Tuscumbia Alabama and Sad News Regarding Huck

We finished up what became a three week stay in Tuscumbia Alabama. After living in Mississippi for weeks and needing a new place to park we moved to Tuscumbia RV Park in an area called the Shoals on the boarder of Tennessee.

Our Spot at Tuscumbia RV Park – #413. Easy back in with shade but close to the road. Spots at the back of the park are quieter. The park is owned by a husband and wife  who RV and really know how to run a park. No pool but the laundry room is clean enough to sleep in.

Our preference would have been to stay at a nearby Mississippi Corp. of Engineer park but the virus thing had it shut down. We had driven around to find a new park and Tuscumbia turned out to be a great find. I would just warn any visitors the highway and train noise can be obnoxious. Now that I think of it, the motorcycle traffic down US 72 might be worse. This park is located at the Appalachian Mountain foothills and I supposed the area is popular for motorcycles. I’ve owned four bikes, some with loud exhaust. I know some even remove the exhaust baffles to get the sound. Now I feel sorry for everyone that had to listen to ours when we owned them.

We spent a lot of time at home. Thankfully our spot had a great outside area to enjoy. We also managed to find a few things in the area to safely visit. But missed out on a few closed attractions such as the music rich history of the area, Helen Keller’s home tour, a road trip to the Shiloh battlefield and more. We did manage to find a few outdoor spaces to enjoy and went to a local restaurant for the first time in weeks where their phone number was written on the side of the building, their menu was online and they carried our order out to the truck. Remember to tip those waitresses well so it’s worth being at work!

In my last post I commented about driving down the Natchez Trace Parkway which is a national park running over an area of 444 scenic miles. We drove about 40 miles of the Trace, making quick stops at various jump-off points along the way where the park has historic and other sites to visit. During this virus thing we found almost no one on the walking trails.

The Natchez Trace – we toured the area highlighted in yellow.

It was hard to get any photos that could take in the springtime beauty of the place. It’s rolling hills and sheer quietness of the surroundings are emotional. We stopped at the Tennessee River crossing where during the war of 1812 the local Indians charged the Hero of New Orleans, General Andrew Jackson, more than $70,000 to cross his army on the river ferry. We toured an Indian mound, trading post sites, a casual hike to a lookout point and more. All of these places are spread out along the two lane highway drive at various intervals.

With the virus thing still being an issue, there was no one other than us in the parking lot. This is the access to a trail leading to a water spring. Note, the Natchez Trace roadway is in the distance. In the front of the photo is a box. Push a button and it tells the story of the area.

A short hike to a hilltop for a panoramic view.

Trying to keep up with Karen and our dog, Huck, while taking a photo during a short hike on the Trace.

Open fields of spring flowers, mowed lawns, beautiful old wood trees and a smooth road surface along our trip. No commercial vehicles allowed. We did not see any RVs but if I had a Class C or smaller I’d be on this road for sure

We got lucky when the Rattlesnake Saloon was able to reopen at reduced occupancy. This turned out to be more than a visit to an outdoor restaurant. The family friendly place is located in the deep woods. We were shocked to see dozen of RVs camped in the area, horse trailers everywhere, dirt bikes on trails and a very interesting “hotel”.  There was plenty of parking as again, the virus thing kept people away. The trip including riding in the back of a truck down a short but steep hill from the parking lot to the Saloon. During normal operations you can walk to the Saloon/Restaurant but many take the shuttle. Great views and okay food underneath the rock outcropping. Beer only is served after 5:00 pm and their is a live band at times.  Only three tables were occupied and the staff were all wearing protective masks.  We stopped at the gift shop for post cards which Karen sends to family and friends. Management asked about us and we told them we had been in nearby Mississippi for RV upgrades and repairs. Apparently this place is a popular hangout for the Tiffin family and as we own a Tiffin product a free post card was provided.  Karen found ANOTHER purse at a great value. One she can easily carry during outings. I suggested a t-shirt and was happy she did not buy any of the rocks or heavier stuff.  And no, we did not see any rattlesnakes.

These are single unit hotel rooms!

Truck ride down the hill to the restaurant and saloon.

Dogs while living in an RV are a wonderful thing. It’s a great way to meet other RVers who might not otherwise come out to visit. They are companions, enjoy forced marches for exercise, humorous with individual personalities and are flexible in that all they want to do is be with their family in an RV or elsewhere. So why not take a trip to the worlds only Coon Dog Cemetery! Located in the hills of Alabama, the cemetery was created in 1937 when the first loving dog owner needed a place to bury his dog named Troop. Coon dogs are a big thing in this area and as time went along others would meet the stringent requirements to also bury their special dogs in what became the unusual cemetery. Perhaps the most interesting part of the hour long visit, other than the drive through the countryside, were the individual headstones/markers. Some are very interesting and might include just a wood marker with an old dog collar hanging around it.

