Casinos Bound

May 6, 2017

Saturday morning we were up early, finished our final load of laundry and was ready to head to the Hollywood Casino in Tunica, Ms. for a little R&R. 

It was interesting to see all the service bays at Tiffin closed and at the same time, the service lot was completely full with RVs waiting for service Monday morning.

All quiet at Tiffin on a Saturday MorningTiffin Service Lot, Saturday morning checked in for Monday

We were just about ready to pull out when we discovered that our water pump was not working.  Not good as you could not flush the toilet or run any water.  After contacting Dr. Norton (that’s Al Norton who is Steve’s go to for all things RV), Steve got it working (it knocked it with a hammer one time) but it was suggested we may want to consider purchasing a spare just in case future problems.  This is now on our list of things to do.

We made it to Tunica to the Hollywood Casino RV park about 1 PM.  Nice park, within walking distance to the casino.  We parked and headed to the casino to have a little fun and to make our contribution to the local economy.  We decided to drive over to Sam’s Town to have dinner and to play a few more slots.  By the end of the night, I was  $20 down and Steve was $60 up so all was good.  When we returned to the RV, we found a couple of the outlets were not working.  The critical one was the one we use for the coffee maker, however, an extension cord took care of the problem temporarily.

Hollywood Casino in Tunica, Ms.Sam's Town Casino

Based upon a recommendation, we decided to spend a couple of nights at  the WinStar Casino in Thackerville, Ok.  It is the largest casino in the world so we decided that was a good place to stop in route to Las Vegas.  It was going to be a 9 hr. drive so we wanted to get off early.

We were up and on the road by 7:15 am.  That is really early for us, usually when we say an early start, we’re lucky to be on the road by 900 am.  It felt good to be on the go  and looking forward to the next stop and all of the sights along the way.

Heading to Oklahoma

We made it to Oklahoma without any problems, the campground is huge and very nice.  We parked the RV, did not even take time to set up, just connected the power, turned on the A/C and headed out the door.  The temperature was not so bad but as you can see, this park has no shade, just a lot of concrete, and a hot sun.  The casino is about 2-3 mi from the campground but they run a shuttle every 15-20 min 24 hrs. a day.  The pick up was right outside our door.  That was about 5:30 PM, so we stayed and played, had some dinner.  I ended up with $20 to the good (made up for previous night) Steve was up about $40. so he was doing pretty good.  When we got back to the RV, we checked with Dr. Norton who suggested to Steve he may want to hit the reset on the outlets.  He did and they now work.

WinStar Casino RV Park, Thackerville, Ok. 3WinStar Casino RV Park, Thackerville, Ok. 4WinStar Casino RV Park, Thackerville, Ok. 2

 

Monday morning we slept in, I did another load of laundry and then we headed to the casino.  When you have access to a nice clean laundry facility, you take advantage, as your not sure what the next place will look like and some of them I choose to pass on.  The good news is we walked the complete casino both days which felt good after being so cooped up, and we had a lot of fun.  We got in over 3 miles each day.  Of course that much time in the casino was expensive.  I won’t discuss my losses in detail but let’s just say we now plan to skip Las Vegas on the outbound and will reconsider when coming back.

WinStar, Largest Casino in the World, over 1 1/2 miles inside

We have changed our plans some, Steve is anxious to get to California to see his dad who is not doing well.  We plan to get an early start tomorrow and  cancel all side trips for now so most likely there won’t be much to share for the next few days.

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Leaving Red Bay Today

May 6, 2017

No pictures today as we literally have been no where or done anything for the last 3 days.  First of all the weather has been really bad.  It rained for 2 days and it is quite cold, that damp cold that chills you to the bone.  I like cold weather but prefer the sunshine with the cold air.

The windshield repair was completed  on Wednesday as scheduled, the engine was serviced on Thursday as planned, we updated our reservations in Tunica to arrive on Friday instead of Saturday and planned to stay 2 nights.

About 2 pm while sitting at the campground, the windshield cracked again.  We were quite discouraged but no more than the Tiffin guys.  So we changed our reservations back to leave on Saturday., called Tiffin and they asked us to bring it in at 7 am on Friday morning, which we did.

They made some more adjustments,  installed a new windshield and gave us two options.  The next step is to completely rebuild the frame around the windshield.  In order to do that, they would need about 2 weeks.  We could either do it now, or we can leave, if the windshield breaks again, it would be safe to drive with, and than stop on the return trip and they will do the rebuild then.

The decision was made to go ahead and leave today and return in October on our return trip if necessary.

Our next stop is only about 3 – 4 hours away so we will head out later this morning.  Hopefully all will go well and we can get on with the fun part of RVing.

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Tiffin Motorhome Manufacturer Location

May 3, 2017

Up at 5:30 this morning as needed to have the RV to the service bay by 7:00.  It’s only 5 minutes away but there is a lot to get done before the RV can be moved and we were going to be out of the RV most of the day so we had to pack up all of our electronics that we wanted to use for the day.

