Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I just wasn’t in the mood

My plans for today included driving into Little Rock, AR, to visit the President Clinton Library and Museum, and the State Capitol Building.  When I got up in the morning, I just wasn’t in the mood for that.  It’s kind of like shopping for me.  I have to be in the mood for it.  The thought of driving around a state capitol and finding a parking place just wasn’t my cup of tea this morning.  I’m glad I didn’t go because it would have been a feeling of dread rather than excitement.


Instead, I just enjoyed Maumelle COE Park for most of the day.  I did head out for a while to visit Pickle Gap and Toad Suck, AR, but even those two places left me flat.  It just wasn’t one of those days when I could get into touring.


Since I have a more secluded site in the woods, Emma and I did take a walk down to the banks of the Arkansas River.  It was a beautiful day with temps in the low 80’s, and a nice gentle breeze blowing.


I guess it was a good day to catch some rays!  I’m supposed to increase the length of my walks each day, and most recently my back hasn’t been protesting too much.  That’s a good thing.  The hip is working just fine, so Emma and I pressed on.


We hiked the nicely paved Nuttall Trail that weaves its way through the forest above the campground.  It’s a nice trail with benches as rest stops along the way to enjoy the sounds of all the birds.  If you’re a dog, there are plenty of smells, too, to keep things interesting.

My other chore today was to find a grocery store, and a place to fuel up the rig when I leave here on Thursday.  While I was out on the bust trip to Pickle Gap and Toad Suck, I came across a Walmart.  I would rather not shop there, but I didn’t find any other grocery store along the way.  As some of you may remember, finding a gas station that I can into and out of without any trauma is the thing that gives me the most heartburn of this life on the road.  I was able to find an acceptable Valero station not too far away.  The tank is now below 1/2, so that will be my first stop when I pull out.


Things are peaceful here tonight.  Several folks left during the day, so I have the entire C loop to myself.  Emma and I finished our hike on the trail, and I was happy to see our home in the distance…

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Travel Tuesdays-Cambodia

Just a little something to cure your wanderlust for the week.

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

On another note. I found these little pictorials (information is always better when provided in picture fashion) on how to beat jet lag and tips for long flights. I love these tips and hopefully can use them next time we travel!
all images found via

Linking up with LisetteRolled Up Pretty and Shanna

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Arkansas, the Natural State

275 miles might not seem much of a drive to some folks, but it wore me out.  I left Ajax, LA, a little before 9:00 this morning and headed for Arkansas.  It was good on I-49 to Shreveport, and then things got a little interesting as I got off of the interstate to take US 71 North.  After weaving around in Shreveport, 71 becomes a two lane highway that could use some repaving for a good portion of it.  I must say, it was a good test to see if the MCD shades were going to stay put or fall down.  Thankfully, they stayed put.

Once I got into Arkansas, the roads became smooth four lanes with only one detour that had ‘Jack-in-the-Box’ rather frustrated.  He almost set a record for ‘recalculating’!  Once I reached I-30 East, both he and I heaved a sigh of relief.  I would have hit my ‘Easy Button’ had it been within reach.

We sailed along for several more hours, and as I passed the exit for Hot Springs National Park, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the time I stopped there for a full body work over at one of the historic spas.  If you are ever near there, do stop in and get an appointment.  It’s an experience you’ll never forget.  If I had the knowledge or the energy, I’d include a link to my post a few years ago about my day at the Hot Springs spa.


Anyway, along about 3:00, I finally found my way to the Maumelle Park COE campground a little ways northwest of Little Rock, AR.  Good old ‘Jack-in-the-Box’ took me on the scenic nerve wracking way to get there.  I ended up on a very skinny two lane road with no shoulders, and low hanging tree branches that whacked the top of the rig. 


There were also three bicyclists in front of me on that road, so the five miles or so seemed to take forever.  With all of the curves in the road, I couldn’t chance trying to pass them.  I was also becoming a little panicked about ever finding the place.  My mind conjured up a dead end with no room to turn around.  I was trying to figure out how I was ever going to get out of this predicament, when the entrance to the park suddenly appeared on the left.  This was after good old ‘Jack’ had said I’d passed it up about a mile back.Surprised smile


I was a wreck when I stopped to check in.  I got directions to the site I had reserved via the internet.  It’s hard to choose a site just looking at a map, but I really like my choice.  It’s not a waterfront site along the Arkansas River, but a rather secluded woodland site with no other campsites very close by.  It fits me to a T.

