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Planning an RV Trip – With No RV!

Here I sit in the cold March weather – yes, it’s cold for Eastern North Carolina – planning a Summer RV trip however we have no RV! How long does it take to get a damaged RV repaired? Well, our accident was December 28 and it’s now March 12 and repairs haven’t even started. We had plans to be in Perry, Ga this week for our third FMCA rally there but no RV so no go. We even have a tentative June trip to take two of the grands white water rafting in the NC mountains. Surely we will have the motor home back by then don’t you think?

Between repair estimates from the RV dealership, approval from the insurance company, parts estimates from several different manufacturers, windshield removal so they can see if there is further damage – well, you get the picture. Is it frustrating? Well, yeah. Spring is coming and we are getting hitch itch but alas, we have no hitch to hitch.

Our planned summer trip is out west visiting Custer State Park, Teddy Roosevelt National Park, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons. Ambitious? Yes. Lengthy? Yes. We normally travel without reservations so our schedule can be flexible but we have been strongly advised to make reservations for these hot (no pun intended) tourist attractions so that locks us into a somewhat rigid schedule. At least we won’t be riding down the highway with me frantically looking for an overnight stop. I have most of the trip mapped out and am only on the fourth draft. That’s pretty good for me as I have been known to make as many as thirteen drafts before I come up with the final one. It’s difficult to map out 50 days on the road but I have had help. I have used Road Trippers for some time and it is a great resource. This time though I added RV Trip Wizard. Between the two I have mapped out a route to take us to all of the places we hope to go. I have also gotten great advice from IRV2 and the many RV blogs I read.

Hopefully everything will come together and we’ll have a grand trip. I have some reservations to make this morning and if I am successful the trip will be completely planned. Now all we need is a motor home!

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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.

Home, North Carolina, South Carolina

On to the Gator Bowl

After hours of researching and discussion we finally decided that our January trip this year would entail seeing parts of Texas we had missed previously plus a lot of New Mexico. We had planned to leave around January 3 but then NC State got a bid to play in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida. We decided we could just leave earlier and go to the Gator Bowl and then take off for the travels. Meeting my cousin, Becky and her husband Billy just added fuel to that idea so it was planned. We were leaving December 28 for approximately six weeks on the road. Needless to say I had to take every piece of clothing I owned. After all, we would be dressing for warm Florida weather and cold New Mexico weather.

Leaving three days after Christmas presented some obstacles but strangely enough we seemed to get everything done in a timely manner. All of the children and grandchildren were at our house Christmas evening for dinner and gift exchange. At the end of the evening after we finally got everything cleaned up and put away we fell into bed exhausted not sure if we’d be able to get any trip preparations done.

Wednesday morning as soon as the kids left we went out to the warehouse to get the motor home. Oh what a sweet sound when it started and we did not hear the click, click, click of a dead battery. A battery disconnect is a real deal! Getting it out of the warehouse would have been a real challenge for me as it was behind a big RV and sandwiched in between the wall and a boat but Jerry assured me there was enough room. Although I was in front of him giving him left, right, straight directions he didn’t need them as he easily navigated it right though the narrow space.

The rest of Wednesday was spent taking down the easiest of the Christmas decorations and visiting with the children. Thursday though we hit the floor running. The biggest challenge was getting the Christmas tree down and ornaments put away. Keeping in mind that our house is on the market and could be shown while we are gone we had to leave everything in show ready condition. Amazingly we did it! It wasn’t perfect but it would pass. Christmas decorations down, floors vacuumed, dusting done and bathrooms cleaned – enough!

Jerry wanted to leave between 8:00 and 9:00 and we walked out of the door to the coach at 8:50 however by the time we got the steps in (yeah, they were a little problematic this morning) and had gone through the check off list and shared a brief payer time it was 9:05 when we pulled out of the driveway. The morning ride was filled with heavy rains and wind until just before we hit South Carolina. As usual we stopped in Latta, SC at the Flying J for gas and also pulled into a parking place and had lunch.

We were making good time, Jerry felt good so we decided to wait to try to locate somewhere to spend the night and then … we ran into a traffic jam. A lot of the time we were going (if we were going at all) 15 mph and then occasionally we would speed up to 25! As we slowly ambled down the highway we noticed a big RV towing a car on a car dolly all the way off of the road nearly into the center guardrail. No idea what happened though and we didn’t see anyone. Apparently there are a lot of snow birders heading South pus I’m sure there is a lot of holiday traffic making it a slow ride down I 95. Also saw a big semi jackknifed on the side of the road. Maybe that should have told us to stop!