Anyway, all of that was done and the RV was delivered on time.

We thought we would try to find a good healthy breakfast, nope, that wasn’t to be.  Not in Red Bay, Alabama.  So we went to a neighboring town but it wasn’t much better but we had lots of time to kill.

We decided to go on the tour of the Tiffin Mfg. Plant.  They do have a great tour, they take you through every stage of building an RV from scratch and give you a lot of the history of the company.  We had already figured out that this was a Tiffin town but the numbers confirmed it.

Red Bay’s population is 2300. Tiffin employs 1500 and the majority of the others work for small independent companies that provide various services for RVs.  Most of them owned by former Tiffin employees that branched out and went into some type of service on their own.

But the tour was interesting and the woodworking was amazing.  The detail work that they did was quite impressive.

Tiffin RV Mfg Plant 6Tiffin RV Mfg PlantTiffin RV Mfg Plant 3

There were as many women working in the wood shops as there were men.

We spent the afternoon making a couple of reservations.  We don’t book too far in advance as we like to be flexible.   We will stay in Red Bay until Saturday morning, we will leave here and go to Tunica, MS.  It’s only a couple of hours away but we’re going to spend one night at the Casino’s campground and have a little fun and I’m sure contribute a little to the economy.

We were discussing this with another couple that put us on to another casino in Thackerville, OK, which is kind of on our route to the west coast, and that’s about another 8 hours away so we made a reservation to stay there 2 nights.  We’ll decide where we go from there, eventually making it to the Ft. Irwin area to visit our grandson and his wife.

We were able to pick up the RV at 1 PM, so we had an afternoon to catch up on various tasks and to get the RV ready for Thursday’s service.  It’s just  normal maintenance on the diesel engine and generator (we hope). However, in this model, they must have access under the bed to change a filter on the diesel engine, which means that big storage area under the bed that we load up has to be cleared out.  So that has now been done.  Steve will take the RV for service, I will head to the laundromat  so on Saturday morning we will be ready to roll.

Friday is open but if the weather permits, we plan to check out more of the Natchez Trace Parkway and a couple more of the parks in the area.

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Tishomingo State Park

May 2

We got a call Tuesday morning about 7:15 am for Steve to bring the RV in for the windshield replacement.  I was sound asleep (late for me) so it was a mad rush to get everything stored and secure in order to move the RV.  They had previously told us it would be either Tuesday afternoon or possibly Wednesday morning so we weren’t prepared for the early call.  However, we were happy to get the call, so we did what needed to be done and had the RV there within 30 min which was pretty good considering.

The morning was beautiful, only about 70 degrees and the sun was shining so we decided we needed to find a place to walk and get a little exercise.  Someone recommended the Tishomingo State Park in Mississippi which was only about 15 miles away.  So we headed to the park.

Welcome to Missippi

The park is absolutely beautiful and with the comfortable temperature, we hiked about a 3 mile trail and took some great photos.  Scroll over the picture for a description.

Front of Mauldin Cabin and bridge, built in late 1800'sBack of Mauldin Cabin built in late 1800'sAnother beautiful rock formation in in Tishomingo State 8Lots of flowers on the ground following yesterday's storm.Man made waterfall in Tishomingo State ParkMauldin Cabin built in late 1800's 2Steve in Mauldin Cabin, built in late 1800's

The park is know for it’s trails, rock formations and swinging bridge.

Another beautiful rock formation in in Tishomingo State 8Another beautiful rock formation in in Tishomingo State ParkAnother beautiful rock formation in in Tishomingo StateBear Creek in Tishomingo State ParkBridge in Tishomingo State ParkFun TrailsAnother beautiful rock formation in in Tishomingo State 8Man made waterfall in Tishomingo State ParkTrails not always easy to cross in Tishomingo StateTrees growing out of the rocks in Tishomingo State

So it turned out to be a great day. the weather was beautiful and we really enjoyed the park.

We headed back to pick up the RV and they requested we drive it for a couple of hours to test out the new windshield.  So we drove around Mississippi, down a bunch of little ad big roads and fortunately the windshield was good.  We had to be back in the service bay at 7:00 on Wednesday morning for them to do the completion of the installation, glue the windshield into place, so tomorrow will be another early day, at least we know in advance.

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Red Bay, Alabama 2017

The temperature in Tampa was on the rise, time to head to cooler ground.

 

 

 

 

We left Tampa on Friday, April 28th heading to the Tiffin plant in Red Bay, Alabama to get our windshield fixed and a general service before heading out west.

 

 

 

We stopped in Aztec, Alabama and parked in the Walmart parking lot for the night before continuing on to Red Bay.  We generally try to be off the road by 4 PM and do not head out before 9 AM, avoiding as much of the commuter traffic as possible.  So other than there being an accident on I-75 Northbound in Florida, which caused us about a 45 minute delay, the trip to Red Bay was pretty uneventful.  The Walmart was clean and the parking area was well lit and provided a safe place to spend the night.  It also provides a place to walk around a bit to stretch our legs after sitting all day.

