PHILIP HANNEL - BESPOKE MILLINERY

6-12-2021

Well Hey,

Its been so long i forgot all the places we have been! We were in Hannibal home of Mark Twain. The city was so quaint. The scooters yet again came into great assistance zooming around town. I went for a pedicure and it was odd. I guess many men do not stroll in asking for  a polish change. It started to pour rain and I was not prepared but there was a Salvation Army next door and I found a rain coat for $7. Then it stopped raining and I was wearing wet clothed with a raincoat over them. It was my Alanis Morissette moment. I found a local watering hole and dried off before touring the home of Mark Twain and a few other exhibits including Norman Rockwell drawing from a republication of Twain’s books. It was an enjoyable tour and then i met Tim for a beverage and he zoomed back to the RV and I stayed with my new friends at the bar for a while. My tab was only $18 so i guess I did a good job. The next day we took a cave tour and were on the road for Davenport. Yet again these small towns delivered. We went for Indian food comparable to what I get at home.  Then the next day we were off to Chicago. I drove through downtown traffic and didn’t hit anything, I am very proud of myself. If I can make it here I can make it anywhere! We are staying at the downtown convention center which is so easy to navigate to and from. Yesterday I got a fresh fade and am feeling good. Tim went to get new batteries and I was left to my own devices. I did not shop! We met for date night for a architecture boat tour through downtown and out into Lake Michigan. Today was a slow start. I thought going to the beach would be a fun afternoon and it was  until rain was off on the distance. Baxter went for his first scoot. It was really short but I think he really enjoyed himself. Now its time for a disco nap, we hope to go out to Boystown tonight. Let’s see what this weather does. 

6-7-2021

So the Strawberry Festival was not a huge success. It was the hottest day so far and very little shade. Baxter was a huge celebrity as he was in his doggy Bjorne for most of the morning. We had giant corn dogs and then decided to hit the road. Back int the city we went to the Gateway Arch and sat in the lawn. The next morning we went for okey gooey cake and it was real sweet. I almost thought i was going to loose a toe. I drove us to Hannibal and we went to a patio for dinner and watched the local minstrel play a few songs. Camping at the Mark Twain Cave is nice, our neighbors Denise and Ed were nice. We sat up until 11 drinking Natty Light and they told that they know another gay couple, Chad and Michael, so they are open to the gays.  Today I scooted into town and got a fancy lavender London fog and sandwich and now I’m getting a pedicure at a shop next to a Salvation Army and City Fashion clothing store. Hannibal although small is checking all my boxes! 

6-4-2021

Wow guys,

Before we left Memphis we stopped at Target per usual to get things we forgot or decided we need. I got a body baby wrap for Bax so he can come with us when we are gone for more than a few hours then  I drove over 200 miles today to St.Louis... well outside St. Louis. As my first long day as Captain when I chose to stop for fuel I got a Cherry Coke and Twix as a treat! Tomorrow in the small town of Kimmswick is the annual Strawberry Festival. Much like John Leguisamo I am on a cross country trip to find myself and learn form Patrick Swayze (Tim) and Wesley Snipes ( I guess Baxter ) the meaning of true sisterhood, compassion and joy to be found in new experiences. I am elated and hope my fashion choices are red and wild! I will post more to let you know the update!!!!! Tonight we are at a Harvest Host called 4204 W Main, a brewery that has a great patio and tonight was karaoke night! This may have been my gayest entrance into any venue to date! I had the baby swaddled wrapped around my body and Baxter cheerfully looking around in a small town. I thought beforehand that maybe my Astros cap would be more butch then quickly defaulted to my basic gay boy self. It turned out that Bax in a sling is a huge success. 

6-3-2021

Hello Friends,

I almost forgot to say that I drove for the first time! I drove over 100 miles and through the city. By city there may have been 15 other cars. Clarksdale was more of a success than just a night of music. I went into New York Family Style on Main Street after my last post. I stumbled upon a display of vintage new in box shoes. They were tagged at $9.99 and after chatting with the shopkeep he said they will fall apart and I can have them for free. I am now the owner of more vintage almond toe moderately gay shoes. 

