Home Away From Home, North Carolina, Tennessee

Tennessee I Aim Rally

Leaving was quite easy this morning.  Basically, all we had to do was pull in the slides and we were ready to go however we still went through our check list and of course had prayer before we took off for the next leg of our journey.  Travel to Sevierville, Tennessee was fairly easy.  We had gassed up the night before so our only stop was brief at the Tennessee Welcome Center.  We did run into some rain on the way but hopefully it washed the coach off some. It really needs a bath!

We arrived at The Ridge Outdoor RV Park at noon and very quickly set up and headed out for lunch at the Apple Barn Restaurant.  Before we had even ordered we had our drinks, their signature apple julip (made with apple juice, pineapple juice, orange juice and lemon) plus apple fritters laced with powdered sugar.  Who needed lunch at that point?  We had a delicious lunch with some soup leftover to take home.

Robyn had texted and invited me to play cards with some other AIM members so Jerry dropped me off at the Event Center.  We ended up playing Farkle.  I had never played so I enjoyed learning. 

Everyone met up at the Event Center for pizza for dinner.  Several of us shared out meal out on the porch and we met a lot of new people.  The heat finally urged us inside so we took a brief tour of the room where we will be meeting once the rally officially begins.  Interestingly, the building used to be a church but was sold to new owners.  The church still uses the facility for services. 

After dinner we sat around visiting until Robyn and I headed off for the hot tub.  Wow, that felt good.  We stayed until they closed it up at 10:00.  All in all, a very nice day.

Jerry discovered that with a $10 permit from the campground he could wash the RV and man, it needed it so he spent the morning doing just that.  Registration began at 1:00 so we headed up there after lunch.  We spent the afternoon visiting and then at 5:00 headed to the Event Center for Happy Hour. We had a delicious dinner and then entertainment provided by Kenny Evans.  He was quite good and not only played and sang my kind of music but he also gave his moving testimony.  Praise the Lord!

Tuesday morning started off with an absolutely delicious breakfast followed by a tech talk for an hour.  We were free then until lunch where we ate again!  No one should go hungry at an AIM rally! Knowing that the cornhole tournament was that afternoon we went up to the pavilion to scope things out.  The boards were already set up so we practiced a bit.  Jerry just shook his head and admitted that he’d have to carry me! What a team we’d make.  The tournament started after lunch and lo and behold we made it to the third round.  I was amazingly much better than usual until we got to the third round.  I was on the wrong side for me and was little help to Jerry so we lost in that round.  Oh well, I did better than I thought I would.

After another Happy Hour and delicious dinner, we were entertained by songwriter Victoria Shaw.  She has written for numerous well known singers such as Garth Brooks and others whose name I had heard before but was not familiar with their music.  Two of her songs were especially meaningful.  After seeing a PSA about the Susan G. Komen Foundation, she wrote the song “When Pink is Just a Color” about a day when breast cancer no longer exists. After writing the song she contacted the Foundation and they formed a partnership.  Soon after that the song was recorded by five women including Dolly Parten, Rita Wilson, Jordan Sparks, Sara Evans and Monica.  Google it!  It is an amazing song.  She closed with the song “Never Alone” which has been recorded by several artists including Lady A.  The lyrics could bring one to tears.

After breakfast on Sunday, we attended church at the Event Center.  Connect Church is a contemporary church service with praise and worship music and wonderful witness for the Lord.  We shared communion, knelt in prayer and listened to an incredible message from the pastor.

For our next excursion we loaded a bus and headed to Dollywood.  Would you believe that our bus driver got lost?  We ended up on a narrow one lane road where he had to turn around.  Although a poor navigator he was an excellent driver and turned that big bus around on a dime!  When we got to Dollywood Jerry and I wandered around a bit trying to get our bearings.  We eventually ended up at an outdoor show performed by the Hall Sisters from Garner, NC, a little bit of home.  They were very good with beautiful four part harmony plus some instrumental music.  I would have liked to talk with them but the line to see them was too long for me.

We continued to wander around and ran into Madeline, Mallory, Gary and Sandra who were on their way to ride the roller coaster.  What in the world was I thinking?  Sandra wisely sat that one out but the rest of us trudged on in the heat to the Wild Eagle.  After we were very securely locked in our seat Jerry looked at me and told me to take off my sunglasses.  Why I asked?  Because you are going to up upside down!  What?????  Oh my.  I survived but I may not be riding another roller coaster for a while!

We had a catered dinner at the Blue Ribbon Pavilion and then headed to the buses for the ride back to the campground.  It was a fun afternoon but we were a bit tired however we rustled up the energy to go over to Robyn and Jim’s for a visit.

Monday was another day of good breakfast, visiting, tech talk, lunch, a little free time and then we were off to the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s Dinner Feud. Dinner was so-so but the show was very entertaining, a must see for anyone in the Sevierville, Pigeon Forge area.  From the cloggers to the divers – yes, they had an apparently very deep pool for the outstanding divers.

Alas, Tuesday morning dawned with breakfast and goodbyes to our new friends.  We actually sat around and visited with Thomas and Theresa until everyone else had left and I think they were ready to kick up out of the dining room. 

