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WEDNESDAY - We were up and out of the Bass Pro Shops parking lot before 8:00AM, a full hour before they open for business and could possibly need the 8 parking spaces we were occupying.

We didn't have far to go before we reached our only stop for the day. A short 7½-miles across Mobile Bay is the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park.

Since 1965 it has been the permanent home for the Historic Battleship. Also the park is home to the USS Drum, a Navy submarine that can also be toured inside. We ran out of time during this visit and will have to save that for next time.

We spent a total of five hours here. The first 2½-hours Tricia toured around the grounds here taking photos while I worked on getting out the previous days blogpost prepared. Then we ate lunch in THE POD before heading up and into the USS Alabama battleship to get a look at the inside.



The USS Alabama as seen from US-90 and a half mile away.

That's quite the welcome sign they have here.

A closer look at the USS Alabama from the end of the fishing pier.

That's a pretty intimidating view wouldn't you say?

Tricia took these photos while I worked on the blogpost.

One of several WWII tanks on display here.

This B-52 bomber's wingspan is so wide...

...they have to install retractable landing gear on the wingtips.

This Coast Guard plane looked to be in good enough shape to have been flown in here.

The blogpost and lunch are done and we've finally both climbed aboard the battleship.

Here you can see some of the original decking along side the new wood being installed.

This is the ship's Chaplin's quarters and scared the you know what out of Tricia
when she first peeked inside the window.

Here the enlisted men sleep on bunks stacked four high from floor to ceiling.

This is one of the Junior Officer's quarters.

This is the Captain's quarters when they are in port...

...and this is the Captain's quarters when they are at sea.
It's located just outside of the bridge deck.

Inside this heavily armoured chamber is the Battle Bridge
where the Captain can give orders while under enemy engagement.

It's quite a view from the bridge deck...

...but there is still a lot to see up above this level.

This is as high up as they allow you to go on the ship.

The USS Drum will have to wait until our next visit to be explored.

We spent so much time here that we never made it to our campsite destination and had to settle for a Cracker Barrel parking lot in the town of Slidell, LA.

We didn't want to arrive in the dark and try to back into a State Park campsite, so we drove until sunset and found this FREE place to park. It's not all bad, because they open at 7:00AM and I hear they have an excellent breakfast menu.

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MONDAY - Bright and early this morning we packed down camp and headed north on Interstate 65 for 167-miles to arrive back at Airstream Nuts & Bolts.

Why? I'm glad you asked! Because today our new refrigerator is finally scheduled to be delivered.

For the last 9-days we've been without a fridge and living out of a medium sized ice cooler, but that should all change by tonight.

We arrived back at Ronnie's shop just before noon, where I immediately unhooked from THE POD and left Tricia behind. I have another mission to accomplish today and that's to get my laptop's keyboard and speakers replaced.

The keyboard has been losing the ability to type certain letters, a new one or two each day it seems. It started a few weeks ago with the left shift key, not a big deal, right? There's another one on the right side of the keyboard that still works just fine.

Then it was the "C" key that went missing. That makes it a little more difficult to do a "copy and paste" procedure, something I do often while generating these blog posts. I developed a "work around" for that by doing a "cut and paste" (command X, no "C" needed) and immediately replace what it was that I cut. That wasn't fun, but it got the job done.

Then the clincher came! The "G" key quit working and the first letter of the password to access my laptop is guess what, that's right "G". So now I'm locked out of my computer!

One thing I don't think I mentioned about our visit last week with Ronnie was that Tricia had dropped new cellphone and cracked the front screen. I took it to the only electronics repair business in Dadeville, AL and they ordered the part and for a mere $325 we got it fixed.

While I was there I asked about getting my keyboard and speakers replaced on my 11-year old laptop. Once again the parts would have to be ordered and I told them I wouldn't be back until after Thanksgiving to have the repair done. I'm so glad I did!

My repair cost was only $135, not too bad considering I purchased the laptop used for $499 several years ago to replace my 2008 laptop when the screen finally quit working. Thanks to "Get Ur Fix" in Dadeville, AL we are back to working full strength to bring you all these blogposts.

Anyway, by 8:00PM that night our new fridge was in and working. Ronnie didn't get started on our repair until nearly 6:00PM when he finished working on someone else's trailer that he had in the shop.

