RV Life – Year 3 – Dixie Spring

Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year 3 - Dixie Spring
Magnolia blooms reach skyward for soothing rays.

Spring in the Southern USA displays some of nature’s most beautiful blooms.

Iconic flora fills the meadows and forests, proclaiming the arrival of a Dixie Spring.

Our third spring season of the RV Life carried us through Florida and Alabama on the way back to our Tennessee homebase. Iconic flora of the Deep South, like Hydrangea, Azalea, Magnolia, Camellia, and Dogwood filled the senses with an array of color and aroma, announcing the Dixie Spring.

Dixie is a traditional term used to describe the southern USA. The true origins and meaning of the term is often debated, but it is typically associated with two well-known land surveyors from the 1760s; Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon.

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Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year 3 - Dixie Spring
Many believe that the name Jeremiah Dixon inspired the term “Dixie“.

Charles & Jeremiah established a boundary in Colonial America as part of a border dispute resolution involving Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

Ever since, this boundary has been known as the Mason-Dixon Line.

As a result of the 1820 Missouri Compromise, the Mason-Dixon Line formed a demarcation between northern free states and southern slave states.

Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year 3 - Dixie Spring
It has changed over the years, but this 1909 map by M. E. Garrison shows the 9 U.S. states most often referred to as “Dixieland“.
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In March of 2019 we left our winter spot in Homestead, but we weren’t done with Florida yet. We followed the same route back, traveling across Alligator Alley to Homosassa Springs. We wanted see our good friends Mike and Terri again in New Port Richey.

We parked at the Nature’s Resort RV Park and visited some favorite spots again, like Joshua Citrus and Crystal River. We also explored the remnants of the Yulee Plantation, a 19th century sugar mill that is now a Florida Historic State Park.

After Homosassa Springs we moved the rig northward around the Florida Big Bend, continuing west into the Florida Panhandle. Our destination was Freeport, Florida, near Choctawhatchee Bay.

Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year 3 - Dixie Spring
Live Oak Landing in Freeport is one of our favorites.

We parked at the Live Oak Landing, a gorgeous property that we fell in love with right away.

Giant live oaks, tall pines, and towering palms accent this coastal oasis, offering excellent pad sites for RVs of all sizes.

The amenities are plentiful, including cabins, cottages, and an on-property boat launch into Black Creek where you can access Choctawhatchee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

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Close by are some of Florida’s most popular Gulf Coast communities …

We explored these areas thoroughly, enjoying several pleasant beach days. A couple of our favorite spots included; Destin Harborwalk Village and Fort Walton Beach.

One of my favorite memories from Live Oak Landing is the sunrise walks I took around the campground. As beautiful colors spread across the horizon each morning reflecting apricot hues upon the still water, a silky mist rose gracefully into the silent twilight of dawn. It was a sight to behold!

Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year 3 - Dixie Spring
Another masterpiece of Creation. Psalm 111:2
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After Freeport, our next destination on the way home to Nashville was Fort Payne, Alabama. In the northeastern corner of the state this small town is a convenient stopping point about an hour outside of Chattanooga. We stayed at the Wills Creek RV Park.

There was motivation for choosing Fort Payne besides the convenient location. Ever since Cheri heard them on the radio for the first time in 1979, singing I Wanna Come Over, the Alabama band has been her favorite. Fort Payne is home to the founding members of the group, and their Fan Club & Museum is in town.

Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year 3 - Dixie Spring
Alabama cover photo for The Touch album, 1986.

It doesn’t matter that Cheri has visited Fort Payne many times before.

She has toured the museum multiple times, attended June Jam, and even gone to the lead singer’s home (Randy Owen) for Fan Appreciation Weekend, meeting him in-person more than once.

Cheri is a super fan, having attended over 100 concerts, so she’s more than happy to see “her guys” over and over.

I’m not the super fan she is, but I definitely love Alabama’s music. I continue to be amazed by the impressive run they had in the 1980s and 90s, producing 43 straight #1 country songs. Dixieland Delight continues be one of my personal favorites …

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More than just home to the band, Fort Payne, Alabama is a beautiful area. Every time we go, we make a point to visit Little River Canyon and Desoto Falls. Driving along the ridgetop above town provides a bird’s eye view of the lovely Alabama valley. And of course, we always do a drive-by of the Feels So Right ranch and the Old Baugh Road.

While we were parked in the Fort Payne area my company asked me to make another customer site visit. Cheri drove me to the Huntsville International Airport so I could fly to Alexandria, Louisiana. Procter & Gamble operates a plant in the neighboring community of Pineville, producing Fabric Care products.

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When I returned from Alexandria, we moved the Crusader to our usual spot in Tennessee; the Nashville I-24 Campground. Conveniently central to our homebase needs, this campground is only 10 miles away from our storage unit in Murfreesboro.

After a lovely Dixie Spring visiting our favorite people and places around Middle Tennessee we made the trip to our other favorite springtime location; Kansas City. On the road north from Smyrna we traveled along I-24 heading to a half-way point for a one-night stop in Mount Vernon, Illinois at the Archway RV Park. It was somewhere along this route near Hopkinsville, Kentucky that we experienced our first flat tire on the trailer.

Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year 3 - Dixie Spring

It wasn’t immediately noticeable as the tire pressure fell, but eventually it became a strange sensation of “drag”.

It was as if the tuck motor was losing power, so I pulled over to check things out.

Sure enough, one of the rear tires on the Crusader’s tandem axles had gone flat and was on the verge of coming apart!

Thank goodness I was paying attention and stopped before the tire blew out and shredded.

This was a learning moment for us as we contacted our Good Sam RV Roadside assistance line and dispatched a Service Tech. It cost us about 2 hours delay, because we were stopped in a rural Kentucky location far from any towns. The technician finally arrived and installed the spare tire for us. We were off and running again but had to make a short stop at the next gas station to pump-up the spare because it was low on pressure.

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The next day we arrived at the Worlds of Fun Village RV Park in Kansas City and set-up camp. I took the bad tire to a local shop and had it repaired, then my son brought a floor jack to me so I could swap out the spare with the new one. So much fun! Not.

We finished out the spring season in Kansas City enjoying several wonderful gatherings with family and friends. I even went fishing at a nearby Kansas lake and pulled-in some nice catfish.

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Memorial Day weekend arrived and we were off again to start our third RV Life Summer season. Our plans were to head into the Mountain West, but we had some very important family business in Texas first … my daughter’s wedding!

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

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Steve Coryell