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.

Continue Reading

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….

Continue Reading

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….

Continue Reading

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
Continue Reading

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!

Continue Reading

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!

Continue Reading

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!

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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)


countryoakrvpark

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…

View original post 1,325 more words

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


IMG_4158 (1)

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.

IMG_8955

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.

DSCN0196

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Lake Wales, Florida (Part 2)


Hopefully, you can tell we made the best of the 21 days we spent in Lakeland, Florida while getting our RV repaired. And to think for 10 years we only lived 30 miles from here and never knew of these fascinating hiking areas as discussed in our last post.

This post is about the one hike we took on Friday, February 19, 2016, in Lake Wales. It was nothing like any hike we’ve ever done! It’s the Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park. We looked on the official State Park website and were only able to determine it was an 8,000 acres preserve with six miles of mostly white sandy hiking trails. I wondered who the person was that it was named after, it was not mentioned. All we knew after seeing this picture was it was a place we had to visit:

When we do research to find local hikes, we like to read about the area, get an idea about the trails and just be prepared. But we didn’t see much about it on the Florida State Park website, nor did we see any thing about the trails, other than it has white sandy trails in the open, take plenty water, use sunscreen and wear hats!

We thought this would be a faith walk, having no idea how it would be marked and how lost could we get, anyway? I use a GPS tracker (Map My Walk app) so we always know how to find our way back to where we started – if we get lost. So far, we’ve only needed it to get us back on the right trail! 😁

What a relief as we really do want to have a plan when we hike. It’s really wise to know what you are getting into, but then, we didn’t really know what we were getting into!  Once we found the trail map, we saw there were three choices to hike: a short loop, about 1.9 miles, a medium loop, about 3.4 miles and then the long loop, 5.5 miles. The equestrian trail was marked with red and was 8 miles. Of course, we almost always take the long hiking trail, but didn’t want to be on the equestrian trail. All we had to do was follow the white markers, which were coupled with the red markers to start off.   Yep, this is also horse friendly! We never saw a horse, but did see evidence one had been in the parking lot after our return.

This is the only wildlife we were able to capture with our camera and enjoy. Such a beauty!

Florida Scrub Jay

We watched this sweet heart of a bird for some time. But never could get it to look at us! “A bold and curious bird, the Florida Scrub-Jay can become hand-tame in areas where it comes in contact with people. Unfortunately, it is restricted to the rare oak scrub community of Florida, a habitat under constant threat of development, and is classified as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act.” Info from https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Florida_Scrub-Jay/id

We only saw two couples on the trail, but also four rangers in three vehicles  monitoring the controlled burns. I’m so sorry I didn’t snap a picture of them as it was a convoy! Thankfully, all the fires were out. We talked with the one couple for a while as the rangers drove by. They were from Minnesota and in the area for only a week. They are “caregivers” for an elderly parent, so this was their week of respite.  They didn’t look dressed to hike, but like us, love the outdoors. They intended to only walk a mile but agreed it was so beautiful, they went farther. They said they made it to the statute, but made no other comment, other than it was a statue. I was hoping to see it, but wondered if it was of the person who the park was named for. They were excited as they saw a large buck, but that was it. We had hoped to see the buck, too, but we were fortunate to see a few beautiful scrub jays.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We were really enjoying the beautiful preserve, but there was no doubt, it was a strenuous walk in the soft sand with the sun beating down on us. And it is on the Lake Wales Ridge, so there were some challenging “hills.” We had stopped for lunch right after walking around the pond. It was so serene and we knew there had to be other hikers or at least fishermen in the area as there were two cars parked in the parking area. Which was very nice, by the way. With a bathroom and a covered picnic table.

IMG_0517

While we never saw the buck, we found his prints. He was a good-sized one!

We did have to reference our map as sometimes it was unclear which direction to go. I knew I wanted to see the statue. As we approached the trail to it, we realized it would take us out-of-the-way of the trail we were on. But then, we never mind adding a little to our hikes. So up a hill we went to see it! And this was a hill!

