Home Away From Home, North Carolina

An Uneventful Trip to Clemmons!

Saturday, June 10 we headed out for Clemmons and Tanglewood Park. Since we knew that Jane and Emma would be involved in dance recital rehearsal we took our time leaving. Fortunately, this trip was very uneventful unlike our previous trip on Easter week-end! We arrived and got set up fairly quickly. The campground is filled with lots of campers on this pretty week-end but we didn’t have time to visit as we headed out to David and Jane’s as soon as we were set up. It’s so nice to be able to stay at a nice park and be close to their home as well. When Tanglewood was closed for the winter we stayed at Greystone RV Park in Pinnacle, also a nice campground but it’s a good 30 minute or more drive to their house with heavy traffic all of the way so Tanglewood is our campground of choice.

In addition to the campground Tanglewood has many other facilities that the campers can use free of charge. There is a nice dog park plus a vegetable/flower market on some Saturday mornings. There are a couple of pools, a lake for pedal boats (that’s not as easy as it looks), horse stables, playgrounds, lots of hiking trails and good places for bike rides as well. One of the highlights of the year is the Festival of Lights beginning the end of November and going through December. The entire park is transformed into a winter wonderland of giant, twinkling snowflakes and whimsical scenes! An event that began in 1992 has now become an annual tradition for many with an average of 250,000 visitors each year. There are now over a million individual lights and with the recent update all of them are LED. The campground is only open during the first few days of the Festival so always check before arriving.

Emma after her recital
We had a nice week-end visiting with the children and the grands plus seeing Emma perform in her dance recital. After dinner on Sunday evening we returned to Tanglewood fairly early knowing Monday would be a long day.

Home Away From Home

Our Shakedown Trip With the New Braking System

We have a trip scheduled in mid-June to take our nine year old granddaughter to Chattanooga for a few days. I suggested to Jerry that we might want to take a short trip prior to that to make sure everything is working like it should and also determine that we know what we are doing! We just happened to get an invitation from Travel Resorts of America inviting us for a three day, two night stay so since it wasn’t very far from home we decided to try it out the first week-end in June.

We brought the RV home and got it all packed and ready to leave early on the morning of June 1 which just happens to be our anniversary. I think we almost have as much difficulty packing for a three day trip as we would have for a three month (not that we’ve gone on a three month trip). It took us the better part of two days to get the meager things into the coach. In the midst of that I decided that we needed some area rugs to put our personal stamp on the coach. After all we’ve had it over two years so don’t you think it’s time? We had bought a new comforter and shams to replace the smoked and horribly smelling bed linens we lost in the fire so now it was time for the floor. Two trips to Lowe’s and we found something that might work. We’ll see about that.

Then it was time to attach the car to the dolly. Jerry had typed up a list of instructions and I had printed it out. We have learned that getting the Jeep ready to tow is easy if you follow EVERY step. In order to be towed the Jeep must have the two speed transfer case with the neutral switch and you have to put the transfer case and the transmission in neutral. If you leave out one step it won’t work. It probably took us about 45 minutes to get the car attached and that included running into the house to watch a video on YouTube on how to do it. We finally got it! Yea!! I don’t think it will be that difficult once we get the hang of it. In fact I think it will be much easier than the tow dolly plus Jerry doesn’t have to get on the ground and crawl under the car each time. At the time we started RVing we didn’t have a car that would flat tow so a dolly was the logical way to attach a toad (that’s RV for the car being towed) so although we’ve been RVing over three years this is still new to us. We’ve always said that we learn something new each trip. Sometimes it’s little things and sometimes it’s BIG things. Let’s hope hooking the car up was our lesson for this trip.

We’ve got the coach packed, the car is attached and all we have to do in the morning is get ready, take a few last minute items out and we’ll be off. Now the next interesting point will be detaching the car and putting it back in the drive mode. We’ve got the list of instructions!

Home Away From Home

We Got the Car!

Since Johnson City, Tennessee is a good six hour drive from our home we decided that we would split the drive and go halfway to Clemmons and spend the week-end with our younger son and his family. His older daughter was in a dance competition on Saturday so that would work out for everyone as we would be there to help with the two younger children. We left Thursday and made our way to Clemmons and along the way were able to spot exactly where the tow dolly caught on fire. We left our mark!