And now to the sad part. Months ago Huck, our black cocker spaniel dog had developed a sore on his lower lip that grew overtime. We had it removed. Later a lump had come up on the left side of his throat. We found a fantastic vet in Alabama who treated him for an ear infection, believing the new lump might be a lymph node responding to the infection.  With medications and all the lump is still growing. Back to the vet where bad teeth were removed and the lump was tested, finding it to be cancer.  Our boy is doing well at this point although sadly he is not expected to survive. He is happy although sleeping restless. We hope he will be with us for awhile and are glad he is still eating and walking. He smiles at times because he really likes this lifestyle. You can’t ask for a better RVing companion. He does not bark, even at nearly 15 years old has a 12 hour bladder and loves to meet people and their dogs.

Huck is on the left with his smile during an RV trip. Ringo is on the right and could take or leave RVing, only wanting to be around his mom. Ringo passed away at 18 years of age a year ago.

A couple months ago, when at the time Huck was his normal self with no signs of distress, Karen and I talked about getting another dog as we had lost Ringo last July. I was not for adding another dog as it’s just too much for a tiny space.  A miracle happened, which might be a common event if one pays attention during hard decisions. We camped near a family who was considering giving their young dog up for adoption. Karen really wanted that dog.  The family with the dog was going through an emotional decision and in the end decided it was best to keep the dog as their children, and parents I suspect, had grown attached.  I will never forget when the family’s mother came over to the camper to break the news to Karen they had decided to keep their dog. She was so worried about Karen’s emotions and that she might be overwhelmingly sad. The tears came out. The dog’s mom, what a special person she is, was upset having to break the news when we were actually very happy for the family. Had the decision to consider adopting the dog not come up I might not have seen the light that a dog will always be in our family. Karen decided at the time it was best to just let Huck enjoy having all the attention so things worked out. Although we started considering who might be our next pet. We both like cocker spaniels and were considering a cavalier king charles breed.

Fast forward only a matter of weeks and we received the bad news about Huck.  I suggested we should get another dog because, although it might be wishful thinking, I think Huck’s personality would be good for another puppy to learn from if there is still time. I also know Huck likes other dogs and a puppy might give him something to do. There are many other reasons, some of which I mentioned earlier.  I also recall how Huck helped us deal with the emotions of loosing Ringo as Huck had done with the dog before him.  Mushy stuff for sure but I don’t mind sharing a weakness with friends.

Well, I finally got Karen to go along with a second dog in our lives. What an ironic change of events. I came full circle in agreeing on that decision. I’ll post this now because for at the least Karen is sharing the news on Facebook. We will be picking up another puppy sometime in late June when he is old enough to be away from his mom.  The puppy is located in Miller Missouri which is a town in the county where some of my family lives. Turns out the well known breeder is world class when it comes to raising cocker spaniels. What a coincidence.

Both Huck and Ringo were named after scenes or characters in the movie Tombstone. The scene in particular is when Doc Holiday shows up to gunfight with Johnny Ringo, telling Ringo “I’ll be your Huckleberry”.  I’m trying to convince Karen to name the new pup Wyatt.  We will have a chance to meet him for the first time as we happen to be located in Missouri making a trip back to Kansas City.  Unfortunately the breeder does not allow young puppies to be handled for health reasons until they are ready to be weened from their mothers.

Our future dog and hopefully Huck’s new playmate – a four week old cocker spaniel. Sorry for the photo quality. Karen asked the breeder to send her a photo.  So far, I’m impressed with the breeder who has had cockers in his family life for 60 years.  I could go on about the breeders attributes and believe me this old police detective did his homework. At one time Karen rescued cockers. I know there are plenty of dogs in shelters to be adopted but we have our reasons to get this one from a breeder. Both Huck and Ringo were rescues.

Our dogs are not replaceable. Any loving pet owner will agree. We need them in our lives because there is less joy otherwise.

We are currently located in Poplar Bluff Missouri, making our way west to Springfield then north to Kansas City. And on this Memorial Day – God Bless our Veterans. And may all Americans demand those freedoms they died for to include our inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.

