Midway Into Our 2018 Winter Travels (warning: Cute photos overload)


Continuing our journey, now along the Florida Panhandle and along the Gulf of Mexico. First stay was at the Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Gregory E. Moore Campground, then onto Fort Pickens Campground. While it was only 65 miles, it took nearly two hours due to construction, stop lights and general traffic along Highway 98.

Wow, it’s been a month since we last updated our winter travelogue! As we said in an earlier post, click here if you missed it, we really weren’t sure what our travels plans would look like this winter – so we’re glad we didn’t set any expectations. This past month has been a whirlwind.

We love the beach and knew we wanted to spend a month on the beautiful beaches off of the Gulf of Mexico. This much we knew and planned back in July. My mom lives in the panhandle with my oldest sister so we knew this was a primary destination in January. To get good sites for the two weeks in each location, you have to reserve six months ahead. First stop is Topsail Hill State Preserve Park Gregory E. Moore RV Campground.

Our first day here! It was a cool 51 degrees with a nice breeze. This is the walkway over the sand dunes from the campground to the beach. It’s nearly a mile walk from our campsite. They do run trolleys from the campground to the beach – but we aim for walking 5 miles every day.

This year, we arrived on January 16 and stayed until January 30, 2018. Two weeks is allowed per camper in the Florida State Parks. Once I get as old as Bill, we can stay for a month here, two weeks under his driver’s license (proof of Florida Residency and our age) and two under mine. But no rush! LOL

Here is a slide show to put things in perspective a bit:

So now you may see why this is a favorite destination for us! We fell in love with it our first visit in March 2015. We talked to a couple there who were work campers. It sounded like something we would like to do. My mom would only be an hour or so away so we could spend a month or two or three here! We interviewed for the job and it looked like we were in….but then the Ranger who “hired” us (it’s a volunteer job with free “rent” in exchange) ended up changing jobs before we could cinch the deal. We’ve pretty much decided it probably wouldn’t have worked out for us….ūüėĘ

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park beach on the Gulf of Mexico our second day here.

This year, we had a real treat – something we have wanted for a while, to bring a grandson on another road trip! We had our oldest grandson, Colin, with us for ten days in Myrtle Beach soon after his brother, Bryce was born. We wrote a little about that wonderful time here, in case you missed it. ¬†We cherished that time with him and look forward to another journey with him. Our decision to go get our youngest, he’s nearly 2 1/2 years old now, was a bit spontaneous. We had to have a luxury car just for situations like this. So the biggest downside of Topsail for us is it’s a LONG way from our grandsons (and their beloved parents)! So this month, we drove our car 2,300 miles to get him and return him, taking us 36 hours of driving time! But it was so worth it. Both of our grandsons also love the beach so we look forward to many more fun travel days ahead!

We were on site #66. Bryce felt right at home!

We really weren’t sure how Bryce would travel.¬† Thankfully, he did great as long as we let him out to stretch his legs every few hours. He’s potty trained so it helped us make sure he got his exercise. He is also a GREAT sleeper, needing 2 to 3 hour naps and he sleeps 10 to 12 hours a night. So we got the rest we needed as well.

This one pictures says it all!!! It was a bit cold, but so sunny and this kid loves it!!!

Bryce’s response when he realized we were leaving the beach for the day!

But he was easy to get back on track! He loved riding around the park on his trike

There was a playground near our site so of course, Bryce had to go every chance he got!

Bryce wanted to “touch” every dog he saw! He made lots of friends as he learned how to safely approach a new dog! He’s probably a dog whisperer…

What little boy can resist climbing a ladder? He loves helping his papa!

Bryce was actually only at this location for one week. Bill and I had a week here by ourselves when we decided to go get him. Then it was time to move closer to see my mom and sister, only about 65 miles away, still on the Gulf of Mexico.

On January 30, 2018, we moved onto Fort Pickens Campground on the Gulf Islands National Seashore Park.¬†We stayed here last year, but didn’t discover it until near the end of my time with my mom. We wrote about our time in the Florida Panhandle – when we discovered this treasure – written about here.

I drove Bryce in the car and we left ahead of Bill so he could disconnect everything without a little “helper.” If you know what we mean! Bryce and I stopped in to see my mom, sister and her dog Ruby before we met Bill at the campground. Bryce is my mom’s 7th great grand child. It was time she met him.

Bill and Bryce checking out our new homesite. We thought it was longer than in reality. We just fit. And now having Bryce on a blind corner will mean he must not be out of an arms length. Thankfully, the speed limit was 5 MPH and most every drove very slow.

