Georgia, Home, Home Away From Home, South Carolina

On to the Gator Bowl – Again!

We finally arrived in Jacksonville, Florida around 6:00 Saturday evening. We really looked like a couple of vagabonds checking in. There was no readily available cart so there I sat in the lobby surrounded by our “stuff” while Jerry parked the car and the staff looked for a cart. We must have looked pitiful! We got in the room and Jerry collapsed on the bed from fatigue, both physical and mental I’m sure. We were supposed to meet Becky and Billy for dinner but they were exhausted as well after a 4:00 am start to catch their flight down. We just decided to meet the next morning. Jerry was sound asleep and there was no restaurant in the hotel. I didn’t want to venture out alone to look for a restaurant so I spent the evening in the room. Although we had put some things from the refrigerator in a cooler we really had nothing to eat and I was hungry. Jerry loves pork skins – I don’t but desperate times call for desperate measures. I ate pork skins, a tangelo and even got two of my chewy vitamins all accompanied with a bottle of water. Living the high life!

On Sunday we picked up Becky and Billy and headed for Amelia Island for the day. It was a nice peaceful day something we really needed. Hyatt Place is on the St. John’s River and they have a nice patio out back. We ended the day there sitting by the fire pit having a glass of wine. Well, I did. Jerry had a Mountain Dew!

We spent Monday getting ready for the game, having a delicious lunch at Bistro Biscotti’s and then on to the stadium. Tailgating was fun as we visited with a lot of State fans. Our seats were great. The game – no so much. With the loss of two coaches who took jobs elsewhere and two seniors who were planning to go pro electing not to play we were at a disadvantage to begin with plus Texas A&M is good!

We left Jacksonville Tuesday, New Year’s Day and headed to Barnwell, SC where the RV was. Although our choice was limited I was able to make reservations at the Days End Wyndham. When I called I was quoted a price of $89. When I questioned that price due to information I found on the Internet he said $71 was the best he could do. Glad I asked. Ok, I’ll take it. Days Inn Wyndham – good reputation. Right?

Our first stop when we got to Barnwell was Palmetto Towing were the coach was. We could see it behind the locked fence but there was a sign saying beware of dog so we didn’t venture in. It looked kind of pitiful sitting there with its broken windshield and headlight hanging down.

We headed on to the hotel. When I went in the office to check in I was dismayed at the condition plus no one was in the small room. I looked at the breakfast area and knew we would not be eating breakfast there the next morning. After ringing the bell on the desk my check-in was handled by a guy that asked for my ID and charge card. That was about all he said, not very welcoming at all. Then Jerry and I went to the room. One look at it and we knew we would not be spending the night there. Jerry went back to the office to see if he could get a refund while I just stood in the smelly room afraid to sit on any of the stained furniture. Of course we couldn’t get a refund but we weren’t staying. I’m not sure I have ever been in a hotel room that bad and yes, I did put a review on both Trip Advisor and Yelp.

Then we had to decide where to go. Our options were Aiken, SC or Augusta, Ga. Since we knew the RV was going to be towed to National Indoor RV in Lawrenceville, Ga we elected to go to Augusta. I called and was able to get reservations at the Hyatt Place for nearly the same price as Days Inn Wyndham. There was a world of difference in the two!

When we checked in the ladies at the desk could not have been more pleasant and welcoming plus after taking a look at us they gave me two free coupons for a glass of wine! We settled in the room and then went out for a nice steak.

Wednesday we decided to go to Lawrenceville to NIRV. I had heard good things about them but wanted to see the dealership plus I think it’s always a good idea to put a face to a name. Lawrenceville was only a couple of hours away so off we went. We were able to meet with the service manager and show him pictures of our coach. He answered all of our questions and gave us an approximate time line of how things would go. Of course it all depended on when the coach arrived and Palmetto would not tow it until they received a check from our insurance company.

Thursday we got up and out early heading back to Barnwell. We had decided not to empty everything out of the RV and only get clothes and Jerry’s tools. We crammed everything in our Jeep all the way to the ceiling and headed back to North Carolina, 300 miles away. When we got back to Kinston we stopped by the grocery store only to realize as we were walking back to the car that there was nowhere to put anything extra. Fortunately we were not far from our home as I had to hold a 24 can case of Mountain Dew with a bag of groceries on my feet! That’s OK. We were safely home. Thank you Jesus!

