Friday, June 23, 2017

RV Journey May-June 2017 - FL, SC, GA, TN, KY

When we first headed out on the road, we were already two weeks later than we’d planned as I needed to follow up with the doctor about the results of the MRI on my left knee. Sure enough, a large tear in the medial meniscus and a small tear in the lateral meniscus – that’s what’s been causing the discomfort. He advised surgery, but I told him it would have to wait until we get back in October as we have places to go and things to see! He gave me an anti-inflammatory which is helping, and I’ll just deal with it. All this because of my impatience in getting out of my kayak to hurry to grill before dark, and falling in the lake! I almost drowned myself laughing so hard imagining what I looked like, that I didn’t realize for awhile that I’d injured my knee. Oh well….live and learn.
So we left on May 16th, excited to finally be starting out on our last really long adventure. This will complete our initial visits to all the states except for Alaska which we’re undecided about flying out there or RVing. We had reservations for the night in Cordele, GA where we usually stay as they have long pull through sites where we don’t have to unhook the car. We were getting fuel in Tifton, GA and as usual, the diesel is on the outside islands, so as we pulled around to get in our spot, a school bus was pulling in almost across from us, where we could not proceed. Earl gestured that we needed to get to the tank and that we cannot back up at all while towing. He began to back away, but not as far as we needed. We were blocking all six islands of cars and Earl is always a very courteous driver, so he was really antsy to get out of their way. Those of you who drive big rigs know that you have to pull way forward before beginning your turn, and he went as far as almost hitting the bus, who would NOT back up any more (!) and thought he would be able to squeeze by. We heard loud metal crunching. NOT a sound you want to hear!  I thought initially it was the car, but when Earl got out, he saw that the large cement post (I assume to keep anyone from driving into the gas pumps was at the very edge of the island and yep, we caught it! Ripped the two cargo doors in front of the tire. Ugh. Sickening. 

 Thank God for 3 awesome black guys who rushed over from filling their motorcycles. One of them was a semi truck driver, so he was able to help Earl know how to pull forward without further damage AND without the post hitting the car as we pulled away from the island. (By this time, the bus had moved on, grrrr).

The doors have all kinds of electronics and cables going through them (to enable the remote locking and unlocking from a key fob) so they helped Earl pull all the wiring and cords out, and take the doors off, as they were just hanging, scraping the ground. Earl put them in one of the storage bays, and we got fuel and went on the short distance to Cordele. We debated of course, should we get it fixed in Tifton, go on without the bay doors, continue as planned being we were already 2 weeks behind. But we all too well remembered last year being stranded in Brunswick with A/C issues, and we did NOT want to repeat that. So we decided to just go home. At least we’d be comfortable while we waited. So we went home the very next day. We were told as much as two weeks for repairs. Ugh!!! But what can you do? So we made the best of our time. I got to attend Hannah’s ballet recital which I’d thought I’d have to miss, so that was awesome.

 We of course enjoyed more family times, and decided to take advantage of a weekend to run over and see Sheila and Orlan, our best friends, one more time.  My niece’s son was graduating on Friday (I had already RSVPd that we would not be attending due to our trip). We got to go to Christian’s graduation party that Sunday night, and saw all of Bob’s family and lots of people I normally would not get to see, so that was great. 

Good times with our besties - we're going to miss them in the next few months.
 Bob and Marilyn....
Christian graduates high school! So proud of him!

My cute niece....Susie.

 And we stayed over on Monday so I was able to go to Sister Chicks, the monthly “girls night out” that Sandy Horton has organized now for several months. That was awesome to see many old Hobe Sound friends, some I had not seen for who knows how many years! We were laughing so much I failed to take photos. Bummer.

One more fun thing we took advantage of while we were home was the chance to meet our friends, Barry and Cindy Carey that we'd met 4 years ago when we took our New England Tour. We had so much in common and just hit it off then and stayed in touch on FB ever since. Our life journeys were very similar in that within months of each other, we had each sold practically everything we owned in order to pursue dreams of travel. They bought Beatitude I, a forty ft. awesome sailboat and sailed many nautical miles exploring the world, while we set out in our RV in 2015 to explore America. They have just recently sold Beatitude I and have bought a beautiful 5th Wheel and humongous truck to now explore America, naming it the Beatitude II. So it was great fun to meet them for a very long lunch and catch up with each other. We eagerly follow each other's exploits. Here we are with them....

