Where We’ve Been

I haven’t posted for a while.  We’re here at Livingston, TX workamping at the Escapees RV Club flagship RV park for the winter, we’ll be here until Jan. 15, 2018.

Then we’ll make our way over to Florida for the month of February.  We’re looking forward to that trip as it will give us the opportunity to stop and visit lots of friends along the way.

Some of those friends we’ve known for years, while others are “new” friends that we’ve only just met since we hit the road full time.  Although this full-time RV’ing lifestyle allows us the opportunity to see all parts of the country we haven’t seen before, we find even more value in the friendships we are able to form along the way.

Here’s a map of where we’ve stayed (at least overnight) since we started in Sept of 2016.

 We still have a lot of the east coast to cover along with the gulf coast and northwestern states but we also have time on our side.

Our trip to Florida will give us the opportunity to visit friends in Summerdale  Alabama, then on to Florida to visit friends and family in cities including; Crestview, Jacksonville, Orlando, Ocala, Interlachen, The Villages, Polk City, Crystal River, Sebring, Lake Placid, and Fort Myers.

We just enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with about 125+ of our newest best friends at the RV park.  Not only was it a delicious meal (the park provided the turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy) with everyone bringing a dish to pass for their table, but we were entertained by fellow camper Randy Sprouse and his Highland Bagpipes.  This was a special treat for everyone.

That’s all for now.  More to follow soon as we’ve been working on updating the interior of the coach with new paint, window coverings, flooring, light fixtures, and more.

We’re also scheduled to get some suspension and steering performance upgrades done and I hope to have a post covering that subject too.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

What Happens When We Can’t Travel Anymore?

Living full-time in an RV can be exciting, getting to travel across this great nation of ours, seeing all sorts of sights and meeting all kinds of great people.

If you’re a “full-timer” as those of us in this group like to call ourselves, there are things to consider when going full-time like;

  • Where will our “home” be?  Where will we go back to (occassionally) ?
  • What do we do about getting our mail?  (Next post will cover this)
  • What state are we going to be domiciled in for medical insurance?
  • What happens if one of us needs recuperation time after a surgery?
  • What happens when this life on the road just gets too hard for us?
  • What happens to us when we can’t travel anymore?????

This is the question we’re going to talk about in this post.    

Some full-time RV’ers might go “back home” and maybe live in their RV for some time at their children’s property, that is, if they are fortunate enough;

  • 1) to have children,
  • 2) that have property large enough to accommodate the RV, and
  • 3) that have the electric, water, and sewer hookups for the RV.

Other full-timers may have the resources available to buy a home or rent an apartment to allow them to move out of the RV (either temporarily or permanently) so they can get the help they need for daily living.

BUT … If you are an Escapee RV Club member you have another option.

The club founders, Kay and Joe Peterson saw the need for another option for full-time RV’ers.  Joe and Kay were full-time RV’ers themselves and started the club in 1978.  As I understand it, Joe was an electrician and they, along with their 5 children traveled the country following Joe’s work while Kay ran the household and raised the children.

Here’s 3 links to just some of Kay’s many books she wrote while on the road.  Kathy and I had the honor of attending a convention where Kay (at 94) spoke and she was truly a remarkable woman and a wonderful story-teller.  You really should give yourself a treat and read at least one of her books.

I apologize … I digress.  Now back to the point of this post.

So Kay and Joe, being full-timers themselves must’ve pondered this same question .. “What happens when we just can’t travel full-time anymore?”

And as a result, and with the help of many club members and volunteers, the C.A.R.E. Center was born adjacent to Rainbow’s End RV Park and the Escapees National Headquarters office in Livingston, Texas.

Let me tell you about it and what a cool concept it is.  I’m told there’s nothing else like it in the country.

The C.A.R.E. (Continued Assistance for Retired Escapees) Center is yes, a building.  But it’s so much more than just a building.

When an Escapee RV Club member finds the need to get off the road, whether because of the need to recuperate from an illness or medical procedure, or maybe they just need a little help to live comfortably, they can move their RV to CARE.