Although the trip was filled with dismay, angst and fear we knew when we left home and all along the way that we were in the Lord’s hands. We had prayed for safe travel and He kept us safe. We know it could have been so much worse but we are OK. Material things are just things that can be replaced. Sure, we wish the accident had not happened but we are thankful for God’s mercy, grace and protection all along the way. To Him we give the honor and the glory.

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Home Away From Home, South Carolina

A Smashing Halt

Our six week long trip to Texas and New Mexico via Florida came to a smashing halt just hours after we left home. The weather was bad, pouring rain through North Carolina and then heavy traffic the moment we got into South Carolina. In fact we were often stopped on I95 and then would slowly inch forward. If we let the car/truck in front of us get too far away someone would quickly pull in front of us. We didn’t follow too closely but had to be vigilant at all times. All in all it was slow going but it was the week between Christmas and New Year’s so it was to be somewhat expected however we had a trucker who routinely travels 95 tell us that he had never seen traffic so heavy and it was heavy both ways.

Around 3:30 we were behind a propane tanker who was behind a big truck hauling some sort of mobile home – I never saw that truck. Suddenly the big truck stopped, the propane tanker stopped and we tried to stop but as the highway patrolman said it was unavoidable. It would appear that our braking assist did not work properly thus a 4,000 pound car plowed into the back of the coach as we were trying to stop forcing us forward. Fortunately we were only going 15 mph when we crashed into the back of the tanker. Also, fortunately the tanker had just been cleaned out and it only had compressed air in it and no propane. The big truck that essentially caused the accident went on down the road but there we were, the propane tanker and us stopped in the right lane of a busy I95 around 3:30 in the afternoon near Yemassee, SC.

Immediately Jerry and I began questioning each other “are you alright?” I would love to know how many times we said that to each other but thankfully the answer was yes. We were shaken to say the least but no apparent injuries to us or the driver of the tanker.

We all got out of the vehicles and the tanker driver immediately put out hazard signs to divert traffic. I called 911 and of course they wanted to know where we were. Other than I95 I couldn’t tell them anything. There was an exit a couple of miles down the road but I couldn’t read it at that distance. Then the operator told me that I had been connected to the wrong county and switched me over to someone else. It was a frustrating experience as I was expecting more immediate attention. Glad we weren’t injured! We waited over 30 minutes for the local police to arrive. Two policemen eventually arrived and assessed the situation – I guess. One of them never spoke and never made eye contact. I guess we looked OK because we were never asked. No warm fuzzies there!

As we waited for the highway patrolman we tried to assess the damage. The front had significant damage especially on the right side. Jerry had tried to pull into the left lane before we hit but had nowhere to go thus the damage to the right side. The jeep that we tow four down was right up against the back of the RV and the front wheels were off of the ground. The blue ox tow bar was hanging.

After an hour of so the highway patrolman finally showed up. Naturally he wanted us to pull off of the road. We didn’t even know if the coach would start but it did. We pulled off of the road onto the right side and then the patrolman told us to drive on to the exit to get off the highway and let traffic start flowing again. He fell in behind us and with lights flashing we continued on to a Love’s Travel Station. Although we only went a couple of miles it was a bit frightening as slivers of glass continued to fall on the dashboard plus we didn’t know if we were doing more damage to everything. As we made the necessary turns we could hear something dragging on the pavement but had no idea what it was.

We finally made it into the back parking area of Love’s and it began to pour rain. There we were, me inside and Jerry outside talking with the tanker driver and the patrolman getting soaking wet. Suddenly there was a knock on the door and when I opened it a guy was standing in the pouring rain telling me he knew how to get our car down. Jerry appeared and the gentleman explained to Jerry that he had had the same thing happen to him twice so he knew what to do. They told me to sit in the driver’s seat and to press the brake when they told me. I sat down and waited for them to tell me to press the break but suddenly I felt a big jerk and then the guy walked by with his thumb up. Our car was down! Another blessing. RVer’s are always ready to help a fellow RVer! The gentleman, Danny, was in his RV parked further down and had his Jeep hooked up but had realized our situation. In the pouring rain he detached his Jeep and then drove over to hook it to our Jeep to pull it down. It would have been a gracious thing to do anyway but with the pouring rain – well, that shows you the spirit of the RV world, always willing to help a fellow RVer.

