Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Cataloochee Ranch

On Thursday the weather forecast for Saturday morning was a little iffy but Peggy scheduled the ride anyway and it turned out to be a perfect day. We had to be a Cataloochee Ranch by 9:15 for a ride beginning at 9:30. When we got there we realized there was 10-12 riders and Peggy remarked that she had never been on a ride with that many. We soon realized though that they were splitting up the groups so we ended up with only 5 in our group. Peggy had been before and knew the horse she wanted to ride and she got him. I ended up on Clyde a Tennessee Walking horse mix.

Peggy and her trusty steed
Peggy and her trusty steed

Me and my trusty steed, Clyde
Me and my trusty steed, Clyde
Our lead guide was new having only been at Cataloochee one week so we also had another guide who brought up the rear. Our ride took us by Salamander Creek and is described on the website as “A leisurely ride down Wagon Trail to waterfall at Salamander Creek, then up through shaded forest to open vistas of the Big Bowl and past the chestnut orchard”. That is a perfect description as we wound up, down and around to the valley. At one point we stopped, got off and let the horses rest and drink water. On two other occasions we stopped at watering troughs for the horse to drink of the fresh cool stream water. Towards the end of the two and half hour ride we “trotted” a bit. Clyde started off doing a pacey running walk and then began to do a weird trot. I thought I would be posting on any trotting but in that western saddle and that weird trot posting was not an option. I was afraid I’d be sore since I haven’t ridden in a while and 2 ½ hours in a saddle is a long time but I was fine except for my right ankle. Although it’s been several years since I broke it and tore the tendons it still gives me trouble occasionally. When it began to hurt I just dropped my stirrup and let me foot hang and that eased it. Two times we went through a natural arbor full of rhododendron and as beautiful as it was I can just imagine it when the flowers are in full bloom. It was a great morning, perfect weather, good horse and good company. I highly recommend Cataloochee Ranch for rides. I have taken too other trail rides in the past and this was by far the best. It lasted longer, let us to something besides walk plus we saw beautiful scenes.

When I got back to the RV Jerry had washed the car and vacuumed the coach plus gone to Walmart to get some necessities including the hair dryer we forgot to get Thursday.

After I ate lunch I asked Jerry what he wanted to do for the afternoon and he pleased me with his response – “Nothing”. I think 2 days of hiking and a half day in the saddle had worn me out. In fact I think we both needed a little rest. I sat outside for about 15 minutes then headed inside to the bed for a nice nap.

Peggy and Tony had invited us out for dinner at an Italian restaurant named Frankies so a little after 5:00 we headed there. Three of their friends joined us and we had a delightful dinner. Afterward Peggy and Tony and Jerry and I joined by Charlie, one of the friends at dinner headed over to the Dairy Queen for ice cream. Although I generally do not eat sugar or have caffeine after 4:00 because it will keep me awake I decided to chance it tonight and had a cone of chocolate ice cream. We had a delightful visit and Charlie, a retired Navy guy and retired US Marshall entertained us with some interesting tales. Peggy and I also chatted and got to know each other better. I do hope we get back to this campground one day and get so see them. Tony and Jerry found that they had a lot in common.

When we got back to the campground it was nearly 10:00 so I got ready for bed. Caffeine and sugar didn’t seem to bother me a bit tonight as I slept like a baby!

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Clingman’s Dome and Cataloochee Valley

The view from Clingman's Dome
The view from Clingman’s Dome
Although we got a very late start today we got a lot accomplished. We sort of had directions to Clingman’s Dome and to Cataloochee Valley but quickly decided we really didn’t know where to go so we stopped at the Visitor’s Center in Maggie Valley. We eventually got directions and although we had originally planned to go first to Cataloochee Valley we were advised to go to Clingman’s Dome first as the elk would be coming into Cataloochee Valley late in the afternoon so we headed toward Tennessee.