As we were walking back to the coach, we saw a very empty campground as most of the folks had left headed either to home or further down the road.  We decided to go to Cade’s Cove along with a million other people.  Traffic was horrible from the time we left the campground until we returned, back to back cars in Cade’s Cove.  Right off we saw a bear but that was our only wildlife sighting and really, we have a lot of bears at home so no big excitement for us.  And then the heavy rain came.  Oh well, Jerry drove and I read!

We had earlier decided to go back to the Apple Barn for dinner but Tommy, president of AIM came by and said they were having pizza at the Event Center for the folks coming in for Tennessee II and asked us to join them.  We ran into a couple we had met in Auburndale, Suzy and Gary and shared our dinner with them. They told us about the terrible slowdown on I40 so deciding we needed to leave early Wednesday morning we didn’t stay long at dinner.  We came back to the coach and got things readied for Wednesday departure.

We left a little after 8:00, later than I had hoped but we had no issues.  Getting gas was easy – thank you Lord, another answer to prayer – and we had no traffic stops.  Jerry even said that going down Black Mountain was the easiest it had ever been.  We arrived at Salem Breeze Campground a little after 1:00 and quickly settled in.  After a good nap for Jerry, we went over to visit with Carolina Guroo friends, Debra and Larry.  We all went out to eat at Oh West where we had scrumptious prime rib and then enjoyed solving all of the world’s problems on their patio.

Thursday morning was slow and easy knowing that we had quite the busy days ahead.  The last few weeks have been quite busy and just a bit hectic with two out of state trips, Memorial Day and guests for the long weekend and just nine days between trips.  Sadly, we don’t have another trip scheduled for some time, possibly August but maybe September.  We’ll enjoy the week-end with our kids and grands, go to baseball games, pre-school graduation, and a dance recital for the girls and then we’re off for home.

Sunset in Sevierville
Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Off to Tennessee for Another AIM Club Rally

We may have found an easier and just a bit cheaper way to prepare for a trip when we are traveling west or south.  Staying at NeuseWay park in Kinston solves the problem of going to get the RV a day earlier, returning either to Goose Creek State Park (still 30 minutes from out home) or parking it next door in our neighbor’s yard plus we get it cooled down and ready to go.  After talking it over with Jerry we decided that was the way to go.  I called NeuseWay, a first come, first serve campground and asked about availability and was assured that we would have no problem getting a site.  Packing was not that difficult as Jerry had left some of his things in the coach and I just took everything!  You never know what you might need.  

When we got to Kinston we rode through the park to see what sites might be best for us.  We did not see the campground host so we went on out to the warehouse and picked up the coach.  When we got to the campground we still did not see anyone so we just chose a site, #7, backed in and set up.  No problem.  Jerry had some more work to do on the hitch and I fiddled around inside getting everything set up.

Since it was our anniversary – 31 years – we decided to go out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants.  Just as Jerry was getting ready, the campground host showed up and said we could not use 50 amp.  We were plugged in to a 50 amp and were having no problems running both air conditioners but he said we could blow the circuit making the entire campground go dark.  I’m not quite sure I understand his reasoning but it might have something to do with previous flooding and repairing the park.  Jerry said there was no problem. We’d just use one AC and we did with no problems and we stayed cool.

Neither of us slept well, so Wednesday morning was a late start for us.  In fact we didn’t leave until almost 9:30 which was quite unusual for us.  We only had a little over 200 miles to go so we knew we had plenty of time.  Again, it was a fairly easy travel day with only one traffic delay and we arrived at our Harvest Host site, Murray’s Mill in Conover, NC around 3:00.  The hosts were very welcoming and helped us get set up.  Because of impending rain they had us park right next to the first house on the property.  We had to back in so we had so we had to disconnect the car.  Agsain, due to the promised rain once we got the RV parked, we hooked the car back up all ready for the next day travel.  By the way, it never rained! I had seen a sign for a covered bridge near by and had hoped to go see that but after hooking the car up we were stationary for the night.

The 1913 mill is preserved intact and there are several buildings on the property including the ”1890s Murray & Minges General Store, the 1880s Wheathouse, used as an exhibit gallery, the 1913 John Murray House, furnished to the period, and numerous outbuildings. Run by three generations of the Murray Family who closed operations in 196″ The buildings and surrounding land form the last milling complex in the county.  Unfortunately all of the structures seemed to be closed so other than the general store we were unable to go into any, however the house next to us had a nice porch with rocking chairs for us to use.

After getting set up we took a brief walk to discover that the mill is still in operation.  We took a few pictures and then decided against taking a tour of the mill and headed over to the Murray and Minges General Store.  A typical old general store, it had a variety of items from handmade items to “penny” candy.  Well, I guess it used to be a penny!  It was filled with canned foods, assorted sundries and one room dedicated to local crafts.  One room had an ice cream bar and bins of candy like Bit-o’Honey.  I haven’t seen that it a long time.  Jerry wanted to buy some of their ground grits but they were out so he settled for some ground corn mill.  Um, I see cornbread in the future!

