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.

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…

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

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.

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!

Tennessee

Chattanooga Again!

Riding along on this pretty June day brings to mind that wonderful poem “what is so rare as a day in June” and it is certainly true today. After a good night’s rest Jerry and I were up fairly early but still had time for our “quiet time” and coffee, showers and then preparation for leaving. Jane brought Emma by on her way to school and we were nearly ready to go by then. Jerry pulled the coach up to the parking area and I followed in the car. Then we again hooked the car up to the motor home. Jerry does the outside work of hooking up and I do the inside “work” of putting the Jeep in the right gear to be towed. By 8:23 we were on the road to Chattanooga. It is a really pretty drive as everything is green and mountains are in the distance. It’s probably going to be a hot day but we’re cool inside so we are still enjoying the benefits of that rare June day.

After a couple of hours we stopped at a rest stop mainly just to walk around for a few minutes plus take advantage of the facilities. Back on the road by 10:20 and Emma has asked how many more hours. Um… After a week-end of dancing Emma was pretty tired so she took a couple of naps on the way. That makes for a much “shorter” trip”! Of course, an iPad and a movie help too! FYI – she is belted in!

At the Tennessee state line we stopped at the Welcome Center to take some pictures and get some information plus we had lunch. We had originally planned to use the picnic area but decided inside with the generator and air condition was a better choice! It’s hot in Tennessee!

We arrived at Holiday Travel Park of Chattanooga which is actually located in Rossville, Ga around 3:30 and had an easy check-in. We’ve stayed at this park on our Tennessee trip a couple of years ago and they have made improvements since then. The roads and the sites are graveled so we didn’t have to contend with mud if it rained. Also, the sites seemed to be further apart. They have a nice pool also. The only negative is its proximity to the drag strip. On Friday and Saturday nights the loud motors of the race cars can be heard but by the time they started we had ended our day and were inside so they didn’t bother us too much. We had a nice quiet spot almost at the end of the park, a pull-through although we needed to unhook before we pulled in in order to align the tanks with the pedestals.

A quick set up and we had the rest of the afternoon. Jerry surely didn’t want to drive anywhere so Emma and I went discovering. Since we knew that the campground was located on a Civil War battlefield which served as a skirmish site in 1863 preceding the Battle of Chickamauga we set out through the woods to find the marker denoting this information. We thought we were going on a long hike – nope, just a little walk and there was the plaque!

We then decided we needed to go to the grocery store so the three of us headed out with no idea of where we were going. After several missed turns and finding a not so good grocery store we realized that there was a Publix fairly close by. Emma and I got the silly giggles and then she wanted a picture not only of the Publix sign but one of her standing beneath the store sign. All the way to Chattanooga to get a picture of Publix grocery store! As we walked in the first thing we saw was a watermelon – heck, our shopping was done! I’m quite sure people looked at us as though we were crazy (Jerry surely did) but we were having fun and since we didn’t know anyone we could act as silly as we wanted to – and we did!

Back to the campground via a much closer route and then a nice dinner. Jerry had promised a treat after dinner so off we went again, to the local ice cream shop. A nice cone of chocolate ice cream is a good way to end a day!

North Carolina

On to Sycamore Lodge

We are finally getting back on the road and doing a little bit of traveling and it feels good! We must have been excited about it because neither of us slept well last night. I had hoped to leave by 7:00 and Jerry had said 8:00 and it was actually 7:46 when we pulled out of the driveway. At the end of the street Jerry put the coach in park and we had a moment of prayer asking for safe travel today. I’ll admit I’m a little skittish after our last “trip” but I know God has us in His hands.

Jerry knew that we needed to add some air to the tires and the small air compressor that he has at home just would not do the job so his plan was to stop by Mallard’s on the way out of town where there is an air compressor. At the last minute he decided to go to Universal Tire to let the professionals do it. Good choice I think. He had put the new sensors on the tires yesterday and was eager to make sure everything was working correctly. By the way, the TPMS system that we were using was from TechnoRV and when we contacted Eric about the system’s failure to alert us to a problem he quickly sent us a new set. Campers Inn and TechnoRV have been very supportive throughout the entire ordeal and I highly recommend them for products and service.

Wish I could say the same about Acme Tow Dolly located in Kearnsville, NC. We have called, e-mailed and even stopped by the business but have been unable to reach the owner. He did return one call but Jerry missed it and when Jerry tried to return the call leaving yet another message there was no response. The accident occurred April 15. It is now June 1 so we’ve been trying to speak with the owner nearly six weeks. According to the firemen the brake bearing on the tow dolly locked up causing the fire. The tow dolly was sold to us with a 5 year maintenance free guarantee. Guess you can offer that if you don’t plan to respond to an incident. I really hate that because I do want to support local businesses whether it be our city or our state but I surely don’t recommend Acme Tow Dolly to anyone. I do intend to alert the Better Business Bureau but other than that I guess we have no recourse other than to warn others.