Allen David Broussard Statute

Wildlife Biologist, Ecologist, a birder with few peers. Allen had remarkable insight into the workings of nature. Intelligent and innovative, he took a practical approach to problem solving. He was friendly and unassuming. Careless of creature comforts, smiling and non-confrontational. Beloved by family and associates. His death is a great loss to all living things. – Father

As we approached it, we only saw the backside was actually rather grim, so I didn’t even take a full picture. But we both became overwhelmed as we began to read all the quotes around it….and then we were just amazed as we saw the front:

Allen David Broussard

1961-1990. “We are experiencing a period above – average extinction rate because there are very few if any ecosystems on or planet that are not affected or destroyed by man’s activities. It seems unlikely that our own species is not responsible for this accelerated extinction….Allen David Broussard

Oh my! This YOUNG man was only 29! And when you see the front, you see what a handsome, curly-headed young man he was. With a bird perched on his shoulder. We just hung out there in awe of him, wondering, what was the rest of the story?

This park immediately began to take on a new meaning to us! We knew this young man had to be something special. We just couldn’t believe the other couple didn’t say anything about it when we asked. Maybe they didn’t get close enough to read the quotes? We knew we were impacted.  Then on we went, knowing we were only about 1/2 way through the trail….still thinking about him….

View from the top of the ridge!

View from the top of the ridge!

With only about a mile to go, we reached the highest point in the preserve. And we deserved a break! This hike was undoubtedly one of the most strenuous we have ever done. So as we sat and took in the beauty of it, I was still shaken by the life of this young man. So of course, I had to “google” his name and found The Allen Broussard Conservancy which tells his story. Please visit the site to learn more. But in summary, this young man went on with his education after fighting Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at age 19. He Began to make a name for himself in his research and studies.  But the chemo and radiation ultimately damaged his heart. In spite of his health issues, he went on to do great things and was married. It was his dying wish to his dad to help save the land. And thus, this preserve and the conservancy were named after him…..

Pretty touching isn’t it? I can’t help stop thinking about him and his life….

————————————————-

Next up, Can you believe we are back in Myrtle Beach….

Lake Wales, Florida (Part 1)


Lake Wailes

Picture from my walk around Lake Wailes (that’s the original spelling) and scripture from my Bible reading that day.

To be successful as a  full time RVer, you have to be flexible and have faith. Oh, and a good sense of humor goes a long way!  And so far in 2016, we’ve needed all of these and more!

Like most of us, we choose to “winter” in warm climates. But we’re not big planners – so we only had a few things we hoped to do the two months we planned to be in Florida. First, we applied to be volunteer work campers last January at TopSail Hill Preserve State Park and had hoped we would start the winter there for the month of January, and then visit friends in Ocala on our way to Sebring.  We didn’t get the position, so we headed straight to the Sebring area to be with family (and help my mom prepare her house to be sold after the passing of my step-dad).  We had planned to spend a few days in Ocala, Florida to visit with members of our “spiritual” family, our former pastor who re-married us and his large family. We also hoped to see our dear missionary friends in Miami at some point, possibly meet them around Sebring. And then I have a friend who has a complicated life. She can only be seen on certain days, so I had hoped to visit her on one of those days while in central Florida.  All we managed to do was spend the month in Sebring, plus more time with my mom; we couldn’t meet up with our friends from Miami or Ocala, but I was able to see my one other friend miraculously. Our initial planned date didn’t work out, so it looked like we would miss each other this winter. But due to the below circumstances, I was able to see her on Leap Day. That truly was a gift of a day!

As we have written many times before, we do love the beach and mountains. In the winter, the beach is a bit better than the mountains unless you are in the southwest (so we hear).  We do trust our fate to our Lord and He nixed the volunteer opportunity, directed us to our legal residence where my mom lives and then had us settle in Lake Wales for three + weeks to repair our RV.  We were then able to see mom a few more times before leaving Florida. (She will live closer to our daughter, so we will see her more while in Virginia.) Things always have a way of working out. But the city of Lake Wales is not near a beach nor a mountain. 😁

Now the good news is that we were camped in a parking lot with full hook ups for free.  OK, so that’s not so glamorous but the price is right. We were told it would take between five and ten days for the repairs.

