Home Away From Homeless (part 1)


So we had this great, yet small, condo (1,000 sq. ft. +/-) situated at the front door of The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, our long desired retirement location. 

After much prayer and angst we decided to sell it to find something with a bit more room and a lot more autonomy (a unhappy association with our many investor neighbors was also a huge consideration).  In this decision, we failed to take into account the recent fire in Gatlinburg, which resulted in the shortage of available homes to purchase at our price point…DUH!

SIDE NOTE OF ADVICE:  If you buy a condo in a resort area, make sure that there are a large number of owner-residents onsite. We had a poor experience living in a condo community owned mostly by investors. Investors and homeowners are two different creatures…one treats it like home the other treats it like monthly income.

Pictured below are two examples of the devastating fire that swept through our beautiful park and the upper neighborhoods of Gatlinburg.

We had made plans, prior to selling, for a visit family and friends, out of state, and to go on a cruise out of New Orleans with close friends. Therefore, not being successful in finding a home to buy, in a timely manner, we packed everything and put it all into storage in time to head to Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

First stop, Orange Beach for Mardi Gras with friends. Sweet husband’s 70th birthday fell on Mardi Gras this year and his youngest daughter gave birth to her first child that very day.

Did you know that south Alabama has a replica of the Stonehenge, called “Bama-Henge”?

Above Bama-Henge


Second stop, Biloxi, MS for a Yellowstone Employee Reunion. Wonderful friends we had made in 2015 who lived and worked with us at Grant Village.  Two fun-filled days of catching up.

YS Reunion

Prior to this trip and because housing prices were on the rise daily in Pigeon Forge, we decided to move to the Mississippi Gulf Coast (for many reasons, much too long and an unnecessary rabbit trail for this post).  WE placed an offer on a house and started the painful mortgage process…UGH! So while on the coast, we went to tour the house in Long Beach, MS we were purchasing…yep, made the offer sight unseen.  (This purchase has another chapter to it to follow in Part 3).

From there we drove to my youngest daughter’s home south of Baton Rouge for a long needed visit with a cruise sandwiched in the middle of our visit there.

Cruise blog and pictures to follow in Part 2

Entering Texas: First stop HOUSTON

We left sweet daughter’s after a wonderful Thanksgiving (way too much good food and my first fried turkey) on December 1st heading west.  Our first stop, for two nights is Houston by way of San Jacinto Monument because sweet husband visited it when he was a little boy and wanted to see it again…actually our goal for the museum of art, but it is closed on Monday.

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The column (taller than the Washington Monument [of course]) is an octagonal shaft faced with Texas Cordova shellstone (many millions of years old – formed when Texas was under water – mined in the Austin area – impressive), topped with a 34-foot Texas Lone Star. Sweet husband took the elevator to the top – the monument’s observation deck for a view of Houston and the WWI Battleship Texas. Really the most impressive part of this is learning that a hand full of brave Texans defeated Santa Ana and his whole Mexican army to gain their independence from Mexico.  They were plenty angry after the Alamo.  This victory gained enough land to make what is now Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California. Impressive, very impressive!

Next we visited Glenwood Cemetery where sweet husband’s mother is resting.  It was a beautiful day for the visit.  I paid my respects, then left sweet husband to his private time with her.  I filled the time taking pictures of the remarkable memorials in this beautiful, sacred garden.

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The next day we visited the Houston Museum of Art.  I am so impressed with the beautiful art owned by the United States of America.  We have been to a dozen (at least) art museums, none of them disappointing.  A couple of examples below…ENJOY!

From Houston we headed to Austin and the Texas “Hill Country” for another good visit with family.  However, We made a quick stop for lunch with my sweet son-in-law at the River Walk in San Antonio.  He was there at the convention center for a business meeting.

Riverwalk20 IMG_0070River Walk, San Antonio

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