Our first stop was the Great Smoky Mountains Visitor’s Center where we got maps that took us straight to Clingman’s Dome. It’s right off of the Blue Ridge Parkway and then seven miles up on a pretty curvy road. I had incorrectly thought that since it was a week day and still early in the season that there would not be many people there but I was wrong. It wasn’t overly crowded but there were a lot of people there.

IMG_3992We had been told at the Great Smoky Mountains Visitor’s Center that the hike up to the dome was much more difficult that the hike up to Waterrock Knob but we disagreed. The path was paved and though steep it wasn’t a difficult climb. There were benches strategically placed so we could rest along the way and we did. A sign indicated that due to the high altitude we could have trouble breathing and though we were a bit breathless at times it was nothing like we were yesterday when we climbed Waterrock Knob. I have noticed through the week that there are a lot of dead fir trees and today found out that since the 1960’s a tiny insect was accidentally introduced from Europe. The balsam woolly Adelaide has killed over 70% of the park’s mature firs. The feed on tree sap and interfere with the flow of water and nutrients. They can kill a fir within a few years.

We saw several people who were hiking the Appalachian Trail. More power to them. I wish I could have done it. No, I don’t. I’m an RVer, not a camper. One of the guys told me that they eat, hike and sleep. That’s a little too rough for me but I do admire the ones that do it.

The view from the top of the dome is beautiful. It was very clear today so we could see Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Had we been able to pick out the various mountains we could have easily named them. We were only 11 miles from one of our favorite places, Cade’s Cove. Of course that is probably as the crow flies!

After our descent we sat by the car and ate our picnic lunch. Then we headed on back. On the way we stopped by a lovely stream with a pretty bridge indicating hiking trails. Not for us today though.

Our next stop was Mingus Mill. Rather than being driven by water it is driven by a small steel turbine. It has a 200 foot long wooden flume that bring the water to the mill’s turbine. You could see that the side of the stream had been recently bolstered. The mill was one of the first buildings restored as a historic structure in the Great Smoky Mountains Park in 1937 and is still maintained today by the park.

After leaving the mill we again stopped by the Visitor’s Center so I could buy a magnet! I had seen the magnet earlier but not knowing anything about the mill I elected not to get it then. I did see one with an Elk on it but I haven’t seen an elk yet so didn’t get it. I heard a ranger explain that the nice Visitor’s Center was built and still supported by donor contributions.

We stopped for gas and a snack and then headed to Cataloochee Valley. There are several old houses, an old school, an old barn and old church in the valley. We went into the barn.IMG_1810 It is amazing to see how well built things of that age were. There were only a few stalls but they certainly didn’t expect anything to kick out the walls as the boards were extremely thick.
We walked across the road to the Caldwell Place. It’s old and completely devoid of furniture but still with a lot of character. The house was built in 1903 and took five years to build. Although the architecture is quite simple the finishing details were astonishing. There was a beautiful arch in between two of the rooms plus each window had lovely finishing. Although the house is lovely it is marred by the names of foolish people who for some inane reason have elected to put their name and/or status on the walls. I will never understand the desire to do that. Guess they either don’t know or don’t care that it’s also a federal offense but then I suppose there is little chance of being caught. Sad.

We drove on down the road until we got to the end and along with others found a parking place to watch for the elk. We only waited about 15 minutes before I heard Jerry say “Elk, elk, elk”.

Our lone elk
Our lone elk
One lone elk came casually walking across the lea. He looked like he was waiting for someone but apparently they were not coming because he remained alone. We could not tell if it was a male or female as it was far away and we certainly would not be approaching it. Jerry later said that it must have been a female because it was small.
We waited a bit longer but didn’t see anymore and since it was nearly 7:00 and the park closes at sundown we headed out. It’s only a 10 mile ride out but certainly not a 10 minute ride. The speed limit in places is 5 mph – that should tell you something!

