Ozark Mountain – (Branson, Missouri) Part 4 (final)


This is the final blog post of our hiking in the Ozark Mountains for 2021. Our first Ozark hiking trip this year was in eastern Missouri, south of Saint Louis in Desoto, Missouri. You can catch up here. Our last blog post was the start of our week in the Branson, Missouri area. Interesting, where we stayed is called Ozark Mountain Resort. I used that as a play on words, so to speak, in my blog post titles! We enjoyed the mountains in both areas. However, I have a relative who lives in Arkansas who also likes to hike. He said it is even better there. So hopefully, one day, we will hike in Arkansas!

We ended on a cliff hanger in the last blog post, sort of. Did we visit the cabin where Matt and Aunt Mollie lived? Yes and no. We didn’t explore the history of Branson soon enough so we missed it. We had our Thanksgiving dinner in the Shepherd of the Hills complex. It was too cold and windy to go explore what all was around the restaurant. So we missed it and now have another reason to go back. We will also explore more of the history Branson. I am a bit fascinated with Harold Bell Wright’s writing and his life in case you didn’t notice in the last blog post. He is given a lot of credit for putting Branson on the map so to speak. I want to explore that idea. But in this blog, I am digging into a more obscure historical figure. Hopefully, next time we visit I will have more answers. 

We have three hiking excursions, Thanksgiving Dinner and a visit to historic downtown Branson in this post. I enjoy writing these memories in this blog as it helps me relive them! And we do go back and refer to our posts from time to time – to remember where and when we visited…..various areas!

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Ozark Mountain – (Branson, Missouri) Part 3


We have not regretted our decision to NOT buy a Class B RV.  We wrote about our dilemma on how to travel in two posts, here and here. We finally figured it out. This is our third road trip as we return to our love of hiking. This is the start of our most recent travels in diary form.

On November 11, 2021, we departed our home in Myrtle Beach. We took two days to drive to Bill’s brother’s home near Boonville, Missouri. It is just over 1,000 miles and without stopping, takes around 16 hours. In case you aren’t familiar with David and his wife, Linda, you can just about catch up to their lives in a post written here. Most recently, their was some good news is that he has taken a turn for the BETTER in his battle against cancer. Modern medicine has done all possible to eradicate his body of the disease. He was told there was nothing more they could do but offered palliative chemo. In the meantime, they have looked at alternative treatment methods. The latest CEA test results were encouraging, for those familiar with CEA tests.

11/19/2021 After a week with David and Linda, we went to Branson, Missouri to hike! That’s probably not what you think of when you say you are going to Branson, is it? More about that below. From there, we returned to the Fayetteville, Arkansas area to visit with my aunt, uncle and cousins. Then we went to Little Rock area. I have cousins to the south and north of the city. After all that, we headed back to Myrtle Beach. According to this map, it was about

Map by Goggle. Nearly three week long trip at 2,435 miles and 38 hours traveling from point to point!
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Hiking in the Ozarks! (Desoto, MO) Part 2


Our October 2021 hiking vacation, so to speak, continued on a good note! We were watching the weather closely and discovered the mid west gets a lot of rain storms. But like us in Myrtle Beach, the systems move fast and it seemed the ground dried out. We were prepared for indoor activities just in case….It looked like both Thursday and Friday had high chances of rain. We don’t mind those days as we enjoy museums and other interesting inside venues – such as caves!

Bill and I tried to scuba dive one time, in Cancun. We had “free” snorkeled a lot but those opportunities were disappearing as the reefs were becoming damaged from all the snorkelers. Snorkeling was becoming “controlled” which meant more people going out together so they could be closely monitored. The idea of scuba diving seemed the answer to enjoying that beauty under the ocean! We were optimistic we could scuba dive, but Bill was just too buoyant while I had a hard time equalizing. We did manage an hour in plus 30′ but pretty much declared it wasn’t for us. So to see a dive sign at the nearby Bonne Terre mines initially put Bill off. I looked closer and saw it included an underground boat tour. It just looked worth the price of admission – and it was!

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Hiking in the Ozarks! (Desoto, Missouri) Part 1


The first time I heard of the Ozarks was when our friend, Larry Hurst, accepted a job transfer there. At least how he described his families new home – AMAZING. Now we know and understand the beauty of this part of the country.

I developed my wanderlust as a young child, exploring a ranch around Colorado Springs. So no wonder I really enjoy hiking. Bill grew up hunting and exploring the great outdoors. So when we want to take a bit of a vacation, we look, or actually, he looks for places to hike. Somehow, that is a skill he developed when we started traveling in an RV.

Now that we have decided not to buy a Class B or any RV now, we are taking trips “resort” style. To buy the Class B we wanted, it was going to cost at least $120,000 IF we could even find that one. Yes, they are hard to find right now. So let’s divide that up and see how many “vacations” we could take in the next five years for the same amount of money. Let’s start with easy math: $120,000 divided by 5 = $24,000 a year. We honestly only want to go for a week approximately four times a year. At our age, we do prefer the routine we have at home. BUT in traveling, we hope it will keep our minds and bodies sharp and in shape. Anyway, that equals $6,000/week. We can certainly enjoy a vacation/trip for that amount! HOWEVER, if you know us, we are budget shoppers and we are pretty good at finding budget vacations (click to see our two Colorado vacations in 2011 and 2012). So our bottom line to a Class B, we also don’t want all the head aches associated with them and we want flexibility. So with that said, here is our first vacation/travel blog!