Murray & Minges General Store

After dinner we took a walk on the Literacy Trail which had posted signs depicting a book by Angela Dominguez called Mary Had a Little Llama. As you would expect it was very much like the peoem Mary Had a Little Lamb so there we were were reciting the poem (and singing it) as we walked along the trail. It was a nice, picturesque area with a fairly large pond on one side. The weather was nice and there were no bugs so we had an enjoyable evening walk.  It felt good to stretch my legs after a day of travel

As soon as we were parked we turned the generator on to get the coach cool but beore we went to bed we decided to turn it off and open the windows hoping for a cool night.  I don’t know if it was fatigue or the cool mountain air but we both caught up on our sleep.

Florida, Georgia, Home, Home Away From Home

Time to Head Home – Or Not!

Breakfast for Friday morning was at 8:00 rather than the usual 9:00 so those leaving could get an early start.  We were there actually before 8:00 and they were already serving so we got our breakfast, said our goodbyes and gave our thanks to everyone and headed to the RV hoping to quickly pull out. We would have except the living room slide that had been quite noisy upon going out would not come in. We called the Mobile RV tech again and he came out as soon as he could.  He said that our slide motor needed to be replaced and he would try to find one.  In the meantime several men along with Dan, the tech and Jerry pushed the slide in.  It obviously was quite a job. While Dan was looking for a motor I began to look online also and wonder of all wonders, found one at Independence RV in Winter Park, about 45 miles from us.  When I called the clerk said they had three so I told her to please hold one for us.  We called Dan and told him that we had found one although we knew it would be Saturday before he could get to us.  Dang, another night in beautiful but blustery Florida!

We made the trip to Winter Garden, got the motor (the price was actually nearly $100 less than what we were originally quoted) and returned to the campground.  Jerry headed to Walmart for some groceries as our pantry and fridge were empty!  I stayed around just in case Dan came.  He didn’t.  

We sat outside for a while but the wind was so strong we didn’t stay out long.  Jerry grilled burgers for dinner and then we walked up to the pavilion to see what was going on.  It was quite busy with a lot of families and we didn’t see any AIM members so we returned to the motor home.  We tried to sit outside but oddly enough it cooled off so much we hustled inside.

We got up early Saturday morning but Jerry waited until 8:00 to call Dan.  He said to expect him between 9:00 and 9:30 so I just went outside and enjoyed the sun for a while.  He had quite the job getting the old motor out but once that was accomplished he completed the install quickly.  Meanwhile Jerry was cleaning out and rearranging bins and I was inside washing linens and towels and cleaning.  All in all a productive morning albeit expensive!

We finally pulled out of Cabana Club RV Resrot at 12:15, immediately stopped for gas and then were on the road at 12:37 headed to Coastal Georgia RV Resort for the evening.  Since we were leaving so late we decided to only go about 250 miles which was a good decision because traffic around Orlando was awful to say the least.  I wonder how many lanes it would take to keep traffic in this area.

It was nearly 6:00 when we arrived at Coastal Georgia RV in Brunswick, Ga.  Set up was quick and all the slides went out with no problem!  Thank the Lord!

I walked down for a brief visit with Robyn and Jim, friends we had met at the rally. After we warmed up hamburgers for dinner Jerry and I both walked down to chat with our new friends and had a delightful evening visit.

Our aim Sunday morning was to leave by 8:00 as we had a very long day of travel with over 400 miles in the RV and then nearly 100 more home.  It was 8:17 when we pulled out of the campground. We had gotten gas yesterday just before we got to the campground so we were good to go.

The trip to Kinston where the RV is stored was blessedly uneventful. Except for a couple of slow downs traffic moved quickly. I must admit that I95 makes me a little nervous because one, that’s where we had our accident and two, people drive crazy! Still, it was an easy drive for Jerry. I was able to “attend” our church virtually and get some reading done. It’s a hard life!

We arrived in Kinston around 4:30, quickly got the car unhooked and the RV in the storage warehouse. Thankfully we got it in easier than previous attempts as it was boiling hot in there. We traveled on to Bath, stopped at Blackbeard’s for a quick dinner with our friends Nancy and Billy – they must really love us because we looked a little worse for wear and they still ate with us! On to our home at Pamlico Beach where we will be spending the next few days with family before we take off again for another AIM rally in Tennessee. Looking forward to it.

Florida, Home Away From Home

Our First AIM Rally

What a week!  We have been wined and dined, entertained, wined and dined some more and more and had the added bonus of some tech talks.  We arrived on Sunday evening and very quickly began to meet our neighbors.  Registration began at 1:00 so after a trip back to Walmart and some lunch we headed up to the pavilion.  Registration was quick and we again began to meet folks.  Happy Hour started at 5:30 with dinner at 6:30.  When we were in Perry, Ga at the FMCA rally where we joined the AIM Club we had dinner with them three nights.  Dinners were hot dogs one night, hamburgers one night and chicken sandwiches one night so that’s sort of what we were expecting this week.  Boy, where we wrong.  On Monday night we had our choice of two food trucks plus a dessert food truck and it was all delicious.  After dinner everyone ambled over to the open area where there were two glowing firepits and music with a DJ.  Oops, he had a vehicle problem and didn’t make it but we still had someone’s play list going.