I wish I could vividly describe some of the graveled roads that Jerry and I have been home, some mountainous and some downright scary. Jerry said as we were going up I was looking for elk and he was looking for a T-Rex! As we were leaving we had a young guy whose car looked like it was packed to go home from college ask if he could follow us out of the valley. I think he was just a little intimidated by the drive.

We made it back to the RV and had a quick dinner.

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Soco Falls and Waterrock Knob in One Day!

Wow – we pushed ourselves today! We started our day headed to Soco Falls but unfortunately we missed the little sign – and it is little – and ended up in Cherokee. Jerry wanted to go to the Cherokee Historical Museum so we decided to go on and do that.

That is museum filled with history from the very beginning of the Cherokee tribe. As described on the website “Inspired by the beauty and ingenuity of the Cherokee people, this is a cultural and historical tour without equal, one fused with interactive video, intriguing displays, and a full sensory experience.” When we entered we read a few of the folk tales while waiting for a video. The video told about the beginning of the world and the beginning of fire.

The rest of the museum was filled with exhibits and a timeline of the Cherokee. Despite reading the history one wonders why the white man was so determined to eradicate and/or control the Indians. Andrew Jackson before he was president played a big part in their history and then after becoming president he was very anti-Indian. All in all a sad story but a story of a people overcoming many obstacles.

Since it was lunch time we decided to have our picnic at the picnic area beside the stream that runs through that park. We had a nice lunch and took a couple of pictures.

I made it!
I made it!

Our next stop was Soco Falls and we were determined to find them this time – and we did. It’s a nice little descent and we thought at that time it was a little much – little did we know what was ahead of us. The double falls are very pretty and skipping over the rocks is fun. We were very careful though not to go in forbidden and dangerous territory.

Top of Waterrock Knob
Top of Waterrock Knob

Next we headed for Waterrock Knob. From the parking lot it’s just a short half mile up to the top. Yeah- but it’s a steep, rocky and at times a bit treacherous climb. There is an observation area at the .21 mile and we could have stopped there but we were determined to make it to the top. It was difficult and we had to stop several times. I read later that from Maggie Valley we had gone up 4000 feet in elevation. That’s why we were having a little trouble catching our breath. Well, maybe part of the reason! We made it though and I can say I’ve done it but somehow I don’t think I’ll do it again! It was a spectacular site though and worth the hike. We made it down in 20 minutes, much quicker than we went up!

Our blow dryer seems to be on its last legs so Jerry suggested we go by Walmart and get another one just in case this one doesn’t work one morning. I had a short grocery list so we located a local Walmart and went there and got all of the groceries on my list. Yep – we totally forgot the hair dryer. Sure hope ours works in the morning!

On Thursday nights some of the campground visitors meet at a restaurant for dinner and the hosts asked us to join them so we did. We got to meet some more of the folks and had a delightful time. Peggy and Tony Auth are the camp hosts and Peggy and I have scheduled a trail ride for Saturday morning if the weather holds. That should be a lot of fun. Tomorrow we’re planning to go to Clingman’s Dome – that is on my bucket list so I’m excited about that.

Some of the group went out for ice cream after dinner but Jerry and I were just too tired. I don’t think either of us will have to be rocked to sleep tonight!

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Traveling Day

Wednesday was a travel day for us. Jerry wanted to get an early start even though we only had a little over 100 miles to go so we pulled out of The Little Campground around 10:00. There was a church located just down the road and they had a large parking lot so we decided to go there to put the car on the dolly.

As usual the two GPS’s gave us divergent routes but this time we went with the Garmin. I think we probably added 20-30 miles to the trip but we had good roads, no mountainous curves! Other than a gas stop we drove straight to the campground arriving around 1:00. The camp hosts Peggy and Tony came down after we got settled and we did the registration. They winter in Florida and just got here last week so are still settling in. Jerry and Tony discussed wood working and Peggy gave me several ideas of things in the area that we might enjoy. We might even go on a trail ride!