I crate Emma when we travel, and she remains vigilant the whole trip, and doesn’t sleep the time away.  So, by the time we were set up, we both were worn out from the day.  We’ll be here for three nights, so we’re just going to relax tomorrow and investigate this campground.  Maybe I’ll get some pictures of the campground sites along the river.  They’re more tightly packed together than the one I chose.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

The Open Road

For our last adventure in Chiang Mai, we decided to follow a friends advice and take a motorbike ride around the mountains surrounding the city. Renting a motorbike in general was one of the best decisions we made during our stay in Chiang Mai. For just 200 baht a day (roughly $7.00) we could rent a motorbike, versus taking taxis or tuk tuks which often came in around the same price per day if not higher. The advantage of the motorbike was that we saved money and we also saved the hassle of having to track down transportation and then haggle with them about a fair price.
Samoeng Loop
We left early in the morning and planned to spend the whole day making our way around the Samoeng Loop and also making pit stops along the way at local attractions. Along the trip we:

Saw elephants! Ok, this was my favorite moment by far. You know how much I love elephants. Well, when we were riding along, I looked over and spotted elephants from a distance. I may or may not have yelled in hubs ears that I saw elephants and that we should pull over. I blame the road noise, I had to yell. It seemed like we had stumbled upon the back entrance to one of the elephant conservation parks where they kept the momma elephants and new babies.
We made sure to keep our distance but the curious little one kept getting closer and closer. As tempted as I was to see how close he would get, I did not want to see how fast the momma elephant could rip through her chain, so we left. 
We headed back up towards the road to sit and watch as one of the workers hosed down both mom and baby. 
Enjoyed the gorgeous roadside views.
Found a pumpkin house. I'm slightly jealous of whoever lives here. 
Played in the Mae Sa Waterfalls. This place was awesome to spend a few hours hiking and swimming in some of the waterfall pools. There are a series of around 10 different waterfalls, all on the same inclined hiking path. The lower ones are safe for families to swim in while the higher ones just offer great views but faster moving water. Notice how hubs shorts are wet? Yea, that's what happens when you're not careful on slippery rocks.
Found some choice words at local temples
Saw old and new collide. TIP: the red truck is a mix between a taxi and bus. In the back there are just two long benches where people pile in and it makes pit stops along the route dropping people off. It can take longer depending on who else is in there with you and where they are going but can save money.
We're so glad that we rented a bike for our stay in Chiang Mai. We loved the ease of it (even though there were times when the driving and traffic were a little scary!) and also being able to see so much more of the city and the country side. It was the perfect end to our favorite city.
Linking up with MollyMegLeannLoganCarissaRachel

An Expat Q&A

Today I'm linking up with Belinda and The Hemborg Wife for an Expat to Expat Q&A about my favorite season in my current residence of South Korea!
Ok, a bit of my expat background: After getting married, hubs and I decided that we didn't want to settle down quite yet. So we found jobs teaching English overseas and the rest is history! We currently live on a small island on the very southern tip of South Korea but hubs and I are both originally from Tulsa, OK. We have lived here since February of 2011 and are planning for a few more years abroad!
1. What was your favorite season back home and is it the same now; why or why not?
My favorite season back home was definitely spring and it's still the same here! We actually have very similar weather in Tulsa compared to where we live now in Korea and couldn't be happier about it. Very mild winters, humid summers but spring and fall are to die for. 

2. Is there a place you would want to move to based solely on the weather?
New Zealand. We were able to visit on our honeymoon over two years ago and the weather was fantastic. Another bonus is that no matter what the weather is, there's still so much you can do outdoors!
3. What is a piece an article of clothing that you had to buy for your new home due to the weather? i.e. galoshes, winter coat, etc
Rain coat and rain boots! I had these back home but it was never a necessity to use them. But here during rainy season, if you aren't prepared, you can be soaked in seconds!

4. Have you found the weather stereotypes of your new home to be true?
Yes yes yes! We were told that there wasn't much snow (true), rainy season you would be soaked and to always bring an extra pair of clothes with you (true) and in summer you would be dripping with sweat when you walked out the door (very unfortunate, but true).

5. Is there somewhere you would never live based solely on the weather?
This one breaks my heart because we have heard so many outstanding things about the country, but I just don't think I could bear the cold of winter in Norway. We look forward to visiting someday though! We're just going to make sure it's during summer. 

6. What are you looking forward to most this spring?
Being outside again! Winters are horrible here and being close to the water, it brings bitter cold winds. We're looking forward to beach days, camping, and lots of bike rides.
7. Where you live, what is your go to outfit for spring?
Jeans, Toms shoes, a tshirt and scarf.

8. What is one thing or event that you miss that happens back home at this time of the year?
Barbecue get togethers! I miss being outside in a backyard (most people live in apartments here) full of friends and family and having the grill going. 

