We are so behind in our blogging about our travels. After our stay at Amity Campground (our last travel blog) we’ve done maintenance on our motor home, had one disastrous drive then decided to go visit Bill’s mom, bother and sister in law sooner than originally planned. We had a GRAND time, which included this fabulous Memorial Day event. Sadly, for health reasons, my mother-in-law couldn’t attend due to her health. We are so proud of her service during WWII as an Army 1st Lieutenant Nurse with her sister.
From left, Bill, his brother David and wife, Linda, and yours truly.
We were so happy and blessed to be able to attend the third annual Memorial Day event at the Civil War cemetery in Vernon, Illinois. We remember fondly the event from 2015, written about here in case you missed it. We didn’t think that day could be topped but this years event was equally wonderful. This post will be mainly photos of the wonderful displays.
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!
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
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
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
We are a bit behind in our Travel posts. But we have been a bit consumed with our health concerns. Fortunately, it looks like we are on the road to recovery and hope our journey down this road might encourage others to have the best health possible!
April 2017. Bill has lost over 40 pounds and I’ve lost over 20. We didn’t try to do this, just changing our diet caused the weight to literally melt off! Our before picture is below.
Have you ever heard of Metabolic Syndrome? If you are like us, we never did, until December 22, 2016 when Bill was informed he had it. He was still reeling from the fact the week prior, he was told he was at risk for a massive heart attack and/or had heart disease. Like everyone who gets such a scary diagnosis, you never imagine it could happen to you.
In one way, it was a relief! It explained why Bill couldn’t lose a pound when he tried! We are a very active couple, living a lifestyle that demands activity. Or else, we chose this lifestyle because we love activity!
Ah, it’s Good Friday and here I am, finalizing our latest post about living with Heart Disease. Maybe it is linked – Our Lord and Savior gives us new life and life eternal.
Bill’s diagnosis has also given us new life – but it’s only temporal. We do believe God created us for good, to bring Him Glory and Honor in all we do and how we live. We both feel we have been given a second chance to fully enjoy what time we have left on this earth! Happy Easter and we hope everyone makes it to church or a service sometime this weekend as we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord! Our Lord came down from Glory to sacrifice His earthly body so those who believe in His sacrifice and all that it means, may have eternal life with Him! Isn’t that worthy of celebration?
Bill often said he felt like he was in a new country when he began to eat a Heart Healthy diet. The shock has finally subsided since he learned he had heart disease and Metabolic Syndrome on December 15, 2016, details here in case you missed it. Thankfully, Bill is a strong-willed person. When he decides he is going to do something, he does it, and usually in a big way. He learned to accept it, written about here, and decided he would do whatever he had to do to overcome any obstacles that might hinder his lifestyle. The next step he had to go through was to decide how to live with it, written here.
Now let’s fast forward to April 11, 2017. The day finally arrived for us to meet again with Dr. Jeffrey Askew. I was very positive, but Bill’s nature was to be…
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
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!
From my personal blog. Our winter travels are officially over, but still have a few more blog posts. This post was what we were coping with all winter as we learned about heart disease and learned a new way of eating and better exercising. We also learned a lot about traveling although it’s been 3 1/2 years! We know one thing, we’re going to keep on keepin’ on!
Aren’t we the picture of health? Photo taken August 2016 Is it just us, or has anyone else noticed something interesting about pharmaceutical commercials these days? They show a good-looking couple, middle-aged (whatever that is to the viewer) out having fun: bike riding, playing golf, playing with their child or grandchild, walking and holding hands in a romantic setting? (Maybe like this picture?) Then the commercial begins, “See your doctor about taking XYZ drug.” Then in fine print and a VERY low and fast voice, you are warned that this drug could cause paralysis, blindness, heart attack, or some other more serious cause of death? And then as soon as that is over, a law firm advertises: ”If you have ever taken such and such drug and you have cancer, it’s been determined that drug caused the cancer and we will sue for $millions for YOU!” What’s with this?
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
Our trip from Davis Bayou (click to read), Ocean Springs, Mississippi, to our next destination was just over 200 miles. It was an easy trip and we arrived around 12:30 pm. We knew we might be a little early, but we learned that COE park check out times are 3:00 pm! Little did we know….
Our first experience in a COE was last summer. We stayed in the Land Between The Lakes (LBL) COE “Canal Campground,” click here to read about our fabulous time there. It took three posts to write it up since there was so much to do and we hope to return there one day. As I am writing this, we now have stayed in three, back to back stays, this winter. I had hoped to write about all three in this one post, but we did so much in the Montgomery, Alabama area, it needs its own post. Continue Reading
We’ve slowed down a bit on our travel blog. Mainly, because we have a limited internet plan which we usually can manage. But this month, we haven’t stayed in many places with free wifi.