I met another lady in the park. Betty is a retired school teacher so we had lots to talk about. She has a little patio on the back of her coach and we sat outside and visited for a while. Her husband died 8 years ago so she said she didn’t do much traveling as she leaves her coach at this campground. I promised to give her some information on Girl Campers and Sisters on the Fly.

Around 5:00 Jerry and I decided to go for a ride and get the lay of the land. We were also hoping we’d see some of the elk which everyone says are very plentiful. Maybe, but we didn’t see any.

After a quick dinner of left overs we walked around the campground a bit. It too is on a little stream. The surrounding scenery is stunning. Just looking out of the windows and seeing such beautiful mountains is a real treat.

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Indescribable Beauty in Western North Carolina

Today was an exhilarating but exhausting day! We got on out early this morning as we had several places we wanted to go. We didn’t see everything we had planned on but we saw something we hadn’t planned on and that was the best!

IMG_1692Our first stop was Elk River Falls. Common sense would say it is in Elk Park but we had a bit of trouble finding it. The GPS said it was in Tennessee which actually isn’t far from here. The cell phones had no coverage so we couldn’t look it up that way. We finally saw a sign indicating Elk River Falls so that’s the way we went. It was a narrow two lane road that wound around and around. I probably would have given up but Jerry said the rustic sign pointed in that direction so on we would go. We were finally rewarded with a small graveled parking lot with one other car in it. After we got out we saw some steps leading to a trail through the woods so off we went.

IMG_1689The trail to the top is an easy five minute walk although there are a lot of tree roots to be aware of. Just below the falls is a small sandy area and it looked like it might be used as a sunning and swimming spot but the water was way too cold today for that! Apparently there is good fishing there as well as we saw a gentleman trying his luck.

Next we headed for Linville thinking that was where Linville Falls is. I put in Linville Falls Visitors Center in the GPS and off we went. It took us down another narrow two lane road although this one was in better condition. There was a sign saying no exit but we traipsed on. Sure enough we hit a dead end. Fortunately there was a very informative couple who gave us several suggestions on what to see. By the way, there is a road there that apparently leads to the Visitors Center (which we never went to) but the gentleman said it was closed in the 30’s. Come on GPS – time to catch up!
The couple recommended Wisemans View and told us how to get there. I am surely glad we ran into them because Wiseman View was the absolute highlight of the day.

Following their direction we followed route 221 until we got to 183 and then turned and it led us to Pisgah National Forest where Wiseman View, Linville Gorge and Linville Falls are located. When we hit the graveled road we knew we had four miles left to reach the top. We truly did not know what to expect but the bumpy, graveled road ride was worth it. We were told that the road probably would be ok as the season hadn’t started yet. Well, thank goodness for that! It indeed was a bumpy graveled road with a lot of holes. In fact I remarked to Jerry twice that we needed a jeep. He replied that a dirt bike might be a better choice. There were only two places that were really bad and at one of those the bottom of the car scraped the ground. Go Toyota Avalon! The only scary part was when we approached an ascent and couldn’t see over the top of the car. That only happened once though – well twice, once going and once returning! We stopped at an Information Center but it was locked. It did have restrooms though in a nice building but they had porta potties! Guess that’s necessary in that kind of situation.

IMG_1704We continued on up the road and soon reached the parking lot for Wiseman View. There is a relatively short path (handicap accessible) that leads to the ledges and incredible beauty. From every view there are stands of green trees and nothing else, no homes, no business, no construction – just nature at its finest. The Gorge is known as the “roughest piece of country east of the Rocky Mountains”. It is too rugged to be used for farming and most of the timber is inaccessible. During the 1920’s there was talk of turning it into a private park or using the Linville River for generating power but those ideas fell through so the Gorge remains wild and beautiful still. The Gorge is home to a variety of plants and trees. There are occasional fires there and interestingly enough there is one pine tree that needs a hot fire to open its cones. The ledges are nesting habitats for the rare peregrine falcons and Jerry actually saw one today. We walked around the top for quite some time but were very careful not to get too close to the ledge as it is very treacherous and a long way down! In fact Linville Gorge is the deepest gorge in the eastern United States.

