How We Survived

After Austin, we spent a few days in DFW.  Many of the local campgrounds were closed because of flooding.  (The area has received a lot of rain over the last few months and weeks.)  We finally found a good option near Texas Motor Speedway – Northlake Village RV Park.

It was great to visit with old friends and I am looking forward to coming through the area again early next year.  We had to get back on the road, though, in order to make it home by Christmas.  We left on a Saturday and made it to the KOA in Little Rock.  Next stop was Wranglers Campground in Natchez Trace State Park in Tennessee.  After a late run, partially on a sandy dirt road and then along the curvy, hilly road to the campground, we survived a very big storm.  We’ve been in worse but this was definitely the noisiest night we’ve every spent alone in the woods.   

Somewhere outside of Nashville, a truck driver tried to kill us.  It was rainy but that didn’t stop an 18-wheeler from deciding that we weren’t going fast enough and whipping around us as the highway split off.  He came flying up on our left and had to ride the shoulder to get around us.  He barely missed the guard rail.  We would have been killed except our guardian angels were with us.  

We couldn’t make the drive home without one night in a Wal-Mart so we stopped in Bristol, VA.  It would definitely be cheaper to have paid for a KOA.  I’m still working on storage and loaded up the cart with all kinds of options.  

Our last night on the road was in Mt. Jackson, VA.  I needed to do a run and Shenandoah Caverns Campground looked like a good option. This morning Alan and I headed out to run 5 miles on the local roads.  We were watched by cows, goats, dogs, llamas and at least one pig.  A young kid did try to kill us on the road by taking a blind corner way too fast.  Luckily, one of our guardian angels made sure I heard him coming and we were able to get out of the way in plenty of time!

Next stop:  Home

McKinney Falls State Park

At least five times in the last week, one of us questioned whether we have been some place before and had to go to the blog for verification (including whether or not we had ever stayed in this campground!) I may not write great prose, but this blog definitely serves a purpose. 

For the record, this is our first documented visit to McKinney Falls State Park.  When we’ve been in this area, we typically stayed at Buescher or Bastrop State Park but this time we opted to stay closer to Austin where Brian and Will were camping.  

The campground is a typical Texas State Park with a decent amount of space for each site, suitable (if not new) showers, and plenty of Airstreams. We enjoyed the paved trail through the Park for a couple of runs and spotted an awfully large coyote.  He was wary of us but not skittish enough to run off at first sight and I was able to get a picture.

Parts of the paved trail were closed due to flooding in October and there is still enough water flowing over the falls to make wet feet inevitable for a crossing to the old McKinney homestead (which we did not do.)  Onion Creek did have some large fish just taunting you to try and catch them! 

We will just say that we enjoyed an interesting dinner with Brian and Will at Black Star Co-Op on the North side of Austin.  They have a nice beer menu and the food was good.  I loved my beet salad – fresh and tasty.  Lunch was at the Noble Sandwich Company (also good but my grilled sandwich was cold.)  It was close to a fun quilt shop – The Cloth Pocket.  

We’ve been to the Congress Street bridge twice – once for a morning walk and then to run around Lady Bird Lake (which is really more of a wide spot in the Colorado River.)  Alan and I both agreed that finding a good place to run in an area is a great way to explore and get a good feel for the community.  We are planning on making it a priority while we are travelling.

We will be travelling in a northerly direction from here – first a stop in DFW and then a slow drive home to Pennsylvania, arriving just in time for Christmas. 

A New Airstream Adventure


From the blog, you might think that we were still in Cape Breton Island after all this time but of course, I just never finished posting about the trip after that stop.  Sometimes my enthusiasm for posting wanes since I do this mostly to keep a record of the places we’ve been. You would be surprised how often one of us says “Have we been here before?”

After getting back to Texas, we put our 2006 Airstream 23′ Safari into storage and later sold it to our good friends who are now enjoying their own adventures. After more than a year without a trip, we’ve started A New Airstream Adventure of our own!  On Monday, November 30, 2015, we picked up our 2016 Airstream 25′ Flying Cloud with a queen bed in the rear and white mica countertops at Foley RV Center in Gulfport, MS.