We arrived here in Fort Pickens on Tuesday, January 30, 2018. Our reservation was for two weeks, ending on February 13. My mom saw Bryce twice, but fortunately it was before she was contagious. Mom wasn’t feeling very good our third day there, so I went to see her alone. Sadly, my mom had contracted the flu and was hospitalized that night. The hospital was close by, so I spent two days visiting her there – and then I came down with it! What a miracle neither Bill, Bryce nor my sister caught it.

Our walking here was on the nature trails. This entrance was right by our site. Bryce enjoyed our nature walks and especially all the dogs who were also out for their exercise.

Bill is compelled to walk at least five miles every day. Bryce accompanied him everyday, by giving Bill an “extra” good workout once Bryce’s legs needed a break.

This campground had lots of doggies! So of course, Bryce got to meet each and every one!

Boys will be boys! Bryce managed to break the kitchen sink sprayer connector, just being a boy! Thank goodness for Amazon, we found the replacement part and Bill repaired it quickly. While Bryce was napping!

Bryce loved riding around the campground, checking out the other vehicles. This one sure caught his attention!

Bryce kept asking to go to the beach. It wasn’t as convenient from our campsite to get to the Gulf of Mexico. But this trail was close by to the sound. It was sandy, so he was happy!

We were just exploring so we didn’t know what to expect. Bill took him back another time with his bucket and shovel

There wasn’t a playground at this campground. But we found something just as much fun. A hill of pebble gravel when it was too cool for the beach.

But he asked daily to go back to the beach. He loved playing in the sand.

The water was crystal clear on the sound side as well. Much calmer, too.

So how did I get sick while Bill and Bryce were OK? As soon as my¬†symptoms started, I saw a doctor and was put on¬†Tamiflu – was told to rest for a week and wear a mask. It was recommended Bill get on it as well, so his doctor got him started. And then I wore a surgical mask to keep the germs to myself. I also wore it in the hospital, but I must have contracted it before she was in the hospital. (Do you think I rested? Oh how I wanted to….)

Ugh, the first time I’ve had the flu in decades! So this was how I kept from spreading it.

Bryce had to get into the act and copy his MeMe! He was so funny wearing it and it helped him not be afraid of me!

We arrived here in Fort Pickens on Tuesday, January 30, 2018. Our reservation was for two weeks, ending on February 13. She had two days to see Bryce, but fortunately it was before she was contagious. Mom wasn’t feeling very good our third day there, so I went to see her alone. Sadly, my mom had contracted the flu and was hospitalized for five days. The hospital was close by, so I spent two days visiting her – and then I came down with it! What a miracle neither Bill, Bryce nor my sister caught it.

Using FaceTime, Bryce spoke to and saw his mom, dad, brother and his doggie, Ollie, every night. He especially was excited to talk to Ollie and kissed him good night! He really loves dogs. All good things had to come to an end, so it was time to get him home. Since I was still sick, our daughter decided to fly to Atlanta and we meet her there to return him. Bryce enjoyed the airport and was so happy to see his mom. He wouldn’t let go of her for a minute – except to hug us good bye! We loved our time with him in spite of me being sick.

We knew we needed to extend our time here so I could see my mom more. Sadly, this very popular campground was booked, but miraculously we found a really good site back in Campground A – where we stayed last year. At first, only two nights were available – then we checked it the next day and managed to get three nights in a row on the same site.

We stayed on this site from 2/13-16/2018. It’s in Campground A, site #16. It’s a smaller campground as you can tell. Our neighbors had moved out. We have more room on the right because the nature trail path is there, but not shown in the picture. The dump station, dumpster and bath house are only a few hundred yards from any site. Very convenient, but smaller sites and the trees can interfere with your parking.

Mom was finally feeling good enough for a little outdoor time. So I brought her over to see our new campsite.

There are a few of downsides to Fort Pickens.¬†Mainly,¬†it only has water and electric, no sewer. Last year in Campground A, we were close to the dump station, so Bill just carried a five pound bucket of gray water over each day. And we were right by the showers. But in Campground E, we were as far as you could be from the dump station. So he broke down and bought a blue tote tank. Sadly, the weather was so cold here our first week or so, we didn’t use the bathhouse – besides it wasn’t that close to us either.

This is a National Park, so they honor the “America the Beautiful” Passes. We didn’t mind only paying $10/night last year, but the price doubled this year. And it’s really a drive to go to the grocery store. But there are a few restaurants nearby. We haven’t tried them, but others said they were good. Here is the link to the campground for more information and reservations: ¬†Recreation.gov< strong>After that whirlwind of a month, we headed Montgomery, Alabama. We stayed here last year and decided we would return for 10 days on our way to the Tiffin Service Center for a few minor repairs to our home.