 Cindy is quite an artist and I loved that she presented me with these original notecards! So pretty!

The two weeks passed, and we were told all the reasons why the RV wasn't ready…you know how that goes…so now we’re looking at another week! So….we decided with the delays we might not have time to come back by my sister's and our Hendersonville, NC friends, Bob and Nancy Lentz, so we just on a quick impulsive decision, rode on up there to spend the weekend with them. We loved our time, and always enjoy beautiful Greenville, SC.

Love that first view of the mountains....

 They’re only an hour away from my sister, so I did get to spend several hours one day with her, which we both treasured. I have no pictures, as you've never seen anyone who hates to have her picture taken like my sister! Bob and Nancy were crazy busy working in real estate (and we definitely know what that’s like) – so we left there on Monday morning. 
We met more dear friends, Ken and Ruth Rice for breakfast when we came through Spartanburg. That was a treat too.

Oh I almost forgot, during this time, we CLOSED on our house in Park Place on June 7th!  The maintenance on keeping up that big vacant house, yard and pool was really a burden so we just thank the Lord we are out from under that! Sort of sad to walk out the final time but NOW at last we are completely DEBT FREE!!!! Our son, Ryan did a super job for us. We took Ryan and Vicki to Ruth's Chris to celebrate. Fun night.

On our last weekend, we enjoyed watching Connor and Zoe one night for Ryan and Vicki to go to dinner. These kids are growing like weeds! Zoe is obsessed with Elmo - so cute.

June 15th – One month to the day, we are finally on our way!! YAY!!! Tonight we are in Cordele, GA just like we were one month ago! I think we made the most of our "waiting on the RV time," don't you?

Friday, June 16th – We are in Trenton, GA, which is just outside Chattanooga. We are staying this weekend as we are here specifically to surprise our old friend, David Darnell at his church in Ringgold, GA. Can’t wait to see his face.!   What a great RV park! Heavily wooded and hilly with large sites! Beautiful weather. $38 a night for my RVing friends who always ask that I give that info. Pitiful TV and internet are the only negatives.
Saturday we played “tourists.” Went into Chattanooga and rode the new HOP,  a trolley that you can hop on and off at any of the stopping points. Pretty cool. 

 We rode Incline Railway up Lookout Mountain, even though we’d done it several years ago when we were here. Just so much fun to go at a 73 degrees incline! Yikes! It’s the world’s steepest incline. Gorgeous views at the top!

We ate lunch at the bottom of the incline at a delightful restaurant called 1885 right across the street. By late afternoon we were back at our pretty site, sitting outside and met and chatted with our next door RV neighbors from Texas. Super nice people.

Sunday, June 18th – Father’s Day! We knew we’d be away from the family so we’d already celebrated with Ryan’s family and Lisa’s family, and Jason called as well, so Earl got to talk to all the kids today. FUN DAY! We went to 1st Baptist Church of Ringgold. 

So fun to be sitting there in the congregation and watch David come out to the piano (from a side door at the front) and begin his prelude never knowing we were there. At one point Earl leaned over and whispered, “Wouldn’t it be terrible if he just quickly leaves through that front door after the service, and we completely missed him?”  Yikes! So when they had the mingling time, Earl went on up there and I wish y’all could have seen David’s face! I thought if the railing hadn’t been there, he might have fallen right over. Haha He was so shocked. He hugged Earl and I waved at him, but the service was starting so we had no more time. Very nice special Father’s Day service there, that we really enjoyed. 

After church was my turn for hugs and this guy, who’s always been like a big brother to me, was definitely pretty happy to see us! David’s wife, Wilma is a music leader at another church in their hometown of Chickamauga, so we had to go back there to pick up Wilma.  I rode with David, so I’d have a chance to catch up with him and Earl followed until we picked up Wilma and then they followed us on a beautiful country drive to a fabulous restaurant they took us to in Trenton. On the way, I had the distinct honor of hearing the master CDs of David’s two newest upcoming CDs – one to be released in August and the Christmas CD in the fall. Y’ALL, on my goodness, they are BEAUTIFUL! NO one plays quite like David! Such a masterful touch, and somehow different than anyone else. I cannot wait to hold them in my hands. Perfectly beautiful!
We enjoyed a delicious long lunch. I feel pretty sure the restaurant staff assumed we were just staying on for dinner as well, as I think it was almost 5:00 when we left! What a great time of just catching up and sharing our lives. There’s just something really special about long time friends. 

