We had a wild summer! We never expected it to be so hot nor the roads so narrow. Were we naive or was it just hot everywhere? And the roads! Who would have ever thought we’d be so challenged?
Bill drove our motorhome 2,648 miles from May 10 until we returned to Virginia on July 29. Sadly, we didn’t keep a log of how many miles we drove our car over the summer but we guess around 8,000!
We thought a summary of our summer would be fun to help us relive (and remember) our adventures. And we want to mention we celebrated two years since of the sale of our stix ‘n bricks house on July 16, 2014, and finally got rid of the rest of our worldly possessions. It was a gradual process. We now can call ourselves minimalists! You can read more here if you’ve missed that post. We also hit our our third anniversary when we started RVing, September 4, 2013.
We have learned so much on our first summer exploring new places. The main thing we learned is that it is WAY too hot during the summer to be traveling and hiking in southern Illinois, central Missouri (we just drove our car there to visit family), central Kentucky, and probably most of Virginia during the summer. Or was it as hot in Michigan, Indiana and Maine this summer? Next summer we are thinking of going further north….
On May 10, 2016, we started our official summer travels. We departed from our five week stay near our grandsons and their parents (they like an additional mention 😃), which is just above Richmond, Virginia. Below is a summary of each stop thereafter and will include a link to our post of the area (if we wrote a post) and/or park reviews, as applicable:
- We returned to Mayberry Campground, Mt. Airy, NC. This is one of our favorite locations for relaxation! It is the hometown of Andy Griffith and it just reeks of the “good ol’ days.” Click here for the post and click here for our Park Review from a previous visit. Nothing has changed, except it was a bit busier and we met some wonderful people.
- Next was our first stay in Waynesville, NC, although we’ve stayed in the region previously. It’s close to Maggie Valley. Sadly, I didn’t write post in our blog about this stay. We’ve stayed in this general area before in our 5th wheel (no posts written then, either) but now that we have a motor home, we knew we needed a Big Rig friendly RV park. We stayed in Pride RV Resort, which was just that, big rig friendly and easy to get to unlike our previous stay in Silva, NC. We met up with friends and did some hiking. The most notable was a hike up Purchase Knob, which was an adventure! If we return, we will stay here again. To review our review of the park, click here.
- Chattanooga, Tennessee was the perfect drive from Waynesville to our next destination, Red Bay, Alabama. This was one of my favorite stops, but then I was the passenger! Click here to see some real beauty and learn a bit more of Civil War history. Bill didn’t like the traffic in the area. Actually, it was just one spot where it’s a problem: whenever we left the campground and went to the downtown area or to great sightseeing areas. You enter the highway on the right and only have several 100 feet before you have to exit to the left! Our park review is titled, “Ideal for Us” and is located by clicking here.
- We enjoyed our previous time at Tiffin Service Center, Red Bay, Alabama so we anticipated another good visit while we had our motor home serviced. We were not disappointed. There is something about staying in an environment with so many other motor homes made by the same manufacturer! One of the secrets here is the store. They sell the many different parts and items at wholesale when you visit in person! What a deal, so now we know to stock up! Again, I did write a number of posts about our time here, start reading by clicking here. There really is no need to write a park review as our time here is not really in an RV Park, but in parking lots with full hookups.
- Our next stop was our introduction to Kentucky, click on this link, Land Between the Lakes. We had read about this RV park in another full time RV travel blog. They stayed in a different part of the park than we did so we were not as enamored with the campground as they were. BUT we loved what the area had to offer. We didn’t see as much as we would have liked due to an unfortunate delay in Red Bay, so as it turned out, we did return to the area and stayed in a much better location/campground. Click here to read our review of this disappointing campground. More in paragraph #7 about how wonderful the area actually was.
- Our summer destination was to visit Bill’s 95 year old mom, his brother and family in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. We usually fly there, into the St. Louis Airport. It was fun to travel there in our motor home for a change. This was one reason Bill selected Kentucky as our main route home, to visit a state we’ve not seen and it was somewhat direct back to Virginia – our final summer destination. We were pleased to find out there was a nice RV campground in town. Initially, we did have a problem contacting them to make a reservation. We had Bill’s brother go there in person to get our reservation. Click here to read our review of the park and to see our pictures of it.