Jerry drove the car around the parking lot to see if there was any damage to it and fortunately there wasn’t. In fact there didn’t even seem to be a scratch on it. Actually a couple of days later we saw that a small bit of paint was rubbed off on the front bumper but you have to be looking for it to see it.

Since we had planned to be gone for quite a while we had stocked up our refrigerator and freezer. Realizing that all of that food would go bad we offered it to Danny. We gave him cartons of frozen shrimp, chicken, steaks, peas, butter beans – golly, I don’t know what else but nearly everything in the freezer, probably over $200 worth of food. It was a small price to pay for his help and I hope he has enjoyed it.

After the patrolman left we were able to park the coach against a fence and then had to decide what to do for the night. Do we stay with the RV or go to a hotel? Since we could run the generator we decided to stay in the coach as I hated to leave everything there while we were away overnight. Naturally we had not had dinner so we drove over to the Love’s station where there was a Hardee’s inside. I didn’t have much appetite but ate a little bit.

Do you have any idea how far a bottle of Thai Sweet Chili Sauce can go? I do now! When we hit the tanker I heard something in the back crash and roll but of course had no idea what it was. It was a bottle of the sauce and it broke as it hit the floor. We had a trail of sticky chili sauce down the kitchen floor extending all the way to the carpet in the doghouse. There we were at 8:00 at night scrubbing the kitchen floor in the narrow kitchen – the slides were not out – and trying to locate the missing bottle. We finally found it under the recliner. What a mess of chili sauce and broken glass but we got it up.

We had never stayed in a truck stop before preferring to leave the parking spaces for working truckers but we had no choice. By the time we closed up everything there were trucks parked in every available space. In fact one had backed in beside us where I didn’t even realize there was room. I could open our door but I could have stood on the steps and touched the truck. Amazingly I never heard him come in.

As we discussed our situation we decided that we would need to empty the RV of almost everything after it was towed to the tow shop facility in Barnwell, SC sixty miles away. We decided that renting a U-Haul was probably the best thing to do as we were 300 miles from home and couldn’t possibly get everything in our Jeep. Of course, the trailer hitch for the Jeep was home so we needed to buy a new one so off to the nearest Lowe’s we went. In addition to the hitch we bought some boxes to pack up some things.

We had also decided to go on to the game in Jacksonville since we had the tickets and were meeting Becky and Billy plus we didn’t want to return home until we knew more about the RV situation. With that in mind we tried to get the necessary clothes and items to take to a hotel. Several years ago we bought a small suitcase that we kept in the RV in case we were on a trip and needed to fly home for an emergency. It was the only suitcase we had so we packed it, a laundry basket, a box and a satchel. With the hanging clothes without a clothes bag I was sure we would look like homeless people when we checked in! We also tried to get everything out on the bed so we could easily get to it when we returned to empty the coach. All of this was done in the small confines of a coach with no slides out. We were afraid to put out the slides on the driver’s side as we didn’t know if they would retract. The sliding window on the driver’s side could not be opened so we didn’t know if there was frame damage.

The tow truck arrived around 1:00. They asked Jerry to pull the coach over to the side of the parking lot so we wouldn’t be blocking anyone as they attached the coach to the truck. The night before we had pulled down the front shade but we couldn’t get it to go back up. Amazingly the coach started and one of the tow truck fellows held the shade up so Jerry could drive to the side of the lot. They hooked the coach to the tow truck, a beautiful new truck and then removed the drive shaft so it could be towed.

With everything under control Jerry and I left for Jacksonville. I had called earlier and despite the Gator Bowl and New Year’s weekend was able to secure a reservation at the Hyatt Place on the St. John’s River. Again the traffic was horrible. In fact it took us an hour and twenty minutes to go forty miles. As soon as we hit the Georgia state lane and an additional lane, traffic resumed a normal pace. Admittedly I was a bit jumpy. Every time Jerry hit the breaks my heart would miss a beat. I think it will take some time before my travel jitters go away.

