Monday, December 30, 2013

Enchanted Airlie...

We had a great time at Enchanted Airlie!  The weather was great and the lights were beautiful.  We wandered the gardens, saw Santa, viewed the Lego display and finished off with dinner at Island Fresh.  It got me into the Christmas spirit...just in time!  I also managed to spill hot coffee down my new shirt, but nothing's perfect...  :)

Jackson gave Santa a list of the Lego sets he wanted.  Santa said long as Jackson cleans up all his Legos off the floor!

The Christmas light displays were just gorgeous!

...and the Legos were awesome!

It was a great night!  Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Home For The Holidays...

We enjoyed our month in Myrtle Beach and I would have hated to leave our campsite by the ocean were we going anywhere but Wilmington.  For me, Wilmington is coming home to my daughter and grandchildren...something I always look forward to!

We are here for a the Wilmington KOA.  We don't usually stay at KOAs as they have gotten pricey over the years but, in Wilmington, the KOA is the only game in town.  Our original plan was to go back to Topsail for the month, but choosing between the lower cost of Topsail with a fifty mile round trip to Wilmington and the more expensive KOA five minutes from Rebecca's was a no-brainer for me.  So here we are.  It is a very nice campground with lots of pull-thru sites and I am so happy being right smack dab in the middle of my part of Wilmington!

This is the first time we have had metered electricity and I'm a little nervous about what the bill will be, as we've had some cold nights that necessitated the use of our electric heaters.  We've tried to rely more on the propane furnace, but sometimes it just isn't enough to keep warm.  It also uses a lot of propane and, oddly enough, the propane always runs out in the middle of the night!  Awaking at 3 or 4 AM to find the inside temperature is 55 degrees is not my idea of fun...especially as it requires a trip outside to switch from the empty tank to the full one.  Brrrrr!

Digressing for a moment...can you believe we are still finding Lady Bugs in the RV from our Charlotte visit???  We're beginning to wonder if we we'll ever be rid of them.  One Lady Bug is cute...dozens, not so much!

Our first Christmas in our RV presents a few logistical problems, such as where to hide presents and where to put a tree.  The kitchen table seems to be the only spot for a tree.  I would like to use our favorite ornaments so I may try a larger tree next year, but this year we are making do with a 24 inch tree from looks cute in the window.  The gifts are hiding in plain sight under the table and we have a fireplace on which to hang our stockings, so all is well.  Maggie seems to like it!

Tomorrow we are going with Becca, Davis, Katie and Jackson to Enchanted Airlie at Airlie Gardens...a Christmas light display, a Christmas LEGO display and, of course, Santa.  I'll take pictures!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Relaxing at the Beach...

View from our RV
After a month of traveling and visiting, we were tired and ready to relax for a while.  Where better than the beach?  We've been in Myrtle beach for three weeks now at Pirateland Family Camping Resort - 50 yards from the ocean!  It is a campground I visited in another life...about 25 years ago.  I liked it then and I like it now.  It is a mad house of activity in the summer season, but quiet and peaceful in the off season.  Campsites are level and wide and the beachfront sites have a covered shelter over the picnic table.  It is gated, with all the usual amenities and activities, but the primary draw, at least for us, is the ocean.  We can hear it from our RV and walk to it in under a minute!

Our campsite

We just celebrated Thanksgiving.  Since it was just the two of us, we went out to eat and had a pleasant meal.  There was a Thanksgiving potluck here at the campground, but we opted to be alone, together.  Only downside is, of course, no leftovers!

We have really been relaxing...going out to eat a few times a week, reading, sleeping in, walking on the beach.  Maggie and Ryan romped on the beach for the first time in their lives.  Maggie seems to love it, walking along the shore sniffing everything; you should have seen her jump when a wave lapped up onto her feet!  That water is cold in November!  Ryan, on the other hand, seems unimpressed...walks and sniffs a bit and is ready to return home.  He's like a little old man but, at 14, guess that's what he is!

We did take a day trip two hours up the road to Wilmington.  I needed to get to NC to change my name on my driver's license and it was a perfect excuse to see my daughter and grandkids.  The DMV was wait.  Had a wonderful visit and home cooked meal with Becca, Davis, Katie and Jackson and met their newest addition...
Spike Diesel, the bearded dragon!  I'm not a fan of critters, but I did manage to hold him in my lap.  He's kind of cute in an odd sort of way!