We utilize Walmart’s frequently when we just need someplace to park for overnight when we are in route from point A to B and can’t make it in a single day.  Keep in mind, we seldom exceed 63 mph and we drive from 9am to 4pm as  a general rule so we frequently have a need just to park overnight without the hassle of a campground reservation and paying for amenities that we will not use for the one night.

Pikachu in Aztec, Al.Walmart in Aztec, Al

We made it Red Bay on Saturday about 1 pm and found a spot in the park we like.  It isn’t much more that a big gravel lot with no trees, but it’s quiet and Tiffin will service what they can on site.  So the question is, how long will we be here?  We have no idea but we have learned to be patient and we will just enjoy visiting the other RV’ers and sharing experiences and enjoying the flowers.  It is also supposed to rain tomorrow night with some temperatures in the 50’s this week.  I am so ready for that!

 

 

 

 

 

I promise the trip will be more interesting as we go and the pictures will reflect the beautiful sights that we will see along the way.

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Pre-2017 Trip – The Windshield History

The long and the short of it: Tiffin Breeze windshield history (04/28/2017)

October 11th, 2016, traveling from Wisconsin to rally in Memphis TN, rock hit windshield and we had a nice “blossoming” crack in the windshield. Insured of course, and after lengthy discussions settled on replacement at Tiffin factory located in Red Bay (Alabama), just east of the Mississippi border.

 

Map picture

Installation went okay. Windshield number 1. Drove home, Tampa, and had no problems.

Later, December 2016, Steve left Tampa to Fort Worth Texas for birth of 3rd son of oldest daughter, Tanya, Texas grandson number 5. Less than an hour out of Tampa the windshield (no. 1) cracked, top to bottom slightly to right of center (passenger side). This is what everyone is calling a “stress” crack. It was not dangerous, could not even feel the crack (picture below, crack can be seen running across the small, white, out building).

He went on to Texas as babies do not wait on repairs to windshield, and discussion with insurance said that they could fix the problem in Arlington Texas.

As it turned out the Safe-Lite dealer refused the replacement, liability issue according to him. Re-contacting the Tiffin factory in Red Bay they said they would replace the windshield under warranty from the October replacement.

To shorten this somewhat, windshield no. 2 cracked after one (#1) 12 mile drive out of Red Bay (#2); #2 replace next day and windshield no. 3 cracked after 1 hour  trip; replacing #3, windshield no. 4 cracked after  about 8 hours on trip back to Tampa. Will update on windshield no. 5 at end of April on trip for 2017 season.

UPDATE MAY 2, 2017: Windshield number 5 put in today and it is looking good.

First of all, the guys at the windshield shop at Tiffin Motorhome (TMH) are great. They had a learning curve on this vehicle, but were willing to put in whatever it took to ensure that we had a good windshield.

Lessons: The windshields, theirs came from Turkey, and the TMH coach are manufactured separately and, thus, may not fit as well as expected (or needed). It was finally discovered that the front cap was bowing out slightly, enough to put stress on the windshield in the middle of the run, thus the stress crack. The windshields previously put in had a gap of 1/16 to 1/8 inch on the sides but no space in the middle 3/4’s; and being pushed out the closer you got to the middle. What was required for our Breeze 28BR was for them to remove the screws holding the cap and with a three man approach, push the cap in enough to align with the ends equalizing the spacing for the windshield.

After installation, David (TMH technician, I’ve heard him called Doc) drove the Breeze for an hour testing the windshield for any stress crack(s). After he was done, I hooked up our tow vehicle and drove another 2.5 hours. No stress cracks (hopefully, no more). The lesson above hopefully will help any other RV owner(s) with this type of stress cracking. Thanks to the team: David, Barry and Craig (his prime job was tile work but helped out).

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2017 Shrums on the Run

We are getting ready for our 2017 RV trip out West. We are hoping this new software will make the Blog creation and maintenance much easier to use.

If all goes well we will leave Tampa on April 29th, 2017, heading for Red Bay, Alabama to the Tiffin plant. We have a cracked windshield that has been replaced 4 times and they have not been able to figure out why. Hopefully, this will be the last one. Number 5 should be going in on/about May 1st.

We have not firmed up our trip from there but have created several options and depending on timing and schedule, we will begin our trip West.

 

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Back to D.C.

By Tuesday morning, everything had dried out so it was time to post things back in order.  The good news is that everything was cleaned really well and it gave us a chance to get things organized again,  It seems the harder we try to keep everything in it’s place, it soon becomes disorganized all by itself, or so it seems.

