Home Away From Home, West Virginia


As always getting prepared for a long trip is exhausting and I must admit this preparation was even more so. Because the motor home had been “vacant” for six months, I wanted everything in it washed and cleaned, i.e. glasses, plates, silverware, pots, pans, towels, sheets – well, you get it – everything. We did not hook up to water at home so Monday was spent going back and forth between the house and the coach since I did all of the washing in the house. Thank goodness for a dishwasher but … who knew we had a child lock on it. After using it a couple of times I couldn’t get it to come on again. After trying every button on there I finally got out the manual only to be used when all else fails! Voila! It was in child lock. In addition, I vacuumed, swept, mopped and dusted every space I could including the drawers but I can safely say that the RV is most likely as clean as it’s ever been.

Tuesday was a day of appointments, haircuts for both of us, a doctor’s appointment for Jerry so a busy day. In between appointments we carried things out to the RV and slowly loaded everything. We met Trent for a quick dinner and then home to complete the preparation.

For some reason I didn’t sleep well Tuesday night and I’m not sure why. Jerry and I had both noticed that neither of us seemed to be very excited about this trip. He thought he was because of spending so much of our time at our happy place on the river and hating to leave there. Perhaps. I know I have been a bit nervous about traveling since our accident so maybe that’s why. Also, we are going to be gone for a LONG time!

As soon as I knew the coffee was ready I got up. All was quiet as Jerry continued to sleep. I didn’t want to awaken him as I knew he had some long driving days ahead. I took care of paying some bills, etc., took a shower and was already dressed before he got up. Our plan had been to leave by 8:00 but we were running just a bit late. We always begin our journeys with a prayer for safe travel and this time I added accident-free travel and then we were off by 8:30 so that was pretty good for us.

We stopped briefly at a rest stop in Alamance, NC and then were back on the road trying to decide where we would spend the night. Walmart in Princeton, Beckley or Cabela’s in Charleston, WV? Other than a stop for gas and a quick sandwich we spent the day on the road. As we were entering West Virginia I commented on how good the highway was. I really shouldn’t have said that because as soon as I did the road conditions deteriorated drastically. I thought tolls were used to make improvements in the highways but apparently not! It was a bumpy ride but we soldiered on.

Having decided on Cabela’s in Charleston, WV we continued on past the 330 rule. As we were twisting, turning and bumping suddenly the refrigerator and freezer doors started opening. Finally, in desperation I went back and sat across from the fridge holding the doors closed with my feet. Not only was it not comfortable but it began to get a little warm plus I wasn’t able to have a seatbelt on. I’ve always worn my seatbelt but since our accident I’ve become almost neurotic about it. Yikes!

I had called Cabela’s earlier to verify that we could spend the night there but was pleasantly surprised when upon arrival we realized that instead of parking out front in the big parking lot they had a designated parking area just for RV’s. No one else arrived so we had the space to ourselves

Jerry felt that he could temporarily solve the fridge door problem by using some extension rods and we were able to purchase them at Cabela’s. When we are able to stay somewhere free we always make a purchase in the stores so that worked out well for us. In addition, there was a Home Depot next door so he could find an additional tie for the upper doors. Hopefully, that will solve our problem until we can get home and get a more permanent fix.

I had put a chuck roast with potatoes and onions in the crockpot before we left this morning and with a package of steamable broccoli cooked in the microwave we had a nice dinner. As we were cleaning up Jerry noticed that one of our shelves was coming apart so back to Home Depot he went to buy some glue to fix that. It is so reassuring to have a husband who can and will fix almost anything!

Hopefully, we can both get a good night’s sleep and take it easy in the morning as we only have a little over 230 miles to go to reach our destination, New Paris, Ohio at a Harvest Host location.

Home Away From Home, Michigan

Official Wally Dockers!

