2017 Summer Travels: Illinois to Wisconsin


IllinoisToWisconsin

In Illinois, From Lake Rend (green dot) to Utica (B) to Tomson (C). Then to Dodgeville (checkered dot), WISCONSIN!

Oh where to start??? It’s been a month since we last wrote a travel post. Let’s back up to June 6, 2017. We’ve been hitting the road hard and we have had an AMAZING summer so far! If you want to see details/pictures, we post almost daily on our Travel Facebook page, so stop by, look around at our photos and like it if you haven’t already. If you have, thank you! In addition to this lame excuse for not blogging, some of the remote areas we visited didn’t have many cell towers. Oh the internet access woes of full time travelers!

We decided to spend a month in WISCONSIN! How did that happen? When Bill was trying to plan our route back to Virginia, he originally planned to go via Michigan and a northern route. But then something drew his eye to Wisconsin. And we learned a lesson recently: No more “flying” through a state – we want to savor our journeys as we go….

So we decided to see a few new places as we headed north to Wisconsin from Lake Rend near Mount Vernon, Illinois. Bill does an amazing job of finding GREAT places to explore on our routes. Our first stop was in Utica, Illinois, home of Starved Rock State Park.

Our first leg there, to Utica was our longest so far, 284 miles, nearly 5 hours of driving – and not what we prefer, but thankfully, the trip went smooth as silk! We stayed in Hickory Hollow Campground, which had it all! It is a Passport America park ($20 cash and excludes weekends) for full hook up, 50 amp and wifi. It was conveniently located with easy access in and out and very well maintained. Our site, G3, was relatively flat. We did have an issue with the 50 amp circuit breaker. It blew a few times – so they sent out their on-site electrician who fixed it in a flash! He said they were going to close soon for a short time to re-do their electric hook ups.  Continue Reading

2017 Summer Travels: Amity COE Campground, Georgia/Alabama


Our 2010 Tiffin Phaeton QTH Motor Home, accompanied by our 2013 Cadillac SRX, or TOAD. This was certainly a PEAK, our site in Amity Campground, Lanett, Alabama.

On May 12, 2017, we celebrated our second anniversary of the purchase of our motor home and our TOAD (the car we pull behind us). Bill drove the motor home 13,152 miles in those two years and we’ve driven our TOAD, 34,000 miles! So we are in a reflecting mood after we read “Wheeling Its” recent blog, The Art of Slo-Mo RVing, etc., where they talked about how their full-time RVing has evolved. We could relate: we prefer slo-mo and we want to smell the roses as we travel.

We are not complaining but we have put ourselves on time constraints since we return to Virginia every three months (or there about) to spend a month or so with our grandsons – and their parents! In the meantime, we have been trying to saturate southeastern USA. But things happen and sometimes we have to miss many flower gardens and gems. Things like RV repairs. Between our time in Red Bay at the Tiffin Service Center, the tire blow out repairs and our recent generator repair, we’ve spent a little over three months in parking lot “campgrounds” since we bought our motor home. We have always made the best out of it. But since we want to see it all, it causes us to sometimes travel faster than we want. And our Summer 2017 travels are falling into that category! I’d say since we left Fredericksburg on May 2, 2017, we’ve experienced some real challenges – the main one will be in an upcoming post!

Sunset, which was reflecting on our motor home in Amity Campground, Lanett, Georgia. Watching the sunset nightly, a location we didn’t want to leave….but we must move on!

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2017 Summer Travels – Let’s Go!


Three out of four smiles is pretty good. See below for the one smile and three other goofy faces!

After the month of April, with our grandsons and their parents, it was time to hit the road!  Our grandsons are now just over 3 1/2 and 20 months old. It’s getting easier to leave – for me, but I am sure not so easy for our daughter. Our oldest grandson understood we’d be back. The baby, well, he’s still a baby to us!

We have a general idea about our summer travels. But first things first. Our generator went out on us at the start of our winter travels. We’ve only ever used it once in our two years of owning it. It is our “back up electricity” as I had to explain to my mom.  One cold night, a campground’s power went out for an hour or two – the Electric Company got it going again. About an hour later, the campground circuit breaker went out again for another hour. We were thankful we had our generator to stay warm!

