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photo 4It is hard to find the words that do justice when you experience something that stirs your innermost being. Today was just that kind of day as Jennie and I visited the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. I grew up in the 1960’s as part of a Midwest household that didn’t give much thought to the plight of anyone but our own.

Two full-time working parents with two latchkey kids reared by a host of neighborhood stay-at-home moms. Ones with parental authority to smack us on the behind if we got out of line; which did, on occasion, happen. Television was a mainstay and I watched the goings on of the world as part of the Nightly News with Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. At times the world looked pretty scary; especially after the assignation of President Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

My brother and I grew up in a poor to middle class neighborhood (depending on the street you happened to live) that was, as I recall, 100% white. The Blacks in our town lived in their own neighborhoods and went to their predominately Black schools. We didn’t go to their neighborhood and they didn’t come to ours. It was just the way it was, and we didn’t think to question it.photo 1

It wasn’t until I started going to the YMCA to hang out in the late 1960’s for swimming lessons that I began to see and interact with Black kids from around town. It wasn’t a dislike thing for either of us, it’s just that we didn’t have much to talk about or seem to share anything in common, so conversations didn’t go very far. I couldn’t imagine how later in life I’d learn just how far from the truth this was.

I’ve come to learn that discrimination is the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter what a person owns or how they feel about themselves or their accomplishments. Discrimination says, “You don’t fit here; whoever you are, irrespective of from where you came.” Discrimination strips away all dignity and individual purpose and freedom.

Discrimination enslaves the will of an individual so that all that is left is the fight to retake that which was taken or acquiesce and become, literally, a walking dead. Dead to hope; the heart of despair.

Due to the fact that my mom was a single-mom rearing two boys from 1958 to 1964, we experienced some short-term discrimination from those that looked down upon our station of life, but it pales in comparison to the world beyond our four walls.

photo 2Today I stood in hotel where Dr. King worked, prayed, laughed and died. I gazed upon his hotel room just inside the wall where an assassin’s bullet ended his life as he stood on the hotel walkway. Like many places I’ve seen of late, this place looked very small, fragile and surreal.

photo 3It was said that Dr. King, after giving his extemporaneous “I’ve been to the mountain top” sermon, came back to the Loraine Hotel to rest and hang out with friends and supporters of the Memphis sanitation worker’s strike, and had a pillow fight with one such friend.

The Civil Rights Museum is done conscientiously well. The exhibits, interactive displays and video presentations allowing a visitor to walk through time and see life from slavery to today, from the Black perspective.

We all have a lot in common in the human condition of wanting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Beyond Graceland, and within walking distance of the two-block area of Beale Street, sits The Civil Rights Museum; a destination worth seeing even if seeing nothing else.

As has been said, all good things must come to an end.  And so it is with New Orleans as the Paisley Turtle packs up and heads North to Memphis, Tennessee Sunday morning.

Boyou SignetteWe’ve been staying at the Bayou Signette Louisiana State Park since April 27th and can say, without any hesitation, this is a great place to stay.  Close to all the hub-bub of the New Orleans French Quarter and, even more, on the outskirts of the fray that is Bourbon Street.

Spacious sites with 50 amp hookups, water (no sewer hookup), free laundry facilities – with AC for those hot Summer nights and days, and a diverse tree population that ads character to the property.

This time of year, and on into late June, the “Love Bugs” come out and annoy you to death, but they’re harmless unless you squish them; at which time, they emit a protein that stains paint and smears windshields to the point of opaqueness.  Love BugsThey were worse in Florida last year during August, but they’re a pest nonetheless – with no known predator.  In case you didn’t know about this little black and red flying insect, it get’s it’s name due to mating while in flight.  Yeah, I know, disgusting.

Those of us accustomed to “Smart Phones” have become reliant upon them for internet searches and
directions.  I used to have a Garmin suction cupped to my windshield; but now, it sits in a box somewhere under our sofa while Jennie’s IPhone sweetly recites directions.  We navigate like locals and see the innards of the towns and cities we visit, like the area of Magazine Street outside of The French Quarter and downtown New Orleans.

The Audubon Zoo resides on Magazine Street, just up Loyola_Logofrom Tulane atulane-universitynd Loyola Universities, as well as a Whole Foods Market.  Yes, we found everythinZoo Logog one could reasonably ask for in a city; great food, sites to see and leaving in one piece.



The road beckons and the Paisley Turtle is packed and ready to roll Sunday morning.  Giving thanks for all we’ve seen and for the sights just around the bend.

Onan 7000Everything mechanical will eventually need maintenance.  Our Onan-Marquis 7000 Generator has been giving me fits for the last two months.  Partly because we have been traveling at elevations greater than sea level (beyond 5,000 feet) and that my generator has an altitude adjustment that I dared to change – incorrectly it seems, as the generator would start and then die quickly at any elevation.  Altitude Adjust

The only solution was to press and hold the START switch on the face of the generator until it would crank over; puffing blue smoke the whole time. Great for mosquito abatement, not so much for humans and the VERY sensitive gas sensor in hallway of my coach – which went off every time I started the generator.

As fortune would have it, my persistent push-and-hold regimen took a toll on the little switch, under the rubber boot on the face of the generator, and finally broke.  I thought, “l’ll order a new one!”; only to find that the switch ($35) is soldiered onto the circuit board that controls the whole generator.

Circuit BoardI have an electronics background and have built many electronic gadgets, including a Heath Kit digital alarm clock I built in 1975 that still works!  De-soldering and re-soldering a switch is, as they say, in my wheelhouse, so I was up for the challenge.  However, I began to think maybe the switch was merely symptomatic and not the real problem, so I opted to return the switch and purchase the entire circuit board ($150) as insurance; plus, the new board had the switch already installed.  Here’s where my elation with Cummins Mid-South begins!  http://www.cumminsmidsouth.com/partsandservice

I made an internet search for Onan parts and I was directed to Cummins Mid-South (I am currently in New Orleans, Louisiana).  Onan is a part of the Cummins Power division. lrg_Cummins_Onan These folks are amazing!  I spoke with a gentleman, named Everette, and he was extremely helpful and epitomized a “Can Do” mentality.  Their prices rivaled everything I found on Ebay and the parts came to me the very next day.  Shipping was only $12 for next day delivery. (your location will impact shipping)

Additionally, I was credited the same day the returned switch arrived back at their facility; this was a wonderful surprise.

Tearing into your RV generator my send chills up and down your spine, but I developed the philosophy years ago that if something is broken, I can’t break it.  As a result, I became, as my daughter once told me, “Daddy, you’re a good fixer” (she was only 5 years old at the time).

There are only two Torx Pan-head screws that hold the face plate to the generator and, after disconnecting the two wire connections, the entire face plate-onto which the circuit board is held with only four Phillips Head screws, comes out nicely.  Changing the control board made this literally a “Plug-n-Play” repair.

I estimate I saved over $400 in parts and labor by doing this repair myself.  Something to think about!

My generator started right up after installing the new circuit board and tweaking the altitude compensation screw a bit.  Still looking into the ‘proper’ use of this device, so I’ll let you know if, or when, I find it!

Happy Trails as you motor about the country.  Paisley Turtle-out.