To Be Continued…

Home, North Carolina

Goodbye Florence

In the fall of 2016 I planned a short trip through Virginia ending up touring around Pennsylvania – then came Hurricane Matthew. Obviously our trip was canceled. In fact when I called to cancel our reservations all I had to say was “I’m from Eastern North Carolina” and the reservation was canceled with no problem. This year we were scheduled to attend a wedding in Norfolk, VA on the week-end of September 28. Since we had some free time we decided to again try for Pennsylvania. When I plan a trip I make a draft of our route, places to stay and things to do. Needless to say as I work on the trip I update the draft. I was on Draft Nine when we started hearing about Hurricane Florence coming in as a Category 4 on the North Carolina coast. As the storm very slowly wound its way toward our coast we knew we would be home for the duration so no trip to Pennsylvania.

We went down to our home on the Pamlico River and secured things as best we could and prayed we had done enough. When we arrived back in Kinston we put the RV along with my Jeep in the storage warehouse to protect them from wind and potentially rising water. Our thoughts at that time were to plan on living in the RV in our driveway if we lost power. Then we began to prepare for the storm itself. We bought groceries and eventually were able to find a case of the very hard to locate water. By Wednesday, September 12th we were as ready as we could be. We stayed glued to the television as we watched the track wax and wane toward us. Each night as we went to bed we had no idea where the storm would be the next morning. Needless to say there were some sleepless nights as we heard the wind roar around our home. Fortunately we never lost power so we had AC and access to television and Internet. Although I am not a Facebook fan due to all of the vitriolic political postings I frequently checked in there. There were constant updates from our county Emergency Center plus many people posted their conditions. The rain came down in torrents and we began to wonder if it would ever stop. In total I think Kinston got nearly 20 inches during those few days however many communities got a great deal more, some a historic three feet plus. To say that Eastern North Carolina has been devastated is a huge understatement. The city where I used to work, New Bern only about 35 miles from here, looks like a war zone. It is heartbreaking to see that so many have lost everything they own. When we need work done on our RV we take it to Wilmington, about an hour and a half from us. That city too is beyond description and a week later they are still without power. Schools have been out all week and some counties are just posting that schools are closed until further notice.

On Saturday, the rains seemed to lessen a bit and since the storm took the southern route Jerry decided that we could go check on our river house. We had been in contact with our neighbor who bravely stayed and they kept us up to date with damage reports. I still was unprepared for what we found. We were missing several steps going up the back way leaving us to carefully move from one to another hoping that it was secure. The entire steps to Jerry’s workshop were gone and the small porch was hanging by a thread. It was still surrounded by water so it was inaccessible. Our little dock was gone however there was a dock in our yard, not ours though. The bulkhead was breached and along with the water were many rocks from it. Our beautiful patio that Jerry worked so hard on was damaged but nothing was missing. It will be a lot of hard work to repair it but it can be done. We had some leaks in the river room (sun porch) but other than that we couldn’t see any more damage. I was afraid we’d see more when we returned later. Many of the residents were out and about tromping through the standing water and waves accessing the damage. We only stayed about an hour as we were afraid we would run into rising water on the way back to Kinston and we did! There are only two ways to access Pamlico Beach, the main highway and then a little shortcut behind the main road. When we got back to the turn off the main highway was blocked. We didn’t know if it was due to a damaged bridge or high water but we had only one other way out, the back road. It was covered in standing water so we slowly and cautiously made our way through. We made it back home and other than a trip to church on Sunday we stayed close to home. The rains continued intermittently through Tuesday and then we saw the sun shine. What a beautiful sight among all of the devastation.

To the many volunteers who have come to Eastern North Carolina we cannot say thank you enough. Linesmen have come from Louisiana, Tennessee, New York and several other states. To the Red Cross, simply put thank you. Shelters are opened and distribution centers as well. We went to Sam’s yesterday and stocked up on towels and canned foods to drop off there.

Eastern North Carolina has been hit hard and there is much damage and more to come as the waters continue to rise. Flooding will become an even bigger problem but ENC is resilient and the damage is not insurmountable. We will pull together and we will survive. Oh, on a lighter note, my friends have asked me not to plan another fall trip to Pennsylvania. We don’t do well with the “F” words – Fran, Floyd, and now Florence, etc.!