You say “It looks like an RV park to me”.  Yes, it’s an RV park and again … so much more.

When full-time RV’ers decide to come off the road, they really don’t want to move into an apartment or an assisted living facility – instead (just like anyone else) they want to stay in their own home.  And remember, this travel trailer or motor home IS their own home and very often has been for many years.  They’ve seen the sights, made hundreds of new friends and even now want to live in an area where they can still be around like-minded people.

CARE provides their residents with a site that will accommodate the size of their rig, they provide 3 home cooked meals each day along with weekly laundry service and lots of activities in the CARE Center building.

This is not an assisted living facility, but rather a program that assists those who can still live independently.  Residents walk from their rig to the dining hall for meals and to the activity room for; church services, jam sessions, use of the computer WiFi, exercise equipment, and lots more.

Activity Room with seating for church service, comfortable seating for reading or computer work
Lots of seating can be moved to accommodate musical groups
CARE Center dining room where residents can get 3 great home cooked meals every day of the week

There are CARE volunteers who typically (but not always) live in the park and help the residents with some of their chores like; swapping out propane tanks, repairing sewer hoses, sweeping off their deck, or any number of what we feel are small jobs but might be difficult for the CARE resident.

In addition, CARE provides FREE transportation to wherever a resident might want to go (within 30 miles).  That might be a doctor appointment, a trip to the local grocery, beauty shop, attorney or bank.

CARE operates 5 different vehicles to transport residents wherever they need to go within 30 miles of home

So you’re thinking “Wow, this really seems like a great concept – I wonder what they charge?”

C.A.R.E. is a not-for-profit 501c3 tax exempt corporation. They have a small (but professional) staff and the Volunteer Coordinator (Crystal) does a fantastic job recruiting and utilizing volunteers so their abilities and talents are best utilized. As a result, the CARE Center fees (at the time of this writing) are $1000 per month for a single person and $500 additional for a spouse or partner. The only additional costs to the resident are; electricity, cable or wifi, propane gas (for heat or cooking). Water, sewer, and trash removal is included in the rent.

There is no contract, all they ask is the monthly fee up front. If the resident, for any reason, decides that it’s just not for them, they put the key in the ignition the next month and move on down the road.

All in all, CARE is a wonderful “other option” for those full-time RV’ers that have come to the point of needing a little extra help.

AND, it allows those that have come to love the lifestyle now stay with that lifestyle and live among other like-minded wanderers.

You know what they say … “Not all who wander are lost”

Safe travels to you until we meet again ….

 

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

RV Park Review – Pere Marquette Oaks RV “Condo” Resort (Michigan)

Summer’s over and our 4 month workamping gig has come to an end.  We had a great experience at a wonderful park in a beautiful area of the country and I wanted to share a little info with you in hopes that you might have an opportunity to spend some time in this often “skipped” area of our country.

Pere Marquette Oaks RV Resort is located in west central Michigan just about 3 miles south of the town of Baldwin.  “PMO” as it’s referred to by its friends is just about an hour north of Grand Rapids and less than 45 minutes from the Lake Michigan shore city of Ludington.

PMO is a condominium RV park where the “campers” actually own their lot and pay annual dues to the association for maintenance and amenities.  Some of the owners who may be out of town in their RV actually rent out their lot to visitors to the area.  The park has a full-time rental manager to handle these rentals and welcome visitors to the park and to the area.  Sue can be reached at 616-901-4060.

All the lots at PMO are large (at least 50′ x 100′) and all are full hook-up sites with concrete paved and level sites that include free wifi and 36 channels of cable TV.  There are just over 100 sites with asphalt paved streets lined with massive oak trees that offer lots of shade.

Other amenities include a modern clubhouse that offers a fully equipped kitchen, large flat screen TV and plenty of round tables and chairs so that folks can use the room for football parties, card games, or larger family gatherings.