We finally pulled out of the tire shop at 8:14 for a 100+ mile drive to Jackson Springs. We were not exactly sure where it is so the ride should be interesting. We were told to follow our GPS and that’s what we’re doing!

Have you ever heard the phrase “you can’t get there from here?” Well that may apply to Sycamore Lodge! We had two GPS’s plus MapQuest and so of course we got three different routes to take. Sycamore Lodge is located in Jackson Springs which I “think” is in the Pinehurst/Southern Pines area but I’m not sure! Although many RVer’s suggest taking the back roads we always stick to the four lane highways. At forty feet plus a toad we feel safer and less likely to get into a sticky situation if we continue on main highways. Unfortunately for this trip nearly half of it was on two lane country roads going through several small towns. Even at a slower speed it’s difficult to keep the coach in our lane on some of the curves. Jerry commented that only I would be able to enjoy any of the scenery because he had to keep his eyes on the road. Oh no, I don’t enjoy the scenery because in cases like this I’ve found it better just to keep looking down!

We arrived around 11:30, a little over three hours from when we departed. As we were driving in on nicely paved roads Jerrys’ comment was “great place to ride bikes”. More about that later. Registration was quick and we were told that we were scheduled for lunch and to meet with a representative on Friday at 2:30. Guess we’ll be having “lupper”!

Since we were free for the rest of the day we set up, had lunch and then decided on a bike ride. That was not one of my brightest ideas! Yes, there are paved roads but they are right in the center of the campground. Otherwise there are graveled, sandy roads – and deep sand at that. We rode two miles and I must say that is the hardest two miles I’ve ever ridden. It was hot and humid and in places the sand was so deep we had to get off and push the bikes through. Oh, it was about 1:00 in the afternoon too.

The campground itself seems to be very nice with a lot of amenities (not cable) but is in the middle of nowhere! I used the GPS to search for places to visit and there’s just nothing nearby. The closest Walmart is 14 miles away! The campground does have a nice pool and hot tub, a pretty lake for catch and release along with a pedal boat and some canoes on shore for use, horseshoes, volleyball, and some other outdoor activities. My favorite was the small putt-putt course.

We had a lazy afternoon which I guess we both needed after the previous busy days, weeks and months that we’ve had so it was sort of nice. Wouldn’t want too many of these days though! Perhaps tomorrow before the appointment we’ll have to take in the pool. It’s really too hot to do too much outside.

After dinner Jerry and I took a walk. We eventually ended up at the lake and just sat and chatted while we enjoyed the view. Since no one else was around it was so quiet and peaceful and restorative. It was a nice way to spend our 27th anniversary, nothing special, just the two of us appreciating the years we’ve had. On the way back to the motor home we played a game of putt-putt. I haven’t improved at all in the years since I last played but it was fun.

Needless to say it was an early night for us. Jerry turned the air condition down to 65 degrees and we slept snug as bugs in a rug!

Home

And We Are Off to South Dakota

Our lives have been so up in the air since we found out that Jerry had DVT’s in his leg so we put off making any plans. As he began to improve we began to realize that maybe, just maybe we’d be able to go on our scheduled trip to South Dakota. With that in mind I spent Wednesday preparing all of the foods that we usually take (meat loaf, spaghetti sauce, sloppy joe, stuffed peppers – yeah, I know, a lot of beef) and knew that even if we didn’t go I’d have some foods in the freezer that we could use later.

Jerry’s doctor appointment was Thursday morning and we knew we’d know for sure then if we could travel. Our plan was to not mention South Dakota to the doctor but to just ask when we could travel again. When we did his immediate answer was anytime you want to! I asked about stopping every two hours and he said Jerry was in less risk of having a blood clot now than he’d ever been due to being on the blood thinners.

Yea – we were going to South Dakota via a week-end in Clemmons celebrating Olivia’s first birthday on Saturday. I couldn’t wait to see Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, the Black Hills and so much more but that meant we really had to hustle. The new plan was to go straight to the warehouse from the doctor’s office, pick up the RV and take it home. I had two hair appointments (yeah – it takes a lot for me) that afternoon but we were still fairly confident that we could get everything ready and leave Friday afternoon. With a bit of hope in the air on Wednesday I had made tentative reservations for Tanglewood for Saturday and Sunday nights. Since it was Easter week-end we were fortunate to get them although we would have to move Sunday morning to another site. That was fine with us and we’d just stay at the Cracker Barrel only three miles from our son’s house on Friday night. We’ve never stayed at Cracker Barrel before but we really had no other options at that late date.

