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 home...it'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 them...it 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 Wings...it'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.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Greensboro...Almost Home

We crossed the state line into North Carolina.  Finally Home! I'll have to get a better photo of the sign next time.

We always stop in Greensboro on our way home. It's 200 miles from Wilmington and right off I-40, perfect for our last day of travel. More importantly, my brothers Glen and Ken live there and it gives us a chance to visit! It was also my home for nearly 25 years...the longest I've ever lived anywhere...so it's like visiting home for me.

We've always stayed at the only RV park in town, Greensboro Campground. It was a KOA twenty-some years ago but has just been Greensboro Campground for a long time. Imagine my surprise to find it is once again a KOA! We like KOAs and stay at them occasionally. Oftentimes they are a bit more expensive, but occasionally they are a better deal for a particular area. Whether we stay depends on a number of things, including what we are getting for the higher rate. Of course, when they are the only game in town it's an easy decision (lol). I was not thrilled to discover that, although the rate increased at Greensboro, the park remains the same as before and still doesn't have cable! They've only been a KOA a few months...we'll see if there are any improvements coming. Either way, it's still the only park in town.

We were only going to be there for a couple of days this time and, since Ken would be in Wilmington on vacation the next week, we spent the time visiting with Glen and Joanna. We'll make a longer visit on our way back to WV next month.

The day we arrived was Jack's birthday, the last of his sixtieth decade! It was also 95+ degrees...they were having a heat wave. After getting the RV set up, cooling down, and resting a bit, we went to meet Glen and Joanna for a birthday dinner at Jack's favorite place, Darryl's. We find a reason every time we visit to have dinner there...it's become a tradition! We didn't make it to Elizabeth's Pizza this time but...next month.

While we were there, Jack made his requisite trip to Camping World for some odds and ends and got his hair cut, Glen cleaned up both our computers (thanks!) and we had went out for Mexican food for the first time since California. Kiosco was good, though incredibly noisy the day we were there, but nothing will ever measure up to San Antonio and Las Cruces for me. I'm ruined!

It was great, as usual, to see Glen and Joanna and we're looking forward to seeing them again next month!

Onward to Wilmington...

Traveling Home...

Once we left Shipshewana it felt to me as though we were REALLY on our way home. Our first stop was a slight detour into Michigan where we spent a couple of days in Grass Lake at the Hideaway RV Park. It's a quiet, peaceful place run by very nice people. Just the place for recharging our batteries. Grass, trees, a small lake with paddle boats (free to guests) and a washer/dryer in the office, $1 each, available on the Honor System. We have our own washer/dryer but I like the idea of the honor system...it seems so friendly.

Batteries recharged, we moved on to Ohio. We've visited Amish country in both Lancaster, PA and Shipshewana, IN and I was told by several people that if I like Amish country I should go to Holmes County, Ohio...so it's been on my list for a while.

We stayed at Berlin RV Park. It's a nice, well-kept park just a couple of miles outside Berlin. My only complaint is that there's no shade and all sites face West and the hot afternoon sun, on the plus side they're mostly all pull-thru and all have a view. Berlin has cute shops and some nice restaurants but current major highway construction made getting around difficult. Unlike in Shipshewana, we didn't encounter Amish people in town very much, but we did in the outlying areas.

We tried the Boyd and Wurthmann Restaurant which had been recommended to us by a couple we met in Shipshewana. The food was good but be aware it is cash only. The largest place in town is Berlin Farmstead...the have a nice reasonably priced Amish buffet. I'm becoming a connoisseur of Broasted Chicken! Down near the town of Charm is a Swiss/Austrian restaurant, Chalet in the Valley. The spaghetti with Swiss cheese was surprisingly good and the Alpine Macaroni (made with garlic, onions, butter, and cream) was awesome! It's also the only restaurant open on Sunday.

There are areas we didn't see because the construction kept us from venturing as far out as we might have, but we did enjoy what we saw. This will go on the places to return to list but I have a suspicion that Shipshewana will remain my favorite.

After five nights in Berlin (the rate gets cheaper the more nights you stay!) we had a short driving day to Marietta, Ohio for a quick overnight at Ashland RV Park. Not far off the highway, it offers long grassy sites with full hook ups right by the Ohio river for only $25 a night. A good deal in my book.

Our next stop should have been Bluefield, WV. Normally we stop there and see my son Michael on our way home but we were coming up on Fourth of July weekend and he spends the July 4th week in Myrtle Beach with his dad every year so it was not to be. Went through the East River Mountain Tunnel and into Virginia. We will make a separate trip back to WV in a month or two to visit Michael and meet his girlfriend Crystal.

Available campsites are few and far between around the 4th and Fort Chiswell RV Park in Virginia had a site available for the weekend so I snapped it up. The park is right off the highway and we had a nice long pull-thru with cable TV...our first TV since south Dakota! It's a quiet area and gave us was another chance to relax, grill some burgers and recharge these old batteries again. A good thing as we had a busy couple of weeks ahead of us.