The most popular amenities in the park are definitely the heated pool and hot tub.  Lots of adults and children make good use of these amenities during hot weather.  The picnic pavilion adjacent to the pool provides a great place for gathering and enjoying one of the many pot-luck meals that seem to pop up over the season.

Visitors to the park will find lots of opportunity to meet plenty of other like minded people as they walk or bicycle around the park.  Typically the holiday long weekends (Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day) are the busiest and the most fun in the park.  Although there is no “Activities Director”, folks at the park take it upon themselves to plan activities that attract everyone to attend and participate.

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Overnight rate (for 2017) is only $45 per night and Sue (616-901-4060) will be happy to get you a spot for a night and she can give you all the details about seasonal rates and ownership opportunities as well.

I encourage you to take the opportunity to stay at PM (Pere Marquette) Oaks RV Resort.  Not only are you less than an hour away from Lake Michigan and the beautiful Ludington State Park, but you’re only minutes away from Big Star Lake where you can canoe, kayak, or jet ski and you will be just a hop, skip, and a jump from the famous Pere Marquette River which is one of the premier Rainbow Trout and Steelhead streams in the Midwest.  If you want something a little different, Lake County boasts 47 trout streams and 153 lakes, so there’s surely someplace right for you.

Kathy and I will be heading back to PMO in the spring of 2018 for another workamping season and who knows, … maybe we’ll see you there!

Wishing you smooth roads and sunny skies …

 

 

 

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Waterfalls in Michigan – Really?

Kathy and I were both born and spent our early years in Michigan on the west side of Detroit and then spent our school years in Redford Township where we met in high school, got married shortly after we graduated and started a family of our own.  I’ll tell you about those early years some other time.

Our vacation travels as a young family consisted of driving on up to the Kalkaska area of Michigan’s lower peninsula where my folks had moved after Dad’s retirement from Ford Motor Company in Dearborn.  It would always be a “low budget” trip.  We would be able to stay close to home (about 4 hours away), the kids would have some time with Papa and Nana, and Kathy and I might even be able to sneak away for a couple hours alone while we got free baby sitting from my folks.  All in all, it was a “win-win” for all of us.  We had fun back then.

And although we spent a lot of time up in this neck of the woods, we had no idea there were so many waterfalls in Michigan.  Workamping here at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Resort gives us every other week (7 days straight) off so we can do what we want.  Kathy thought it would be fun to go on up to the U.P. (Upper Peninsula).  As we researched our potential trip, we found that Michigan boasts being home to nearly 200 waterfalls and all but 2 are located in the UP!  We had been up to Tahquamenon Falls years ago, but we thought that was it.  Boy were we wrong!

We loosely planned our road trip to take up 3 days time.  We decided to not take the coach and stay in motels 2 nights so we had more mobility and easier entry to some of the sites where the falls might be located.  It was a good thing we decided this as many of the sites had small access roads and/or parking areas with not much turnaround room.

We invited our new friends Chuck and Joanne to come along with

The Fantastic Foursome

us and we all had a great time.  They’ve retired from the Grand Rapids area and as a family they’ve done lots of camping over the years and they had some ideas on where we could go and what we could see.

Although we wanted to see LOTS of falls, we knew that time, money, and our “rear ends” in the car would tell us that 3 days out would be about all we could handle.

Here’s a map showing our 3 day route up and back.  If you want to see an interactive map where you can zoom and pan for yourself, click here.

Besides the numerous falls we saw, and the pasties and smoked fish we ate, there was something we learned that I had no idea existed.  I knew that folks who lived in the Upper Peninsula were known as “Yoopers”, but I had no idea that those of us who were born in or lived in the Lower Peninsula were known as “Trolls”.

I couldn’t imagine why I would be called a “Troll”, until a Yooper shared with me it’s because we live “below the bridge”!  Now it all makes perfect sense.

“UP” Road Trip Map

Here’s a slide show of some of the high points of our trip.  I’m including a few short videos too.

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Here’s the video montage of our UP Falls Tour to go along with some of the pictures in the slide show above.