Tuesday we had a delicious breakfast.  Jerry was expecting a continental breakfast.  Nope, eggs, bacon, sausage and much more.  We then enjoyed a tech talk on fire safety and before we knew it we were back for another delicious lunch.  After lunch we headed out on buses for an airboat ride through the swamp.  We saw a lot of different bird species and two alligators.  Apparently the alligators aren’t as visible at this time of the year but the guide assured us they were still there.  We were told they wouldn’t bother us if we “happen” to fall out of the boat but I definitely did not want to test that statement.

Tuesday evening we had another Happy Hour and then another delicious dinner, this time a choice between chicken and steak.  I chose steak really not expecting it to be cooked to perfection but it was.  I’m definitely going to need bigger pants by the time we get home.

Wednesday we had yet another delicious breakfast, a tech talk and then hamburgers for lunch.  Around 3:00 we left on the buses for our trip to Sea World for a conservation tour.  We also got to see the massive Orca’s.  What an amazing site.  We ended our visit there with dinner at an Shark’s Underwater Grill .  We sat right next to a large aquarian filled with various fish and enjoyed our dinner of chicken with a creamy mushroom sauce accompanied by Caesar salad, and a medley of vegetables.  Dessert was a Cabernet Chocolate Cake – on my!

Sea World

Thursday morning we enjoyed yet another fine breakfast.  The tech talk was given by Entegra and since we don’t have an Entegra coach nor are we in the market for one we skipped that.  The rest of the day was free time with an early dinner scheduled and then a private rodeo.

After dinner we again loaded the bus this time for a trip to Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo for a private rodeo.  We went to a rodeo in Cody, Wy last year and I have to say this one was as good or better.  It started off with a very impressive presentation of the American Flag and the National Anthem.  The competition was keen for both the bull riding and the barrel racing and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  No rodeo would be complete without a mechanical bull and yes, I finally got the nerve to try it.  I lasted 26 seconds.  Not to shabby for an “older lady”! 

Bull Riding
Florida, Home Away From Home

Travel with a Gas Shortage

One of the advantages of having a motor home is the ability to change plans at the drop of a hat and change we did.  We had originally planned to leave for the Hilton Head/Savanna area on Tuesday after two nights at Goose Creek State Park and then…the pipeline was hacked.  Gas in North Carolina was in very short supply so as we traveled to Goose Creek from our home on Tuesday morning all packed up and ready to go we wisely decided that leaving in a RV in the midst of a gas shortage was not wisdom.  We left the RV at Goose Creek Tuesday night and by Wednesday morning decided to bring it home and park it in our neighbor’s large yard.  Wednesday loomed with more news of the gas shortage so we just waited day by day.

Our daughter in law, Caroline texted me that she had one ticket for the girl’s dance recital.  Last year’s was virtual so it would be a real treat to see them this year.  The plan was for Jerry to take me to Kinston (because only one guest was allowed in) Friday evening for the recital, return home and then leave Saturday morning for our Florida AIM rally.  I got a text from Caroline Friday morning saying she had gotten Jerry a ticket also.  I walked out to the workshop and told him I had good news and bad news – he had a ticket for the dance recital!

Suddenly it dawned on me that it would probably be wise to drive the RV to Kinston that day and stay at Neuseway Park.  It would cut off nearly 100 miles on our Saturday drive plus it would be easier on us.  Could we get a site in Neuseway?  I called and although they were open. they said it was a first come, first serve campground and they only had one site available.  The good news is that I have a sweet son who lives in Kinston and goes right by there on his way to work.  He pulled in and somehow got us the last site.  I finished the morning packing the RV while Jerry tried to locate gas in our small community.  We finally left home around 2:00, the time they were expecting us at Neuseway!  Just a little late!

We arrived by 4:00 and they were waiting for us.  The very nice camp host led us right to our site and we very quickly set up.  A few minutes rest and we were on our way to see our granddaughters dance!  Fortunately for us they were only in the first half so as at intermission after hugs and pictures, we left for the campground with a stop at Bojangles for pickup.

We woke up Saturday morning early after a good night’s rest and headed out to Hardeeville, SC at Camp Lake Jasper Campground.  I was uneasy about the gas situation as we passed many stations that had none but when we pulled in the Pilot station in Latta they had plenty – and plenty of people!  Getting gas was no problem but it took 45 minutes to get something to eat and our order was wrong at that.  Wendy’s only had four people working and they were as busy as they could be so no fault not them.

We arrived at Camp Lake Jasper Campground just before 3:00.  Check in was quick and easy and setup was quickly accomplished.  We discussed riding into Savannah or Hilton Head but that meant unhooking the car and Jerry needed a nap.  While he napped, I took a couple of strolls around the campground. It was a pretty warm day but it cooled off quickly.  In fact, after dinner we took a walk around the campground and then decided to sit outside for a while.  We didn’t stay long as we decided it was too cool.

A good night’s rest and we were on the road by 8:15 headed to Auburndale, Fla.  Thank the Lord for another uneventful day of travel.  We drove I95 nearly all of the way stopping only twice, once for gas and once for a quick lunch.  Despite the very heavy travel around Orlando we reached Cabanna Club RV Resort just before 3:00.  Since I had checked in on line we were very quickly led to our site.

