Monday, November 17, 2014

Virginia to Stone Mountain and Ashburn, Georgia

We left Virginia on October 21st and headed south. Before we left highway 58 in Virginia, WAZE told us there was an accident on I-75 and that we should re-route. We had planned to stop for lunch as soon as we entered NC, so I ignored WAZE thinking the accident would be clear before we go there. So, there was a rest stop just a couple of miles in NC and we stopped. Shortly after opening the RV and walking Maggie, we noticed the traffic slowing on I-75 south. There was also the noticeable absence of traffic on the northbound side. Soon, the southbound traffic was backed up to the rest stop and we knew we had plenty of time to eat! LOL! I assumed the trucker that pulled in next to us would have heard something on his CB radio, so I went over to ask him. He said he hadn’t had his radio on because he was conducting business on his phone. Hmmm…maybe that’s why those big trucks wander all over the road! I then used my phone to GOOGLE the accident and found that a Tractor Trailer had roll over onto two cars on the northbound side. The Police had shut down traffic on the southbound side so the hospital helicopters could use the area for landing and takeoff. Shortly after finishing lunch, we decided to take a walk up to a picnic table in the shade and wait for the traffic to start moving. No sooner had we sat down, the traffic started moving. We loaded up and joined the traffic which really cleared up fast.  
We didn’t want to make the whole trip to Stone Mountain on one day, so we stopped at Yates Family Campground in Harrisburg, NC. It’s a small campground close to I-75 and the price was right. $20.00 for the night for full hookup and WiFi! The Charlotte Motor Speedway is right there, so it could have been noisy; but there was no racing while we were there. In order to facilitate easy hookup, we chose to slip in between two other campers for a very tight fit. However, we were only spending the night and I wasn’t going to unhook the truck. Mr. Yates was very friendly and helpful. Can you find us in the first pic? Yup. That's us in the middle.


The next morning, we got a fairly early start and drove to Stone Mountain. This was our annual fall rally with the Southeast Family Campers Group. We’ve known these wonderful people for several years now and meet at least once a year. We should make it more often! We got set up and mingled with those that were already there. More would be arriving Thursday and Friday. One night we counted 38 around the campfire so we must have had somewhere in the low 40’s attending this year. Needless to say, we had a great time catching up, socializing, sightseeing, and sharing meals. One day we went on the Duck Boat ride and had a great time. Here's Jimmy and Sheila on the Duck Boat blowing their Quackers!
Friday night, we had our potluck dinner which was the meal of all meals! As always, it was phenomenal! Unfortunately, all good things must end and our SE Family Camper friends started heading back home. Here's a link to more pics! Click this here link
Tuesday, 10/28, we left Stone Mountain and headed to Ashburn, GA at Carroll’s Sausage and Country Store. Carroll’s is known for their meats, but they also just happen to have a 20 site campground to the south of the store. It’s nothing fancy, but they have full hookup and good WiFi. There are two campers here that belong to some construction workers and we hardly ever see them. I think we have enough room! There are the occasional over-nighters that spend one night, but we haven’t seen more than 3 at one time. Most of the time, we are all by ourselves here.

Here's another angle.
 Famous people with the famous peanut that we see every time we walk out the door!

Maggie likes it here because we don’t use the harness and leash when we let her out. And, she has a lot of room to run. I rode the perimeter of the property on my bike to measure it with the odometer and it measure 0.69 of a mile. There is a stage at one end of the property and this weekend they are having a concert. This Saturday, Austin French will be singing. However, we didn't plan to attend since it was going to be too cold and the stage is outdoors. The concert ended at 10:00 PM, so it wasn't too bad. We did hear the lower frequency sounds in the RV and it got a bit loud at times.

The Ashburn Post Office is kinda cool in that the building was built in 1939. Other places seem to build new post office buildings every few years.

We stayed here in Ashburn to rest up from the hectic traveling pace and to take care of some chores. For instance, the truck had not been cleaned or waxed since we got it and the camper hadn't been cleaned and waxed in close to a year. So, I got all of that done.

