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: Maintenance at Red Bay to Disaster in Kentucky


Our route from Amity Campground, Lanett, Alabama on the Georgia border, to Red Bay, Alabama. Just about 250 miles, taking less than five hours drive time.

We are a bit behind because of our two recent Memorial Day posts (one I meant to post from 2015 and then the one from this year). Coupled with the fact we have been on the GO all summer! So let’s catch up and review our travels so far.

On May 12, we left Amity Campground on the border of Georgia and Alabama, then drove to Red Bay, Alabama, home of Tiffin Motor Homes for some DIY (do it yourself or rather “Do It Bill”) projects. We stayed there for a week. The drive there was about as perfect as it gets for us, but yet, we hated driving through the entire State of Alabama and not stopping to enjoy its beauty! We really don’t like to drive this far and miss this much.  This is our preferred maximum travel day. Continue Reading

2017 Summer Travels: Spartanburg, Cowpens and Generator Repair


Travel started in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Then to Dan Nicholas Park in North Carolina, to Cummins Atlantic, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Our trip from Dan Nichols County Park to our next stop was only 127 miles, about a two 1/2 hour drive for us since we also stopped for diesel fuel. We wanted to arrive early as our mission for this stop (Thursday, May 4, 2017) was for our generator be repaired.  We were headed to Freightliner in Gaffney, SC, but thankfully, my call ahead sent us down the road to Spartanburg.  They don’t seem to fix “broken” generators at Freightliner, only service them. What a miracle Atlantic Cummins, who does, was close by.

We traveled close to this area a few years ago. We spent a day with Bill’s cousin and her husband, who live near Charlotte, NC. We didn’t write a full blog post about our time there, but what a grand time they showed us by taking us to the Billy Graham museum and property.  Continue Reading

Full Circle, back to Jacksonville, Florida (Winter 2017 Part 10)


This entire leg, from our farthest point west in Mississippi (Davis Bayou Campground) (green dot), to our highest point north, Montgomery, Alabama (B), to Fort Gaines, Georgia (D) to Eastbank, Georgia (D), to our overnight stop in Madison, Florida (E), to Hannah Park, Jacksonville, Florida (checked dot)  is about 620 miles and would be about 10 1/2 hours in a car. Bill drives the motor home slower since we are also towing our car.

Our 2017 winter journey actually came full circle!  Click here to see a map of the first part of our winter travels, which only reflects our time starting and ending in Jacksonville. This is actually our fourth winter RVing, but only our third as full-timers. While we are residents of Florida, our “home” base is becoming Fredericksburg, Virginia – near our daughter, son-in-law and two precious grandsons. We spend between four and five months there a year, spread out. So our circle actually started there the first of January and will end there the beginning of May, before we embark upon another summer travel schedule. We have been at this now long enough, we more or less know how we like to travel. Or do we? We really didn’t know how this winter would go, but it turned out to be a wonderful experience. Continue Reading

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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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.

The Lowe's RV adventures

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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