ADDED info: The only thing they couldn’t do was repair or replace our MCD Wheel Cover Glide Trac.  Bill’s previous line of work (auto insurance adjusted) had him scouring salvage yards for parts. But this collision center couldn’t help us. We were referred to Visone RV Automart near London, Kentucky.  We made it there and got the part in June. Read about it here.

We finally finished all repairs on business day 16, and are VERY happy with them! And that was Leap Day, so it was really a gift.  But we couldn’t help but wonder why it takes so long for RV parts to arrive? And then we had a bit of an issue with our new dryer we had installed in October from Camping World, Myrtle Beach.  That’s a long story (more about taking so long for RV parts to arrive), so lets just say we were able to get a new dryer installed from Camping World, Bartow, just 15 minutes away from our parking lot! But the date that finally occurred  was on on February 26. In spite of it taking much longer than we were told for both the RV repairs and the dryer, things just couldn’t have worked out better.

For 10 years, we lived in Sebring, Florida, just 30 miles south of Lake Wales. It’s a direct route and we have actually driven through and around this area many times. Most notable were our visits to Bok Tower. We had no idea there were also three fantastic preserves/state parks in the area.

But first a bit about the historic Bok Tower. We first visited it while we were just visiting Bill’s mom one year, around 1996 or 1997.  Then we took our daughter during Christmas during one of her visits. And then we rode the motorcycle there for a day trip. We love beautiful gardens so we enjoyed spending an enchanting day walking around them. From the official website:

Bok Tower Gardens boasts one of the greatest works of famed landscape architect. The meandering, historic landscape garden was designed to be a contemplative and informal woodland setting offering a series of romantic recesses and tranquil resting spots, picturesque vistas and breathtaking views of the Singing Tower. Acres of ferns, palms, oaks and pines fashion a lush backdrop for flowering foliage and the spectacular seasonal color of azaleas, camellias and magnolias (a highlight of our spring peak bloom season) showcasing an ever-changing work of art.

BokGardens

We actually thought that was it for Lake Wales attractions. Oh how wrong we were! While here for our 22 days, we hiked at the Tiger Creek Preserve five times, once at Lake Kissimmee State Park and once at Alan David Broussard Catfish Creek State Park. We also had some serious rain storms so we had to find a dry place to walk in between storms. We discovered a nice walking trail around Lake Wailes, so we visited it three times. The rest of our time here was going back to Sebring a few times, shopping and taking care of the issues with the dryer.

Tiger Creek Preserve – As a reminder, this Preserve “is named after the pristine blackwater stream that forms its spine, the preserve contains hardwood swamps, hammocks, scrubby flatwoods, pine flatwoods, sandhill and longleaf pine/wiregrass habitat. Nature unfolds all year long – visitors may enjoy seasonal wildflowers and blooming grasses, or anticipate the return of the swallow-tailed kite.

“The Highlands Trail is a 7.2 mile, sandy loop trail that takes visitors through a beautiful, open pine woods area called the “central highlands.” Please allow 4 hours. A shorter side trail, the Patrick Creek Loop, crosses Patrick Creek and enters a forested wetland. Allow 2 hours.”

We wrote about our first two hikes in this amazing preserve, here. We had to return three more times after these two hikes.  What a gem! There are a variety of trails so we had five very different hiking days here.

We’ll share a few pictures from our attempt to hike one of many trails, the Patrick Creek Loop Trail, and then of our last and longest hike. On February 26, the day we tried to hike to Patrick Creek, there were no signs warning it was flooded. We hiked part of it, until we hit the part where the “bridge” went underwater. And then our final day hiking, February 27, we decided to go all the way and hike to and around the Highlands Loop again. (The first time was to me, our best hike in a long time!)  That’s when they finally put up a sign the Patrick Creek Loop Trial was closed due to flooding but also that the Highland Loop was closed for trail maintenance. The sign was dated March 2016, but since it was February 27, so we decided it wasn’t closed yet….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Let’s now link the discovery of this preserve back to Edward Bok. It was part of his vision to create a preserve in this area, not far from his home in Lake Wales.  He created a sanctuary now known as Bok Towers and Gardens. Bok was born October 9, 1863 in Den Helder, Netherlands. When he was six, his parents immigrated to Brooklyn, New York. His life story is truly a rags to riches tale. His lucky break came at age 19 when he was hired by a relatively new publisher, Henry Holt and Company. He made several career moves and finally at age 26, he became the editor of the Ladies Home Journal, where he served for 30 years. Within a few years he married his publisher’s daughter and they went on to be a power couple in philanthropy and well known to appreciate music and all things cultural.