Florida, Georgia, Home Away From Home, Texas

Planning, Calulating Mileage, Planning Some More

Ah, the planning of a trip. January is our travel month because we have no commitments during the month however planning a trip in January limits our destinations. Yes, we want to go to the Northeast and we yes, we want to take that long ago planned trip to South Dakota but in January – nope, not possible. After some discussion we finally decided on Texas and New Mexico traveling through Hot Springs, Arkansas for a brief stop after leaving around January 2nd or 3rd. That quickly changed when NC State was offered a bid to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida. Hot Springs is not on that route! Back to the Roadtrippers I went revamping the entire trip and guess what – we’re leaving December 28th.

We don’t generally make reservations for our January trip as we like to be flexible but I knew we had to have reservations for the first leg. My hope was Clinche State Park near Amelia Island, Ga about an hour away from the game site but there were no vacancies. I then quickly began to realize that Florida in January even as far north as Jacksonville is snow bird country and things possibly have been reserved for quite some time. Do we stay in St. Mary’s, Georgia, Jacksonville proper, St. Augustine, an hour away in the other direction? Quite the quandary. My guess – we’ll stay where we can get a reservation although $70 a night on the front of our trip is a little more than I want to spend!

I’ve pretty much routed the trip noting the various places we want to see after leaving Jacksonville on New Year’s Day. Will that be an easy day of travel with little traffic or will there be many returning home after the holidays? We’ll see!

We visited Texas a few years ago and loved it but there was just so much to see and we couldn’t possibly see it all so Jerry suggested going back. We missed Dallas, Houston and Austin but we don’t really enjoy cities so even though these cities made the original route, Dallas made the cut early. Houston and Austin are still in but we shall see.

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

A Night at a Winery

Up and about this morning as we had about 200 miles to go and an errand once we arrived at our destination for the evening. Fortunately the only difficulty was locating a gas station we could maneuver around and that was easily accomplished. We arrived at our Harvest Host site around 1:00 in the afternoon. I went in and spoke with the host who gave us two ideas as to where to park. We elected to park next to the vineyard right there at the winery. After lunch we went in and I had a wine tasting. As my friends tell me I am a wine neophyte meaning I don’t know anything about wine and I only like a couple of the semi-sweet ones, a moscato or ruscato so tasting the chardonnay was interesting! I actually bought two bottles as gifts for friends.

We ran our errand which took us into Greensboro and we spent most of the afternoon there. When we returned to the winery about 6:00 everyone was gone and it was mighty quiet. I mean we were in the country! Although we had the AC on we had not pulled the shades when we left and the setting sun had shone brightly into the RV heating it up quite a bit so it took a while for it to cool down. Lesson learned! Don’t forget the shades when it is 90 degrees plus outside and the RV is parked facing the western sunset.

We warmed up leftovers for dinner and then settled in for the evening. I glanced out of the window at one point and realized that it was mighty dark outside, not a light to be seen, we were alone in the country and it was a bit spooky. It got even spookier in the night when I was awakened not once but twice when we had a severe thunder storm. When the second storm hit I thought someone was beating on the door so I woke Jerry up. It was only thunder and pouring rain and all was fine. Scaredy Cat that I am.

Although the owner had told us that they would be out early picking grapes we never heard them. I assumed that the heavy rain prevented them picking that day. We headed out early to Raleigh and the NC State Fairgrounds where we spent the week-end. Saturday was my birthday and Jerry told me he was having a party for me with 55,000 of my closet friends – we were going to the NC State vs James Madison football game! NC State won. It was not pretty but it is a “W” in the record books!

When we got up Sunday we got the linens and towels washed and ready for our next trip leaving on September 12th. A quick ride home, parked the coach and off to the river we went. Guess one can see why it is difficult to answer the question of where we live.

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Check One off the Bucket List -White Water Rafting

Our 6 year old grandson, Eli is just too funny sometimes. He spent several days with us a couple of weeks ago and on the way home from church we were discussing how funny he was. Jerry said that when he grew up he should become a comedian. Eli’s response was “you can be paid for being funny?” When I replied yes he emphatically said “Well Missy, get a hustle on”! He usually calls me G or GiGi but never have I been referred to as Missy. Of course Eli got the response he wanted as both Jerry and I burst out laughing.