Wow, this campground!  It is most likely the nicest we have every stayed in.  I understand it’s a new park only opening this past February.  Everything looks so clean and new.  It’s gated and surprisingly it’s not just at night.  Apparently there is an attendant there at all time and there is also a gate code (which we have yet to find).  There is a large pool with an area for kids, a nice pavilion, a putting green, dog park and more

As soon as we were parked a guy two coaches down came over and talked with Jerry about our hitch.  Apparently we have the wrong one.  After some discussion Jerry agreed with him.  Since we were headed to Walmart anyway Jerry decided to look for a new hitch there and voila –he found it only to discover when we got back that it was the wrong one.  We had bought two so we were sure one would work.  Neither did but luckily we can return them.

After a bit of rest we walked over to the pavilion where the president of AIM had hot dogs and drinks for everyone.  We met some interesting people, many from Texas.  Someone told me that due to the location many of the AIM rallies in this region are usually 50% Texans.  I visited with a couple of ladies and we stood around discussing politics of all things and then of course, the disappointment in how RV’s are built these days.

As Jerry has said with the Guroos, we discuss politics, grandchildren, food and what has happened with our RVS!

Georgia, Home Away From Home

Repairs, FMCA, Repairs

We left early Friday morning, March 5 headed back to National Indoor RV at Lawrenceville, GA to pick up our coach. We squeaked in just before they closed at 5:00. Kevin got us settled for the evening at the back of the facility where we had both water and electricity. Love having my water! Saturday morning we talked with both Kevin and Mike about the buffing for the scratches and tried to decide when that could be done. Our plans were to go to the FMCA rally in Perry Ga. and then continue to the Savannah area for a few days before returning the coach to National Indoor. Since it was going to take 3-4 days to do the buffing we decided to reschedule our trip to Savannah and return to NIRV to get that taken care of

We had stopped at Tanger Mall in North Carolina on our way to Lawrenceville on Friday and I had something I wanted to return so Saturday morning, having nothing else to do we headed out for Tanger Mall located fairly close to NIRV except …. My blonde hair kicked in and we ended up at Premium Outlets which was considerably further away. Oh well, sorry Jerry. I did a lot of walking from one end to the other more than once before deciding on my one purchase. We returned to the RV and Jerry watched basketball for the afternoon and then we headed to his sister’s for dinner. As we were talking with her, we realized we were only about 10 minutes from her home when we were at the outlet so we made two trips to Dawsonville that day!

Sunday was a quiet day. We “attended” church virtually Sunday morning, did a little grocery shopping, and washed our last load of clothes before a week with no septic hookup or water.

Monday morning we headed to Perry, Ga for the 102th FMCA rally. It was an easy drive and we pulled in about 1:00 and were directed to 7th street for a 50 amp hookup.

During our ride around the grounds that afternoon we saw our friend Jim who suggested we go by the office and asked to be moved to a power/water site so we did and were eventually moved Tuesday morning to the other side of the fairgrounds where the majority of the volunteers were staying. I am not sure why we were not put there initially but was glad for the change plus it was nice out to have to worry about rationing our water.

Other than going out to dinner with Jim and Jan on Monday night we never left the fairgrounds. It is amazing that we can go a week without going to the grocery store!

We have been to several FMCA rallies previously and since we have attended many of the seminars that was not high on our list this time. In addition, there were fewer vendors there this year due to Covid although we did manage to do a little shopping. We met a nice couple for the Gainesville, Fla area, Milli and Len, and spent a couple of evenings with them. Hopefully, we’ll run into them again.

Another fun event was dinners (three nights with no cooking) with the AIM Club, the All Inclusive Motor Club. We decided to join and hopefully, we can go on some trips with them. Florida in early May looks interesting.

A highlight of the week was a concert by Josh Turner on Friday evening. We had been hesitant to attend any of the evening programs for fear of being in a crowd and although there were a lot of people at the concert we were are all masked and socially distanced. Since I am not a country music fan (ok, I like some songs) I had not heard of Josh Turner but our children and friends were very impressed that we were going to be able to hear him and for good reason. He gave a wonderful concert with an encore and I can now say I am a Josh Turner fan. I love the words to his songs!

Sunday morning after our “campground church service” found us on our way back to Perry. We arrived at 11:45 and got the very last full hookup. Whew. After getting hooked up we began the saga of washing linens/clothes. Five loads later we were done! That makes our next trip easier plus there’s not so much to do when we get home. I couldn’t believe how crowded NIRV was. I think everyone in Perry decided to stop by for a few night on their way home. RVs were parked everywhere. All regular spaces were taken and some were boondocking. Glad we got there when we did.

We knew it was going to take 3-4 days for the buffing and the weather for the week was going to be bad so instead of sitting around for a week, we decided to return to Pamlico Beach and pick up the RV in about a week. It was just easier. We couldn’t be in the coach during the day so we’d be eating out every day. Jerry’s sister was not home so we really had nothing to do but sit in the lobby so Monday morning we headed home.

We have been in contact with National Indoor and our coach is actually ready. We will go to NIRV on Monday, spend the night and then head to Raleigh for the Spring Premier Horse Show. On Saturday we’ll take the RV to the storage facility and there it will be until an FMCA chapter meeting in April in Myrtle Beach. Should we tack something on to that trip? Um….