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No Class B for us and West Virginia, Part 2


You may have figured out from our last post, when we said we were lost in the woods, we found our way out.  If you missed it, click here.   We had taken a short hike, about two miles, in a heavily treed park nearing dusk. We did finally see enough daylight to find our way out! And perhaps you may also have figured out, I can hike! We haven’t been in the mountains since March 2019. Let us continue with recent travels that took us to the Beckley area of West Virginia and in particular, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve (NRG).

Day 3 August 24, 2021

Miner’s Museum Our friends from Beckley highly recommended we visit the Exhibition Coal Mine and Youth Museum in the City of Beckley. It is the #1 activity according to Trip Advisor and it was well worth it! We bought our tickets and had about 45 minutes before the underground mine tour began. We enjoyed the quaint museum. We always like to learn local history. We certainly appreciate what miner’s did for our country to provide fuel for heat and energy for transportation. So this really was beyond anything local! Continue Reading

No Class B for us and West Virginia, Part 1


December 2018, when we decided to sell our motorhome and “get off the road” Bill asked only one thing. He wanted to take at least 3-4 road trips a year. I agreed but I wasn’t sure how it would work out. Long story short, it hasn’t. We did manager a few fabulous hiking excursions while we traveled to see family. Otherwise, the travel/hiking bug began to bite us big time. BUT we just didn’t know how to make it work. Finally, it looked like buying and traveling in a self-contained Class B would make it possible. We wrote two blog posts, Is it Time to Hit the Road and Van Life – Pros and Cons, as we began to seriously consider it. This blog post will explain why we decided against it. We figured it out when we took a side trip in West Virginia on our way from Pennsylvania where we attended the funeral of a precious relative, Bill’s second cousin, to attend my mom’s Celebration of Life service in Virginia.

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We’re on the road-Indiana (Part 3)


We were able to visit the Governor’s Executive Office! Each Governor gets to select what pictures he wants displayed. She explained to us about two but not who the man was in the middle. Or else we forgot!

Our first stop after a family weekend in Mount Vernon, Illinois, Bill’s mother’s birthday celebration, was to visit Indianapolis. We stopped at the Capitol Building for a tour and then headed south to Bloomington to do some hiking. We really enjoy history and where else can you get a great history lesson? This was our 5th such Capitol tour: Frankfurt, Kentucky; Montgomery, Alabama; Madison, Wisconsin; and, Harrisburg, PA. While our tour guide was good and we were able to go into the Governor’s private office, he was away, this one ranks 5th as far as “wow” factors. But it was still a very good visit and we would recommend it.

Our two top tours tie for #1, Madison and Harrisburg showcased history and the majesty of the physical buildings. We would put Frankfurt next followed by Montgomery. All were enjoyable and we are grateful we saw each. Indianopolis was lacking in the amount of history we cherish and the building wasn’t showcased like the others. But there were many things that set it apart from the others. It was pretty cool they were in session – first time we’ve seen it.

Indiana is one of 8 states that have all three branches of government working in the historic capitol building. All seven Executive officers, 100 members of the House and Senate and five Supreme Court Justices have working offices in the building.

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We’re on the Road-Smoky Mountain National Park! (Part 2)


From our home in Myrtle Beach, to Gatlinburg, Tennessee; to Mount Vernon, Illinois; to Indianapolis, Indiana; to Bloomington, Indiana; to Newport, Tennessee; back to our home. 30 hours of driving time and 1.848 miles.

We’re on a two week road trip, which we didn’t spell out in our last blog post (click here if you missed it). We’ve been working hard on our new home (closed on it on 2/1/2019 in Myrtle Beach), getting it ready for our daughter, son-in-law and grandsons to spend their Easter Break with us. We needed a bit of a vacation break, but more importantly, we needed to spend time with Bill’s mom – to celebrate her 98th birthday and to be supportive of Bill’s brother and his wife. They have been her caregivers for the past five years. We are trying to cram as much as we can into two weeks while driving from Myrtle Beach through the Smoky Mountain National Park; to where his mom is in Mount Vernon, Illinois; to visit the State Capitol in Indianapolis, Indiana; to do some hiking near Bloomington, Indiana and then to spend one night in Newport, Tennessee to finish our drive back home.

We left you with a cliff hanger last blog post, so without further delay, let’s see how our third hike in the SMNP turned out!  Continue Reading

We’re on the road-Smoky Mountain National Park! (Part 1)


Newfound Gap Overlook and trailhead to Charlie’s Bunion. It was a bit chilly up here!

Wow, so much has happened since our last blog post. We are still getting settled into our new home – as well as changing our domicile to South Carolina. I really want to write a post on what one has to do to become a resident of this great state – it’s not as easy as it was to become residents of Florida. I don’t want to forget and who knows, maybe one day some family members or friends will want to move here. It would be great to have the steps written down for them. But onto more exciting things!

When we got off the road, we knew we weren’t through traveling. Just like when we first bought our 5th Wheel on September 4, 2013, we didn’t know how our travels would work out. And now we can say the same thing about “settling” down – we know there is still so much to see in our great nation and so many things on our bucket list to see.

One such place was Smoky Mountains National Park (SMNP). We first visited the area in 2012. We stayed in a cabin in the Pigeon Forge area with our daughter, son-in-law and grand pup. Sadly, I didn’t write a blog post about the trip but I have pictures posted on my personal FaceBook page.  We did a few of the same hikes, so I wanted to refresh my memory about them – but somehow, those pictures now seem to be lost in the outer spaces of the internet.  Anyway, we knew this was a place we would return one day to do more hiking. We actually tried to get here several times in our motorhome but something always came up to hinder us….

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Flying to Sacramento – part of our 2018 Summer Travels


Our FaceBook post using the check-in app when we flew on July 4, 2018.