We spent the night and around 8:00AM the next morning we settled up by paying our bill and bid farewell to Ronnie for the second time in just 10-days. It was nice to leave that cooler behind! Thanks Ronnie for the loaner.

TUESDAY - Today we have a long drive to make, 261-miles to be exact, plus we have several necessary stops to make.

The first and probably most important is to purchase gasoline. ROVER's computer has been setting off alarms informing me we have only 48-miles worth of gas left in the tank.

Gas prices here in Dadeville, AL are around $2.99 a gallon, but less than 25-miles down the road in Opelika, AL the Walmart is selling gas for $2.61 and I have enough fuel points built up that my price will be $2.51 for the first 20-gallons, that's a $2 savings right there.

After pumping 33.5-gallons into ROVER's tank I figure we saved nearly $15 by going to Walmart for gas this morning. While I was pumping gas Tricia took two of our 3-gallon water bottles into the store and refilled them with fresh drinking water.

STOP #1 complete!

Our next stop was a surprise for Tricia. There is a Buc-cee's gas station in Auburn, AL and Tricia has never been to a Buc-cee's, so I surprised her with a visit to this one.

Here's Tricia holding hands with her new best friend, Buc-cee!

Buc-cee's is much more than just a gas station, it's an experience. They are known for having an excessive amount of gas pumps available, so there is seldom a need to wait at the pump.

This location has well over 50 pumps (sorry no photo) and there was no waiting that I saw because nearly ¾ of them were open while we were there. One thing they are not known for is having the cheapest price though and that's why we filled up at Walmart before arriving here.

They do have a super-sized convenience store, complete with delicious fresh hot and cold food, a wall of coffee with many different flavorings. There is of course an entire gift shop full of Buc-cee souvenir items, plus camping items and during this time of year, Christmas stuff.

We escaped with only a $40 tab, most of that was my $15 2-lb. sample pack of 12 different flavored fudges they make on site.

STOP #2 complete!

This next stop is going to be expensive!

We've had a Costco membership for just over a year now and we seldom get to use it. Today we're going to make good use of it I'm sure.

We tried to empty our fridge of everything except condiments in prearation of getting our new one, so that when the new one is in we'll need to fill it back up again. What better place to do that than Costco?

To make a long story short, an hour and a half later we left Costco after paying our $387 to the cashier. That didn't include our $3.84 lunch we ate at Costco, which included a slice of Cheese Pizza, a Foot Long Hotdog and a soda that we shared.

Just 2-miles down the road from Costco we found a Publix where we filled in all the little gaps of food we needed that just didn't make sense to purchase at Costco. That bill came to $235, but now we have enough food to literally last us until next year!

STOP #3 complete!

This next stop only cost us $13.50 thankfully. Now that we've moved our three hugh solar batteries from the very front of THE POD rearward, to just over the axles, we found a CAT Scale to check just what that means to the tongue weight of the trailer.

The CAT Scale verified that we have indeed taken 220-lbs. off of the rear axle weight on ROVER and placed in on THE POD's axle where it belongs. That's good news and should make it safer moving our combined 16,300 lbs. down the road.

STOP #4 complete!

Our final stop is in Spanish Fort, AL located on the east side of Mobile Bay. It's a Bass Pro Shops location where they allow overnight FREE parking.

Inside of the store they have a huge aquarium filled with huge fish of all kinds, most of their locations have similiar aquariums. This one however has a hidden staircase leading up to the second floor that gives you a bird's eye view of the tank from behind and the rest of the store.

By 8:30PM we were all tucked in a full half hour before closing time. There were two other "overnight" customers parked in the lot with us.

I know that our FREE overnight visit cost us $60 worth of sale items from the clothing rack that Tricia just couldn't live without. I wonder what their FREE overnight visit cost them?

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SUNDAY - Twice before our route has been near this location, but we've never seemed to be able to schedule a visit to this campground.

Well the third time's the charm!

Open Pond Recreation Area is the only campground within the Conecuh National Forest here in Southern Alabama. The last time we were in this area we actually were able to "sneek a peek" of the campground while out driving around in ROVER. That just made it all the more imperative that we actually stay here after we saw first hand how nice it was.

