Van Life – Pros and Cons


GRPImagery

This makes us want a Travato. Image borrowed with out permission from the timeline of the Travato Owners/Wannabe FaceBook Group

A few people thought we were going to sell everything again and travel full-time again in a camper van. I should clarify and this post will give us more opportunity to contemplate as we work through this process. As a reminder, it took Bill five years of research before we bought our first Recreational Vehicle (RV). We also attended RV camper shows during those five years so once we bought, we were pretty well educated. We are also known to take our time before we do anything major – well, sort of! Anyway, we’d love to hear some feedback if you are so inclined.

Sometimes decisions are easy to make. We have made a lot of major decisions in our 46 years together. But this one is going to take more time, prayers and thought than ever before. We are now committed to attending the Hershey RV Super Show this fall!

Lessons learned from our past: I’m so grateful for the legacy Bill’s parents instilled in him. We were reminded of this Sunday – to be good stewards with EVERYTHING God has blessed us with. So for Bill to want to make a BIG purchase, he has to run the numbers, count the cost and be as educated as one can be. In one seminar we attended at the Tampa RV Supershow, we learned your first RV is your “education.” That helped us to buy small to start and it paid dividends: 

Pros:

1. We miss the RV life style full of adventures!

2. We miss traveling on the back roads, through small towns and looking for the EPIC view on our hikes.

3. We are now into a routine that needs a bit shaken up.

4. When we visit family, we stay in hotels for multiple reasons. Mainly that at this time, none of them have a guest bedroom. So we will be able to not only bring our own bedroom, but also our own kitchen and bathroom!

5. We have a lot more family we need to visit but all of them live very far away. So we could smell the roses on our way and bring our own guest bedroom! Who wouldn’t want to have us visit?

6. We want NIMBLE. We don’t want to tow a car nor do we want to tow a camper. Been there done that. These are our personal preferences.

7. An RV offers the sights and sounds we can’t get traveling to and from a hotel or resort. We have been trying for the past 2 1/2 years. We just can’t get motivated nor have we been willing to take the time to travel as Bill asked us to do when we sold the motor home. 

8. We prefer to eat at home. We bought an electric 42 quart cooler to haul with us when we travel. In and out of the trunk and in and out of the hotel. Our last hotel stay, we left the electric cord behind. It has a 12 volt one connected to it and then you add the plug in one. So didn’t notice until we were hundreds of miles away. The hotel would happily mail it back, as long as I sent them a postage paid address label. As of nearly a week later, the hotel is having a hard time getting it sent back to us….So a Class B means we will now have a refrigerator with us! Not to mention things to cook with.

9. We are work-a-holics. Granted, we are retired, but we sure find a lot of work to do….And that is the routine we need to shake up.

Cons:

1. Cost. Been there and done that! When we sold the motorhome, we literally “threw” in every “extra” thing we bought. Bill said he was done. So now we have to buy a lot of little things – but we don’t know what we will need. He bought as we went along. 

2. We formerly traveled in the lap of luxury. Meaning, we had a king sized bed (I am like a built in heater in the summer and winter.) We had a residential refrigerator! We had a full sized washer and dryer. The shower was big. We had a toilet in a closet with an extra sink. Now that was a luxury. If one of us couldn’t “wait” we could always go to the campground restrooms. BUT if we travel the way we want in a class B, we won’t be in many campgrounds. 

3. After a full day of outdoor activities, especially hiking, we both need a long, hot shower and a comfortable chair to kick back in. Bill had a leather deluxe lazy boy. My passenger seat turned around so it became my lazy girl!

4. So that brings up the issue, do we really think we could we survive in a VERY small environment? We are getting up there in years and while we are active and in good shape, we wake with aches and pains….

5. VERY little storage space. We found a GREAT list by another #vanlife couple. They spelled out exactly what we need so maybe we can really be minimalists – but I can’t find it now.We successfully downsized from a sticks and bricks home into a small 28′ fifth wheel. We only bought four of everything, imaging the day our grandson(s) would join us or even friends for a meal. We managed and we actually liked to call ourselves minimalists. But then we bought the motor home and somehow, we began to add more and more stuff….then we sold it and moved back into a sticks and bricks home. Now we are used to stuffing our residential fridge more than we dared to in our MH and we are now used to so much stuff again. Basically their list suggested only bring two of everything, ie., two bowls  – no plates. What ever you can eat on a plate, you can eat in a bowl. Bring two spoons. Whatever you can eat with a fork, you can eat with a spoon! Only bring two pans. Bill will pick those out! Get the picture?

