After being stationary for 6 months it was nice to be on the road again!As our journey began north bound from Florida we made our first stop in Dothan, AL boondocking overnight. We hit a wee bit of a challenge when our inside lights went out. It had been a long day so we decided to go to sleep and address it in the morning. Much to our surprise our slide would not come in either.. RUTRO Houston we most certainly had a problem! Alas my oh so smart and Handsome Chauffeur revved up our generator and the slide came in without a hitch and we had lights! He determined that at least one of our bank of 4 batteries was dead. Guess we would be shopping for batteries in our near future! Our 2 starting batteries were good… at least for now😉.
Next stop Huntsville, AL. Redstone Arsenal. We try to follow 70 or 80 degree weather and we were not disappointed. The weather was fabulous. We soon found that not only were we following the temperatures that we liked, but we were smack dab in the middle of following the pollen zone! The air was thick with yellow dust that accumulated on EVERYTHING! Nothing that a bit of allergy medicine couldn’t help. We started taking rides on our bicycles through the woods to explorer and exercise.Redstone Arsenal was established in 1941 during World War II mainly to serve as a chemical weapons producing center. The area is now used by the Army’s missile and rocket programs. It’s a very busy place. As we rode our bikes around there were many areas that were Top Secret which did not deter my VERY curious Handsome Chauffeur from asking people donning security badges we met along our ride what was behind the razor wire in the buildings. He of course knew he would not get an answer aside from “Its Top Secret Sir…I cannot tell you.” But that never stops him from asking!
1960 NASA established the Marshall Space Flight Center at the Arsenal. From 1960-1970 the Army’s lead rocket engineer, Wernher von Braun, made monumental strides forward for our country’s quest to explorer space. Towards the end of the century Marshall Space Flight Center also was instrumental in the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station!
Last fall our my Handsome Chauffeur, Son and Grandson made a trip to the space center next to the Redstone Arsenal..He wore his Astronaut suit and was thrilled to see the REAL BIG rockets! You never know….we may have a future engineer or astronaut in our family! Now we were calling this place home for at least a few days.
Before leaving Huntsville area we hopped on the Harley and explored around lakes and part of the Appalachians mountains. The trees were leafing out and we started seeing pops of color in the forests from Red Bud and Dogwood trees! Spring had sprung!
Next stop was Jonesboro, Arkansas as they had the BEST prices on batteries! My Handsome Chauffeur aka “Procurement Specialist”spent time researching when we weren’t touring Alabama and negotiating with battery stores… it’s what he does😉…. always searching AND FINDING a deals! He also is the King of Efficiency so as he was negotiating he was ALSO charting our travels and found that we could and WOULD be going to Jonesboro to procure the batteries as they had the best deal! So off we go to Jonesboro! We are now proud owners of 4 new batteries and Boondocking is ON….
Next stop Eureka Springs, Arkansas!Before becoming Professional Nomads we would make trips to Eureka often. The landscape is amazing for motorcycle rides. It had been at least 5 years since our last visit and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The winding mountain roads, the beauty of the Red Bud and Dogwood in bloom along with the fresh air filled our spirits. All the visits we made over the years we missed stopping at The Blue Spring. WOWZER this is a MUST see if you are ever in Eureka Springs! On the beautiful Spring day it was STUNNING! I wish the photos captured its magnificent beauty.The spring is 70 feet in diameter at the surface. The actual opening of the spring is 25 feet below the surface and 10 feet across. It is shaped like a funnel. They estimate that the width of the fissure in the Rock opening that allows the water into the spring is only 2 1/4 feet! The temperature of the water remains 54 degrees year round. The landscaping throughout the area is spectacular! So very peaceful. What was even cooler is we had the WHOLE place to ourselves it was like our own little piece of paradise.
We had planned a week of riding the familiar backroads of Arkansas, but Mother Nature had other plans. The rains began and never let up enough for us to make any more rides. Thankfully we were spared severe weather, but it was raining everyday which kept us confined to our Mobile Condo. This was such a disappointment as we were looking so forward to reliving memories and making new ones. The bright spot as we waited out the rainy days ..we were getting closer to our next stop KANSAS!