Well, yesterday I gave Jerry the website for the Nantahala Outdoor Recreation site to see if he was interested in white water rafting. Considering the expense I had no idea what he would say. He burst in the room with a “Missy, get a hustle on and let’s go” so I began planning the day. Since neither of us had ever been white water rafting we decided on the 3 hour ride which had beginner status. The times were 9:00, 10:00, and 1:00. I was leaning towards 1:00 as I thought it might be warmer then but Jerry suggested 10:00 so that’s what we decided on.

Wednesday morning was covered in fog and the weather forecast called for rain around 2:00. We were supposed to be at NOC by 9:30 and since we didn’t know exactly how long it would take us to get there we left a little after 8:00. That was a good decision because before we could get too far out of Maggie Valley we ran into a road block. Trees and power lines were down and they had no idea how long it would be before traffic was allowed. The poor man delivering the message said he had already been cussed out twice before we got there. We asked for directions, thanked him and began an alternate route to NOC. We ended up on the Blue Ridge Parkway which continued to be foggy except when the blinding sun shone through on the highway. Needless to say it was full of ups and downs and winding roads. I’m quite sure it is a beautiful drive when the weather is good and there are no worries about being late for an appointment. If we were late, we forfeited the $100 we paid so we continued on. We actually arrived almost exactly at 9:30, right on time.

After we checked in and signed the appropriate waivers we walked around a bit. I had been told to be sure we were with good strong adults. There were two children in the group accompanied by their GiGi and Papa. Guess who we were paired with? Yep, you got it. No strength there.

After getting fitted with PFD, personal flotation devices or more commonly known to us as life preservers we watched an introductory film on riding the rapids. Although it was unlikely to happen we were instructed on what to do should we fall out of the raft. Head up, toes up and hopefully get back in the raft. Do not stand up as the bottom is full of rocks that could do a lot of damage.

The river depth is controlled by a dam and stays a pretty consistent 55 degrees. In other words, pretty chilly! We were instructed on how to place our feet to best secure us in the raft. My feet were in cold water although as the ride progressed I’m not sure if they acclimated to the cold water or if they were just numb but the water didn’t bother me. Poor Jerry stuck his foot in the instructed area. The GiGi in front of him elected not to it on the side of the raft but right on top of Jerry’s foot. He couldn’t move it, couldn’t get it out so there was never any danger of him falling out of the raft!

It was an uneventful ride in that no one fell over. We did get stuck on a rock a couple of times and our guide, Orion had to get out and manually push us off. Both of the kids jumped in for a very brief swim. It was a fun ride, not quite as challenging as I had thought though. Jerry and I both decided that we’d like to go again but would like a more adventuresome ride the next time.

We’re looking a little rough here!No pride!
After the ride we went to a nearby restaurant River’s End and had burgers. I had a hot cup of coffee too! Jerry said his burger was delicious, mine not so much but the view was beautiful and the service was great. Afterward we wandered around the gift shop and wonders never cease – I didn’t buy a magnet or t-shirt!

With the detour no longer in force we had a shorter ride back to the RV park and I headed right toward a warm shower. Ah, it felt so good. I was still a bit chilled though so I went outside and just sat in the warm sun until I thawed out completely. It took my poor feet a while!

We had earlier decided that we would return to Maggie’s Seafood Restaurant where we had eaten last year. I wanted some rainbow trout which is what I had gotten last year. Jerry had gotten gator bites last year but this year decided to join me in getting the trout. We had calamari for an appetizer and then the trout, mine broiled, his fried. Although mine was good Jerry didn’t enjoy his as much so guess we won’t be returning to Maggie’s next time we are in the area.

Back to the coach and a little preparation for leaving in the morning. Hoping to be on the road by 9:00 as we’ve got a little over 200 miles to go and an errand to run once we get settled.

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Enjoying Mt. Mitchell

Tuesday was a trip to Mt. Mitchell. Bless our GPS’s heart it took us right through the heart of Asheville and then a very windy road until we finally arrived at Mt. Mitchell State Park, the first state park in North Carolina and the highest point east of the Mississippi. We rode up to the top and then hiked up to the observation deck where the elevation was 6684 feet. Despite the cloudy day the view was beautiful.