We then spend the remainder of the morning working on future reservations.  Our only commitment is to be in Maine for the Lobster Festival which takes place the first week of August, so once we locked that down we worked on the time between Deale and Maine.  We feel we’re in pretty good shape.  That actually took the rest of the afternoon.  Tuesday night is crab night at Skippers so we headed over early to get a good seat out by the water.  I know we had access to crabs we caught ourselves, but it is fun sitting out by the water with everyone around you eating crabs and making a mess.  Actually, the crabs we were paying $2. A piece for were caught by Brian (cousin) and sold to the restaurant.  Ambiance is a commodity.

Wednesday morning it was up at 6:30 and out crabbing again with Bootie and Lisa.  We did ok, a couple of dozen of really nice crabs.  By 10:00 AM we were back at the RV, showered, dressed and ready to head to D.C.

This time someone helped us with the metro rail tickets and we discovered we had previously bought the wrong tickets and there was a cheaper option.  So we got what we hoped were the correct tickets this time and headed on our way.  We got off on the wrong stop and had to get back on and go back a few stops but we had plenty of time so this was not a problem.

Steve wanted to visit the National Museum of American Indians.  We watched a few films and walked around.  Again, I finished before Steve and found a place to connect to wifi, did some updates and read my book.  He finished up earlier than expected so we headed over the the Museum Of Air and Space.

It hadn’t been that long ago that we had been there and after walking around a short while, we realized not much had changed.  We decided to take a walk out in the Mall with plans to take a few pictures.

Unfortunately, there is so much construction going on, it was difficult to get good pictures but we took a few.

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We then headed back home.  Steve hung out at the RV and I met up with Lindy over at Melissa’s house for a girls night.

That brings us to today.  It is 95 degrees with a heat index of 102.  Too hot to be out so we are spending the day at the library where we can catch up on the blog and other on line work that ww need to do.

The next few days look to be busy as we have a few more items on the calendar and we try to cram as much as we can into this last week in Deale.  The plan is to head out on the 25th of July, we have a campground reservation in  Pennsylvania.

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Washington D.C. – Museum of Natural History And Baltimore

We headed to the New Carrollton Metro Station, about 30 min. Drive, and caught the metro train into D.C.. Definitely the only way to go to not worry about driving in all of the D.C. Traffic and the nightmare of parking.

Obtaining our ticket was a little confusing and being Sunday, no one around to help so we purchased the one day pass for $14.50.  We still thought that was a good deal and worth the hassle it was saving us.

The ride was uneventful and the stop was within a couple of blocks of the Museum of Natural History.  The morning was very nice, a cool breeze and over cast so we did not have to walk in the hot sun.

We arrived just as they opened at 10:00 AM and did not leave until almost 4 PM.  This was our first time at the museum with no kids so Steve was able to take his time and see and read “e v e r y  l I t t l e” thing.  I wore out long before him and found a comfortable seat and read my current novel.

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We then caught the train home, later met up with Lindy and headed over to Dockside for another great seafood dinner.

We decided we would head to Baltimore on Monday,

Oh crap!!  It’s 3 AM and I can’t sleep.  I have a problem hip that frequently keeps me awake.  I normally keep my Advil and a bottle of water next to the bed but it wasn’t there so I had to get up.  As I was heading back to bed I heard water.  I knew this shouldn’t be so I checked back in the bathroom, nothing amiss.  I walked into the kitchen and stepped into a HUGE puddle of water.  For those of you that did not follow our blog last year, there is a huge design flaw with the kitchen sink.  If the water knob is not turned just right and the sink cover is lowered, it turns the water on.  This happened to us last year, it was a major catastrophe, causing a large amount of damage.  Our California family came to the rescue and fixed everything, better than new.  The water had filled the tank, backed up into the sink and then proceeded to fill up each and every drawer in the kitchen and then run out from under the push out.

I got Steve out of bed, he had to open the tank drain outside to let the tank empty out (this is the gray tank which is shower and dishwater). Once this was done, we then pulled out each drawer, emptied them out and layed out all of the contents to dry.  We mopped up all that we could, dried to the best of ability what we could and went back to bed.  Nothing more could be done until things dried out.  There was minimal damage this time because the old pressed board drawers had been replaced with solid wood last year so we just needed to let the wood dry out good.  (Thanks Dad, Kenny and Kim!)

We got up early and brought every thing back in but the wood needed more time to dry so we just left it laying out.  We also completely removed the sink cover to hopefully prevent this from happening again.  We decided there was no need to sit around and watch wood dry so we headed to Baltimore as planned.

We got a bit of a late start so it was lunch time by the time we got to Baltimore.  There was a Guy Fieri restaurant located in Baltimore and as we had enjoyed his restaurant in Las Vegas so much, we decided to try it again.  We also had a Groupon and it was located inside a casino, we just had to do it.

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We drove into Baltimore and our plan was to stop at the visitor’s center and hopefully pick up a city tour bus.  Would you believe they don’t have one.  They do have a free bus you can ride but no narrator which is what we wanted.  It’s nice to see all of the old historical buildings but it would have been nicer to know what they all were.

