Home Away From Home, West Virginia

Headed to the FMCA International Rally

After A LOT of discussion and keeping in mind that we had already paid our registration plus I was on the volunteer list we decided to keep our commitment to attend the 96th FMCA International Rally in Indianapolis. We got home from the river Wednesday afternoon too late to get the motor home so we picked it up Thursday morning. In the midst of packing it we were also packing up things to be moved, taking three trailer loads to the trash dump and giving away a bedroom suite. We packed the RV in stages so I have no idea what we do or do not have. After I remembered that we would be electric only for six days I realized that I had to plan a bit differently because we wouldn’t be able to use our washer and dryer.

We had carried our bikes on the back of the RV on our previous trip but found that it was scratching the finish so Jerry wanted to put the bike rack on the car instead. This entailed changing the hitch on the RV. I don’t know why but that’s his department. While he was doing that I got on the riding lawn mower and cut our grass. I guess that is an indication of how stressed and pushed Jerry was feeling. He never lets me cut grass! Realizing that he had left all of his shorts at the river we knew a trip down there was necessary plus he wanted to cut the grass there as well. Since we were going anyway we decided to take a trailer load of things that we were planning to keep there until we get settled in the townhouse. We loaded the trailer and took off for the river. As we were going through Washington we both heard a strange noise coming from the trailer and thought it was probably just something rattling around. Nope, when we got to the river Jerry realized that one of the tires was nearly off. Whew – apparently a bad bearing. Thank you Lord for looking after us yet again.

Trailer unloaded, grass cut and off to Greenville for a short visit with Mom before our trip. After that since it was getting so late we decided to grab a bite to eat in Greenville. My mouth was watering thinking about the tasty salad at Basils, one of our favorite restaurants. Well apparently it’s on everyone’s favorite list because the parking lot was full. Because of the time crunch we decided to try out a new barbecue restaurant that everyone had been raving about. Well, it was fast. That’s all I’ll say. We ordered our meals, sat at our table and never saw a waitress. Water glass was empty, food was so-so at best. We’ve been and now will know not to go back!

We finally got home exhausted but determined to finish loading the RV. That meant everything out of the fridge that needed to go. When I open the refrigerator door and saw the chicken breasts we had bought to make chicken salad I knew our day was still not over. Between the two of us we got it done though so if nothing else we’ll have chicken salad. It won’t be a sandwich though because I forgot the bread!

Our plan was to leave by 8:00 Sunday morning and we missed it by 10 minutes but – about 5 miles down the road I realized that I had forgotten to get the clothes I had washed Saturday night out of the dryer. If it hadn’t been my favorite pair of jeans I would have just said go on but they are my favorite so we turned around, went back home and got the jeans. It was a good thing too because I realized that we had left the kitchen light on. Back on the road at 8:26 headed to about halfway between Kinston and Indianapolis. We had not decided if we would boondock at a Walmart or try to find a full service campground. I was voting for the latter as we will be electric only for the week ahead.

We stopped at a rest stop at the Welcome to Virginia station just before 12:30, four hours on the road, used the facilities and then had lunch in the motor home. Left there at 12:50 and shortly after we hit “traffic congestion”. There were cars as far as I could see. I began searching for fuel stops and campgrounds. There was a Flying J at Wytheville, Va so we stopped there. It was by far the busiest gas station we’ve ever stopped at and we had to wait in line to get to the RV pump. I guess July 4th and sunny days brought everyone out. While we were waiting we discussed staying at a campground tonight and decided on Huntington/KOA in Milton,WVa. I called and made a reservation. It’s a 122 miles so we should be there by 4:00 or earlier.

Garmin has a funny way of giving you the distance as the bird flies. Milton was not 122 miles away, it was closer to 160+ miles but uneventful. We arrived at the campground around 5:00 and I have never had a quicker check-in. I think it may have taken 3-4 minutes and then someone led us to our campsite. That is a perk that we seldom get but it surely is nice. We were on the back side of the campground close enough to the highway to hear the trucks passing by but hey, what do you expect when you call mid-afternoon?

We were quickly set up and then Jerry crashed. I suggested a walk which I really needed but he didn’t want to so we both hit the sofa and read for a while. About 7:00 we had dinner, spaghetti! Since we had originally planned to boondock at Walmart I had chosen something simply for dinner. Had I know we’d be nestled in at a KOA I might have preferred grilling but spaghetti was just as filling.