His accomplishments were pretty amazing, in addition to being a prolific writer, he was concerned with American homes. He not only wanted to see homes to have some form of style, he wanted to see homes that every family could afford. He crossed the lines of architects by promoting the idea of “bungalows” as an affordable home. Even President Theodore Roosevelt made this comment:

[He] is the only man I ever heard of who changed, for the better, the architecture of an entire nation, and he did it so quickly and effectively that we didn’t know it was begun before it was finished.

We loved our visits there and were sorry we didn’t go back to the Bok Gardens this time. We highly recommend it if you are ever in the Lake Wales area. They were only about 10-15 minutes away from where we were “camped.”

Lake Kissimmee State Park – This was 20 miles away and well worth the drive. Florida definitely has beautiful state parks. I’m not very original, so it is easier to just copy from the official website about all this park has to offer. All we did was enjoy the hiking!

Florida’s cowboy heritage comes alive with living history demonstrations of the early Florida “cow hunters” in an 1876-era cow camp. White-tailed deer, bald eagles, sandhill cranes, turkeys, and bobcats have been seen in the park, located on the shores of lakes Kissimmee, Tiger, and Rosalie. Visitors enjoy boating, canoeing, and fishing in the picturesque lakes. Nature students can hike over 13 miles of trails to observe and study the abundant plant and animal life. Six miles of trails are open to equestrians. A large, shaded picnic area with pavilions is available. The park has full-facility campsites, as well as a primitive camping facility. The youth camping area can accommodate up to 50 people. The dark skies make stargazing a popular nighttime activity for campers. Located off State Road 60 15 miles east of Lake Wales.

We hiked over 7 miles here. It was just an amazing adventure for us. We saw a number of armadillos, a few Sandhill Cranes and heard lots of turkeys gobbling! The Forest Rangers had been doing some controlled burns to help with the foliage growth (common in Florida’s dense forests) so that may have chased other wildlife temporarily away. The best way to tell about the hike is with this slide show:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To be continued in Lake Wales, Part 2.

 

Our Best Hike (in a long time according to Debbie)!


Our second day. The weather was warmer!

Our second day at the trail head. They had trail maps and a notebook to sign saying which trail you plan to hike and how many in your party.

As we finished the trail yesterday, I asked Bill, “What we should name this post?” We usually agree on most things. But he said, “Central Florida’s Best.”  For him, this was a perfect day on a trail. So much better than Disney World, he continued. But maybe not the best. We’ve had a lot of GREAT hikes.  But for me, I thought it was the best, at  least in a long time.

We are currently in a location we would not have selected. We are here by chance. The tire blow out. GEICO Insurance. We’re in a “preferred” shop that happens to be an authorized Tiffin (our RV’s maker) repair facility.  But we do know Central Florida. We’ve lived in what is called, south central Florida. I wrote about it here.

But we never heard of this place, the amazing Tiger Creek Preserve, Lake Wales Ridge, The Nature Conservatory.  From the trail brochure, it tells us, “It is located on the edge of peninsular (their word) Florida’s oldest and highest land mass, the Lake Wales Ridge.  The ridge shelters some of the highest concentrations of threatened and endangered plants and animals in the United States…” It is “a high-quality blackwater seepage stream and the vegetation that falls into the creek colors the water….The preserve protects various Florida habitat – hardwood swamps and hammocks, scrubby and pine flat woods and sand hills…rare animals…including swallow-tail kits, bald eagles, gopher tortoises….”  And for us, it offers great hiking, up and down this high mass in Florida, on white sandy trails as well as other diverse trails and with very well marked trails. So we were all over it! Our first day, we did one of the main and most popular hikes, just over four miles. We decided to start with it, Heron Pond Loop Trail. There are 10+ miles of trails in this nearly 5,000 acre preserve.

DSCN8751

Entrance to the Heron Pond Trail with a memorial note honoring Ken Morrison

The day was overcast, a bit breezy and cool. So our photos aren’t the best. But it was so tranquil! And a bonus, we didn’t see any other hikers, although a couple had signed in earlier in the day.