Anyway, we parked down by the harbor and walked around town.  The first thing we saw was the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse.

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As we walked around the harbor and admired some of the old buildings, we also passed the Chesapeake Lightship which was built in 1930.  It was a floating lighthouse and was used for many years marking the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay.

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We walked over to the Baltimore World Trade Center for a bird’s eye view of the city and studied some of the old buildings as we went.

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Neither of us realized just how big Baltimore is until we saw it from the Trade Center.

While we were at the Trade Center, we read about The Painted Sisters which are a group of old row houses that have been painted in bright colors and the neighborhood restored.

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There are hundreds and hundreds of these old row houses and many of the row house neighborhoods are now the “hot spots” and the row houses are being restored.  They are so unusual and architecturally interesting to look at, it is great to see them being restored. Many of them from the 1800’s.

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After visiting The Painted Sisters, we passed many other row houses on the way out of town.

We headed home and met Lidy for dinner at Dockside, another great meal.

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Maryland – Annapolis, July 6th

 

So today’s adventure is Annapolis.   We have been to Annapolis several times before but we always enjoy strolling around this old city.  We arrived fairly early so the weather was pleasant with a nice breeze blowing off the water.  We walked around the State Builing, along the old buildings and along the wharf.  It’s interesting to see the changes from our earlier visits.  Some of our old favorites like the hardware store were gone, replaced by new trendy restaurants.  We particularly enjoyed stopping at the Starbucks.  The Starbucks is located in the basement of the Old Annapolis Hotel.  As we climbed down the stairs and entered the old building, even though you knew it was a new establishment, you still felt like you had stepped back in time.  By noon, it was becoming much warmer and more crowded so we headed back to Deale.  We again met up with Lindy at one of the local waterfront restaurants and enjoyed another seafood dinner.

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Maryland – Boats and Crabs

We had no intention of letting so much time pass between postings, it just seems we are constantly on the go or spending time with family that the day is over before it is started.  I may have messed up a little in the sequence of activities as after a few days it is hard to remember what we did on each day.  I guess we are at the age where we have to write it down when it happens, otherwise we loose track.

We didn’t do much over the July 4th weekend as most places were super crowded so we hung out with family.  We had dinner at Lindy’s on Saturday and took a few pictures of the horses on the  Six M Farm that she manages.  The next evening we had dinner and drinks at the Dockside Bar, which again, we ate great seafood.  On Wednesday  morning we headed to Annapolis  and  in the afternoon Lindy, Steve and I drove over to North Beach, which is a beautiful little town here on the western shore.  We stopped at a waterside restaurant called Mangos and had a great late lunch early dinner. The day was very warm with high humidity so we didn’t stay long before heading back.

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The following evening Brian and Christina (Lindy’s son and daughter-in-law) invited us to take a boat ride over to Cheasepeake Beach to the Rod n’ Reel Restuarant and Bar.  In addition to some great food, they also had a Jimmy Buffet Tribute band so we hung out on their beach and listened to some Buffet music.  It had been a very hot day but it turned out to be a nice evening after the sun went down and the boat ride was fantastic.  The sky and water were beautiful on the trip home.

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Friday morning we were up bright and early and joined Bootie in crabbing with a trout line.  We had a great time. The line was 1000 ft long.  It had a bait line attached about every 10 feet.  Bootie has it set up so that he runs the boat very slowly along the line and it pulls up the bait line and all I had to do was dip up the crab.  I had a great time and I only missed a couple of crabs.  We got about 3 dozen nice size crabs.  They have to be 5 1/4 in point to point to keep them so we had to dump about 4 dozen smaller ones.

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After crabbing, we took a ride over to one of the boatyards where they build these amazing boats. The boat that is almost completed is 70 ft long, the big one in the picture is being built for a Russian customer, it is 90 feet long.

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That evening, we had crabs for dinner with corn on the cob and a salad.  Life is Good.  Tomorrow we head to Annapolis.

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Deale, Md, June 29 –

Prior to arriving in Deale, we wanted to run both the RV and the Jeep through a car wash.  They had gotten pretty dirty with the rain and dirt roads so we went looking for a truck wash that could handle the RV.  We found one listed online, called and confirmed they could do RV’s.  Sounded great, except getting in and out was a challenge.  They do big trucks, like dump trucks but not so much length.  We had to detach the Jeep in order to get the RV in, the turn was very tight.

It took some manuerving but Steve managed to get it through.  As we were only an hour away from Deale, we decided not to reconnect.  I led and Steve followed, for whatever reason, the GPS took us down every tiny road it could find, but we finally made it.

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We parked at my cousins’ marina, got hooked up with water and power and we were settled.  We went out to dinner with my cousins, Lindy and Booty and had great food, my favorite, crab.

