Sunday, October 15, 2017

2017 Final Blog - Shelby, OH, Louisville, KY, Knoxville, TN, NC, SC and back home

Our trip picks up in Shelby, OH on September 9. Long day of traveling but ended at the KOA Resort in Mansfield. Beautiful park! $50 a night for my RVing friends, and if you're ever in this area, a must stay! One of the nicest parks! We came here for the express purpose of seeing our friends, Bob and Jane Rule from Port St. Lucie. We had not yet seen their farm in Ohio, so we were eager to get here. Jane and I were texting back and forth throughout the day, and what a bummer that Hurricane Irma is messing up our plans! Booooo they have to go to FL to make sure their home there is secure, so we're going to miss them. So disappointing, but still happy to see this beautiful, peaceful farm and now I can mentally "see" them here!


For all our mutual friends, does this not just scream "JANE?" Love it.

With all this looming threat of a major hurricane, I hope they'll be ok in FL! They have a storm shelter here! Pretty cool!

We had intended to spend Friday all day with Jane and Bob, but since they're not here, we're exploring Bucyrus, Shelby and Madison all on our own. What a pretty little town!

Absolutely astounded at the incredible murals painted in Bucyrus. I think the most realistic and beautiful I've ever seen!

Jane told us we just had to eat at Carle's and though the construction gave us a pause, we entered in, to find it's really a grocery store with a restaurant right inside! YUMMY food!

Check out this travel trailer we saw in town! Pretty cool!

Saturday, Sept. 9th we drove to Louisville to the Louisville South KOA, $80 a night, and not worth it! Nice enough but crowded city park! We rested over the weekend, along with feeling another keen disappointment. Lisa was supposed to fly to Louisville and spend a few days with us, but after her flight was canceled 3 times, we realized Irma was causing yet another change of plans. What a terrible storm! We have been glued to the TV, watching the coverage and projected paths of Irma. By Saturday night we realized central FL was in real danger, and while we'd been really concerned for our friends on the east coast, Irma took that surprising turn to the west coast, so then we were really worried for them! With Irma headed straight up the state, we were in constant contact with our family. Ryan and Vicki had completely boarded up their house, so we knew they were as secure as possible. Mark and Lisa had no other protection as they just recently moved into their new home. They spent a restless night under the stairs! We talked until the wee hours, and in these times, you just have to give your family to God and trust in His protection! Thank God our family and friends are all safe, though lots of damage was suffered by many. Our personal home was spared any damage, but our seawall was completely destroyed and some damage to the dock. One of our rental properties suffered significant damage when a huge oak tree fell onto the house. So we'll be dealing with all that for awhile. But overall, God is always so good, and we thank Him for His protection!

Monday, 9-11 we spent in downtown Louisville. We had a delightful beginning to the day going to Con Heuvos for a late breakfast. This had been highly recommended to us by my nephew, Mark Rainwater, who had eaten here last year when he participated in the Iron Man race. We were really happy with this choice of restaurants. Long lines were there, but we were able to get seats at the bar, rather than waiting 1-2 hours! Most memorable breakfast of our trip, for sure!


If we come back to Louisville for ANY reason, we'll definitely eat here again! Awesome!

Now a trip to the Louisville Slugger Museum. Fascinating!

You get the idea of how big this bat is when you see Earl standing in front of it!

Beautiful Churchill Downs! Home of the Kentucky Derby!

Scenes around town....

Well, Irma strikes again. We left Louisville on Tuesday and drove to Russell Springs, KY to see our friends, Nick and LuAnn Hanna. And they had to leave this morning to go check on her dad's property in Tavares! Bummer! So we just stayed one night here, and these 2 beautiful deer came out to say goodbye to us as we were preparing to leave (taken from inside through the windshield and a bit rainy).

Wednesday we drove to South Lake RV Park in Knoxville, TN ($40 a night and while it's an old park, it's just lovely, with our nice large site with a deck overlooking the lake.

We could hardly wait to see the family! Can't believe how these kids are growing. So happy to see Jason, Ben and Sarah. Grace is at school, so we'll meet up with Dana and Grace for dinner.

I think Sarah is going to bypass me in height! Grace already has!

And this will likely the the last time I'll be taller than Benjamin!

This is their boxer, Leo....

Jason, always animated! 

Love our firstborn!

Sweet Grace!