Grandchildren are the crown of the elderly….Proverbs 17:6¬†

The Start of Our Winter 2018 Travels


Connect this to our last map. We arrived from Dillon, SC to the Jacksonville area, first stop over New Years Eve long weekend at Sunny Oaks mobile home and RV Campground, then Hanna Park & Campground for two weeks, to Jellystone RV Park, Madison for one night to Topsail Hill State Preserve Park, where we’ll stay for two weeks..

In our last post, we said we may talk some about what is ahead for us for 2018. We only dropped a hint or two and to be honest, we don’t really know what is ahead for us! I recently read the blogs of two couples we have been following since we began on the road: The Lowe’s – what we love about their blog is their details about all of their hikes – which we also love to do; and, Wheelin’ It – they give such practical advice and great tips for the full – time RV lifestyle. The Lowe’s just posted their 2018 travel map and plans – which we all know is always subject to change, but at least they know their general direction. As for Wheelin’ It – they usually do the same! But their current blog tells us why they are not this year and that they are selling their motor home, car and all that goes with it – to move to Europe and travel there. If you want a fully decked out rig with all the latest and greatest plus a car and hitch, check out their blog! Be sure to mention you learned about it from us and we can split the $150 “referral fee.” LOL

So it is with a little envy we read others exciting travel plans. ¬†It seems we are now in a routine and so far, our¬†travels aren’t changing much from last winter. ¬†We enjoyed our time this year (January 1 – 15, 2018) in Hanna Park and Campground, we planned to write a post about it. But never had time! We did write a bit about it some last winter, first here where we discovered it, and then here, when we stayed for a week last March. We (Debbie) vowed to return! Bill, not so much since he’s the one who drives the motor home and was concerned about taking a tree down – or it taking us out. Anyway, there isn’t much to add to the two posts, except one thing. And it is still that slice of heaven we found last year! The only difference is the sustained freezing cold weather here – but then the whole east coast and probably the midwest are in the same freezing boat. ūüėĪ That wasn’t the one thing, btw.

The year 2017 was a game changer for us.¬†Bill had to learn how to live with heart disease. He has done exceptionally well and his doctor is his biggest fan (next to me, of course) and knows he can continue on. What it has meant in addition to how he eats and exercises is how he manages stress. Now that’s been a battle, especially when things happen he can’t control like two flat tires on Interstate 95 (one of the busiest highways on the east coast). Actually, he did much better than he did with our first blowout on a state road in Florida – but also a busy highway. And now with sustained freezing cold weather – since we LEFT Virginia on December 26 – when we thought we were fleeing freezing cold weather. Actually it just hitched up to our bumper and has followed us. ‚ĚĄÔłŹ‚ĚĄÔłŹ

This new life style has meant we had to change how we travel – more or less! We had decided before hand, we prefer to only drive the motor home roughly 200 miles between stays and to stay about two weeks. This is most desirable. But there are times it isn’t feasible. We have to balance our travels with our budget and still try to keep our nightly stays around $20. We learned if you stay a week or two, you get a good discount – thus our desire for that as well as we want to get to know the area and see all we can see.

But this past year, we seemed to be consumed with our exercise routine and cooking fresh. ¬†So we aren’t sightseeing as much as we once did – although we hit a home run in Wisconsin this past summer. It’s ideal to be able to get in his “mandated” walk of five miles a day straight out our door. We did that beautifully in Hanna Park – and we do that at Pirateland. And then we still remember how disappointed that Wilmington, NC won’t be our future home when it is time to get off the road. We continue to obsess a bit over it….so that means while at Hanna Park, we had a revelation.

The beach at Hanna Park is every bit as good if not better than Myrtle Beach!¬†And like we did at Myrtle Beach, we decided to look up the beach to see if there isn’t a place we could call home. We did look down to the south and decided that lifestyle wouldn’t fit us. So what beach is up the coast? Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island:

Fernandina Beach is on Amelia Island at Florida’s northeast border. Fernandina Beach hosts the popular Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival and is known for great golf. Downtown Fernandina Beach also offers boutique shopping and a range of scrumptious restaurants. With 13 miles of pristine beaches, abundant wildlife and clear, calm waters, Amelia Island with its quaint charm has been a beloved destination for generations. Its upscale resorts and world-class spas combine with a charming collection of bed and breakfasts, historic sites and captivating festivals for an experience that‚Äôs uniquely Floridian. Come experience why Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island have consistently been among Florida‚Äôs highest-ranked island destinations.¬†

It was love at first sight – or actually a re-look. We did visit Amelia Island years ago. It didn’t really strike us as a future home. For whatever reason, this time, after we really checked out the beach, did we see the potential. GRANTED, it is way too far from our daughter and her family. We do still hope and dream they will see the light and move to Florida….

