Sunday, April 30, 2017

Gunter Hill Re-Visited April 16-17

Easter Sunday was a travel day of just a little over a hundred miles  to Gunter Hill C.O.E. Campground near Montgomery, AL.  

We actually have been to this campground a few years ago with our Pleasure-way Pursuit.  You can read about that trip (and it's drama!) here and here. But we enjoyed our quick stay then and knew we would be back someday.  Our site this time was extra long and quite private.  With full hook-ups (FHU) we could do some laundry and spend a couple days exploring the area.  This leg of our trip wasn't without a little drama too.  On the way across the city, Dennis had to make a "quick" stop as a light turned red.  We've gotten into a habit of making sure that everything is put away or "buttoned" down for travel, but I do have a small wooden bowl that sits on the bathroom counter way in the back of the coach.  It holds a few odds and ends and today it had coins, earrings and my favorite gold pearl/diamond ring.  We've never had a problem with it moving around during travel, until then.  It came all the way  up to  my seat in the front.  We couldn't figure out how it got that far since there is no clear path with the slides and bed pulled in.  Anyway, to make a long story shorter, we spent the first hour and a half at our campsite hunting for the contents of the bowl.   The earrings and coins were found right away, but of course the ring was not.  I was afraid it was caught in one of the slide out mechanisms, but FINALLY, after inspecting just about every inch of the coach, D found it under the brake pedal.  As far as it could be from it's launching point!  (That bowl now is stowed away in a cabinet for travel 😀)

On Monday we took a little drive to downtown Montgomery where we stopped at the Visitor's Center located in the old Union Station.  I love when old floors mimic quilt designs!  

The city has a nice walkable self-guided Civil Rights History Tour so we spent the afternoon getting our steps in and learning more about a tumultuous time in our nation's history.  

Alabama State Capitol Building 

Civil Rights Memorial

Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church along the Civil Heritage Trail where the Montgomery Bus Boycott began.

We enjoyed our little walking tour of the city.  It was a quiet, warm day, and not many people were out.  In addition to the Civil Rights history, there was an interesting Hank Williams museum and gift shop.  The remainder of our stay in the area was uneventful.  Just a little bike riding, cleaning and a quick dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.  

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Playing Catch Up and Easter April 13-16

We've had our Electra Townie Bicycles for several years, but haven't  used them very much. So since we were parked near Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, GA we drove the Jeep over and unloaded them for a scenic trek through the park on the designated bike trails.  
I was a little disappointed that we were a little late for the blooming of the azaleas  but it was a beautiful day and there were few people in the park.  The bike paths are in great shape, except for a little drop off on the sides (ask me sometime how I know that can be dangerous 😬) with few hills.  
 There were a few late blooming azaleas. 

The Chapel and my attempt at creative photography.

 A stop at the Butterfly Center in the park was interesting but it was not easy to get a photo of the active residents!

We enjoyed our 8 1/2 mile bike ride through the park! 

After leaving the park, we strolled through the little town of Pine Mountain.  There are several  little shoppes, but one that we found most interesting was the antique store that had a large collection of antique radios in every size, shape and condition. 

Easter Sunday was moving day for us.  One chore after parked under the trees for several days was to sweep the roof of debris.  I'm glad someone isn't afraid of heights!

Our Easter Holiday meal this year was different than in the past.  But I did make an effort to be festive and change up  from our usual cereal.  I was feeling a little blue though since we usually have a big Easter Egg Hunt with all the grandkids.  We did FaceTime with them though, thanks to our son and his efforts to round everyone up at the family picnic and egg hunt at a local park.  

This photo is so typical of any efforts to get all six of them together. We sure do miss these guys though.  The worst part of this new lifestyle:(  Thanks to our daughter for taking this pic and knowing I would have been trying to do the same!!  Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

On Down the Road April 3-16

Spending a week at Up the Creek Campground gave us a chance to get used to taking our home on the road.  Pigeon Forge was hopping with folks everyone, since it was still Spring Break for many and it was Car Show week also.  We really like this campground.  It's far enough away from all the traffic to be nice and quiet but yet it is on the shuttle route for an easy trip to all the shows, shopping and restaurants.  Every site has full hook-ups (sewer, water and electricity) but some campers might be disappointed that they have no pool, playground, laundry, or bathrooms/showers.  You need to be fully self contained to stay here.  The sites are generously separated and some are upgraded with patio furniture and fireplaces. 

We have a TV on the outside of the coach, so we tried that out when the weather was decent.  Otherwise we didn't do a whole lot.  We did take one of the popular hikes to Laurel Falls, along with several hundred other tourists.  Hard to believe I actually got a photo without anyone else in it! 

We had planned to drive up to Clingman's Dome, but a late spring snowfall closed the road.  But we did get an idea of the devastation of the fires in the Gatlinburg area last fall as we drove up Newfound Gap.  Spring is bringing lots of green though and the area will eventually recover.  We didn't drive into the areas where many of the cabins and homes were destroyed but could see a few from the main roads.

Someone was brave enough to stop along the busy road to make a snowman.  He was on his way to meltdown by the time we drove by.

