Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2015 Western Trip – Days 4-6 - Kansas City & North Platte

My favorite part about blogging has been the people I’ve met electronically and then in person and the friendships this has led to.  Dave and Jackie Scott are one of those couples, having met them when they drove all the way from Kansas City to attend our 2012 blogger party, returning in 13 and 14.  Since our route for this trip took us thru KC, a meet up was a must, so we had lunch a place called Jazz, along with their friends and fellow RVers, Dan & Jackie.  Left to right are me, Jackie, Dan, Pat, Jackie, Bev, Dave.

We stopped that night at the KOA in Salina, KS which was a typical early generation KOA and hasn’t been updated much.  Like the other places so far it was okay to spend a night or two and very convenient to the interstate and fuel places at exit 252.  One nice thing was that it was cooler and much less humid than Columbia, MO the previous days.  From there, we headed up US-83 which was a very nice four-lane road that gave us a fine view of Kansas farming – mostly corn and soybeans.  We then drove I-80 into North Platte, NE and found it to be another road in good condition.

We stayed at the Holiday RV Park (pretty much our only option) and it was another older grass and gravel campground and was a little tight for our rig.  But we managed to get in and out and it had an excellent cable TV and WiFi.  The first full day we did a few chores on the RV, drove around North Platte and had breakfast at Penny’s Dinner – reminded me a little of Waffle House, with a good short order cook being the key to the operation.

I had the best breakfast of the three called the Sunrise Skillet, composed of vegetables, hash browns, meat (ham for me), with cheese and eggs on top.  It was very good and I took about half of it home.

After that we drove by the Buffalo Bill Cody Ranch – here are some excepts about it from Wikipedia – “In 1883, in the area of North Platte, Nebraska, Cody founded "Buffalo Bill's Wild West", a circus-like attraction that toured annually.”  “In 1893, Cody changed the title to "Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World". The show began with a parade on horseback, with participants from horse-culture groups that included US and other military, cowboys, American Indians, and performers from all over the world in their best attire.”  “With his profits, Cody purchased a 4,000-acre (16 km2) ranch near North Platte, Nebraska, in 1886. Scout's Rest Ranch included an eighteen-room mansion and a large barn for winter storage of the show's livestock.”  “Buffalo Bill located Scouts Rest Ranch at North Platte because it allowed him to move his Wild West Show by train or by wagon across the United States relatively quickly.” 

Buffalo Bill later was instrumental in founding Cody, WY and we’ll have more on that when we get there.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


7/27 – 7/29/15 event dates

Sunday, July 26, 2015

2015 Western Trip – On The Road – Days 1-3

We are finally underway for our big trip to the Pacific Northwest and hopefully this will be the dream trip I’ve been awaiting.  We’ve had all of the known coach issues taken care of, the basement area reorganized, and the RV chassis, the car, and me serviced.  The coach and car were all fine but I had a couple of issues requiring attention, so I’m hoping for a non-eventful trip – except for the positive ones.  The house sitter is in place and someone is lined up to tend to the grounds so we can hopefully not have to worry about things at home – this may be the part of traveling I like best and it makes me somewhat envious of the full timers.

Our plan is to spend a total of 73 days as we angle from home up to Washington, spend several weeks in the Northwest, then drop down to the middle of the country (Colorado) and head back home – I know, I know, this is not enough time to do the area justice but it is all I could get committed from my girls.  In addition to seeing the sights and eating good food, we hope to meet up with several blogger buddies during our adventure.

The first day we drove to Paducah, KY (311 miles) and spent the night at Fern Lake Campground which was an older park ran by a nice couple who live on site.  It is just grass and gravel, not a destination park but a good place to stop for the night.  They had pull thru’s that fit us and were about a half mile from the I-24 and a Pilot truck stop.  I would stop here again for a night or two.

The second day, we drove to Columbia, MO (302 miles) and skirted the SW of St. Louis by going up I-55.  I only like to drive two days in a row so we took an off day in Columbia, MO, staying at Cottonwoods RV Park which was another good place for a night or two but not a place for an extended stay.  After setting up, we went out, drove around a little, and decided to give the White Castle drive through a try for supper as we’d always heard of them.  Our opinion - if Krystal ever decides to expand into this area, White Castle will be history, but now I can say I’ve eaten them.

The next morning, we headed downtown to a small farmers market and had breakfast at the Ozark Mountain Biscuit food truck where my large sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit was delicious and well worth the $6 cost as were the deep fried pimento cheese balls.  I forgot my camera so here are a few shots from the web – I would definitely go back.

For dinner, Bev and Pat brought home supper from Buckingham Smokehouse Bar-B-Q as it was recommended by the campground check-in person.  Unfortunately, like most restaurant BBQ, everything was overcooked and dry requiring lots of sauce to be decent - to some folks BBQ is all about the sauce so they would have enjoyed this.  To me, BBQ is all about the meat and I'm spoiled by the stuff I make at home. 

We're off tomorrow to points further west and I'll check in again when we have something worthy of a post.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


7/24 - 7/26/15 event dates

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Hofer’s Visit In 2015

As has occurred the past few years, the Hofer clan, consisting of brothers Stu and Meakin and their wives Sandy and Sam, visited Almost Heaven South for a couple of nights this week.  And as in previous years, the event was about good food, good wine, and great visiting.

We provided the food and drinks for the first part of the visit consisting of Smothered Pork Chops with mashed potatoes and fried okra for the first supper, Kennedy Quiche for the first breakfast and Caribbean Holiday Shrimp for snacking while we lounged around on the dock during the afternoon.  Since they were all repeat dishes, I didn’t take any shots and I forgot to take the camera to the dock.

However, once the Hofer’s took over the kitchen, I made sure I got some shots beginning with our second supper meal.

They served a delicious meal of filet of beef with Marchand de Vin sauce and topped with a Bernaise sauce sided with mashed potatoes and stuffed baked tomatoes.  

We washed it down with a very nice Cote du Rhone red wine and ended the meal with ice cream topped with cherry sauce.

All I can say is these folks can cook and we always look forward to turning the kitchen over to them and eating the fruits of their effort.  And to make it even better, Sandy is the consummate cleaner upper so we got a great meal and a clean kitchen by not doing anything but tell them where they can find things in the kitchen – I’m not sure it gets much better than that.

They also decided to whip up breakfast the final morning and we had scrambled eggs with spinach and the left over Caribbean shrimp, Nueske’s bacon, imported from Wisconsin, fresh fruit, and Mimosa’s.

As always, I had an excellent time and so enjoyed spending a piece of my life engaging with these four very different personalities.  Thanks guys for the great visit and I can hardly wait until next time and am hopeful we’ll see you before another year passes by.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


7/15/15 - 7/17/15 event dates

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Tennessee Summer Meal

This is one of our favorite summertime meals, all from local farmers – no garden for me this year.

I thought I should post the recipes for you non-Southerners J

Fried Okra
Sliced okra
S&P to taste
Crisco for frying (no substitute)
Fry until golden brown, turning often

Fried Corn
Corn, cut from the cob
S&P to taste
Butter for frying
Cook until warmer through, turning often

Green beans
Beans of your choice, this was a mixture
Country ham hocks
Chopped onion and garlic
S&P to taste
Water to cover
Cook until beans are soft – Bev used the pressure cooker

Watermelon for dessert

It was delicious and the previous night we had boiled new potatoes, corn on the cob, and green beans.  It’s not gourmet, but plain ole food is darned hard to beat – we may eat some meat tomorrow.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


7/5/15 event date