All in all, we had a great time seeing beautiful sites with great friends and looking forward to our next adventure.  So long for now from your friends “The Trolls”.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Honoring Our Veterans at The Park

Today was another special day here at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Park.  It’s the Fourth of July holiday weekend and all our regular residents are here along with all the rental lots taken with first-time and return visitors.  Many of the guests are relatives of some of our full time residents.  Lots of little ones having tons of fun.

The day started out with our 2nd Annual 4th of July Bicycle and Golf Cart Parade.  Children started decorating their bikes last night, while Grandmas and Grandpas decorated their golf carts, scooters and such with all kinds of red, white, and blue banners, flags and other regalia.  We even had marching music blaring to keep the ranks in file.

We paraded throughout the park while throngs of on-lookers waved and cheered (and smiled) at the clever decorations.  Awards were given for the best entries in each class.

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After the parade, all the participants and spectators gathered around the new flagpole for the dedication of the plaques honoring our Veterans.  Both the flagpole and these plaques were donated by Bill VanDeVusse and Lee Presley and we all thank them for their generosity.

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And after the dedication, we all gathered in the pavilion for cookies, cake, punch, and Popsicles.  It was a wonderful cap to a great early afternoon.  I have to apologize for not getting any pictures of everyone during refreshments in the pavilion … I guess I was to busy stuffing my face with all the delicious goodies to think about picking up the camera, (duh!)

After the refreshments, many of the residents and visitors enjoyed some basking in the sun, playing in the pool, or relaxing in the hot tub.

A special shout out of THANKS goes to Chris for organizing the parade, Marianne and Mike for installing the plaques and the recognition of our Veterans, and finally Jean, Marianne, Sally, and Sue for getting all the goodies donated and the hall set up and serving everyone.

It’s always good when friends come together … can’t wait for the next opportunity!

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Honoring Our Veterans at The Park

This post is late … we’ve been having too much fun here outside and have not been up to date on posting pictures to the blog.

I wanted to share with you how we were all able to honor our Veterans here at the park a few weeks ago on the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Last year, the association bought a new aluminum flagpole and it was installed last fall.  This spring flowers were planted at the base of the pole and on Saturday May 27th, we all gathered around, dedicated the new American Flag and honored residents (and visitors) of the park who have served protecting our freedoms.

The Veteran’s names were called out along with their branch of service, their rank and years served.  There were about 40 names called off and those who were present stood and were applauded for their service.  After the service, the Veterans gathered in the clubhouse for refreshments and a time to talk with others that served.

We are all blessed to have had these men and women risk, and in some cases give their lives to protect our freedoms.  This ceremony is just one small way we can give back and let them know their sacrifice has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.

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We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Old Home Week in S.E. Michigan

We left our “old” home in Mount Gilead, OH on May 1st and headed north to Wixom, MI area where we stayed at Proud Lake Recreation Area State Park for the week.  Our intent was to relax and enjoy the spring weather and see some long-time friends while we were there.  I wrote this earlier post with some pictures of the park.  It was COLD and RAINY nearly all week, but we had a great time nonetheless because we were able to hook up with friends from WAY BACK.

Sandy is the first little girl in the bottom row, I’m the kid in the top row, 3rd from the right, striped long sleeve shirt

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We had wonderful visits with old friends.  Some of these folks we haven’t seen in 30 or 40+ years.  Thanks to Facebook, we’ve been able to reconnect to lost friendships.  It’s so easy as we get busy with our; jobs/kids/school/sports/hobbies/parents/ etc.  to lose touch with those we once considered “very good” if not “best” friends.

We left Proud Lake on Sunday May 7th and had two more visits on our agenda as we continued our travel north to Baldwin, MI for our summer workamping job.

Trip Map From Proud Lake Rec Area to Delton, Spring Lake, Baldwin, MI

Who’s in Delton you ask?  Thanks to Facebook, I was able to find George Williston.  I hadn’t seen or even talked to George since 1960 when my family moved from Detroit out to Redford Township.  I had attended Kindergarten and first grade in Detroit, where I met George.  I lived with my folks and two older sisters on Monte Vista and George lived with his family on Pinehurst, next street over on the other side of the alley.  George and I used the alley as the shortcut from his house to mine.