Jack relaxing...
The weather was beautiful when we arrived and I got in a lot of beach time.  It turned cold and rainy the week leading up to Thanksgiving and we put those heaters we bought in West Virginia to good use!  We're looking forward to pleasant weather again for our last week here.

We have one week left here.  Going to visit the outlets and play a bit of miniature golf, maybe see a few tourist attractions and relax a bit more.

I am happiest at the ocean and would hate to leave if our next stop wasn't Wilmington.  We'll be there a month...through the holidays...ten minutes from Becca, Davis, Katie and Jackson, ten minutes from Wrightsville Beach, close to our favorite restaurants. It will be our first Christmas in the RV and as husband and wife.
Looking forward to it!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lady Bugs, Sprint Car Races and A Name Change...

We spent our week in Charlotte at the Apollo RV Park, less than a half mile from the Speedway.  It is a family-owned, no frills park with full hook-ups and wide open flat campsites.  It suited our needs well...except for the infestation of lady bugs!  I have never seen so many lady bugs in one place before.  We opened the windows one day when the weather was nice and within minutes there were dozens of lady bugs working their way into our camper!  We didn't try to open the windows again and, though it's been nearly a week and we've traveled two hundred miles, we are still finding lady bugs in the RV!

The World of Outlaws Finals covers three days.  The first day was qualifying and we were only there a couple of hours.  Friday night we watched races and wandered around looking at the various vendors.  It was the coldest of the three nights and I was freezing even through four layers of shirts under my jacket!  Saturday the weather was better and we walked around the Pits before watching the races.

The food is expensive...$5 for a bottle of water, $6 for a cheeseburger, $4 for fries...and not very good, but it is part of the experience.  Brown dirt is also part of the experience and I was sneezing it out for two days!  So is the four abreast formation around the track part of the experience and the fire works as well.  Most important is that we had fun!

Pictures from the Pits...

 Driver Sammy Swindell 

While in Charlotte, we also made a visit to the Social Security Office and I changed my name!  Several more places still to make the name change...driver's license, bank accounts, credit cards etc. but Social Security is the big one.  Wonder how long it will take me to finally get used to my new name?

Charlotte and the NASCAR Hall of Fame...

Jack loves racing, so our next stop was Charlotte, NC.  We were there to see the World of Outlaw Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Speedway.  This was the third year we have gone to this race.  The first year was our first trip together.  Last year (the second year) we got engaged while we were in Charlotte!  This year, of course, it was part of our honeymoon.

We visited the NASCAR Hall of Fame while we were in Charlotte and as luck would have it, one of Jack's favorite drivers, Jeff Gordon, was appearing the day we went!  It was all new to me and I found it interesting listening to him.   He looks like a kid instead of a forty-something year old man!   I enjoyed the Hall of Fame and took lots of pictures of cars!

The 1994 Lumina that Jeff Gordon drove to his first big win is being installed in the Hall of Fame in early 2014.

Jimmie Johnson was also appearing the same day and brought his little girl with him.

Jack trying to qualify!

 Lots of pictures of photos to enlarge

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Old Salem

While in Greensboro, I took Jack to visit a favorite of mine, Old Salem, a Moravian Settlement in Winston-Salem, NC.

Salem was originally settled by members of the Moravian Church, a Protestant denomination that first began in 1457 in what was then the Czech Republic.  The town's restored and reconstructed buildings show what Moravian life was like in the 18th and 19th centuries.  There are also private residences interspersed among the public buildings.  It is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area!

No visit to Old Salem is complete without a visit to Winkler Bakery, where the goodies are made in an old stone oven.  I can not tell you how much I spent there, but Jack is now a major fan of Moravian Sugar Cake, Moravian Cookies and their fresh baked bread!
It was a chilly, cloudy day when we visited, but I was able to get some good pictures.

Since my first visit to Old Salem in 1982, I have wanted to eat at The Old Salem Tavern, but never made it...until this visit.  We enjoyed lunch there in the dining room pictured...there are several small dining rooms.  The restaurant is in what was originally an annex to the original tavern.

The Original Tavern...outside from the back

 Inside the Tavern Museum...


Guest room on the upper floor...

 This main floor guest room was for men of means, as very few of the rooms were private...

Letter from George Washington, who was a guest at the Tavern...

At the Gunsmith's Shop...

Garden of the Master Gardner in town...he was a resource for the townspeople 

Some private residences...

I visited Old Salem many times when I lived in Greensboro and knew Jack, who's a history buff, would love it...I was right...he did!