We got home and enjoyed sitting outside reading our books till it was almost dark. We were still so full from our huge lunch, we had an apple for dinner.
Monday was a day of rest – love our quiet days sitting outside surrounded by beautiful trees and accompanied by the sounds of birds singing merry tunes.  You know as long as I have a good book, I’m always happy.

Tuesday, June 20 we drove to Cadiz, KY, staying at Prizer Pointe RV Resort KOA on Lake Barkley. Absolutely gorgeous site as you can see here! This is definitely a “come back to” place! We’ll be here a few days but we may just come back for a month sometime.  $90 a night, and worth every bit when you have this kind of view!

After we got set up we walked up to The Pier, the onsite FLOATING restaurant here, and enjoyed a grilled chicken salad.  We’re wishing for the family. SO much to do here with pontoon boat rentals (really cool ones with an upper deck and a big slide into the lake!), go carts, golf carts, 4 seater bikes and more, and the lake is just gorgeous.  And coming soon is an inflatable water park and ropes course! It will have a 600’ zip line into Lake Berkeley and can accommodate 180 people. Volleyball courts, kayaks, paddle boards and much more. Just an awesome park, one of the nicest we’ve come across in our travels.
Today is Wednesday, June 21. We got up this morning and after leisurely getting ready, and having our normal quiet time, we headed out through gorgeous countryside, rolling hills and lush green grass into Cadiz. We stopped by an Amish Farmer’s Market, and what a beautiful display of fresh veggies! 

Look at all we got for just $6 and then Earl bought some honey and peaches. Prettiest tomatoes I’ve seen in years!

We had a yummy lunch at Reva’s downtown. Well actually, Earl had breakfast, I had lunch. 

We had the nicest afternoon, going to Homeplace 1850’s Working Farm and Living History Museum. Fascinating! It’s a two generation farm, with a blend of artifacts, restored historic structures, and you really do feel like you’ve stepped back into time! Ladies there in period dress, darning socks and weaving on looms, etc., men out in the fields using old timey hand plows, etc. 

Back in the 1800's they aired out the mattresses by putting them out on the roof!

We probably were not supposed to do this, but we were just too curious what these beds felt like. Actually, they were pretty comfortable.

One of the ladies was sewing pieces of a baby quilt and the other was darning socks! 

 This is Joseph, and he's sharpening a hoe here, and was very interesting and knowledgeable.

We had to take this picture for our son, Jason, who is into blacksmithing (is that a word?) Haha. He would be fascinated by the forge and blacksmith shop - actually probably little has changed about this art till this day.

 The families lived off the livestock, crops and vegetable gardens. Tobacco and corn served as cash crops in this region known as Land Between the Lakes (between the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers). We walked all over the farm seeing the separate buildings, garden plots etc.  It is 170,000 acres of uncommercialized land.  There is a planetarium on the property and we later watched a laser show there. There are two large Amish communities in the area. 

On our way home we drove through the Elk and Bison Prairie. We did not see any elks today, but just as we were about to give up seeing bison, we turned a corner and there were a herd of them right beside the road!  We were in what used to be the Native American Shawnee Nation, where the lands were used as hunting grounds. Due to urban and farmland , the prairie habitat is becoming endangered along with the wildlife it supports. So we enjoyed a rare glimpse into life in the 1800’s….

Tonight we grilled filets and some of the fresh zuchinni and squash we got this morning. Yummy! We watched an incredible sunset, the skies just ablaze with color. It’s always awe-inspiring to see God’s handiwork!

One of our neighbors walked over and apologized for interruption our moment, but said they were taking a walk and also watching the sunset, and were so struck by the silhouette we made in the sunset and showed us the photo they’d snapped of us. It will be one of my favorite photos ever.

We in turn took one of them sitting on the same log, and enjoyed getting to know them a bit. They’re from MO and he and Earl had a lot in common with medical backgrounds.  We just hit it off. They even invited us to their home in MO and want to show us all around the area. Doubtful we’ll be able to work that on this trip but maybe another year. Once again, we think about that book we keep saying we should write, “The New Front Porch of America…RV Parks”…..we just meet the nicest people. They gave us lots of helpful tips going forward from here as they know the area well. 

Trigg County, KY, is America at its best. We really enjoyed our time here. Tomorrow it’s supposed to be rainy so we’ll enjoy a quiet day and then Friday….. time to hit the road again. 

Stay tuned and as always, thanks for traveling along with us!