) are half-moon pastries filled with a mixture of ground beef, pork, Worcestershire sauce and Cajun spices, my new favorite!  My side of red beans & rice was tasty. . .I love red beans & rice.  Gary red beans & rice meal featured Andouille sausage (lower plate.)  The rice was fluffy and the red beans were perfectly flavored.  Needless to say we came home with “doggy boxes. “


The following day we hit the Natchitoches Historic Trail which roughly follows the Cane River which at some point turns into Cane River Lake, which looks exactly like the river, which previously was the Red River. . .confusing? Yes!  Why?  We do know that the Red River changed its channel but that’s about it.


Oakland Plantation house is a sprawling home.  If the Mistress of the house ordered a piece of furniture which turned out to be too large for the room, i.e. the dining room, they simply added a new room! Then added a porch which may later become another room!


The Stranger’s Room was a guest room with a separate outside entrance.  According to our tour guide the separate entrance also made it very convenient for the Master of the planation to entertain his mistresses. Oh my!


This is a centuries old bottle garden.  Meals typically lasted for hours and hours and involved consumption of multiple bottles of alcoholic beverages. The bottles were then “planted” as borders for the garden.  Many of the bottles in the garden date from the 1700’s making it a very expensive and expansive collection! Our guide said the garden most likely includes some Bud bottles since the tradition continued up until 1994 when the National Park Service took it over operation of the Cane River Creole National Historical Park.


Close-up of the bottle garden.


These huge oak trees are quite a contrast to our California Coast Oaks!


Poteaux-en-terre construction sounds so much better than “posts in the ground” doesn’t it?  Apparently only about 10 examples of this ancient type of construction still exist.


Back in Natchitoches I kept seeing what I thought were duplexes but the houses seemed too small to be duplexes!  Looked it up on-line and learned that they are double pen houses.  When an addition was made to a pen house they gave the new room its own exterior door.  Similar to shotgun and double shotgun houses we’ve seen elsewhere.


Do you recognize this house?  It’s the house from the movie “Steel Magnolias.”


After touring the historic countryside and city of Natchitoches we treated ourselves to an authentic southern cooked meal:


but no, no way was it Baked Opossum! 

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Sixteen years and counting. . .and how we got there

This week we embarked on our 17th year of full time RVing.  We  love  the lifestyle and have no intention of stopping.  The thought of living in a home that we can’t hook up and move causes us to shudder.

Let me share  our journey from being campers to  the full-time RVing lifestyle.

Neither Gary nor I had camped while growing up so this $25 (very) used WWII army tent was an inexpensive way to get started.  It was 10’X10’ and featured an attached awning.  The seven poles were wood and did not break down and fold up.  And, get this, for several years we carried it along with our camping gear AND three little children in our 1965 Fastback Mustang.  When it became so rotted that we could poke a finger through the canvas we left it in a trash container! 

We were hooked on camping but had had enough of roughing it!

1940's WWII tent

Next was a  small used 12’ pull trailer which we towed with the blue pick-up truck Gary used in his concrete pumping business.  Ah, real beds but no indoor bathroom but the five of us had a great time.  That’s Gary with the lawn chairs and Kelle sitting on the boulder.

1960's Komfort-1st RV

This NEW 21’ Enterprise mini-motorhome (we called them mini-motorhomes back then, now they' are simply a Class C) was a major step for us!  Bunk beds for Rusty and Gary, Kelle’s bed was the table which made into a bed, a refrigerator, real bathroom, and even a shower!

1972 Enterprise

By this time we had added a ski boat to our camping “gear” and found that the Enterprise didn’t have enough power to pull the boat so we traded the it for a new 1977 23’ Tioga mini-motorhome.  This was also a bunk model so Rusty and Gary had their own little “rooms.”  Kelle’s room was the couch which made into a bed.

Note:  the Tioga is loaded up onto a “Camp-A-Float”-a takeoff on the  houseboat idea . Our own rig out on Lake Mojave---kind of scary at times!

1978-May-15 Camp a float

Gary & I got really tired of crawling up into the overhead bed of the Tioga so we took a big step up to a ‘27 Itasca Class A. In 1984 a ‘27 was considered a pretty big RV and it even had a microwave! 

The unthinkable happened in 1988. . .we had moved to Monterey  the year before and sold the Itasca!  For the first time in many years we did not have a RV.

1984 Itasca

Well, that lasted all of three years.  We didn’t know about full time RVing and Gary didn’t know I was thinking about traveling and I didn’t know he was thinking the same thing.  FINALLY we had a meeting of the minds:  “let’s get another RV and travel.”

We didn’t know how long or even if we would like living in a RV so  in 1992 we bought this 1985 Komfort from a friend.  As they say in the real estate business its fortunate we saw the “bones” and potential because it was in dire need of some , make that lots of, TLC.  It was a love of labor to re-do the interior:  upholstery, carpet, new bed, paint, sewing new valances and warm window shades, new flooring, later Gary even repainted the exterior striping.  We loved it. 

We weren’t quite ready to hit the road so we had it moved to Marina Dunes RV Park in our area (hadn’t bought a truck yet and a Corvette simply is not a suitable tow vehicle although we did tell people that we just removed the T-tops and hooked the 5th wheel pin into the top!)


We traded the Vette for  a brown dually truck in ‘94 (ugliest truck in the world!) and on November 2nd we hit the road.  We were officially full time RVers but still didn’t know that there were thousands of people like us out on the road.  Then we saw an ad in Trailer Life for Workamper News which is published in Heber Springs, Arkansas where Gary went to high school.  We accepted our first hosting position at Lake Pokegama in Minnesota and now called ourselves full timers.


Oh yes , we decided that we did love the lifestyle enough to invest in a 1996 new 36’ Komfort fifth wheel.  It had three slide-outs---we now longer could reach the stove, sink and refrigerator from our table!

1996 Komfort-Jorden

In 2000 we were hosting at Rancheros de Santa Fe RV park in Santa Fe and took Lee to the Albuquerque  to  fly to visit her Mom.  Gary, Don & I were simply recreational RV “looking” but when I walked into this 1997 Travel Supreme I knew it should be my home!  “Start dealing” I whispered to Gary (and he does love to deal.)  Soon we have a new home!

1997 Travel Supreme- MVC-108S (6)

We decide to downsize.  We can live in a much smaller rig we think so we order a ‘04 much lighter 34’ Hitchhiker IILS.  Almost from the day we take delivery we hate it—oh no!  We  DON’T have enough space and it has a rear kitchen that bounces---broken dishes after any day on rough roads.

This is ridiculous!  We can’t keep this up!  We’ve got to get out of this Hitchhiker but we really need to make a really good choice and stop this moving! (Plus moving from one RV to the next is really exhausting, we don’t want to do THAT again.)

2004 Hitchhiker II LS-HPIM3602

And here it is, the 2007 Escalade, our 5th rig in 16 years of full time RVing…we FINALLY got it right. . .we just know it this time. . .this is THE perfect home for a very long time. . .and we love it! 

2007 Escalade

And our journey continues.