How exciting to attend our oldest great nephew’s wedding in California! As much as we would have liked to drive our home there, it’s just too far for us the way we like to travel – since we prefer to be back in Fredericksburg every three months.

It’s a big deal to figure out where to park and leave our motorhome – safely. This is not our first time to leave it. We’ve been fortunate it has always worked out for us. This time, we had also had to figure out which airport offered the best direct flight options. There were so many airports to pick from! So the wedding helped confirm Pennsylvania as the place to go for our summer travels. We didn’t want to go too far since we had to be back by August, to celebrate both grandsons birthdays and my mom’s 95th.

And bonus! My mom was flying to the wedding with my oldest sister, grandmother of the groom, from the Florida panhandle.  We’d be together for the wedding and then she flew back to Virginia with us. More on that later. Continue Reading

2018 Summer Travels – Cook Forest


Bill drove our motor home 800 miles over the nearly two months we were in Pennsylvania.

We’re in the Wilds!!! See the bottom picture in our last blog post to see how Pennsylvania is broken down regionally. Anyway, trying to decide where to finish our last two weeks in Pennsylvania was no easy task but we felt the Wilds calling our name. So much to see, so little time!

We’ll admit, we were pleasantly surprised at how much we’ve enjoyed this beautiful state. Surprised because it is Bill’s home state – he never really “saw” the state! Bill had hoped to make it up to Lake Erie and to the Allegheny National Forest, but the clock was ticking, we needed to return to Virginia on June 27, 2018.

Bill’s focus this summer, after reviewing places to hike in Pennsylvania was to find state parks where we could start our hikes from our campsites. Our last two weeks, we finally stayed in two locations where we could do this and we loved it! Continue Reading

2018 Summer Travels – New Stanton: Linn Run State Park, Falling Waters & more


Fredericksburg, VA to Dillsburg, PA, via Warrenton (B) to get us on US Highway 15 and avoid DC traffic, then to Dillsburg, PA (C) to Shawnee State Park (D) and now to New Stanton, PA

Bill is from the New Stanton/Greensburg, Pennsylvania area. Sadly, it takes funerals to reconnect with family in our culture today. We all seem to move and it’s not easy to go back – until we grow up. So we returned on May 23, 2018.

After we were married, we lived in Bill’s hometown – for 1 1/2 years. I’m so grateful as it gave me an opportunity to get to know Bill’s parents and extended family. We both come from small families so it is nice to remain close to the few family members we have – and that is not easy since we all live so far apart. But for the funeral of Bill’s Uncle Warren in November 2016….

We drove our car up from Myrtle Beach to attend Uncle Warren’s funeral – our motor home was safe there for a few days. We reconnected with many and it was as if we hadn’t been apart for 40 years! One second cousin has a fifth wheel Recreational Vehicle (RV). They camp in it at Myrtle Beach every summer. So it was easy for us to connect and share adventures! She also said there is some good RV campgrounds in the New Stanton area if we ever decide to bring our motor home. So that started the wheels turning our heads….

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2018 Summer Travels – Shawnee State Park, Blue Knob State Park & Flight 93 Memorial


Our drive from Dillsburg to Shawnee State Park, 113 miles.

We are enjoying our short drives from location to location to maximize our adventure days this summer. (Click here to see our short drive in our last post.) We never know what we may be facing driving our 40′ motor home towing our car, so Bill likes to be cautious with the routes he takes. This may not have been the most direct route, but in the mountains, we needed the safest.

The 119 mile drive to Shawnee State Park was uneventful so we made record time, arriving by noon time on May 17, 2018. On the way, we decided to call the office to ask if there had been any cancellations. For the six days we would stay here, we initially booked two sites, our first two days we’d be on an electric only site and then we’d move to a full hook up site. We’ve noticed in most state parks (and many federal parks as well), the weekends are always booked, which means we may have to change sites for our week-long stays. It seems the prime spots in this case, sites with full hook ups are booked on the weekends during “peak” season. We know this is a reality so we’ve learned how to work around it. The weather forecast wasn’t
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The Start of 2018 Summer Travels – Dillsburg, Pennsylvania (PA)


Our drive on Route 15 from Fredericksburg to Dillsburg. We drove 151 miles and took 3 hours 22 minutes. Compliments of Google Maps Timeline.

We will be flying to attend a wedding in Sacramento on 7/8/18. This has dictated our summer plans – we don’t want to be too far from our home base, Fredericksburg for multiple reasons. More on that later.

Our summer travels will be to see as much of Pennsylvania as we can in 52 days! Although Bill is from Pennsylvania, he has never appreciated the state like we now do after traveling to North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Bill’s goal is to see enough of a state to really grasp it’s essence. We’ve had grand plans, but a month has passed as I write this and we haven’t begun to see the state as we originally hoped. Mainly, because we are traveling “slo-mo” to really enjoy each stop.  Continue Reading

Alabama – Ending our Winter Travels Part 4 of 4


March 21, 2018. The second day of Spring!

It’s officially Spring so time to end our Winter Series posts! As mentioned in a few previous posts, we really weren’t sure how our winter would go – but we never imagined all the freezing, literally freezing weather we were in and that we dodged a tornado! That post, it is written here if you missed it.

But first, let’s look at the conundrum Bill felt. He is the “driver” and the one most knowledgeable about what he can handle on our journeys. He does ask for my input but I usually say, “whatever you can handle (driving) is fine with me.” He does a spectacular job and since we want to do this for a long as possible, why should I try to muck it up? Continue Reading

Alabama in our 2018 Winter Travels – Part Three of Four


Red Bay RV Park, 820 4th St., SW, Red Bay, AL 35582, Site # 4.