Jason and Dana love living in Knoxville. Wish it was closer. They are so easy and fun to be with!

Ben is all boy.....

And then of course, Jason had to show he could do anything the kids could do! 

Grace and her new car! Our sweet girl graduates next spring! Where have the years gone?

Kind of cool to see my childhood furniture (and then Lisa's all the years she was at home) now being enjoyed by our granddaughter, Sarah. Ah, if that furniture could talk!

Saturday we enjoyed a day at Cades Cove in TN....and on the way, stopped at the Apple Valley General Store. 

PopPop looking for Ben and he popped out the other end!

Relaxing back at our park - pretty view.

We had all the family over for a cookout Saturday night....

Sarah roasting marshmallows....

Sunday morning we went to church with the family at Park West. We LOVE this church! What an awesome service with amazing music! After church we went to the largest Chinese Buffet I've ever seen! Talk about an abundance of choices!

Always a little hard to say goodbye to the family.... but we sure enjoyed the time we had!

This week we came on over to Waynesville. We really like this area -  We're staying at Pride Resort ($48 a night here) and just lovely! 

We're going to be looking at property while we're here. If the right thing comes up either here or in Franklin, we think we're ready to start "settling down" and come up here in the summers and winter in Florida.

This park is on a lovely creek - we love taking our chairs right out beside the creek  and reading while listening to the sounds of rushing waters.

Friday we spent all day with Jack and Jan Bazner - so lovely to spend the day with good friends!  They are on the board of an awesome place called Mountain Top Experience. The timing was perfect as Vicki and Lisa had been talking about wanting to rent a place in the mountains for ALL of us to spend a week. Jason and family could meet us all there, and as soon as I saw this place, I knew it would be perfect for all our family! It's on 40 acres with winding trails and a long range view that is breathtaking! Founded by a lovely Christian couple that Jack and Jan know, it was originally their vision to be a retreat for missionaries, burned out pastors, etc. and anyone who was looking for an inspiring, meaningful time to experience God's love in the mountains. Perfect for family vacations and church retreats, etc. If y'all are interested, check them out online at or call 1-800-400-2317.e

This is the Lodge.

Breathtaking views!

There are four bedrooms, each with a loft that has 2-3 beds for kids.... 

After seeing the Lodge, we went back to see Jack and Jan's little piece of Heaven in mountains. So cute!

Isn't this cabin so cute? Now I can see them there when we are apart. So cozy!

We spent a week in Waynesville. We didn't find property here, though we did drive bys of 8-9 places. I've always thought I wanted elevation, but this creek is making me have second thoughts!

One day we went out for breakfast at The Buttered Biscuit and afterward checked out some local shops.  I meant to take a photo of the shirts and signs at The Buttered Biscuit - "Mind Your Own Biscuits and Life Will Be Gravy!" 

In front of the Cabbage Rose, we found these really cool vehicles! ONLY $350 a DAY to rent!

More reading by the creek....

Monday, Jack and Jan came to the RV and we all loaded up to drive to Burnsville to meet our friends, Ron and Debbie Holman. What fun! We met for lunch in downtown Burnsville and then took the treacherous drive up to their cabin! Yikes! I'm deciding elevation may not be so important after all! In addition to the access issues, you get about 4,000 ft elevation, and the difference is temperature was amazing! We were relishing perfect weather downtown, and we got to to Holman's and I was chilly!
Something to definitely consider!

View from Ron and Debbie's deck - so peaceful and beautiful!

We've been to their cabin years ago, and it's just as I remembered, so cozy and cute!

Ron took me for a ride in this cute ATV - so much fun!

We're only about 90 minutes away from our buddies, Bob and Nancy Lentz. We met them half way one night for dinner, and then Tuesday we drove to Hendersonville and spent the day with them. We always cherish our times together. They'll be coming to see us in November, so it makes it a bit easier to be apart again. Priorities of course were to get apples, so off we went to Sky Valley Orchards....

Heading to Franklin.... nothing like driving in the mountains in a RV with a huge windshield. 

