Time to Evacuate – 026

Pre-view to this episode:

Good morning from Jackson, Mississippi!.

Welcome to Two Vegans on a Mission podcast. This is episode 026. Today we’re gonna tell you all about our stay in Nashville at the Grand Ole RV Park and then we’re gonna go to Millington, Tennessee and all the way to Jackson, Mississippi. Along the way we get to visit a Pig Preserve and find a wonderful vegan meal as well. So thanks for joining us and stay tuned!

Podcast introduction:

Welcome to the Two Vegans on a Mission podcast. I’m Louisa, and together with my husband, Michael, and our dog,Sugar, we’re traveling and living full-time in a Winnebago Class C motor home; visiting animal sanctuaries and animal rescues all across the country.

Each week we’ll share what new camping spots we’ve found, what great vegan meals we’ve eaten and our latest vegan outreach activities. So please join us as we strive to inspire, education and support you in your efforts to be vegan!

Grand Ole RV Park Review

We’re excited to give you a report from the road about the Grand Ole RV Park, not to be confused with the Grand Ole Opry which are obviously two different things. So here’s our report.

Here’s our take on the Grand Ole RV Park in Nashville. It was $35 for the night and we spent three nights there because we thought we were going to be close enough to downtown to where we could either Uber in or drive in.

But, turns out it’s probably 10 miles to town and so the Uber drive might have been a little bit too far for us at the time. We didn’t feel like we wanted to pay for that. We also were told we could have free parking at the stadium so we thought we would try that.

We drove over there and because the NFL draft is happening any moment, they said “No free parking at the stadium. Good luck with finding a spot downtown,” and we drove around for a little while and we couldn’t find anything so we did not get to go into downtown. Bummer…

The Grand Ole RV Park was a place that had a big, huge facility…market, they called it. It had a place for dinner and for breakfast. Of course nothing vegan on the menu at all, so we did not partake in that.

Then the first night we sat outside our RV right next to that building and they had live music, which they have every night from about 6:00 to 8:00 pm. It’s the country music stars that haven’t quite hit it big yet, but because it’s right out there, right outside of our RV, it was really loud but it was beautiful weather. It wasn’t raining and it was about 80 degrees. So sitting out there after we drove in the first night was actually quite pleasant. Michael what do you think?

So those were the good things! The staff was probably the most helpful staff since we’ve been RV-ing. So, let’s talk about positive things and try to keep it…we have to keep it real for you folks (for you) and here are some issues with this RV park that we can’t recommend to you.

We can recommend the park if you don’t mind certain things.

So the first thing is it’s all gravel. Most sites are un-level. It’s a very dated RV park although I must tell you, everything worked as far as the plugins, ie. the water. They had a dump that we did not use but… Actually that’s not true. We actually did use the dump and that worked also.

Because we had one at our site.

We had one at our site.

So it was full hookups for $35.

Full hookups for $35. Those worked. Here’s what didn’t work for us.

Again I say that the sites were un-level so you really have to do a lot of work to level your RV.

It is literally two to three yards from an extremely active railroad site. Now that’s not, the owner would say, “Well we can’t do anything about that,” but it should be well advertised that you will have trains coming 24 hours a day. It’s a major train site and area.

So that was really disturbing and then on top of the trains, I-65 literally is yards away also and that is a heavily, heavily used interstate. So you have the trains coming and I’m not talking about Amtrak with seven cars. I’m talking about real trains with more like 700 cars.

You mean freight trains.

Freight trains with coal, oil that are continuous throughout the night. The Interstate was very busy.

Location-wise, again, we kind of thought that we would have been close to town and we weren’t. It wasn’t their fault that the Titans Stadium this week is being used for the NFL Draft because I do understand that in Section R of the Titans Stadium which is pretty nice by the city, there is free parking.

As a matter of fact we tried to park in there and we parked in a spot that we thought was free, but security let us know that we only had a few minutes. Otherwise they were gonna call and have us towed. The gentleman was nice, but he was upfront with us. Said, “Hey, you don’t have a parking permit. We’d be happy to tow you out of there.”

But you only talked about the train and the freeway being the problem.

I’m sure I missed something else.

Well yeah, you forgot to talk about how this place was a big parking lot and not a lot more.

Sure. (You get distracted when you can’t sleep or hear each other talking.)