It was time for our annual trek to Red Bay, Alabama, home of our Tiffin Motorhome, named Tiffany after our precious tween dachshund (1982-2006).  We had a few pressing things Bill wanted to get done and if the weather cooperated, we would go this winter in March, rather than May.  We didn’t set any winter travel expectations – it depended on the weather. And it looked like the weather would cooperate. As with most full time RVers, we avoid snow and freezing weather. But we never thought we had to consider tornados in March!!!  This post will be in three parts: 1) RV repairs/maintenance/remodeling; 2) Hiking in Tishomingo State Park; 3) Weather issues such as a tornado!

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Alabama in our 2018 Winter Travels – Part Two of Four


Site 32. Nice corner site. I’ve circled our old-fashioned Satellite TV antennae in red. It was an easy set up here.

On February 26, 2018, we drove from Gunter Hill US Army Corps of Engineers (COE) Campground to Foscue Creek Park COE, Demopolis, Alabama. It was an ideal distance, just under 100 miles and only took two hours 15 minutes. It was ideal, State Highway 80 in rural Alabama.

Friends had highly recommended it since it has full hook ups and is only $13/night with our America the Beautiful pass. (NOTE: the price went up $1 on March 1 and they expect another price increase soon.) Bill took a look at the map and decided it would help get us in a better position to drive up to Red Bay, Alabama. See our map in our last post here to see our route. Continue Reading

Our 2017 Travels Reviewed and What’s Ahead for 2018?


We are starting 2018 on the same route as we did in 2017! It’s “Trip One” to start our warm winter travels! Fredericksburg, Virginia to Dillon, SC to Jacksonville, Florida.

It’s that time of the year, so Happy New Year! We enjoy reading a snapshot of others’ year end blogs so hope others enjoy ours as well. And writing ours helps us keep our travels in perspective. We are still enjoying our lifestyle in spite of the challenges we’ve had this year. But that’s why it’s even more important to look back.

First, it helped us to look at what we wrote last year (click here if you missed it).WOW, our start this is is the same as last year. Once again, we started the New Year fleeing freezing cold temperatures in Virginia. We forgot how bad it was last year when we tried to close our slides to leave Fredericksburg. The slide toppers were frozen with a sheet of ice! This year, we had the slides pulled in for over two weeks to stay warm which we have never had to do before. The winter storm Benji arrived ahead of any other storms we’ve fled from in these four years of traveling. Continue Reading

Are we living the dream?


Photo by friend, Gerald Voigt “Hawkeye” on July 6, 2017 in Omro, Wisconsin. He and his wife are amazing photographers. Visit their FaceBook page to get connected: https://www.facebook.com/rvnomads/

Finally, I have been inspired and have the time to write a blog post after two months. We are so overdue and are so grateful for new followers – although we haven’t written anything to follow for two months! We had hoped to write more about our travels in Wisconsin and about the end of our summer travels back to our “home” base, Fredericksburg, Virginia.  We have been on the go since we arrived here, not a spare minute to compose a post (nor the energy)…. Continue Reading

2017 Summer Travels – the start in Wisconsin


How can we possibly write about all that we did while in Wisconsin, from June 15 to July 13, 2017? We were so active, we just didn’t have time to regularly write posts of our travels for this month. I’m sad as we are already losing some memories we were making that we try to capture in our posts. So we’ll start with some summaries and see how it goes.  First, let’s learn a little about Wisconsin.

We decided to tour Wisconsin after Bill “noticed” it was directly above Illinois – where we visited family. After our family visit, we needed a route back to Virginia, where we will spend August. It seemed natural to go to Wisconsin rather than Michigan, our original plan….more about that route later! Continue Reading

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)


first10

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.

Continue Reading

Emerald Beach and time with my mom (Winter 2017 Pt. 5)


The view of the RV park from a fishing deck.

The back view of the RV park from a fishing dock. No emerald beach on this day!

Another one of our destinations this winter was to spend a week or so with my mom. She is splitting her year between one sister in Virginia and the other sister who lives in the Florida Panhandle. We had an easy drive, 150 miles and 2 1/2 hours, to our next destination, Emerald Beach RV Park, Navarre, Florida from Three Rivers State Park (post about it is here).  We stayed here for 8 days. This was the perfect place for us to have our mattress shipped, as we discussed in our last post.  Continue Reading

Sneads, Florida, Three Rivers SP (Winter 2017 Pt 4)


Bill has driven our motor home just over 1,300 miles since we left Fredericksburg on January 4, 2017. In just one month, we’ve now stayed in six different RV parks in Florida: start) Sunny Pines, Jacksonville; B) Ross Prairie State Park, Dunnellon; C) Country Oaks RV Park, Zephyrhills; D) Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park, Micanopy (just south of Gainesville); E) Three Rivers State Park, Sneads; Current) Emerald Beach RV Park, Navarre.

We’re here from January 26-31, 2017 and continuing our journey to stay warm this winter and to discover new places! It’s easy sometimes just to return to the same old place, but we are trying to resist.  Since we are returning to familiar areas to see friends and family, it’s been a bit of a challenge. We’ve really enjoyed our travels so far. But we feel we scored a touchdown at our next stop, Three Rivers State Park, Sneads, Florida. Everything went about as perfect as could be. We had a perfect travel day from Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, but one of our longer trips so far, at just over 200 miles and taking us 3 1/2 hours. Continue Reading

Zephyrhills, Colt Creek SP, Paynes Prairie Preserve SP (Winter 2017, Part 3)


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Our site while in Zephyrhills, Florida. Nice oak tree we were under, except during the Tor Con 5!

