Thursday, December 21, 2017

Heading to Florida - 4 stops

Franklin, KY

On December 4, 2017 we started our trek to Florida. Seeing we were paid through the 10th of December at Add-More Campground we didn't need to worry about checkout time, and the drive to Franklin was only about 2 hours, plus gaining an hour on the trip, we didn't need to rush to get on the road. Or, so we thought.
We left around 2:30 anticipating arriving around 4:00. Well, we did not take into consideration that we would have more tire problems.
A fellow driver pulled up along side of us and honked his horn and pointed to the back of our RV. Les pulled off on the shoulder and yep, the spare we put on in Arkansas shredded while we drove south on I-65.
It ripped the fender right off of the tow-dolly. After taking the car off the dolly, and while Les researched tire places on his phone, Nancy drove back a few exits and then searched for the fender while heading back to the RV. She did find it looking very sad on the side of the road.
Les found a tire dealer about 15 miles away that had two tires in stock. So off he went to get them. He put both new tires on the dolly and the old drivers side tire is now our spare. We are once again so very lucky and grateful, as so much more damage could have been done.

We arrived at Dad's Bluegrass Campground around 6:00, which of course at this time of year it is already dark. The camp managers were so great about us coming after dark. They lived in Asheville, NC and the surrounding area for many years, so we had a great conversation about "home". The park is well maintained, the sites are long and average width. The campground has a large music venue and holds concerts regularly. We spent just one night so didn't use laundry, there is no WiFi but our Verizon signal was strong. We paid $19.50 a night with our Passport America discount.

Elkmont, AL

On December 5th we had a rainy but much smoother trip to Elkmont, which is just across the Tennessee boarder. We are so glad it wasn't raining yesterday when we had the issue with the tire!
We did get another chuckle from the electronic sign just outside of Nashville, TN.

Mill Creek Park is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It is an older park, but fairly well maintained. The owners are super sweet. The sites are long and average width.
There was plenty of place to walk the dog and Mill Creek runs along the edge of the park. WiFi was good, Verizon signal was okay. We paid $16.00 a night with our Passport America discount.

There is an old rail car on the entrance road into the park.

Cropwell, Al

December 6th we made our way to Cropwell, which is east of Birmingham, AL. Lakeside Landing Marina and RV Park is where we stayed. This is our second time here. Back in early March we spent a week here and explored all of the area, that blog post is filled with pictures. This stay was much quieter, Nancy was nursing a cold, plus it was very cold out. The park is well maintained and right on the lake. Site #4 was just long enough for the RV, tow-dolly and parking the car. We paid $29.70 a night with our Good Sam discount.
L: first day here no snow ~~ R: third day here - snow starting
Three inches of snow fell, which is really unheard of around here. We had no desire to find out what the people here drive like in the snow! On our morning walk, Mielikki played in the snow while Nancy took pictures - this was just the start of it. There were a number of fishermen out in this mess. One was coming in while Nancy was out and she asked if they caught anything and his response was "just a cold".
What a difference a day can make
We caught up on some projects while here. Our house on wheels is much like a regular house - there is always something to do! Nancy made some ornaments for the new tree that Les bought her. The tree still needs lights but it is looking a little bit more like Christmas around here.
Just need some lights

Troy, Al

December 13th was moving day. We did a short drive to Troy, AL as our last stop before Florida. Deer Run RV Park is where we stayed. What a nice park, we are kind of sorry we only booked one night. The sites are all concrete and level and long enough for the RV and tow-dolly. They are a little wider than normal and angled so you are not looking right into your neighbors windows. You will have to take our word for all of this because Nancy forgot to get a picture of the site. Wifi was good, Verizon signal was strong. We paid $27.62 a night with our Good Sam Discount.
On the only morning they had, Nancy and Mielikki enjoyed exploring the campground. There is a large open field with two lakes in it. One they stock for fish and release. There is also a wooded area where we found another small pond and some abandoned trucks.
Next up we explore Florida.

Till we meet again....

