Alabama, Home Away From Home

Heading Home

We woke up this morning to 30 degrees and a lot of wind. Fortunately Jerry didn’t have to hookup anything but of course he went outside to make sure everything was secure. While outside he spotted another traveler in the parking lot and though it was freezing cold he couldn’t resist taking a couple of pictures.

As we traveled through Texas the temperature begin to drop, 28 degrees with a wind chill of 18 and we had to stop and get gas! Brr… We were also getting alerts on our phones about winter precipitation coming in so we were anxious to get out of Texas. We also saw several warning about Ice Prevention Crews ahead although we never saw anyone.

I began to look for campgrounds for the evening and located Travel Centers of America in Greenwood, Louisiana. The gentleman I talked with was very nice and met us at the gas station upon our arrival and led us to the park. It is a very nice overnight park located right off of I20 not I10 as some reviews say. We got a pull thorough with easy hookups of light, water, and septic and the slides were all opened unlike a night at Walmart. I could also get my pajamas out of the drawer which I couldn’t do that last night

We woke up on Sunday, February 11 to another cold, overcast day. We pulled out about 8:30 headed to Coaches Corner in Tuscaloosa. The first 10-15 miles through Shreveport confirmed what I remembered about Louisiana highways. Wow, I knew if any nut, bolt, fuse, or waterline, etc. remained tight it would be amazing. After about 15 miles though the highway smoothed out. We began to see green grass and standing water, ah, thoughts of home. The entire day was overcast with occasional misting rain which made for easy travel plus there was not much traffic on Sunday morning. As we entered Mississippi we began to get alerts about flood warnings. – fire and dust warnings in Arizona, winter storm watch in Texas and flood warnings in Mississippi. Wow!

Unfortunately before we got to our destination it began to rain heavily so that slowed us down a bit but we still got there mid-afternoon. As we were checking in I mentioned that we had heard about the campground from Tami and Eric Johnson of TechnoRV and by golly, he pointed out that they were right next door to us. Small world. After we got set up I went over and chatted with them just a few minutes and then back to the coach to get ready for a visit with my nephew and his lovely wife.

Davidson and Sarah came over and we had a nice visit plus we got to show off our motor home. No one in the family has seen it and most of them probably think we’re a bit crazy. Hopefully Davidson and Sarah will tell them about our nice home away from home. We went out to dinner at Depalma’s Italian Café in downtown Tuscaloosa and then rode around a bit to see the campus. In conversation Sarah and I realized that her mom and I are sorority sisters!

After a tour of their apartment they took us back to the campground where we settled in for the night a little closer to home.

Alabama, Home Away From Home

Another Walmart Night

I woke up to the sound of rain pitter pattering on the roof. That is such a relaxing sound and I would have love to stay in bed but I was awake and knew we needed to be on the road soon. Since our water situation was iffy we did the best we could getting dressed and using bottled water. We pulled out of the Walmart in Camden at 8:10 headed to Abbbeville, 845 miles away.

Hopefully we can drive about half way today and will have a fairly easy drive tomorrow, then a day of rest. We stopped at 10:15 in Appling, Ga at a rest stop. When we pulled in Jerry noticed that they had an RV dump. We finally located it and were able to empty the black tank of all the fresh water Jerry added yesterday. We were also able to fill the fresh water tank so we’ll have showers soon! Jerry learned which switches work what so hopefully we don’t have that problem again. Unfortunately the fresh water tank is still reading 1/3 full but we’re pretty sure that’s an incorrect reading. Guess we’ll find out later.

Although we had a half tank of gas we stopped in Greensboro, Ga and filled up again as the next Flying J was over 200 miles away. While Jerry pumped gas I prepared sandwiches for lunch so we could eat on the road. We had spent nearly an hour at the Rest Stop emptying and filling tanks so we wanted to get back on the road quickly.

We continued to drive with another gas stop in Montgomery, Alabama and then surprise, I drove. It was a little nerve wracking but the only way I’m going to get better is to drive. Occasionally I got a little close to the right side of the highway and Jerry would call out, “Go left” and I’d move over a little – if I could.

We were trying to decide which Walmart to select for the night. Due to the time change the one that we would probably have chosen had us stopping at 3:30. What do you do in a Walmart parking lot from 3:30 on? We finally decided on one in Saraland, Alabama even though it was quite a distance from where we were. Actually that was probably not a wise choice as it was around 6:00 and dark when we got there. Some nights it may be necessary to drive that late but it wasn’t tonight. Another lesson learned. Even if it means stopping earlier than planned we’ll do it next time rather than arrive in the dark.

