Our next stop, after Hilton Head was the banks of the Mississippi, in Vidalia, La., where there is a LOVELY RV PARK that overlooks (for the moment) the Mississippi River. I say “for the moment” because the river is rising, and will soon flood the bottom end of the park. But not for at least a couple more weeks – the Army Corp can pretty accurately calculate the Mississippi’s levels, which is mostly based on Snow Melt MUCH farther north – like in Iowa, where there was not much melting going on (yet!)!!
This Rally is one that we have been to before – and there is frankly not much new or different in Vidalia/Natchez to see, do, eat or drink. That is not to say not much fun! Mardi Gras and Lot’s of friends there – people we have mentioned before in these pages: The Florers, Burti (plural of “Burtis?”), Dupree, Bishops, Gulrichs, Sonkes — and many more!
So, plenty of catching up.
Lots of good food – both in Rally Pot luck (where everyone shows off their RV-cooking Prowess) and in local restaurants. The latter included several pounds of Crawfish and Shrimp at a little Cajun place…YUM!!!
For the former, we reprised the Paella-over-the-BBQ recipe we had developed with the McDowells at Hilton Head – it was a HIT!!!
We are starting to develop a Repertoire of RV-friendly recipes and a strategy for adapting full-kitchen ones to our space and equipment. From Frozen Daquiri ala Mitchell to Chile Verde; smoked Pork Tenderloin marinated ala Walmart to Dulce de Leche (Sweetened-condensed milk cooked in its can for 3 hours and then served over fruit), we can produce QUITE A MEAL out of our kitchen and BBQ.
I hope if we are in your area you’ll let us show you!!!!
During the rally, we went to Kings Tavern (ostensibly, according to the proprietor, the oldest in continuous operation in blah blah blah) for drinks, where the bartender disclosed he used to own Smoots Grocery. This was a place we have visited several times before for Live Blues Music – but sadly it was now CLOSED. The Mayor of Natchez spoke to the assembled Rallyers about the decline of his city – Smoots being only one example.
And, there was a new form of entertainment at this rally – in addition to door prices won by matching ticket numbers drawn from a barrel, every other ticket or so won a shot of Tequila. Now THAT was a fun addition to the already-fun festivities!
And, talk about burying the lead…
And, talk about burying the lead, the rally actually was our anniversary celebration! Liz and I have now been married for 29 Years!!!! And, we have been travelling together in the bus for THREE FULL YEARS (starting our fourth, with no end in sight). So, I should take a time out from normal blogging to recognize that (and HER).
I realize EVERY DAY how lucky I have been and am…
Far from complacent; from taking her for granted, I realize EVERY DAY how lucky I have been and am. I mean, how many people could spend 24 hours a day with their spouse (i.e. ME!) in a space of about 100 sq. feet and survive?
The above-mentioned Crawfish feed was in celebration of the day!!
Even among our Bus-friends, She (and we) we are a rarity. There are plenty of Bluebird folks who travel “a lot” but very few that travel full time. And fewer still that have a bus as “small” as RV WHERE YET.
Most of our friends think we are driving a MONSTER vehicle. WE thot that when we first saw the bus even before we acquired it, way back in 2015 in George’s garage. But, in fact, RV WHERE YET is compact @ 33 feet long, 8 feet wide and fitting under a 12 foot bridge. The largest of the RVs at a Bluebird Rally are 45 Feet long, 9+ feet wide (with additional living space at rest provided by slide-outs) and barely fit under a 14 foot bridge. Our compactness is very evident at rallies, where we may be parked next to one of these big-boys!
Among the other ralliers, Anita and Les Sonke were there. They have a bus almost identical in size to ours, a few years older (their bus, not the Sonkes!) and they live in it full time. It was fun to talk to them a bit about their life’s trajectory; Really interesting people in many ways… And WISE about how to effectively use space in their same-as-ours bus.
These are the folks that have inspired us to remodel RV WHERE YET’s kitchen a bit, so we used the intersection of our paths to take some more photos and again poke around their bus!!
There will be WAY MORE on that project in coming posts.
For our anniversary, the Florers, who accompanied us to the Anniversary Crawfish Extravaganza, provided the MOST FABULOUS dessert-cake that the local grocery store could provide in their pre-baked-and-generically-decorated area. Sort of a white cake with white frosting and a red-rose pile of oversweet icing on it. Which neither of us had any appetite for.
I did eat some later – it was pretty unexceptional on its merits, but the Florer’s thoughtfulness was VERY SPECIAL and appreciated.
There was a piece of soggy corn on the anniversary-tray with the red mound of crawfish-goodness … none of us could eat that, and we waxed philosophic about visiting the Florer’s INCREDIBLE fields in August. Already salivating….
And, of course, plenty of Bus Mechanics working on bus mechanics. It is not actually an Official Bluebird Rally until the moment someone’s engine compartment is open for dissection or discussion (or both).
Interesting that the buses being worked on were all the newer ones…RV WHERE YET surprisingly needed very little in the way of repairs.
There must have been a special on replacing generator bearings at this rally – no fewer than three of the attendees did this collectively. It is also interesting that a job that would take a competent mechanic an hour by himself can take a half a day or more with 10 working/watching on it!
One of the newest buses, owned by Jerry Lyles, one of the rally organizers, needed some TV work – Satellite not working. Something I could help with! Jerry’s bus is really finely appointed – top-notch finishes and so on. Which means the biggest issue at fixing anything is getting at it behind the various fascia and trim. The Satellite stuff was no exception –it took almost a full day to expose the cables and free the defective receiver so it could be replaced.
As for RV WHERE YET, we DID need to repair our windshield wipers (AGAIN)…with parts I ordered from a school bus company located in Louisiana. I am getting SO GOOD at disassembling the wiper mechanism that this repair took less than an hour.
If there was an award for this, it would be:
In informal discussion, friends at the rally determined that we had probably travelled the most miles of any attendee in 2019 – by my calculation, almost 19,000 miles. Now, that may not sound like a lot, but it is, for an RV. After all, we don’t commute to work every day.
If there was an actual award for this, it would be “Bug-Smasher-of -the-Year,” though we all agreed that you can smash more bugs in 1 Florida-Mile than all the way across Texas so there is not necessarily a direct correlation!
Rally weather was Rain and Cold – as usual, apparently. The Mississippi River was high – but not as high as last year. 54’ vs. last year’s 58’, so fully 4 feet lower! Some “newbies” at the rally looked at the flooded lower-end of the park and worried; we knew that there was no danger even though it was raining – as mentioned above, Mississippi flooding is not a “local” phenomenon caused by local rain. Not the case for nearby Jackson, Mississippi. The HEAVY local rains pushed the Pearl River out of its banks and flooded the town.
Anyway, we managed to escape Vidalia again, before the Mississippi overtook us. Next destination: St. Augustine Florida and an intersection with the Whites. That is something we have done before – we meet somewhere after they exit their cruise and party for a few days. Looking forward to that as I am sure you are looking forward to hearing about it – NEXT POST!