Sunday, October 23, 2016

A New Chapter...

At of our favorite restaurants
We have been living on the road and traveling for over three years now. In that time we've crossed the country four times and visited thirty-four states. We've seen a lot of the country and yet there is much we haven't seen. I think one could travel this country for decades and still not see everything. We've had a lot of great times and we've had our share, maybe even more than our share, of mishaps...all of which have been chronicled in this blog.

Now it's time for a new chapter. For several reasons related to finances, getting older, and family, we are coming off the road. It's a big decision that has been formulating for some time.

I saw a question on Facebook the other day asking about people who quit full-timing. I don't feel like we're quitting because we never intended this to be permanent. We always knew it would come to an end, we just didn't know when...until now.

Our dream was not to live in an RV, it was to in the RV was the means to that end. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have been able to do that.

Jack has checked a lot of things off his bucket list and I've checked off some of mine. One I haven't checked off yet is my goal of visiting the forty-eight contiguous states. But, between the thirty-four we've visited while RVing and the places I visited earlier in my life, I'm almost there...I lack only six states. We still want to do some traveling by car or plane and you can bet I'll be doing my best to visit the last six. Which six are they?  Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Maine and Idaho.

There are things we will miss about our RV life...the fun and excitement of planing trips, the pleasure of finding a great campground and the community of campground living are some...and there are things we won't black tanks, minimal kitchen space, black tanks, being away from family and did I mention black tanks?

We are settling down in Wilmington, NC, the place I've called home for over ten years. Coastal, four seasons, mild enough winters that we don't usually get snow, good restaurants, within a days drive from my son and brothers and minutes from my daughter and grandchildren. We are buying a small condo central to the beach and to downtown and are in the process of moving in.

We love the place and are looking forward to getting settled.  More on that later...

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Birthday, An Anniversary and A Hurricane...

We left West Virginia, returned to Wilmington and settled in.

Katie started school right after we got back. Can't believe she's in seventh grade already...where did the time go?! She's not involved in competitive gymnastics this year, but has started Parkour and is doing advanced tumbling. I don't know much about Parkour, think I'm going to have to go watch one of these days. 

Jackson's 10th birthday rolled around in September...he's in double digits now. Not such a  little boy anymore. He's busy with soccer and tennis and is also doing Parkour, but we spent some good days together while he was on fall break. 

We've puppy-sat Scout a number of times, sometimes just for a few hours and then for five days while Becca, Davis and the kids went to Pawley's Island. He's five months now, house broken and cute as anything. While he was with us for five days we discovered he has only two speeds...high and off...and Jack is his favorite person after Becca and the kids. 

Jack and I celebrated out third anniversary by going back to the scene of the crime (lol). We had a wonderful dinner at the Oceanic. Now we're working on the next three years!

Three plus years RVing and we've never had to pack up and haul the RV out of here because of weather...until now. Hurricane Matthew came calling. He hit Wilmington as a Category One, not too bad if you live in a house but way too risky to ride it out in an RV. We decided to go west to Greensboro and take advantage of the opportunity to visit my brothers again.

What with a sporting event and some kind of a show in Greensboro, and the threatening weather on the coast, we were lucky to get one of the last available campsites at the Greensboro KOA. The sites there are not very level but this one was the worst. We ended up with two wheels off the ground and we were still listing a bit to the right. Thought we'd be okay anyway just for two days...until the rains came. We think being off level kept the door side slide from creating a good seal when it was opened because, when the rain started, it was raining inside the fifth wheel! We had pots, bowls and buckets all along the area where the slide meets the RV. Jack went up on the roof to check but there wasn't much he could do in the pouring rain. We brought the affected slide in, along with more water, and the leak stopped. So we spent the rest of the time with one slide closed. Cozy is a nice way to describe it. When the rain stopped two days later and we opened the slide again it was amazing how big the camper felt!

The rain Matthew brought crippled much of coastal NC (and other coastal states) though Wilmington fared better than many other areas. We had to delay coming home one day because I-40 was flooded and closed in several areas to the east. On the plus side we did get to enjoy a nice visit with Glen, Joanna, Ken and Ciera.