Home

The Angst of Storing a Motor Home

Our motor home has been stored in Kinston for quite some time.  Initially it was stored in a former tobacco warehouse.  That was not ideal but it was inside – until the roof began to cave in and the road to the back door was nearly always muddy and had holes big enough to fall in.  We finally found a nice storage facility near our house. It was indoors, had easy access for us, was gated and the building was locked as well. All good and well until we had our accident.  By the time we were able to bring the coach home the entire facility had been rented to FEMA and there was no room at the inn for us. We finally located another empty warehouse where we could store it inside so that is where it has been since then. Unfortunately, it is close to the Neuse River which tends to flood when there are continually heavy rains.

Just before Christmas I got a notice that the Neuse was rising so we went out to the warehouse to check things out. Indeed, the waters were rising but we thought we would be ok and since we really didn’t have anywhere to take it, we left it.  The next morning, we got a call from the manager of the warehouse telling us that indeed flooding was anticipated so off we went to Kinston again – an hour and half away. Both highway entrances to the warehouse were barricaded due to high water but we were able to get to the warehouse.  The encroaching waters had definitely gotten closer but after assessing the potential for it entering the building Jerry decided that we would be safe.  Getting it out of there at that point would have been very treacherous as there was standing water all around.  Actually, the safest place for the coach was right where it was sitting.

Fortunately, no water came in the warehouse.  We have tried to find a closer location for the coach but thus far have not been able to located any place where it can be stored inside and that is very important to us so I guess we’ll keep going back to Kinston periodically to check on things. 

Colorado, Home Away From Home, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee

Headed Home

Travel Day One: We slept until 7:00 this morning so a real early departure was not in the cards although we got ready quickly and were on the road by 8:10. We stopped at the nearby Flying J and topped off both the gas and the propane and were on Interstate 40 by 8:35. Our plan was to drive to Little Rock, Arkansas, and stay at Maumelle COE again. Although the traffic was not heavy we were in Oklahoma “where the winds coming sweeping down the plains” and it was windy, 16 mph making it a tense drive for a man whose shoulder was already hurting. As we got nearer Oklahoma City the winds tapered off some and despite the ever-present road construction on the east side of Oklahoma City for miles, it was an uneventful drive.

I began to look for a place to stay for the night. Our preference was of course for Maumelle and after a lot of searching, I finally claimed the very last 50 amp site in the park! I must admit that as we got closer to Maumelle my stress level began to rise. We had had one auspicious arrival at that park and for some reason, I was anxious about arriving again. All was well though. We checked in, detached the car, and while Jerry emptied the tanks at the dump station I rode around the park looking for E1 which was a good deal further back in the park than when we had stayed before.

I then led Jerry to the site and we parked the coach and set up with no problems plus we were level! We sat outside and enjoyed the cool autumn evening for a little while before dinner. It felt good to be outside in the late afternoon while temperatures were just right.

Early to bed as tomorrow will be another long day.

Travel Day Two: I couldn’t go to sleep last night despite the fatigue so I was dragging this morning. We had forgone our usual morning routine of quiet time and coffee for a while so we were getting on the road more quickly. We pulled out of the site, rode to a parking area where we could hitch the car, and then were on the road. I had worried about early morning traffic in Little Rock but it wasn’t a problem. The only slight problem we encountered was exiting on a curvy ramp and we got a slight Jeep death wobble. Jerry slowed down and all was good. The last time we had the wobble was weeks ago in Little Rock. Um…. going down a curved, bumpy ramp a little fast to the Interstate. I think we may have finally discovered what precipitates the wobble.

Traffic was the normal Monday busyness all the way to Nashville and then…. Going through Nashville is bad on a good day and this was not a good day. Just before we reached the exit for the Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s home, we came to stop and go traffic. An accident three miles ahead slowed us all down which wouldn’t be too bad if people had not kept cutting in front of us trying to change lanes. After six years of Rving, it still amazes me that people will cut in front a large RV with no regard to their safety. When in traffic like that Jerry is sure to keep a good distance between us and the vehicle in front of us but it is difficult because of drivers in a hurry. To get where? All lanes were stopped so they made no progress. Oh well!

As we rode along, we kept trying to decide where to spend the night. Jerry had looked at the map the night before and Cookeville, Tennessee seemed to be a good stopping place although it was 462 miles. I loaded my Harvest Host app and found Delmonaco Winery right there so I called and they said to come on. They did ask for my HH number which I had never been asked for before so I had to locate it. Took a picture of it so it will be in my Google photos now like our license plate numbers, easy to find if necessary.

When we arrived, there were two other RV’s there and lo and behold one was from North Carolina. It was so good to hear that North Carolina accent and she said the same thing! Of course, the Jeep battery was dead AGAIN! What is the problem? The North Carolina gentleman had a handheld battery booster and loaned it to us. What do you know? It worked! The problem was then I couldn’t get it out of the transfer mode. I played with it a few minutes and finally got it out. We left the car idling, parked the RV, leveled it somewhat and then took a ride around in the Jeep to recharge the battery. Something is draining the battery on the car and we have no idea what. Wonder if it could be the Stay and Play Braking Assist? No clue but hopefully we will find out soon when we get the Jeep serviced.

We went over to Delmonico Winery and unlike other wineries we have stopped at where I bought wine for friends because I didn’t like anything they had, Delmonico had two wines and a port that I really liked. I ended up buying one bottle of wine and two mulled cider packets for friends. I really wanted a bottle of the delicious port but decided we had probably spent enough money in the last month!

