November 2006

Yipes!  Where did November go!  For the past three years, we’ve been the November campground hosts at Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville, Alabama.  We were on duty from 5 to 9 pm each evening, checking in late arrivals.  Daytimes, we were free to be out and about. 

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Our "host site" (left) is the largest campsite in the campground but people wanting campsites always knew where to find us.  Monte Sano also has rustic cabins that were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the 1930s as part of a program that helped the United States deal with the great depression.  The cabins offer a beautiful view of the valley below.

The campground host site at the state park is the largest host site we’ve ever seen.  It is set off the road, is surrounded by trees and lots of wildlife (birds, squirrels, chipmunks, deer, raccoons, and skunks).  It has a long wide driveway with plenty of parking for our visitors, and a shed we can use to store our bikes and stuff while we are there.  We are close to several of the hiking trails at the state park and less than a ¼ mile from an overlook with the valley below.  From that overlook we had a stunning view of the valley and of the leaves turning colors on the surrounding hills.  Life is good on the mountain in November.

For those of you new to reading about our travels, we retired from Huntsville in 2003 and return each year to take care of our annual medical, vision and dental appointments.  Even Shelley gets to visit with her friends at Whitworth Animal Clinic for her annual checkup. We lived in the Huntsville area for over 15 years and developed some wonderful relationships with our health care professionals and their staffs.  Unless we have emergencies during the year that we handle wherever we are at the time, we take care of our routine appointments when we get back to Huntsville.  Icing on the cake is that we have a month to visit with our friends still in the area.

We won’t bore you with the details of all our appointments.  Suffice it to say, our days were filled with going to one healthcare professional or another throughout the month.  We’ve survived our monthly battery of tests – the fulltime lifestyle must be agreeing with us.  We’re good to go for another year!

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Members of the local dulcimer clubs performed during the Sorghum Festival at Burritt on the Mountain.

We made a quick visit to the Burritt Museum located on Monte Sano.  We wanted to catch some members of the local dulcimer clubs as they performed in one of the old museum buildings.  The day was cold but their lively playing and the fire in the hearth helped to warm things up

Friends Deb and Neil, Ron and Linda, Gail and Andrew, Teri, Randy and Debbie came up to join us for either dinner or dessert (or both!) over several evenings during the month.  We met Tom and Jane for a delightful lunch at Victoria’s Café one Saturday afternoon; Lucille met her former coworker Mickey and his friend Cheryl at Green Hills Grille for lunch one day; we enjoyed Donato’s Pizza (one of our favorite pizza places that is slowly adding franchises across the country) with Deb and Neil our last Sunday in the area. 

And of course Sheila and friend Valerie came up for dinner.  Sheila, again, lent us her shiny black pickup truck.  This is the third year she has done this for us.  As noted earlier, we have a lot of appointments to attend to during the month which means a lot of running  around.  The smaller truck is much easier to get around in and certainly a lot cheaper to fill up.  Thanks, again, Sheila!

Sonny and Janice, Monte Sano campground hosts that precede us in October, moved to a regular site for week or so after they finished hosting.  Janice is a wonderful organizer – while they were still there, she organized a potluck cookout, with the state park paying for the burgers and dogs as a thank you to the park’s employees and volunteers.  One crisp fall evening, she hosted a soup, chili and beans potluck supper that really hit the spot.

RVing friends Ron and Penny, whom we’d met at Monte Sano in 2005 and we saw again this summer in Connecticut, spent a couple of weekends camping at the state park.  Ron’s job had him temporarily in the Huntsville area – it was interesting to hear of their recent trip to the Maritimes.  Russ and Freda, RVing friends we recently saw in Branson, Missouri, stopped in for a few days on their way back from eastern Tennessee.  We shared several meals with them, including a last minute Thanksgiving Day breakfast, maybe starting a new tradition!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we joined Ron and Linda at their home for a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.  Several of our Huntsville area friends have extended holiday invitations to us, so we've taken turns each year at their respective holiday celebrations.  

Helene and Bill came up for a quick visit.  Helene is a spunky 70-plus years young RVer that we first met at Huntsville's Space and Rocket Center RV Park in 2003.  She’s been an inspiration during our travels, giving us plenty of tips about neat places to visit, even passing on some of her treasured maps.  She has decided to hang up her keys and has put her Class C up for sale.  Her fridge wasn’t working so she asked Larry to look at it.  She brought the rig up to Monte Sano so he could work on it during the daytime.  He soon got it fixed and running, and then winterized her rig, before moving it to one of the sites that the state park rents out for storage.  If you’re in the Huntsville area and are looking for a small motor home, check out site #31.  Her contact info is in the window.  

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The Huntsville Depot served railroad passengers from 1860 through 1968.  The passenger waiting room has been restored to a previous era.  Note the benches with their armrests.  Actually the armrests were added on to discourage people from sleeping on the benches.  Previous to this restoration there were separate waiting rooms for the men and women.  Seems the men would occasionally miss the spittoon and the ladies with their floor length dresses did not want to drag their hems through that mess.  The upper right photo shows a locomotive on a turntable.  The turntable would turn to allow the locomotive to enter an empty service bay in the roundhouse.  The photos on the lower right show two of the vehicles that have been restored at the old car dealership building;  other restorations are in progress.

With all the appointments we had, the only sightseeing we got in was a trip to the Huntsville Depot, part of the EarlyWorks Museum Complex. 

November came rushing to an end.   Cold weather, maybe even snow, was forecast for the first of December--time to head south!

Coming up:  Mayport Naval Station, in Jacksonville, Florida, before continuing on to Palm Bay, Florida, where we’ll spend the holidays with Lucille’s family.

 

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