Home Away From Home

Max Meadows, Virginia

We got up a little after 7:00 despite our intentions to get on the road early. It was COLD! 36 degrees. I had put two blankets on the bed last night so we slept warm and toasty though. Got up, had my spark and gratefully had my cup of hot coffee! We had the fireplace on and the little heater. Lesson learned – bring both heaters when traveling this time of year. I was not excited about taking a shower and really not excited about stepping out of the shower. I had put the little heater back in the bathroom though so it wasn’t too bad. We got everything ready and were on the road at 8:57. 169 miles to Max Meadows, Va.

Somehow I didn’t know that we would be going through Charleston, WVa (rather around). It is very mountainous but Jerry is doing a great job driving. Don’t think our gas mileage is going to be very good though. Saw a beautiful domed building in Charleston and I am assuming that it was the capitol. In the midst of that beautiful building though were what looked like row houses reminding me of the scene in Harlan County, Kentucky. Of course West Virginia is coal mining country. We just went through our first toll booth. Didn’t know if we were a car or a truck and still don’t but it cost $3.25 whatever we are. The lanes are very narrow and I just close my eyes as Jerry very competently drives through.

Continued on our trip going through two more toll booths finally selecting the one on the right for wide vehicles. Much easier. Jerry asked if we were paying for two vehicles and she replied that there was a charge for an RV and a charge for an RV with a tow – $3.25.

The ride has been absolutely beautiful fall in all of its splendor although both Jerry and I agreed that the colors don’t seem to be as vibrant, the oranges and reds just not quite there yet. It is still lovely though. I haven’t been to the mountains in the fall in many years so it has been a real treat.

We arrived at Fort Chiswell RV Park at 12:24, set up including taking the car off of the dolly in 17 minutes! Pretty good! I had asked about a grocery store and was told there was one about a half mile from the park so we rode down to Food Country to get some things. After we got back to the RV we had lunch, sandwiches made from the roast we cooked Sunday night. We also had some baked potato chips, not the best in the world but not the worst. I guess for health’s sake we’ll eat them.

Sandy and Landy pulled in about 1:30 and began to set up. They came over and wanted to ride into Wytheville. It is a quaint small town. We saw the giant pencil outside the hardware store and several old houses. Went by Food Lion and picked up the rest of our groceries and then back to the campground. Jerry and I went for a walk and covered most of the campground. There are sheep and llamas on one side, cows on the other and horses on one end. It’s really a lovely place and it would be nice to stay there a couple of days. As we were walking though we were astounded at the number of rigs – big rigs – coming in. I’m sure we saw at least 40 come in. I asked in the office if something special was going on and they said October was their busiest month as snowbirders were either coming from the south or going to the south. You could tell that these folks were serious RVers. One lady had a table and table lamp set up in her front window!

We decided to go for a walk and walked about 27 minutes until Jerry mentioned that he was lightheaded. We went right back to the RV and he checked his sugar and it was in the 50’s. I got him a piece of chocolate and he began to feel better. He took his blood pressure and although the pressure is OK the machine says his heart rate is elevated, in the 90’s this afternoon but about 104 this morning. I took it this morning and by my count it was only in the 70’s. A little concerned and will be glad to get home and check with Lee.

Jerry took a nap and I played on the computer and talked to Mary Ann. George called and said it had frosted in LaGrange last night. Glad Mom’s heat is on and will be so glad when we sign the papers selling her house! I’ll send him a check tomorrow.

I started fixing dinner and then woke Jerry up. We had spaghetti. It’s not Prego but I’m getting used to it. We had so much left that we split it into two cartons so have dinner two more nights – later! We finally decided to get up early in the morning and try to be on the road by 8:00 so hopefully we can get a place to park at the fairgrounds

On to bed and asleep a little after 11. Jerry turned off the fireplace but left the little heater on with the thermostat on. We slept fine, not too hot, not too cold. Of course I don’t think it got as cold last night.

