Home Away From Home

What Were We Thinking – or Were We?

Just let me say – It was a morning!>

Knowing how much Emma loves eastern NC barbeque we always try to get her some for her birthday but I realized last night that we had not gotten it yet.  Jerry checked the website this morning to see what time Kings opened and it said 9:00 so off he went while I was showering and getting dressed.  Apparently the website is incorrect because when he got there no one was there and it was dark so no barbeque for Emma this time.

Sometimes it’s just not fun to be right!  Jerry built Emma a very pretty and not so small bookcase for her birthday so we’re taking it to Clemmons this week-end.  It won’t fit into the Avalon so Jerry said we would just tow the Forerunner.  I told him that I had read that it wouldn’t tow but he assured me that it was just like the Avalon and would tow with no problem.  Right!  We got everything loaded and then put the Forerunner on the dolly.  I was a bit nervous about driving it up on the dolly since it is much bigger and heavier than the Avalon but it went up with no problem.  Jerry hooked it up and then went in to get his shower so we could leave.

Everything was  ready and we were in the RV and pulling out at 10:12.  Wait, what was that squealing sound?  Jerry asked if I had put on the emergency brake on the forerunner.  Well, duh – of course not.  He got out and looked around and then told me to drive up a bit.  He immediately told me to stop as the back wheels on the Forerunner were not turning.  Guess what – the Forerunner won’t tow.  Like Jerry, I don’t understand why as it’s supposed to be front wheeled drive but it really doesn’t matter to me why – I just know it won’t tow.

Back to the drawing board.  It looked like we were going to have to put the bookcase in the coach as it wouldn’t fit in the car.  We put the living room slide out and pretty easily got the bookcase in.  Then we had to take the Forerunner off of the dolly and then put the Avalon on.  We often learn lessons each time and this time we learned that a Forerunner will not tow!  Hopefully that is the only lesson we learn on this trip.

We finally pulled out of the driveway at 10:40, a little later than I had hoped but on the way.  We were trying a new route.  Because the beltline in Raleigh is under construction and the highway is absolutely awful we decided to try going 264.  The last time we were on the beltline in the RV I was afraid that every screw and bolt was going to come loose not to mention that every dish would be broken.  This should be a lot easier.

Also just after passing Stantonsburg we realized that we got nothing out of the fridge.  There wasn’t much but we’ll have to make a trip to the grocery store sooner than we expected.  Like I said, it was a morning!

We got to Tanglewood RV Park a little after 3:00 and got set up in site 14.  I had asked for a site closer to the router so our Internet would be better but the lady taking the reservations didn’t know where the routers were located.  Apparently they are not near site 14!  (I did talk briefly to someone who told me the sites nearer the bathhouse had stronger signals.  Next time we’ll be more specific.)

Fortunately the rest of the trip and the week-end was uneventful.  We had a delightful time at Emma’s party which was at Cash Lovell Stables and then Jane, David, Emma, Eli and Jane’s parents came over Saturday night for hamburgers on the grill.

Sunday we were able to go to Emma’s riding lesson.  She’s doing so well and I am really proud of her.  Hope she keeps it up!

Monday morning we were up and out before 9:00 as we had a 3:00 appointment in Kinston to get the oil changed in the coach in preparation for our Finger Lakes trip next month.

Happy RVing!

Home Away From Home

Jamestown Settlement

Despite having difficulty going to sleep last night and Jerry’s good intentions to let me sleep a bit later than we had planned I still got up about 6:40.  I quickly drank my cup of coffee as did Jerry and then we started pulling thing together for our trip home via Jamestown Settlement.  We got there about 9:25 which for us was pretty good!  We parked in the bus parking lot taking up two spaces.  I closed all of the shades both to hopefully keep the heat down and keep out enquiring minds.

Upon arriving we saw an exhibit on the canoes built from the cypress tree.   We had seen something similar to this when we were in Cherokee last year.  The exhibit is on loan from the Maritime Museum so we were fortunate to have seen it.

Next we had a 45 minute tour through the Exhibition Gallery.  The guide was very informative as have all of the guides been but I think both Jerry and I would have rather done the tour on our own.  There were artifacts, dioramas and films (which we didn’t see) chronicling the nation’s 17th century beginnings in the context of the Powhatan Indian, the English and the African cultures.  We probably could have spent more time in there but we were hoping to make the 11:00 tour of the outside.

Our first stop was the Powhatan Indian Village.   The houses or yehakins though recreated are very similar to what the Powhatan lived in during the early years.  Each house had a fire in the middle which burned 24 hours a day.  Its main use was to cure the meats and tan the hides.  Since most of the living was done outside, the house was used mainly just for sleeping.  Also interesting, the men were the hunters and the warriors so nearly all of the work in and out of the home was done by the women.  That included gardening, cooking, housework, raising children, raising crops – well, you get the picture!