The RV park, I guess the owners wanted to make as much money as they could and they use every inch of the facility. There are long term folks there, parked on the outer end and they’re crammed in and then for the rest of us, we’re really crammed in.

I mean literally when you put your slides out, you have to be careful not to touch another neighbor and wherever there was potentially a spot, they cram people in there. It was probably the worst that we have ever stayed in an RV park.

I don’t remember, but there were a couple of trees, big trees, that was nice, but they had the big Allegro buses. They had the Class A’s. They had fifth wheels. They were so big and the place was packed full of those kinds of vehicles because I imagine the Class B’s are all parking somewhere else ’cause they can!

But, we used the Grand Ole RV Park for its location and we went places from there. So for $35 a night we didn’t spend very much time in that place and we used it also to have some packages from Amazon delivered which was a plus because you can’t always get your stuff delivered. We knew we were gonna be there for three days, so we had our shipments arrive there while we were there and then the nice people in the park were very helpful when it got windy while we were gone and our chair almost blew away, apparently.

So they were able to catch that and put it under the picnic table. So I really enjoyed the people. They were very helpful, very friendly and the neighbors were fine, but again it was crammed pack full of huge RVs and it was noisy! But Michael you have to just learn to put the ear plugs in!

I guess so. So I think when you look at the reviews they actually get a lot of four star reviews and that’s because one, I believe most people have towed vehicles and so they go from that spot to downtown Nashville or to the Grand Ole Opry. So it’s very convenient for that.

They explore the area for literally $35 a day and I guess you can’t beat that, plus the staff does everything they can to try to compromise that packed in noise situation. So if you can tolerate the noise and the un-level spots and the packed in situation and you want to be in Nashville in a relatively inexpensive RV park, this is the place for you.

And like we said, we were able to get our packages from Amazon which is where I ordered my faux-leather boots because apparently it’s very difficult to find vegan boots in Nashville! I really wanted some pretty cowboy boots and I needed them to be vegan. So I was able to do that on Amazon, yay!

So that was our review of the Grand Ole RV Park and now we’re going to take a little break and when we come back, we’ll talk about our trip to visit the Pig Preserve.

The Pig Preserve

We stayed at the Grand Ole RV Park so that we could go places from there! We found out about the Pig Preserve which was about a two and half hour, three hour drive east of Nashville. We wanted to go there to just bear witness to what they’re doing and it was amazing! I love it!

We had never been on this kind of a place before. We had been to animal sanctuaries. We had been to animal rescues, but we had not been to a Pig Preserve and so we drove the three hours. We were gonna go on Friday, but we saw from the NOAA app that it was going to be raining on Friday.

So we went Thursday instead and so we did a three hour one way, spent about three hours there and then drove three hours back to the Grand Ole RV spot.

This is just an amazing animal shelter! First of all, the way it’s set up, it’s just for pigs! They had some dogs running around, but this place was just set up for pigs.

What’s truly amazing, the owner of the place is a retired Marine who just found a love of animals and realized that he could provide a home and shelter for the remaining lives of these pigs. And, he made a decision:

I’m not sure actually how he came to understand this, but he got it right. His preserve is set up with acres and acres for the pigs to roam and live like they would in nature and, what I mean by that is, pigs don’t just sit in one spot all day. That’s what I’d always been led to believe. They sit. They sleep. They might get in the water and get muddy and all they do is eat.

What we learned was pigs may travel six to ten miles a day in their natural habitat. Also this, I believe it’s about 100 acres, so these pigs form their own little, I want to say, “cliques”.

They have different groups of pigs that hang around each other, play with each other, rule that particular area. They have so much room that they can wander back and forth. The other thing that’s pretty cool the way they have this set up.

He has inherited pigs from a hurricane that happened last year. They have pigs that were wild in nature. They have pigs that were turned in from 4H clubs or rescued from some abusive situation. I think they also said once in a while they get pigs that are lucky enough, they fall out of the truck somehow. I don’t know how that happens and people just bring them pigs.

They are so well treated. Now this is a pig farm and first thing you’ll notice is it doesn’t smell! Again, that’s something that you think with at least 150 pigs they’d be smelling of pig manure, et cetera, but you didn’t smell that. The pigs were having what looked to be just a great day. Laying around, running around, playing in the water, getting muddy, coming over to visit folks who stopped by, meaning us!