While we had our camera ready, we didn’t see any wildlife. But we saw lots of deer and other wildlife tracks, hog tracks/mud holes and just serene nature at it’s best. It was a bit windy so we think that kept the wildlife hunkered down.

IMG_0186

Of course, we love history, so I had to look up Ken Morrison when we got home.  The few facts they posted only made me want to know more about this man. Oh, how I would have loved to met him! Here are a few excepts from his obituary:

….He thoroughly enjoyed life until his death of natural causes at age 92.
Ken was born April 1, 1918 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He graduated from Carleton College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. In 1943, he married his high school sweetheart, Helen Curtis. The family moved from New York where he was the Editor of Audubon Magazine. They settled in Babson Park, Florida and for 25 years Ken was the second Director of Bok Tower Gardens. He was President Emeritus of the Florida Audubon Society and on the Board of Trustees of the Defenders of Wildlife and the Nature Conservancy’s Florida Chapter. His lifelong love of nature grew out of a childhood fascination with birds. With his enthusiasm and knowledge, he inspired many people to appreciate and protect Florida….

Ken’s love of the English language was revealed through his public speaking abilities, his writing skills and his great sense of humor. For 10 years he wrote a weekly column “Ask the Naturalist” for the Daily Highlander and the Waynesville, NC Mountaineer. He authored two books, Mountain Lake Almanac and the Tonic of Wildness. Ken was also known for his musical talents. Although he had no training, he was a singer extraordinaire in the Vaudeville style and enjoyed music gatherings. He was a long-time member of Babson Park Community Church….

Being a minimalist who also loves to read, I hope I can find copies of his books I can “borrow” since I gave up owning books. Wouldn’t you want to read his books or his column?  Anyway, we had to go back for more so the next day, we brought lunch and were prepared for a seven mile hike!

While we still had white sandy trails, we also had lots of diversity.

While we still had white sandy trails, we also had lots of diversity. Here are hog mud holes on the trail!

We were on all dry land the day before.

A website recommended wearing water proof boots. Of course, I did the day before when we were on all dry land. So I wasn’t prepared….

DSCN8760

At least there were some “bridges” to help over the swampy areas. And fortunately, we never got our feet wet!

We haven’t hiked this far in a while, so we felt we needed to pace ourselves.  While we started rather early for us (11:00), we decided to take our lunch break at 12:15, after only two + miles into the hike. What prompted it was the bench we found at the entrance of the Highlands Trail. We took a short break and then entered the trail ….

DSCN8765

We were not disappointed. In fact, on one review, it said don’t do this hike unless you want the miles, the rest of the hikes show off the area. But we disagree. Granted, we wanted the miles, but we just love serenity and tranquility as we wander around in nature!  And what made this so great is our conversation. I wish I had a recording of it! We talked about everything as nature prompted us….

DSCN8752

We saw so many deer tracks, we know they were out there.

DSCN8766

There was so much diversity! And what a fun sculpture by nature!

IMG_0217

Should we or shouldn’t we? We never read about this…..Oh what the heck, we’re adventurists!

Oh, this is where you want to take a lunch break!

Oh, this is where you want to take a lunch break!

Thank you Tricia!

Thank you Tricia!

IMG_0219

The view from Tricia’s Peak! Oh, to see an eagle or deer….We know they are out there….

We actually didn’t take many pictures we now realize. But we enjoyed every step of the way. We knew there was wildlife there. We saw so many different animal tracks. We recognized the deer, there were LOTS of their tracks, also birds, tortoise tracks and even snake tracts. We carefully looked to make sure we didn’t get a surprise.

DSCN8786

The brochure warned us the trails may change directions abruptly, so pay attention! From this picture, you can see the trail is not really clear in some places.

As we began to wind down, around miles 5.4, we noticed there were two directions we could go! The whole time, the trail was clearly marked. Long story short, we ended up looking for our own tracks as we seemed to get a little lost. We know if that happens, to go back to where you last saw a trail marker. They provided phone numbers in the brochure in case this happened. But I had my “Map My Hike” tracker going, so we used it to “guess”which direction to go. As it turned out, we found a detour around all the swampy areas so we only had to walk back through a few of them. This probably added another 1/4 mile or more to our hike.