Home Away From Home

Lost in a Potato Field

Off to Watkins Glen KOA which is only 97 miles from here via Naples where we hope to make brief stops at Arbor Hill Vineyard and Wohleschlegel’s Naples Maple Farm both in Naples.  At least we think so!  Got a lazy and slow start.  I think when I told Jerry it was only 87 miles from Mt. Morris to Watkins Glen he decided to take it slow.  As he was breaking down he discovered that the leak that has supposedly been repaired twice was not.  It’s leaking again.  😦

A lesson in what NOT to do!  Do not plan tours on the way to the next destination.  Tour only when in a car, not when driving the motor home and towing the car.  We never made it to the two places we’d planned but we did see some very rural countryside and briefly chatted with a very helpful couple.  When the two GPS’s send you on divergent routes and you lose cell service (Go US Cellular) and you are not sure of the correct addresses because you depended on your information written and saved in your Dropbox and of course you cannot access Internet you the end up in a very rural area with narrow dirt roads and eventually in the middle of a potato field.  Lost!  We did eventually see a sign for Wohleschlegel’s but it was on a dirt road so we kept going thinking things would get better.  They didn’t!   We finally just stopped as Jerry had to go to the bathroom and we were sure there would not be another car.  I decided to get out and take a picture of where not to go in an RV and wouldn’t you know, a car approached.  We pulled up a bit and they turned on another lane – yes lane because that’s what we were on.  I got out and walked over to them and asked them if they were as lost as we were.  Actually they were from the area and were taking their dogs out for a run.  They chatted with us a bit.  As the husband was advising Jerry where to go the wife was talking to me.  Because of last year’s brutal winter they are headed south this year.  They are Christians and they try to find ministry opportunities wherever they travel.  They advised us on the way out of the field which was actually a circle.  50 miles later and an hour and a half later we are on the road to Watkins Glen.  The two planned visits will have to wait.  By the way, I later saw this direct quote from the Wohleschlegel’s website site “Do not set your GPS for Coates Road as it will send you to a potato field!”  No cell service though so no website!

Yep, the middle of a potato field!

I mentioned to Jerry that we would be going right by Corning Glass so he said we should stop since it was on the way and not out of the way. Apparently he felt we could do it and not get too lost.  We parked in the parking lot and had a quick sandwich in the RV and then headed over to the Visitor’s Center.  After browsing there a few minutes we took a shuttle bus over to Corning.

The first part of the museum that we visited was Contemporary Art and Design Galleries.   There were definitely some very unique pieces there.  We ambled on and ended up in the Amphitheater for the Hot Shop Demo.  That was very interesting.  There were two narrators, one who spoke in English and one who spoke in Mandarin.  A young lady with 13 years of experience demonstrated making a lovely fluted vase while the narrators explained what she was doing.  They do not sell anything they make in the demonstrations but do give a couple of pieces away at the end of the program.  This demonstration was very different from what we saw when we were in Louisville but then Corning is working with very sophisticated equipment.

Next we wandered around the second floor where displays told the history of glass making.  We watched a young man make a small fish using the fireworking method.  We also saw a glass breaking demonstration where a lady explained the make-up of the various glasses and the fragility or sturdiness of various glasses.

By the time it was getting close to 4:00.  The admission is for two consecutive days so we decided to come on to the campground and get settled.  This was a very different check-in.  A guy met us at the entrance asking if we had reservations.  Since we did he led us to our site and told us to register after getting set up.  We have a level site, Wi-Fi and cable – yes, it’s more expensive than usual but we are level for the first time in a week and a half!  Also we have a lovely cement patio with a lamppost and a hanging basket.  Perfect for sitting outside and I can’t wait!

After we got the basics done we went to the grocery store.  We had decided to grill pork chops but when we got back we were so tired we decided that a turkey sandwich sounded good.  A few minutes later though I said I’d cook so we ended up with the pork chops.

After dinner since it was so very nice outside we took a brief stroll around our area of the campground.  We are actually in the newest and nicest section, Sunset Acres.  There are many amenities here including a heated pool and a hot tub.  Hopefully I can talk Jerry into a dip or two.  Apparently this is a destination KOA because you could stay here and be entertained for some time and never have to leave the campground.