A week later the evidence of the fire was still there.
Since we had been unable to reach the owner of the tow dolly company by phone we decided to stop by the business on our way up. Unfortunately he was still out of town. we left our name and number AGAIN. He did finally return our call but dang it, Jerry missed it. Jerry called back just minutes later but the owner did not answer. Do you think he’s trying to elude us?

Up and att’m Friday morning and on our way to Johnson City. Aren’t GPS’s interesting. We took one route to Johnson City last Friday, took another route home Friday evening and then this Friday we took still a third route. We went right down the main street of Boone, NC and then began rambling through the mountains. We were not in a hurry so we were able to enjoy the scenery as we went up and down and around. The flowers were all in bloom and beauty was everywhere. If you get a chance visit the mountains of North Carolina in the spring. You won’t be disappointed.

When we arrived at AutoNation there was our pretty red jeep all ready to go. We signed a few papers and then headed toward Leonard Trucking where they had installed the base plate, etc. for our Blue Ox towing system. They showed us how to attach it and although I don’t think there’s a steep learning curve we will definitely need some practice. Back at the dealership Jerry picked up his car and we headed back to Clemmons. That was a little mistake. We should have gotten some “training” on how to use all of the electronics but more on that later.

I input the final address in the navigational system and off we went but we missed the first turn and then I don’t know what happened but we ended up going back through the lovely mountains only they weren’t quite as pretty to me as I wound through all of those turns! At one point I realized that I had inadvertently turned on the cooling seat and my butt was freezing but I had no idea how to turn it off. It’s kind of difficult to look at the input screen and maneuver the mountains. I chose to pay attention to the road rather than go off of the side of the mountain trying to regulate the seat temperature! I finally pulled off the side of the road and found the answer ti that problem. Obviously after having driven a 2006 Avalon for a number of years it will take me a while to learn about the options on this car.

During the week we went by Campers Inn in Raleigh – well, it says Raleigh but it’s really in Selma – and ordered the Air Force One Braking System for the car. That will be installed next week and then we’ll be ready to travel.

When things began to fall in place I went ahead and finalized the June Chattanooga trip and then registered for the July FMCA International Rally. It feels so good to be the planning stages again and I am ready to take off as soon as possible!

Home Away From Home, Texas

A Week-end on the Road Heading Home

About 6:45 Jerry got up and turned the generator on so we could turn on the heat and the hot water tank. The back warmed up quickly but it was taking the hot water tank a little longer so we just dressed, brushed out teeth and took off knowing we could shower later. It was 7:22. I don’t think we’ve ever left that early.

We had another uneventful day of driving which we really needed after the fiasco going around Houston last night. Jerry figured that he wanted to drive 450 miles yesterday and today and then it would be an easy and shorter drive home on Sunday. I had recommended that we stop around 4:00 so as not to be driving in and locating a place in the dark. Fortunately both of those plans coincided. We decided to stop again in Saraland as the next Walmart was 133 miles away, too far to drive that late in the day. We stayed at the same Walmart that we had stayed in at the beginning of our trip. After we parked and Jerry asked for and got permission to stay we rested for a while. Jerry turned on the generator so we could turn on the water heater and take showers before dinner. It was taking too long for the water heater to heat up so we decided to go on to dinner. There were several restaurants along the way – the only catch – they were on the other side of the highway and despite a sign indicating pedestrians it looked like getting to the other side would be an extremely dangerous mission to accomplished. In addition it was dark. After walking a bit we wisely decided to turn around and go back to Walmart and find something there to eat.

That done, we got our warm navy showers and got ready for bed. Turned the generator off and read for a while. With our kindle and iPad it’s possible to ready without light. It’s supposed to get pretty cool tonight so we won’t need air condition and we can do without heat.

Saturday morning dawned early and cold. Jerry jumped up and turned on the generator and the propane heat. Since we both had showers last night we hurriedly dressed. I had planned to wash my hair but didn’t want to wait for the water to heat up so we were able to quickly leave. Pulled out at 7:22 – now I’m sure that’s a record.