We’ll let you know what is ahead with a sneak peak! We will have stayed in three consecutive US Army Corp of Engineer Campgrounds: Gunner Hill outside Montgomery, Alabama, Cotton Hill just over the Alabama/Georgia border in Fort Gaines, Georgia. And finally, in East Bank near Bainbridge, Georgia. Then we’ll hit a private campground with free wifi and we’ll catch up!
We’re experiencing the best of all RV travels: Maybe not the best hiking, but excellent long walks, really experiencing “America the Beautiful” with our 1/2 price discount passes, wonderful American history peppered with messages to help our spiritual life!
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.
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, Alabamais 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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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…
Colin took to Santa right away. Bryce wasn’t too impressed, initially!
Who doesn’t envision a Norman Rockwell December? We began to think Hurricane Matthew was going to severely alter our Thanksgiving to New Years time with our precious grandsons and their parents. (They are pretty precious, too!) Not that we had visions of the perfect Holy-day season, but we sure hoped it would be a great one for the boys.
While we are official residents of Sebring, Florida, we have made Fredericksburg, Virginia our “home base” as we plan to be here four times a year for a total of about five months. So far, we have been here about six months a year, but that was because we extended our time for the birth of both of our grandsons. But our home has wheels and we were made to travel during our “golden” years! And for as long as our health holds out…. Continue Reading
Oldest grandson loves his PeePaw and will hold HIS hand!
This post title been the series topic atSpotswood Baptist Church, Fredericksburg, Virginia this December. It is our third December to be here and enjoy this amazing Pastor. He just knows how to get the message across in a Biblical and relevant way!
We actually missed the first sermon because we were taking care of our youngest grandson who was sick (and we each caught that nasty stomach virus that has been around the country). We had our oldest grandson with us for the second sermon, he’s pictured here on his way there. Having him snuggled up against me, prevented me from taking notes or even downloading the sermon outline. Otherwise, I would have written that sermon us as well!
High tide, 10:08 am, Saturday, November 19, 2016, five days after the “superman.”
Just when we thought we ran out of things to write about the dunes….I was going to write about the high tides, the airplanes and the projects Bill has done.
We left our motorhome here for a week to be with family after the death of Bill’s uncle (age 97 – so he had a fabulous life) and spent Thanksgiving (November 24, 2016) with our grandsons, their parents, and with our son-in-law’s mom, step dad, sister and nephew. We had a fantastic time and came back to a major surprise….hang on.
The fencing posts you see in this picture show where the dunes used to be, prior to Hurricane Matthew. The high tide only reached up to the darkened areas of the beach. Hopefully, you can see where the row of beach front houses only have a smattering of the beach. I tried to zoom in to better show, but this was the best I could get. Continue Reading
October 2015. We were so blessed to have our oldest grandson here with us for 10 days. We can’t wait to bring him and his little brother back!
As mentioned in our last post, we will now look at the dunes as we walk north – which has been our walking beach route since we started staying here in 2013.
This most precious picture of our oldest grandson, then two years old, which shows the north view as we hit the beach. I’d love to recreate this picture with him, one day!
We’ve now been here for 10 days so we are seeing more clearly the damage from Hurricane Matthew. As soon as we arrived back here after our evacuation, we managed to get in four long walks, one going south and the rest back up north. Then we hit a bad spell….it seems that the sand surface has definitely changed and my knees will testify to it! Continue Reading
Amazing that we captured this picture of the sand dunes at Myrtle Beach State Park. We couldn’t find where we took this picture as these dunes are gone!
We’re in our sixth, or really seventh, stay in Myrtle Beach since we began RVing in 2013. What we love the most is the wide and flat beach – we can easily walk five miles! We’ve been mesmerized by the dunes and how much they protect not only the beach, but the campgrounds, houses and hotels that line the beach front. So of course, we were anxious to see the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in October, 2016. I’ve tried to find old pictures for comparison, but after took pictures upon our arrival and subsequent beach walks.
Hurricane Matthew’s storm surge and waves overwashed about 15 percent of the sand dunes on Florida’s Atlantic coast, 30 percent along Georgia’s coastline, and 42 percent of dunes on South Carolina’s sandy beaches as the powerful storm brushed past the Southeastern states October 6-9, according to USGS experts’ preliminary review of USGS low-altitude before-and-after images along of the coast and NOAA photographs collected after the storm.” (www.usgs.gov)
We mentioned in our last post, in order to be a successful/happy/content full-time RVer, one must be flexible! Bill likes life a bit orderly, no surprise to those who know him, “let’s plan and do it!” I’m more of a spontaneous person, ready to rock and roll to most of life’s punches. Or is it the other way around? 😉, anyway, we are a great team!
