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.