Back to the blog

An Albertosaurus looms over the exhibition floor at the Royal Terrell Museum near Calgary, Alberta. Of all the dinosaur museums we visited, this was the most “wow”-inspiring place.

A new hip, a new trailer and a new year. It’s amazing how life keeps happening whether you blog about it or not.

Yes, after spending much of the first year of retirement hobbling about on a failing hip joint, I went back to my favorite orthopedic surgeon and completed my set of artificial hips. Everything is working well, or so it seems, and Vicki and I started the year with a gym membership to work on reducing weight and getting stronger. Five days a week so far, faithfully, and we see some progress. 

Vicki gets ready to head to the gym from our site in Livingston, Texas. This is the new iteration of our R-Pod travel trailer. Smaller and lighter. We hope to emulate it.

As for the trailer, we downsized again! Can you imagine? Not going into details, because the details about our trailer and the fact we tow with a minivan just seems to bring out the trolls. We did replace the R-Pod 178 with a lighter, smaller R-Pod 171. No slide, which reduces the things that can fail, but we gave up a lot of space. Still, we fit. Mostly.

The time off also got me thinking about the direction of the blog. I had thought at one point that I wanted to do a travelogue. But there are many other people who do it far better than me. If our target audience is friends and family, and primarily our own memories, there is a better goal, and one that should be easier to hit: Things that make us go “Wow!”

The display at the entrance to the Royal Terrell set the scene for the museum with a life-size presentation of the creatures and environment that produced the key bone bed of fossils.

There are plenty of those in this great country of ours, and in our neighbor to the north. We saw a lot of them in 2022’s journey to the Badlands and then the Montana Dinosaur Trail and Canada and Yellowstone, but most have gone unshared.

I can fix that.

For the first three months of the year, we will be in the Escapees Club park in Livingston, Texas. That’s where we hit the gym and save some money by staying in one spot for a month at a time, compared to changing commercial RV parks every two or three days following the dinosaur trail.

During this time, I plan to post photos and brief descriptions of some of the things that made us go wow last year. 

This year, we are thinking of starting our travels with the Civil Rights Trail, plus some other bits of Southern history. Some will be uncomfortable. One of the places on our list is the Whitney Plantation west of New Orleans. Unlike other plantations that celebrate Antebellum belles and their hoop skirts, Whitney remembers instead the harshness of slavery. One feature is the Field of Angels, dedicated to and naming the 2,200 children who died in slavery in St. John the Baptist Parish alone from the 1820s through the 1860s. The names were preserved not by the census or other government action, but by the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

The history of slavery was whitewashed, so to speak, when we were kids growing up in Arkansas. We want to see the rest of the story.

3 thoughts on “Back to the blog

  1. Excellent plans, Phil and Vicki. Sharon and I took ourselves on a driving tour of civil rights locations across the South in the late 1990s after watching the entire “Eyes on the Prize” series — the original and the follow-up in later years — on VHS tapes we checked out from the Tulsa Public Library. I highly recommend finding it on your favorite streaming service and watching it before your trip. But, of course, a lot more material on civil rights history is out there now, so take your choice, but do watch something like that. Just know that “Eyes on the Prize” is still excellent, and having seen it will make seeing those sites in person so much more meaningful.

    Glad you have a matching set of hips now, Phil. Y’all take care!


  2. We learn a lot more about the civil rights movement and the history behind it as we traveled around the south. Then learned even more that that movement about Indian maltreatment as we traveled north. Hope you guys are enjoying life more and moving easier these days!


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