2018: Nov 18-24

Chilly air and cloudy skies cannot dampen the atmosphere in Nashville. While many people were grabbing Black Friday deals at the stores, Russ and I took advantage of having family “puppy-sit” Abbey and Billie and we set off to explore.

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Exploring Downtown Nashville

We started off on 4th street and initially planned on visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame. We got a bit distracted as we hit South Broadway as music flowing from each establishment lured us into store after store. I believe Russ was thankful that we live in our Little Guy Max with our limited space or we would have been walking home with armloads of shopping bags! Even window shopping can be exhausting and we quickly  worked up an appetite. We came upon Jason Aldean’s Kitchen and Rooftop Bar and had lunch. Russ learned to never walk away before giving his drink order 😉

Jason Aldeans

South Broadway at night is like a cowboy’s Vegas. Flashing lights, music and crowds galore. We met up with my sister and her husband for dinner at Rodizio Brazilian Steakhouse. They had all been here before, but it was my first time. Upon arrival, we were given a wooden stick with a green block on one end and a red block on the other and instructed to set it with the green block up to keep the servers coming, the red block up to take a break and to lie it on its side when you are ready for the check. With the “meat faucet” set to green, about every 2 minutes server after server approached our table with a different type of expertly prepared steak, chicken, ham, pork, or fish. They shave it off a giant skewer right at your table. There are side dishes available at a buffet station – but I never made it that far. I did, however, save room for dessert (priorities!!!). The chocolate cake was heavenly….

Russ
Long lost relative, Russ?

We could not go to Nashville without seeking out Antique Archaeology. I am guilty of bingeing American Pickers from time to time. It’s located in a really cool building with a lot of shops. There is limited paid parking across the street but the downtown trolleys also stop there. We walked by the storefront at first, as did a bunch of other people as we all wound up wandering around the interior of the Marathon building. Access to Antique Archaeology is from the exterior but it is easy to miss. If you go, it is located right next door to Bang Candy Co (which makes amazing peanut butter fudge, by the way). Inside Antique Archaeology, we saw many items that we have seen on the tv shows. They have a lot of merchandise such as mugs, tshirts, hats, etc with their logo on it for sale as well.

Antique Archaeology
Antique Archaeology in Nashville

The highlight of the week though was Thanksgiving. Russ and I have spent many years far away from family during the holidays so it was extra special to be here. A full house, lots of food and we even had sunshine – what more can you ask for!

Until next week –

Kerry

How we check the torque on our Little Guy Max and the tools we use

As we mentioned in VLOG #10 we put together a video on how to check your torque on the Little Guy Max. We have seen online that people were wondering what tools to get and whether or not you had to have a lot of upper body strength to do it.  This video will show you what tools we use and I even stepped in and gave it a shot – very easy, trust me!

UPDATE 11/25/2018: We followed the directions as outlined in our 2018 User Manual setting torque to 110-120 ft/lbs. It has been brought to our attention that in an August bulletin, it recommends 100 ft/lbs. We have an inquiry into Liberty Outdoors and are waiting for verification on the right setting and will update here as soon as we hear back.

UPDATE 11/30/2018: Liberty Outdoors responded to my request and said they have updated their instructions and you should set your torque wrench to 100 ft/lbs.

Watch the video and we will put links to the tools below. Let us know if you have any questions!

3/8 Inch Drive 20ft lb to 100 ft lb click Torque Wrench

Kobalt 337834 3/8-Inch Drive x 13/16-Inch Spark Plug Socket

Kobalt 337350 3/8-Inch Drive x 3 inch long wobble extension bar

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How to make super easy garlic mashed potatoes in your InstantPot

I don’t know why,  but making mashed potatoes was always a weak point for me. They either came out like mush or paste. Being the stubborn person that I am, I didn’t give up trying and I have finally found a foolproof recipe that has already received rave reviews and will be gracing the table this Thanksgiving for sure!  I do have to give a shout out to my husband for the many years of being my official taste tester.

To make this incredibly easy recipe, gather together the following:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 7lbs of potatoes
  • 1/4 C butter
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 6 C water

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Peel and wash your potatoes
  2. Slice potatoes (about 1/2″ thick) and place into your InstantPot
  3. Add water
  4. Place InstantPot cover on unit and lock in place, make sure the vent is closed. Set on High Pressure or Manual (depending on your unit) for 8 minutes.
  5. Immediately vent after timer cycle ends. When steam is finished, open cover and strain out the water.
  6. Add in butter, milk, sour cream, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix to desired consistency.

That’s it!! Clean up was a breeze and cooking this in any kitchen will be a snap. This typically takes me about 30 minutes from start to finish.