Today, we had a cold front move through. This is the second time since we have been here and each time brought a lot of wind. Although we rock a bit, our 16,500 pounds is pretty stable. Tomorrow morning we are expecting temps in the mid 20's! I guess we'll see how good our insulation is!

Here is another link to pics that we took here at Ashburn: Clicky thing

Thursday, 11/20/14, we will leave here and go to the KOA in Kingsland, GA. The Saint Marys / Kingsland area is “home” for us and we’ll spend time with family, including Thanksgiving. We’ll be here until 12/18/14.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kentucky to Virginia

We left Kentucky and arrived in Lewisburg, West Virginia on Thursday, 10/9/14. It was a beautiful drive through the mountains.  Amazingly, the sights were full hook-up! Unfortunately, we did not take any pictures of the fairgrounds. For just $25.00 a night, I would surely stay here again! In fact, I hope to go back and see more of WV and KY. We just pushed through to get to Chesapeake and didn’t have time to enjoy our stay. In fact, we didn’t even set up satellite or hook up the sewer hose in Lewisburg, since we were only spending the night.

Lewisburg is home to the state fair and they have huge fairgrounds. In parts of the fair grounds, they are set up for RV’s. You pull into the grass field and see power hookups. We were told that the 50 amp power was along the fences. We saw some motor homes and backed in with them. Later, while walking Maggie, I realized we could have found us a spot away from everyone. There were three motor homes together about 1000 yards from us. I just cannot imagine how many RV’s they can hold.
Friday morning in Lewisburg was a wet morning. Fortunately, the rain stopped for most of my outside prep work. If I knew about the multitude of RV spots at the fairgrounds when we first pulled in, I would have gotten a spot where I could leave the truck connected to the RV and made our getaway that much easier. So, needless to say, the drive to Virginia was a wet one.
It’s not a lot of fun driving in the rain and the color of the leaves did not seem as vivid as they did on Thursday in the bright sun. Then there’s the danger of 26,000 pounds getting away from you on a tight turn on a wet mountain road! Halfway through Virginia, it looked like the weather was clearing; but we ran into more rain. Finally, as we neared Chesapeake, the weather cleared. However, the truck and RV are a mess and badly in need of cleaning.
Friday night, my oldest son, James visited. Saturday morning, we went to see my other son, Mike. We got to spend some time with him and our two grandsons, Greyson and Gregory. Our daughter in law, Heather is out of town.   
Last night, we got together with James, Mike, their Mom Jean and our grandsons and went to the Bier Garden for some excellent German food. I had Sauer Braten, as usual! I remember having that at my grandmother’s house as a kid and it was always soooo good!
So, we will be here for 11 days. Then, we head to Stone Mountain, Georgia to meet up my cousin, Dennis and his wife, Sandy and all of our friends from the South East Family Campers. SE Campers
There will probably be about 15 or so RV’s in our group. It is always a fun time!
There will be more to come, including pictures. Click the link below.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Travel from South Dakota to Kentucky!

We left, South Dakota on the morning of October 1st for Mason City, Iowa. The trip eastward took us through the southern part of Minnesota. We were really amazed and fascinated at the number of wind mills that we saw. installed capacity for wind power in Minnesota was 2,986 megawatts (MW) with wind power accounting for 14.3% of the electricity generated in the state during 2012.

About 30 miles into the state, we started seeing wind mills and there was an endless field of them for about 8 to 10 miles! It was amazing and beautiful. There’s something really serene about a field of wind mills.