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We Took the Summer Off

It seems as though it has been so very long since we have RVed and it truly has. We returned from Perry with plans to go on a July trip as we have done for the past 15 years but life happens and our plans changed. Really our hearts changed. On March 26 Mom fell and hit her head quite hard. We spent an evening in the emergency department where they assured us that she was fine. The next morning, Tuesday she got up, went to breakfast and seemed to be fine but as the week progressed she seemed to be declining.

On Friday we took her to have her hearing checked. Although she had no trouble with the hearing assessment she did have trouble maneuvering as she was getting weaker. On Sunday we got a call from the nurses saying that Mom was complaining of intense pain in her face. Mom was definitely not a complainer so we guessed something was wrong. On Monday we saw her doctor and he told us that he thought possibly it was a sinus infection. Otherwise he could see nothing wrong.

Tuesday night I got a call from the nurses saying that Mom had developed a rash on her face and they were afraid it was shingles so off to the ED we went again. An hour’s drive to the hospital to meet Mom seemed to last forever especially since I was driving. Although he was really sick Jerry insisted on going with me but he wanted me to drive. For him to want me to drive at night on the back roads should tell you how bad he felt! He spent the night in the car in the ED parking lot and Mom and I spent the night in the ED. She got along OK until about 3:00 am and then understandably began to fade. Around 7:00 they came in and told us that Mom had pink eye. Really! We’ve been the ED all night for pink eye! We took a very exhausted Mom by to her assisted home facility and then head home ourselves.

We had barely gotten home and settled in when we got another call saying that Mom did not have pink eye but had shingles and they were afraid they were going to her eye. They had made her an appointment with an ophthalmologist and we had to be there by 1:00. On the road again. When my poor Mom got to the doctor’s office she was so very exhausted that she hardly knew where she was. Fortunately the shingles did not appear to be in her eye but she was given medication to hopefully stave it off.

Back to Cypress Glen and Mom to her bed. I spent Friday with Mom and she seemed to be OK despite her fatigue. Early Saturday morning we had a call saying that Mom was very confused and they couldn’t take care of her and were requesting that we get there. My sister lives closer so she was there as quickly as possible. It was a bad day finally culminating in Mom’s third visit to the ED. After being on the Observation Unit for two nights and two days they finally admitted her to the hospital. The next eight days were difficult to say the least as Mom waxed and waned frequently. She slept a lot and ate very little. Either my sister or I were there every day stretching into the evening watching Mom sleep a lot.

We knew the end was in sight so my sister and I began looking at the alternatives. Calling in Hospice was one of the most difficult decisions we made but also one of the wisest. On Tuesday, April 17 Mom returned to her home at Cypress Glen. She was surrounded by familiar faces and a lot of love as she continued to decline. On Friday morning we got the call that we should come to Cypress Glen as they were noticing some changes so my sister and I both were there as soon as possible. God so blessed us during those last days as we laid on her small bed, a daughter on each side of her singing old hymns in harmony. We literally spent hours laying with her. As we did the caretakers often came in and shared with us how Mom had brightened their days, how she had prayed with them, how she had encouraged them and how she loved them. Mom had often said that she didn’t understand why the Lord was keeping her on earth and I always told her that he had a reason, that she was touching someone and making a difference. Her response was that she surely didn’t know what it was. I replied that that was the beauty of it – Mom’s humbleness was precious. Although Helen Jo and I knew that the staff cared for Mom and that Mom cared deeply for them we didn’t know the depth of those feelings. We didn’t know how Mom had blessed so many people. God surely blessed us with that last week when we were able to learn more about our precious Mama.

God took her home Monday night, April 23. We were all there as she slipped into heaven. As heavy as our hearts were we couldn’t have wished more life for her. We knew she was quickly in the arms of Jesus getting to see our precious brother who we lost when he was 18 and her mother as well. Mom was only nine when her mother died. Can you imagine the reunion? Oh Sweet Jesus.

Has it been difficult without Mom? Yes and no. No, because we know she is with Jesus but yes because we miss her. Why haven’t we traveled this spring and summer? It’s hard to explain but I just felt the need to be at home. I know it seems backwards as I was more comfortable traveling when Mom was living and then reluctant to afterward. I guess I just need familiarity and needed to gather my family and friends. My sister and I are in very close contact. When we can’t get together we are constantly on the phone for looooong conversations! Although we were already close the loss of Mom has forged an even deeper relationship.