When I got back to the RV, I got the chair out and sat outside for a while. The gentleman on the other side of us came out and we talked for a few minutes. Both he and his wife recently retired, bought an RV on September 2, sold their house, and both of their cars since neither would tow and now they are full-timers. They had never RVed before. Wow – braver than we are!

We had leftover steak and a salad for dinner and then a quiet and early night for both of us. The night was cool enough that we opened windows. With no generator running it was a good night for sleeping

Travel Day Three: We took our time getting ready to leave this morning. Since we were waiting until we arrive in Clemmons for showers and had no hookup to dismantle, we pulled out around 8:00. I had forgotten that we would lose another hour today or I probably would have encouraged Jerry to leave more quickly. The North Carolina coach pulled out just before us headed toward New Mexico and the Pennsylvania coach appeared to be getting ready as well. It was a good place to stay and if we had been level it would have been perfect!

Travel Day Four: North Carolina! Ah, what a welcomed site although we were again in the mountains and I knew that we would have to descend Black Mountain on the other side of Asheville. That has always been a concern when traveling to Asheville and still is but compared to the passes in Colorado I guess it’s not that bad.

We still were not home but we were in our home state at a very familiar campground having stayed at Tanglewood Campground numerous times. We pulled in around 4:00, got ready to unhook and of course, the car battery was dead again. Dang! We left the car in the designated spot, parked the RV and then walked over to the camp hosts to ask about jumping the car. They too had a handheld battery booster. Needless to say, that will be a necessary purchase as soon as we get home.

We were soon ready to go see our Clemmons grands. Eli was at baseball practice so we went to the baseball field and got to watch him on the ball field. Emma joined us when we left around 7:00 and per her request we had dinner at her favorite restaurant. After dinner, we headed to their home and had a nice visit. It was good to see everyone again and I am already anxious to see the rest of our crowd.

Travel Day Five: Today was a nice, easy, short drive to Raleigh to the Horse Complex at the NC State Fairgrounds. Despite the state fair being canceled, the horse shows were being held but with very limited attendance. Since we are affiliated with Woodbridge Farm, we were able to enter the grounds. It was a good show but very different as there was little to no socializing. Generally when there are no horses showing everyone gathers at someone’s coach to pass the time but there was none of that this time. After the morning show where we were socially distanced and masked in the arena, we returned to the RV and spent the afternoon being lazy and recuperating. In retrospect, I think that spending three restful days in Raleigh was a great way to end the trip. Before we left, we got the coach thoroughly cleaned inside and had the outside washed so it would be ready for storage.

On Sunday we returned to Pamlico Beach and quickly emptied the coach of everything. Got the sheets and towels washed and put back in the coach and it was ready for the warehouse. On Monday after taking care of some appointments we headed to Kinston to drop off the coach for an oil change and tune-up so it will be ready to go whenever we decide to travel again. We also got a much-longed visit with three of our grands. Traveling is so nice but we surely do miss our family when we’re gone for an extended time.

We thoroughly enjoyed our Colorado trip and although it was surely fraught with issues with the Lord’s help, nothing disastrous happened and we were able to address the things that did occur. I still maintain though that the best part of a trip is returning home. It was mighty nice to see my Pamlico River Sunday afternoon!

Home Away From Home, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas

One More Pass

Despite our good intentions to leave by 8:00, it was nearly 8:30 before we pulled out along with two other coaches, one headed to Texas and one headed to Florida. We were just ahead of them both. The Florida coach passed us, then we passed him stopped on the side of the road. A little while later he passed us again and then we passed him again on the side of the road. He passed us by later as we were eating lunch. No clue what was going on with them and we never saw them again. Odd

Going uphill is daunting. Going downhill is downright scary and there we were going up and down yet another pass, the Mosca Pass, hopefully our last. I couldn’t look as we climbed but I could hear the motor and feel the speed which was much lower than the posted speed limit. Impatient drivers always make a difficult situation a little worse and we have certainly seen our share of those on this trip. I have begun to realize that the yellow line in Colorado apparently doesn’t mean the same thing that it means in other states. Cars pass even when there is oncoming traffic. Again, scary.

As we came into Alamosa yesterday we no longer saw the beautiful aspens but we saw cottonwoods that were nearly as pretty and we continued to see them today. Their colors are more muted but still showing the gold and limes amidst the evergreens. A beautiful view always makes the drive better – when I can look!

Driving through New Mexico and Texas we saw no rest stops and few gas stations in the very small towns. It was nearly time for lunch so I finally started searching for businesses that might not be open and might have a large accessible parking lot. Bingo! Happy State Bank in Texline was closed and had a small circular driveway. We pulled around back, put tonight’s dinner in the crockpot and ate our lunch of chicken salad that had I prepared the night before. We were quickly back on the road with a little over a hundred miles to go. Though we lost an hour it was still fairly early so Jerry suggested driving further than Amarillo. I started looking for somewhere to stay and according to what I found there were no overnight Walmarts along our route after we left Amarillo. I did find a city park in Sayre, Oklahoma. Could we make it that far? Would they have an available site? It was a first-come, first-serve park so hopefully it wouldn’t be full. Normally I wouldn’t have been concerned about it but in the RV travel frenzy due to Covid the park just might be full on a Saturday evening.

