March 9, 2020

Catch Up Time

Yes, I know, I've been slacking in the blogging area :-(  I just haven't been very inspired to write lately.  Plus, life seems to be keeping me otherwise engaged.

After we left Jessica, Mike and Emmett, we headed back to North Carolina.  We had some work to take care of but planned a six night stay so we could also relax a bit.  We returned once again to Jones Station RV Park.  We were there last year and really enjoyed the peace and quiet.

When our time was up we headed about an hours drive further west as it was closer to Ron's folks.  Another quick three night stay at Tanglewood Park Campground.  Our day of departure sure had a stressful twist to it.  A tree limb decided to break away from the tree and fall onto the rear of our trailer!  How dare it :-/  It clipped the corner of the roof, damaged the ladder, took off our flag pole and buckled the rear bumper.  As of today we are still waiting on repairs-the RV repair shops aren't eager for work, I guess.

the limb measured 11" diameter!

it would've missed us if we were only a foot more forward in the site
a second limb decided to fall before we were packed up, sigh
For awhile we were the talk of the campground.  People were coming over making sure we were all right.  Before we had enough time to hitch up, another section of tree decided it was coming down too.  Thankfully it fell onto the grassy area behind the rig!  The strangest part was the fact that there was absolutely no wind whatsoever and no indication that the limb was in distress.  The park ranger mentioned that they assess all of the trees in the winter and cut away potential broken limbs.  Unfortunately for us they missed this one.  But, we are safe and that's very good!

By early August we find ourselves once again in Oklahoma to visit with Alex, Kana and Benji.  It was good to visit with them all.  Of course, Benji was the main attraction :-)  While there Ron also helped Alex with the clothes dryer.  It had gone on the fritz about a week earlier.  With Benji in cloth diapers, it was quite a pain for them to be without it.  The guys went on the roof and cleaned out the vent pipe, but that wasn't the issue.  Ron ordered a part from Amazon, but that wasn't the issue.  A third diagnosis was the correct solution.  The door catch was too loose and when the tumbler made the door jiggle in the slightest little bit, it would shut off.  So a simple ten minute fix did the trick.

Ron and I look forward to seeing this little cutie pie again :-)

After a couple of long driving days we landed at Meteor Crater RV Park.  It's just off I-40 a little east of Flagstaff.  It's one of the spots I've wanted to visit for quite some time.  I wrote about it back in January 2015, before we even had a rig to call home.  Lucky for us we got there early enough in the day to visit the crater.  Pets are not allowed, although they do have crates you can put them in while you visit the meteor site.  We opted to leave Rufus at home instead.

From the website: "Meteor Crater is nearly one mile across, 2.4 miles in circumference and more than 550 feet deep. It is an International tourist venue with Outdoor Observation Trails, Air Conditioned Indoor Viewing, Wide Screen Movie Theater, Interactive Discovery Center, Unique Gift & Mineral Shop, and Collision! 4D Experience Room."  Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to visit the museum in depth or see the movie.  Be sure to give yourself enough time for these free perks.

it's quite impressive and worth the stop

far off in the distance is a house sized rock displaced by the impact

we were treated to a gorgeous sunset that evening!

Meanwhile, back in Oklahoma, Alex promoted to the rank of Major.  Ron and I are very proud of the man he has become.  His commitment to family and country exceeds our wildest dreams for him!!

Benji, Alex and Kana

This road trip ended in August on my 56th birthday.  We left in May, three months on the road seemed to go by too fast.  It's back to the parking pad in Sacramento for a few months.  

December 23, 2019

Tears Of Frustration Followed By Tears Of Joy

When I left you last, I was telling you the story of our time in Massachusetts.  Hard to believe that was in July and it's almost the end of the year!  So much has happened to us.  Some I'd rather forget...

Tears Of Frustration

We had some difficult truck issues.  Difficult to get a proper diagnosis.  Difficult on the wallet.  Difficult on the travel schedule.  Rainier decided he was done running.  We sat on the side of the freeway waiting for two tow trucks.  One for Rainier.  And one for Raven. 