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way.
~ We have said many times that having a house on wheels is like having a regular house in that there is always something to clean, fix, or upgrade.
Well, the other similarity is that there is always a new tool or gadget that you just have to have. We celebrated Christmas while in Michigan for Thanksgiving and Les received some new "toys".
As we travel across the country we have come across a variety of water. Some really good and some really bad. With this new gadget we will be able to test the water supply. Our tip from November 2015  gives more information on filtering your water.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Indiana/Louisville and Michigan

Clarksville IN

You may have heard the big sigh of relief from Nancy as we pulled into our campground in Clarksville, IN on November 10, 2017. It had been a long 20 days of worry since Les was in the ER in Cottonwood, AZ. More on the hospital visit in a moment.

While our family is in Mt. Washington, KY and the VA Hospital is in Louisville, KY our RV park was in Clarksville, IN. It was the closet park to the hospital, only about 15 minutes.
Add-More RV Park was home for almost a month. It is conveniently located close to all shopping, but far enough that it is pretty quiet.
The park is well maintained. The sites are narrow but long enough for the RV and tow-dolly.
Left picture 11-10 ~~~ Right picture 12-3
The laundry room was adequate. WiFi was spotty and our Verizon signal was good. We paid $19.79 a day with the monthly discount.

There are large open fields for walking the dog and for a little off lead running. Mielikki of course can always find a stick, or in this case a branch!

There were a few mornings that the temps got down into the high 20's which left everything covered in frost.

It was a bit cold, not that Mielikki noticed, but it did make for some great picture opportunities.

On Sunday, November 12, Les went into the ER of the Louisville VA Hospital. Because he is not assigned to this hospital he had to go through the ER. It didn't take long once he was checked in for the Dr's here to know he had suffered a heart attack in Cottonwood, AZ. They could tell as soon as they looked at the EKG results that the hospital there gave us. Imagine our surprise, as we had been told he didn't have a heart attack! So very thankful we made it all the way here without any additional problems - and that includes while he changed a flat tire along the way. Pretty sure his guardian angels were working overtime.
We could not have been more impressed with the staff at the Robley Rex VA Medical Center. Other than the intake person in the ER (Nancy really wanted to punch her), everyone from the janitors to the head of the cardiology department was fabulous. On Monday, Les underwent a heart cauterization which is when they discovered that one artery was 100% blocked and two others were around 40%. They placed a stint in the 100% blocked artery.
Tuesday, after a heart ultrasound was done and approved he was released, and the difference is like night and day. He feels so great and we are so grateful that he did not require by-pass surgery. He had a follow up appointment on Friday, December 1 and got the all clear to continue traveling, with a follow up appointment when we hit Asheville in the Spring. A huge thank you to everyone who was praying for him.

After the Dr's appointment on the 1st we went in search of Roadside Oddities. In Louisville we found the Louisville Water Tower. It was built in 1860 and is the oldest ornamental water tower in the world.
The Colgate Clock, on top of the former Colgate-Palmolive factory in Clarksville, IN is one of the largest clocks in the world with a diameter of 40-feet. The Santa Pot Guy stands on a corner in Jeffersonville, IN.

At Couch's Body Shop we found a Cadillac planted nose down into the ground. The maniquin that sits on top changes with the seasons and holidays. Pretty sure it wasn't 106 out that day! The metal lady is titled "I am Your Mother" and the Scale balances love.
The Lewis and Clark statue is in the Falls of Ohio State Park, in Clarksville, IN. It depicts the handshake between Lewis and Clark that signifies the start of their expedition. On October 14, 1803 Meriwether Lewis came from Washington, DC and met William Clark at the Falls of Ohio. "When they shook hands the Lewis and Clark Expedition started."
There is an interpretive center and the area is very popular for fishing, hiking and bird watching.

Right down the road from the Falls of Ohio we found the cutest coffee shop, The Widows Brew. Our niece Jennifer did point out that due to the name it was an interesting choice for our celebratory coffee and muffin after Les getting the all clear.
The building is a beautiful painted lady and there is a great view of downtown Louisville.

In downtown Jeffersonville, we found Thomas Jefferson celebrating the holidays, and we loved the painted electrical box.