Home Away From Home

Off to Milton, West Virginia

Wow, it got cold last night. It was supposed to get down to 43 degrees last night so I put two blankets on the bed. It was warm and toasty but unfortunately I couldn’t go to sleep after my phone conversation with Helen Jo. She sent me a text a little after 9:00 asking me to call so I did and we discussed Mom’s situation. Apparently Helen Jo has had a tough week with Mom and sees Mom rapidly declining cognitively. Now the question remains – what to do. Do we give up her apartment or not? I wrestled with it until about 3:00 this morning and as usual came up with no solution. I’m worried about Mom but am also worried about Helen Jo. She admittedly cries at the drop of a hat. I don’t see Jerry and me taking any more trips in the near future as being away from Mom and Helen Jo is just too hard on them. Being pulled in several different directions is so difficult! Helen Jo texted this morning and said that she decided to go over and have lunch with Mom and found her much better, blossoming when she sees her friends.

After packing up and breaking camp we left at 10:00. I had walked down to Sandy and Landy’s to tell them we were leaving and they said they’d be about an hour behind us. I programmed the wonderful Rand McNally GPS with the address of the campground and then I did a search and found the campground listed and did a route to that. Believe it or not they were different! Another problem with this GPS and I don’t think updating will solve that problem.

Although it was cloudy and dreary when we left it soon cleared up and has been a pretty, sunny day for a change. We stopped around 12 at a Rest Stop for bathroom breaks and a quick lunch of salsa, chips and apples – yea! Were only there 13 minutes and I took off driving. Drove just a bit and Jerry saw a sign for gas at $2.85 at a Pilot so we stopped there and filled up the RV and the car. Tracked the mileage and we got 7.13 this time. While we were there Jerry tried to start the car and the battery was dead yet again. Think we will be getting either a battery charger or a battery disconnect soon. Although I said I’d keep on driving he said he was grumpy and would be better off driving. Just entered West Virginia at 2:10, only 26 miles from the campground in Milton.

We checked into Huntington-Foxfire KOA in Milton a little before 3:00. They gave a pull through and we can keep the tow dolly hooked up with the car. Will make leaving in the morning so much easier and faster. They have wonderful Wi-Fi so I’ve been updating the GPS after installing the Dock on the computer. Also getting all iPad and iPhone updates done! After we set up we went for a brief walk around the campground as Jerry wanted to see how we’d be leaving tomorrow. When we entered the park there was a sign denoting sharp right turn. Boy, were they right but we came in with no problem. Set up and had a roast in the crock pot in 25 minutes! Not bad.

Spent the rest of the day updating, reading and just resting recuperating from 10 days of traveling! Sandy and Landy got here around 4:00 and discovered that the power cord on the trailer had snapped so Jerry has been over with Landy supervising I guess. They have no brakes on the trailer and no brake lights. Not good in the mountains. Don’t know what they will decide to do tomorrow but so far Landy has been unable to repair it for travel.

Before we left Kinston we bought a roast, an eye of the round I think, and cut it in half planning to cook half of it in the crock pot. We had planned to do that Saturday night when we got home from the ballgame but realized that it didn’t need to cook all night and we weren’t going to stay up late enough to cook it so we decided to fix it Sunday when we got to Milton. The roast was cooking as Jerry was helping Landy (BTW, he did get it repaired) and I was updating gadgets. About 6:00 I decided to check it and wow – it was done! Instead of the spaghetti we were planning to have we had roast, creamed (chopped) potatoes, left over veggies (cabbage, peas, mushrooms, onion and peppers). It was one of the best meals we’ve had on this trip. Because of the rain we haven’t been able to grill so that has changed some of our menus.

On to bed with a couple of blankets and a good nights sleep!