To catch up, Part 2 of our winter travels left off with us in Country Oaks RV Park in Zephryhills, Florida. We stayed here January 17 to 24, 2017. The 55+ RV park was very basic (actually a manufactured homes park with a field area turned into about 8 RV sites) in a small town. While it had full hook ups (so important since we will be without sewer over the next three stops), we had to drive to get in a walk. The Park had a “special” where you could stay a week for $99 if it was your first time there. It was well worth it. We only ate and slept there since we were mainly in this area for the Tampa Super RV Show and to see a nephew, his wife and meet their baby. Continue Reading

Ocala, Ross Prairie Trailhead Campground, Tampa (Winter 2017, Part 2)


Our first night on Campsite 9, Ross Prairie Campground.

Our first night on Campsite 9, Ross Prairie Campground. It’s a pull through, electric and water. No sewer. Nice bath houses and a dump station.

We have so many campgrounds to stay week or less lined up for the month, we’ll just post our travels in various parts.  We were in Jacksonville in our last post, found here. We really enjoyed our time there. We’ve stayed around Jacksonville in the past, just for a few days, to allow Bill to reminisce about the “good old days” and for us to explore sights unseen. Little did we realize we would be able to get in a workout regime, get a handle on our new way of cooking, find such a great campground on the beach with great trails for hiking and get our itinerary set for the month. Continue Reading

Virginia to Jacksonville (Winter 2017, Part 1)


We loved our walks on a fabulous trail around this beautiful lake. It looked different every day but this was the best day!

This is the day the Lord has made!  We loved our walks on a fabulous trail around this beautiful lake. It looked different every day but this was the best day, blue skies and sunshine.

If you read our Reflections on December 2016, we had a bit of a rough December. We failed to mention on top of everything else how cold it was – but then, it’s been a cold winter about everywhere! But living in a motor home isn’t ideal for temperatures in the low 20s and let along the teens.  It was so cold, we had to bring in our slides for a few days to have less square footage to heat. The day we were pulling out (we had them opened for a few days) the moisture turned to ice in the slide covers!  This was the third year of RVing and spending December in Fredericksburg, Virginia. So this was the third year we had to literally “flee” a freezing winter storm, they are now naming them so this was Helena. Continue Reading

Travel trials, tribulations and tidbits


People tell us all the time they wish the could do what we’re doing, living on the road and seeing the USA. This is one of the first couples we started following on the ‘net as they love to hike as they travel. They’ve just concluded their five year long retirement dream to not only see all the contiguous states but also much in Canada and even trekked in Mexico. Their map is great and they’ve included lots of stats as they wind down. We hope to get back to blogging as we hit the road again.
We’re in Jacksonville, Florida so that’ll be our next post.

Lowes Travels

This is the final segment to wrap up the first chapter of our RV travels.  The previous segment with our statistics is here.

As we reviewed the 422 posts that we published along the way, we recalled many fond memories and also came up with some fun tidbits that we thought were unforgettable, surprising, scary, stressful or fascinating experiences.  Compiling this collection made us pause and reflect on how many wonderful experiences we’ve had while on the road.

We faced our first major challenge just as we started the journey at Pleasanton, CA.  A hydraulic failure left our jacks and slides extended, and we learned a lot about that system during the next 3 weeks that it took to get it fixed (under warranty, fortunately).  Since that time we’ve dealt with many minor water leaks, a dead video camera, an intermittent engine cooling issue, refrigerator problems and other things that we consider part of the joy of moving…

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Carter Caves State Resort Campground, Final Post


This was our favorite bridge, challenging to hike down to, but so worth it.

This was our favorite geologic site, Fern Bridge, although it was challenging to hike down to see, but so worth it.

“We’re going to have to rappel our way out of here!”

Yep, deep down into our hike to see Fern Bridge, Bill hollered that up to me! He says some of the funniest things on our hikes. I should do a better job of recording what he says….

We are continuing to write about our time in our last Kentucky campground and this time, it’s a state park. Click here if you missed the previous post about our arrival.

After a good nights rest, we were ready to conquer Three Bridges Trail (TBT) and see some of the best the natural geological sites in the park. We tried to find Smokey Bridge the night before, allegedly the biggest of the three. We actually had walked right past it! It was hidden by the trees. The only way to see it, you had to walk down lots and lots of manmade stairs, my nemesis. We skipped it.

We’re now using the All Trails app to help track the elevation in our “mountainous hikes.”  The TBT turned out to be the perfect hike and I captured it correctly: Continue Reading

Carter Caves State Park and Campground, Olive Hill, Kentucky


The red dot is Olive Hill, Kentucky, our last stop.

The red dot is Olive Hill, Kentucky, our last stop. Photo from http://parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/carter-caves/

This is our final stop in Kentucky and what a great place to end: Carters Cave State Park and Campground, Olive Hill, Kentucky. I’ll call it the Campground in the rest of the post. What a wonderful summer we’ve had!

Since Bill is the driver and is good at researching places visit, he sets our itinerary. I’ve never had a problem with his choices, except I really wanted to see some family members in Louisville. It was just too far north and too much traffic for his comfort. 😞 Plus, we had decided we wanted to do a lot of hiking in the mountains this summer…. Continue Reading

Daniel Boone National Park (The rest of our hikes)


Site 42

We’ve been hoping to get an amazing photo of our motorhome. Here is one attempt. We had to include Old glory in this photo with Red River Gorge in the background.

We wrote about about our fabulous hike in Natural Bridge State Park on our first day in this area – which is nestled in the Daniel Boone National Park (DBNP). If you missed it, click here.  Then we wrote about our not so fabulous hike in the Red River Gorge, also nestled in the DBNP. If you missed it, click here.