As we traveled down the highway I suggested that we stay at a campground tonight. It’s our last night on the road and two nights of boondocking is about my limit! Plus, we needed to empty the tanks before we got home. Jerry agreed and I got busy trying to locate a campground that fit his parameter of 450 miles. My desire of 4:00 probably wasn’t going to happen since we crossed back over into Eastern Time thus losing an hour. I finally found a campground with good reviews, a pull-through and good Wi-Fi! I asked if there were restaurants within walking distance and he said it depended on whether I wanted to walk a mile and a half! After that conversation I got out stuffed peppers for dinner!

We arrived at Heritage RV Park in Augusta, Georgia just before 5:00 which was really 4:00 on Alabama time. We pulled in Gate 1 as we had been directed and there was the pull-through site right there on our right. We pulled in and were setup within minutes. The easiest setup ever and since the gentleman had taken my credit card information on the phone we didn’t even have to go to the office. Everything had been handled over the phone. I liked that!

We took a short walk around the park just to exercise our legs and then came in and had a late dinner. It felt so good to be in a safe and warm environment in an RV park. Walmarts are fine for a couple of nights but after that I’m about done.

We didn’t particularly hurry Sunday morning so we left about 9:00. There was a little misting rain when we left but we quickly ran out of that and had a nice drive the rest of the way home. Traveling on a Sunday is really easier as there is less traffic. We had a couple of stops, one at Flying J for gas and one at the NC Welcome Center for lunch and then we were home by 3:22. We both so love traveling but the best part is always arriving home safe and sound. It was good to get home but that stack of mail waiting me – oh my! Time to get busy on that before I can start planning another trip!

Home Away From Home, Texas

George H.W. Bush Museum

img_3973
Up and out early this morning because we were on a mission! Go through Johnson City to stop at the Black Spur to see if they had a sun we could use at the river and then get to the George H.W. Bush Museum. We were saying goodbye to Fredericksburg. As we rode along I continued to be amazed at the number of wineries that such a small area has. Between Fredericksburg and Stonewall, a small town between Fredericksburg and Johnson City there are probably 20 wineries some of them right next door to each other. The ground must be perfect for growing grapes! By the way, Stonewall is the town where LBJ’s ranch is located. There are also numerous peach stands along the way although none were opened at this time of year.

As we traveled along I reminisced about our trip as our days were slowly coming to an end. We have seen such different terrain throughout the state and many animals that are not indigenous to North Carolina such as mule deer, jackrabbits, coyote, blue bird, road runner, bison, several different kinds of deer, sheep, and goats – Jerry saw an ostrich or emu in Fredericksburg. He couldn’t tell which it was but he knew it was tall!

As we rode along I suddenly realized that we were pretty close to Austin so we began the discussion of “do we want to stop in Austin”. Jerry didn’t want to but would if I wanted to. My feeling was I really didn’t want to but it seemed a shame to be that close and not go but we were getting to be sort of like homing pigeons – it was nearly time to head back to North Carolina. We might have been more prone to stop if it had been a nice sun shiny day but instead a cloudy, windy cool 51 degrees did not encourage sightseeing plus – we know we’re more national and state park people than city people and we were just getting a bit tired! We didn’t get just close to Austin though – we went right smack dab through it, traffic and all but everything moved smoothly. Next time Austin! As we left Austin we were on a toll highway but apparently they will bill us because there are no toll booths.

We arrived at the George H.W. Bush Library and Museum at 12:20 making good time. After a quick lunch in the motor home we made our way into the museum. With typical Texan politeness we were greeted by several people – after going through the metal detector of course. We paid our senior admission and then with perfect timing went in to watch a short introductory video and then we began our exploration of the museum. When we presented our tickets we were given the option of having an audio tour and we both accepted that. After that I rarely saw Jerry as we both just wandered on our own and saw what interested each of us.

img_3950The museum is amazing and shows a man and a woman of such character and compassion. I learned a lot about both President Bush and Mrs. Bush. They met at a dance and that was that for both of them. They later married when he was home on leave. Not knowing when he was going to be home they set a wedding date for December but he didn’t get home until Christmas Eve so the wedding invitation date was marked though and a January date was inked in!