6. Dealing with the RV industry again. This is considered a luxury industry so our “needs” are at the bottom of the totem pole. That was a rough lesson when we first started and so we know what to expect. So that helped us stop RVing.

7. RVers are the proving ground/testing victims for their improvements. Too many parts wear out prematurely. Too many people have added sumo springs, for example. Heavy duty shocks, heavy duty tires, etc.

Unknowns:

We don’t know what we don’t know! So we will continue to engage with others traveling in Class Bs as we come across them. Continue to read blogs – there are some fabulous ones. And then attend the next big RV show and get educated by the RV manufacturer reps and meet class B owners and wannabes! Please feel free to add your thoughts below in our comment area.

My go to verse when I don’t know which path to take:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your path  straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Is it time to hit the road? #VanLife


We both agreed it was time to get off the road in our 2010 Tiffin Phaeton in December 2019. Only one thing Bill asked was for us to agree to take a road trip a few times a year. We have only been able to make one such road trip since then. We have made several trips to see family but never seem to make the time to stop and smell the roses on the way there or back.

We are starting to dream! From WanderLust blog
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Chapter 9 The Good, the Bad, the Ugly – Reblogged


I know I am dating myself, but I loved this Clint Eastwood movie.  So when I told Bill this was our next topic, he was surprised!  He asked, “Is there bad and ugly in our marriage?”  Men don’t see life the same way us women do, in case anyone reading this does not already know this!  (smile)

Bill never thought there was anything wrong with our first marriage.  I used to say he had his head in the sand.  But did he really?  He never wanted to see the bad or ugly. And he still doesn’t. We have learned so much and our second marriage is heavenly – but not perfect! There is no perfection on this earth – we only get to look forward to it in our afterlife!  

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16           

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“Being married to you is like riding a bull!”


Should we continue to blog about marriages? To catch up if you want to start at the beginning or see why these posts are still relevant, we now have a “Marriage Blog Posts” link on our header.

Follow the Tumble Lees!

I love my husband so much! He is so funny! My next post was going to be called, “the good, the bad, the ugly.” But life this morning was just too amazing so a preview of the good, the bad and the ugly, so I have to share a quick blog.

I remember the first Marriage Bible study we took was under Rev. Paige Young and his wife Sibby at Ferry Farm Baptist Church.  They became our role models! Anyway one block was on learning to describe your marriage through illustrations (Jesus taught by parables because our human brains can’t grasp how deep and wide His love and creation is). Bill said I was like a bulldozer!!! Can you imagine how I felt? He quickly added, “in a good way!” He then went on to compliment me on how I get things done! Phew, I was worried for a…

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Chapter 6 What destroys marriages – or at least destroyed ours?


I’m way behind in blogging. And now I really need to decide what to do with this blog since we are no longer traveling (much). But this month, as we celebrate 46 years of marriage, I am reviewing, updating and re-blogging our Marriage Blog Posts. We are still passionate about the state of marriages. I plan to download these and convert them into a “table”book for our old age! So if anyone sees any typos or errors, please let me know. It will be much appreciated. And sorry, this is five chapters behind. But to catch up, we now have a “Marriage Blog Posts” link on our header.

Follow the Tumble Lees!

DestructionMost couples start off madly “in love” where they only see the good in each other, right?  I know we did.  I don’t think anyone becomes a couple with the idea they will break up one day.  I know we professed our undying love for each other and I know we vowed to love one another until death do us part.  So what happened?  Why did we divorce?  We don’t think we are the exception to the rule.  We think what happened to us, happens to so many others.  A general once said, “The only way to win a war is to prevent a war.”  And that is true in marriages:  the only way to not divorce (or break up) is to prevent a divorce!  Again, I highly recommend Dr. Ed Wheat’s book, Love Life for Every Married Couple how to fall in love, stay in love, rekindle your love to EVERY…

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Broken Elbow and More Travel During the Pandemic (part 2)


Continuing from our last post. I’m now chuckling as I ask myself, how are we surviving? By the Grace of God!!!