We arrived at the Saraland Walmart at 7:06 our time which meant we were on the road almost 11 hours – not a good idea although it did work out ok. We easily found Walmart and got parked very quickly. We decided that we would turn on the generator and then the hot water heater while we would try to find someplace to eat within walking distance. Although according to Waze there was a Ruby Tuesday .01 miles away we couldn’t see it so we ended up going in the Walmart. They had a MacDonald’s but we opted for the deli and got some fried chicken and a salad. That store was one of the busiest Walmarts I’ve ever been in and someone told us that it was because it was the 3rd of the month and many people got paid on that day. The parking lot was full and cars were constantly whizzing by. I was afraid it would be a noisy night.

We went on back to the RV, ate dinner and were able to watch a little RV with the antenna. About 9:30 I fell asleep and never heard Jerry come to bed. If it was a noisy night I surely never heard anything and slept like a baby. I woke up about 5:15 but went back to sleep. Since we didn’t have far to go today, 250+ miles we didn’t rush but still pulled out at 8:18.

Alabama, Georgia, Home Away From Home

R Ranch in the Mountains in Dahlonega, Ga

Another learning experience today! We woke up about 6:00 only to discover that we had no water. We didn’t know if the heated hose was not working or if the water had frozen at the spigot (apparently it was the spigot). We had our coffee and sausage balls and then donned yesterday’s clothes, pulled in the slides, pulled up the jacks and headed out. The temperature was in the 20’s.

Deerlick Creek Park is such a nice park and one I’d like to visit when the weather is nicer but I don’t see that happening as there are so many other places we want to go. Perhaps if we ever choose Alabama as our state we’ll get back.

As we were leaving Jerry stopped by the gate and told the ranger that he had been unable to turn the spigot off because it was frozen. He thanked him and told him how much we enjoyed our brief stay. On to the winding and hilly road out. One of the reviews I had read said that it was winding and hilly but manageable and they were spot on. Once we got back to civilization – about 3 miles – we stopped at a Marathon to fill up. I grabbed my toothbrush and went in, got my teeth brushed and my hands washed and that made things a bit better.

We hit the road and headed toward Dahlonega, Ga. Traffic was not too bad and the only stop we made was along the side of the road for Jerry to go to the bathroom. We drove on into Dahlonega and got there around 2:40 EST. Normally I don’t think it’s a good idea to drive with no breaks but things were going good, there were no rest stops and then we hit Atlanta (bypassing) and there was no stopping then. We also changed time zones so we were losing an hour. We wanted to get settled as quickly as possible as we had plans for the evening so on we went.

R Ranch in the Mountains is very appropriately named. Who knew there were mountains in that part of Georgia? Not me but I quickly found out. The campground website showed an alternate way to get in but apparently we misunderstood and we took the harrowing descending U-turn in. It was a bit scary but Jerry did a terrific job. When we got there he just raised his hands in prayer and said “Thank you Lord”.

R Ranch is bordered on three sides by the Chattahoochee National Forest and believe me there is a beautiful view wherever you look. The campground is gated and has full time security. It also has an equestrian center but the horses were under quarantine while we were there. Apparently many of the sites are privately owned as there were many rigs there but few people. In fact, we never saw anyone! I’m sure during the other seasons of the year it’s a busy place but in February it is quiet and peaceful and a Passport Park on top of that. Unfortunately because of time constraints we didn’t get to see all of the facilities but it surely looks like an interesting place to return to – but we will take the other entrance!

I went in to register and got a surprise. We made reservations to stay there in February of last year but had to cancel because of snow so I had a $5 credit meaning our campsite costs us $7.50 for the night. Pretty good! There is no cable but the Dish worked fine however there is no Internet. In fact, we haven’t had Internet for the last two nights but it has cost us less than $20 for two nights on the road. Wish I could say that about the site we’re going to be in in Pinnacle!

When Jerry plugged the power in I immediately turned on the hot water heater so we’d have hot water for our showers. Then I turned on the heat pump and nothing happened – another learning experience. We finally resorted to the furnace which I don’t like to use because it uses propane and that kind of frightens me and add in the fact that it’s also it’s noisy. You can’t debate its proficiency though – it is warm. It finally dawned on us that the heat pump won’t work if the temperature gets below freezing and believe me, it was below – about 25 degrees.

As soon as we got in and got settled Jerry grabbed a quick lunch and I had a bar and an orange. We both got showers and headed out to spend the evening with Debbie, Jerry’s sister and her husband Terry. We had a delightful visit and a wonderful meal. A home cooked meal hit the spot.

When we got in the car we quickly realized that we didn’t know the address of the campground. No problem, look it up on the Internet except because of the heavily wooded area we were in neither my cell phone nor my iPad could get online. Fortunately Jerry took the correct turns and we were soon back into an area where we could figure out the way home. Lesson learned – do not leave a strange campground without having the address written down!

Headed on back to the coach and turned in although I couldn’t get to sleep easily. I think I was a little worried about the heat but I had no reason to be. We slept warm and toasty all night.