As soon as President Bush graduated from high school he entered the military and trained as a pilot. He flew many successful missions but on one flight was hit by the Japanese and lost two of his men. He had to parachute out of the plane and was lost at seas in a raft for a short while. That incident certainly was a life changing event for the president.

The most important things to both of the Bushes were faith, family and country. Even after his one year term as president neither he nor his wife settled into an easy life. They both were and are very active volunteers always trying to help someone in need. Mrs. Bush’s Reading initiative has helped countless people through the years. She worked on this initiative when President Bush was vice-president under President Regan and continued it when she was First Lady. She wondered why she was saying the same things as First Lady that she said as the vice president’s wife but what she was saying was getting a lot more attention. She said it didn’t matter what she said as wife of the Vice President.

It seems that both President and Mrs. Bush have quite a sense of humor and love to laugh and smile. On the first night in the White House they invited their family in to spend the night!

The Day the Wall Came Down
The Day the Wall Came Down
After viewing most of the museum – I could have stayed a lot longer but knew we needed to get on the road – I wandered around the grounds a bit. There is a beautiful sculpture called “The Day the Wall Came Down”, a monument to freedom referencing the Berlin Wall. The sculptor Veryl Goodnight said he used horses to represent the freedom of the human spirit. The graffiti painted on the rubble beneath the horses was replicated by the Mr. Goodnight from actual graffiti painted on the Berlin Wall. President Bush requested that the names of 15 people who were killed at the Wall be written on the “Dove of Peace” to represent the over 900 people who were killed trying to escape to the West. I also visited the place where the Bushes will be buried and where their young daughter Robin is now buried. I was also able to view President Bush’s engraved words on the building “Let future generations understand the burden and blessings of freedom. Let tem say we stood where duty required us to stand”.

Words of Wisdom
Words of Wisdom

We left College Station about 4:30 headed on down the road hopefully driving until about 5:30 and stopping at a Walmart. Instead we hit Houston during the 5:00 traffic and a few days before the Super Bowl plus missed a turn so that plan went out of the window. And then the GPS lost the signal!

We spent the night in the Walmart parking lot in Baymont, Texas a suburb on Houston – I think. We were pretty lost last night in a lot of traffic and unknown to me running low on gas. Jerry hastily pulled into a Spur station and filled up with gas. While he was doing that I was trying to figure out how to get to the Flying J which had been our intended target for gas and spending the night there. I really was not looking forward to spending the night at a truck stop as I hear it’s pretty loud plus the spaces need to be used by the truckers rather than RVers. As I searched I realized we were only about a mile and half from a Walmart that allowed overnight parking and it was on the way to I-10 where we needed to be.

We headed to that way and were able to stay and parked in the lot along with another Class A and a Fifth Wheel. Although we realized it was ok to park there Jerry still went in and asked permission. The manager said it was fine as long as we pulled out of the way. While he was gone I realized that we could pull over to the side curbing and open up the bedroom slide for the night so when he got back that’s what we did. We discussed trying to find somewhere within walking distance to eat but decided to warm up the hamburgers instead. As soon as we finished with dinner I got ready for bed, got my iPad and kindle and got in the bed. Trucks and cars kept loudly zooming by and since this was a 24 hour Walmart I was afraid that we’d have a night of that but at 10:00 everything got quiet and it stayed that way all night.

Home Away From Home, Texas

Enchanted Rock

All dressed up and ready to go!
All dressed up and ready to go!
So far on our January journey we have done six hikes (but who’s counting – us!) and we thought a trip to Enchanted Rock in Fredericksburg, Texas would be another great hike. It was great but it wasn’t a hike, it was a climb! Up 425 feet in .67 miles. Whew. There was hardly any flat area and we literally climbed all the way to the top. Of course we had a couple of rest stops, ok, maybe one or two more but the climb was so worth it. We had heard that the park could get really crowded on the week-ends so we decided to go during the week and in the early morning. Well, we made it by about 10:30, early for us but I was amazed during the climb at how many people were there. I can’t imagine how crowded it must get on the week-end. Someone told me Fredericksburg and the Enchanted Rock was the number one tourist spot in Texas. Don’t know if that is true but it was busy today. We chatted with a couple who only live 2 hours away but had never been before. We also chatted with a RV full timer plus a couple from Minnesota. There were all ages and sizes and I didn’t see anyone turn around.