And then the excitement begins!  Finally, Bill spots what may be an otter in the pond as we emerged off the trail.

DSCN8772

They are hard to catch! See the waves? He just dove down.

DSCN8779

Can you see him? He has his head up in the center of the picture. What a disappointment our camera was.

We watched for 15 minutes or more and enjoyed these gorgeous creatures. There we four of them.  They were so playful! I saw two of them kiss!  Up and down off the bank, on the other side of the pond. We just never got a descent picture. But what a treat it was! We always hope to see wildlife. So Bill said, “Oh just to see one more animal would be good!”

And then, SWOOSH! We saw two beautiful and rather large deer literally flying through the bushes beside us. And then SPLASH as they landed in the water….and then they were gone!  I’ve always said the Lord hears our prayers and desires!  I had just read this Psalm a few days ago and really meditated on it as I thought about all the answers to our prayers and what a wonderful lifestyle we have:

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

IMG_0232

If you would like to learn more about the Tiger Creek Preserve, check out these websites, Nature.org and Florida Rambler, where we discovered this gem!

 

So much to do in the Black Hills of South Dakota


One day, we will make it here…and hopefully, with our two grandsons if their parents will let us have them one summer! I know their parents will want to come, too, though. Hope we can work it out!

Lowes Travels

When there are many things to see and do in an area, we try to prioritize what we would like to experience and accept the reality that we can’t do it all.  Leaving a few items unchecked gives us a good reason to come back and enjoy the area again.

Such was the case here in the Black Hills area.  Our wildlife encounters were just half the fun.  Then there were monuments to marvel at, historic towns to visit, scenery to take in, amazing geologic formations to enjoy and a little history to learn.  And I must not forget one of the most important activities – hitting the trails!  So much to do in so little time – and to think we were here for two weeks!

First, the monuments –

With more than 175 miles of mapped and surveyed passageways, Jewel Cave National Monument is the third-longest cave in the world.  To get underground we joined the…

View original post 1,171 more words

Jones Run Falls Trail, Shenandoah National Park


It’s been over two months since we’ve had a great mountain hike. So we were chomping at the bit to get back to one of our favorite places to hike, the Shenandoah National Park.  Since we were rusty, we didn’t plan to maximize our time for the hike. But as it turned out, our Lord knew best and HE ordered our steps on this date (September 2, 2015).

We're on Interstate 64, headed from Gordonsville to the Shenandoah National Park

We’re on Interstate 64, headed from Gordonsville to the Shenandoah National Park

We love hiking in this park. We’ve hiked here many times and it may be one of our favorite go to places for excellent hiking. In fact, we’ve driven the entire distance of the scenic Skyline Drive in our truck, pulling our 5th wheel. Read about the start of that trip here.  While we loved the experience, relished the beauty and fabulous panoramic views, we learned it’s not really ideal for RVs for a few reasons. Although we met others in their campers, actually dry camping there and we did think for a few minutes how cool that would be. But we’re addicted to our full hook ups (water, sewer and electricity).

Main reason we wouldn’t do it again or recommend it for motor homes,  are the very winding roads and the impatience of other drivers. The speed limit is normally 35 mph (for 100 mile trip, that’s a bit slow) but people push 45 easily. The Blue Ridge Parkway further south, into North Carolina, is 45 mph for the most part. And it is every bit as beautiful.

A little description about of these scenic drives, as they get mixed up (and we were mixed up) until we drove the entire length of the Skyline (Virginia) and parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina for simplicity). These are certainly some of the most beautiful roads in America! Starting at Front Royal Virginia, just 75 miles from Washington, DC, you drive south west for the next one hundred and five (105) miles down to I-64. This is called the Skyline Drive and is on the “top of the world” in the Shenandoah National Park on top of what’s called the Appalachian Mountains.

The building of the Skyline Drive was started in the middle of the summer in July 1931 and was one of the first scenic highways ever built in the United States. After you drive the 105 miles of The Skyline Drive you will then be on The Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) which has a forty five (45) mile-an-hour speed limit and continues south west for the next Four Hundred and seventy (470) miles to Cherokee North Carolina. We’ve only driven and hiked on portions of this fabulous drive. Here we are on a favorite hike at the top of the BRP.