The Observation Deck
Halfway back down from the observation deck we took a detour and navigated the Balsam Trail. What a fragrant hike surrounded by Frazer Firs and Red Spruce plus other beautiful foliage. It truly smelled like Christmas!

Because of the extreme weather at the top of Mt. Mitchell very few trees can survive in the park. Some of the survivors are yellow birch, mountain ash, fire cherry and red-berried elder. Interestingly enough though the cool, moist conditions make it an ideal place for numerous wildflowers including White Snakeroot, Mountain St. Johnswort and Wood Sorrel to mention just a few. As we walked along we saw many examples of these wildflowers.

Although the area is supposed to be a mecca for mushrooms we saw only one, well we only identified one, the red gill webcap. After completing the fragrant hike we enjoyed our picnic lunch gazing out over the lovely mountains.

Our next stop was the Zeb Vance Birthplace. We toured the small museum where we learned that Vance was a charismatic, plain speaking man. Before political debates were televised candidates would spend months traveling from town to town to campaign on the leading issues of the election. Because the candidate often had to stand on a tree stump so the crowd could see and hear him their speeches were called “stump speeches”. With his plain manner of speaking and sharp wit, Vance was a celebrated stump speaker. After touring the museum and learning more about Zeb Vance who served two terms as governor although not consecutive, we wandered around the grounds where we saw several building including the main house which actually had an upstairs.

Returning to the campground we rested a bit, had dinner and then walked around the park for a while. It is a lovely park with what appeared to be travelers (like us) and some seasonal visitors. Over the week we met several people from Florida who come up to spend the month of August in the mountains. Guess it is cooler than Florida but the temperature increased each day we were there. It got a little hot!

Home Away From Home, National Park, North Carolina

The Elk in Cataloochee Valley

Resting, relaxing, driving (riding), touring, hiking, a little bit of everything during our visit to the NC mountains. Since we couldn’t check into Pride RV Resort until noon we packed up and then walked over and said goodbye to our new friends, Elaine and Paul. We arrived in Waynesville at Pride RV just before 12:00, checked in and quickly set up on site F13, just one row back from the stream but with no one in front of us we had a good view.

After lunch we rode into Maggie Valley and went in a couple of shops. We stocked up on our once a year purchase of sweet onion relish and headed back to the rv park. On the way we stopped at one of Jerry’s favorite places, the local lumber company where he had previously bought some end cuts to work on at home. He brought ten end cuts of cherry, oak, and maple. He will surely be ready for time in his workshop when we get home. Back to the park where we spent a relaxing afternoon.

Monday evening we rode to Cataloochee Valley located in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park where we were hoping to see some elk. We had been a couple of years ago and after spending at least an hour there we saw one lone elk – at a distance so we weren’t too hopeful this time. The road to the valley is up and down, paved, graveled or dirt, and curvy, winding and narrow. As we ascended we met a number of cars coming down so we were afraid we had missed the elk. Boy where we wrong. As soon as we entered the park we began to see elk. As we continued on we were suddenly stopped by elk standing in the road or crossing by. They were close enough that I could have touched them! It reminded me of posts about Yellowstone where traffic is stopped for bison. Traffic was stopped here for elk and there were many novice photographers around including us. Unfortunately Jerry had not brought his good camera so all of our pictures were with the iPhone but they still turned out pretty good. We probably saw about 20 elk plus two bulls and we even heard their cries. They seemed to take all of the people in stride and unfortunately did not appear afraid of all. The elk were repopulated there several years ago and the population has increased a great deal. The best time to see the elk is at dusk and the best time to go back down the mountain is before dark so we obviously didn’t stay a long time, but long enough to really enjoy the beautiful animals.

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Fun With Our FMCA Chapter

After finally getting a good night’s sleep I was up pretty early and when I peeped out of the window it was so foggy I couldn’t tell what the weather would be like. The fog stayed with us for a while but finally lifted and it turned into a beautiful day. We just hung around the coach most of the morning. I sat outside and read for a while just enjoying the beautiful weather. A main facet of being in the Carolina Guroos is meeting and getting to know new friends. Generally when Jerry and I travel we are up and out every day touring the countryside but when we are at a rally we relax and do a lot of visiting. That was the agenda for the day until 5:00 when the rally officially began.