So I just wanted to butt in here and talk about how these pigs were huge and that we were given a tour. Afton was a wonderful guide. She gave us a tour on her jeep that we drove all up and down. It was like a little safari.

What I mean by that is these pigs are so huge was the fact that they are not slaughtered when they are at six months old. That they are able to live out their lives on this preserve and they get really, really big and they’re fed a really nice meal everyday! It costs about $5000 a month to keep everybody in food. Again, this is a 501-c3 and Afton does a really great job managing the property where Richard is the owner and he’s been working for 30 years, like Michael said, to save these pigs and give them a wonderful life.

Now this place is different than the Gentle Barn and some other sanctuaries we’ve been on in that they don’t open it up to the public to just come on in and take tours. That’s because this place is over 100 acres and the pigs are all over the place. So in order for you to see them, you have to get in their ATV, their vehicle and take a tour like we did up and down the terrain there, the fields.

It’s remarkable the fact that they wake up everyday and do this day in and day out because the pigs need to be taken care of. They need to fed. They need to have their shelters cleaned out if they get messy. But, like our visit to the Animal Rescue Corps, when people are working in this kind of environment or this situation where they’re saving lives everyday, they are just so happy and so content with their lives! It was a joy to be able to go there and just observe how the lives of these people are for saving animals!

Of course, they’re vegan and they hope that other people will hear about their preserve. I’ll leave the contact information in the show notes so that if you are inclined to send some money to the 501-c3, it is a non-profit corporation. You can write your payment off on your taxes, but again if you’re in the area, give them a call.

Go out and observe for yourself and you get to see how wonderful it is for these pigs to be able to live out their 30+ years they say that they can live up to. You’ll be impressed by their operation as well. So thank you again to Richard and Tim and our guide, Afton, for the day as we were able to share in the lives of the wonderful pigs that they’re helping to save.

Now when we come back to the podcast we’re going to go over the review of the restaurant we found along the way back into Nashville. We were very surprised to be able to find some vegan pizza, so stay tuned.

The Stage Coach Restaurant Review

So we left the Pig Preserve, we were quite hungry after that because we spoke about vegan food with the owners and they told us of a place called The Stagecoach Italian Restaurant in Crossville, Tennessee. It would be a little bit out of our way, but sort of on our way back to Nashville where we stayed at the Grand Ole RV Resort.

So, we stopped over there and I went in to order. They opened at 5:00. We got there right at 5:00 and I went in to order and I was given a vegan pizza option! I could also get the bruschetta with vegan cheese, but come to find out when I got the food there was no cheese on the bruschetta.

But, it was still very tasty and then later that evening we ate the pizza and so Michael, what’s your take on that restaurant?

So I really enjoyed the bruschetta. I thought it was very tasty! The pizza was a little lacking of flavor, but listen, this is in Crossville, Tennessee in the middle of literally nowhere and we were happen to find another restaurant with vegan options!

So it just goes to show you that restaurants across our nation are starting to get it…that they are opening up their menus and finding how to make every dish potentially that they make, vegan. So hats off to The Stagecoach! We appreciate it ’cause it was a long day and a long drive and it was nice to be able to find a place that had a vegan option!

NAS Millington, TN

So we spent one more night in the RV park in Nashville and the next morning we drove all the way over to Millington, Tennessee which brought back memories of the time my girlfriend and her husband were in the Navy back in the day and she spent some time with Millington.

So I looked around to see what it was like. It was fun to see that it was now the headquarters of BUPERS which is where all of the orders would come from. That used to be in Washington you would think but it’s now in Millington, Tennessee. So here’s our review on the RV Park there.

So this military base, it was really nice to stay there. It’s quiet. Supposedly there was an Air Force, but it must have been in the section that we were not near… we were in the southern section of the base so we never heard any aircraft. When you pull in, it was all asphalt. It’s surrounded by lots of trees and deer running all over the place. As a matter of fact the camp host said that unfortunately they have to open up hunting season because of all the deer in the place.

I really enjoyed staying there, even though we were only there, literally, overnight. It was quiet. It’s right next to the Navy commissary which I believe is open Wednesday through Sunday and also is right next to a very quiet Navy housing area. So, as far as noise, as far as the hookups, those were outstanding! Our pad was nice and level. The showers and the free laundry were…

Adequate.