Home Away From Home

Leaving Fancy Gap and Headed to Asheville, NC

The weather last night was almost perfect, a little cool but great to be sitting outside. Jerry grilled hamburgers and we ate outside at the picnic table. Later some people Jerry had met earlier (while I dealt with the ice cream disaster) came down and shared our ice cream with us. They are David and Kathy from Glouchester, Va. We had a lovely evening just sitting around chatting and smelling the roasting marshmellows from neighboring campers. As usual we all exchanged camping stories! We were outside until 9:30, then came in and shortly off to bed as we have a long day of travel ahead. Interestingly enough Gypsy says we only have 132 miles to go while the RV GPS says 180. We’ll see I guess.

Because the campground (Fancy Gap,Blue Ridge KOA) was so nice and the weather so incredibly beautiful we debated staying another night in Fancy Gap but decided to go on to Fletcher today so it’s off to the Blue Ridge Classic Horse Show watching stunning Saddlebreds and Friesians for a week.

We didn’t leave until 9:30 but Jerry got all of the tanks emptied and flushed out and then we had to put the car on the dolly. I was afraid that would be a little dicey because I didn’t have much room to back up given that we were on a “hill” with a drop off behind me. It took three attempts but nothing dangerous, just had to get the car headed to the ramps straight.

Today has been a good day for traveling as it was a bit overcast at first. Sunny later. Finding gas is proving to be difficult as there are no Pilot or Flying J and after our last fiasco with Hess we’re a little hesitant to pull in just anywhere. We finally pulled off and ended up circling a Hess. Although it was also a trucker Hess the only pump we could access was empty so we got back on I-77 and headed on. Turned off at Hickory and after a couple of u-turns we finally found a Hess that we could get in and out of and gas was $245.9. It was an extremely slow running pump though!

We finally arrived at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center in Fletcher shortly after lunch. Got everything hooked up and then discovered that there is no longer any Internet access “down the hill” where we all are staying so no more updates of our trip. Fancy Gap was so much fun and I’m sure the show will be plus our sweet granddaughter Emma will be joining us on Tuesday! We’ll leave Sunday week and spend a couple of days in Clemmons at Tanglewood Park visiting with our children and then on to Kinston – What a way to end a trip.

Home Away From Home

Yemassee, SC

Day One – On the way to the Tampa Super Show

Wow – what a day, what a week! Our plans were to leave Friday, January 9 meeting Ken and Donna at Exit 77 at 10:00. Well, as they say “the best laid plans…” Throughout the week-end I continuously checked the weather and they were predicting a bitter cold snap. I mentioned to Jerry that we might want to leave earlier and try to avoid some of the frigid temperatures. By Monday we were pretty sure we were going to leave on Thursday. We couldn’t leave any sooner because Jerry was getting his hair cut on Thursday morning at 9:30 plus we had to pick up meds before we could leave and they could only be refilled at a certain time.

We were busy Monday. I had a hair appointment Monday morning and Jerry had some errands to run. After lunch we went to the grocery store and then out to the warehouse to get the motor home. Since our plan was to return the RV to the warehouse on Wednesday before it got too cold we left the tow dolly there. We went on home and I immediately got in the kitchen. Jerry was still running errands, to Lowes for something for the rig so I made a meatloaf, stuffed peppers and spaghetti. The spaghetti was a work in progress and although I followed a recipe we kept adding. Two teaspoons of brown sugar made it too sweet so we started trying to combat that taste. Lots of chili powder, Worcestershire sauce and heaven knows what else. We decided we had made a great pot of spaghetti sauce. Unfortunately we don’t know how to replicate it!