Our grandsons spent last summer with us, written about here. I’m not sure, but I don’t think I included how the boys wonderful summer ended.

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Both boys are healthy, active, and are very typical BOYS. They love activity, anything outdoors, running, bike riding, roller skating, playing in the sand at the beach and riding the waves! And they have the need for speed….But none of that had anything to do with either injury. I will say, we were toughened up when Bryce cut a slice near his eye last summer. But oh, deja vu when on…..

July 7, 2020 our oldest grandson took his first trip to an Emergency Room. Surprisingly, Colin had very little pain after the initial fall. UNTIL I had to get him in his car seat and buckled in! OUCH he was screaming! I felt like calling 911 – but he said NO. He’d be ok so he did settle down. He didn’t understand how cool it would have been to ride in an ambulance – I think he just didn’t want to have to get out of the car after we struggled getting him in. Continue Reading

Boys Summer 2020 – Surviving the Pandemic! (Part 1)


Bill picks up the boys!

Our daughter drove our grandsons 1/2 way to Myrtle Beach. Bill drove up to get them. Happy reunion!


I’m behind in blogging
– I’ve recently written about 10 posts – in my head since my last post! But alas, as with everyone, the Pandemic has thrown our lives off kilter.  Hummaccording to Merriam Webster, that means not in perfect balance. Maybe I need a stronger word to describe not only our lives, but I am sure nearly everyone can identify with this since the pandemic: our lives are upside down!!!!

As with all families with young children, the pandemic turned first turned their lives upside down when schools and daycares closed in March. Both parents were considered “essential” so they were able to continue to work – which was good in one sense. But then that meant they had to find someone to take care of both boys and “continue” their education.

Since Bill was recovering from the surgery he had on March 20, we could not step in to help them out. But we decided as soon as he felt he could, we would bring the boys back up to Myrtle Beach. In the meantime, they were “sheltered in” with a babysitter/tutor to keep the boys home and working on “school.” Colin had “virtual” classes in reading and math so that was good. But for a 4 year old? He was struggling with learning the alphabet. Thankfully, we learned on August 6, 2020 he needs reading glasses to help his focus! But more on that later.

Bill was healing quicker than expected so we were about to send for them when I tore the meniscus in my left knee. Uh oh! So after six weeks with the babysitter, we finally brought them to Myrtle Beach. They loved their summer here last year so it was “natural” for them to come a week earlier than originally planned had it not been for the pandemic.

While most activities were closed, we at least had the beach as a place to go and go we went! After all, we moved to Myrtle Beach for the beach – and our grandsons love it as much as we do! But then, the rainy season began – so the beach was out for many days. We had gone to Fun Warehouse last year so we tried it again – and it opened just in time. We discovered they had a GREAT summer pass, with unlimited use on the skating rink, go karts, bounce house and laser tag room. Colin was just able to drive a go kart himself – and did he ever love it. And both boys became determined to learn how to skate – which they did!!! The bounce house is always a favorite but laser tag became a favorite for Bryce, our younger. While driving the go-carts were Colin’s favorite. What a great place to spend rainy days. While a huge part of it is “open air” we felt safe with their cleaning standards. Here are a few pictures in a slide show of various activities during the pandemic:

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Another great summer activity – but only in dry weather was the mountain bike skills park. We only made it there once, but no problem for Bryce to master it after he saw Colin successfully go around it.

If we got out early enough on days that we knew would not be good beach days, we also enjoyed Savannah Playground. It finally opened on June 1. We had a few great times there, but the weather became too hot. And those were about the only activities we could enjoy. Compared to good friends back up in Virginia, it was so much more than what is opened there. It’s so hard on children to not be able to play and enjoy summer activities.