As we approached Amarillo of course, the Clarion and the Garmin gave us two different routes. Since I had programmed the Flying J into the Garmin we opted to take that route. We went right through downtown Amarillo. In fact, I think I saw more of Amarillo today than I did when we stayed in Amarillo a few years ago. We did ride right by the Big Steakhouse where we had enjoyed a limo ride there for a delicious steak dinner.

We had an easy fill-up at Flying J and then were back on the road to Sayre. We arrived at the park about 6:15 and found only two RV’s among the 80 sites. We found a site and quickly set up. Setup at previous campgrounds in mountainous Colorado had created no problem leveling despite uneven ground. Jerry even mentioned that when we got to flatlands it would probably not be as easy and wouldn’t you know? I let the jacks down and got a “slant” message so we had to adjust them manually. No problem and quickly done but we were on flat land!

We had decided that each time we stopped we would start the Jeep and turn off the brake assist so Jerry went out to do that. He came back and said the car was acting “wonky” with all sorts of messages. The battery was not dead because we could unlock the doors so what now? We detached the car, turned off the braking assist, and took the car for a brief ride into Sayre. It is a very small town with a population of just over 4,000 and they definitely roll up the sidewalks on Saturday evenings. We saw a beautiful courthouse and three large churches but no restaurants to speak of. In fact other than two or three cars we saw no one, not one person. It’s amazing that a town of this size could have such a nice park with a golf course, a pool, a putt-putt golf course, a campground plus other features. Were we missing something?

We returned to the park and ate our nice beef roast with potatoes and onions that we had prepared earlier. Unfortunately for Jerry, I had forgotten to put the carrots in. He set up the Dish and watched some football and I read a bit. Not a bad day for 472 miles.

Colorado, Home Away From Home

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Had we known about the drive from Pagosa Springs to Alamosa we would surely have panicked. Oh wow! Since we only had 97 miles to go today we didn’t rush, taking our time leaving. We pulled out of the campground at 10:15, stopped at a nearby station for gas, and finally hit the road at 10:45. It was a very slow gas pump!

Jerry took off in front of me and of course, I caught every red light in town. I eventually caught up with him and thought boy, this is going to be an easy drive, good highway, and wide lanes. Well, I was wrong. Only after we arrived at Alamosa KOA did we find out that we had gone over Wolf Creek Pass which is world renown for the highest pass in the United States. I googled it and found that it was made famous by a country music artist who wrote a song about it calling it “37 miles o’ hell – which is up on the Great Divide”. I surely couldn’t use those words to describe it but it was indeed tortuous. At one point Jerry was going 24! Yes, 24 miles an hour! Going up the mountain was nerve-wracking but going down was terrifying. I hated to keep using my brakes but didn’t have much choice. We went through one tunnel and one snow shed and thankfully there was no snow around. That would have just been icing on a very scary cake, no pun intended!

We finally got over and down the pass and from then on it was smooth driving. Check-in at the KOA was different this time as we waited until someone approached the car to check us in. Then a gentleman led Jerry to our site. Jerry told him about our drive and then asked about our trip tomorrow. He told Jerry that traveling east we had one more pass but it was no big deal. No big deal to someone in Colorado may be quite different than no big deal in North Carolina. Guess we’ll see tomorrow morning. We decided we would again try to tow the car as we knew we could always stop and unhitch if things got too dicey.

We had a quick lunch and then headed to Great Sand Dunes National Park. The sand dunes are absolutely amazing especially realizing that they are in Colorado. As we stopped and gazed at the sand dunes a lady asked us if we realized what the black dots on the distant dunes were. No, we didn’t. They were people! It actually did look like ants crawling around. The Great Sand Dunes developed when the erosion occurred in the nearby San Juan Mountains. The nearby streams and surface winds brought the sands to the Music, Medano, and Mosca Passes creating a pocket for deposited sand and thus, the dunes were formed. The main dune is no longer getting new sand so it’s not growing anymore however other dunes are continuing to grow.

After a long wait in line to enter the Visitor’s Center I was a bit disappointed to see that several of the exhibits were closed due to Covid and others were just written information that we could have gotten on the Internet. The merchandise area was small and there was little room to avoid others so we made a quick exit. Since we were not interested in climbing the dunes we headed to Zapota Falls.

Someone had told us earlier to be sure to visit there and we had noticed the entrance on the way to the dunes. We turned in and oh my, what a mess of huge rocks and a very rough terrain. The falls were a couple of miles further and Jerry quickly said he did not want to drive the car over such horrible conditions. We had already seen several falls so back to the campground we headed.

As we have traveled through Colorado I have noticed numerous pastures with grazing horses and there was one right across the road from the Zapota Falls entrance. What a view. How I would have loved to go on a trail ride sometime while visiting the state.

It was a nice evening so we took a long walk around the park. There was another coach from North Carolina but we never saw anyone there. A few people were sitting outside and called out as we passed by but no one was visiting, everyone social distancing. It quickly cooled off so we headed inside. Dinner and early to bed was our plan as we knew we had some long days ahead.