Tennessee People | Friendliest People on the Planet


Tennessee has some of the most beautiful sights in the country, but this guy right here was the most beautiful sight of all! Every time we’ve been in Tennessee, we’ve been impressed by the friendliness of the people, but this guy took the cake!

When we pulled into our camping spot, we noticed a tire was smoking. When Grampa Tom took it off, he was amazed we hadn’t lost it while driving down the road. The bearing was completely gone! We asked around about someone to fix it and were told to go over to Shade Tree Repair, just a couple of miles from the campground we were staying at in Rock Island State Park.


We drove over and explained our situation. We were amazed that they agreed to come to the campground to look at it. Most mechanics won’t make house calls. Matt Turner, the owner of the shop came and looked it over. In the course of our conversation, we found out that the shop he runs was originallyย owned by his father. He loves the area and told us where we needed to go to see the sights. He thought it wouldn’t take much to fix and promised to come back that afternoon. I asked how long it would be until he knew what it would cost so I could be sure to have his money ready. He said, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll find you.”

So we spent the afternoon out taking in Tennessee fall beauty. You really haveย to go there! The pictures just don’t do it justice.

When we got back, Matt was just finishing up. I asked how much we owed him. I figured it would take a big chunk of change. We were at his mercy, but having someone come to the campground to fix the wheel would be worth whatever he decided to charge. His answer? “Nothing.” He refused to take a dime!

What an answer to prayer! I figured it would take most of our reserve money if not more. I was prepared to call relatives and ask them to wire money! I don’t know how this guy makes any money. He spent most of the afternoon working on our trailer! May God Bless him many times over!

Enjoy the pictures!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

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Lake Tenkiller Hike

Someone dumped a dog here and apparently there is no animal shelter anywhere near, so he has become the camp dog. We all feed him scraps and he has adopted us. He’s a really sweet dog, but he cramps my walking habits! He follows me where ever I go. I can’t go far because he stands in the middle of the highway to protect me from oncoming cars and the other way out of the campground has a house with dogs.

So today, I decided to find a place I could walk without the dog ๐Ÿ™‚

I found a park just before the Tenkiller Dam that has a walking trail that is about a mile long. I’m not terribly into wilderness hiking, but this was an easy trail.


The trail is about a mile long. I didn’t get all the way down it. It was getting a bit late and I had done many rounds of the campground with the dog earlierย  ๐Ÿ™‚


This is the island the sign talks about. It’s pretty visible from the park, but you only catch glimpses of it on the trail. Maybe there’s a really good view at the end of the trail. I definitely need to go do the whole thing sometime.


I just love how the sunlight streams on to the forest floor.


There were a few rock paths and hills to challenge the balance and the heart,


ย some pretty drop offs to challenge my fear of heights ๐Ÿ™‚


and several nice places to rest, which I didn’t partake of ๐Ÿ™‚

It was fun, but I doubt that you’ll see me with a backpack doing one or two day hikes anytime soon. Maybe if Grampa Tom could go with me. He’s doing much better on uneven ground than he used to, so never say never ๐Ÿ™‚

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

New (to us) Truck!

So how do you get an F250 with 48,000 miles for less than $20,000?


Because the interior is a little rough! That doesn’t matter to us! Apparently the guy who owned it was an older heavy set man who couldn’t get in and out of the truck very well like Grampa Tom was for many years, so the seat is worn and it’s not the cleanest, but we’re OK with that. According to the Carfax, it has only had one owner and no accidents or other catastrophes. And the people at the dealership said he has traded vehicles with them for decades ๐Ÿ™‚

We saw it online, and I have an internet friend that I have known for 9 years that I have never met up in Salina where Long-McArthur is so we decided to go take a look. There were no pictures on the internet yet. They hadn’t even detailed it when we called. We were expecting some sort of major problem, but it runs well and everything seems to work right so we bought it!

Making the decision to have truckย ย  payments after 3 years of no debt was difficult, but we really needed to do it. Our old truck was just having a lot of difficulty pulling the camper up and down hills ๐Ÿ™

And I got to meet Kandy after all these years! Dumb, dumb us were so excited, we forgot to take pictures! Oh well, we have to take it back up sometime this next week to have it detailed and transfer the goose neck hitch from our old truck to this one, so hopefully we’ll get some then ๐Ÿ™‚

Long-McArthur is the biggest Super Duty dealer in Kansas. We could see why! They even gave us a 48 month warranty on the transmission, drive train and motor!

We are going to keep the old red truck. Grampa Tom just can’t let it go after 291,000 miles. It will sit here in Kansas until fall unless someone comes to drive it home before then.

