Vegans in Alabama

Episode 021 Preview

Good morning, Lake Guntersville, Alabama! This is episode 021 of “Two Vegans On A Mission” Podcast. Thanks for joining us! We’re going to tell you all about our trip from Livingston, Texas to the State Park here in Alabama.

We’re going to cover a KOA, as well as a Harvest Hosts site that we recommend. Then, we’re going to talk about The RV Entrepreneur Summit that we attended here in Alabama.

Finally, we’re going to tell you all about some vegan recipes that we made, while using the convection oven…meaning chocolate chip cookies and brownies. All vegan, of course!

Then, maybe we’ll get into the “Keto” argument that we had over a campfire one night, so won’t you please join us? Stay tuned.

Intro to the Podcast

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 View Class C motorhome; visiting farm sanctuaries, animal rescues, and animal shelters all across the country.

Each week we’ll share what new camping spot we’ve found, what great vegan meals we’ve eaten, and our latest vegan activist activities. We are looking for cheap sleeps and good vegan eats along the way, so please join us as we strive to inspire, educate, and support all those who are trying to save their health, save the animals, and save our planet.

This is the first time we’ve gone east after Livingston, and we’re so excited because we knew that we had been to Texas, and we’ve been down to the Houston area. Now, we were going to go north and east toward Alabama.

But first, we’re going to cross into Louisiana by going up the 59, and across on the 20, Highway 20. One of the things we learned this time after nine months on the road, we learned that the even-numbered highways go east to west, and the odd number highways go north to south, so now, when we’re saying, “Oh, we’re on the 20”, you know that we are traveling east to west, which is in this case, west to east.

Louisa: Then, as we were getting to the 20, we had to go north on the 59. When we got to our stopping place in Monroe, Louisiana, it was a Harvest Hosts spot, called Landry Vineyards, and Michael’s going to tell you all about it.

Michael: Again, thanks to the good people at Harvest Hosts that allow us to get off the beaten trail. We discovered beautiful Monroe, Louisiana, and in Monroe, a magnificent, small winery, Landry Wineries. Absolutely gorgeous place. The acreage was of beautiful vines. The surrounding area is all rural, very green this year, according to the folks who live here because of the rain in the area, and just absolutely peaceful!

Michael: Matter of fact, when we got there late in the afternoon at around closing time, they stayed open to allow us to do wine tasting, and to make sure we had a fabulous spot. We stayed right behind the winery with one other RV, and met a nice couple who had recently retired also.

Harvest Hosts for the win!

That’s the beauty of Harvest Hosts, that allows us to make contact with these wonderful places that we just would not stop at. We stayed overnight and it was a quiet, peaceful winery that we felt like we really loved. Once again, if you are ever in Louisiana, specifically Monroe, stop and visit Landry Wineries.

Michael: I want to put a pitch in, if you’re an RVer, spend the $79 a year, I believe it is, and join Harvest Hosts, because it opens up lots of opportunities to stay at places, other than RV, parks, and you’re going to find fascinating places to spend the night.

Louisa: I’d like to remind everybody that when you become a Harvest Hosts member, you do get free overnight stays. The idea is that you stay for one night after calling in, making the reservation. Then you are expected to purchase something from the winery or from the gift shop if there’s one there, or maybe if you’re at a museum, you go in and you visit the museum. Maybe you pay a donation or you pay the entrance fee, for example.

Or you go to a farm and you buy something that they’re selling there. The idea is to be reciprocal, and that way, they give us a free night, and we purchase something from their store. What we purchased at Landry Winery was a bottle of Blueberry Merlot, which was semi-sweet, 50% blueberry wine and 50% grape wine. It is a table wine, and it’s only sold in Louisiana. I really enjoyed that one, so I bought that.

Michael, on the other hand, likes a white wine, so he purchased the Peach Muscadine Wine, which is also semi-sweet. It’s 25% grape wine, and 75% peach wine, and he says it is delicious!

So thank you very much, Landry Wineries and Joel Holland of Harvest Hosts, the owner. Thanks for keeping us apprised of all the places that we can stay across the country. Next up, we’re going to talk about our KOA stay in Meridian, Mississippi, so stay tuned.

KOA in Meridian, Mississippi

Welcome back to this episode.

Louisa: We’re going to talk about our KOA stop in Meridian, Mississippi. Again, this was about a 260-mile trip because that’s about all we can handle! This is a place in the KOA system, that’s called a Journey, meaning it’s just for an overnight stay and it’s not a “destination” place. (Even though there was a pool there, it wasn’t open yet).