After that excitement Tim and I toured the Southern Blues Museum, not one of my favorite museums but it had a lot of clothing worn by blues singers from the 19650’s to ‘70’s.  Then on the road. 


Memphis is a delight, we are camping at T.O.Fuller State Park. Everywhere we want to go is about a 20 minute drive then we get to return to the beauty of forested delight. I thought Baxter would be more excited from all the smells but he is pretty lackluster of the situation. Yesterday during the day we went to Beale Street for a night out. It was pretty uneventful after being in the French Quarter until... A Jeep Club arrived. It was odd to see so many jacked up Jeeps with lights and decals. I can see all of the guys at home with their cricket machine looking for a font that is aggressive and tough to print the phrase “Dirty Boy” or something as ridiculous. After the Jeep parade we ran through the rain to the RV and ventured back to the park. 

We woke up and gradually got moving. First stop of the day GRACELAND! It was a huge collection of memorabilia and the house although tacky was tastefully done. I was unaware of how prolific Elvis’ career was, I knew he was famous but not to the extent of his actual fame. Home boy was really good at most things and made money doing it!The grounds and stables were perfectly maintained. My favorite part of the costume exhibit was the precision of the adornments added to everything . Nothing was out of place or missing . The entire tour was over 3 hours. 

For lunch we looked for “good Bar-b-q” and went to the home of BBQ Spaghetti The Bar-B-Q Shop. It sounds like it would be gross to have a side of noodles with bbq sauce next to chopped pork but it was a great triumph. 

Then we returned to Beale street for a night of live music at B.B.King’s. The cover band was really good and the beer was cold. Before returning to the RV we took a stroll down the street where instead of Jeeps there was an Afro-Amer motorcycle gang, these bikes were really impressive. At the second block I realized how out of place we were. I was dressed like a fancy Pinnochio carrying a clutch and wearing bejeweled slides. I asked a few of the owners how much these bikes were and they said with all the modifications they were about $60k, our scooters up the street looked like clown cars in comparison. I drove back to the camp site.

I woke up and ate breakfast. Our first stop was the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel. Wow, what a big museum. The focus obviously was Afro-Amer which was heavily and respectfully done but what about the civil rights of other minorities? There was an empty exhibit hall that could of had LGBT or Native American civil rights included. 

After lunch where we had bourbon mayonnaise with our fries we did a driving tour of historic homes and drove back downtown to see the infamous duck march at The Peabody hotel. It was the most pomp and circumstance! 5 ducks swim in a fountain all day until a man in a silly red jacket requires the entire lobby to sit down and for 25 minutes he will roll out a carpet and place stairs at the fountain edge so he can escort 5 ducks to the elevator and take them to the duck palace on the roof where they spend the night only to repeat the next day.  It sounds ridiculous and it is but it is a must see in the city. 

We were parked for the evening by 7. I wanted to take Baxter for a walk through nature but he looked at me and then down the trail and returned his gaze to me and laid down. I guess that’s a solid NO. I must becoming an old lady, I was heavy eyed by 8:30. Laundry done I was ready for bed and the next few days. 

6-1-2021

Well Hello Friends,

Where to begin?! Well at The Myrtles there were no ghosts or spooks in the night, we actually slept  with the windows open and enjoyed the smell of the flowers all night wafting in on the breeze. We left and drove to Natchez. I can only assume that the city was frozen in time. Every home is from the mid 1800’s and preserved to perfection. If Norman Rockwell needs inspiration this would be my recommendation. We parked outside of Stanton Hall and unloaded the scooters. They came in handy and were so much fun. We zoomed around town and stopped at a brewery overlooking the mighty Mississippi. We made friends with another couple traveling with their 15 year old pug. The lady studied civil rights and said that most of the cities along the trip are going to be “Separate and unequal” which I noticed as i was the only minority on the lawn. After the brewery we went to Fat Momma’s Tamales for a margarita named “Drop yourPants Margarita” we parked next to some very intimidating motorcycles making the scooters even gayer in comparison. 

The next day we toured Stanton Hall, the most elaborate home thus far. After we split ways and I went around town and had lunch. The city is so small that as I scooted down Main Street the driver of the horse drawn tours yelled “your dog is barking for you.” I zoomed back and Baxter could be heard a block away howling. He went from never making any noise to being a whining and howling monster. I cooed him to sleep and sat on the lawn and read my newest read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. I am looking for a baby harness for him so he can come with me everywhere  so this does not happen again. We ate BBQ riverside and by 8:30 we were ready for bed. 