So for your viewing pleasure:

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God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Poppy Dean’s Antiques


One of the most interesting stores in Rosebud, Texas is this treasure chest! Poppy Dean’s Antiques.

From the outside, it looks interesting, but once you step inside …


I had to ask, what kind of a store was this to begin with? I expected J.C. Penny or something similar. Nope! The original store occupying this building was the Tarner-Henslee Company. Marvin said he had seen a picture of it from 1896. In the picture, there was a dirt road and 3 buildings. On the first floor they had a general merchandise store and the balcony was the display area for horse drawn buggies!


The old hand pulled lift used to get them up there is still there.

The store is full of cool old stuff and Marvin’s knowledge made it like a museum tour! Here’s just a few of the displays. You will have to go there yourself to get all the details cause I didn’t write it all down.

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This is just a fraction of all the goodies they have ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve got dozens more pictures!

If you are in the area, be sure to stop by and tell them Grama Sue sent you!

The Tree Twister


For the past several days, I’ve had my eye on this rosemary. Yesterday, the shop they were in front of happened to be open when I was over there, so I went in to ask how much they were.

“Not for sale.” ๐Ÿ™

But the shop was fascinating (I’ll save that for another post.) So I spent quite a bit of time talking with Marvin Bernsen about things there, how the harvest was going, etc.ย  After I’d been there for a while, Marvin showed me some of his own exquisite art work made from mesquite wood.


Marvin is a multi-talented guy. He is a retired farm mechanic who is currently going to craft shows with his artwork. His card says he also does auto cad drafting, steel detailing and house plans. (I didn’t talk to him about that.) And he helps out at Poppy Dean’s Antique Shop too.

As I was leaving, I asked if he was sure I couldn’t talk him out of one of his rosemary plants. He said only one was his, the rest were his boss’s, but he would give me one. He wouldn’t take any money, they aren’t for sale! Such a sweet guy! He showed me his potting soil. Said he makes his own by composting the mesquite shavings from his art work.

So I brought up one of the boots that my boss’s son gave me to plant something in and transplanted it.


It looked really cool last night with the solar light stuck in it ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’d like to contact Marvin about his art or his auto cad drafting service, you can call him at 254-583-4203 or email: mhbrosebud@yahoo.com

God Bless You All!

~grama sue

Deep in Texas

The field the guys were cutting last night was awesome! We’d just love to have a few acres back in somewhere like it! The field was about a 1 1/2 miles back on dirt roads from Highbank and getting there was an adventure!

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After driving for what seemed forever, I had to forge this creek. In the second picture you can see the wake my truck made as I drove through.


Then past this beautiful little river. Look at how those banks are cut!


Then we had to cross this little bridge. It wasn’t bad with the Suburban, but the guys driving those combines were talking about having brown stuff in their pants ๐Ÿ™‚


This is the view while crossing the bridge. It’s not terribly far down, but I sure wouldn’t want to drive off it ๐Ÿ™‚


Then finally you come to this huge field with hay and wheat. Probably 3 or 4 hundred acres back there!

Grampa Tom and I were drooling ๐Ÿ™‚ Both of us were like, “Let’s buy a few acres back here, put in a septic tank and a well and park a camper with solar power back here. We could just stay lost forever! There’s wild hog and turkey, fish in the river … put in a little garden and we’d be good!

God Bless You All!

~grama sue

Wilson, TX | #tinytowns


Rode with Grampa Tom out to Wilson, TX this morning. It’s a tiny town much like Powelton, IL back home. Powelton boasts 3 houses, a business, a flag pole and a park bench. It also has a “North Suburb” consisting of 2 farmsteads and a grass airfield where the annual 3rd of July party is held.

Wilson doesn’t have a flag pole or a park bench, but it does have 4 houses in addition to a business. I guess that makes up for it ๐Ÿ™‚ I have no idea about suburbs!


We went to the Co-Op there to get fuel. Grampa Tom filled the diesel tank for the combines and the other vehicles and then filled the service truck too.

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Before we left, we had a total of 564 gallons of fuel.

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He also got some welding done. Powelton has a welding shop, but not a full service Crop Production Service.

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In addition to the regular farm type stuff you’d normally think of getting at CPS, they sell ice, pop and gas for your car to the local folks.

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And, if you stick around long enough, you will be claimed by kitties ๐Ÿ™‚ The first one there claimed me. Then when the second one tried to rub her ears on my legs she didn’t like it and ran her off!

God Bless You All!

~grama sue

Texas Wildflowers


Everywhere you go in Texas, you will see wildflowers growing alongside the road.