We really like to count on KOAs when there’s nothing else around like no Cracker Barrel, no Walmart, or no campgrounds that we can really find to just pay for one night’s stay. This is a KOA, and we enjoyed it. Michael’s going to tell you all about it.

Michael: Meridian, Mississippi is what you would expect. Lots of cow pastures, animal pastures, chickens, very rural, and very southern. We found the people just really friendly, helpful, and KOA is our great standard for us when we don’t have other options. This one was, what I would say is a little bit dated. They were friendly at the KOA, but we had to move to a different spot because of the electrical plug; it showed an “open ground”, but they were very accommodating.

Michael: All in all, they really tried to accommodate our needs at the KOA, and it was a great place to stay overnight. I certainly would recommend it.

Lake Guntersville State Park – Alabama

Louisa: Finally, we arrived to Lake Guntersville, Alabama, at the State Park! I’m going to read from their brochure because it’s written very well. It tells you all about the place.

“It’s located six miles northeast of Guntersville, off of highway 227 in Northeast Alabama. It’s in the Tennessee Valley, overlooking the majestic 69,000-acre Guntersville Reservoir. This park ranges over 6,000 acres of natural woodlands.

The park has a newly renovated 18-hole championship golf course, a beach complex, fishing center, hiking trails, nature programs, and a day-use area. Modern campground and pet-friendly cabins are on the lake, coupled with a resort lodge on the pinnacle of Taylor Mountain, and chalets on the ridge tops provide a selection of overnight accommodations beyond comparison”.

We really like this place. It’s peaceful inside of a big forest of some kind of poplar trees, maybe, and then we had some friends…about 150 other rigs, and people joining us for the RV Entrepreneur Summit, but Michael’s going to tell you about the campground.

Michael: Unsure what to expect in Alabama, but we turned a bend and here we are in Guntersville. Just a huge, beautiful, majestic reservoir/lake, surrounded by lots of hills and trees. It’s just quiet/peaceful. In the middle of all that is a very large State Park which is well-kept. Everybody’s nice, everybody’s friendly, lots of RVers. Everybody is here on vacation, it seems like, and the facilities are well-kept, very clean. Everybody says, “Yes, sir”, “Yes, ma’am.” Everybody’s so polite here in Alabama, and I would tell you if you are thinking about coming into Alabama, please stop here and rest your soul, and enjoy this beautiful lake!

Louisa: Of course, it has nice shower facilities, it has restrooms, it has a laundry room, and it has a gathering place where we had some of our activities. It also was a place where we had some internet service, so we were able to go there and do some Wi-Fi work if we needed to.

But the really fun part was there was a lodge up the hill. Meaning, you could hike the hill, which is about a mile up. Yes, up, and then some switchbacks, but you get all the way to the top and it’s got great views, so go on our Instagram page, and you get to see the picture of the lake from the lodge view. We took the shuttle back and forth several times because we went to the RV Entrepreneur Summit.

Louisa: When we return, we’re going to tell you a little bit about that, so please stay with us.

RV Entrepreneur Summit

We were fortunate to be able to attend the third annual RV Entrepreneur Summit, put on by Heath and Alyssa Padgett. They are the ones who do the weekly podcast, called The RV Entrepreneur Podcast. So, if you are in a small space, or an RV, and you’re thinking about having your own business, that would be the ideal podcast to listen to.

They put on this event so that all of us who live in RVs, who travel the country, seeing wonderful sites, beautiful parks, beautiful places, can get together and brainstorm, and share ideas on how to be successful running a business from an RV. We made reservations last August to be here, and it’s been on the calendar for such a long time that when we finally got here, it was so exciting to see the 350 other people that had also made those arrangements.

We all met up here in Lake Guntersville Park, Alabama for four days of workshops and presentations on things, such as WordPress, Pinterest and YouTube. Just the intermingling and the networking that we were able to do with each other was so much fun.

Of course, we’re in a campground, so there’s always in the evening a big campfire, where you get to hang out and chit-chat with brand new friends that you have made, or maybe the ones from last year got to meet up again! I really enjoyed it because I was able to talk with some people who are doing podcasts, and got some tips and tricks on how to make ours better!

It was just really fun to get together with like-minded people, and not have them roll their eyes when they say you’re doing,

“What? You live full-time in an RV, and you’re trying to run a business, too? Oh my goodness, you are crazy!”

Well, that’s not what they say at this place. This was a group full of people saying the same thing, “Go for it”, “Live your dreams”, and, “Don’t let other people bring you down and tell you that you’re nuts!”