9. If your hubs could bring home a bouquet of any type of flower, what you pick?
Anemones. They've always been a favorite of mine and our wedding was covered in them! Luckily I've seen them here too!
10. What does your perfect Saturday look like?
This last Saturday was hard to beat. Waking up and making breakfast together (crepes are a favorite in our household) then hiking up with our hammock. Setting it up in the trees overlooking the water and napping or reading books. 
Bonus:  Are there any special holidays in your new country in the month of May?
Yes! And we're so excited for some time off! It's Buddah's Birthday the middle of May and we're looking forward to hopefully making the most of the three day weekend and taking a trip somewhere.
Found Love.  Now What?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Touring and an inverter question

I truly decided to relax this morning.  After making my bed, I stayed in my PJ’s until 11:00 in the morning.  It’s been decades since I’ve done that.  By noon, though, I’d had enough of that so I showered and headed out to do a little exploring.


This is where I ended up.  I decided to visit the Oakland Plantation outside of Natchitoches.  Lots of plantations were located along the Cane River back in the day.


It turned out that this was National Junior Ranger Day at this National Park.  There were quite a few youngsters moving around from exhibit to exhibit, but the crowds weren’t stifling. 


I was there for the 1:00 tour of the Main House.  It was built in 1821.  It still retains most of its original heavy cypress timber construction and bousillage-filled walls.  Bousillage was a new word for me today.  It’s kind of like adobe, but uses Spanish moss in the mixture instead of straw.  It was used to insulate the walls.

_MG_2027 _MG_2028

We had a good park ranger for the tour group.  The area leading to the front of the house is lined with giant live oak trees.  Just what you would expect in a southern plantation.  The canopy of trees provided a tunnel for the breezes off of the Cane River to flow down into the open windows of the house.


I also learned that these first Creole plantation owners drank a lot of French wine.  They used the empty bottles to line their flower gardens.  Many of these bottles are from the early 1800’s.  So I guess recycling isn’t really a new thing.  Winking smile


I walked some of the grounds, but although my hip doesn’t hurt one bit, my stamina isn’t what it was before the surgery yet.  I need to figure out some lower back exercises.  Any ideas out there?

I also stopped at the Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery on the way back to the rig, but the only part open was a small aquarium featuring local river, lake, and pond species.  I had forgotten that most FWS staff don’t work on the weekends, so the ponds with the fish they were growing were closed to entry.

I have a long, for me, drive coming up tomorrow to get to the Maumelle COE campground outside of Little Rock, Arkansas.  In all my years of traveling with a trailer or motorhome, I’ve always turned off the fridge while driving.  As Emma and I were sitting outside this evening, I got to wondering about my small converter.  Since I have a residential fridge now that only operates on electric, could I use the converter to keep it running while I drive down the road?  This is the first rig I’ve had with an inverter, and I do next to no boondocking, so I really haven’t used it.  With the small solar panel on the roof that charges the batteries, and running the engine, won’t that be enough charge to keep it running for six hours or so?  The temps are likely to be in the 80’s for my travel day.  Don’t know why I haven’t thought about this before.  I would appreciate any input from those of you that know about inverters.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Friday, April 26, 2013

I picked a gem to stay at my first night out

I was up at the crack of dawn ready to head on my way from Premiere RV.  There were supposed to be just a few minor details to be taken care of before I left.  My plan was to head out a little before 9:00.  Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans.

It turns out that there were real issues with finding new windshield wipers for the rig.  Who would have guessed that?  Then there was the vacuuming out of the air from the reluctant to work dash air conditioner.  It had been worked on yesterday, but there was another process to do that took a while, and then there was a test drive to make sure everything was working.  I’m not complaining about the attention to detail at Billy Thibodeaux’s, but I was just anxious to be out of there. 

It was noon before I could finally pull out.  I generally leave a place soon after rush hour because I tend to get drowsy driving in the afternoon.  Thank goodness, for some reason, I’d chosen a campground only about 170 miles away for the day’s travel.  After all the packing up and delays of the morning, I was more than ready to pull off of the road shortly after 3:00.

I had made a reservation last night at a place that was mostly well reviewed on the internet.  What a beauty of a spot it is!

72 On the way to Tamarac NWR, MN 20132If you ever find yourself about 17 miles north of Natchitoches, LA, on I-49, I’d recommend a stay at this Passport America park.  It’s only .3 miles off of the interstate, but it’s a really relaxing small RV park.  There are plenty of long pull-throughs and it was $18.42/night.  There are only 27 sites, but tonight there are only five rigs here.