… adequate. I understand that they were working on the women’s showers, so everybody had to use the same shower, not at the same time obviously, but that shower room. We always like free. The laundry was free. The camp host was really nice. If you have access to a Department of Defense RV park, I would highly recommend this one.

And now when we drove in has BUPERs now, right? That’s where the BUPER…

all the orders.

Everybody gets their orders from that place, which my good friend Becki was living in Millington, Tennessee right out of high school. She and her new husband moved there and so shout out to Becki for helping me remember what Millington, Tennessee was about!

So we liked that place. We took a walk in the evening around and it felt very safe, very secure, no problems and not a lot of people. Maybe about 20 sites there at most? Very quiet though. I really like Millington, Tennessee, but then we headed out the next day because the rains were coming according to our NOAA app on our phones and so we wanted to avoid the storm so we went south. So next up we’re gonna talk about Jackson, Mississippi.

Driving away from bad weather

A shout out to NOAA, N-O-A-A app. We look at it every single day. We trust it. We believe it. They tell the truth. It’s done by the federal government and I believe they save lives and in this particular case it kept telling us,

“There’s a lot of rain,” but rain in itself was not the problem that we were concerned about. They also started indicating to us that there would be tornado watches in the area. So we headed to Jackson, Mississippi to try to beat most of that tornado and heavy rain threat. We sort of did that.

‘Cause what we did was we headed south and it was about a three hour drive to Jackson from Millington, Tennessee. We went through Memphis and stopped at the Whole Foods where we’ve stopped before on the way over to Alabama, but this time around we knew we needed to get out.

So we only had a little bit of rain on the route, but the winds started picking up around Canton and we could tell that we really needed to get to our site. We had called ahead and made reservations for at the state park and that was at La Fleur’s State Park in Jackson, Mississippi. It was $16 for the night.

La Fleur’s State Park

We got there around 4:30, I believe, in the afternoon right about the time they were ready to close, which was very helpful because I was able to ask the ranger,

“What happens if there’s a tornado and what kind of warning do we get and where do we go? Is there a shelter to go to?”

He reassured us that the storm was heading northeast and should bypass us, but if there were a warning we would get a big loud siren. He recommended we drive up to the fire station which was probably two miles up the road once you’re in your campsite, but we were reassured by him and we got down into the campground, turned on the TV and watched the weather reports which were constant from then on! There were a few other people in the campground as well.

There was some RVs and trailers that didn’t look like they had their tow vehicles so we’re all thinking,

“Hm, where did those people go? They must have gone to maybe a motel or they went out to town,” because we were still very close to Jackson, Mississippi but we didn’t know ’cause we just got there.

The weather did not get as bad as we thought it was going to get. It rained on us off and on. They told us it was going to rain starting at 7:00 and sure enough, 7:00 came and the rain started. So Michael, what’s your take?

So I thought the rain was pretty heavy from 7:00 pm until about 3:00 in the morning. Also very ominous, all around us, Vicksburg which is perhaps 30-40 miles away east-

West, west.

… west. I’m not sure, but close enough where the announcers talked about tornadoes touching the ground, causing extensive damage!

But lucky for us we didn’t have any tornadoes touch down and about 3:00 in the morning, the rains finally stopped and we were able to get some sleep, but then, we had a surprise!

“Time to evacuate!”

Because of all the rain in the area, we got a knock on the door at 5:00 in the morning, telling us we needed to immediately evacuate because the dams were overflowing and that our spot would be under water by at least 11:00 or 12:00 that day!

So, obviously at 5:00 in the morning when somebody knocks on your door, it’s unsettling, but the people running the RV camp were very professional about it. They identified themselves and they definitely expressed the urgency that it was time to get out of there now, which is what we did. We packed up, unhooked and headed out of the RV park.

Yep, we got out of Dodge, headed to Anytime Fitness and took a shower. So the floods were coming but we were heading out of town and the weather was fine as we drove over towards Shreveport, Louisiana.

So join us next week when we talk about the alligator hunt we went on as well as where we went to visit Waco and we were able to see the silos!

So please join us next week, as we share our adventures and continue on our quest to be vegan! Please go to our Instagram to see pictures. That’s @heaveninaclassc or you can go to our website at www.vegansonamisson.com. as we strive to continue teaching others and inspiring others to be vegan!

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We are a retired teacher, Louisa, and a retired physician assistant, Michael, married for 39 years, who want to help busy travelers begin and maintain a healthy life-style while on the road.

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