13116 Monte Vista, Detroit
The home I grew up in from 1954 to 1960 – Now just a shell

It’s a shame to see what the house and the neighborhood have become.  I have some great memories of that home, our neighbors (the McGraw family) where there’s now just an empty lot, and my time playing (and causing a little trouble I’m sure) with my best friend George Williston.

Kathy and I met George and his wonderful wife Kelly where we enjoyed a light lunch in their beautiful home nestled in the woods.  In addition to having been a Wood Shop Industrial Arts teacher, George is also an accomplished writer.   You can order his book “This Tribe of Mine” on Amazon.

After our lunch and a nice walk around the property, we said goodbye to George and Kelly and headed further west and north to Spring Lake, Michigan where we met up with Brian Barker and his wife Connie.  Kathy and I went to Junior High and High School with Brian and we had a lot of great memories to talk about.  I had seen Brian and Connie when they lived in the Cincinnati area back a while but it’s been at least 20 years.  Kathy had never met Connie and hadn’t seen Brian in at least 35 years.

Herb, Kathy, Brian, and Connie

Brian and Connie live in a beautiful home just across from Spring Lake.  Great view and it’s easy to carry their kayaks over for an afternoon cruise.

Again, it was great to spend time with old friends and catch up on some mutual memories.

My next post will be an introduction to Baldwin, MI and Pere Marquette Oaks RV Resort.

That’s all for now.  Stay happy.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

First Day in Michigan @ Proud Lake Recreation Area

Our “home” parked in front of the bunkhouse

We left Mount Gilead on Monday morning May 1st.  We had parked in the driveway for the month of April, were able to see our doctors, get our taxes done, attend worship at our church, and have plenty of time to visit with family and good friends.

While we were “home”, we took advantage of the time available to us to sell a lot of what we had left behind when we started this new full-time RV’ing lifestyle last September.

Sara & Stu

Since our daughter and son-in-law were renting the house from us in our absence, it made our departure much easier as we had literally left nearly everything behind.

But now that we have confirmed that this full-time thing is for us (at least for the next few years), we want to sell the house so that we can be totally debt-free.  Selling the house will free up money that will allow us to pay off what little debt we have.  Craigslist and Facebook allowed us to sell thousands of dollars worth of household and yard/garden tools & equipment in very short order.  I sold Dewalt drills, a Mastertow Tow Dolly, Agrifab lawn sweeper, Cushman golf cart, and a whole lot more.  It was amazing how quickly things sold.

We’re not worried about where we might live when the time comes to hang up our keys to the coach.  We still own four rental units in Mount Gilead with great renters in each, but if push comes to shove we could ask any of the tenants to leave and we could take their place.

Another alternative is for us to take advantage of the life-time RV Lot lease program at any of the Escapee’s Co-Op Parks around the south, southwest, and northwest parts of the country.  Depending on the park and the amenities, lifetime leases are available for anywhere from about $7000 to $25,000 (one time payment).  Once the lease is paid, the only on-going costs are electricity and an annual Operating & Maintenance fee that usually runs $600-$1200 yearly.  And the really great part is that when we are “done” with the lot, whether it be 1 year later or 20 years down the road, we turn it back over to the Co-Op and get 100% of our lease money invested back!

But that’s on down the road a bit.  Right now our plan now is to spend a week here in Southeast Michigan where we can visit friends and family that we’ve known for 40 years or more and then we’ll move on up the road at the end of the week to the Grand Rapids and Holland, Michigan areas to see more “old” friends and then up to Baldwin, Michigan (near Ludington) to start our summer workamping job by May 15th.