Home Away From Home

NC State vs Louisville

Although we had talked about tailgating at the game today Jerry and I decided due to our late arrival home last night we’d just have lunch at the RV and leave about 12 to go to the game. I sent Sandy a text this morning letting her know what time we’d pick them up. I think we both slept well last night since we were exhausted from the previous day. I was a little tired this morning though. We decided that we had to do some laundry so I gathered all of the clothes and towels and Jerry went to the laundry facilities. I stayed behind and straightened up and cleaned fingerprints! When I told Jerry I had cleaned the fingerprints off of the mirrors he wanted to know why I hadn’t taken a picture of them like I had with Eva’s. When he got back we began to get dressed and have a quick lunch. Sandy and Landy knocked on the door about 11:35. She hadn’t gotten my text and they’d been out walking. They hustled and got ready and we took off for downtown Louisville. We had to go by and pick up our ornaments that we made on Thursday. We then headed on to the parking lot designated for the State fans. Interestingly enough the University is not far from Churchill Downs and it’s all downtown in the middle of the city.

We got to the parking lot around 1:00 and after parking Jerry immediately took off walking around. When he got back he said he had been talking to Bo Hines’ dad. The folks next to us had a son playing, #89 a tight end – like I know what that means! After visiting with some of the State fans we took the chairs out and snacked on chips and salsa. Sandy and I decided that we needed a cup of coffee so after asking if there was a Starbucks nearby and feeling really foolish when they guy pointed to it behind us we walked over there. Chatted with a young girl who had on a Saddlebred sweatshirt and was preparing for Nationals. Got the coffee and walked on back. As we were getting ready to walk over to the stadium Jerry noticed the couple walking with us had Advocare jackets on so we started chatting with them. The lady and I discussed what we were eating and she suggested chicken and said they also ate a lot of bison – don’t think we have much of that in NC!

Thank goodness I had my cuddleduds on although I could have worn the fleeced lined pair. It was cold! 57 degrees but windy with no sun. Our seats were toward the end zone but we could see the field clearly. We lost – again – but at least we weren’t embarrassed. We left with less than 2 minutes to go and apparently the State team did also because as we were walking out Louisville scored again. Oh well.

Our GPS apparently doesn’t know where Shepherdsville is as it again took us on some strange way way out of the way. Jerry got frustrated after about 45 minutes of driving and ending right back up near the Papa John’s stadium. We finally saw a sign indicating Hwy. 65 and decided to go that way and ignore the GPS and the phone GPS. Our campground is off of 65. Finally we got back after 8:00. We were having warmed up meat loaf and I had cooked cabbage this morning so all I had to do was peel and cook the potatoes. As I was cooking them I realized that I had neither a mixer or a masher but did have a chopper. Jerry got the chopper and chopped the potatoes into mashed potatoes and they were just as good. Just as we were finishing with the dishes I got a text from Helen Jo asking me to call when I had time. We talked over an hour about Mom and what decisions need to be made. Still no answers but I feel bad about figuratively abandoning Helen Jo to deal with everything. Guess this is our last trip for a while.

Went on to bed but it was almost 10:30 and I knew I would have trouble going to sleep – yep -it was 3:00 in the morning. Didn’t know the Closer came on that many times. I had to leave the TV on. Otherwise my mind was working overtime worrying about Mom and Helen Jo and trying with no success to come up with a solution. Just praying for answers!

Home Away From Home

Churchill Downs and Keeneland

The day started very early as we got up at 5:30 to head to Churchill Downs. Landy called and said that Sandy wasn’t feeling well and they wouldn’t be going so Jerry and I took off arriving about 7:00. Our first tour was of the barn and the backside and we got to ride through the stables and then watch the horses work out. We stood in a little raised box to watch the horses. Got to see D. Wayne Lucas riding around in his western saddle and cowboy hat. The horses on the outside of the track are waiting their turn, the horses in the middle are galloping or breezing and the horses on the inside of the track are out and out racing. It is surely organized chaos, certainly nothing like the saddle horses working out in the ring after the show. They horses work from 6:00 to 8:00 and then the track closes for a while and reopens for another couple of hours.

They have “dorms” for some of the people working there. Interestingly enough stalls are rented at $7.50 a day and some trainers elect to leave their horses there. They only have about 800 horses on site now but the fall season starts at the end of the month so more will be coming in soon.