God blessed us with a precious mother for 92 years. After she fell 2 ½ years ago her life changed and her world became very small. Her memory began to fail but praise God she never had a problem knowing us. Thank you Jesus that you gave me to her. What a blessing.

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Lessons Learned on Our Southwest Trip

1. 3,000 miles is a long way from home.

2. Going 3,000 miles with touring stops along the way is nice. Coming straight home, not so much.

3. Six weeks is a long time to be away from home.

4. There is quite a difference in air when you live at 43’ above sea level and your destination is at 8,000’.

5. Be sure to put the cap on your makeup securely if you don’t want it to run out all over everything when going up in altitude.

6. When going up in altitude be careful when opening the mustard, catsup, etc., anything with pressure unless you want to be sprayed with it.

7. Release air in the sleep number mattress as you change altitudes.

8. Remember to check the bicycle tires too!

9. Hiking at a high altitude is quite a bit different than hiking at home. Breathe!

10. Remember to make sure the bicycles are securely affixed to the bike rack especially after we have gone over awful roads.

11. Check water lines, fuses, etc., anything that may need to be tightened after going over horrible highways.

12. Don’t overload your fuses.

13. We can dry camp for three days and nights.

14. We don’t need to try to save propane by using space heaters and letting everything underneath freeze up.

15. We have three hydraulic slides and one electric slide.

16. We can put a slide in manually.

17. Everything that is on a receptacle goes through the house battery.

18. You shouldn’t buy a cheap bike cover from Walmart. It won’t even last 100 miles!

19. Communicating with family is difficult when you are in different time zones.

20. National parks are so much fun!

21. We love state parks.

22. We love hiking but 7 miles is our limit.

23. I now know what a face plant is.

24. We like hikes that start with the ascent and then end by going down. Makes it a lot easier!

25. Sunset happens quickly. Have the camera ready.

26. Believe the campground reviews. Read in between the lines.

27. Love the Southwest.

28. Can now identify a saguaro and a cholla and can even pronounce them correctly.

29. The best part of any trip is always coming home.

30. There’s no place like home.

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Home At Last

My sister had asked me to pick up some BAMA sweatshirts for her so after we pulled out of Coaches Corner we headed to the local Walmart which was only a couple of miles from the campground. Unable to find anything at Walmart we headed over to Sam’s and found one long sleeved t-shirt. All of the short sleeved t-shirts reminded me of merchants putting out Christmas decorations in October. Think they all are rushing the season a bit.

It was nearly 10:00 when we headed out of Tuscaloosa but our plans were for a shorter driving day today. We had once stayed in Augusta on a return trip home so we had hoped to do that again. Unfortunately they were unable to accommodate us so I began AGAIN to locate a park. Since it was our last night on the road we needed a park with full hookup. I finally located The Barn in Lexington, SC. It was a nice park just a couple of miles off of I20. As we rode in Jerry spotted a Bojangles and said that was where he was going to have breakfast the next day. What a fateful statement.

We got settled in at The Barn, had dinner and watched some of the Olympics. When I awaken Tuesday morning about 6:00 I immediately realized that it was completely dark in the coach AGAIN! Jerry woke up too and began to assess the problem. Unfortunately it was bigger than we thought. He got the tanks emptied and then told me to pull in the slides. When I pressed the button to pull in the passenger bedroom slide nothing happened. Oh no. I later found out that three of our slides are hydraulic and one is electric, standard for most RV’s. The electric one would not come in. After trouble shooting Jerry finally called Newmar and they were able to instruct Jerry on how to pull in the slide. It was determined that we had an electrical issue that was causing the fuses to blow so that is something that will have to be dealt with by an authorized Newmar repair center. It would probably be helpful if we understood how the electrical system works and that may be a seminar in the future. As Jerry said, if we keep having problems he will soon know how to solve them. Needless to say it was very upsetting and a bad way to end a wonderful vacation. We did finally get the slide in and got on the road and yes, we stopped at Bojangles for a biscuit and some coffee.

We finally made it home by 3:00 and we were mighty glad to see Autumn Drive. As soon as Jerry turned off the ignition we turned to each other and bowing our heads thanked the Lord for safe travel and a safe return home. Although we did have some bumps with the coach along the way we never broke down on the road and we never had a problem we were not able to deal with. 6200+ miles on the coach and I have no idea how many on the car, probably at least 1000 and home safely. It was indeed a trip of a lifetime, a trip of learning and a trip of sharing and being together with my best friend!