We had a great experience at Foley and headed right out to Buccaneer State Park for a short shake-down stay.  (Foley offered us the option of spending the night in their lot but we passed.) We would never stay at Buccaneer (Waveland, MS) during the peak season because this is also a waterpark and is probably a zoo with kids in the summer.  It was lovely to camp right on the water but we never sat outside because of the mosquitos. I did enjoy my run along the water last night at dusk.  

We will head towards Texas today and back to some of our favorite campgrounds that we visited with our first Airstream.  

Cape Breton National Park

I had been really looking forward to visiting Cape Breton Island National Park and I wasn't disappointed. The ocean scenery was magnificent. The Park is pretty large so we camped for a couple of nights on both sides of the Park.

Before I go on about the Park, we did make another stop on our way – the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. Did you know that he used the money he made on the telephone to fund all kinds of other research and experimentation, particularly around flight?

Most of the easily accesible part of Cape Breton Island National Park are on the coast, you can also enjoy a gurgling brook in the woods.

I don't drive often but I did this day and got a great Airsteam in the Rearview picture from the driver's side:

We were safely stopped at the time I took the picture!

Camping the second time in the Park was not without controversy. Apparently, not everyone finds our beautiful Airstream trailers to be worthy of an ocean-side campground (that is mostly filled with tents.)

We enjoyed some fabulous hiking and even spotted a moose in the woods.

Alan and I came back to this trail before pulling out on our last day to run and almost ran into a moose! She stopped and looked at us but darted into the woods before I could get my camera out to take a picture. That early morning was amazing!



Leaving Nova Scotia

We took a few days leaving Nova Scotia. First, we spent an hour or so enjoying the warm sun at the beach while Tucker romped around, then we learned how they make single malt whiskey (aka scotch). This stuff is too expensive to mix with anything and I didn't like it straight.)

We dealt with some chores and ate with the locals in town at Westville. We could see the Ferry cross to Prince Edward Island (but we took the Conferedation Bridge.) It isn't a very scenic bridge but it is long and they have an interesting Program at the Visitor Center showing how it was constructed.


This was our last stop in Nova Scotia – lunch on the beach!



Fortress of Louisburg

The ferry ride back to Nova Scotia was very nice. We had terrific weather and this time we weren't on the “freight” run so there were a lot of people and the boat had open restaurants. We paid for assigned seating and got a great view for the whole trip in a quiet area.

Our first stop, after the WalMart (and my run past the local landfill) was the Fortress of Louisburg. It was originally built by the French and then rebuilt by Canada. When the coal mine closed, the government used this as a kind of jobs program and they reconstructed a large part of the town to how it would have looked around 1750. To get a sense of the scale of the Fortress, consider that it took us all day to walk around!

As was typical for the area and time period, the Fort passed into British hands twice and was finally abandoned.

This National Historic Site employs a lot of people in period garb and they do reenactments and demonstrations of typical activities.

Lace Making


Public Humiliation

The structures were all very impressive and they had excellent displays about the construction techniques. I took a lot of pictures so I'm going to wrap up this Post and save the rest of Cape Breton Island for my next.

We are back in the States now (and should have internet access most of the time) so hopefully I can get caught up and finish documenting our trip before we make it back home to Texas.



Leaving Newfoundland

I keep saying that I'm going to wrap up my pictures from Newfoundland but then there are always more! Our last few days were a mixture of rain and beautiful skies. After Blow Me Down Provincial Park, we went to Cheeseman Provincial Park, near Port aux Basque where we would get the ferry back to Nova Scotia.

We started getting serious about running again here. We started our 18 week training plan to be ready for the Dallas Marathon in December. That means 5 days a week. Only one week in and I remembered how much I love having a “plan” to follow. No thinking about whether to run or how far – just follow the plan. Luckily, we had some beautiful (although with some puddle obstacles) places to run.

One day, when the sun was shining, we drove out to the Rose Blanch Lighthouse. At one point the all granite structure was mostly just a pile of rocks but it was lovingly restored by locals in the late 1990's.



Then, once again, we would board a ferry! This was a much nicer boat with services and nice seats – kind of like a small cruise ship. There were a lot of trucks that made the journey with us that day. It is the only way to get supplies to and from Newfoundland.


Next stop: Cape Breton Island