With the Dr's approval we continued with our plan to go to Michigan to spend Thanksgiving with Katrina and Steve. We were there from November 19-26th, leaving the RV in Indiana and driving the car.
On the drive there we stopped in Alexandria, KY and had lunch with Lillian (our niece) and Larry. It is always great to be with them, we got to see their new house too! Didn't get pictures of them but did get some of Lillian's hydrangea bush - the biggest one we have ever seen.

Thanksgiving has always been our favorite holiday and once upon a time it was the whole family spending the day together. There were many years when we were feeding 40 or 50 people. Over the years the numbers have dwindled but not our love for the holiday. Family and food - what more could you ask for?
We were fortunate this year to spend it with the Fox family. Mike and Anne, Steve's parents, opened their home to all of us. What a wonderful day. Amazing food, great company and lots and lots of laughs while we played Telestrations.

The week went by so fast. Les enjoyed lunch and breakfast with past co-workers, always great catching up with them. We had a blast with Katrina and Steve going to their favorite places. We enjoyed both the hard cider and the music of Social Bones at the Northville Winery. Nancy's favorite part may have been watching the artist.

Nancy's new favorite:
Campfire Latte
Yummy food, coffee, wine and beer!

Nancy brought along a bottle of wine from her nephew Chuck to share - it seems Katrina and Steve liked it.

What fun it was helping them pick out their Christmas tree and we got to celebrate Christmas with them before we left.

One of Katrina's many
elf's - enjoying a
We always get a kick out of the sayings we see on the electronic signs - this one was in Cincinnati on our way back to Louisville.


While we spent the week in Michigan, Mielikki spent the week with Sherrie, Eric and Lilly. We weren't sure she was going to want to ever leave.
The center picture was taken moments after
we left her - you can see how upset she was!
The night we left her she never whined, but the next morning when Eric left for work she was pretty devastated! Once again it was so nice not having to worry about her while we were gone, we knew she was getting plenty of love.
Although she did seem happy
to see us when we got back.

Eric and Sherrie showed us around Jeffersonville.
The marks on the wall in the right photo show flood lines! 

The Schimpff's Candy Store was a dangerous place and became a favorite while we were here.

We also enjoyed delicious pizza for dinner at the Parlour and then relaxed with a beer by the fire at their brew pub. You get a nice view of the walking bridge that takes you to the Louisville side of the river.

Nancy and Sherrie were able to spend a couple of days just hanging out, something they rarely get to do. Craft shows, boutique shops, finding crazy things at the store, and breweries were some of the things they did. Of course they played numerous games of Upwords.

Lilly got some early Christmas presents and of course we had to wear the ribbons!

Nancy got a number of art days in on this stay, which always makes her happy. Plus, she took all of her "junk" (if you look close at the pictures you will see it really is junk!) to Sherries and they enjoyed an art day together.

Next up we start our travels to Florida with four stops along the way.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way.
~ A while back one of our tips was suggesting that when making reservations at a campground you ask about the best way to get into the park. Many times GPS will take you on a route that is not the best for an RV - especially one with a tow-dolly. 
Well, we want to extend that suggestion to ask whereever you may be taking the RV. A repair shop, propane station etc. 
While in Clarksville we needed our propane tank filled. This means we have to pack up everything and drive the RV to the propane dealer. There was one not far from the campground so off we went. Unfortunately, when we talked to them to make sure they had propane. Another tip - don't assume they have it available as sometimes they are out, and sometimes the person who can pump it is not in. 
Back to this tip - our GPS took us down a road that had an overpass that only had a 10' clearance. We are close to 13' tall - so you can see where the problem was. Luckily we did not have the tow dolly attached, and there was a driveway right behind us, so we were able to back up and turn around. The propane place was just on the other side of the bridge so it made sense to come this way - if you were in a car. If the tow-dolly and car had been attached this would have not been such an easy fix. Once again lesson learned. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Texas: 3 stops - Arkansas: 2 stops - Tennessee: 1 stop

Lubbock, TX

Here we are back in Texas. The drive to Lubbock from Roswell, NM, took us past field after field of cotton. It always reminds us of snow as we look out across the fields.
Loop 289 RV Park is where we stayed. As the name suggests it is on the Hwy 289 Loop around town. There are close to a 100 sites, and the park is well maintained. It is mostly gravel with a little bit of grass. We were in site 14, a pull through that was just long enough for the RV and tow-dolly. The laundry room and bathrooms were very clean, they have a small lounge area next to the laundry with a TV and comfy chairs. The WiFi was poor, Verizon signal good. We paid $30 a night with a cash discount.