We are back at the Wilmington KOA...nice and level...but it hasn't rained yet so we don't know yet if our leak problems are gone. There's some rain in the forecast next week. Fingers crossed!

UPDATE: It's rained once, though not a driving rain like we experienced during Hurricane Matthew, and no leak.

Since Matthew came through we've been enjoying some great weather. Highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s. The kind of days that make me really happy I live here.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

August Road Trip: West Virginia...

It was just a short trip from Mt. Airy to West Virginia. I hadn't seen Michael in nearly a year and was really looking forward to it. He lives in Bluefield, WV which is a forty-five minute drive from Pipestem but there is no place closer that can accommodate our RV. We drove to Bluefield over the weekend but during weekdays we met half way in Princeton, the first night at Texas Steakhouse and Saloon and, on our last night, at Berhshire's Frozen Custard for ice cream and a root beer float. I really enjoyed meeting Michael's girlfriend Crystal. Becca, Katie and Jackson told me she's nice and they're right! She's very nice and a great cook! I like her.

Sunset...seen from Berkshire's Frozen Custard
We went to Bob Evans and had for breakfast for dinner Saturday night but on Sunday Crystal cooked dinner for style ribs, cheesy potatoes, zucchini and squash, corn, garlic knots and rolls. Oh and cheesecake for dessert (OK, that wasn't homemade, but it was still good). Dinner was delicious and I got her secret for tender ribs!

They are working on updating the kitchen in Michael's house. Lots of great plans. Michael is a great go-it-yourself guy. Will be fun to see the results next visit.

We usually stay at Pipestem Resort State Park when we visit Michael but they were booked in August. Michael found another RV park for us just up the road called Pipestem RV Park. It's not new, but was recently taken over by a family and they are working hard to rebuild it. They are very nice and have apparently made a lot of improvements but there is still work to be done. The first site we were assigned, a nice pull-thru with a large grassy area turned out to be a problem when we plugged in our Progressive Surge Protector. It showed an error of an open ground. We wandered around the place and found another site that our surge protector liked. It was a back in, but quite long and easy to back into so we got settled. they advertise cable but we couldn't find a hook up. turns out someone ran it over with a lawnmower and cut the cable. They worked long and hard trying to get us cable but without success. Since the state park doesn't have cable it was not a big deal for us. We did appreciate their efforts. There is a hard turn getting down to the campsites but it's manageable. The park has promise, the people are nice and the rates are reasonable so overall it was okay.

I hated saying good bye but I did and we headed back to Wilmington...

August Road Trip: Mayberry RFD...

After our week in Greensboro we moved on to Mt. Airy...known to some as Mayberry...home town of Andy Griffith and the town upon which Mayberry was modeled. Although I've lived near there for half my life, I'd never visited so it was time! We stayed (where else?) at the Mayberry Campground. It's right off the highway and just a few miles from downtown. We had a very long pull-thru site, gravel with a decent size grass area...full hook-ups including cable and a Passport America rate.

The campground is situated on the land of the family of Eng and Chang Bunker...the original Siamese twins. Theirs is an interesting story. We visited the Siamese Twins Exhibit but it was disappointing. I learned more about them by reresearching articles online.

We visited the Andy Griffith Museum, saw the well know statue of Andy and Opie, saw Floyd's Barbershop, Wally's Service Station and the Mayberry Courthouse, the Snappy Lunch (though we didn't get there in time for lunch), ate dinner at Barney's Cafe...the bill was less than $20...and had pie at Miss Angel's Heavenly Pies...and believe me you can gain weight just walking in and taking a deep breath. We also had dinner one night at a place called The Copper Pot...nothing special, a burger for Jack and chicken for me...but the bill came to about $18! Can't beat that. It was about the same at Barney's Cafe. We passed on the Squad Car Tour...thought $35 was a bit much in our opinion.. It was a fun trip back to the fifties.

So, after all these years I finally visited Mayberry. Next stop West Virginia and a visit with Michael.

Friday, September 16, 2016

August Road Trip: First Stop Greensboro...

The summer has passed by quickly...though we are still waiting for the temps to catch up. It's mid-September and still 85 degrees, but cooler temps are coming. I'm not looking for cold winter temps just want 70 degrees to be the high not the low!