We are camped at Proud Lake Recreation Area just off Wixom Road in Commerce Twp, MI.  This is just north of I-96 about 5 miles.  There’s about 4700 acres of wooded wilderness here with miles of trails and the campground offers 130 (electric) sites along with a small beach and boat launch.  The shower house was built new in 2016 and offers very attractive and comfortable private bath and shower rooms.  Here’s a slide show of a few pictures of the campground facilities.

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Today (Tuesday May 2nd) we spent a few hours (and lunch at a great Mexican Restaurant) with Jeff & Sandy (Overmeyer) Houghton.  Sandy is the cute little girl with blond curls on the left in the first row (our 2nd grade class picture)

Mrs. Fosmoe’s 2nd grade class, Bulman Elementary

Jeff, Sandy, Kathy, and I all were in High School together and graduated in 1972.

We’ve got more planned for the rest of the week and we’ll fill that in as we go along.

Kathy, Herb, Sandy, & Jeff

 

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

A Beautiful Day In A Beautiful State Park

Since we are spending two nights at Raccoon Valley RV Park at Heiskell, TN, we had today to do a little sightseeing.  We decided to check out Norris Dam State Park and if we were up to it after that we’d drive on in to Knoxville to see the Sunsphere tower adjacent to the Knoxville Convention Center.

The state park was very beautiful and peaceful.  It seemed as though we were the only ones there.  We started our visit by stopping at the dam West End Overlook.  From there we had a great view of the Norris Dam, the spillway, and the hydro-electric plant.  From there we drove on down to the marina and then to the drive over the top of the dam and on into the campground area.

I don’t know how many campsites they have, but they have over 20 really nice cabins.  We only saw one occupied camp site and all of the cabins were vacant.  It’s mid-week and the season really hasn’t begun just yet.

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After leaving the dam and the campground, but before exiting the park, we stumbled upon another attraction at the park; the old water driven Grist Mill and the museum.

There were a few kids playing in the stream at the outlet side of the mill while their mothers watched nearby and just a couple of other visitors to the museum.  Here’s the video of the little ones playing in the stream.

The slide show below contains pictures from the museum in the park.  All of the artifacts in the museum had been collected by one couple, Mr. & Mrs. Will Lenoir.  They had been collecting for over 60 years and wanted to help preserve Tennessee’s heritage by giving their collection to the State Park.  It’s quite a collection and we spent much of the early afternoon there.

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Leaving the park we drove on through the little town of Norris.  There were a lot of pictures in the museum of early days in Norris, when the TVA built the dam (1933-1936) and I’m guessing that’s how the town came to be, from all the workers employed while building the dam.  The pictures showed the “Norris Drug Store”, the “Norris Gas Station” and so on.

It’s a cute little town, reminded me of the Andy Griffith show and Mayberry – everything clean and tidy.  Too bad I didn’t stop and get any pictures to share with you.

Back at the park we’ve met 3 different couples.  Our new next door neighbors Jerry and Marsha from Florida on their way to Kentucky for an off-road event (see the pix of their rigs)

 

That’s an off-road buggy, a BMW motorcycle, AND a canoe under the buggy (that’s a spare tire for the buggy up front)

 

 

 

450 hp diesel with the trailer attached measures 70′ long! Four slides (two on each side) on the coach

Then Kathy and I had a nice visit with Jon & Cathy from Milford, OH on their way back home from Florida.  They are members of S.O.W.E.R.S. (they volunteer their time working on various mission projects around the country).

As I was taking the trash down to the dumpster, I met Karen and Lino, also from Ohio.  They are on their way back home from Florida where they had flown down one-way to purchase their new (used) 5th wheel trailer and pick-up truck.

Karen has retired recently and Lino hopes to retire by the end of the year and then they’ll become full-time RV’ers and Karen may revive her home-based graphic arts and web design business working from the road.

Although we’ve been blessed with seeing much of the country and that’s certainly a perk of this lifestyle, I think what’s even more of a blessing is having been given the opportunity to meet so many great people from all over the country.

 

 

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Familiar Faces in New Places

It’s been a wonderful two weeks since we left our (new) good friends at Rancho Verde RV Park in Camp Verde, AZ.