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We decided to just relax and hang around Deale until after the 4th.  After that we will begin planning some day trips into Baltimoe, DC, Annapolis, Ocean City and the Eastern Shore.  So lots of activity coming up.

The temperature has been very pleasant but we have had a lot of rain.  It is supposed to get really hot this week so we will have to see ho that effects our plans.

We have been having great meals with the family and spending some time with my Aunt Mariam who is now 90 years old.

We’ve made arrangements to dump the holding tanks tomorrow at the marina across the street, not sure yet if that will work out but if not we have a back up plan with a campground that is about 30 min away that we can use.  Until then, we are watching our tanks very closely as it has been a week since they were emptied.

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Harper’s Ferry, June 27, 28

It was our intent to head straight to Deale when leaving Kentucky.  As it turned out, a friend suggested that we may want to check out Harper’s Ferry.  As neither of us had ever been there, we decided to take a detour and check it out.

As we headed on our way, we encountered some nasty weather.  Fortunately we had just stopped at a rest stop to fix some lunch when the storm hit.  So we waited it out, it took about an hour to pass but since we were safe and off the road, there was no rush.  Once the weather cleared, we headed out again.

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As we passed through Charleston, WV, you could see areas of devastation from the interstate.  They had a number of exits flagged with “No Sightseeing”, evidently they had experienced a problem with people who wanted to see the devastation up close,  We continued on and was almost to the Maryland state line but decided it was getting late so we should find a place to stay.

As Steve was driving, I was calling campgrounds for available sites.  I was on the phone with a campground when I asked them what exit they were at, she responded Exit 15, I look up and we were at the exit so I just yelled “get off now” and Steve responded like a champ and made the exit.  (He may of made a few comments under his breath but I was still on the phone with the campground so I missed them.)

We proceeded to get to the campground over washed out roads and lots of bouncing.  It turned out the folks were very nice but we had to drive 3 miles into the woods on a narrow, unpacked, partial washed out road.  But we made it and parked and was settled before dark.

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The campground was Chestnut Ridge Park, located in Bruceton Mills, WV.

The forest was really beautiful and quiet, and would have been quite nice if the roads had not been so bad.  The park manager did say she had reported it but there were too many more critical areas that had priority so we certainly could understand that.

We had a comfortable night and the next morning headed to Harper’s Ferry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The drive through western Maryland was beautiful.  We stopped for lunch at a rest stop and took a few pictures.  Again, we find it amazing how much beautiful open land there is in this country and the numerous places to explore.  We take in as much as we can but it just isn’t possible to see it all.

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We made it to Harper’s Ferry around  2 PM.  They have a huge parking area at the welcome center, plenty of room for the RV and tow.  Once parked we picked up a shuttle and it first took us on a tour of Bolivar Heights Battlefield.  It sat high over the rivers and provided amazing views.

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We then took anther shuttle into Harper’s Ferry and visited the historical buildings and read about the history of John Brown.  We stopped in the only real pub and had a cold drink, it was really quite warm.

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Afterwards, we walked out to the point where the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers come together, and then took the footbridge to the C&O Canal and Maryland Heights.

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We walked along the streets and admired the old buildings.  While you can tell where restoration had taken place, there is still a lot of original structures still standing and period displays had been created.

 

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Yes, we walked up these stairs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By 5:30 we were ready to head out, we needed to find a place for the night.  We walked along the Winchester & Potomac Railroad trestle on our way to pick up the shuttle.

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We decided to find a Walmart for the night as we were only a few hours from Deale but did not want to arrive after dark.  We found an accommodating Walmart in Frederick, Md. And settled in for the night.

 

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Kentucky Countryside, Sunday June 26888

We were pretty much packed up and ready to leave when we decided there were still a couple of things that we didn’t yet do.  One was to drive around the countryside and see some of the beautiful horse farms, the other was to check out some of the covered bridges in the area.  Steve also was looking for some fresh blackberry cobbler and the city of Carlisle was having a blackberry festival over the 4th of July weekend so they mus have blackberries now, so that was added to the list.

So I headed up to the office while Steve reconnected us and was able to extend another day.

We decided to over to Lexinton to the only Apple Store so that I could purchase a keyboard for my mini iPad.  Hopefully it will make keeping up the blog a little easier.

As we drove through the countryside we saw some beautiful horse farms.  We decided in our next life we want to come back as a horse in Kentucky.

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We made our stop at the Apple store and began our hunt for the covered bridges.  We visited the Grange City Covered Bridge first.  Built in the 1860’s.

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The second bridge was the Ringo’s Mill Bridge from 1880.

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We drove on to the Goddard Bridge which the original date is unknown but thought to have been build in the 1820’s based upon the construction style which is the only bridge like it in Kentucky.

 

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There was an old cemetery next to the church in the background.  When taking a closer look, Steve spotted several headstones that had my maiden name “Hinton” on it.  I may check this out in the future.