We took to the road again on August 8th and made our first stop in Greensboro. This time we stayed for a week which gave us plenty of time to enjoy multiple visits with Glen and Joanna and Ken and Ciera. Matthew was only in town for a couple of days that week but we made the most of it and all converged on Darryl's for a family get together. We finally met the lovely Teresa and she truly is lovely as well as smart, funny and sweet. She is also the only adult I've met in a very long time who is shorter than me...that was worth extra points! lol. We had a great time and, as usual, it was great to see my family!

Then we were off to Mayberry!

Ken sent me a photo from his visit to Wilmington in July and it was in my phone until after I had posted so I'm adding the photo here because I love it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Summer Days...

After Ken left, Davis and Becca's birthdays quickly rolled around along with Jackson's first day of school...which was actually on Becca's birthday. He attends a year-round school and is in the fourth grade. It was a busy week with all that but we squeezed in a quick visit and birthday celebration.

Katie is on a traditional school schedule and has another month before she goes back  but she went off to her first sleep-away Girl Scout Camp this week. We puppy-sat Scout while the family took Katie to camp. She'll only be gone a short time but it's strange having her away. Jack and I are going to pick Jackson up from school this week and get in a little one-on-one time. Next week Katie and I will have a girls day getting pedicures.

In the meantime we're just trying to survive this heat. Highs in the 90s but "feels like" 100s. Summers seem to be getting hotter...

Staying indoors with the A/C and fans on is one is one way to survive the heat. We've been catching up on movies. Saw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel as well as Monuments Men. Enjoyed them all.

I'm hooked on a new-to-me show - Grace and Frankie. Got hooked on the first few episodes when we visited Glen and Joanna and have been watching more at Becca's when the kids aren't home (adult themes). Unfortunately we can't watch it at's on Netflix and streaming eats up our data too quickly. There aren't many shows that make me laugh out loud but this one does. I highly recommend it!

We finally got to the Causeway Cafe last week...our favorite breakfast spot. We're going to try to make that a weekly thing.

In August Jack and I are planning a short trip. The primary reason is to see Michael in WV and meet his girlfriend Crystal, but we'll also spend some time in Greensboro and see Ken and Glen again as well as making a stop or two seeing sights in Virginia. We'll get back the week before Labor Day and we have a long-term reservation here in Wilmington.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Finally Home...

We made it home to Wilmington! Can't believe it's been nine months since we left. Even my short April visit seems like it was long ago.

We checked in to our "home" at the Wilmington KOA on Friday July 8th in 95 degree weather. Becca was in Myrtle Beach visiting with her Dad and brother Michael until Sunday so we had two days to catch up on housework and laundry.

Sunday evening we went to Becca's for dinner...Brooklyn Pizza take-out. The kids were so happy to see us and I was so happy to see really is great to be back, even with the horrible heat. We also met our new grandpuppy Scout. He's an adorable Schnoodle. We're excited, we can have the pleasure of a puppy without too much responsibility. Life is good.

On Monday Ken and Ciera arrived from Greensboro for the week and Matthew arrived Tuesday. It was so good to see them. They spent a lot of time at the beach of course; Jack and I begged off with heat indexes of 100+ degrees...we just can't handle the heat as well as we did when we were younger...but we still got together every day.

All the kids have grown. Jackson is just about my chin level, Katie is past chin level and Ciera is at nose level. They'll all be passing me in the next year or two! Matthew is 25. Really? Really...though it just doesn't seem possible. He has a live-in girlfriend, Teresa...sounds like it might be serious to me! She is beautiful in her photos and we're looking forward to meeting her when we visit Greensboro next month.

At Elijah's
Becca. Gail, Katie, Ciera. Matthew, Ken. Jack, Jackson, Davis
We had a great visit. Hit some the usual dinner spots. The Fish House and Elijah's and a new addition, Buffalo Wild's a new favorite of Ken and Ciera's. We also enjoyed a couple of cook-outs at Becca's.
The Boys at Buffalo Wild Wings

It was a great visit and we're looking forward to seeing them and Glen and Joanna again in August.