Lubbuck is the birth place of Buddy Holly and where he was buried after dying in a plane crash in 1959. We visited the crash site in July 2015. Finding his grave-site wasn't all that easy as the sign was missing when we drove into the cemetery.

While we were making our final pass through, two guys were putting up the new sign, as someone stole the previous one! They pointed out the headstone and shared additional information with us. If you notice, his last name has an "e" in it. When he made his first record deal the contracts had his name misspelled and it stuck! The angel is just a few feet away from Buddy Holly's grave.

The Buddy Holly Center is in downtown. The house he grew up in has been moved to this location and across the street is a statue of Buddy on the Lubbock Walk of Fame. The house was located at 2215 6th Street and is where in 1956 the hit song "That'll Be The Day" was penned.

We found a few other Roadside Oddities.

The American Wind Power Center has a number of windmills on site - we enjoyed the view of old and new.
There is also a Prairie Dog Town here - a very large fenced in area for them. Not sure why they have a fence seeing they burrow under ground and the area outside the fence has a number of holes as well.
The Stubbs BBQ Memorial is at the site of the old Stubbs restaurant which was home to many musicians. Stubbs was known nationwide for his BBQ sauce and brisket marinade. Captain was hoping for some tasty BBQ but none was found.

A personal injury lawyer has a couple of gorilla's hanging around his office, and the tiny chapel is actually a storage shed in the parking lot of a Baptist church.

The Blarney Stone was another difficult one to find. It is on the campus of Texas Tech University. We stopped at two guard shacks and neither one knew what we were talking about. We did finally find it and Les, being the Irishman in the family got out to take the pictures and kiss the stone for some good luck. Maybe that's why he survived a heart attack! You might be wondering why there is a piece of the Blarney Stone here - well that is a good question. According to legend, the stone was discovered by a group of petroleum engineers while they were on a field trip. After testing, it was discovered that it was a piece of the original Blarney Stone. Can't argue with a legend. It is said that seniors that kiss the stone on graduation will receive the gift of eloquent speech.

Even though it seems Lubbuck might be calling us here with our own automotive company and bank - we will have to decline the offer.

Wichita Falls, TX
There were no rolling hills on the drive to Wichita Falls, just flat land for as far as the eye can see.
We arrived in Wichita Falls on October 31st.  Wichita Falls RV Park sits on the Wichita River. They have 135 full hook up sites, we were in site 42, a very long gravel pull-thru with grass and shade trees. Two RV's could have fit on our site!

The park is very well maintained, very quiet and also had a pond. There are two large dog walking areas. Laundry room was clean and Wifi worked fairly well. We paid $40.50 a night with our Good Sam discount.

Mielikki loved our walks along the river, except when she wasn't allowed to chase down that squirrel, it may have turned her to drink.

The World's Littlest Skyscraper was built in 1919 as part of a fraudulent investment scheme. When the proposal for money was made the investors didn't read the fine print as the measurements were listed as inches not feet.

The building is 40' tall, 18' deep and 10' wide. The steep narrow interior stairways take up about 25% of the inside. The Newby-McMahon Building was quite the embarrassment to the city until it made it into Ripley's Believe It or Not. We loved the Train Mural and the bases of the street lights are metal stars.

The Wee-Chi-Tah Sculpture features a Comanche family crossing the Wichita River. The multi-part piece of art is a Comanche women, her child, two braves, their horses and a colt. The legend of this crossing is where Wichita got its name. The woman is testing the rivers depth and describes it as "waist-deep" which is how "Wee-chi-tah" is translated. 