Look at that lovely background
Look at that lovely background

We stopped at Bynum Bluff Trail on the way down and hiked it for a while. We couldn’t see any end in sight so we eventually turned around. We did see lots of pretty vegetation and lovely flowers. In fact we saw azaleas blooming in the wild and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. Imagine that they can grow in the wild and I can’t grow them in my yard! We returned to the car intending to get our lunch and find a nice rock to sit on and picnic. Since we were unable to find a good spot we drove on back to the Information Center and just ate in the car.

Our next stop was Linville Falls. Once there we had a nice hike to the lower falls. It is amazing to realize the power that the falls produce. There are several trails there but by this time we were hot, sweaty and hiked out so we headed back to the campground via the grocery store.

Jerry baked some sausage balls this afternoon and after putting laundry on I took a brief nap – don’t think I would have made it I hadn’t!

Tomorrow we head to Trails End Campground in Waynesville for some more exciting days. I have surely enjoyed our time here and would love to return. In fact I told Jerry I had never wanted a house in the mountains but I’m about to change my mind about that not that it will happen but it might be nice. We have only tapped the very cream of a beautiful part of North Carolina – there is so much more up here to see. We are very blessed to live in a state that has such beauty from one end to the other!

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Grandfather Mountain

Today was such a fun day. To start off it was an absolutely beautiful sun shiny day so that always makes for a nice day. After a pretty delayed start we finally headed out for Grandfather Mountain in Linville, NC. We went several months ago with Jane, David and the kids but the top of the mountain was closed due to high winds but we did get to see the Split Rock and the Sphinx Rock plus of course they let us go as far as the gift shop! Also I had been years ago. In fact when I went they had the original swinging bridge – wow!

Today we got to go all the way to the top. We stopped along the way at one of the overlooks and then stopped at the woodworker’s shop and picnic area. We looked around a bit but decided to go up. We passed Split Rock and Sphinx Rock and climbed the steep incline toward the top. Hair pin curves made the drive even more interesting.

The  top of the mountain
The top of the mountain
When we got to the top we paused a moment just to look out over the beautiful vista – oh, how God has made this earth so pretty for us to enjoy. As Jerry said later if this world is this pretty can you imagine what heaven must be like. We then started the climb toward the bridge and to the very top. There is an elevator that one can ride to the top but we elected to walk. After a series of steps we reached the bridge. This bridge is new having replaced the old bridge in 1999. This is certainly more stable and not nearly as swingy. The maximum number of people allowed on the bridge at one time is 40 but there was nowhere near that this afternoon. In the middle of the bridge you are exactly one mile above sea level and about 80 feet above the ground.

We scrambled around on the rocks making our way to the top. I realized this morning that seven years ago we were standing on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon scrambling all around up there. I surely do hope that in seven more years we’ll be scrambling around some rocks somewhere!

The view just goes on forever. Fortunately it was a clear day so we could see a long way. In fact on some days you can see Charlotte which is 80 miles away. Interestingly enough things are not as green here as they are back home and not as green at Grandfather Mountain as they are at The Little Campground. Of course The Little Campground is in a valley so that would account for some of the difference as the temperature is warmer there.

I looked around and realized that Jerry was making his way back down to the bottom of the stairs and I knew he was going to try to get a picture of me at the top. Climbing down without his help was a bit more challenging but I made it.

We then went in the Gift Shop and looked around. I bought a magnet and then we headed back to the woodworker’s shop and the picnic area. We had a lovely picnic and then went for a nice walk around the area, about a half mile. IMG_3935There were signs along the way pointing out the various trees. One fact that I found very interesting was concerning the lichen on one of the rocks. Half of the rock was covered with lichen and then part of it wasn’t. The part covered with lichen was where no one had touched it. You could clearly see that the other part of the rock was where people had sat and no lichen had grown there.