We were excited to get to Franklin. We love this area. We shared a home here for several years with Vic and Ronni Caggiano -  until we bought the RV and then were going so seldom, we all decided to sell.  So after RVing since 2005 and traveling extensively for the past 3 years for the majority of the year, we're thinking we're going to soon be ready to have a home base here as well. If it's meant to be it will be. If we can't find anything we'll come back here next summer and search again.  In the meantime, we plan to be here for about 10 days while we look. We are staying at Franklin RV Park and Campground ($59 night) and we love it here. We are actually on the owner's site and it faces out to the meadow. So pretty! The weather is gorgeous! A wee bit chilly in the shade and perfect in the sun! They have the prettiest pavilion at this park I've ever seen! Really nice....

Check out the motor homes on the firescreen! Cool!

And here's our meadow....

Our days here have been full of many miles of traveling all over the place! We have looked at 43+ homes! Lucky for our realtor here, WE are realtors and know the importance of doing drive bys! The vast majority of homes we've looked at we ruled out, some before we even got there, because of the access! Most you would definitely need all wheel drive! We were in some hairy situations with what felt like we were going straight up and NO where to turn around, and wheels spinning, not sure if we'd even make it! 

We have been all over the places, houses in Franklin and Otto, all the way to Robbinsville, Topton, Highlands, Cashiers, looked at probably dozens and dozens online. Finally we found THE perfect home for us! View, fairly easy access, and exactly what we want! It's in Clayton, GA and we went home to call our realtor and get in our offer, only to find out it's just gone pending!!! NO!!!! Oh well.... guess we'll either go with our #2 favorite in Franklin or wait until next summer.

We have definitely decided access is THE most important thing for US, and in consideration of our friends and family who will come see us. Ha! We ruled out some that we may have really liked the house but too close neighbors, etc. Earl said our car is definitely going to need some TLC when we get home!

We actually only looked at 4 inside and Saturday we looked at 2 more in Clayton, GA, so a total of 6.
Saturday, Oct 7th, after lots of discussion and praying about it, we decided to throw out an offer on our 2nd favorite. We're giving them till Monday to respond, so if it's meant to be, it will be.

Leaving Franklin and heading to Pendleton, SC and seeing my sister! YAY!

After getting in to Twin Lakes Campground on Lake Hartwell in Pendleton, it almost feels like home. We've stayed here so many times over the years. After getting set up, we headed over to see Elyn. So very happy to see her. She's almost 10 years older than me, but we have always been so close we think our relationship may rival that of twins.  We visited a bit and then just went to the local Mexican restaurant on the square downtown for a quick dinner.

Monday we just relaxed and enjoyed being together. We went into a few cute shops and about mid afternoon - we got the call! WE'RE BUYING A CABIN IN THE MOUNTAINS! Yay!!

After they got off work, Mark and Kellie came over and we went to Rick Erwin's in Clemson for dinner. Elyn and I shared shrimp and grits and I didn't think to take photos of anything other than Earl's burger - gracious! THAT is a burger!

Lots of fun times shopping with Elyn in the daytime and fun places to eat for dinner.  After dinner Wednesday night, Earl went with Mark and Kellie to Clemson to see the Occulus and a photography show of a National Geographic photographer that they all raved about. Richard Bernabe if any of you are familiar with his work. Earl said he sure had some fascinating tales!

Our last night with Elyn was her birthday celebration! It is rare that I've been able to be with her on her birthday, so this was a treasured time! 

On the way to dinner, Mark took us all over Clemson University campus to show me some of the things they saw last night. This is the Occulus. VERY impressive!

Then we headed on over to Calhoun Corners which has become a tradition for them on Elyn's birthday. Fantastic restaurant and our 2nd time here. Mark insisted on treating us all, and believe me, that set him back a good bit!

After dinner we went back to Elyn's and she opened her birthday gifts. What a special night.  

Friday we left Pendleton and we're gradually headed home..... should be home mid week next week. 

So this may well be my final blog for our years of RV traveling. Thanks to all of you who've traveled along with us! We've made some fabulous memories. We are thinking we may sell the RV - everything in reverse - we sold our cabin in NC when we started traveling, and now that we've finished our tour of the USA (with the exception of Alaska - still have that on our bucket list!) we will likely not find it worthwhile to keep the RV, so if you know of anyone wanting to follow in our footsteps and travel the USA in a beautiful RV, let us know - we just might make you a great deal! God has blessed us beyond measure with safety over the many miles and we've fallen in love with America all over again! What an adventure. We are grateful!



  1. It was great seeing you. What a wonderful year of travels!

    1. Jason, we always love our times with you and the family! It has been the adventure of a lifetime! Awesome memories! ❤️

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