Tennessee-The Finale

We’ve had a grand time in Tennessee, camping out in Travis’ and Jessica’s backyard.

We spent many happy times with the Kigers, Jessica’s mom, Alice, and Kiger’s friends, Jaci Valasquez and Nic Gonzalez. All had quarantined themselves completely.
Best fillet we’ve ever had. It was from a local steakhouse. And of course, nothing but carbs for the sides. This is the only “takeout” we’ve had. I’m tired of cooking.
Lawnmower fun
Kiger’s heading off to Jaci and Nic’s on the lawnmower. Guess that’s considered street-legal in Tennessee. We aren’t in California anymore.
Kayak fishing on the Harpeth River
Fry-day in Tennessee.
Everything is fried.. chicken strips, Mac & Cheese, corn dogs, fries, onion rings.
Fried donuts and homemade ice cream for dessert. It was awesome.
Getting ready to go fishing.
Putting finishing touches on the chicken coup and run. Duke helped.
Rightly so, he’s pretty proud of the coup.
In Tennessee, I guess kids eat dinner in the boat.
Helping Jaci and Nic set up an above-ground pool. John was a busy guy.
This says it all!
Time to head back to California before these four use up all our tp, wipes, paper towels and wine. We’ve had a grand time but are excited to get back to more family, sunsets, and more living space. We will be heading home May 1st.

Tennessee-Part 1

We’ve been in Tennessee for a little over two weeks, hunkering down at Travis and Jessica’s house. We are so grateful for the kindness they are showing to us during uncertain times. While we don’t go out to grocery stores or restaurants, we have had a few opportunities to venture out into nature. Here are a few pictures of what life looks like for us.

The first week we were here, Travis took us out to one of the secluded off-road spots he knew about. John is always happy to throw a fishing line in.
The adventure included driving through the river. Then the skid plate came off on the road shortly thereafter. Boys!
Sunday church service with the Kiger’s best friends, Nic and Jaci, on guitar and singing. Yes, that’s how they spell their names.
Another outdoor adventure in a local state park. There were more people there than we anticipated but we stepped far off the trail when we encountered fellow hikers.
Evidence that spring is near.
Jessica got some baby chicks. It will be fun to watch them grow.
Homeschooling at its best. Papa trying to get an old lawnmower working and involving the kids.
Social distancing on a large lake. Travis drives fast!
Leipers Fork and the General Lee.
On our way to do some hiking along the Natchez Trace.

So if Trump is right, as a country, we may not see the peak of the virus for another two weeks! In the meantime, we are focusing on the blessings of this time with family and thankful for their gracious hospitality. And, although we take as many precautions as possible to avoid getting sick, we know that we are ultimately dependent on God for our physical health.

Social Distancing

So we drove over 500 miles and arrived at Travis and Jessica’s on Friday evening. We have a lovely camping spot in their backyard with campfire, chickens running around and free water and electricity. It feels good to live off of our kids!

Originally we were thinking we might be here for a few weeks until the virus blew over. Now, who knows how long it will be. I had a meltdown in the middle of the night, thinking about how long it might be and then decided I just wanted to go home. Travis, being so practical, talked with us about the risks of flying home or driving home. I wanted to go home. And then we watched the live stream from their church. We really felt like the worship and message lead us we to stay put. God had provided such a wonderful place to stay and we shouldn’t move.

Now that we’ve decided to stay, we are embracing it. We have enough food for a few weeks and Travis has a large stash because they were prepared but we are out of some things. Like milk, cheese, bacon (very important), produce and meat is getting low. Travis won’t let us go to the store. We either have to do pickup or delivery. We feel like we are on restriction. We think he’s trying to get back to us for all the times we put him on restriction when he was a teenager! All kidding aside, we are grateful for his protection of us. The two of them could not be more kind, caring, and loving towards us.

My first Walmart pickup order was cancelled completely. Today I ordered delivery from Target. We didn’t get any of the dairy (except for butter), eggs, cheese or meat that we ordered but we did get some of our order. John has plenty of snacks. It was like opening a Christmas present! Jess and I now feel like it is a rush to see what we can get from online ordering.

You probably won’t see many more posts for awhile because I’m guessing you don’t want to see pics of us reading, watching the news, or playing games with the grandkids. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy. This too shall pass and God is on His throne.

New Orleans

I’ll start out by updating ya’all (can you tell we’ve been in the South?) on our thoughts about the Coronavirus. We are trying to take a balanced approach, being wise based on the best info we can get but not panicking when we shouldn’t. So we are taking one day at a time and will change plans as needed. For example, we spent the day in the city and were planning a second day but decided not to do that. Instead, we went to a preserve in the swamp outside of town and walked on trails. We had minimal contact with people.

Listening to street music is a highlight for us.

We had a fabulous day at the Barataria Preserve just outside of New Orleans. It was the perfect way to avoid crowds.

We wanted to see alligators and we were not disappointed. These guys (or girls) were about 3 feet away from us. But they were not too bothered by us. They seemed to be enjoying a nap in the sunshine. To put this in context they were about 5’ long so not too scary. The walkway is in the foreground and where they were laying was almost level with the walkway. We saw about six or seven more alligators along our walk. Carol Brushwyler, you would have loved it!. Not.
Loving the Spanish Moss.

We are leaving tomorrow and taking two days to get to Santa Rosa beach, Florida. I’m reading a book and the author mentioned a needlepoint he always saw at his grandma’s house when he was a kid. It said “Man plans, God laughs”. A good reminder to hold on to our plans very loosely.

The Swamp

Lake Fausse State Park was recommended to us by someone in a previous campground who hadn’t been there but heard it was cool. It’s a little scary to go off secondhand information but we decided to chance it. One guy told us they saw a gator under someone’s trailer one morning. But we didn’t see any. It’s a little early to see them because they like warmer weather. We loved this campground. Only negative is no cell service!

What’s not to love about a campsite with full hookups and our own private fishing dock on a bayou? $30/night.
He’s happy.

Not too far away was the Tobasco Company which does factory tours.

Really? Bears? We didn’t see any.
Not only did the owner grow chilis but he experimented with growing bamboo. John has bamboo envy.
Those white oak barrels are full of mashed up chilis. They will stay in there for up to three years.
This state park has cabins to rent that are over the river.

These pics are all from a hike we did from the campground.

Once a month a group of locals come to the campground. They are called the Cajun Creole Cookers. They start cooking early in the morning and all the food is cooked in cast iron Dutch ovens over charcoal, even the desserts. They invite all to come. It was really fun and the food was delicious. It was pretty entertaining to try and understand all the locals because of their thick Cajun accents. We nodded a lot!

The two couples in the front were camped next to us. They were just the nicest people.

We are off to New Orleans. Travis decided not to join us after all. He didn’t want to be in a flying Petri dish.