Our first view approaching Amelia Island from A1A. We approached it from a different road when we came a few years ago. What’s not to love?

Then we began to drive on a beautiful road like this – with a walking trail next to it the entire length!

We saw the sign for this, so looked it up on the web. Looks fabulous, but we want some place realistic….This is “just” a resort!

Of course, we had to hit the beach! We didn’t see this when we came before….didn’t really know what we missed.

We could easily walk five miles on this beach. And like Atlantic Beach at Hanna Park, the tides didn’t really affect the times of our walks.

We talked to a resident of the area. These condos are each a cool million or more! So much for that lifestyle….

uh oh, what are we doing? This neighborhood is in our price range….

I won’t elaborate any more except to say, we are now going to look at more places up and down the east coast, in South Carolina and Georgia, as potential places to eventually settle. We think we have now ruled out North Carolina. While it will be farther than I would prefer, Bill just can’t handle continuous freezing weather. We’ve acclimated but it’s just been one miserable winter.

And now, back to our plans for 2018? Not that we feel we need to have that exit plan in place should we need to get off the road, let’s just say it has a less stressful feel to it to think about it. For now, we just hope to enjoy each place we visit – which now seems to be more for a purpose than just “adventure” – although we still think life is nothing but full of adventure!

Next up, we’re back in¬†Topsail Hill Preserve State Park!

‚ÄúBut he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.‚ÄĚ James 1:6

Our 2017 Travels Reviewed and What’s Ahead for 2018?


We are starting 2018 on the same route as we did in 2017! It’s “Trip One” to start our warm winter travels! Fredericksburg, Virginia to Dillon, SC to Jacksonville, Florida.

It’s that time of the year, so Happy New Year!¬†We enjoy reading a snapshot of others’ year end blogs so hope others enjoy ours as well. And writing ours helps us keep our travels in perspective. We are still enjoying our lifestyle in spite of the challenges we’ve had this year. But that’s why it’s even more important to look back.

First, it helped us to look at what we wrote last year (click here if you missed it).WOW, our start this is is the same as last year. Once again, we started the New Year fleeing freezing cold temperatures in Virginia. We forgot how bad it was last year when we tried to close our slides to leave Fredericksburg. The slide toppers were frozen with a sheet of ice! This year, we had the slides pulled in for over two weeks to stay warm which we have never had to do before. The winter storm Benji arrived ahead of any other storms we’ve fled from in these four years of traveling. Continue Reading

Bill’s One Year Anniversary


Bill went to bed after we logged his 364th day of food, exercise and weight losses (and gains – he went up a pound or two here and there). We used the Lose It App and recommend it. Very easy to use once you get the hang of it!

It’s hard to believe it was a year ago when Bill received devastating news: He was at risk for a massive heart attack and/or had heart disease. WOW, what a shock since he was¬†asymptomatic. I guess that’s why it’s called the silent killer. We’ve written a number of posts about the diagnosis and how he’s learned to live and THRIVE with it. The “Table of Contents” is found here if you missed the posts. ¬†I wrote about it in my personal blog as we tried to keep this one for our travel adventures….but then, this was an adventure, just a different type!

I decided to “interview” Bill for this post – after he said he didn’t want to write it!¬†

What’s the first thing you thought of as you approached your one year anniversary?¬†“I’m alive!”

Hallelujah! That was our goal and he’s hit a home run!

But maybe he didn’t understand exactly where I was coming from.¬†I asked him, “Remember when we started this journey and I asked if you could do this (eat a heart healthy diet, exercise more vigorously, and manage his stress) for the rest of your life? You replied, “Ask me in six months.” I did ask him at six months¬†and he said there was no turning back. But now at a year, I wanted to know more.

It was an ordeal to drastically change how we lived, ate, worked out, managed stress – while not thinking you could drop dead any minute! But he did it and is THRIVING! Continue Reading

Installing Slide Toppers – By Yourself (almost)


Cougar

October 11, 2014, Midland, Georgia

Bill realized the value of slide toppers when we had our Extra Lite 5th wheel. It seemed no matter where we “parked” it, the three slides were covered with leaves and/or other debris. He is a keen observer. He’d see what other people had on their RVs and what tools they used. One thing we quickly learned as new RV owners and avid travelers, you have to clean off your slide tops before you bring them in. Otherwise, you bring that debris into your RV and/or jam up the processes as they come in. We asked for an estimate to have them installed on our 5th wheel – the price was way too high. So Bill just bought a light-weight leaf blower someone else used as well as a 5′ lightweight ladder to climb up to blow the slide tops off before I brought them in. You’ll see the ladder he used to get up there in a later picture as he still uses it. Continue Reading

Update on our TOAD – 2013 Cadillac SRX


The start of our journey in our new to us motor home with our new to us toad! Read the linked post about how long it took us to get it hitched up and how many miles I had to follow Bill.