Enchanted Rock is a small part of a large underground rock called a batholith. More than 50 million years ago erosion uncovered part of the rock and weathering and erosion of that bedrock made the rock that we climbed today. It is a small speck compared to the huge underground rock that spans over 100 square miles. Now, that’s big! This is an exfoliation dome in that Enchanted Rock continuously “sheds” its outer layers of rock as it contracts and expands. The result is large curved sheets of rock that break up and can eventually slide down the rock. I guess that’s what makes it so difficult to climb.

flagPerhaps the most poignant moment of the entire trip occurred to day. I didn’t know it but today is Freedom Day and I suddenly saw an American Flag being carried up to the top of the rock. There was a young lady dressed in uniform and proudly carrying our flag up. There were many people who had their picture taken with her and offered their sincere thanks for her contribution.

As we left Enchanted Rock we decided to stop in Fredericksburg for lunch. I had seen a restaurant that advertised the best burgers in Fredericksburg and also quiche. Sounded like a win-win to me so we headed to Wheelers Restaurant. Ham and cheese is not my favorite quiche but it was the quiche of the day so that’s what I got. Jerry of course got a burger. We topped our meal off with sweetbread pudding draped in almond sauce. It was tasty!

Our plan was to go on back to the RV but somewhere along the way we decided to ride to Luckenbach, the town where everybody is somebody. Jerry was a bit skeptical thinking it was going to be another Cadillac ranch site but it really was interesting. Members of the Luckenbach family along with some other immigrants moved to Luckenbach from Fredericksburg in the 1850’s and settled along Grape Creek. They soon established a school and a post office. The town has a general store full of most any tourist memorabilia you might want. At the back of the store is a bar selling beer. There are a couple of very still cats there and I heard one couple arguing about whether or not the cat was alive. He was but he was super still even with all of the activity around. Outside at the back of the store they have continuous music. Today was a singer with his guitar. While he was singing an older man in shorts and spindly legs hobbled up with his guitar and joined him. Wow – when he started playing and singing he looked like a young man. He didn’t play long, sang a couple of songs he had written and then one about Luckenbach. Both of the singers sang songs that told stories.

Exhausted, we headed back to Fredericksburg with a quick stop at Walmart for our last run on groceries. When we got back we both hit the sofa for a little nap!

Home Away From Home, Louisiana

Palmetto Island State Park and Shadows on the Teche

What a fun day we’ve had. After a good night’s sleep we woke up to a pretty brisk morning. In fact we even had to turn the heat on for a bit but it quickly warm the coach up.

Does someone actually do this?
Does someone actually do this?
We left a little after 10:00 headed for Palmetto Island State Park which is fairly close by. When we got there we found that due to our “old age” we got in free. We first just rode around in the car and got the lay of the land. Loved seeing the “beware of bears” sign and instructions not to feed the alligators. Like I would!

They have a nice campground there with nearly 100 sites. They’re large, wooded, and private and some are even paved. I think the nightly rate during the winter is $18 and then $22 during the summer for water and electricity. Apparently some people are staying awhile because Jerry noticed the dump wagons near some of the units. Yuk!

We got the bikes off of the car and took a nice long bike ride, the first in a long while. Along the way we saw several armadillos, something we don’t see in NC. They didn’t seem to be bothered by us as they continued eating as we snapped several pictures.

A little rest along the way and yes, it does look like I'm advertising for the American Saddlebred!
A little rest along the way and yes, it does look like I’m advertising for the American Saddlebred!
We’re planning to do some more bike riding in San Antonio but the extremely cold temperatures predicted may change that plan. We rode nearly six miles stopping once at a boat launch to rest a bit. It was so much fun to be back on the bikes. Due to cold weather and holidays we haven’t been able to ride at home so this was a nice bonus.