Our next tour and my favorite was the James Fort.  The guide was quite informative and after showing us some of the buildings he took us into the church where he gave a very thorough explanation.  It was cooler and he was easier to hear – perhaps that’s why it was my favorite.

As we were walking toward the third display a guy commented on Jerry’s shirt “Charleston” and said they were headed there.  They too are RVers and have been on the road since April.  We only chatted for a few minutes but I would love to have picked their brain for some tips.  They have either had 5 RVs and been RVing 9 years or had 9 RVs and been RVing 5 years. They have had diesels in the past but now have a gas and said they much preferred the gas.

Our final stop was the replica of 1607 ships.  Again, a very informative guide, someone actually from England who talked about the trip the English made to the Spanish controlled country of America.  There were three ships but it was late and we were hungry so we made a quick tour of only one.

As we were leaving we were asked to complete a questionnaire about a future exhibit on trade.  Strangely enough Jerry and I had just discussed how nice it would have been to have audio tours.  Although the guides are most informative the audio tours let you do it at your own pace and select the things of interest of you.  Somehow I doubt that the museum will ever change to that.

As we left we stopped in the gift shop and got a Jamestown magnet to put on the fridge and then we ate lunch in their café.  When we got to the RV I expected it to be extremely hot.  It was warm but not as hot as I had feared.  There was another RV in the parking lot and we could tell he had his generator on.  That probably was a good idea and hopefully one we’ll remember in the future.

Upon leaving we set the GPS on the rig and it was sending us to the ferry so I set the Garmin to go to the campground knowing it would get us to 64W which would lead to 295 and 95, no ferries and no tunnels.

Finding gas on 195 and 95 is not easy but we finally saw a sign for a Pilot and a Loves just before the NC line.  I guess Jerry read the sign incorrectly because he turned right to go to the Pilot station.  A couple of miles later and on a narrow almost one lane road we decided we had gone in the wrong direction.  We found a place where we could make a wide left turn.  You can back up a coach with a toad but it isn’t easy, just inches at a time.  I was just before hopping out to make sure we didn’t run in a ditch when I saw some lightning so I decided to stay in the rig.  We headed on to the Pilot where the gas was $2.25 and got $150.  Jerry wanted to fill it up but the gas was running very slowly and he is anxious to get home so he can get to the river.

We have run into intermittent heavy rain and thunder and lightning and although I suggested pulling over, at this point we headed on at about 50 miles an hour.  Just passed a car in the ditch.  Kind of scary so I’m just looking down!

Finally bypassing Wilson and the rain has slacked up some and the skies look clearer ahead.

Home around 6:00, took an hour longer to come home!

Home Away From Home


Since the kids weren’t coming in until later tonight we decided to use today for touring Yorktown.  Yorktown per se is one strip down the center of town with the historic on one end and the beach and beachy things on one end. Quite a contrast.

We easily found parking and first visited the Waterman’s Museum, where the mission of Chesapeake Bay Watermen, from pre-colonial to modern times is demonstrated.  Waterman is a term used only in this part of Virginia and one other place and refers to people who make their living on the water, i.e. shrimpers, crabbers, etc. I, of course, immediately though it could apply to the many folks at Pamlico Beach that do the same thing.  It also refers to those who operate tugs, ferries, and barges, in essence anyone who makes their living on the water in any way.  We got an introduction from the docent and then the rest of the tour was self-guided with displays with written explanations- a lot of reading but it was interesting.  We were fortunate to be able to observe a guy making miniature ships.  That surely is a meticulous endeavor, one I don’t think I’d be interested in although the finish product is quite nice.

The floor and the walls are made of Burled Long-Leaf Pine which grows along the Atlantic Coastal Plain from Virginia to Texas and they were one of the most impressive things there!  Of course Jerry noticed them and was amazed by the intricacies. The wood on the floor of the museum is most likely from trees over 400 years old and was probably harvested by the early 1930s.

We wandered around outside for a bit walking over to the Yorktown Windmill next door.


The doors on either side were locked so we just walked around. Again, Jerry was amazed at the railings.  It is amazing to notice the different things we point out as we tour.  He really makes me see things in a different light.

When we entered we decided to go on and buy the pass to the National Parks.  It’s only $10 and good for nearly all of the national parks.  Our first stop was a 15-minute orientation film, entitled “The Siege at Yorktown”.  It’s always humbling to watch things like this as we remember the many lives that were either ended or dramatically changed yet we take so much for granted.