Our six weeks in Myrtle Beach are coming to an end. As we mentioned in a previous post (or two), we had declared we wanted to see lots more new places. Thanks to an unexpected surgery, it turned out this was the place to go after all – great area to heal! And for those who know about Bill’s heart health journey, he is to live in a low stress environment. You’d think that was what we have been doing here, right? Nope, we’ve been consumed with a few issues, the main one was what to do about our TOAD?

That’s the car towed behind our motor homes, affectionately called TOADS, short for tow-ed. Some even call them their dinghy. We wrote about our decision making process in selecting our Cadillac SRX here.¬†So how has that worked out for us? Read on…..

As a recap, we didn’t have much time to make a decision on what car to buy to serve as our TOAD. ¬†Our truck had been totaled while we were in the midst of the selling of our 5th wheel and the purchase of our motor home (affectionally called Tiffany for our precious ‘tween dachshund 1982-1999) . When we started our research, it looked like the two main options for us were various¬†Jeeps and the Honda CRV. Continue Reading

We Really Wanted to Love It!


From Google Maps

A sweet, quaint college town on the coast! Near several beaches. Mild Climate. Low (sort of) taxes. An airport. Shopping. Health care. Not much traffic. Only five hours from our daughter and her family. That’s all we are looking for.

That was our vision about Wilmington, North Carolina.¬†When it is time to switch from our dream life traveling in our motor home, we are dreaming about the perfect little dream town to settle down. How we hoped it was Wilmington. It has been on our radar for years, we just never could get there. A few times while here in Myrtle Beach, we thought about running up there. We thought it was only an hour or so away (in fact it’s 80 miles and took us nearly two hours). We just never could justify leaving this beautiful beach….Yes, we are still in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Until the horses returned to the beach for three days last week. That means, no walking on the beach as it’s too trampled and people and horses don’t really know how to share the “beach” to our satisfaction. You can read here our write up about it last time we tried to share the beach and one “hot dog” challenged me! We pretty much vowed we wouldn’t be here at the same time. Even if it is for a worthy Continue Reading

What does it take to “live the dream?”


IMG_6329

Sunrise, 7:00 am at Myrtle Beach State Park Pier taken on our daily walk

While trying to think about our next blog post, we reviewed our year (and then our past four years on the road). People have asked if this lifestyle is cheaper than living in a “sticks n bricks” house. The general guideline is, if you are like us, it’s about the same cost. If you want to live cheaper, there are ways (such as installing up front expensive solar panels and then live cheap “boon docking”) but that’s for others to write about. We know those ways weren’t for us. Our basic budget is about the same now as before we hit the road. We are striving to live at the same or slightly cheaper lifestyle while traveling full time. And just like in a house, RVs need major repairs. You hope to spread them out! Continue Reading

Making hard decisions….


TheTumbleLees

Our reward at the end of the day at check in.

After our two posts on “living the dream” (here and here if you missed them) we came to a crossroads! We want to share not only all the mountain tops, but the valleys we experience. ¬†As we mentioned in our last post, we were heading to Wilmington, NC, the elusive Wilmington we should say.

One reason we want to visit, is to see if this could be our future home when we get off the road. But the elusive part is because we haven’t been able to find a place to stay in our motor home. We’ve actually been looking for at least three years – and it has just never been in our travel path. Granted, there is a KOA there, but Bill has a thing against KOA. It’s sad, one manager could spoil it for all others. ¬†We never could strike a deal with the one near our daughter ($1,200/month is a bit too much to just “park”) when we said we will be here four to five months a year. The one in Wilmington wanted to charge us $800/month whereas the other RV parks, which are near or on the beach, only wanted to charge us $500/month. We do prefer the lower prices! Continue Reading

Are we living the dream? Part 2


Based upon the responses we received from our last post, YES we are living THE dream!¬†While it wasn’t ever our dream, as it began to unfold, it became a DREAM of a lifestyle! We are loving it, no doubt. We have visited amazing locations, met wonderful people and reconnected with friends and family. In part, we are traveling because we can’t agree where to “settle down.” We are visiting a few places that have potential and at the end, we usually give it a thumbs down….