We all met at the club house for a business meeting and dinner, then played games for a while. After a return to the coach we sat outside for a while and then turned in early since it was getting a little cool outside.

Another slow start to the day on Friday but we all met at 11:15 for a trip to the Dillard House in Dillard, Georgia for a delicious luncheon. The delicious food is served family style and included fried chicken, fried zucchini, mac and cheese, butter beans, cabbage au gratin, green beans, cheese biscuits, corn bread, fried catfish, country style steak, country ham and so much more plus it was topped off with a strawberry cobbler with ice cream. Perhaps not our usual fare and with all of the fried foods not the healthiest meal I’ve ever eaten but oh boy, was it good. I knew I wouldn’t be eating dinner that night.

After some running around to the grocery store, etc. we returned to the campground. I had volunteered to be on the planning committee for scheduling the rallys for 2019 and we met in the afternoon to offer up ideas. Afterward everyone gathered for a wine tasting and a good time was had by all! It was a fun day of fellowship and getting to know some of the other Guroos better.

In the evening we had an ice cream party (like we needed more food) and games and then Jerry and I made an early evening of it. It had been a full and busy but fun day and we were tired!

Saturday dawned early for us as we had a three hour drive to Clemmons to celebrate our oldest granddaughter’s birthday. Never let it be said that we are not great grandparents! The party was fun and getting to visit with three of our grands made the trip totally worth it. We got back to Franklin around 7:00, ate some left overs and then what did we do? We visited, of course!

As is usual the Guroos met on Sunday morning for biscuits and coffee and a devotion then most everyone left for either home or other destinations. We had decided to stay another evening as I figured we would need some recuperation after six hours in the car on Saturday. I was right! Other than a trip to the grocery store along with new friends Paul and Elaine we had a quiet day. I went to the pool for a little while and boy was the water frigid. Our river water is warmer! I walked over to Elaine and Paul’s in the early evening for a brief visit and then back to the RV and bed!

It was a great rally. We got to see old friends and meet new friends. Excited about the next rally in October in Myrtle Beach. I strongly encourage all RVer’s to join FMCA. The cost is minimal and the benefits are outstanding. In addition, joining a local chapter is just icing on the cake.

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

On to the Rally

We wanted to get on the road early so we were up and about by 7:00. Jerry had gotten up around 4:30 and turned the hot water heater on so we both had hot showers. We then met our host Tim and got some of his home grown vegetables – fresh peaches and cream corn, tomatoes and pickling cucumbers. Can’t wait!

We were on the road by a bit after 8:00 and only stopped once for gas. We prefer Flying J because it is easy to get in and out of but alas, no Flying J’s ahead so we pulled into the exit for a Love’s and then saw a Marathon that was more accessible. Same price and easy in and out. As he was getting gas Jerry again checked the braking system. He had replaced the cable before we left this morning and thankfully all was working well. It’s nice to know that while we are traversing the mountains the brake assist is working!

We arrived at Great Outdoors RV Resort in Franklin before noon, before check in time but they checked and our site was ready so we were able to check in. As luck would have it we were again parked next to our friends, Larry and Debra. As soon as we got in they walked over and Debra invited me to join her and some of the girls for an afternoon at Harrah’s Casino in Cherokee so off we went leaving Jerry and Larry on their own.

Well, what I know about casinos can be written on my little fingernail so to say it was interesting is a pretty big understatement. I’m sure I looked like a deer in headlights most of the time. I got my card which allowed me to play the slots (and I guess anything else but I surely didn’t know how to do anything else, didn’t even know how to play the slot machine) and another Guroo showed Debra and me what to do. For about two hours we played the slots, walked around – at one point I looked at Debra and remarked “we’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy”, and had some lunch. Between the two of us we lost nearly $35 since our total winnings together was $.24! We gave that to a lady sitting next to Debra and as we walked away she exclaimed that we had changed her luck!