Shout out to Heath and Alyssa!

If you’re interested again, go to the podcast, RV Entrepreneur Podcast, and there’s also a website that Heath and Alyssa do, so shout out to both of them, and congratulations on their new baby that’s expected any time!

Okay. It’s time to change gears and talk about the vegan food we ate this week. Of course, you have to remember we are in the heart of Alabama, which is also the heart of agriculture. Just to give you a taste of what we found along the way as we were driving, we stopped at a truck stop, to get some more diesel. And, looking to the left, you could see the big trucks going through their line.

Deep in the heart of animal agriculture

Louisa: There was this huge truck with pigs in it, and you could see them poking their little snouts out through the little slots, and then the man driving it came over towards us and parked underneath some trees.

He removed the slats that had been hiding the pigs from view of people passing by. Maybe that was so that they could have more air as they’re traveling to the slaughterhouse, or maybe it was because now, they were going to not need to be hidden from view as they go back on the highway, but they were crying!

The pigs were crying in there, and you could smell them. They were smelling so badly, because we were sitting there for quite a while, waiting in the truck wash line because our vehicle needed a bath. That was the only place we could find, but that was pretty sad seeing that truck full of pigs.

Then, a couple hours later, as we were almost to the campground, right ahead of us was a truck that was holding all of these chickens.

There must have been probably a thousand chickens on this truck. They were in multi-layers levels of compartments, and you could see their feathers. Their feathers were flying out and going over our RV as we were following it. Again, these chickens were headed to their deaths.

This is slaughterhouse area, and this is where the big companies that process the foods that Americans eat are located. So we are not in vegan-friendly territory around here, so we did not get to eat any vegan food in any restaurant!

Eating vegan in the south

What we did was we, of course made our own meals in the van or the RV, because now we have the RV with convection oven! So, I was able to make chocolate chip cookies and black bean brownies. Then of course, because we make so many of them, I shared them with our new friends!

Yes, I told them we were eating vegan style, and I got a good dose of ribbing from them! One guy even had to tell me all about how he was able to lower his weight, lower his diabetes risk by being a Keto diet, which, oh my gosh, I almost threw up when he started talking about all the food that he was eating.

He had no problem telling me all about it, and I sometimes think they just do that to mock me, but our goal is to try and educate people. So, that’s what I was doing without getting angry. I just listened. Funny thing is though, they all tried my brownies and chocolate chip cookies!

I Googled for a vegan black bean brownie recipe, and found one using vegan butter. I found “Miyoko’s” butter over at Whole Foods on our way through one of those major cities we came through, but it has flaxseed eggs.

It had cocoa powder, vanilla, oat flour, and baking powder, and of course dairy-free, semi-sweet chocolate chips from Enjoy Life. Very tasty, very chocolatey, and yes, you only need one because they’re so chocolatey, but they’re very good for you because of those black beans are high-fiber!

None of these people was going to have any problem in the morning, if you know what I mean! Also, the chocolate chip cookies had a little brown sugar and some soy milk in them. They’re not the best thing for you to eat when you have these sugar-filled kind of treats, but they’re treats and you only need one! We really enjoyed making those in my new convection oven in our new RV.

Daily eats

Michael: This is the south, and their culture is not, in our opinion, very healthy. You can get lots of beef, pork, ribs, barbecue, fast food, but not a lot of whole food, plant-based items,. We feel really blessed that we can go back to our foundation.

What that means to us, for breakfast, we have berries, we have apples, we have oranges, we have nuts, we use pumpkin seeds, we use oats.

Lunch, we’ll have humus, we’ll have more fruit and vegetables, and for dinner, what I did was kind of spread it out. We had black beans, we had brown rice, we had pasta, we had mushrooms, all the vegetables that you can imagine, peppers, kale, spinach, and I just combine them up.

We enjoy going back to our foundation, and quite frankly, I would think it’s better if we prepare our meals ourselves anyway, so it just added to a wonderful experience here at the RV Entrepreneur Summit.

Louisa: And so ends another episode of Two Vegans On A Mission Podcast. We’d like you to go visit our Instagram page @heaveninaclassc. Leave a comment there. Let us know that you hear our podcast. That would be really wonderful, or you can visit our website at www.vegansonamission.com and you can find all of the links to the things that were mentioned here in our podcast, where you can go buy them yourselves.

Louisa: We hope to continue on our journey. We’re going to go forward and visit a farm sanctuary tomorrow, and then we’re going to be heading to Tennessee and visit some more sanctuaries up there. Once again, thank you for listening, and 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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