Who knew there was such a place? And not named after the former President or his wife….Trivia tidbit: It¬†was named in honor of the sixth governor of New York, DeWitt Clinton!

In this post, we want to share the reality of our lifestyle and say that it isn’t exactly what we thought it would be as well as the downsides of it. Again, it’s not for everyone as it takes a lot of flexibility and patience to maneuver through the various obstacles in our way….we survived the biggest of all, our Continue Reading

Are we living the dream?


Photo by friend, Gerald Voigt “Hawkeye” on July 6, 2017 in Omro, Wisconsin. He and his wife are amazing photographers. Visit their FaceBook page to get connected: https://www.facebook.com/rvnomads/

Finally, I have been inspired and have the time to write a blog post after two months. We are so overdue and are so grateful for new followers – although we haven’t written anything to follow for two months! We had hoped to write more about our travels in Wisconsin and about the end of our summer travels back to our “home” base, Fredericksburg, Virginia. ¬†We have been on the go since we arrived here, not a spare minute to compose a post (nor the energy)…. Continue Reading

2017 Summer Travels – the start in Wisconsin


How can we possibly write about all that we did while in Wisconsin, from June 15 to July 13, 2017? We were so active, we just didn’t have time to regularly write posts of our travels for this month. I’m sad as we are already losing some memories we were making that we try to capture in our posts. So we’ll start with some summaries and see how it goes. ¬†First, let’s learn a little about Wisconsin.

We decided to tour Wisconsin after Bill “noticed” it was directly above Illinois – where we visited family. After our family visit, we needed a route back to Virginia, where we will spend August. It seemed natural to go to Wisconsin rather than Michigan, our original plan….more about that route later! Continue Reading

2017 Summer Travels: Illinois to Wisconsin


IllinoisToWisconsin

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

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

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

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

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

2017 Summer Travels: 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

Memorial Day – May 29, 2017


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.

Real life....

TheTumbleLees 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.

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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

Heart Disease: Metabolic Syndrome


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!

Real life....

IMG_0851 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!

We love the outdoors, either to take…

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Heart Disease: Entering a New Country


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?

Real life....

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…

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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

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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Heart Disease


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!

Real life....

7 (1) Aren‚Äôt 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, ‚ÄúSee your doctor about taking XYZ drug.‚ÄĚ 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: ‚ÄĚIf you have ever taken such and such drug and you have cancer, it‚Äôs been determined that drug caused the cancer and we will sue for $millions for YOU!‚ÄĚ What‚Äôs with this?

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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

US Army Corps of Engineer (COE) Parks, Gunter Hill (Winter 2017 Part 9 A)


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

Taking an Internet Break!


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!

Check out our public FaceBook page¬†(you shouldn’t have to have an account to view it) and you will see some snapshots of what all we have experienced these past few weeks: Https://FaceBook.TheTumbleLeesTravelAdventures.com

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, ‚ÄúI 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.‚ÄĚ 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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Sweet Home Alabama! (Winter 2017, Part 7)


This was our day 2 here. Isn't the sky amazing?

This was our day 2 here. Isn’t the sky amazing? We are on site #3. Can you see us? Nice concrete pads.

We fell in love with Alabama when we lived in Mobile from 1986 Р1988. We just clicked with it, from it being on the Gulf Coast with gorgeous beaches nearby, in the Central Time Zone, to the Azaleas, to living in the Bible Belt, and to the down home southern hospitality! We really enjoy visiting Alabama any chance we have. And you may remember, Red Bay, Alabama is where we take our motor home yearly for routine maintenance!

We still love it in spite of the fact it was in Mobile where our marriage collapsed. For those who have been following our blog since the beginning or you are a family member or friend, you are aware of our story. The GREAT news is that our marriage and family was restored. We visited Mobile in 2012,¬†taking a long motorcycle trip, nearly 600 miles, from Sebring, Florida. We wrote a short blog post about it, call “The Lost Years.” I’m sorry I didn’t write about all the historical places we visited while there. Things we didn’t appreciate while we lived there.

Since May, 2016, we hoped to stay the month of February in Gulf Shores, Alabama, along the Gulf of Mexico. As mentioned in a previous post, those plans were sadly changed. We are making the best of it, but are still trying to figure out the best way to be in a warmer climate during the winter. We are having a blast, but these 1,432 miles driven in the motor home, staying in 11 different campgrounds/RV Resorts in just over a month and a half hasn’t been our ideal. But that is how you see lots of new things…. Continue Reading

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


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

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

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

We are now in our eight RV Park/campground since we left¬†fled the snow in Virginia. We know reservations in the warmer parts of Florida between January and March are tight, slim, and expensive. Thus, we have been bouncing along, not staying anywhere too long. Although, we have not paid the high prices we thought. ¬†Anyway, we had planned to spend a month in Gulf Shores, Alabama with friends we made last time we were at the Tiffin Service Center in Red Bay, Alabama. We called the couple a few days before we made the reservations in Fort Pickens. They said they would have the scoop on where we could stay….only to learn the husband had just passed away. ūüėĘ 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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Emerald Beach and time with my mom (Winter 2017 Pt. 5)


The view of the RV park from a fishing deck.