Unfortunately, we were just barely ahead of a cold front that is also heading southeast. So, even though we are trying to outrun the cold, it is outrunning us! We arrived in Mason City, Iowa in time for a lot of rain and a lot of wind. So much so that the camper rocked and creaked and made all kinds of noise all night. It cost me some sleep, but cost Dodie a lot of sleep! Winds were 25MPH and gusting to about 40MPH. Although the camper is pretty stable when sitting on 4 tires and 6 hydraulic rams, I was concerned how things would be driving from Mason City to our next stop in Knoxville, IL. For most of the trip, it was a smooth ride because the wind was at our back. Some of the trip, the winds were hitting us on the driver’s side and the back. In either case, it improved our fuel mileage by nearly a mile per gallon! A few times, I could feel the winds buffeting us, but since we are about 26,000 pounds, the winds were pretty puny!
I wish I could say we thoroughly enjoyed Mason City, but we really didn’t see much of it. I went into town on Thursday to pick up a few bottles of wine and a pizza. It was cold, windy and raining and I didn’t enjoy it. I got all excited about a pizza place called Chicago Pizza and just knew we would get a good pizza there. Not so! Dodie probably liked it more, because it had a thin crust. I like the standard New York pizza that I grew up with as a kid. A good pizza should have a thick crust that is crispy at the rolled up edge. This pizza was thin and the crust at the edge was only a ¼ inch thick. Boo! Hiss! The camp ground was actually real nice and only cost us $25.00 a night. That’s the way it should be! We stayed at the MacNider Campground which is built on land donated to the city by Margaret MacNider. Margaret was the wife of Iowa war hero Hanford “Jack” MacNider.  Check these links:

So, we made it to Knoxville, Illinois on October 3rd. Still wet, windy and cold, it was not much fun. This campground was just purchased by John in May. It is nice, but needs a little maintenance.

What was really nice was the large field where I could let Maggie loose to run! 

Watch Maggie run! Click this link. 

The WiFi doesn’t work at all. We have been using out Hotspot here. The campground has potential and I think John will make it nice, but it will take him a while. The winds were not as bad here as in Mason City, but still pretty bad. Taking Maggie outside is not as much fun! LOL! Today, 10/5/14, the winds finally laid down and temps were in the 50’s. It was almost tolerable!
Since we are mostly on a mission to get to Virginia, we are not staying anywhere too long and we really won’t be doing any sight-seeing. 

10/6/14 we made it to Crawfordsville, Indiana. It was a KOA campground and you expect more from a KOA. However, like so many, it is an old campground made for smaller campers and it hasn’t kept up with the times. They advertized cable TV, but didn’t have any. The sites were very muddy and the WiFi was only average. We are glad we only scheduled a one night stop there. 

10/7/14, we drove to Fort Boonesborough State Park in Richmond, KY.
This is a really nice state park. There are about 20 full service sites and the rest are electric and water only. WiFi is pay WiFi only and we opted to pay it since we’ve already used almost 5GB of our 20 for the month on our hot spot. They are busy getting ready for a huge Halloween celebration. You have to stay here at least 7 days over the Halloween period and they are fully booked for Halloween!

  This place is nice enough that we wish we had more time here, but changing plans now is not possible. Our schedule is tight. Maybe we can come back one day.
Today, we went to lunch in a little hole in the wall kind of place called the Water Front Restaurant and Lounge.
The food was great. We really enjoyed it. It was so good that we probably won’t be able to eat supper tonight! LOL!

Tomorrow, we leave and head to Lewisburg, West Virginia. Again, this is just a one night stand! On 10/10/14, we head to Chesapeake, Virginia to spend some time with our two sons, daughter-in-law and grandsons. We'll stay there for 11 days.

Don't forget to click the button up top to see a map of our travels. We will make a full circle by November!
As always, here are links to all of the pics. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Onward to Missouri, Iowa and South Dakota!

Since my last post, we have just about run out of data on out hotspot, so I have to conserve the hotspot and had to wait until I could find some free WiFi to upload another post! So, we left Eureka Springs, Arkansas on September 22nd and moved to Peculiar Park Place RV Park in Peculiar, Missouri. Peculiar got its name in a peculiar way! Click here: Peculiar
The park is near the interstate which, of course, is good and bad. However, since we were still using air conditioning, the interstate noise did not bother us.

The park is nice, well maintained, had good water, electric, sewer and fair WiFi. We didn't do much in Peculiar, mostly because our mission has now shifted to one of business. It's all about getting to South Dakota, becoming residents and getting out of there before the snow starts falling! Since we arrived on a Thursday and our rules do not permit traveling on weekends, we stayed until Monday. We did a little sight seeing, but not much. The highlights of the visit was that Dodie and Maggie got their hair cut, in different places, of course! :)

 When we left Peculiar, we moved north to Pacific Junction, IA. The town was actually established and named by the railroad. Most of Iowa seemed to be corn fields. For that matter, most of Iowa, Missouri and South Dakota seems to be cornfields! We've never seen so much corn! The campground is named i29 hwy 34 campground. It's kinda like naming a cat, Cat! The campground is near high 34 just off of interstate 29! Anyway, it was a farmers move into a sideline business. When he is not running a campground, he and his brother run a 2000 acre farm. I believe he (Joe) said that he started it 10 years ago. At first, business was slow and locals laughed at Joe. The construction started in the area and he quickly filled up with construction workers. Soon, he had to expand. We were in a site by ourselves that he reserves for over-nighters.