After setting up, I took Emma for a walk, and this padded bench swing was calling my name.  It overlooks the private pond where you can fish (catch and release) without a license.  The lady in the motorhome next to me spent the late afternoon catching and releasing quite a few fish.  If I had a pole, I would have given it a go.

72 On the way to Tamarac NWR, MN 20131

While I was swinging away, Emma enjoyed a good roll in the grass.  I guess she’s as glad to be out of the gravel repair shop parking lot as I am.  Winking smile  I paid for two nights here, so I’ll be doing some local visiting tomorrow.  Since I’ve never done it, I suppose I should tour a plantation.  It’s not something I’ve been dying to do, but I’ll probably sneak in a visit to a National Fish Hatchery along with it.  I’ll be taking my time heading to Tamarac NWR as I believe they still have a couple of feet of snow on the ground there.  I think I’m allergic to snow.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Dear Hubs, the other day when it was pouring down rain, you drove from across town just to pick me up and take me to class so I didn't have to walk in the rain. It's the small things that make me fall in love all over again. Dear Sunshine, so nice of you to finally join us. Stay a bit won't you? 
Dear Zeke, you have this new habit of whenever hubs and I argue, you run from the other room and sit on my lap. This could either mean a) you're telling me I'm too loud and need to calm down or b) you're taking my side. I choose to believe the latter.
Excuse the blurry photo. He likes to sit sideways in his basket and rock back & forth.
Dear Jjimjilbang (Korean bath house), after avoiding you for two years, a few friends and I finally braved the awkwardness of being neked in front of a bunch of Koreans and went to the bath house. Best.thing.ever. (more details to come!) Dear Friend, I'm so excited that I actually get to use my fashion major this weekend! Can't wait to play stylist in your closet! Dear Readers, I really want to answer back to each and every one of your sweet comments but I can't reply to some because you're no-reply commentors. Dear Friend, the day before you left Korea you let me and another friend cut and buzz all of your hair off. You're my hero. I think every woman has been tempted to do this at one point or another and you actually did it! And might I add, you look like a bad-a.

Happy weekend friends! Hope the good weather sticks around so we can enjoy the outdoors and possibly go relax in our hammock to soak in the sun!

Linking up with AshleyJeanLaurenKerryChrissyKenzie

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Place to Rest Your Head & Stuff Your Face

Those are the two most important things on a trip right? While hotels don't make or break a trip for us, it's always an added perk when we actually look forward to going back to our room at night (because trust me, we've had many a times in our budget traveling that we tried to spend as much time out of the room as possible). Thankfully Chiang Mai was not one of those times.

We typically gravitate away from large chains when we travel and instead look for small, locally run boutique hotels. We feel that we can get to know the hotel staff more personally and not be as segregated from the culture of the country we are visiting. In Chiang Mai we really lucked out in this department because Qi68 was by far my favorite hotel we have stayed at. The owner Qi really makes this place stand out. He goes out of his way to help the guests make the most out of their stay in Thailand by helping find unique restaurants in the area and help book local day trips. And that's not even the best part. Qi also makes some of the best breakfasts I have ever eaten. Every morning, hubs would turn to me and ask if I could replicate it back home. The answer was always 'I wish, dear.' because each dish served every morning was so unique and different. I wish I would have grabbed some photos of them but it was gone before the thought ever crossed my mind!
chiang mai thailand
This six room guesthouse's ambiance is so peaceful and every element and piece of furniture was handpicked by Qi and his father when they built it. Staying here was one of the many highlights from our trip to Chiang Mai and we wouldn't hesitate staying there again when we visit.
chiang mai thailand
Another one of our favorite things about Chiang Mai was the food! No surprises there. We loved walking around the small backstreets and deciding where we would try next. The only trouble was deciding where to eat since the streets are often lined with unique little spots.
Among our favorites was the outdoor stands located at the night bazaar (good food to give you energy for some good bargaining). We went around from stand to stand collecting little parts of a meal (pad thai, Thai tea, dumplings) before we sat down at the little plastic tables in the middle of the square and dug in.
chiang mai thailand
Here are some more of our favorite restaurants to try and what we loved there:
Rachadamneon-Green Curry
Ms. Cornery-Fish and Chips
The Corner Restaurant- Banana Egg Rolls (our favorite dessert along with the roti pancakes!)
The Good View- this was our favorite restaurant. It's located just north of the Nawarat Bridge. Not only was the food great but the views of the river were spectacular and they even had live music at night. I recommend getting the green curry and the Thai tea.
What was your favorite hotel experience? Or better yet, any horror stories out there?