Another hike with fewer people was to the School House (from the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area)   Some interesting creek crossings on this one.  So after our week's stay at Up the Creek, we headed on down the road  Georgia.  We knew to avoid the Atlanta area so after a good day's drive and a stop for groceries, we stopped for the night near Adairsville, GA at Harvest Moon RV Park.  We had a nice long pull through site since we had no need to unhook the Jeep.  This park is nice and convenient to I-75 and ideal  for an overnight stop, but not really a destination unless you have reason to be in Adairsville.  

One thing we've learned is to not trust Google Maps.   It will route you the shortest and fastest way to your destination, but there is no way to tell it that you are driving a 38 foot long, almost 13 foot tall house on wheels and towing a Jeep Trailhawk!  Sharp corners and narrow county roads are nerve racking.  We could invest in a special GPS for trucks, but we've heard bad things about those too. Instead, we (or I !!) will have to learn to do more zooming in and out on my phone before we commit to a route.  

But we made it safely to our next destination, Whitetail Ridge Campground on West Point Lake near LaGrange, Georgia.  We love COE (Corps of Engineer) parks.  They usually have nicely spaced campsites in scenic but sometimes remote areas.  And the price is usually good too, especially because we can use our Senior Access Pass for half price camping fees at National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands. 

We really lucked out with our site selection when I made the reservations.  This was  super long, level and private with a beautiful view of the lake.  I had booked only three nights, but we liked the area and campground enough to book another two nights, even though we had to move.

If we were fishing people, we could have tossed out a line!  Instead, we watched the birds, squirrels and enjoyed the peace and quiet (except for some noisy geese!).  The weather was perfect and surprisingly, there were few bugs out yet. But we did have several little hopping spiders visit us and hitch a ride to our next stop! 

We enjoyed our stay in the La Grange area and explored the Pine Mountain and Callaway Gardens areas one day.  I'll save those photos for my next post since this is getting a little long and heavy on pics!

City square water fountain with statue of Lafayette in downtown LaGrange.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Welcome Home!

We wondered if this day would ever happen, but it finally did!  On March 13 we drove to Grand Rapids, Michigan to take delivery of our new motor home a Newmar Ventana 3709 at Midway RV Center. 

The first day was spent with a one of the technicians as we went through all the systems and interior of the new coach.  The heating/cooling systems including the Oasis hot water heating system, the generator, the inverter, electrical systems plus the engine and the Freightliner chassis  are all things I don't really understand, yet.  Luckily I have a husband who has been studying all of this for the past several months and since he has a mechanically savvy  brain, thrives on learning about these types of things. Now the full size residential refrigerator, convection microwave, electric induction cook top, dishwasher, washer and dryer (yes! we've got all the bells and whistles!) the solid surface counters, and wood grain tile floors are things my brain can grasp much better!  There was a slight issue with the absence of speakers for the sound system, but that was resolved as soon as possible.  We spent a couple of nights camped in the back of their parking lot to make sure we worked out any kinks. Luckily, there were few!  Winter returned to Michigan while we were there, so we found out we could live comfortably in 15 degree weather! Hopefully, that won't happen often!

We headed back home on Wednesday afternoon and pulled into the driveway of our "sticks and bricks" house late that evening.  This would be "our" driveway for only a few hours, since we were scheduled to close on the sale of our home to our daughter and son-in-law the next day.  But we had several days ahead of us of moving our few remaining possessions (that weren't going into storage) into the motor home. 

It was a daunting task when looking at the stacks of storage boxes, clothes and miscellaneous  that had to be moved into our new home.  At one point I didn't think it could happen.  But we did it!  This picture is of probably only about one third of what had to be stowed away in the storage bays and interior of the coach! I even have my sewing machine and it's embroidery arm plus supplies. (Though now that we are here, I realize I forgot fabric 😏) Pretty amazing!

So once we were pretty much moved in, we vacated our little driveway and left the house in the possession of the new owners.  Our next stop would be my father-in-law's driveway, where we've added some extra rock to make it wider and  a nice area to park when we are in the area.  We spent about two weeks parked there.  Dennis worked on the entertainment system, the wifi system (wifi Ranger and two hotspots) and I did a tiny bit of decorating with some different pillows and new throw rugs.  We also had several non-rv related appointments (doctor, accountant, bank, financial) to take care of.  I also enjoyed a girls' day out with a good friend and we spent time with family and friends before we would "hit the road". 

These are just a few photos of the interior of our new home.  As you can tell, it is already beginning to look lived in.  Note the crock pot and Yeti cups 😀  One thing I love about this coach is the flooring we upgraded.  It is a wood grain tile and it will probably never show a small scratch or spill.  Much more our style than the shiny white marble look tile that was the standard.  I also love the dishwasher. I hadn't even thought of adding one until our salesman, Kyle, suggested it.  After all, this is our home now and if building a new "sticks and bricks" we wouldn't have left it out.  The washer and dryer is a stacking unit in the corner of the back bath and so far has worked well.  But it does give the RV a good shake when in the spin mode!

Last Sunday, April 2 was our launch into true full time RV living!  We said our goodbyes to our family hosts, kids and grandkids and headed south.  After one night at Levi Jackson State Park in London, Kentucky we headed onto our first destination, Pigeon Forge, TN.  We are at Up the Creek RV Camp for the rest of this week and researching our next destination.  We have to remind our selves this is our life now, and not a vacation. Even though there are things  to do and places to explore we can take our time and do as much or as little as we want. 

Thanks for stopping by to see how this adventure is going.  I promise to update here when I can!