We continue to reflect back on what an ideal summer we had in Kentucky! (If you missed the posts, start reading here or just for our recap, read about it here.) A well needed action-packed summer full of lots of miles, parks, hiking, sightseeing, etc. We thought after nearly two months of family time, six weeks in Myrtle Beach would be a relaxing break. And besides, we planned to be back in Fredericksburg for six weeks, from Thanksgiving to the New Year (to include the all important Christmas with family). We’d get in at least a five mile beach walk most days, Bill would complete a number of minor repairs/modifications to our RV, plus finish polishing it! Ah, life is good 😊! Continue Reading
To make it in this lifestyle, as full time RV (recreational vehicle) travelers, one must be flexible. We like to think we are and so far, we are making it! But we sure have had our moments. So our last post, we provided a recap of our exciting summer. It was about as ideal as we could hope for as far as traveling and seeing new places is concerned. The moments we had was driving our sweet Tiffany (our 40′ monster motor home) and flat towing our car was driving on totally unknown roads! Thankfully, a fellow traveler and blogger read about some of the “tight spots” we got into and suggested using Google Earth to check out our routes before we take off! Success!
Then we arrived at what has become our “home” campground near our daughter and family.It’s an inexpensive (monthly rate) RV family campground, complete with two playgrounds, heated swimming pool, putt putt golf and gently rolling hills surrounded by wooded lots. The downside was that it was a 30 minute drive, or an hour each day. And we went every day to our daughter’s home. We’ve stayed here about five months so they know us. We had a reservation, like we do every time. BUT for some reason, they gave our reservation away, again….so gotta be flexible. It was not a good start to the month….
On May 10, 2016, we started out just north of Richmond, Virginia: then to Mt. Airy, NC; to Waynesville, NC; to Chattanooga, TN; to Red Bay, AL; To Land Between the Lakes, KY; to Mt. Vernon, IL (with a weekend car trip to Missouri); back through Kentucky) ending in Wytheville, VA.
We had a wild summer! We never expected it to be so hot nor the roads so narrow. Were we naive or was it just hot everywhere? And the roads! Who would have ever thought we’d be so challenged?
Bill drove our motorhome 2,648 miles from May 10 until we returned to Virginia on July 29. Sadly, we didn’t keep a log of how many miles we drove our car over the summer but we guess around 8,000!
We thought a summary of our summer would be fun to help us relive (and remember) our adventures. And we want to mention we celebrated two years since of the sale of our stix ‘n bricks house on July 16, 2014, and finally got rid of the rest of our worldly possessions. It was a gradual process. We now can call ourselves minimalists! You can read more here if you’ve missed that post. We also hit our our third anniversary when we started RVing, September 4, 2013. Continue Reading
I wrote this a few weeks ago, but never published it. Since we’ve returned to Virginia to be with our grandsons and their parents, we have been too busy to write any travel blogs. But thought I’d share a bit more of my heart in the matter of marriages as we witness another marriage in crisis. How we pray others are spared the heartache we went through by a few simple steps we wish we had tried….
I learned in Blogging 101, when you write an epistle in response to someone else’s post, Julie Sheppard’s in this case, (to join her discussion, click here to read it), it is best to write a post in your own blog! So that is what I am doing. I have actually shared this story a number of times, so I might as well tell the whole story here!
But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong. If you love only those who love you, why should you get a reward for that? Even the tax collectors do that. And…
What beautiful West Virginia mountains we drove over and through!
While traveling for years, we’ve bought fuel in the Wytheville, Virginia area. It is at the crossroads of I-81 and I-77 in southwestern Virginia. Bill once said we should visit one day, so finally, we spent seven nights here, July 21-28, 2016. It was a 230 miles drive from Carters Cave State Resort Park. Click here if you missed that post.
If you’ve ever been through West Virginia, you can imagine it wasn’t Bill’s favorite state to drive through in our big rig….but thankfully the interstate system was great and all went smoothly. Note the beauty in this picture, above. Bill’s enjoyed our travels all summer, going around or even less than 100 miles per move. This final leg of our summer was just a bit long. Thankfully, we were almost to our final summer destination: time with our grandsons and their parents! Continue Reading
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
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
This is the sight we see as we exited the Mountain Parkway to Slade.