We’ve done it! We’ve have spent the night in a Walmart parking lot so we are now officially Wally Dockers! I must say it wasn’t bad at all. When we arrived at the local Walmart in Belle, West Virginia there were two more RV’s and then several semis came in. We did learn though that you should have more gas in your tank. When we got ready to leave the next morning Jerry realized that we had less than 1/8 of a tank in the motor home, less than we’ve ever had. After morning coffee Jerry made another trip into Walmart to get some sweetener. He really didn’t pack very well for this trip. All in all, over-nighting at Walmart makes all the sense in the world. Why spend $25-$40 for a site arriving late in the evening and leaving early the next morning? Plus, we always need something from Walmart so purchases are ensured. I’m sure we’ll be taking advantage of that courtesy in the future.

Yesterday was a bright sun shiny day but today the weather is cloudy and drizzling. If the road wasn’t so bumpy it would be excellent cross stitching but it’s almost impossible to type on this highway. Lots of duplicate letters as I try to type. We’ve got a long way to go today. 550 miles according to Jerry’s GPS and 635 according to mine. I hope we don’t have to bump all the way there. Really West Virginia, we’re helping pay for these highways. Can’t you do better?

Traveling on into Ohio and highways improved but the GPS took us through a lot of small one stoplight towns. Of course we got every light. At times we felt that we were in a convoy as traffic was so lined up – no one was passing the big trucks nor us! Just before reaching the Michigan line we ran into a lot of road construction and Jerry did a terrific job. I know he must have been stressed as there were barriers along both sides of the highway and pretty heavy traffic. We wanted to stop for lunch but the only rest stop was closed so we had no choice but to continue. Finally we entered Michigan and found a Pilot with a MacDonald’s.

Jerry topped off the gas at $2.20 and then the interesting part began. We got away from the gas pump but then got hemmed in and couldn’t move forward or backward. Finally a guy driving another RV came out and moved his so we could get around. That is one of the problems with driving a gas rig. Most stations that accommodate large rigs do so in the diesel section, not the gas so it makes for interesting adventures. We have to be very careful when selecting a station. Usually we try to go to Pilot or Flying J although a Loves will work but even those are not always friendly to a gas coach.

We ate a quick lunch and then got back on the highway only to discover a Welcome to Michigan Center about two miles further down. We stopped for a quick 15 minutes, got some material and then started driving again. Realizing we were a little over 200 miles always from Mears I called the campground to tell them that we would be late arriving. They assured me that someone would be there until 11:00 so unless it was going to be after that we were good. I surely do hope we’re there before 11!

The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful. I listened to an audio book and cross stitched but I later realized that as I was stitching I was not looking around thus missing a lot of the country side. We ran into a lot of construction in every state but only one detour and that one only added about ten minutes.

Getting to the campground was not as easy as we had hoped. It was after 7:30 and we were riding around a typical beach town and we were lost. We first went to the Silver Lake State Park knowing that wasn’t where we were supposed to be but hoping they could give us some directions. They couldn’t so we continued to fumble around. We finally reached a stopping point and I tried to call the campground but the call kept dropping. We found out later that cell coverage is nearly non-existent here. I got out of the RV and tried to get out from under the trees hoping I could get a better signal but no such luck however a gentleman did stop and ask if he could help. He gave us pretty good directions. We went through the small town of Mears, around the roundabout and then hark – we saw the campground only to realize that we were at Silver Creek RV and not Silver Lake. Although Silver Creek looked very nice they were not too nice in the office. We had to ride through the entire campground to get out!

We finally found Silver Lake just down the road and they couldn’t have been nicer. We had reservations for water/electric but I asked about a full hookup. They only had it for two nights and then we’d have to move for the third night but we elected to do that. A hot shower in MY shower sounded like a grand idea! There is no cable nor Internet here and I feel a bit out of the loop. Helen Jo called and tried to give me the doctor’s report on Mom but the reception was so bad that she finally just texted me.

By this time it was after 9:00 so we rode into Mears and got a sandwich at Sand Castle restaurant. I asked the waitress, Ash about cell coverage and she’d never heard of US Cellular and said Verizon only worked if you stood in the middle of the street. She very kindly offered to let me use her phone to call Helen Jo – we did leave her a nice tip for her kindness. It was still so light outside so we asked her about it. Although my phone said it was 9:30, Jerry’s said it was 8:30 so we were a bit confused because it was still light. She said it was really 9:30 and it didn’t get dark in that part of Michigan until nearly 10:00. Because we are just across the lake from Wisconsin Jerry’s phone was picking up Wisconsin time. Interesting!