There was good water, sewer, electric and good WiFi. Everyone was real friendly. I wouldn't mind staying here again.

We left Iowa on the 24th of September and arrived in Salem, South Dakota. We are in a beautiful little park called Camp America Campground. The grounds are meticulously maintained and there is a lot of grassy areas between campers.

They have good electric, water and sewer. The first two days, the WiFi was awful and I was using our hot spot and carefully monitoring usage! However, last night they got the WiFi fixed. It is not as good as farmer Joe's, but it is acceptable. Thursday, we went into Madison which is about 35 miles from here. It seems that everything is about 35 miles from here or more! There is just endless farms between towns. So, we met Terri at the mail service. She has been handling our mail for the last month and a half. She fixed us up with the paperwork we needed for registering our truck and getting our drivers licenses. The only thing is, we can't do it all in Madison. The drivers licenses are not done in Madison on Thursdays or Fridays, so we need to go to Mitchell (about 60 miles away) for that! So, we got the tags for the truck and went back to the campground and dropped off Maggie. Then on to Mitchell for drivers licenses. We were armed with many years worth of documents and the paperwork from Terri and it all went smoothly. We were now residents of South Dakota with drivers licenses to prove it! Only problem...waiting for paper to get the camper registered. It should be here on Monday.
One little problem we encountered when we got here was with the satellite set up. Until we crossed some imaginary line somewhere heading north, we were able to get our local Dish programming with major network feeds from satellites in the southeastern arc. Now, we must get our signals from the satellites in the western arc. However, that requires a western arc LNB ( in simple terms, it's a part for the antenna) for the satellite dish. I didn't have one. After a few phone calls, I located a Dish retailer that would be in Madison while we were who could sell me a western arc LNB. So, after lunch on Thursday, I met him and traded him $50.00 for an LNB. Later that afternoon, we were receiving all of our programming and local channels were from Sioux Falls, SD.
Friday, we went grocery shopping and took care of laundry and other chores around the camper.
Today, we did some sight seeing. We went back to Mitchell and saw the Corn Palace.

The Corn Palace was interesting. Check this link I took a lot of pics and I'll have a link to them. There are mosaics outside and inside the corn palace and they are all made of corn.
 See how the mosaics are kinda like a paint by number picture only it's corn by color! LOL! 

After the Corn Palace, we went to lunch. We weren't sure about local eateries, so we just cruised down Main Street. At the end of Main Street there is the Depot Pub and Grill. Click here to see the Depot
When we decided to stop here for lunch, we didn't realize it was an historic site. Pretty cool! And...they had Buffalo on the menu! So I had my first ever Buffalo Burger! 

After lunch, we decided to go back to the camper because Maggie had been alone for about 4 hours. While there had only been 4 RV's here, we found some more had checked in. I believe we are up to 7 RV's and there's one young couple in a tent.
Tomorrow, we'll take it easy. Take care of some chores and such. That's it for now. As always, here is the link to more pics! Link thingy

Here are some pics from this morning (Sunday 9/28). Maggie saw her first horses.  Click here