Paris, TX

Our drive on November 2nd was pretty uneventful, can't really say that for this Fed-Ex driver - think those packages may be late. We have never been to Paris France but pretty sure it is nothing like Paris, TX, although they both have an Eiffel Tower. We are guessing the one in France does not have a giant cowboy hat on it.
Spencer's RV Park is a park, repair shop and RV dealer all rolled into one. Most of the sites are filled with permanent residents with a few sites left open for over-nighters. It is fairly well maintained. The sites are narrow with full hook ups. Ours was barely long enough for the RV, tow-dolly and parking the car. Wifi was poor, the laundry room was just okay. We paid $30 a night with no discount.

On our search for a grocery store and the Eiffel Tower we came across the Evergreen Cemetery.
We found a number of old tombstones with hands, pointing up towards heaven and clasped ones. There were a number of lambs, which are usually on a young child's grave.

One we had never seen before. A mother and child engraved on a pillar.

There were some beautiful pillars with trees on them and one that had a sword, helmet and a shield with cross and bones.

The best one was Jesus wearing cowboy boots. The life sized buffalo was pretty interesting too.

Along with the Eiffel Tower we found a dragon, and a
beautiful Methodist church.

Hot Springs, AR
November 4th was the day we said good-bye to Paris and headed to Hot Springs, AR. On the drive we saw some fall colors and crossed more rivers than we can remember.
Our original plan was to stay here for a week, we came here from Little Rock in August 2016 and wanted a chance to explore it better. We wisely changed our plans to just two nights due to Les's health concerns.
The Treasure Isle RV Park would be a great place to stay for a week. The park is well maintained and very quiet. The sites are long and a little wider than normal. It sits on the Ouachita River which offers beautiful views and a great place for morning dog walks. Both mornings we watched large flocks of geese fly overhead. We paid $33 a night with a combination of Passport America and Good Sam Discounts. WiFi was decent, Verizon signal was good.

West Memphis, AR
Tom Sawyer's Mississippi River Park is where we headed on November 6. About halfway there we got a flat tire on the tow-dolly, so we had to pull off and change the tire. Nancy was very worried about Les doing this, but of course there was no stopping him and now that we know he actually had a heart attack in Cottonwood, we are very thankful he didn't have one on the side of the road!
The road into the park takes you through an industrial area with train tracks and lots of trucks. We figured we were in for two nights of lots of noise. Luckily we were very wrong.
The park is behind a raised embankment and a large wooded area so it was very quiet. It sits right on the Mississippi River so the views were great. We got to watch many barges float down the river. They have benches along the rivers edges, each one also has a fire pit in front of it.

There are miles of hiking trails through the park, along the river, around the lake and through the woods. Mielikki loved her morning walks and runs. She found sticks and a football this time.

Our site was a gravel pull through, long enough for the RV, tow-dolly and parking the car. The only downside to this park was the WiFi was spotty. We paid $35 a night with our Good Sam discount.
We always marvel at the different types of RV's and trailers we see. Like the people who live in them they come in all shapes and sizes.

Goodlettsville, TN
Our last stop before hitting Louisville. We arrived at the Grand Ole RV Resort on November 8th. Goodlettsville is just north of Nashville, TN. We had already been to Nashville so we didn't need to explore it again. In fact the car never came off the tow-dolly. This park is another example of using the word "resort" loosely. 
The park is well maintained but the sites are very narrow. Ours was long enough for us to fit but only a few feet from our neighbor. There is a fair amount of road noise and a train runs along the back of the park, luckily there is not always a train horn. The WiFi was poor, the laundry room was clean and they have a small store with basic needs. We paid $35.50 a night with a military discount. 

Louisville and Michigan are up next! 

Till we meet again.... 

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Invest in a spare tire. 
Our tow-dolly did not come with a spare. When we had to replace the tires we ordered a third one so we would have a spare. This not only saved us time on the trip to West Memphis it also saved us money. It would cost a whole lot more if road side assistance has to bring you a tire.