Home, North Carolina

The Same Question Arises

As usual the question arises – are we going or not? To preface this entry let me say that the weather in eastern North Carolina has been unusually cold. In fact when I get up this morning and it is below 10 degrees it is definitely not typical weather for us. I don’t ever remember it being that cold before. In fact, the entire week since we had brought the RV home to prepare for the trip had been frigid. I was uneasy about bringing it home because of the forecasted cold temperatures but Jerry wanted to bring it so last Wednesday, December 27, we went to the warehouse and brought it home. Since we have a 50 amp hookup at our house we could plug it in and have the heat and heat pad running and not have any difficulties – or so we thought.

Jerry got a new tool for Christmas, a skill saw and was anxious to get to the river for a couple of days to try it out but wanted everything in the RV and ready before we left we spent a few days at the river. Thursday and Friday were spent going from the house to the RV taking things in. I don’t like to do it that way because by the second day I’ve forgotten what I’ve put in so this time I listed each item before I took it out. Hopefully that way I’ll have what I need. (Quite frankly, I am not sure I left anything home). By Saturday morning we felt that we were mostly prepared to leave on Wednesday, January 3 for our first extended stop, Morrilton, Arkansas. With two auxiliary heaters running in the RV Jerry felt comfortable enough to leave so off to the river we went for a couple of days. The weather continued to be bitter cold with temperatures in the teens and brisk winds. Our return home was hastened Monday morning when we woke up to frozen water pipes – no water so we dressed, closed up the house, turned off the water at the street and headed home.

On Tuesday when Jerry went to fill the fresh water tank he couldn’t get a reading on the level plus he couldn’t get the water pump to come on. Uh oh – He also realized that it appeared that the heat pad was not working. He called Howard RV in Wilmington and they thought that the water pump was frozen. They told us to have the motor home in Wilmington at 8:30 on Wednesday morning and they would see if they would resolve the problem so we could continue with our planned trip.

Well, that precipitated a new problem. Jerry had a scheduled doctor’s appointment at 9:40 on Wednesday morning. As he was calling to reschedule I said to ask if they had anything that afternoon and amazingly, they did, 3:40. That presented another problem though. Jerry had a 5:00 appointment for a badly needed haircut. Unfortunately he was unable to reschedule that so he may be taking a trip to Great Clips! If so that will be the first time in over 30 years that someone besides his regular guy has cut his hair. He is threatening to wear it in a pony tail – Not!

In the meantime while Jerry was at his doctor’s appointment I went on out to program the GPS for Wilmington only to discover that the radio/GPS would not come on. Oh yeah, the battery was DEAD. To make a long, cold story short suffice it to say we eventually got the battery charged enough to start the RV. We left it running for a while so hopefully it would start on Wednesday morning. The monitor for the holding tank was still not working though and with the fresh water tank problem we still needed to go to Wilmington Wednesday.

We finished the day by getting everything else in the RV. We both admitted we brought too much and we were not even sure we were going!

Home, North Carolina

Is Our Arizona Trip Going to Happen?

As usual the question remains – are we going or not? To preface this entry let me say that the weather in eastern North Carolina has been unusually cold. In fact when I got up this morning it was a real feel of 10 degrees. I don’t ever remember it being that cold before. In fact, the entire week since we brought the RV home to prepare for the trip has been frigid. I was uneasy about bringing it home because of the forecasted cold temperatures but Jerry wanted to bring it so last Wednesday, December 27, we went to the warehouse and brought it home. Since we have a 50 amp hookup at our house we could plug it in and have the heat and heat pad running and nothing would freeze – or so we thought.

Jerry got a new tool for Christmas, a skill saw and was anxious to get to the river for a couple of days to try it out but wanted everything in the RV ready before we left. Thursday and Friday were spent going from the house to the RV taking things in. I don’t like to do it that way because by the second day I’ve forgotten what I’ve put in so this time I listed each item before I took it out even down to the freezer food. Hopefully that way I’ll have what I need. (Quite frankly, I am not sure I left anything home). By Saturday morning we felt that we were mostly prepared to leave on Wednesday, January 3 for our first extended stop, Morrilton, Arkansas. With two auxiliary heaters running in the RV Jerry felt comfortable enough to leave so on Saturday, December 30 off to the river we went for a couple of days. The weather continued to be bitter cold with temperatures in the teens and brisk winds. Our return home was hastened Monday morning when we woke up to frozen water pipes – no water so we dressed, closed up the house, turned off the water at the street and headed home.