The worst thing for us was our neighborhood swimming pool not opening. We have a fabulous amenity center, gymnasium, tennis, bocce and pickle ball courts. But the swimming pool was the biggest hit last summer. Eventually, the outdoor courts opened and the swimming pool with one horrible stipulation – aside from having to sign up for an hour or so a day, it was only open for residents. No guests. Which meant no grandchildren! And so many of us have grandchildren that come to visit. We heard a YMCA indoor pool was open and they had swimming lessons. Well, sign us up!

So on July 6, we were blessed for them to start two weeks of swimming lessons. The boys loved it and both were committed to really learning how to swim properly. Our summer was starting to beat to a new rhythm –  we were going to survive this pandemic yet!

And then on July 7, after our second great day of lessons, off we went to Fun Warehouse. Another rainy day. And then it happened. A grandparents worst nightmare for their grandchild, who is in their care, to get seriously injured. But Colin was a champ. He was only whimpering but the elbow was starting to swell. And I could see a bone fragment sticking out on the underside. Ugh….

And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7

To be continued….

Finding Buried Treasures!


Bill hoped to dig for hidden gems mine for gold while we traveled full time in our Motorhome. We never did, but we still have plans! We hope to take our grandsons on adventures where they will join us in this dream! In the meantime, I just found some hidden gems that are worth more than gold to me!

My dig started when our grand niece arrived from Missouri to spend a few weeks with us. In my last blog post, I alluded to something special happening to help us with our grandsons while I recovered from surgery – and this is our GREAT news! As with most areas, so many fun things for children are closed. Thankfully, here in Myrtle Beach, things are slowly opening. If nothing else, the boys and their cousin will enjoy bike riding and the beach! Continue Reading

Our Health and Knee Issues During the Covid-19


Engaged! 1975

I had dropped out of college after completing my junior year, met Bill, and here I was meeting all of his family.

We thought we experienced about every facet of the worst during the Pandemic. I’ve written about my mom’s passing (where I learned Funeral Homes are not considered essential), traveling and surgery in the past few blogs. Just when we thought it was about over – for us that is. So this post is about how we are fairing with our overall health and now our next issue – the need for another surgical procedure.

When I started college, I had to figure out how to “protect” my heart.  I developed rheumatic fever when I was five. I was told I had to take penicillin for the rest of my life and I should NOT “stress my heart” by running. Imagine telling that to a five year old!

But when I went to college, I was no longer under a doctor’s care. My roommate was a nursing student and an athlete.  It didn’t take me long to learn how important exercise is for a heart. So I began to workout – after all, I had to lose the Freshman 15 when I returned home for the summer. Once I began to run, I was quickly addicted. BUT my mom warned me I would wear my knees out….What do mother’s know? I said you can’t wear out your knees. How how naive I was….”Mother’s are always right” – eventually we see that truth. Continue Reading

Surgery During the Coronavirus Pandemic – what happened to Bill? Part 3


3 19 2020 7:30 pm

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalms 19:1     Sunset, Jacksonville Beach, March 19, 2020.

Bill’s eyes well up with tears whenever he thinks about these past four months (January 1 – April). He said last night, “I know I’ve said it already, but again, I don’t know what I would have done had it not been for you these past four months.” Bill is not an emotional guy. In fact, he fights his emotions like his dad did. And it has not served him well. He knows his dad ended up with health problems because he bottled them up inside. But he’s working on it. “We are all works in progress!” Continue Reading

Traveling/Healthcare during the Coronavirus, Part 2 of 3


Continuing with our sad trifecta during these uncertain times, click here  if you missed it.

Health Travel

Our travels 3/19/2020 to 3/31/2020, from our home town, Myrtle Beach, SC (MB) to the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, back to MB; then to my mom’s former home, Newport News, VA

I thought I had the Google Map tracking feature on my iPhone but it must have fell off during an update. This map only shows the “ideal” routes we traveled – not what we actually traveled which were longer distances and much longer times. But for the purpose of this blog post, I’ll just show the 1,101 miles or 17 hours 4 minutes we traveled most recently, more or less. First some background about my husband’s and my mom’s health decline that lead to these long miles during a less than ideal time to travel.

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Surgery, Hospitals, Traveling and Death During the Coronavirus (Part 1 of 3)


I’m sure every blogger has a story to share. So I might as well share our trifecta. I hope and pray we could help someone else and I want to never forget this journey.