Tom Wolf's studio
Tom Wolf’s studio
We headed back into the woodworkers shop where renown wood carver Tom Wolf was working. Jerry bought one of his walking sticks and Mr. Wolf carved Jerry’s name in it.

We left there and went back to the Sphinx Rock and the Split Rock. We climbed on the Sphinx Rock a bit but decided it was a bit risky and not worth the consequences should one of us fall.

IMG_1676We wandered on down Grandfather Mountain then and headed for Moses H Cone Memorial Park. It was a little further than I though and the GPS had a little trouble but we finally found it. The manor itself is beautiful and the view from the front porch is spectacular. I could just imagine sitting there in a rocking chair and gazing out over the mountains.

We didn’t stay long as it was getting late so we headed on back to the campground. A couple of stops later, one at a gas station and one at the local Lowes and we were “home”. We both sat outside and read for a while and then prepared dinner. Jerry had bought some green beans Saturday and I was eager to try out our new steamer using what I had “learned” at the FMCA rally. Let’s just say that I should have listened a bit better. I steamed them 6 minutes and then 6-7 more and they still were not done. Maybe tomorrow night!

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

The Little Campground

Generally we do the groundwork to leave the day before but due to the dance competition on Saturday we didn’t make any early preparations but it still didn’t take us long to get everything together this morning. We pulled out a little after 10 for a trip to Elk Park outside of Banner Elk, only a little over 100 miles. Our final destination was The Little Campground.

Upon leaving we immediately had a GPS conflict so we went with the Garmin only to realize that we made a circular route and would have been better with the Clarion. Traveling on to Boone was uneventful and Jerry and I both listened to our audio books. I got a little cross stitching done.

As we left Boone we had another GPS conflict so this time Jerry decided to go with the Clarion. Big mistake. We ended up on Route 194 which led us through Ville Crues and then we were only 10 miles from our destination however the mountainous road we were on was what they write stories about. At one point we saw a big sign diverting trucks, saying they were not allowed. Are we considered a truck? Apparently Jerry didn’t think so and we trudged on.

The picture doesn't do it justice!
The picture doesn’t do it justice!
Of course we had very little choice as there was absolutely nowhere to turn around. We soldiered on and to say that it was harrowing is a great understatement. At one point the speed limit increased to 35! Approaching the numerous hair pin curves was really nerve wrecking as we couldn’t see around to see if cars were approaching and they often were and not always slowly.

We slowly counted down the 10 miles and eventually got to Banner Elk. From there to the turn off for the campground was relatively uneventful but when we reached the turn the GPS said to take a sharp left. No, it is not a sharp left – it is a u-turn with a no outlet sign. We really didn’t know if we were going in the correct direction or not but we continued to trust our GPS. Reflecting on our trip I cannot imagine why I didn’t think of the atlas that we carry for times like this! We continued up the road and saw a sign for The Little Campground and yes, it is little – four sites! We didn’t see an office but I saw some other people walking around their trailer so we pulled in and I asked them about registration. They had just gotten there and pulled into site 2 but didn’t have any information. There was a phone number on the sign so I called that number and talked with the owner. She told me that Site 2 was reserved for us but we could decide if we wanted 1 or 2. Site 2 is more shaded but since they were already parked we elected to take Site 1.

We unhooked the car and Jerry backed in. We are parked right beside a bubbling brook and it sounds wonderful.

Our view
Parked beside the stream

I so hope we can sleep with the windows open tonight so we can listen to it as we fall asleep.

After setting up we had lunch and by then the owner had come by to take our registration information. The cost is $35 a night with full hook-ups and free cable and wonderful Wi-Fi.

We spent the afternoon sitting outside reading and relaxing. I think the drive took a lot out of Jerry!