We’ve decided to return to the Natural Bridge State Park (NBSP) for the rest of our hikes while we are here. On July 13, 2016, we headed back to NBSP for what we hoped would be a 7 & 1/2 mile hike, Sand Gap Trail. Yes, we thought we were ready for a long hike! We used All Trails to take us to the trailhead, which is in the State Park. It got us close, but we had to ask for help. So went to the Gift Shop to ask for directions. We were told the trail was closed due to a storm, there were too many trees down, AND they had to rescue some people stuck on it last night. She suggested we hike on Hood’s Branch Trail, close by. She also said to watch for the copper head snakes. Oh this sounds exciting! Continue Reading

Daniel Boone National Park (Introduction to Red River Gorge)


http://www.gopoco.org/maps/

Photo image of Kentucky, captured from GoPoCo.org website

This map shows where we had multiple hiking adventures, from July 11 to 18, 2016. We were in the blue area, Powell County, Kentucky. We also drove over 60 miles on July 16 to Lexington, marked by one of the three orange stars, one day. We’ll have a post about that trip.

We stayed in a brand new RV park, 4 Guys RV Park. Some parts are still under construction, but it didn’t bother us. The office hours are of an evening, so we didn’t get a map or the Wifi password until after our hike to Natural Bridge. We were told the Red River Gorge (RRG) is excellent for hiking. I guess he was kind and didn’t mention our age….😁  I said we love to hike, so I guess he thought we looked fit enough (or again he was kind) to not mention how rugged it is!

Anyway, we were psyched from our hike the day before to Natural Bridge. And after hearing the affirmation the RRG is great for hiking, we were told to take the  Historic Nada Tunnel. We were ready to tackle the RRG – or will it tackle us? Continue Reading

Daniel Boone National Park (Natural Bridge State Park)


Daniel Boone National Forest

Daniel Boone National Forest from the Forest Service, USDA home page. We are near the top, just under the sign that says “I-64”

On July 11, 2016, We headed north from London, Kentucky to our next adventure, just 70 miles north and slightly east. “The Daniel Boone National Park (DBNP) embraces some of the most rugged terrain west of the Appalachian Mountains. Steep forested slopes, sandstone cliffs and narrow ravines characterize the land…Spread across 21 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky, more than 708,000 acres of national forest system lands are managed within a 2.1 million-acre proclamation boundary.”  We’ve emphasized rugged as I don’t think we read about the forest from this website! Continue Reading

London, Kentucky (final post)


Sheltowee Trace Trail Head

We were excited to learn this trail head was only about 5 minutes from our campground. We arrived here just before a big thunderstorm hit the area. Glad we checked our weather app, so we didn’t try it on our first day here.

Our last few days (July 8-10, 2016) were filled with two nice hikes in God’s creation and one day worshipping Him with a large congregation of other believers. We love the peacefulness of hiking in the woods.  We like to focus on the goodness in the world so let’s take a quick look at our last two hikes, one starting the descent down from this picture and the other was across the street.

The name, Sheltowee Trace Trail intrigued me so I had to look it up and found great information from this website about this 290 mile long trail.  Here are a few excepts from the web: Continue Reading

London, Kentucky (Let’s eat and hike!)


Our first hike at Cumberland Falls State Park. This should have been a clue to what eastern Kentucky is made of!

As said in our last post, we came to this area for a few reasons. We are continuing our trek back to Virginia through Kentucky, to spend about 5 weeks with our grandsons. Both were born in August, so we plan to do a lot of celebrating as the oldest one turns three and our baby turns one.

You can read all you want about an area, but until you are actually there  start walking around, you never know what you will like, what you will discover or how the weather will affect your plans! We really had no expectations, just that it sounded like Kentucky was a beautiful state and we planned to find that out – and we can confirm, it is full of beauty! But we’ve had so many unexpected surprises along the way. Most good, but eastern Kentucky hiking is not for the faint of heart! Continue Reading

London, Kentucky (Arrived on July 6, 2016)


Just a snap shot of the campgrounds where we stayed (in red) and the many different locations we visited.

Just a snap shot of the campgrounds (in red) and the many different locations (in green) where e’ve visited. Click on the picture to go to our live map.

We are finally getting into rhythm with Kentucky! We had a rocky start when we first arrived in the Land Between the Lakes in late May.  Click here if you missed that post. We hoped our difficulty was not a sign of things to come while in Kentucky. Well, guess what? It was! We’ve had to turn around, unhook, go back, and make more u-turns in Kentucky than ever! But we are on roads less traveled and it has all been worth it!

Our trip to London, Kentucky from the Mammoth Cave area was just over 100 miles. We are actually enjoying the short trips between stops, and we have decided to stay longer at each location. Seven days per location has become comfortable, and we stayed eight days in the Mammoth Cave area. Continue Reading

Bowling Green, Day 2 (near Mammoth Cave)


National Corvette Museum

    National Corvette Museum from the website: corvette museum.org

It took three posts to really capture the essence of why we came to this area. But there was one other reason Bill picked this area. Can you guess?

What I hoped to do was lots of hiking. But it ended up raining so much, we had to find some indoor things to do. Can you believe the Mammoth Cave National Park has 84 miles of trails! These trails are not just for hiking but some are designated for bikes and horses. There is also canoeing and kayaking at this park. We only got in one day of hiking, but it was 8 miles! And it was a glorious trail.  Click here to read more about the trails and view maps.  Continue Reading

Mammoth Cave National Park, History Continued


Heritage Trail and Old Guides Cemetary

Walk with a Ranger on the Heritage Trail and to the Old Guides Cemetery.