We awoke on Memorial Day to a parade passing by, by parade I mean a few cars with Grand Marshalls and a drum line. We packed up and got on the road. We were going to go to Vicksburg but after driving around their downtown we decided to not and got back on the road and came to Clarksdale. Home of Southern Blues! We were walking around the downtown and heard a band playing so as a nosy neighbor I inquired. The band behind The BluesBerry Cafe was so good. We stayed for the evening and Baxter made a friend with a Pomeranian. The BluesBerry post new live shows every Monday at LiveFromClarksdale.org Another night with open windows and that’s the update as I sit in a coffee shop. I will be looking in a few thrift shops and the Blues Museum before we drive into Memphis. I think we will be there for a few days as I want to see a lot. 


5-28-2021

Hello Friends,

It has been a rough week, with us being ignorant and maybe a mechanic not much smarter we think we are back in business. We were just outside the French Quarter at a RV park named Pontchartrain Landing. The only saving grace there was the “club house”. The weight staff were very sweet and I enjoyed chatting with them as I was staying out of the way of the mechanics. With a big patio I started and finished a book, Dream More by the queen of country Dolly Parton! 

Thinking about Club House my milliner sister Maria took mine to “The Clubhouse” which was once upon a time a gay bathhouse turned cabana and restaurant. We lounged pool side and then went to a grocery. Back to reality.

After the mechanic left for the third day in a row we slept and the following morning went down the road. We went to a plantation where our guide Emma dressed in hoops showed us around a 1790’s castle of white supremacy. We left one plantation to our next. Houma House and Garden was a house Tim described as “too much sugar for a nickel.” There were a few too many things in every room and not everything was from any defined era. We stayed here as it is a member of Harvest Host . This morning we woke to the propane generator coming to a puttering stop. Yet again we were in a pickle , the slideout was extended and I was unsure how to get it back in! When all else fails I’m quickly learning to take Baxter for a walk and problems will most likely be resolved by the time we get back. 

Crisis averted we were off to visit Whitney Plantation, it is the only plantation home focusing on the plight of slavery and oppression of enslaved persons. It to me felt like touring a concentration camp, everyone walked in smiling and soon after a sincere reverence lowered voices and slowed paces. The walking tour reminded that these people were held against their will and the consequences of a revolt  were often worse than the 16 hour work days. 

A while down the road we entered St. Francisville and toured The Myrtles, it is a haunted mansion not to be confused with Disney. These murders were done inside the house and the spirits are still here. We will be staying for the night. If any spooky events unfold I will be sure to update. 

5-22-2021

Hello friends,

This will be a living journal as my husband, Tim Womble, and I travel this summer. We have loose plans to escape Houston heat and see the entire Mississippi River and east. 

We left yesterday May 21,2021 at 6pm from our driveway as the scooter stand scraped into the concrete. Along the ever long I-10 we stopped in Beaumont for dinner and found a dive of a family restaurant. The restaurant is called Tia Juanita’s and I want to be a drag queen names Tia Juana now. There was a live singer (who if squinting looked like Willie Nelson) who was pretty good. We sat at the bar that was too high for the barstools and ate amazing Cajun delights. After dinner Baxter took an evening stroll and we were back on the road. 

It was all fun until all lanes came to a complete halt. We were on the highway which became a parking lot until 6:30am the following morning. After an hour of driving we were diverted again to 1 lane and thus begins another 2 hour traffic jam. The good thing was that this time we were at least moving. Speeds that would of impressed a turtle but are terrible for fuel efficiency. We finally arrived in New Orleans at 12:30 and took naps! After a night without A/C or certainty of movement i was pretty exhausted. We are at Lake Pontchartrain Landing RV park waiting for a maintenance guy to help us figure out how to use or charge batteries on the Summer Home. He arrived and i escaped to let the men folk do men folk things and am sitting lake side with a view of a paddle boat. 

Tomorrow we will be in the French Quarter so you never know what goodies i will be surprised to get!