They are the legacy of the wife of our 36th President, Lady Bird Johnson


One of her passions was to see wildflowers planted beside roads instead of grass that needed to be mowed. Much of the work to plant these wildflowers was done 50 years ago, but we are still reaping the rewards! Thank you Lady Bird Johnson for spearheading this effort!

God Bless Youย  All!

~grama sue

Stamford, TX | #PlacestoGo #goodeats

It’s been an interesting day. The truck broke down this morning so we have spent the day in Stamford, TX. Thank God we were with Hughes Harvesting! We have towing service on our auto policy, but they couldn’t find a towing company that would come tow us so Rob hooked a chain to the truck and towed us here.


We parked the camper at this Shell station and took the truck to a garage just a little way down the road. The people there were so sweet! They were fine with us parking the camper and even blessed us as we walked out the door!

Connie left the Expedition with us so we’d be able to get down to Redbud if we by some chance we had major problems and couldn’t get the truck fixed pretty quick, so we decided to tour the town a little.


It was about noon, so we decided to find a place to eat. We wound up at the Blue Jean Cafe. Delightful is the closest word I can think of to describe it.


Hidden away in this very ordinary looking house is one of the BEST restaurants we’ve ever been in! It was obvious that The Blue Jean Cafe is a family owned and run. Hannah and her dad David were waiting on tables and running the cash register. Her little brother was busing tables.

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The atmosphere and the food were fantastic!


Then, because I’m a thrift store fanatic, we decided to visit the Pink Lady Thrift store. Nice place! I’ve never been in a thrift store where the bras were all sorted in little bins by size! It was very well organized ๐Ÿ™‚ We bought a couple of little afghans to cover the benches of our dinette and learned that the Pink Ladies are an auxiliary of the local hospital that was established in 1979. Between the thrift store and the gift shop at the hospital, they have raised a total of $933,644 since 1979.

The lady there told us we should head over to the local museum. DSCN2093

Sandra Rhea showed us around, telling us all about Stamford.


We stayed for quite a while! She was just full of stories about cowboys, the famous Stamford Inn, famous people from town, and old tools, but the thing that fascinated us most was this contraption:


See that contraption in the middle of the table? The one that kinda looks like the insides of an old ice cube tray? It’s an egg carton form! Farmers would put several layers of wet newspaper over it, clamp it down and let it dry. At the time of it’s invention, it was a real money maker. Most people took their eggs to town in buckets, loosing many on the bumpy ride in. Home made egg cartons reduced the breakage to almost nothing ๐Ÿ™‚

If you go to Stamford, please visit these places and tell them Grama Sue sent you!

God Bless You All!

~ Grama Sue

The Illinois Great River Road (Hwy 96 between Hamilton and Nauvoo) | Roads Worth Taking

It would be very wrong of me to post about beautiful roads to take and not tell you about the River Road between Hamilton and Nauvoo!


As you go north out of Hamilton on your right will be one of my favorite parks as a teen. Wild Cat Springs. If you follow the creek back a ways there’s a deep pool of water that my friends and I used to swim in.


And on the left there is a public boat harbor. It wasn’t too awfully busy when I took this shot, but during the summer it can be quite busy.


As soon as you get past the S curves, the breath taking expanse of Mississippi spreads out in front of you. Be careful! There are often people driving really slow along this road. I understand ๐Ÿ™‚ I can drive 55 along this stretch of road, but I’m used to it. I imagine seeing this for the first time in person is like seeing the Grand Canyon. I had seen lots of pictures of it before, but when I stepped up to the edge when we were out there a few years ago, it just took my breath away.


If you should happen to find yourself to be among those who find it difficult to drive, don’t worry! There are plenty of little roadside parks where you can pull over and drink it all in ๐Ÿ™‚


I love this bluff, don’t you? There is a place to pull in there. People often launch their boats there or fish in the creek.


By the way, THIS is what we call a creek!


The Mississippi is nearly a mile wide here, but on a calm day you can actually talk with people on the other side without a phone! I’ve done it!

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As you near Nauvoo, there’s a little park on the east side called “David’s Chambers”. You have to stop there! It is so gorgeous! We used to call it “Lover’s Glenn” before the state came along and renamed it. You will understand why. It’s probably the most romantic setting I’ve ever been in!


Just after David’s Chambers you will notice lots of swampy islands. When I was a kid, there was no land out there, but today it is a beautiful wetland where you will see herons, pelicans, turtles, ducks and geese. Watch out for the geese! They like to feed on the river bank and are often in the road ๐Ÿ™‚

Once in Nauvoo, the state park will be on your right and the Mormon living history area will be on your right. You can camp there or get a hotel room if you go on up the hill. In any case, if you go there, tell them Grama Sue sent you!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue