2017 Summer Travels: Illinois to Wisconsin


IllinoisToWisconsin

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

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

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

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

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

2017 Summer Travels: Amity COE Campground, Georgia/Alabama


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

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

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

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

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2017 Summer Travels: 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

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

Reflections on our 2017 Winter Travels


We are traveling in part, to be honest, because we can’t agree where we want to live! As we celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary (4/11/1975), we can say we don’t do anything without praying over it and both of us agreeing to it. Of course, it may seem obvious, why not settle in Fredericksburg near our daughter and family? We certainly do want to be near them, but we lived in Fredericksburg for 10 years. When we moved there, it was a sleepy rural county. We loved it! But by the time we left, it was becoming a boom town. And now, it has outgrown its roads. It is just one big traffic jam! We recently heard a sermon titled, “Never say never!” But Bill does tend to say, we’ll never live there….time will tell.

So what do we really want? We love mountains for challenging hikes and clean mountain air – but we could never handle the winters there. And really, driving winding and steep roads isn’t comfortable for us. We also love the beach. But what great beach area doesn’t have a busy season? And remember, we don’t like traffic. This winter we experienced EVERYTHING we love about our full-time lifestyle. Continue Reading

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


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

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

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

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Second Post of COE Parks, Cotton Hill (Winter 2017 Part 9 B)


There is just something special about the sun setting on water! This view is of Sandy Creek, which flows into Walter F. George lake. Picture from our campsite in Cotton Hill.

Originally, we thought we’d just write one post about the three back to back stays in the US Army Corp of Engineer (COE) campgrounds. There was so much similarities about them, but as I began to write, the words just kept flowing. WOW, we did more than it seemed at the time….

After our camping experience in Gunter Hill (click to read our last post if you missed it), in Montgomery, Alabama, our expectations were pretty high for our next stay in Cotton Hill. Coupled with the fact friends we made in Fort Pickens really liked this campground a lot! It did not disappoint, except we were sad to learn they had a contract dispute with the county over the sewerage so the sites this year were not full hook up sites. But had 50 amp and water.  Continue Reading