We didn't score a waterfront site, but our rear view is still pretty good.

We made good use of that firepit on Monday night while our guest was still here.

From the moment we arrived here at our campsite we have been seeing a true wildlife anomaly running around the campground.

The rarest "white" Gray Squirrel is a true albino at about 1 in 100,000. They are white in color, but also have red eyes.

This squirrel we have seen running around the campsite is a "white" colored gray squirrel, because it has normal colored brown/black eyes. Still pretty rare, there are a few pockets of them around the country with the closest being in the small town Sopchoppy in Florida, about 200-miles from here.

This white colored one we have here is definitely the dominant squirrel in the park, we've seen it successfully chasing all the other grey squirrels away from it's territory.

Our neighbors firepit must have some food scraps laying around it.

Notice the dark colored eyes.

The squirrel just finished burying an acorn and is now covering it up with leaves.

MONDAY - This morning Tricia and Heather did what they normally do, got out of bed, dressed warmly and headed out to take their morning "walk & talk".

Typically they would agree on what time, then one would call the other on the phone, then they would each walk around their respective neighborhood. Heather would walk around her neighborhood in Jacksonville, FL and Tricia would walk around wherever we were camping that day.

Today was different! They both still got out of bed and dresssed warmly, but there would be no phone call today, because Heather was here, camping with us! She took time off of work and spent four nights with us, but will be returning home on Wednesday to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with her family.

While walking this morning Tricia took the following photos around the shoreline of Open Pond.

A view of the campground from the opposite side of the pond.

A lone Bald Cypress tree on the current edge of the pond.

A large oak tree gives plenty of shade to this "day use" picnic area.

Notice the destinctive "waterline" on the center tree in this photo. YES, the pond is that low.

Tonight we're going to have a campfire, something we rarely do! We usually save campfire nights strictly for entertaining guests, which is exactly what we're doing tonight.

TUESDAY - Today the forecast calls for rain! That's exactly what we got, on and off, all day long.

The high and low temperatures for the day dropped 15°F from the day before as the weather front moved through the area.

By dinnertime we all were going a little stir crazy with a bad case of cabin fever, so we piled into Heather's car and drove 22-miles into town to have dinner at David's Catfish House and Gulf Seafood.

This restaurant was chosen basically so I could sample their "All You an Eat" Catfish and Poporn Shrimp Dinner offering. Neither Tricia, nor Heather, enjoy seafood all that much.

I of course ordered the "All You Can Eat" option and Heather ordered a Hamburger Steak Dinner. Neither of us were all that impressed with our meal. I definitely didn't take advantage of the "All You an Eat" feature of my meal and barely made it through the first plate of food.

Tricia was very happy with her Pork Chop Dinner, so keep that in mind if you find yourself at any 1 of their 11 different locations in Southern Alabama and the Western Panhandle of Florida.

I almost never order "meat" at a seafood restaurant, but this time I wish I had!

WEDNESDAY - This morning after breakfast it was time to bid farewell to Heather so she could make the 5-hour drive back home to spend the Thanksgiving Holiday with her family.

Shortly after she left I jumped into ROVER and headed 7.5-miles towards the Florida border where I found the nearest location to purchase "ice cubes". We are still living out of a cooler and it requires ice about every two days.

FRIDAY - Our two days are up and it's time to refresh our ice cubes again!

Instead of just going out to get ice, we included a little bit of a sightseeing tour on today's outing.

A short 22-miles from our campsite here in Alabama is the "highest natural point" in the state of Florida. Notice I emphasized "natural", because I'm sure that most of the municipal trash collection locations around the state, affectionately known as "Mount Trashmore", are taller than 345 feet in elevation.

We were glad to see there was no trash surrounding this high point in Lakewood Park.

A few "Fun Facts" about Florida's High Point:

1) It's location in Lakewood Park is called Britton Hill, named after William Henry Britton, the lumber baron who developed the area in the early 1900s.
2) Florida's "High Point" is higher than 16 state's "Low Point", most of them being in the midwest and western U.S.
3) You won't be surprised to learn that Florida's High Point is the lowest of all 50 states, only Delaware comes close at 448 feet.

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