Rainier is loading while Raven's truck waits behind her

Raven getting hitched up

Ron rode in the lead truck with Raven.  Rufus and I were in the following truck with Rainier.  The hazard lights were flashing the entire way down the freeway.  I can not tell you how unnerving that drive was!

The diagnosis was that we needed two new batteries.  NOPE...  The next driving day we made it less than 70 miles before we got the same engine codes.  To our benefit there was a truck pull-off along the freeway.  This time we decided to call a mobile mechanic.


We had plenty of time while waiting for them to arrive.  Compared to sitting on the side of the freeway, we had it much better this time around.  Our house was in tow again so we had the comforts of a toilet and a fridge.  We set up our canopy, I made us some lunch and we ate in the shade while playing a game of Spicy Farkel.

The diagnosis this time was that we needed new fuel filters.  NOPE...  The owner of the mobile mechanic business followed us on the freeway for a short distance before the codes came up again.  We learned that the codes pop up under load while going uphill.  At least we knew what wasn't the issue!  And we knew we could drive without towing.  We parked Raven at a nearby campground, Camp-A-While.  The owners were quite understanding of our situation putting us in a site that would be vacant for three days, just in case.  We only needed it for two days. 

we scored a nice pull through site among the tall trees :-)

By this time we were near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Rainier had an appointment the following day at Hoffman Ford so off we went.  Rainier was in the shop for the entire day.  Mechanics took a while to figure it out but came to the conclusion that we needed a new inner cooler tube.  Thankfully Ron was able to get a close up look at the part and speak with the mechanic.  We kept our fingers crossed that the third time would be the charm.  This time the diagnosis was SPOT ON!  Rainier proved himself dependable the remainder of our trip :-))

Tears Of Joy

Time to go see Emmett!  YIPPEE!!

We booked seven nights at Cherry Hill RV Park so we could spend as much time as possible with Emmett (and his folks) :-))

and he also likes Opa's truck
Emmett likes Oma's cooking


but he LOVES slides :-)

and playing with Opa

One evening we piled into Jessica's car and went grocery shopping at Aldi's.  
I was quite happy sharing the back seat with Emmett!

My brother and sister in law live in Maryland.  When Jessica first moved out there, right after high school, she stayed at their house until she was able to afford her own place.  Last month we weren't in town long enough so I was very glad to be able to get the whole gang together for a BBQ!

my big brother, Rob, and me
After our family time in Maryland, it was time to head back to North Carolina.  We had more work lined up and we also wanted to see Ron's folks again.

September 26, 2019

From Flowers To Mosaics to Potholes In Shelburne Falls

With Maine in the rear view mirror, it was time to start heading west.  The line of cars and RVs traveling toward Bar Harbor as we left made us glad we were on the opposite side of traffic.  We definitely enjoyed our time in the area though!  Next time we'll plan on a longer stay (without moving the rig) and we'll time our stay better to avoid the holiday crowds.

We were on our way to see Emmett again but we wanted to add a few more states to our US map.  We've already added Pennsylvania, Vermont and Maine.   We decided to spend the night in New Hampshire and earn another new sticker. 

Rufus isn't a fan of fireworks.  In fact, loud noises of any kind startle him and he runs for cover :-(  We wanted a quiet place for the night.  Luckily we found an RV park that had a spot open for the one night.  Ugh, one nighters are getting harder...

Our next stop was at Country Aire Campground in Charlemont, Massachusetts.  Another sticker :-)  By this time in our travels Rufus had also developed a fear of drive days.  As soon as we started the motor he would begin shivering and whining.  He was a wreck!  We found a nearby vet and made an appointment for the next morning.  In the meantime, we went into the small town and found a very interesting sight.

The nearby town of Shelburne Falls is home to Bridge of Flowers.  We truly enjoyed our walk across this unique former trolley bridge.  Bridge of Flowers spans the Deerfield River and also connects the two nearby towns.

as shown on their website

there are several benches for admiring the fragrant views

The bridge is open from April 1st to October 30th.  Their website has a long list of blooms listed by month that you can expect to see.  I honestly had a hard time deciding which photos to include.  We didn't see the 'no dogs' sign until after we were done crossing back over the bridge.  He's a good boy and there weren't too many visitors.  We don't let him lift his leg when it's inappropriate either...