NOTES:

  • If you cut the recipe in half, the cook time will remain the same.
  • Make sure to immediately vent and strain after cooking or the potatoes will become overcooked and turn to mush.

 Buy your InstantPot on Amazon now!

Disclaimer: We are Amazon Affiliates and by clicking on our links and purchasing items we may receive a small percentage from the purchase price of your item (no additional cost to you). Funds go directly help support our channel – thank you so much for your support!

2018: Nov 11-17

STOP #1: Jack Daniels Distillery, 133 Lynchburg Hwy, Lynchburg TN

Russ has been looking forward to this part of our travels for a long time as he finally gets to visit the Jack Daniel’s Distillery!  Russ was able to take the Angel’s Share tour – a 90 minute in-depth tour of the distillery which included a tasting of 5 of their signature whiskeys. Russ showed amazing restraint and didn’t buy his favorite, the  Sinatra Select but after hearing him rave about it, my curiosity is piqued and someone may just get it for Christmas just so I can try it too!

Tours run every day 9am- 4:30pm **Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Day and Easter**

STOP #2:  We arrived safe and sound at my father’s property in Hartsville, TN. After getting all set up, we ran into a bit of an issue as the cold weather dipped below 30. The furnace started blowing cold air and nothing in the manual helped. Thanks once again to members on Facebook, Russ found the reset switch and got us up and running!

STOP #3:  Mending Fences Cowboy Church  https://www.mfcctn.org/

We were honored to be invited to the Mending Fences Cowboy Church on Veteran’s Day. Words cannot really capture how wonderful an experience this was! Please watch the video…that song gets me every time!

We’re just getting starting in Tennessee so keep an eye out next Saturday for Part II of our Tennessee Travels!

2018: Nov 4-10

This week we started out leaving Baton Rouge but started a bit later than expected. Being able to stop and rest when you are tired is one of the great advantages to traveling with your RV. We knew we were too tired to safely make it to our campsite so we pulled into a truck stop just off the freeway, asked management if we could park for a few hours and grabbed some much-needed rest before moving on. [youtube 

FIRST STOP: Rose Hill Cemetary, 8th St and 40th Ave, Meridian, Mississippi

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Grave of Kelly Mitchell, The Gypsy Queen

On our way to Oak Mountain State Park, we passed through Meridian, Mississippi and stopped by the Grave of the Gypsy Queen. This grave of a Romany leader is hard to miss – it will be the one at the top of the hill, adorned with beads, trinkets and other offerings. When Gypsy Queen Kelly Mitchell passed away in 1915 due to complications resulting from childbirth, more than 20,000 people traveled to come and pay their respect.  Rumors that the coffin was made of gold and that gold coins were buried within the coffin resulted in the gravesite being disturbed on numerous occasions by grave robbers. It has since been reinforced with better materials and still attracts a fair number of visitors every year. Given our new nomadic lifestyle, we felt a bit like kindred spirits and felt that we had to visit ourselves. Legend has it that if you leave Queen Kelly a trinket, she will come to you in your dreams and solve all of your problems. Russ and I both left a small token but neither of us has seen her yet 😉 SECOND STOP:   Oak Mountain State Park (Campground) 33.3644572,-86.7081025

Teddy at Oak Mountain State Park
Our Little Guy Max “Teddy” at Oak Mountain State Park
Abbey in Oak Mountain State Park
Abbey loving our walks at Oak Mountain State Park

We lucked out and arrived during the peak of their fall foliage display! Oh, how I have missed the smell of autumn. I have included the GPS coordinates above to help get you directly to the campsite check-in office. Our navigation system directed us to the back gate, but I would recommend taking the front gate – especially if you have a big rig. The road to the back gate has a lot of low hanging trees and has a lot of sharp twists and turns. In addition, the back gate closes at 6pm whereas the front gate is open 24 hours. We stayed here for several days. During our time in the area, Russ met up with a friend – Brandon from Adventure Archaeology  Brandon lives in a nearby town and took Russ on his first bottle dig and let me tell you, Russ is so lucky I did not tag along on this one. They dug a hole more than 10 feet deep and I was a nervous wreck watching their video footage! The following day, they went metal detecting and while they didn’t find much they did find some really cool arrowheads. If you are interested in seeing their time “treasure hunting” – you can check out the videos here THIRD STOP: Largest Statue of Liberty Replica  33.4822465,-86.7072872

Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty Replica in Alabama

Standing at 1/5th the size of the original, Alabama has it’s very own Statue of Liberty, located in Liberty Park. Just a quick stop off of the highway it was a nice place to stop and have lunch. There is a parking lot but not incredibly big. FOURTH STOP:  Heflin, Alabama Cane Creek RV Park We stayed in Heflin for several days as well and had the opportunity to meet up with Heath from Treasure Mountain Detectors and Scott for some metal detecting in the area. Abbey enjoyed romping through the cotton fields and Russ found a 54 caliber mini ball and 1813 musket ball found in an area Andrew Jackson’s troops fought during the Creek War.