We returned to the RV park and sat around outside and visited until we finally decided to go out to dinner. The choice was a Thai restaurant, Thai Paradise. Again, Jerry perused the menu at length as neither of us were sure of what to order. Once we decided on the dish we then had to decide how hot we wanted it. Both of us like hot, spicy foods so we elected to go pretty hot. Oh my! Without a doubt it was the hottest dish I have ever tasted but it was delicious. I even had enough left over for lunch the next day.

The nighttime temperatures have been a much enjoyed contrast to the hot and humid days at home. When we returned to the coach we turned the AC off and enjoyed a good night’s rest.

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

On the Road Again – Finally!

After a summer of staying home we decided to join our FMCA Carolina Guroos for a week-end in Franklin, NC and there was a lot to do to get ready.

In preparation for the trip we finally got around to getting the RV out of storage. I was pleasantly surprised at how clean it was both on the inside and the outside. Of course there were a few cobwebs on the tires but other than that it was a lot cleaner than usual. Guess moving it to an enclosed storage was a good idea.

Of course when we got there the chassis battery was dead so we had to jump it. No problem. Jerry got it started and said he was going to ride around a bit to charge the battery so I left him at the storage building. I drove on out to the highway but decided to wait for him. Glad I did. When he didn’t come in a timely manner I returned only to find out that the steps were out and would not go in. $600 later and four new house batteries and we finally brought the rig home, backed in, plugged it in, turned on the air conditioner and left it for the week-end.

We returned home Sunday evening and began the task of loading things. Actually we just transferred from the car to the RV. A trip to the grocery store for spaghetti fixings and we were in for the night.

Monday was a fairly busy day as we had to get both cars inspected so we could renew the licenses that will expire while we are gone. Oops! We also had to get the oil changed in the jeep getting it ready for the trip. We completed putting everything in and then headed to Trent’s to keep their children for the evening. Although we didn’t get home until nearly 9:30 (with no dinner – oh well, we had time with the grands) there were still things to be done. Since we have the house on the market we always try to keep it neat and clean so that meant vacuuming at 10:00 at night!

Tuesday morning dawned bright and early for me as I received a text before 6:00 but honestly, I was already awake (going to be a long day). It was from the gentleman who owns the Harvest Hosts farm where we were planning to spend the night before going on to Franklin. He was verifying our arrival. I had a hair appointment at 8:00 and we were hoping to be on the road by noon.

When I got home from the beauty salon Jerry had already hooked the car up and within 30 minutes we were ready to leave 30 minutes ahead of schedule (highly unusual). After going through the check list and having a moment of prayer we headed out for what we hoped was an uneventful trip.

Oh well — that didn’t exactly happen. We were only about 45 minutes from home when we suddenly heard a loud sound as though the roof was coming off. Jerry immediately pulled over and inspected everything but didn’t find a problem. Next he inspected the car and that seemed to be the problem. He realized that the braking assist was for some reason applying the brakes. After stopping and starting, disconnecting, reconnecting, and ending up at a Walmart parking lot he finally decided that one of the cords was bad. He disconnected that and all seemed fine. We were running behind schedule but were hopeful we would be able to make our Harvest Hosts appointment for the evening.

We stopped briefly in Clemmons to drop off our oldest grandson who had spent a few days with us and after a very brief visit with his mom and sister in the Harris Teeter parking lot we were on our way again. Thankfully we arrived at our Harvest Host site around 5:30. Although the parking place appeared to be on an incline we put the jacks down and leveled quickly. Our host Tim, an American Airlines pilot and owner of the farm, was very personable and suggested we all go all to eat Mexican. Jerry and I rarely eat Mexican and quite frankly have no idea what to order! I ended up with a chicken based dish and he had a spicy shrimp dish. Both were very good.

We returned to the motor home and got ready for bed. We were hoping it was cool enough to avoid using the generator but sometime after I went to sleep Jerry gave up. He said it was 95 in the coach. It wasn’t but it was a bit warm. We don’t like to use the generator all night but felt it was necessary. Even so I don’t think either of us got a good night’s sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night to pouring down rain. I must say though it is very soothing to hear rain on a metal roof, even pouring rain.

The next morning we bought some fresh vegetables from Tim – corn, tomatoes and cucumbers – and were off for Franklin a little after 8:00. I can’t believe how prompt we’ve been so far, again highly unusual!