Tuesday after coffee and walking on the treadmill we finally left for Greenville around 11:00. Our plan was to go to Sam’s, Lowe’s for Kashi cereal since we can’t find it in Kinston or Washington, Bed, Bath and Beyond to exchange some bath mats for the river, Artisan’s to get some of the raspberry with jalapenos jelly for the meatballs and a visit with mom. We accomplished all of that! Last was a visit with Mom where we told her we were going on a little trip. She wisely assumed Florida. Sometimes she amazes me – to say the least. As we were walking to the car I said well heck let’s leave Wednesday. Jerry had already changed his hair appointment so it all hinged on getting the meds. He called MedSource and they were already ready so the rush began. We got home about 3:00 and Jerry headed for his hair cut. I started putting clothes in the motor home. Because of the freezing temps the night before Jerry had turned on the heat and left a heater and the fireplace going. It was 84 degrees in there. I turned off the heat but by the time I made several trips in and out I was wet with sweat. We both had eye appointments at 4:00 so I headed to Dr. Wright’s office then. Also texted Trent to see what time we were going to meet him and his family at Pizza Villa to celebrate Caroline’s birthday – what a place for a celebration but they chose it. I had offered chicken and pastry at home but that was too fattening. Before we left for the PV I put the meatballs on. They were frozen but I heated the sauce before I poured it in. I think they will be fine. Headed on to the PV and had dinner. Neither Eva nor Britt would have much to do with us, yet another reason I don’t like going out to eat with them. Home is better. When we left there we went by Walmart to pick up some last minute groceries and headed home. Once there we were running around like chickens with their heads cut off. The meatballs were doing fine so Jerry started preparing some cinnamon pecans. In the meantime we were both going back and forth to the motor home taking things out. We had planned to make some sausage balls so I had bought sausage at Walmart but when I got ready to get it out I realized that I had forgotten to get cheese. My thought was to forget them but Jerry insisted on going to the Piggly Wiggly to get some. While he was gone I fixed the Sloppy Joe mixture for dinner on Friday night. We had originally planned to grill hamburgers but it’s going to be way too cold. We took nearly everything to the RV that needed to be in the refrigerator and freezer and hopefully most of our clothes leaving only personal things to be loaded Wednesday morning. I finally began to get ready for bed around 11. Wow – what a day. I was tired but not sleepy a bit so I knew I’d have trouble going to sleep. We talked about leaving around 7 or 8 but we didn’t set an alarm.

Wednesday morning started off just as busy. Jerry realized that he had to go out to the warehouse to get the tow dolly, he spent some time on the phone with Lee’s office and Medicare who is sure that he is still employed and I spent time doing some financial work. I also called Jolly Acres Campground in St. George where we were planning to stay Friday night to see if they had any vacancies for Wednesday and Thursday nights. They didn’t have any 50 amp and only had one for Friday night. I was beginning to think that despite our reservation it was a first come first serve sight. When we had originally made the reservation they didn’t ask for a credit card so perhaps that should have told me something. I told them we’d call them back.

We left at 11:30 headed for we didn’t know where. Jerry had decided that he wanted to stop at Camping World in Fayetteville and buy a heated hose rather than try to jack leg a regular hose and we knew we were going to wait until we got to South Carolina to buy gas. In the past we had always filled the tank up in Kinston on our return trip but with gas so expensive we decided to wait. Glad we did. As he drove I searched for campgrounds in the midst of failing internet signals. I called Santee Lakes in Summerton, SC and they said they had lots of openings. Scary but I went on and made the reservations for two nights thinking we’d probably move on to Jolly Acres on Friday to meet Donna and Ken. I started reading the reviews and boy they were indeed scary so the search began again. I finally found a KOA in Yemassee, SC and called them. It was further than we had planned to drive and pricier than we had planned to spend but had good reviews and we could get in for three nights plus it was only supposed to get down to 19 degrees there, warmer than the 14 at home not including the wind chill in the single digits. I made the reservation for three nights and cancelled the other two. For us, it has been an adventurous day! Jerry mentioned that we might want to leave Thursday and head on to St. Augustine but said he’d wait to see what the campground looked like before making a decision. My thought was that we needed a day of rest because we have been hustling since Sunday.

We broke both of our rules today driving much longer (317 miles) and arriving after dark. We got to the campground about 6:00 and got checked in. The office told us to keep the gray tank opened and keep a faucet leaking all night and hopefully that would keep everything from freezing. Fortunately someone led us to our site. We really don’t anything about the campground as it was dark. We got set up and I immediately began getting dinner ready. We also had to get the motor home organized. I had never left with the bed unmade and the sofa full of things. We had spaghetti for dinner and it was good! Hope I’ve finally hit upon something not using Prego. The sauce was a little sweet but we’ll work on that next time. After dinner Jerry watched State play a good game but lose anyway and I got ready for bed. After talking with Donna I got in bed and was asleep before 9:30. I never even heard Jerry come to bed.