The highest point on the parkway (south of Waynesville, near Mount Pisgah in North Carolina) is 6053 feet or above sea level on Richland Balsam Mountain at Milepost 431

The highest point on the parkway (south of Waynesville, near Mount Pisgah in North Carolina) is 6053 feet or above sea level on Richland Balsam Mountain at Milepost 431

And since I have it handy, one of our clearest days to show the type of panoramic views from a top of the Appalachian Mountains. Sadly, the weather was a bit gloomy to get a great picture on this day.

Our favorite view!

Our favorite view!

For this trip, we really hoped for at least a six mile hike to a beautiful water fall. There are 75 waterfalls off of Skyline Drive, and all are accessed via outstanding hikes. As we were on our way to Mile Post 84, we saw a bolt of lightening. Then we looked at our GPS which shows radar and weather. Thunderstorms predicted by 4 pm. It was only 1:00 so we decided we had time for a good hike, but decided we better not go for a long hike. I quickly looked at the map we were given when we entered the park.  There is a fee to enter the park, but it is FREE for us now that Bill has an “America the Beautiful” pass.  Bill remembered seeing there was a waterfall at Jones Falls Run, Mile Post 81. So we pulled over there as soon as we saw it. At least we would hike to a beautiful, but smaller waterfall at 32′. We had hoped anyway. 

SouthernSkylineDrive

We were aiming for Mile Post 81, but stopped at MP 84

We stopped and examined the trailhead map. One thing we love about this park is how well it’s marked and the quality maps provided when you enter the park. It looked like we would get in at least 4 miles and it was a pretty steep descent, about 1,000 feet, meaning a rough ascent but that is what we like  – a challenge. We prefer to start low and go high, but not today! Either way it is a challenge.

Trailhead for Jones Run Falls

Trailhead for Jones Run Falls

When we arrived at the parking lot, there was a Minnie Winnie Class C motorhome and one car. Hiking during the week means you will see fewer people, which we always love – solitude. So down we began our ascent. Starting out, it was a nice path, but it began to get rocky and lots of roots. That always makes it more challenging. A family of five approached us, a mom, dad and three girls, ages about 8 to 14. They said they couldn’t make it to the falls as they had to get the girls home. They looked pretty beat, so we knew the return hike would be a challenge.

Starting off easy

Starting off easy

It wasn’t long before we saw the owners of the Minnie Winnie, a husband, wife and their dog. They also said they didn’t make it to the falls. We thought this was strange as it was only two miles there. So we kept on, enjoying the solitude. We were approaching two miles when we ran into two college students from Prague, Czechoslovakia. There we on their last holiday before their senior year. They first visited New York City and wanted to hike on this trail! We asked them if they saw the falls. They said they had, but they did the entire hike from MP 84 and saw the Doyles River Falls. By now, we realized the Jones Falls must be dried up! We enjoyed talking to them but they said they needed to finish their trail as they were on a much longer hike and the weather was beginning to turn.

Jones Falls Run

Dried up!

We use “Map my Hike” GPS tracker so it soon advised us we had completed two miles. The falls were supposed to be at 1.7 miles, so we knew it had dried up. We really felt good and decided we would go on at least another 1/2 mile for a full five mile hike. But within a minute, we heard a loud crack of lightening! We’ve been caught in a storm in the past. We were not prepared for this, we we immediately turned and began a fast pace back, up up up the mountain. The lightening kept us motivated. But we hit a few very rocky areas and could only go but so fast.

Bill going strong! But in the very rocky area.

Bill going strong! But i the very rocky area.

Ah, but the ascent caught up to me and had to take a break, just 1/2 mile from the top. And of course, I am praying for the Lord to protect us. We could handle getting wet, but not stuck by lightening!

IMG_7764

Just had to take a quick break! We were flying UP hill!

So in the end, we were a-ok and made it into the car safely. But it wasn’t 10 minutes when the heavens opened up and a serious storm started!

For our complete photo album, click here to Flickr.

“O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endures for ever.” Psalms 107:1