After our Frozen Niagara Falls tour, we asked about additional things to do at this wonderful visitor center. We learned of two free opportunities (most tickets sale tours were sold out): a 45 minute long Porch Talk by a Park Ranger and a walk with a Ranger on the Heritage Trail. We love listening to their stories, so we enjoyed both. The  Porch Talk conversation was with about 20 others and the Heritage Trail walk with two other couples. Their talks were open for questions and answers. They seemed to fill in the blanks from our tour and added to each others knowledge. Below are the interesting tidbits I picked up from these talks, from our Frozen Niagara Falls tour, as well as from materials provided at the visitor center.  Most of the areas discussed below are available to see on various tours. Continue Reading

Mammoth Cave National Park, June 28 to July 6, 2016


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Mammoth Cave National Park, A World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Preserve

Finally, Bill got me here to see the world-famous Mammoth Cave National Park in south central Kentucky! I talked about our anticipation to visit here in our last post, Caves or Caverns.

We made our reservations to Cave Country RV Campground a week or so ahead since we knew this was the 4th of July holiday weekend.  We knew we couldn’t get into the campgrounds in the park, so we didn’t really explore them. Soon after we arrived, we decided to add a day on to our stay. We loved the warm welcome we received and all the brochures we were handed to help us make the most of our time here. There was so much to do in this area, but first, let’s check out Mammoth Cave National Park, which is part of the America the Beautiful pass program. Our tickets for the tours were half price! Continue Reading

Caves or Caverns?


Cave City, Kentucky

We are here, in Cave City, Kentucky

Bill doesn’t remember traveling very much with his family, except every summer, his family went to the Jersey Shore. But he remembers visiting Mammoth Caves in Kentucky with his parents and an Aunt when he was 18 or so. The caves left a great impression on him. Every time we visit caverns, he says he can’t wait to bring me here – and we are finally here! This is the fourth cave system we have visited in our marriage. So before we talk about the Mammoth Caves, let’s figure out the difference between caves and caverns and then look back at our previous three caves or were they caverns?  Continue Reading

Land Between the Lakes, Cadiz, Kentucky


Hillman T-42

Hillman Ferry Campground Site T-42. Nice shade, but shorter than we expected.

Bill plotted the route to our first adventure to the midwest (southern Illinois), to visit his mom, brother and sister-in-law. He decided our return route to Virginia would be via Kentucky. On the way to Southern Illinois, from Alabama (click here to read our last post), we sampled Western Kentucky in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Park.

According to this website, “Land Between The Lakes (LBL) is a 170,000-acre national recreation area in Western Kentucky and Tennessee located near I-24, about 90 miles north of Nashville, TN, and just south of Paducah, KY….LBL is an inland peninsula formed when the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers were impounded, creating Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley — one of the world’s largest man-made bodies of water. In 1959, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction of Barkley Dam on the Cumberland River, many recognized the recreational and environmental education benefits of what would soon become Land Between the Lakes, a near-island between two man-made lakes….In 1963, President John F. Kennedy created Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area.”  Continue Reading

Part 2, Chattanooga, TN


Lookout Valley

Lookout Valley, just one view from Point Park.

We were in Chattanooga, Tennessee from May 19 – 24, 2016. Continuing from the previous post, we are now on  our Day 3. We headed to Lookout Mountain, known for great views and hiking. We enjoy learning about history, especially US history now that we are able to get up close and personal as we travel full time.  The name “Chattanooga” comes from the Creek Indian word for “rock coming to a point.” This refers to Lookout Mountain which begins in Chattanooga and stretches 88 miles through Alabama and Georgia. We didn’t get a chance to learn more about the area since we focused on hiking – which let us to rich Civil War History.

In honor of Memorial Day, we want to include a reminder this is the holiday where we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, in all wars on behalf of the United States of America.  Continue Reading

Chattanooga, Tennessee (5/19-24/2016)


Top of Lookout Mountain

Top of Lookout Mountain overlooking Chattanooga and the Tennessee River

We are starting our second year in our motor home, Tiffany. What a challenge this trip started out to be! We are headed to Red Bay, Alabama for our yearly service.  Chattanooga was only about 200 miles from our last stop, Waynesville, NC, and then Red Bay is only about 200 more miles. So it made sense to stop here. But we weren’t sure we would be able to find a place to camp in Chattanooga, TN.  I was determined for us to stop here after reading there are 57 trails within 15 miles or so of downtown!  My kind of place! Continue Reading

Mt. Airy, NC (aka Mayberry)


IMG_4698This was our third visit here. The first time was in May, 2014, then we returned in September 2014 and most recently, May 10-13, 2016. We’ve only managed to stay three days each time.  It is a great stop off on our way from our daughter’s home when we are going to the mountains. What we love is the good old fashioned hospitality and it does seem to operate a bit on Andy of Mayberry time!

Each time, we stayed in the Mayberry Campground, 114 Bunker Road, Mt. Airy, NC, Telephone: 336-789-6199. This is a Passport America campground, so the first two nights are very cheap ($16/night). If you stay longer, you can get the 10% Good Sam discount ($32/night).  The sights are pretty flat, but some have more space than others.  It is an easy in and out, but it is somewhat close to Highway 74 so you do hear some road noise. Click here for our review.

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The first and second time we were here, we had our fifth wheel and parked in the same spot each time.

In case you didn’t put two and two together, Mt. Airy is Andy Griffiths’s home town and his show, Andy of Mayberry, was modeled after the town. The town has exploited this in a good way and have so many things to help you relive that wonderful show. We liked the show when we were younger and now watch it occasionally to relive good old family values.