While we were in Fredericksburg for the month, Bill did try to find someone to try to get it started to no avail. While he’s mechanical, he didn’t want to try to fix it. Reluctantly, he pulled out the manual, called Onan (the manufacturer), then went to the RV Geeks YouTube channel to figure a few things out. He managed to change the air and oil filters, which was not so easy since the manual used a pencil drawing, Onan wasn’t much more help, but the YouTube video helped. It still wouldn’t start, throwing an error code 36. Continue Reading

Final Post of COE Parks, Eastbank (Winter 2017 Part 9 C)


Next stop and to our final US Army Corps of Engineers (COE) campground was an easy drive, just over 85 miles to Eastbank Campground, 153 Eastbank Road, Bainbridge, GA  39819, telephone number (229) 662-9273. We were there from 3/14 until 3/16/2017

We enjoyed our time in southwestern Georgia. It’s very rural, but the road system is really nice. Thanks to Jimmy Carter a local Georgian told us! After last summer in rural Kentucky, we made sure of our route the night before we traveled. The directions were not crystal clear on the website, so we called and talked with one of the camp hosts. She said to call them when we were just about 5 miles away so she could “talk” us in as many people end up at the dam! She didn’t seem to think the signage was very good, but if you have a passenger who focuses on the signs, there were more than she said. Anyway, here are a few pictures of our journey there:

It just doesn’t get prettier than this! Our drive through Bluffton, Georgia. Note the nice state road, well marked and even a shoulder!

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Welcome to Mississippi: Davis Bayou Campground (Part 8 Winter 2017)


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Florida route started in (green dot) Jacksonville, to (b) Dunnellon, then (C) Zephryhills, to (D) Micanopy, to (E) Sneads, to (F) Navarre, to (G) Fort Pickens, to (H) Holt, then crossed over into Alabama, (I) Robertsdale, then to (checkered dot) Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

The Davis Bayou Campground is our 10th RV park/campground since we arrived in Florida on January 6, 2017.  We were in this National Park from February 19 to 26, 2017. It is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore Park. We discovered it when we were in Fort Pickens, Pensacola (Part 6 of our winter travels), Florida. It is a continuation of the Gulf Islands Seashore! Since we had such a wonderful time in Fort Pickens, we thought we’d go farther west than we had originally planned and try it.

The Lure of the Islands in the Gulf of Mexico
What is it that entices people to the sea? Poet John Masefield wrote, “I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied.” Millions of visitors are drawn to the islands in the northern Gulf of Mexico for the white sandy beaches, the aquamarine waters, a boat ride, a camping spot, a tour of an old fort, or a place to fish.

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Sweet Home Alabama! (Winter 2017, Part 7)


This was our day 2 here. Isn't the sky amazing?

This was our day 2 here. Isn’t the sky amazing? We are on site #3. Can you see us? Nice concrete pads.

We fell in love with Alabama when we lived in Mobile from 1986 – 1988. We just clicked with it, from it being on the Gulf Coast with gorgeous beaches nearby, in the Central Time Zone, to the Azaleas, to living in the Bible Belt, and to the down home southern hospitality! We really enjoy visiting Alabama any chance we have. And you may remember, Red Bay, Alabama is where we take our motor home yearly for routine maintenance!

We still love it in spite of the fact it was in Mobile where our marriage collapsed. For those who have been following our blog since the beginning or you are a family member or friend, you are aware of our story. The GREAT news is that our marriage and family was restored. We visited Mobile in 2012, taking a long motorcycle trip, nearly 600 miles, from Sebring, Florida. We wrote a short blog post about it, call “The Lost Years.” I’m sorry I didn’t write about all the historical places we visited while there. Things we didn’t appreciate while we lived there.

Since May, 2016, we hoped to stay the month of February in Gulf Shores, Alabama, along the Gulf of Mexico. As mentioned in a previous post, those plans were sadly changed. We are making the best of it, but are still trying to figure out the best way to be in a warmer climate during the winter. We are having a blast, but these 1,432 miles driven in the motor home, staying in 11 different campgrounds/RV Resorts in just over a month and a half hasn’t been our ideal. But that is how you see lots of new things…. Continue Reading

Fort Pickens, On a Barrier Island (Winter 2017, Pt. 6)


Our travel from Three Rivers State Park, to Emerald Beach, to Fort Pickens.

Our travel from Three Rivers State Park (green dot), to Emerald Beach (B) in Navarre, to Fort Pickens (checked dot).

When we started our winter travels from Virginia on January 4, 2017, to stay somewhat warm, we really had no idea how our travels would turn out. We are still a bit gun-shy, so we don’t like to make reservations until we are on our way to a particular RV park/campground. We’ve had four family emergencies in our three years on the road where we’ve had to cancel our reservations, turn around or set aside our travel agenda for a time. When we started this winter series, I wasn’t too optimistic about coming up with a way to label our travels. So if you have been following along, you can see I have modified our titles, which means things are getting a bit more exciting!

We are now in our eight RV Park/campground since we left fled the snow in Virginia. We know reservations in the warmer parts of Florida between January and March are tight, slim, and expensive. Thus, we have been bouncing along, not staying anywhere too long. Although, we have not paid the high prices we thought.  Anyway, we had planned to spend a month in Gulf Shores, Alabama with friends we made last time we were at the Tiffin Service Center in Red Bay, Alabama. We called the couple a few days before we made the reservations in Fort Pickens. They said they would have the scoop on where we could stay….only to learn the husband had just passed away. 😢 You know, it just puts life into perspective! So our plans have again changed, but then, we really didn’t have any plans set in stone.

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