The back view of the RV park from a fishing dock. No emerald beach on this day!

Another one of our destinations this winter was to spend a week or so with my mom. She is splitting her year between one sister in Virginia and the other sister who lives in the Florida Panhandle. We had an easy drive, 150 miles and 2 1/2 hours, to our next destination, Emerald Beach RV Park, Navarre, Florida from Three Rivers State Park (post about it is here).  We stayed here for 8 days. This was the perfect place for us to have our mattress shipped, as we discussed in our last post.  Continue Reading

Sneads, Florida, Three Rivers SP (Winter 2017 Pt 4)


Bill has driven our motor home just over 1,300 miles since we left Fredericksburg on January 4, 2017. In just one month, we’ve now stayed in six different RV parks in Florida: start) Sunny Pines, Jacksonville; B) Ross Prairie State Park, Dunnellon; C) Country Oaks RV Park, Zephyrhills; D) Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park, Micanopy (just south of Gainesville); E) Three Rivers State Park, Sneads; Current) Emerald Beach RV Park, Navarre.

We’re here from January 26-31, 2017 and¬†continuing our journey to stay warm this winter and to discover new places! It’s easy sometimes just to return to the same old place, but we are trying to resist. ¬†Since we are returning to familiar areas to see friends and family, it’s been a bit of a challenge. We’ve really enjoyed our travels so far. But we feel we scored a touchdown at our next stop, Three Rivers State Park, Sneads, Florida. Everything went about as perfect as could be. We had a perfect travel day from Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, but one of our longer trips so far, at just over 200 miles and taking us 3 1/2 hours. Continue Reading

Zephyrhills, Colt Creek SP, Paynes Prairie Preserve SP (Winter 2017, Part 3)


countryoakrvpark

Our site while in Zephyrhills, Florida. Nice oak tree we were under, except during the Tor Con 5!

To catch up, Part 2 of our winter travels left off with us in Country Oaks RV Park in Zephryhills, Florida.¬†We stayed here January¬†17 to 24, 2017. The 55+ RV park was very basic (actually a manufactured homes park with a field area turned into about 8 RV sites) in a small town. While it had full hook ups (so important since we will be without sewer over the next three stops), we had to drive to get in a walk. The Park had a “special” where you could stay a week for $99 if it was your first time there. It was well worth it. We only ate and slept there since we were mainly in this area for the Tampa Super RV Show and to see a nephew, his wife and meet their baby. Continue Reading

Ocala, Ross Prairie Trailhead Campground, Tampa (Winter 2017, Part 2)


Our first night on Campsite 9, Ross Prairie Campground.

Our first night on Campsite 9, Ross Prairie Campground. It’s a pull through, electric and water. No sewer. Nice bath houses and a dump station.

We have so many campgrounds to stay week or less lined up for the month, we’ll just post our travels in various parts. ¬†We were in Jacksonville in our last post, found here. We really enjoyed our time there. We’ve stayed around Jacksonville in the past, just for a few days, to allow Bill to reminisce about the “good old days” and for us to explore sights unseen. Little did we realize we would be able to get in a workout regime, get a handle on our new way of cooking, find such a great campground on the beach with great trails for hiking and get our itinerary set for the month. Continue Reading

Virginia to Jacksonville (Winter 2017, Part 1)


We loved our walks on a fabulous trail around this beautiful lake. It looked different every day but this was the best day!

This is the day the Lord has made!  We loved our walks on a fabulous trail around this beautiful lake. It looked different every day but this was the best day, blue skies and sunshine.

If you read our Reflections on December 2016, we had a bit of a rough December. We failed to mention on top of everything else how¬†cold it was – but then, it’s been a cold winter about everywhere! But living in a¬†motor home isn’t ideal for temperatures in the low 20s and let along the teens. ¬†It was so cold, we had to bring in our slides for a few days to have less square footage to heat. The day we were pulling out (we had them opened for a few days) the moisture turned to ice in the slide covers! ¬†This was the third year of RVing and spending December in Fredericksburg, Virginia. So this was the third year we had to literally “flee” a freezing winter storm, they are now naming them so this was Helena. Continue Reading

Travel trials, tribulations and tidbits


People tell us all the time they wish the could do what we’re doing, living on the road and seeing the USA. This is one of the first couples we started following on the ‘net as they love to hike as they travel. They’ve just concluded their five year long retirement dream to not only see all the contiguous states but also much in Canada and even trekked in Mexico. Their map is great and they’ve included lots of stats as they wind down. We hope to get back to blogging as we hit the road again.
We’re in Jacksonville, Florida so that’ll be our next post.