We really enjoy this campground and everything about the area. So for us, what makes a location great is the ease of finding great hikes/challenging walks and history.  And this place has it all.  The first time we came, we were the typical tourists and went downtown, where the highlight was visiting the Andy Griffith Museum. So I’ll share those photos, although they are a few years old.  But first, here are a few tidbits about Andy:

Andy Samuel Griffith (June 1, 1926 – July 3, 2012) was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina, the only child of Carl Lee Griffith and his wife, Geneva (Nunn).  Griffith was born the same day  as motion picture icon Marilyn Monroe. As a baby, Griffith lived with relatives until his parents could afford to buy a home. With neither a crib nor a bed, he slept in dresser drawers for several months. In 1929, when Griffith was three, his father began working as a carpenter and purchased a home in Mount Airy’s “blue-collar” south side.

Griffith grew up listening to music. By the time he entered school, he was well aware that he was from what many considered the “wrong side of the tracks”. He was a shy student, but once he found a way to make his peers laugh, he began to come out of his shell and come into his own.

As a student at Mount Airy High School, Griffith cultivated an interest in the arts, and he participated in the school’s drama program. A growing love of music, particularly swing, would change his life. Griffith was raised as a Baptist and looked up to Ed Mickey, a minister at Grace Moravian Church, who led the brass band and taught him to sing and play the trombone. Mickey nurtured Griffith’s talent throughout high school until graduation in 1944.

He attended the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and graduated with a bachelor of music degree in 1949. He began college studying to be a Moravian preacher, but he changed his major to music and became a part of the school’s Carolina Playmakers. At UNC, he was president of the UNC chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, America’s oldest fraternity for men in music. He also played roles in several student operettas, including The Chimes of Normandy (1946), and Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers (1945), The Mikado (1948) and H.M.S. Pinafore (1949).

After graduation, he taught music and drama for a few years at Goldsboro High School in Goldsboro, North Carolina, where he taught.  And then he was “discovered” and went on to become an actor, television producer, Southern gospel singer, and writer. He was a Tony Award nominee for two roles, and gained prominence in the starring role in director Elia Kazan’s film A Face in the Crowd (1957) before he became better known for his television roles, playing the lead character in the situation comedy, The Andy Griffith Show (1960–1968), and in the legal drama, Matlock (1986–1995).

After touring the museum, we learned about all the many many movies he was also in.  So we wanted to watch some of his movies afterwards, but the only way was to buy DVDs and we can’t carry around anything else in our RV!

Of course, we also walked around the town after stopping by the Visitor Center. It came right out of the 1950’s. So quaint and laid-back.

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A great navigational landmark

If  you watched the TV show, you heard them talk a lot about Mt. Pilot. So of course, that is real, but it is really Pilot Mountain and it is a State Park.  It is also known as a navigational landmark for centuries….and we get excited as soon as we see it!  And did we every enjoy this beautiful park with some great hiking and great summit views. We weren’t very original and hiked some of the same paths each time we visited.

 

 

They have made some improvements since we were first here. There now is a great trail up to the top of the mountain, but sadly, we didn’t have a chance to try it. We drove to the top each time we’ve visited. It is breathtakingly beautiful there. Next time, we WILL hike up to the top!

And there are many other places to hike and explore.  We loved the challenge of Hanging Mountain State Park. We climbed to the top of the mountain in September 2014. This was a real coup for Bill as he really hates heights, but he loves the mountains.  So he braved this climb….

I couldn't find Bill and suddenly saw him on an opposite peak from me! And that is a group of teens below him!

I couldn’t find Bill and suddenly saw him on an opposite peak from me! And that is a group of teens below him!

We’ll let this slide show speak for itself! What a fabulous place to explore and hike!

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This last visit, we decided we needed to try something different and travel a bit aways. We used the schematic of the mountains you could see on top of Pilot Mountain to pick out Fisher Peak, on the state line of Virginia and North Carolina. It’s elevation is 3,750′ and appeared to only be 15 miles or so away. It was actually farther and we never felt we were at that elevation. And of course, a storm blew in so that made us shorten our hike.

We had hoped to spend more time here, but we were meeting friends down the road, so off we went, knowing we still had more things to see and do. So we plan to return!

This was our most recent site.

This was our most recent site.

Each time we visited before, there really weren’t many others there. But this time, there were a lot more RVs. And most interesting, there was a North Carolina Chapter of “Campers on Mission” rally starting as we were leaving.  We hated to miss it as we know we have much in common with these campers and enjoyed talking to them as we prepared to leave. From their website:

Campers On Mission (COM) is a national fellowship of Christian Campers who proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ as they go. NCCOM is one of many state chapters offering Christians of all denominations the opportunity for fellowship and service beyond the walls of their churches. Though they go as missionaries from their churches, they utilize COM as the key instrument of organization, fellowship and training.

Fredericksburg Slaughter Pen Farm Battlefield (Hike)


Fredericksburg Slaughter Pen Farm Battleground

Fredericksburg Slaughter Pen Farm Battleground

Bill and I tried to see and learn as much as we could about the Civil War during the time we lived in Fredericksburg (1995-2004). Bill and I visited nearly every battleground in the greater Fredericksburg area (and even took a motorcycle ride to visit Gettysburg). At the time we lived here, I was a runner, so I never looked at the battlefields as places to get exercise.  Now that we are visiting our daughter here, we are looking for places to hike/walk (my running days are over).  People have said the battlegrounds are great places for that – but I remembered the walking areas to either be paved or asphalt. My knees prefer natural surfaces so we haven’t been back to visit them. But thanks to a national fitness organization with a local chapter, “Hike It Baby – Fredericksburg,” I’ve not only discovered a nice place to get in a good walk, I discovered an important battleground which we missed when we thought we knew all there was to know about the Civil War in Fredericksburg!  Continue Reading