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Still touring Arkansas

I'm still fighting this cold, but there is a marked improvement today. So, I haven't kept up with the blog. I know it is a flimsy excuse, but it's all I got! On Saturday, Jami, Ed and Amy came over to spend the day and Ed helped me with the shower door modification. For some stupid reason, the RV manufacturer chose to use clear glass for the shower doors. They looked great until after the first shower! It is nearly impossible to keep water spots off the glass. We found some glass film at Lowes for about $30.00 per roll. It takes a roll for each panel. So, Ed and I took the doors out and put the film on the doors. It wasn't too difficult, but was definitely a two person job. We'll still have to clean the glass periodically, but it won't show that it's not perfect!
On Sunday, we all went to Fayetteville to a birthday party at a bowling alley for 5 year old Conner. Conner is Amy's boyfriend! We all had a good time, but the kids really enjoyed it.
On Monday, we went to the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is a rescue center for large cats that people think they can make into house pets. Each one had a different story. Some were abused, some declawed, some abandoned, etc. One cat was "dropped off" by its owner some 60 miles from his home and it made it back home! So, the owner then took the cat to Turpentine Creek. It is interesting to note that Tyson Foods and Wal-mart contribute quite a bit to feeding the cats. I believe the tour guide said they go through 600 pounds of meat a day! There is a self guided tour of the upper part of the refuge and a guided tour on a trolley through the lower part of the refuge.
Tuesday was a non touring day. We acted like we were retired or something! LOL! I took care of a couple of projects. One of those projects was to install a back-up camera on the RV. This is going to come in real handy when backing up, but also when changing lanes. I'll be better able to see when I have cleared the vehicle that I am passing. The camera was bought with money the guys at work and Dodie gave me for a retirement gift. Thanks y'all! Yesterday, Wednesday the 10th, we picked up Amy at her pre-school and took her to the Promised Land Zoo. It is a self guided petting zoo and a drive through zoo. We got a bucket of food for the animals and fed them along the way. It was a fun time for us, as well as Amy!
As always, you can see more pics at this link: Link

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Today, we toured the old Eureka Springs. When we took a trolley tour in Savannah, GA, we learned that trolley tours can really be a great way to see a city. We were not disappointed with today's trolley tour of Eureka Springs. To quote from Wikipedia: "The city has steep winding streets filled with Victorian-style cottages and manors.

The old commercial section of the city has an alpine character, with an extensive street-scape of well-preserved Victorian buildings. The buildings are primarily constructed of local stone and lie along streets that curve around the hills and rise and fall with the topography in a five-mile long loop. Some buildings have street-level entrances on more than one floor. Eureka Springs has historically been called "The Little Switzerland of America" and "The Stairstep Town" because of its mountainous terrain and the winding, up-and-down paths of its streets and walkways. The streets wind around the town, and no two intersect at a 90 degree angle; there are no traffic lights".

One stop along the way was the Cresent Hotel.
It was completed in 1886 after 2 years of construction. The group of men that decided to build it thought it should be built using the same techniques that were employed in Great Brittan to build castles. So, they brought over masons from Ireland to build it. One of the masons fell from the roof into room 218, was killed by the fall and is said to haunt that room. There are other ghost reports, as well. If you stay there, ask for room 218 and tell us all about it! There is more history to this hotel than I have typing skills to display. Read all about it here: Crescent Hotel
On the 4th floor of the hotel, you can get a great view of the surrounding mountains. Over on one of those mountains is a huge statue of Christ. Clicky thingy 

I used a telephoto lens to get this picture.
This is where they hold the Passion Play which is an outdoor play performed in an amphitheater about Christ.
 After the hotel, we continued through town and stopped at one of several springs that originally brought people here. As soon as you stepped down inside, you could feel how much cooler it was in there. Natural air conditioning! Many people believed the spring water had powerful healing properties. They drank and bathed in the water and many ailments were cured. Of course, it may be that they left dirty polluted cities, drank a lot of good mineral water, ate better natural foods, and got a lot of fresh air and exercise from walking all over the city! 
 Here the tour guide tells us about the springs and how the city has them had to cover them to prevent people from drinking the water directly from them.The reason...if someone got sick from the water, they could sue the city. Sad but true. 

The tour continued through the city and we saw other springs and many beautiful homes and shops along the way. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and made it an enjoyable tour.

After the trolley tour, we went to the Thorncrown Chapel. Here is the link This chapel is made of wood and glass. It has 425 windows! Id sure hate to be the window cleaner!
This is the view looking forward.

 The view looking straight up at the roof.

 This is the slate floor.

So, that was it for today! You can see all of the pics we took today at the following link: This is the link