Lowes Travels

This is the final segment to wrap up the first chapter of our RV travels.  The previous segment with our statistics is here.

As we reviewed the 422 posts that we published along the way, we recalled many fond memories and also came up with some fun tidbits that we thought were unforgettable, surprising, scary, stressful or fascinating experiences.  Compiling this collection made us pause and reflect on how many wonderful experiences we’ve had while on the road.

We faced our first major challenge just as we started the journey at Pleasanton, CA.  A hydraulic failure left our jacks and slides extended, and we learned a lot about that system during the next 3 weeks that it took to get it fixed (under warranty, fortunately).  Since that time we’ve dealt with many minor water leaks, a dead video camera, an intermittent engine cooling issue, refrigerator problems and other things that we consider part of the joy of moving…

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Reflections on December 2016


Colin took to Santa right away. Bryce wasn't too impressed, initially!

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

Don’t miss Christmas!


Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Real life....

img_8053 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!

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The Dunes Being Restored at Myrtle Beach! (Part 3)


High Tide

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

The Dunes at Myrtle Beach (Part 2)


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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

The Dunes at Myrtle Beach! (part 1)


Amazing that we captured this picture of the sand dunes at between Myrtle Beach State Park and Springmaid Beach.

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‚Äôs storm surge and waves overwashed about 15 percent of the sand dunes on Florida’s Atlantic coast, 30 percent along Georgia‚Äôs coastline, and 42 percent of dunes on South Carolina‚Äôs 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)

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Our September/October and Hurricane Matthew


Myrtle Beach has the most beautiful sunsets!

Myrtle Beach has the most beautiful sunsets!

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? ¬†ūüėČ, 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 ūüėä! Continue Reading

The rest of our summer (August and September)


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….

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A recap of our summer travels…


Started out just north of Richmond, Virginia, to Chattanooga, TN

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

How to love the unlovely


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….

Real life....

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…

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Wytheville, Virginia and the end of our summer travels


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

Carter Caves State Resort Campground, Final Post


This was our favorite bridge, challenging to hike down to, but so worth it.

This was our favorite geologic site, Fern Bridge, although it was challenging to hike down to see, but so worth it.

“We’re going to have to rappel our way out of here!”

Yep, deep down into our hike to see Fern Bridge, Bill hollered that up to me! He says some of the funniest things on our hikes. I should do a better job of recording what he says….

We are continuing to write about our time in our last Kentucky campground and this time, it’s a state park. Click here if you missed the previous post about our arrival.

After a good nights rest, we were ready to conquer Three Bridges Trail (TBT) and see some of the best the natural geological sites in the park. We tried to find Smokey Bridge the night before, allegedly the biggest of the three. We actually had walked right past it! It was hidden by the trees. The only way to see it, you had to walk down lots and lots of manmade stairs, my nemesis. We skipped it.

We’re now using the All Trails app to help track the elevation in our “mountainous hikes.” ¬†The TBT turned out to be the perfect hike and I captured it correctly: Continue Reading

Carter Caves State Park and Campground, Olive Hill, Kentucky


The red dot is Olive Hill, Kentucky, our last stop.

The red dot is Olive Hill, Kentucky, our last stop. Photo from http://parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/carter-caves/

This is our final stop in Kentucky¬†and what a great place to end: Carters Cave State Park and Campground, Olive Hill, Kentucky. I’ll call it the Campground in the rest of the post. What a wonderful summer we’ve had!

Since Bill is the driver and is good at researching places visit, he sets our itinerary. I’ve never had a problem with his choices, except I really wanted to see some family members in Louisville. It was just too far north and too much traffic for his comfort. ūüėě Plus, we had decided we wanted to do a lot of hiking in the mountains this summer…. Continue Reading

Lexington, Kentucky (also Slade and Stanton)


This is the sight we see as we exited Slade.

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

Daniel Boone National Park (The rest of our hikes)


Site 42

We’ve been hoping to get an amazing photo of our motorhome. Here is one attempt. We had to include Old glory in this photo with Red River Gorge in the background.

We wrote about about our fabulous hike in Natural Bridge State Park on our first day in this area Рwhich 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