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We were then in the vicinity of Carlisle so we stopped in.  Being Sunday, everything was closed but there were workers out setting up for the 4th of July weekend which also happened to be Carlisle’s 200th birthday and the Blackberry festival.  Most of those 200 year old buildings are still in use today

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As we walked around the town admiring the architecture of the 200 year old buildings, we were invited in to see the House Jail.  Probably one of the most interesting historic homes we have visited.  The woman who invited us in was a descendant of the family who once lived in the house and some of the furnishing were provided by her.

The home was built in 1820’s and in 1850 was converted to the jailer’s house. It had  4 cells, 2 were for women. There were 4 more cells added in the basement referred to as the dungeon cells. The dungeon cells were built in 1857.  It was used as a jail from 1850 to 1890’s    It is open for tours and various community activities.  It was very nice that they took time out to give us this private tour.

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Unfortunately, the only place that was serving blackberry desserts was closed for the day, however we found out that blackberries are not in season unti August, so the town freezes the berries for th next year’s celebration.  So we stopped on the way back to the campground and bought a bag of frozen blackberries which we had over ice cream.  We will have to wait until August to get our cobbler.

We had one more covered bridge that was close to the campground to check out. That was the Switzerland Covered Bridge., built in 1855.

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That pretty much wrapped up our day, tomorrow we will head to Maryland.

 

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Lexington, Ky. Saturday, June 25

So Saturday we decided to head to Lexington.  The first thing we did was head to the Visitor’s Center.  Lexington is much larger than Frankfort so there was a lot more going on and things to see and do,

We heard the story of the Blue Horse and took some pictures in the visitor’s center.  Legend has it that a horse named Big Lex turned blue from grazing in mineral-rich bluegrass pastures his entire life.

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We picked up some walking tour maps of the historical homes and headed on our way.  The first thing that we ran across was a Saturday Farmer’s market.  The produce and the flowers were beautiful but since it was so early in the day and very warm, we did not buy anything.

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The historical homes were beautiful, many of them with private gardens.   There were lots of small parks throughout the city with lots of artists capturing all of the old homes and churches on their canvas.

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We also passed a number of murals painted on the city walls.  I would define them as being “interesting”.

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At this point we were getting hungry.  We wanted to try a “Mint Julep” so we searched for a restaurant where we could order one.  We finally found one on our 3rd try, hopefully this was not a good representation as it was so weak and watered down, there was very little flavor.  We will just have to make our own.

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We ended up at The Village Idiot and the food was excllent.  Mine was a fried chicken, collard greens, country ham on a biscuit topped with poached eggs and holladaise sauce, it was excllent.  Steve had crispy duck and waffles, the duck was great but the waffle ho-hum, so he helped me with mine.  I also tried a Bourbon Barrell beer which was good and Steve had a local dark beer which he liked.

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We had covered a lot of ground by this time and it was a very warm day so we headed back to the car.  We thought we would head over to Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg.  I’m not sure if the alcohol or the heat was getting to me, maybe both, but I found a seat under a shade tree while Steve explored the village.

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Another long day so we headed back to the RV.  We are scheduled to head out tomorrow. Big and late lunch so no dinner tonight..

 

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Frankfort, Ky. Friday, June 24

We decided to spend the day in Frankfort.  We stopped at an overlook on the way into town and had a great view of the State Capital Building.

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We then headed into town and stopped at the Visitor’s Center that was located in a restored Victorian house.  We were able to leave the car there and pick up the trolley.  We have found that taking these trollies is a great way to get the lay of the land and determine how we want to spend our day.

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The trolley took us on a tour of many of the historic homes.  Many of them from the early 1800’s and a few from the late 1700’s, almost all of them are currently occupied as private homes or businesses.

We decided to visit the Buffalo Trace Distillery.  We hadn’t planned to visit another distillery but after hearing some of the history from the trolley driver, we decided to try it.

This distillery has been in operation for over 200 years.  Some of the original buildings are still in use today.  They were 1 of only 4 distilleries that was allowed to operate during prohibition in order to produce bourbon and whisky for medicinal purposes.

 

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We were glad that we did this second tour as they provided so much more information than the previous distillery and they actually had a bourbon that we liked.  Everything from labels to bottling is done on site.

We took the trolley back to the car and then we headed to the Frankfort cemetery to view Daniel and Rebecca Boone’s gravesite.  We spent some time studying some of the old tombstones, dating back to the 1700’s.

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We headed over to the Governor’s Mansion to view the large floral clock that is on the grounds.

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We had hoped to tour Liberty Hall however they only do one tour a day and we had missed it.

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We stopped by Rebecca Ruth’s Chocolate Shop and bought some Bourbon Balls.  Rebecca Ruth is supposed to be the inventor of the Bourbon Ball.  We had sampled them during our distillery tours and decided we needed some.

We headed back to the RV park.   It had been a full day and other then the bourbon and chocolate tastings, we had not eaten so we put some steaks on the grill and called it a day.