In the late afternoon we took a little ride, found a grocery store and stocked up on a few items. The scenery is already so pretty here and we’re just before the peaking of the flowers. We enjoyed all of the pretty flowers at home on the coast and now we’re getting to enjoy the greening here in the North Carolina mountains.

Can you see the stream?
Can you see the stream?
After dinner we went outside and visited with our neighbors for a while. They are from Pennsylvania and are in the area visiting colleges. They had a campfire going in their fire pit. That is something that we have wanted to do for some time and tonight we finally have a fire pit but it is so close to the back of the coach that I’m afraid to use it. Oh well, we borrowed the ambience of theirs!

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Tanglewood Park

The purpose of being in Clemmons for a week was to help with the grands and wow, they have kept us busy. Spending a day at the hospital when Baby Olivia was born and then shuttling back and forth for various reasons. It has been a good week but an interesting week.

When we are in Clemmons we stay at Tanglewood Park. It’s a grand park except for the poor Internet reception and it’s close to David and Jane’s. Unfortunately because it’s a county owned park they don’t take any discounts so it’s a full $33 a night. It really is a good deal if you can take advantage of all of the amenities that the park has to offer but unfortunately when we are here we are generally visiting Jane and David so are often gone from morning until night. We noticed on this trip that the week-ends have a full campground so it’s advisable to make reservations. In fact we would have come in on Friday, the 15th but they had no vacancies and neither did Greystone in Pinnacle. I guess everyone must be getting the camping fever as the weather is trying to warm up. It seems though that we had April weather in March, a big tease and then April has been more like March. It’s been cool and windy.

Monday morning Jerry and I took a nice walk on the walking path of the park. The weather was beautiful and couldn’t have been more perfect for a walk. I was hopeful that we’d be able to do that each day but that didn’t happen.

Tuesday dawned early as we had to be at David and Jane’s by 7:00. We headed to the hospital and the waiting room. Sitting in the waiting room with an energetic four year old and an anxious eight year old is quite the experience. It’s going to be a week! Olivia was born a little after 9:00 weighing 8 lbs., 9 oz and 21 inches long – a big girl! Blessings abound as mom and baby are fine!

Tuesday afternoon we brought Emma and Eli back to the campground and we all went on a walk. We split up and Jerry and Eli took the walking path and Emma and I started through the woods. We eventually met back up and finished the walk together with Eli on Jerry’s shoulders for a while. His little legs just can’t quite keep up! We only got to take one more walk during our time there and this time it was jut Emma and me. We had rain one day and then Emma had a dance competition one day so we were too busy to enjoy the campground.

Off to the mountains of North Carolina on Sunday!

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Did we have tire problems before?

Since we were not on any schedule and didn’t have a long drive today we just took it slow this morning. Although we were both up around 6:30 we just lolled around until nearly 8:00 and even then we didn’t move too fast!

After showers there was still the last minute packing to do plus putting the car on the dolly. We finally pulled out just before 11:00 and we hadn’t even gotten out of the neighborhood before the TPMS started beeping. We drove on for a few miles and then stopped at Mallard’s on 70E where we knew we could easily get in and out plus they had air. One tire was a little slack, the same tire that has given us trouble before. Jerry had taken the coach out to the tire place and they checked it and said that other than a loose stem everything was OK. While the coach was still there we bought a longer stem hoping that would solve the problem.

We finally left and headed to Clemmons both of us listening to audio books. It really does make the travel time pass by quickly. I was also cross stitching. Just before we got to South Pointe Mall the TPMS started beeping again. While I ran into the mall on an errand Jerry added some air to the tire.

We were there about 45 minutes while I did a bit of shopping, Jerry added some more air to the tire and we ate a wonderful lunch – Cliff bars – and then hit the road again. The TPMS beeped one more time but Jerry said nothing was wrong. While we are in Clemmons he will recalibrate it and see if that helps. We’ve driven about 25,000 miles without a TPMS – guess we were just blessed not to have had an accident.