We returned to the museum and went through that. We watched a panoramic 360 degree movie that was spectacular. My little stool was quite clean by the time the movie was over as I had spun around a number of times. The museum was very interesting. I made a pretend bet – lost of course, took some pics and wandered around for a bit.

churchill-downs-3Then we went to tour the grandstand. The twin spires are so impressive as are the various rooms. We were able to go into Millionaire’s Room where Queen Elizabeth watched the races one year. To say it was nice and plush is quite an understatement! We also went into another room which for $35 you can attend the race, sit at tables, go out on the balcony for the races and eat at the buffet all day – except during the Derby week-end and the Breeder’s Cup.

We had the rest of the day to ourselves so since neither of us had ever been to a horse race back to Lexington we headed for the races at Keeneland. What an exciting afternoon and new experience for us. We found a parking space in a huge lot, so big I wondered if we’d ever find our car once we left it!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe went into the general admission area along with many other people some dressed to the nines and some quite casually. We had heard that it was college day and apparently the college kids were the ones that were so dressed up. Sure would have hated to be walking around in those high, high heels!

Jerry studying the racing form
Jerry studying the racing form
Since we knew nothing about what we were doing we decided we’d spend $20 betting. Jerry placed most of the bets but I finally placed one. How did we make choices? No idea except we had heard that we had heard that Rosie Napravnik had won some the previous day so we bet on her when she rode. I think she announced her retirement the next day! The day seemed to be a lot of hurry and wait. It only takes a few minutes for the race to run and then there’s the set up for the next race and that definitely takes longer! It was so much fun and quite an experience for a horse show girl. On the way back to the car Jerry leaned down and picked up a time off of the ground – the extent of our winnings that day!

The trip back was – um, interesting. The Rand MacNalley GPS does NOT know the way from Lexington, KY to Louisville, Ky. We got so lost and lost cell coverage as well. Stuck in traffic Jerry suddenly looked up and asked if the exit ahead was the one we were supposed to take. Yep, it was but the GPS didn’t know it. We made it back to the campground and then it was so dark we couldn’t find our RV! The campground roads wind and we kept going by Sandy and Landy’s but couldn’t locate ours. I was beginning to think someone had stolen it! What an evening!

Home Away From Home

A Wet Week-end in Raleigh

We left Kinston on Friday headed to Raleigh for the week-end. We were staying at the State Fair Grounds again but this time we were staying up on the hill. That is quite different especially at this time of the year. Many of the State Fair workers are staying there some in trailers that appear to hold 6 to 8 small rooms. I think I’d be a bit claustrophobic to say the least.

Friday night Jerry and I rode over to the South Point Mall in the continuing search for some boots for me. While there it began to rain quite hard so we headed back to the campground.

Saturday dawned nice and pretty. Becky and Billy came over and we cooked out before the game. Jerry had put the baked potatoes in the oven and somehow we must have forgotten how to use the convection oven because I suddenly began to realize that something was burning – yes, the potatoes. We ate potato chips!

Headed on over to the game even though the weather was threatening. As the game progressed the weather continued to deteriorate and then suddenly they announced that they were evacuating the stadium. We though since we were under the ledge and out of the rain we’d stay. No, they sent us on our way so we assumed we’d be staying out on the concourse. No, they were sending everyone out to their cars. Becky tried to go in a bathroom and they wouldn’t even allow that! We got to the car as quickly as possible and then headed to the rig. Jerry and Billy listened to the rest of the game on the radio!

Fortunately Sunday morning was nice so it didn’t take us long to get on the way with the ultimate goal of Kentucky. We had a nice drive from Raleigh to Blountville, Tennessee just outside of Kingsport. The campground, Rocky Top Campground & RV Park is nice with some permanent residents and some transients – like us! It’s not far from the Interstate but the little road in is a little tight, easily navigable though. It is a little “hilly” though and will be a challenge for our morning walk. After we checked in a gentleman with a golf cart led us to our site and stayed there until we were set up. Sandy and Landy are right next door to us so after we all got set up we sat outside and chatted for a while.

Came in and had dinner and then turned in for the night.