Mother Nature could keep on raining, for soon we would be with our personal rays of sunshine! There were snuggles to be given, bedtime stories to read and eggs to dye for the bunny to come.We were thrilled to be back with family, friends and familiar surroundings. Our time Kansas was packed full of celebrations…. EasterCarnivalswith Easter Egg huntssleepoversand a trip to a farmWe celebrated a wedding and a graduation! Along with a visit from Aunt Molly Oh how happy we were to be “home”.
Mother Nature continued to be a thorn in our side.We had far more rainy days than sunny ones. We lived in Kansas for 20 years prior to becoming Professional Nomads. April and could be rainy, but this was ridiculous. In fact the entire Midwest was being plagued with record rain fall which included flooding in many areas.
The flooding didn’t only remain in the outdoors… we got “flooding ” in the Mobile Condo due to a pinhole leak in a water tube for our refrigerator! Thankfully, we discovered is quickly AND we were planning on cleaning our carpets…BUT when the humidity is high outdoors and cool enough that air conditioners were not needed we had to get “creative” in drying the carpet out… enter MacGuyver😉 He found anything useful to elevate the carpet.. including my kitchen spatula! The man never stops to amaze me with his ingenuity!
While we are “home” we are blessed to have friends who live in the country where we can pull in the Circus Train and do some larger maintenance projects on the Mobile Condo. What a luxury to have any tool imaginable known to God and man along with a workshop to get projects done.
Mother Nature was still up to making challenges… rain, rain and tornadoes! As many times on our journeys I have clicked my ruby red slippers and thought there was “no place like home” I blacked out the tornado factor! Thankfully when we were in the path of this monster tornado we were staying in a home with a basement!We quickly gathered belongings, flashlights, filled oil lanterns and headed to the safety of the basement….that is I headed to the basement. My Weatherman Wannabe and our gracious hosts stayed upstairs watching the storm on radar and in REAL TIME head our way. When they saw the herd of cattle start to stampede towards shelter in our neighbor’s farm field, the winds start swirling AND heard the freight train sound classic of tornadoes did they join me in the basement! When we felt as though we were in the clear we made it upstairs and saw only a few limbs were down off of a few trees and a small tree was snapped off at ground level. We certainly were thanking God we were spared. We were without electricity and natural gas. So my Handsome Chauffeur and our host headed out to the Mobile Condo, started the generator and got updated from the weatherman on TV.
Yes, we had been spared, but our neighbors just 5 miles east of us were not. The tornado had been 1 mile wide and classified EF4! The classification states winds were between 166-200 mph and caused devastating damage! These photos do not capture the devastation! Trees were snapped like toothpicks, mattresses in trees, and RV’s turned completely upside down in a ditch! There were belongings from those affected found 50 miles away! Thank God there was no loss of life! Homes can be rebuilt.
As devastating it was to see the damage, our hearts were warmed to see SO many people from the community come out and help people in all ways! There were multiple trucks out repairing electrical lines, tree removal, Red Cross handing out donations of water, providing food, clean up tools etc. and people continuing to bring donations to replenish the supplies. The entire communities surrounding those affected by loss were ready and able to help. Truly, we saw the hands of Jesus in action through all of these people.
The tornado was devastating as I said and a heck of a bon voyage from Mother Nature, but as our time “home” in Kansas came to an end we reflected on the WONDERFUL aspects of the Midwest. Sure, the weather was not the best, yet we had our hearts filled with love of family and friends. We celebrated new beginnings and we saw the tenacity and BEST in people helping out their neighbors… this is why we are so very proud to tell folks on our journeys that we are from Kansas….Usually when we tell folks we are from Kansas the first thing they say “Wow Tornado country”(thank you Wizard of Oz) Sure there can be BIG storms, but the love of fellow Kansans and their hearts to help each other out weigh out anything Mother Nature can cook up…. and we are proud to be Kansans in our hearts!
The wheels on the Mobile Condo are rolling further west…. Rocky Mountains here we come😊