We arrived at Tanglewood just before 4:00 and boy is it crowded. Everyone in Clemmons who can walk, ride a bike or play with a dog is bound to be here. The campground itself is only about half full. We had preselected site 20 because it was close to the router and we were hopeful that the Internet signal would be stronger. Apparently we were more concerned about the Internet than with the slope of the site. Site 20 is really sloped for this part of the country. It took us about 20 minutes to get level and only then by doing it manually. We even considered changing sites but the park is going to be so full that that wasn’t a possibility. We finally did get it level though by Jerry standing outside giving me directions and me adjusting the jacks manually. We’ve tried this before with limited and confusing results but today I hit the right button and it worked!

After we set up we went over to David and Jane’s to check on everyone. Jane is really ready to have her baby but Emma is not! There is definitely going to be some adjustment there. I talked to Jane about the possibility of taking Emma to Chattanooga when school is out and she said nothing was scheduled for that time. Hopefully we’ll be able to work it out.

Home Away From Home

Once Again Headed to Clemmons

Finally! Getting ready to take off on another long awaited trip. Well, truthfully it hasn’t been that long since we were on the road but it surely seems like it. When we returned from Perry, Ga we emptied the coach of nearly everything and then took it to Wilmington, NC to Howard RV where we were assured everything that needed attention would be repaired. After driving four hours each way for earlier repairs (that were not completed) the two hour drive to Wilmington was great.

We left our coach on Tuesday afternoon and by noon on Wednesday we had a call discussing every issue that we had discussed! My word, it wasn’t even 24 hours and they were already on it. Quite a difference and my only regret is that I didn’t know about them sooner. It would surely have made the last year easier. We had told them we’d like to have it back by April 15 if possible as we needed to go to Clemmons for the birth of our sixth grandchild! From past experience with another dealer we felt like we might be asking a lot but heck, it doesn’t hurt to ask. We also knew they had to order parts and that does take a while so although we’d be disappointed we were prepared for a longer time.

We called to check on the status on Tuesday, April 12 and were told that the person that had that information was out but they would check on it and call us back – and they did! Never under estimate the value of a returned call even if they don’t know the answer to your question. They didn’t know but they let us know that and said they would find out and call us Wednesday morning.

They called Wednesday morning, said our rig was ready for pick up so off we went to Wilmington. I had hoped to go early in the day so we could visit Airlee Gardens as they are so beautiful this time of the year but we had to get on the road. We were in and out of there very quickly but while we were there one of the technicians went over a few things with Jerry. Although we’ve been RVing over two years and have had this coach for a year we are still newbies with a lot to learn.

The rest of the week has been spent packing, cooking, planning the trip and looking for interesting things to see and good campgrounds to stay at after we leave Clemmons as we are going to knock around the NC mountains for a couple of weeks. I couldn’t find any COE campgrounds in the area where we are going so we will be staying in private campgrounds on this trip but fortunately two of them are Passport. One only takes Passport for one night but the another takes it for all nights. Yea!

We’ll end our trip in Franklin at an FMCA chapter rally. We met so many nice Georgia people at the FMCA International Rally that we decided to join our friends Jim and Jan and become members of their chapter, the Peach State Travelers. They often have rallies in North Carolina. Unfortunately the next one is in August, the week-end of my nephew’s wedding and around the time for Julie’s baby to make his arrival – yes, another grand. Our seventh and I’m pretty sure our last! 🙂

Sunday morning is the time of departure. Except for a few last minute items everything is packed – I think, so we’ll soon be on our way to Clemmons where we will revel in the arrival of our precious Olivia. We are one blessed family. We already have three granddaughters and two grandsons and now are waiting for another granddaughter and then a grandson in August. I didn’t understand when people would say there’s nothing like a grandchild but now I do and I do relish every second we are able to spend with them.

On to Clemmons!