Our adventures really started after a wonderful 11 days with the family. It’s good to not really have any expectations. It’s harder to be disappointed. All we knew was that there were a lot of state parks in Kentucky so what could go wrong?
7. Next stop was probably our best introduction to Kentucky and what was going to be ahead for us. We stayed in a small but wonderful state park, Columbus-Belmont State Park. We wrote three blog posts, starting here. Best part was new friends we made from Paducah. We must met up with them again! Turns out, they helped us learn what we needed to know to successfully stay in the state parks. They highly recommended our next campground stay. Click here to read our review of this great park!
8. Ah, we’re back in the Land Between the Lakes area, but this time, we were much happier as we stayed in the Canal Campground, an Army Corp of Engineers campground. What a wonderful time we had, so much so that we extended our stay to 8 days and made more new friends. There are three posts, so click here to start reading and it will guide you to the other two posts. This is a campground we would love to return to. However, it was much better in May and much too hot in late June to do much hiking. Click here to read our 5 star review.
9. Bill had to visit the Corvette Factory and Museum in Bowling Green. Little did I know after over 40 years with him, his favorite car is a Corvette. He never owned one, so how would I know? I think one may be in our future since he sold his motorcycle…. Bill wanted to take me to see Mammoth Cave and it was close enough. The one thing we learned so far was that very few Kentucky State Parks can accommodate our needs in a very hot summer – we had to have 50 amps to run our air conditioners. So we stayed in a private RV park nearby. Click here to start reading our four posts about this area, which now could be our favorite! In fact, every time we leave an area, I say it was my favorite! Aside from all the problems with the roads/directions/heat, we’ve had a great time! And click here to read another 5 star review of the RV park.
10. The next must see destination was Corbin and to visit an RV Salvage yard to find our needed MCD Glide Trac that was damaged in our “blow out.” Things really came together for us to stay in London, Kentucky to see the home of Kentucky Fried Chicken (my first job was a cashier selling KFC!) in Corbin, to see nearby the famous Niagra Falls of the South, Cumberland Falls, AND to get our much needed part at the salvage yard! Click here to start reading post one of three about our successful time in this area. Could I say this was another favorite stop? Yes, it was great! We only had one more issue with the roads and our GPS….Click here to read our review of the very basic RV park, which met all our needs!
11. We are now ready for a wild time and Red River Gorge gives us our challenge of a lifetime! We found a new RV Park in this area so that was fun to help initiate the campsite! We would return to 4 Guys RV Park if we were younger and could handle the Red River Gorge….but we met our match and figured out this place is really for the young and foolish at heart! The popular tee-shirts said “I survived Red River Gorge.” It’s really a challenging area and we were sad we couldn’t maximize our hiking, but we did get in some GREAT hikes outside of the actual RRG area. Click here to read our three posts about this great time, which includes a trip to Lexington, Kentucky and then click here to read our park review.
12. We ended our travels in Kentucky with a three day stay in Carter Caves State Resort Park in Olive Hill. What a great ending to a wonderful summer of lots of hiking, learning to maneuver on narrow mountain roads, great sightseeing and finding gems in Kentucky we’ve not seen written about in many other travel blogs! This park didn’t disappoint. We did have 50 amps but had to do without sewer hook up. We learned we can easily go three days to a full week. Click here to read the first of two posts about this wonderful State Resort and click here to read our park review.
13. It was time to head into Virginia, so we picked an area we have wanted to explore, Wytheville, Virginia. We more or less ended our travels with a snap crackle pop! Thankfully, we saw most of what we hoped to see, but Bill ended up having a freak incident where his back went out. So we had two days of him resting with ice on and off. We had our son-in-law on standby to come drive the bus back to Virginia. Our daughter was anxiously waiting for us and she’d lend him to us! We’re so grateful we do have him as a back up, but fortunately, Bill healed quickly and said he could finish our journey. Click here to read about our time in this beautiful part of Virginia and how our summer was cut short. Then click here to read our park review.
We had a wonderful summer and learned so much! We can’t wait to plan our travels for next summer. For now, we are back into our routine, enjoy our grandsons and their parents, return to Myrtle Beach, then back to our grandsons for the holidays. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see them regularly?
And so we end our summer travels with a sore back, but a little bit of love by our precious grandsons made all the pain go away! We continue to thank God for our blessings of good health, a wonderful daughter, terrific son-in-law and two precious grandsons!
🎼Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!🎶