After an exhausting Thursday we realized that we would not be ready to leave even late Friday afternoon so we decided we’d leave by 7:00 Saturday morning. Wow – that’s early! Because I seemed to have a bit more free time on Friday I went out to Eva’s school and had lunch with her and then went to see Mom for a bit. She really is not too happy about us going so far away.

After I returned home we finally got everything loaded, the car on the dolly and then exhaustion set in. Like I have said earlier, one day we’re going to have a peaceful restful preparation for leaving. Yeah, right! Little did we know.

North Carolina

Getting Ready To Roll Again!

I wish I would/could keep a chronology of my trip planning as I think it would be interesting at least to me to see the progression and changes to our routes and plans. I “knew” we were going to Texas in January and Arizona in March but had made absolutely no plans and it was December! Oh my –when do I get busy on this? With the holidays we stay pretty busy and this year was even more so. Jerry decided that he wanted to build the boys corn hole boards for Christmas and that could only be done at our river house so we made A LOT of trips down there. Our week-ends were filled with a trip to Charlotte for a Panthers game and a trip to Clemmons for our newest granddaughter’s christening so our weeks were busy going back and forth to Pamlico Beach. We had the absolutely prettiest Christmas tree this year that we’ve ever had but we had little time to enjoy it. We were the last to decorate in our neighborhood and the first to take everything down. I guess we look like a couple of Scrooges. To top it off we decided we wanted some flickering candle lights in our windows so we bought some at the Pottery. Oh yeah – they flickered but they were orange and looked like Halloween. Jerry liked them so … I quickly turned them off each night and when we took the decorations down I threw them away!

Back to planning. I picked the major places that we wanted to visit – San Antonio, Big Bend, Carlsbad Caverns (I know it’s in New Mexico) and Amarillo and then went to work on a route. With Jerry in the workshop working on the corn hole boards I had plenty of time to sit at the computer and research. Our route was going to take us close to Abbeville, La so I knew a couple of days at Betty’s RV Park would be in the plans. We were there last year for a week and met some delightful people, some that we will be seeing this time. I added Galveston to the route. As I kept adding up the time spent in each location I finally realized that I had to cut some things out and Galveston was the first to go. From what I’ve read it looks like it’s a real beach town and although I’m sure there are a lot of interesting thing to do there Jerry and I live part-time on a river and we’re only a little over an hour from the Atlantic Ocean so the beachy towns don’t have a lot to draw us.

San Antonio was next on the route. I went a few years ago when attending a conference and I knew that despite our reluctance to visit large cities that Jerry would enjoy San Antonio. I continued to research. Our original plan was to go to Chandler, Arizona in March for the FMCA International Rally. In talking with an RVing friend he suggested that we tour what we had planned in Texas, leave the coach somewhere, fly home to NC for a few weeks, fly back, pick up the coach and go on to Arizona. It would be much less wear and tear on the coach and our bodies. That made sense so I started looking into that plan searching for places to leave the coach and investigating plane fares. It really was beginning to make a lot of sense until I started considering where we would be traveling after the FMCA rally. We both really want to visit Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and some other places in Utah. I quickly realized that we didn’t have enough time to attend the rally, visit places on our Bucket List and be home in time for a March 25 birthday so back to Plan A. Instead we would extend our trip in Texas just a couple of days perhaps taking in Austin and then take our Utah trip after the March 25 birthday. Oh yes, I totally forgot about the April 17 birthday but that’s another story!

I had completed our route and now was time to start looking for campgrounds. We knew that it would take us two hard driving days to get to Abbeville and we would be “camping” at a Walmart for one night. I began to look at RVPark Reviews, Passport and Good Sam’s for park reviews. As I have said earlier we have just started our “boondocking” but I found some Texas state parks that looked interesting so I decided to bite the bullet and made reservations at two parks. I’ll let you know how that works out. I was also lucky to find a Passport park near San Antonio that honors Passport every night. Some only do it for one night or on week nights so each one is different.

I finally got our route established, our sites reserved, our deposits mailed in (yes, some only take checks or cash) and now to get the coach ready.

When are we leaving? Well, that is TBD. IF we can we hope to leave in the afternoon of January 2. We’re keeping three of the grands for the weekend and we both have appointments in the morning of January 2. Guess it depends on how tired we are after a weekend with precious children. If we can’t make it on Monday, we’ll leave bright and early Tuesday morning and drive as far as we can. I put an extra “rest” day in Abbeville before heading to Texas just in case…

Stay tuned!

(BTW – we left Monday afternoon!)