Slade, Kentucky is the home of the Natural Bridge State Resort. It’s a very small town, population was 303 in 2010. The Red River Gorge is also here. If you look up Slade on Trip Advisor, you will want to come! There are so many things to do if you love nature and the outdoors. It’s located at exit 33, off the Mountain Parkway. There is also a nice rest stop at this exit. If you think you somehow passed your exit coming from the west, which we did as we saw 4 Guys RV Resort back a mile or so, you can easily turn around at this exit – in a motor home towing a car! But we didn’t miss our exit, we had to exit here (the picture shows where we exited, drove to the A-frame business, turn left and drive west a few miles. Read our first post about this area if you missed it by clicking here.Continue Reading
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
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 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
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
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
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
We are loving our rural road adventures in Kentucky – once we learned to read the “signs” better. I haven’t really talked much about the four times we’ve had to turn around: twice we had to unhook the car and twice the turn around added a total of 60 more miles to our journey….Thanks to Pam over at Oh the Places They Go! who recommended we use Google Earth to check out the roads before we go. And now we do ….
Anyway, who knew there could be so much history, so many sights to see and great hiking in rural Kentucky! When Bill first decided we’d drive through Kentucky on our way from Illinois (to see his mom) back to Virginia (where our grandsons live), it was easy after seeing how many state parks there are. We thought there would be good hiking and a few points of interest around all those parks. We’d hope to camp in parks-But alas, we’ve discovered many of them don’t have 50 amp hook ups, what we need to run our air conditioners in this HOT summer! But we did find two and now we’re staying NEAR the parks
We are now up to our third day (July 1, 2016) in Cave City, Kentucky, which is just 10 minutes from the amazing Mammoth Cave National Park. We actually thought we’d get in a lot of hiking after exploring the caves and visit the Corvette Museum. Bill did mention there was a Train Museum to think about for a rainy day. Um, not sure I’d like that much more than looking at cars. We discovered an outdoor venue to explore (more to my liking), the South Union Shaker Village not far from Bowling Green (read here if you missed our last post) and now we’ll finish the rest of the story…. Continue Reading
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
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, 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
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
Patti’s Restaurant and Mr. Bill’s Dining Room from an article in “The Lake News” dated June 18, 2015, announcing they had been awarded the “Certificate of Excellence Award” from TripAdvisor
Let’s continue with our time travel from our “Part 2” last post, which you can read here if you missed it.
Patti’s 1880’s Settlement Fine and historic dining in a casual atmosphere! If we heard it once, we heard it a dozen times, we had to eat at Patti’s Restaurant, especially the pork chops! We rarely eat out, saving it for special occasions, family times or when Bill just needs a break from cooking! We had the opportunity to eat here with our new friends and former neighbors at Columbus-Belmont State Park. They recommended we stay in Canal Campground and gave us lots more pointers. And they also recommended we eat here. They live in Paducah, so it wasn’t too far for them to come join us. And now, of course, we will have to visit them in Paducah on our next trip to Illinois. It’ll be on the way.
A view while out walking. Many great views also have a bench or two!
We really liked Land Between the Lakes (LBL) the first time we camped at its Hillman Ferry Campground (HFC). When we left, we said we wouldn’t go out of our way to return….Who knew we’d be back within a month!
It was wonderful when our friends, Betty and Bob, recommended a stay in a hidden gem, Canal Campground, just at the northern tip of LBL. We loved it and extended our stay to eight days! Two things made this a better experience for us: the fact that it is an US Army Corps of Engineers campground (so we paid 1/2 price), and we had excellent cell phone and Mifi signal to research where we were going next and beyond. We heard other people say they used to go to HFC, but, also discovered this campground and preferred it. Some turned 62 and some said there were fewer children here. 😞
There is so much to do in the LBL area, besides hiking, which is what we did the first time in this area. Here were the few things we finally were able to do and really enjoy, which we missed during previous time. But first a few more pictures of this lovely campground. And you’ll see why it was hard to leave …. Continue Reading
It was so easy to find, just put 1010 Canal Campground Rd., Grand Rivers, KY in your GPS.
We’ve spent a wonderful eight days in this US Army Corps of Engineers campground (COE) from June 20-28, 2016. We never would have found this campground had we not met a couple, Betty and Bob, from Paducah, Kentucky at the last campground, Columbus-Belmont State Park (CBSP). They were a wealth of information and helped us learn more about Kentucky. We hit it off and planned to meet up again, and we did yesterday afternoon. So not only did they tell us about Discovery Park of America in Union City, Tennessee, but also the Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site, both discussed in this post hyper-linked in case you missed it. Continue Reading
We’ve encouraged others we meet along the way to sign up for RVillage. We did sometime in 2014. It’s free and it has so many benefits. For us, we can now easily stay in touch with others we’ve met on the way. We’ve had questions for many (since we were newbies for so long, we needed lots of advice) and now, we’ve discovered every time we check in, it’s created a map!
Below is the static map or see below for our real time and live map!