Abbey in Cotton Fields
Abbey in the cotton fields

ISSUE #1 While in Heflin, we had a bit of trouble-shooting to do as well. On a morning where the outside temperature dropped to 37 degrees, we woke to a very chilly trailer. Russ went and checked the propane and realized it was empty. He ran down to a gas station that was close by and exchanged our tank for a new one and hooked us back up. Before he went out with Heath for the day, he asked me to check on the propane tank throughout the morning because he thought there was still a smell surrounding the tank. Everything seemed to be working fine, but when I checked on it a short time later, I noticed the smell he mentioned. It wasn’t incredibly strong but as I pulled my hand away, it hit the hose that connects the tank to the trailer, at which time I heard a loud hiss. I couldn’t see any obvious tears or bubbles so I grabbed a cup of soapy water and poured it over the area. Immediately I saw bubbles right along the area where the hose meets the metal. Now that the problem was identified, Russ went in search of a replacement hose. There was a Camping World close by but it didn’t open for several hours, so Russ went to Lowe’s. Then he went back to Lowe’s. Then to Camping World. Lesson of the day: either take the part you need to replace with you or make sure you get the right size the first time!

Lowes
Russ on one of his many trips to Lowe’s today!

ISSUE #2 Still reveling in fixing the propane tank situation, we realized we were celebrating a bit too soon. Coming back from a walk, we noticed the SmartJack blinking. Russ finally fixed the “flux capacitor” by taking the cover off of the back of the unit, unplugging it and plugging it back in again. We don’t know what caused it, but just in case it was due to water entering through the touchpad, we now cover it (albeit with a plastic bag) and are looking into buying something that looks a bit more attractive. Not that we want any more issues, but there is a sense of pride and accomplishment when we figure out issues when they arise. Russ is proving to be quite the handyman now!! NEXT: On our way to Tennessee!

2018: Oct 28-Nov 3

As you travel along I-10E from Texas into Louisiana, it is hard to miss signs for boudin balls and cracklin’s.  Sign after sign touts that theirs is the best. I didn’t have a clue as to what either one was – I had to google it.  By the time we arrived in Baton Rouge, the billboards had done their job. We would not be leaving Louisiana before we tried some.

But before we get there….

Russ and I were so proud of ourselves! Hitching up Teddy to the truck gets easier every time we do it.

The ride into Baton Rouge was beautiful. The sun was out and a fortuitous traffic delay allowed us to get off the freeway and take an alternate route that led us down picturesque pathways.

Byways of Louisiana
Taken from a bridge in Rosedale, LA
Henderson Lake
On the I-10E passing Henderson Lake, LA

Another detour just off the freeway in Beaumont, Texas was to see a massive fire hydrant. This wound up being a part of the Fire Museum of Texas. Wynell (a.k.a. the nicest woman in Beaumont!), came down from her office in the museum to check out our Teddy. Russ gave her a tour and she reciprocated by bringing him into the museum and even introduced him to the Captain who had just finished up a school tour.

The museum is free (donations welcomed) and only two minutes off the freeway. There are several parking lots close by and we had no problem finding a spot to fit our rig. Definitely worth a stop if you are close by.

Note: The Fire Museum of Texas is located at 400 Walnut St in Beaumont, Texas and is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Abbey and Billie’s favorite spot so far!

While in Baton Rouge, we stayed at the Baton Rouge KOA. We splurged and ordered pizza from Papa Johns one night – which was delivered right to our door! Can that be done at all campgrounds? It will be fun finding out.

A friend in the area, EJ, gave us a few recommendations on some things to see. Here are some pictures and there is more in the video (at the top of the post – if you didn’t watch it yet, check it out!).

Boudin Balls – Boudin is a pork sausage made with rice and seasoning usually stuffed into a casing. For boudin balls, they remove the casing, roll it into balls and deep fry them. 

Our first try to get them was a bust. The location made them, but only for their catering menu. We did, however, get to try alligator there!

Our second try was a success. It was served with some type of horseradish sauce. Russ liked it but I preferred mine without the sauce. They were good! Russ was also able to try straight-up boudin when he went out metal detecting for an afternoon with EJ and he said the boudin was amazing. Oh! And cracklin’s? I found out those are pork rinds!

Russ was also able to get out and go metal detecting with EJ and Dwayne (a.k.a. Yoda). If you want to see their “hunt” check out this vid below!