 

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Bardstown, Ky Thursday, June 23

We woke early as we needed to vacate our space at Walmart. We finely found a campground that had good reviews so I wanted to call them as soon as the office opened. The campground is in Frankfort which is further West than we wanted but it is still close enough to the other towns we want to visit. At first we were told no vacancy but after checking they found a cancellation had come in the night before so we were good. We reserved the space for 3 nights giving us plenty of time to explore the surrounding towns. It was located just 25 miles down the road so we arrived, parked and was back on the road by 10:00am heading for  Bradstown.

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Most of the buildings in Bradstown date back to the late 1700’s or early 1800’s.

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We had met a gentleman the day before at the Kentucky Heritage and Welcome Center who recommended we eat at Mammy’s Kitchen.  It is located in an old stable, the food was different.  We ordered pinto beans with cornbread.  The cornbread was prepared like a pancake.  I gotta try that.  We also had to try the fried green tomatoes.  The food was good and plentiful.

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After leaving there we walked around town and admired the old historical buildings and some of the beautiful flowers.

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Just on the edge of town we found the Civil War Museum.  They had a great collection of artifacts.  Then we walked through Old Bardstown Village that is a collection of old original buildings collected and reassembled to create a village from the early 1800’s.

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It was pretty warm so we decided we were through with outdoor activities and would move indoors.  We headed to Heaven Hill Distillery which was also recommended by the same guy that gave us the restaurant name.  He also suggested we drop his name so we did.

We were treated to a free tour and tasting of their premium bourbons. The tour was interesting but you can keep the bourbon, even the $400.  a bottle stuff.

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The buildings that are used to store the bourbons are called “rickhouses”.  Called “rack houses” by other distilleries.  This picture only captures a few of the buildings, each building is 7 stories tall.

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We pretty much had a full day so we headed back to the campground.  Just in time as storms were all around us.   We are in Frankfort which is located just above the heavy storms.

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We walked down to the Elkhorn River that runs beside the campground, even the geese were heading for shelter.

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Tomorrow we are heading to Lexington.

 

 

 

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Sevierville and Knoxville, Tn

Well, we found a campsite in the little town of Dandridge, Tn. We fixed dinner, set up camp and settled down for the evening. The next morning we set out to visit Sevierville, in case you did not know is Dolly Parton’s home town. I know, you probably got all excited. The little town is like a lot of little towns in that there just isn’t much there. We hadn’t eaten so we stopped at a donut shop on the town square and had coffee and donuts. The coffee was good and service friendly but Dunkin Donuts has them beat. We just had to take a picture of Dolly in the town square.

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We we then headed to Knoxville. Knoxville does have a nice free trolley system to get you around town. We road 2 of the 4 lines which covered what we wanted to see. It did a great tour of the University of Tennessee campus.  They also had plenty of free parking garages. We first headed to old town. We were disappointed in that we expecting there to be more shops and restaurants, however it looked pretty run down and looked like it may cater more to the nightclub customers.

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We we then headed to market square where we found the shops and restaurants we were looking for.

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We stopped in the 4th Market Cafe and had lunch and met some great servers. After learning we were heading for Kentucky, they suggested we go to Lexington.

We spent some time looking into various campgrounds but just couldn’t lock in on exactly where we wanted to go. There is not a big selection and none of them had very good reviews. The ones we liked best were all west of Lexington, so for the moment we are in a Walmart parking lot. We just finished dinner and we will probably stay here tonight and settle on a campground tomorrow.  Lexington has several things we want to see so we will probably be in the area until Sunday.  Tomorrow should be more interesting as we do the Distilleries and downtown Lexington.

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Knoxville, Tn

Well, we,re not totally sure how we ended up here. Before going to bed we decided since we had spent so much time in the Carolinas, we would head in a different direction.  When we pulled out this morning we were heading for Kentucky. We got to Tennessee and realized we really had never visited the Knoxville area so we found a little park in Dandridge, Tn.   So we will visit Knoxville tomorrow and head to Kentucky on Wednesday. The only picture I took today was at a Tennessee Welcome Station with this sculpture called “Sunshine”.  Maybe a little yellow paint would help.image

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Gainsville, Georgia

Sorry for the lapse in postings. We’ve been experiencing technicals difficulties. Since our last posting we visited Gainsville, Ga. The town has a small town square with a lot of little restaurants surrounding it. Not much to see but it was pleasant so we walked around a bit. The overall town is quite large, they have a huge medical facility and a large University of North Georgia campus. After that we decided to check out Lake Lanier.  First of all, it is huge. 37,000 acres. We stopped by a couple of spots to check out the scenery.

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We also did a little hiking to ensure we got our 10,000 steps in for the day.   As long as we were in the shade it was quite nice, however our little hike (uphill I might add) in the sun was a bit much. It was time to head back to the RV for a cold one.

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