After spending 6 months there living and working side by side with these folks, they became more than just “other RV’ers” and we’ll certainly miss them and look forward to when we are out in AZ again and can renew those friendships.

But, it was time to head east (and north) so we can see friends and family in Ohio and then on to Michigan for our summer workamping gig.

The trip so far has been uneventful (with regard to problems) and that’s a good thing.  The coach has performed flawlessly and we are hoping that we have now addressed all the issues there and that we’ll have smooth sailing for the foreseeable future.  We know that something will happen eventually, but treating her kindly (gentle driving and regular scheduled maintenance) will hopefully serve us well as we continue this new journey in our lives.

By “Uneventful” I meant that the parks we stopped at along the way were, for the most part very nice parks, the roads were smooth, there were no traffic jams.

We stayed 3 nights at the Escapees “Rainbow Plantation” in Summerdale, AL and one of those nights we decided to take advantage of their invite to dinner.  There were 140 of us in the clubhouse for lasagna dinner that night and one of the name tags caught my eye.

The name “Don Phelps” sounded familiar and so during dinner I studied his face trying to figure out if I knew this man.

After dinner I was nearly 100% sure this was “the guy” and so I approached him, asked if he used to live in Michigan, and if he

Don (from Xerox) and Elaine Phelps at the table next to us.

had served as a Field Service Manager at Xerox in the Detroit area.  Yes, this was the guy I had worked with at Xerox when I was there in the ’70’s !

After visiting the historic railroad museum in Foley, AL the next day and driving down to the beach in Gulf Shores, AL to see the ocean we then packed up and moved on east to Pensacola, FL where we took in the National Naval Museum and what a treat that was.  Not only did we get a free guided tour, but the Blue Angels had just returned to the base and we got to see them in action during their practice flights – super impressive!

After the museum, we drove a little further east and checked in at Eagle’s Landing RV Park at Holt, FL just a little west of Crestview.  That night we met my sister Marilynn and brother-in-law Rick at a nearby Cracker Barrel for dinner.  They live in Jacksonville and were traveling from

Herb, Marilynn, Rick, and Kathy

home to Pensacola for a Florida Dental Association mission work trip and so we were able to hook up along the way.

We stayed another night at Eagle’s Landing and spent most of the day Thursday with Dave and Robyn who live at Crestview, FL.  Dave and I have been friends since about 4th or 5th grade.  He lived a few blocks north of me in Redford Township, MI and once we were old enough to ride our bikes off our block, we met and have been life-long friends since.

Dave and Robyn

Dave and Robyn took us on down to Destin, FL where we boarded an excursion boat and went through the harbor and out to the gulf where we spotted dozens of bottle-nose dolphins.  Then enjoyed each other’s company some more at a great local seafood restaurant.

Here’s a few pictures of the harbor and our search for dolphins.

Friday we left Eagles Landing and drove to Jacksonville, FL where we checked into Fleetwood RV Park, spent a quiet night and then Ed & Sandy drove up from Orlando on Saturday and the four of us spent the day together at the Jacksonville Zoo.

Ed and I met in 1962 when our family moved in across the street from Ed in Redford Township (a suburb of Detroit).  We still talk almost weekly.

By the way, all three of us are ham radio operators.  We all took the same class back in the late 60’s and our original call signs issued by the FCC were WB8BHK, WB8BHL, and WB8BHY.

The Jacksonville Zoo is beautiful .. they have a lot of boardwalks that are suspended above the animal pens so you can really see a lot.   Here’s a video playlist of some of the zoo and then there’s a slideshow of more of the animals.

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After seeing everyone in FL, we headed up I-95 through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and now we’re in Tennessee at the Escapee’s Raccoon Valley RV Park.

We’ll probably stay here a couple days, work our way up into Kentucky for Thursday nights stay, and then back in Mount Gilead on Friday.

It’s been a long trip (I’ll tell you how many miles when we’re done), but it’s been a great adventure, we’ve met a lot of wonderful people, and we’re excited about what’s to come.

 

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