Back to the rig. Jerry is trying with great difficulty to talk with Dish to set up the TV but alas the cell phone is breaking up so…
All in all a long day but praise God for safe travel! Thank you Jesus!

Home Away From Home

Off to Milton, West Virginia

Wow, it got cold last night. It was supposed to get down to 43 degrees last night so I put two blankets on the bed. It was warm and toasty but unfortunately I couldn’t go to sleep after my phone conversation with Helen Jo. She sent me a text a little after 9:00 asking me to call so I did and we discussed Mom’s situation. Apparently Helen Jo has had a tough week with Mom and sees Mom rapidly declining cognitively. Now the question remains – what to do. Do we give up her apartment or not? I wrestled with it until about 3:00 this morning and as usual came up with no solution. I’m worried about Mom but am also worried about Helen Jo. She admittedly cries at the drop of a hat. I don’t see Jerry and me taking any more trips in the near future as being away from Mom and Helen Jo is just too hard on them. Being pulled in several different directions is so difficult! Helen Jo texted this morning and said that she decided to go over and have lunch with Mom and found her much better, blossoming when she sees her friends.

After packing up and breaking camp we left at 10:00. I had walked down to Sandy and Landy’s to tell them we were leaving and they said they’d be about an hour behind us. I programmed the wonderful Rand McNally GPS with the address of the campground and then I did a search and found the campground listed and did a route to that. Believe it or not they were different! Another problem with this GPS and I don’t think updating will solve that problem.

Although it was cloudy and dreary when we left it soon cleared up and has been a pretty, sunny day for a change. We stopped around 12 at a Rest Stop for bathroom breaks and a quick lunch of salsa, chips and apples – yea! Were only there 13 minutes and I took off driving. Drove just a bit and Jerry saw a sign for gas at $2.85 at a Pilot so we stopped there and filled up the RV and the car. Tracked the mileage and we got 7.13 this time. While we were there Jerry tried to start the car and the battery was dead yet again. Think we will be getting either a battery charger or a battery disconnect soon. Although I said I’d keep on driving he said he was grumpy and would be better off driving. Just entered West Virginia at 2:10, only 26 miles from the campground in Milton.

We checked into Huntington-Foxfire KOA in Milton a little before 3:00. They gave a pull through and we can keep the tow dolly hooked up with the car. Will make leaving in the morning so much easier and faster. They have wonderful Wi-Fi so I’ve been updating the GPS after installing the Dock on the computer. Also getting all iPad and iPhone updates done! After we set up we went for a brief walk around the campground as Jerry wanted to see how we’d be leaving tomorrow. When we entered the park there was a sign denoting sharp right turn. Boy, were they right but we came in with no problem. Set up and had a roast in the crock pot in 25 minutes! Not bad.

Spent the rest of the day updating, reading and just resting recuperating from 10 days of traveling! Sandy and Landy got here around 4:00 and discovered that the power cord on the trailer had snapped so Jerry has been over with Landy supervising I guess. They have no brakes on the trailer and no brake lights. Not good in the mountains. Don’t know what they will decide to do tomorrow but so far Landy has been unable to repair it for travel.

Before we left Kinston we bought a roast, an eye of the round I think, and cut it in half planning to cook half of it in the crock pot. We had planned to do that Saturday night when we got home from the ballgame but realized that it didn’t need to cook all night and we weren’t going to stay up late enough to cook it so we decided to fix it Sunday when we got to Milton. The roast was cooking as Jerry was helping Landy (BTW, he did get it repaired) and I was updating gadgets. About 6:00 I decided to check it and wow – it was done! Instead of the spaghetti we were planning to have we had roast, creamed (chopped) potatoes, left over veggies (cabbage, peas, mushrooms, onion and peppers). It was one of the best meals we’ve had on this trip. Because of the rain we haven’t been able to grill so that has changed some of our menus.

On to bed with a couple of blankets and a good nights sleep!