We then took a 55 minute “tour” behind the center led by a very well informed and entertaining park ranger.  Again, a humbling experience to realize that we were standing on the very ground where battles occurred.  We looked out over the fields and one could almost imagine the soldiers marching along.  Of course one of the leading forces was Lafayette and the amazing thing to me was that he entered the war at only 19 years old and was only 22 by the time of the Battle at Yorktown.  I realize that 22 year old men were much different then but still…  There is also a car tour of the Battlefield but by the time we got back to the River Walk it was 3:00 and we were hungry.  After looking at a couple of the restaurants we decided to go on back to the RV to eat.  In the meantime though we had to locate a gas station.  I looked up stations on my gas buddy app and there was a Hess only 2 miles away so off we went.  22 miles later we found it!  Gas and a little snack and we were on our way back to the rig where we spent a quiet evening getting rested for a day at Bush Gardens!

Sunday, we returned to Yorktown and decided to visit Yorktown Victory Center.  We bought tickets for both Yorktown and Jamestown thinking we would have time to do both.  The museum itself was very interesting as the American Revolution is chronicled through exhibits, film and a timeline.  Outside is a re-created Continental Army encampment.  While there we got to see a demonstration of the musket firing as they showed how to properly load and fire a Brown Bess musket.  It takes about 15 seconds to reload one and of course that is valuable time so the troops fire at different intervals so someone is always firing while others are reloading.  The gun only weighs about 10 pounds but when I held it it felt much heavier.  We also saw them load a cannon and then fire it.  We were cautioned to cover our ears and that was good advice!  We also heard a “doctor” speak about the various treatments the soldiers received.  Interestingly enough doctors did not have to go to school to become a doctor.  They apprentice a doctor and then when the doctor felt the apprentice was knowledgeable enough and capable he was pronounced a doctor!  Kind of scary.  We wandered through the smoke house where someone was cooking a pot roast in a Dutch oven over an open fire.  He had earlier prepared cornbread in a smaller Dutch oven.IMG_3518

After wandering around for a while we went back to the car and drove back into Yorktown to drive through the Yorktown Battlefield where we could see the siege lines and the encampments.  Along the way we saw a doe and two fawn.  From our reaction, one would think we had never seen deer before.  By their reaction you’d think they saw people quite frequently.  We drove by twice and were able to roll down the window and get a couple of pictures.  Obviously there is little hunting going on there as they are not afraid at all.  We drove by the Moore House, the site of the negotiations that led to the British surrender but we didn’t go in.

Our next stop through the winding roads of Virginia and the Colonial Parkway was the Jamestown Settlement.  When we got to the admission desk the lady told us that the museum closed at 5:00 and it was already after 4:00.  She indicated that the tickets were good for a year and perhaps we’d like to come back later.  Not knowing if we’d ever come back to Williamsburg we debated about going on in but decided not to.  As we were driving back to the campground I suggested getting up early on Monday, breaking camp and then driving the coach to Jamestown.  Jerry is anxious to get home so he can get to the river to finish Emma’s bookcase for her birthday but he agreed that it would be wiser to visit tomorrow.  Who knows when we’ll be back?  We went on back to the campground after making a stop at the grocery store for steaks and potatoes.

When we got back I immediately started watching the Saturday night show of the World’s Championship.  Jerry put the potatoes on and discovered that it doesn’t take as long to cook them in a convection oven!  We nuked a couple of potatoes, had a delicious dinner and then went for a short walk.

Home Away From Home

Williamsburg – 2015

Oh my – thought our next trip would be in September to the Finger Lakes.  Nope, we’re headed to Williamsburg .  When the kids call and want to include you in a trip to Bush Gardens with the grands all other things become unimportant!  We have stayed at American Heritage Campground in Williamsburg before and although it’s a bit pricey I again made our plans to stay there. It’s a nice campground and close to everything. Our younger grandson Britt has a birthday on Thursday morning and as soon as that is over we’ll get on the road headed to Virginia.  Hopefully we can tour Yorktown Friday before the kids arrive and then it’s Bush Gardens on Saturday.  Not sure if Sunday will be more touring or recuperation!

We had planned to put the car on the dolly before we left to go to Britt’s birthday party but it had rained the day before so the ground was too wet to attempt that.  After a memorable party – it was a construction theme which was very appropriate as Britt loves anything to do with construction and best of all – the cake needed construction.  It appeared that the bakery thought the party was a day later so they were just baking the cake when Holly went to pick it up.  The layers were hot when they started icing it so naturally they begin to slide and by the end of the party it wasn’t just lopsided anymore!  Just made a memory!  Anyway, we headed on home and began the last minute details before leaving.  We pulled out a little after 1:00 and four hours later pulled into American Heritage, a pretty uneventful ride.  Interestingly enough, gas is now cheaper in North Carolina than Virginia.

After setting up we had a quick dinner.  I had fixed country style steak the day before and we had some leftover butter beans so all I had to do was prepare the rice.  I always try to have a very simple meal on our night of arrival because you never know what may cause delays.  Fortunately today went well but it was still nice to have a nice meal with little preparation.  I think I may prepare country style steak again and freeze it for future trips.  It’ll be a nice change from the usual spaghetti we usually have upon arrival.