We came back to the campground, ate lunch, got the meatballs in the crockpot for the happy hour tonight and then headed out to Shadows on the Teche in nearby New Iberia. It is a lovely restored Antebellum home nestled among beautiful old oak trees draped with Spanish moss. I know that the moss is a parasite but it is still pretty and adds so much atmosphere! img_1463The home was built I 1984 and four generations of the family lived there through the Civil war and on into the late 1900’s when there were no more descendants. During the war Union soldiers informed Mary, the wife of the original owner that she would have to leave the home. She staunchly refused so they put her under house arrest saying that she could stay on the second and third floors. The bottom floor was used by the soldiers. Due to her tenacity, when the war was over the soldiers left without burning the home down, an act that was usually perpetrated when the soldiers left. The last surviving member of the family, William Weeks, petitioned for years to get someone to take over the home and finally the National trust for Historic Preservation took it over. William Weeks died the next day. Not only did he leave the home to the Historic Preservation but also left them $175,000 to complete the restoration. The family apparently kept everything from building receipts to clothing and over 17,000 items were discovered in the attic thus giving a clear picture of life in the home.

The gardens are beautiful as is the statuary.
The gardens are beautiful as is the statuary.

Interestingly enough there were two other couples on the tour and they were from Virginia. One of the guys is stationed at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC. Small world!

We returned to the campground, got the meatballs and promptly hustled over to the Happy Hour. It really was a fun couple of hours. We visited with another couple that we had met last year, Mary Ann and Bill from Oklahoma and then met a couple who just started full timing two weeks ago and are from Wilmington, NC. Again, small world!

After a couple of hours we went back to the coach and settled in for the night. I did a lot of work on getting blogs entries ready to post when we have good Wi-Fi, if we ever have good Wi-Fi and then turned in. Friday will be a long day!

Home Away From Home, Louisiana

Abbeville Again

Finally a little bit of sunshine on our way to Abbeville. Tonight we will have full hookups! Yea! I guess we are officially boondockers now as we have spent two nights with no hookups and only used the generator long enough to get hot water for showers. Nice to know we can do it.

We left Saraland, Alabama a little after 8:00, took a short ride through Mississippi and then into Louisiana. As soon as we entered Louisiana we stopped at the Welcome enter to use the bathrooms, took a picture in front of the Louisiana sign and then back on the road to Abbeville.

Jerry said he would drive until we stopped to get gas and then I could take over. In the meantime, I canceled dental appointments, checked on a bill for Mom and then paid our bills and reconciled our bank account all while looking at the pretty scenery of Louisiana. The grass surely is greener here! In NC everything is brown now.

We stopped and got gas in Dedham Springs and then headed on to the Atchafalaya Welcome Center for lunch. We were only 40 miles from Abbeville but knew we could either eat then or have a very late lunch. The center is very nice and we could have enjoyed spending more time there. Maybe another trip.

We arrived at Betty’s RV Park around 2:30 and immediately saw Jim, a guy from Washington state that we met last year. Suddenly I heard his wife, Cookie say, “Is that who I think it is?” and out she came with a great big hug. Good to see friends from our visit last year.

We got set up and felt like we suddenly had so much room after being at Walmart with the slides in for two nights. We swept the floor and mopped it and then headed out to see a little bit of Abbeville that we hadn’t seen before and then on to Maurice to get some frozen stuffed potatoes from Hebert’s. They are in the process of remodeling but were still doing business with cash or check. We bought four potatoes and would like to have had more but at $6 each they’re a little pricey.

I had heard about NuNu’s, another specialty meat store so we rode around until we found it. Jerry went in and scoped it out. It’s a country store with a lot of specialty meats, especially sausage but Jerry said the packages were so big that if he didn’t like it he’d be in trouble because he’d surely have to eat it all. We ended up getting nothing but at least we now know what NuNu’s is!

Our next stop was the Villager Café to get their delicious bread. Jerry bought two loaves. We don’t have much freezer room so couldn’t get any more plus I think the price has gone up! We were able to get both loaves in the refrigerator. We’re planning on spaghetti Friday night after we get to San Antonio, over 400 miles from Abbeville so another long day of travel. Fresh bread to go along with the spaghetti will be very welcomed!

We returned to the campground and walked over to the Happy Hour just to see everyone and then out for dinner at Shuck’s. Boy are their candied oysters to die for! Jerry got fried catfish that he said was outstanding and I got the charbroiled oyster sampler. Wow – just wow!