17 thoughts on “Tuscumbia Alabama and Sad News Regarding Huck

  1. So sorry to hear about Huck. We know first hand how hard it is to lose a pet. I’m sure you will make Huck comfortable and give him plenty of love during this difficult time. Happy you have a new puppy waiting for you! Stay safe you guys!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The trace is a beautiful place. We’d like to enjoy more if it. That restaurant so cool! Sorry to hear about Huck. Hopefully the new guy brings him some added comfort and joy in his last days.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautiful and hopeful post. First, the pictures from your travels and the neat restaurant. I have not been to that area. And then to Huck. I cried reading what you wrote about adopting a new puppy to hopefully be taught by Huck. That is the most precious thing. I’m sure Ringo was absolutely amazing (18 years wow). And furthermore, Tombstone is one of my all time favorite movies so I love their names. Let me know if you all ever head towards Branson. Be safe on your travels. Congratulations on the new puppy and my prayers are with Huck during this time too.

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    • Thank you for the prayers. Huck is a good boy.

      Karen takes good care of the dogs. Ringo living to 18 was amazing, especially as he was active right up until the last couple days. We would have usually come up US 65 Highway through Branson which is a beautiful drive. My sister’s just left there yesterday. Decided to come in from the west this time.

      I jumped over to your blog and noticed the Bad Lands picks. I was just checking the area out this morning, thinking it would be wonderful if Karen and I could get up there this summer depending on the virus thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Furry family members … Sad to see the old go and exciting to bring the new one home. Our Brittany Spaniel was a great traveler and almost made it to 15. We too thought about getting a Cavalier King Charles, but in the end, we both agreed to go pet free as long as we RV’ed full-time. It was challenging in the beginning and I’m still tempted from time to time, but for now, it’s the right decision for us. Can’t wait to see your photos of the new addition when you bring him home.

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    • There is zero chance Karen would be happy without a dog. We had thought about staying pet free while on this part of the journey but decided the pros outnumbered the cons. You can beat however this pup will be trained for this type of lifestyle. I can see some work in our future. Huck was perfect for it. On travel days he can sit for hours in the spare back seat of the truck and look out the window. The larger seat is folded down where he is also content to sleep for hours.

      We met a couple from the Carolinas at an RV park in Missouri. They had two Cavalier King Charles. What a lap dog…..

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Mark, I’m sorry to hear about Buck’s diagnosis, and understand completely the grief you and Karen are facing. I have no doubt that Buck’s remaining days will be full of love, attention and his favorite adventures thanks to both of you. An early welcome to your new family member, and safe travels to all.

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  6. This was a great post Mark, except for Huck’s condition. I’m so sorry. I am happy for you both with the excitement of a new puppy. I can’t imagine Karen without a dog in her life. Huck will be a good companion to your new little guy. I know you will enjoy your time back in Missouri and seeing your daughter. Stay safe and I hope we are able to cross paths with you and Karen again soon.

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    • We are looking forward to heading west from Poplar Bluff next Thursday. Will be camping with my sister for a few days before we head north. It’s been raining off and on here but we are planning a trip to Big Spring State Park and the Van Buren Missouri area for a day or two. Heart of the Ozarks.

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    • Wish we could have made a factory tour where our fifth wheel was built. Factory shut down as they were having trouble getting parts. Oh well – good reason to come back. I know from your blog you guys were moving or getting ready to move out. I was very happy for you to have found a Corp. park to hang out in for so long.

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  7. Great article Brother…I am looking forward to seeing you next week in Mansfield!
    That pup is one lucky guy, getting you two as parents 😊
    See you soon!
    Your sis

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    • We are excited to see ya Mary and really looking forward to seeing your house and Harriet. I suspect we will head into Miller to visit the new puppy very soon upon arrival. Thanks again for letting us drop ship some stuff we are ordering.

      I’m most likely also going to pickup a water transfer pump here at the local tool store as they have a good price. We can use it at the family campout to pump water wherever we need it, to include campers. Might even order the 30 gallon folding water bladder I’ve been eyeing for the past year.

      The tumor on Huck’s neck is about the size of a baseball, poor boy. But he is still eating and taking shorter walks. Went through this cancer crap with Baron and know there will just come a time he will not get up. The doctor sent us some documents about the form of cancer and we know what to look for.

      Funny story… Huck can smell his pills if you get them on your hands or try to hid them in food. Other than chicken… For some reason he can’t smell the pills through chicken. So we risk our life and limb by feeding “the wood chipper” with small bites with no pills and hide one along the way. He is such a sucker…

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