Did you know Funeral Homes are non-essential??? At least in Virginia so I am sure they are elsewhere as all the states seem to be following the same guidelines. Continue Reading

Clara needs prayers!


In trying to reach as many people as possible with a mission to PRAY and FAST, I am reblogging this from my personal blog. Please help as you can!

Real life....

Nothing tugs at our heart strings more than a child in need! One of my nieces, Rachel, has been a good friend to Clara’s mom, Lori since 2007. They met in Mexico while serving as teachers after college. Eventually, both accepted teaching positions in Colorado Springs. And then both went on to have three children each. Eventually, as is common in our culture, both of their families moved apart but they are “virtually” connected!

Clara turns 11 on March 26, 2020. Rachel’s mom, my dear sister-in-law Linda, has been kept up to date on Clara’s life since meeting her a few years ago. Linda has a memory of seeing Clara, her little sister Ana Cecilia and Linda’s grand daughter, Hadassah, running and playing on their farm. No one suspected an unknown and undiagnosable disease was lurking in both Clara and Ana Cecilia.

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The Wilderness


A bit off topic, or maybe not!!! This may tell a bit of a tale about where Bill and I are these days. Hopefully, we will be able to share more information about our Wilderness…..

Real life....

I’ve missed blogging, both on this blog and on our Travel Adventure site. I usually say these posts are more for me – as a diary of where my life was going, where it went and where it needs to be (this site is more for where it needs to be). As I am aging, I see more and more the need to have these events documented somehow. I am so sad I never blogged about all of our motorcycle adventures (many were pre-blog days) nor do I have a good journal of our early years in Florida (2004-2011). I started a few journal entries to keep our daughter informed of those times – but until I actually began blogging, those memories are now about lost except on some digital and paper photos “somewhere.” 

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It’s been three years!!!


I missed posting on December 15 – Bill’s anniversary. We both have been blessed by the “radical” lifestyle change he had to make. We want to be able to really enjoy our grandsons. We’ve discovered good health and fitness really help! 😏

Real life....

On December 15, 2016, Bill thought he was about to die. Not everyone gets a second chance at life – but many do. If you had a second chance, what would you do to make a difference in your life?

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A Tribute to My Mother-in-Law


My blogging has slowed down since we’ve settled down. But I still have so much I want to share – and this one has taken me a few months to finalize! My mother-in-law was such a huge blessing to her family. She was so humble, she never would have wanted us to share her life story. But it is an important one and for the sake of her grandchildren and great grandchildren, her story needs to be told and re-told!

Real life....

Ruth Brunner Lees

Obituary for Ruth A. Brunner Lees

Ruth A. (Brunner) Lees, 98, formerly of North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania died Thursday, June 20, 2019, in Mount Vernon, IL. She was born March 17, 1921 in West Newton, a daughter of the late Walter and Minnie Louise (Huber) Brunner and was also preceded in death by her husband Earl Lees, and siblings Rosella “Posey” Fulmer and Warren H. Brunner. Ruth graduated from Westmoreland Hospital School of Nursing in 1943 and served in the Army Nursing Corps during WWII serving as a Lieutenant. She worked as a private duty nurse after the war. She was active with her late husband in the 9th Infantry Division Reunion Group and was a Red Cross volunteer for over 45 years. Ruth was a professing Christian and humble follower of Jesus Christ. She demonstrated her faith in daily practical help to those around her. She was a member of…

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Update – Life After Full Time RVing


Bike riding with our grandsons in our district. Our oldest grandson likes to strike a crazy pose to show his “crazy” side. He gets that from his dad! Our youngest learned how to ride without training wheels this summer!

I can’t believe I never finished our last series (click here) about our first automobile road trip after we stopped RVing. For some reason, it’s harder to blog now that we live back in a sticks and bricks home….I have a draft blog started on the end of that road trip which stopped with us traveling through Indiana. I just have to select the pictures and finalize it. And as usual, I have an abundance of photos. Hopefully, I’ll finish it one day as it includes a stop with a tour of the State Capitol. In the meantime I am compelled to write an update.  Continue Reading

We’re on the road-Indiana (Part 3)


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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