Being back in Abbeville seems so familiar and it’s nice to recognize things we saw last year. We’ve always said that once we visited a place we didn’t want to return because there are so many other places we want to go. Fortunately Abbeville is on the way to Texas because we surely did like coming back. In fact, we may do it again!

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.

Home Away From Home, South Carolina

Texas Here We Come!

We’re off! Finally after a lot of preparation and packing and maybe some unpacking we headed to Texas via Abbeville, La. Our plans were to be at Betty’s RV Park in Abbeville Wednesday and that’s nearly 1100 miles from home which means two hard driving days as initial plans were to leave on Tuesday. Jerry had an appointment in Greenville Monday morning and I had a hair appointment but we discussed the possibility of leaving around lunch time on Monday. We thought it was possible although there would still be some last minute things to do like getting the car on the dolly. By getting in some driving time on Monday we could make Tuesday and Wednesday easier so that was the tentative plan. We were at Trent’s house for the week-end keeping the three precious grands and we knew we still had a lot to get done Sunday afternoon so when people asked when we were leaving our reply was maybe Monday, maybe Tuesday.

We were up and at’em Monday morning with all intentions of leaving as soon as we got our appointments taken care. Jerry left for Greenville a little after 8:00. I took a shower, got dressed and then started taking things out to the motor home. It was sprinkling some but since I was getting my hair done later it didn’t matter. I also put a load of towels on to wash and then vacuumed the main part of the house. I always like to get the house cleaned before we leave and with it on the market it’s even more important. It’s also nice to come home to a clean albeit dusty house.

We got everything packed and just as we were getting ready to put the car on the dolly I asked Jerry if he had filled the fresh water tank. Nope – so he got busy doing that. He’s never done it but once before so perhaps he was not sure what he was doing. He kept running the water but the level in the fresh water tank remained at 1/3. Sensors are notoriously famous for giving incorrect readings so he just assumed that was the case and said we’d go with what we had.

We did get it together and despite rainy, gloomy weather we pulled out of Autumn Drive at 12:50. Fortunately the rain had stopped but weather predictions for the evening were not good with discussion about damaging winds around the Columbia area. Hopefully we could get by there and out of the pathway of the storms by the time we stopped. Plans were to stay at a Walmart tonight and tomorrow night. We’ll see how it goes. By 3:00 it was beginning to get foggy and could get much worse by dark.

Around 4:00 we stopped in Latta, SC at the Flying J to get gas. The station has two gas RV lanes plus South Carolina gas is much less than North Carolina gas so we always try to make it to Latta. When Jerry got up to go to the bathroom I heard an “Oh no” and “you don’t want to know”. Well of course I did. Seems the commode was filled to the top with water and some had splashed out. Initially we had no idea where the water had come from. Jerry pondered it for the next hour or so.  Fortunately it wasn’t much water and was easily cleaned up,

We continued to drive until about 5:30 and stopped at a Walmart in Camden, SC. I had called earlier and was told it was fine to park as long as we parked near the end near Zaxby’s. We were able to actually parallel park behind Zaxby’s which allowed us to temporarily open one bedroom slide. Jerry wanted to make sure there was no water under the bed as he still hadn’t figured out where the water in the commode had come from. Bing! Idea! Instead of filling up the fresh water tank Jerry had inadvertently filled up the black water tank! Oh well, fortunately we have two black water tanks as we have two bathrooms so no problem there but showers may be iffy. Lesson learned but fortunately not an extremely costly one, just an inconvenient one.

We discussed what to do at dinner and finally decided to walk over to Walmart and get some dry goods for dinner. I gave it the old college meal (I won’t tell) plus I nuked some mac and cheese. The temperature was a mild 57 and it wasn’t supposed to go down during the night so instead of using the generator we just used the house batteries. We only used a bit of light plus the refrigerator so we were good.

Both of us were tired and sleepy and I was fighting to stay awake by 8:00 but then got a phone call that of course woke me up so it was nearly 11:00 before I went to sleep. Jerry was already snoring in the den chair! Despite our concerns about bad weather I never heard wind, thunder or lightning, just rain and I slept well.