On Tuesday when Jerry went to fill the water he couldn’t get a reading on the level plus he couldn’t get the water pump to come on. Uh oh – He also realized that it appeared that the heat pad was not working. He called Howard RV in Wilmington and they thought that the water pump was frozen. They told us to have the motor home in Wilmington (two hours away) at 8:30 on Wednesday morning so that was the plan.

Well, that precipitated a new problem. Jerry had a scheduled doctor’s appointment at 9:40 on Wednesday morning. As he was calling to reschedule I said to ask if they had anything that afternoon and amazingly, they did, 3:40. That presented another problem though. Jerry had a 5:00 appointment for a badly needed haircut. Unfortunately he was unable to reschedule that so he may be taking a trip to Great Clips!

In the meantime while Jerry was at his doctor’s appointment I went on out to program the GPS for Wilmington only to discover that the radio/GPS would not come on. Oh yeah, the battery was DEAD. To make a long, cold story short suffice it to say we eventually got the battery charged enough to start the RV. We left it running for a while so hopefully it would start on Wednesday morning. The monitor for the holding tank was still not working though and there was the fresh water tank problem so we still needed to go to Wilmington Wednesday.

We finished the day by getting everything in the RV and we both admitted we had way too much! Ironically we didn’t even know if we’d be leaving on our trip or returning home tomorrow only to unpack!

Home, Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Planning, Planning, Planning

Jerry does the driving and I do the planning. Well, I help a little bit with the driving if I have ideal conditions like a four lane highway with NO traffic! I do spent a great deal of time researching for our trips trying to see everything we can because we rarely return to a previously visited place. There is so very much to see in our country and having a motor home has allowed us to visit many new places.

After our trip to the NC mountains and Virginia we stayed home for the rest of fall except for a couple of trips to Raleigh for the NC State football games. We went up for the State/Clemson game and stayed at the NC State Fairgrounds. When we arrived around lunch time on Friday it was obvious that the campground had been overtaken by the Clemson Tigers as there were orange flags flying everywhere. The Clemson group came in early and were ready for victory – yeah, they got it! Oh well. We had a great week-end anyway.

Saturday after Thanksgiving was the annual rivalry game between NC State and UNC. Remembering the crowded campground at the Clemson game we decided to take the RV up on Wednesday, get our site and then return home for Thanksgiving. We arrived early afternoon and quickly set up. After lunch we ran errands and then settled in for a rather cold night. Since neither of us had brought a coat we had a quiet evening inside. Being in a motor home when it’s cold outside and the fire is glowing inside is just the coziest feeling!

We got up Thursday morning and returned to Kinston (leaving the RV in Raleigh) and had Thanksgiving with our family. By 8:15 that night everyone was gone and I looked at Jerry and said “want to go to Raleigh?” Well, “yes”. Since we didn’t have to pack anything we just jumped in the car and were back at the campground shortly after 10:00.

We woke up Friday morning to a frozen faucet outside but no worries as it soon thawed. I had looked at the weather forecast the night before and it didn’t indicate freezing temperatures so we were a bit surprised. Unfortunately I had left our two mums outside and the pretty yellow mums were now brown. Of well, it’s almost time to put away the fall decorations. It was a fun week-end. We saw some friends we had met at the Clemson game, had fun tailgating and to top it off we won the game!

Back to Kinston, back to the warehouse for the motor home and back to the computer for me to begin in earnest researching for our big January trip. Before Jerry took the RV to the warehouse he got the oil changed, filled up the propane tank and the gas tank so it’s ready for the next trip. Although we know it will be cold and possibly snowy we are planning to go to Northern Arizona and Southern Utah with a stop at Petit Jean State Park in Morrilton, Arkansas. After a couple of days in Morrilton we know the rest of the trip will depend on the weather and the wind. Because of that I have a Plan A, Plan B and possibly a Plan C! I have learned a great deal about the area and am looking forward to some beautiful scenery. Because of our vague plans I have not made any reservations as I will do that along the way. Surely hope we don’t run into any problems with that. We can always boondock if we need to but would rather not if the temperatures are freezing. It should be quite the adventure.