Just down the river is another site worth visiting.  The "Glacial Potholes" began to form after the last glacier age when the Deerfield River first started to flow over these rocks, about 14,000 years ago. 

While walking through town I noticed a few mosaics.  They brighten up the walls around the small town.  There are 10 mosaics around town (I discovered this just today) that were created in 2009.  The mosaic artist enlisted the help of the local towns third graders to help decide the historic content of the art.  Here are three that I noticed on our short walk around town.

At the far edge of town is the Visitor's Center.  By the time we made it past it had closed for the day.  The reason we walked past is because there is a hidden geocache nearby.  The downstairs of the building was once the town's jail.  The cache is named Jail House Rock.  We found the log and signed it to earn our smiley and another Geocache Souvenir on our Geocache profile :-)  Honestly, we aren't too good about hunting them out.  We've found a cache in only nine different states.  But we did find some while we were in Japan!

the jail entrance is on the lower right side of the visitor's center
how bleak would this cell be?
two windows, maybe there are two cells?
Saturday morning finds us getting up a little earlier than we usually do.  The local vet was nice enough to squeeze Rufus in at 9:00AM.  Knowing where to go helped as we drove past it on our way back from visiting town yesterday. 

Trailside Veterinary Services took the time to see and diagnose Rufus when other vets in the area said they couldn't, on Saturday of a holiday weekend no less.  I brought Rufus there while Ron stayed behind and got Raven ready to travel.  I was immediately welcomed by the staff.  The friendly woman holding a cat turned out to be the doctor's assistant and not a customer as I had thought.

Once in the exam room Rufus became a bit nervous, as expected.  But he loved all the pets and attention from the doctor and his assistant.  Dr. Galusha took the time to listen to my concerns.  He asked plenty of questions about how Rufus has been eating, eliminating and behaving.  He came to the conclusion that Rufus is likely stressed by the constant moving around.  I suppose our dog is a home body too!  Best course of action is a prescription to help him calm down on drive days.  Half to one whole tablet every six hours as needed should do the trick.  We tried the half tablet first.  It helped, but we had to up the dosage to a full tablet the following day.  Plus we learned to give it to him about 30 minutes prior to departure.

All things considered we had a good visit to the area of Shelburne Falls.  Next time we come past this area I wouldn't mind spending an extra day or two.  Maybe get on a raft and cruise the Deerfield River. 

August 23, 2019

Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park

When we left our campground in Biddeford, Maine we had planned a stop at Planet Fitness gym in Bangor, Maine.  Lucky for us the parking lot was big enough to accommodate our ginormous truck and trailer combo :-)  Having a gym with nationwide locations allows us to workout and keep fit.  Sometimes it just feels good to get on a cardio machine and lift weights for an hour or two.   

We arrived at Timberland RV Park after the office had closed for the day.  No worries, they left our site number on their front door.  What I found weird was that even though I had made a four day reservation, they had us leaving in two.  I wonder why??  The site was very nice.  Long pull through with good spacing between neighbors, 50 amps and full hook ups.  Forgot to get a picture though.

After a good nights rest I went to the office to see why we had a shortened stay.  I left in a bad mood after speaking with the office people.  They had us moving to a different site in two days (tomorrow actually).  REALLY!!  That kind of stinks because we could be spending our day having fun and instead we're forced to pack up and move.  Maybe it's different for motor home moves but for us it takes a lot of work to hitch up, more so because of the Equalizer WD hitch.  So we called around and all of the local campgrounds were booked.  It was July 4th week after all...  Guess we'll make the best of it and see what's in town.

Bar Harbor is a cute little town full of retail stores, bars, restaurants and plenty to see as well.  We lucked out and got a street parking spot at the north end of town.  We put our quarters in the machine and off we went.  Rufus was more interested in all of the smells but we had an agenda.  We wanted to get each of the boys something to wear that said Maine on it.  We looked in all of the shops and remembered where we spotted the best deals.  Then we went back and made our purchases.  Again, no photos.  I really need to get better at that sometimes.

the one on the far left is named "Beth Said Yes!"

Now this is the place for Rufus.  The smells on the grassy area by the pier at the end of town were perfect for his nose.  We put our packages into the truck and headed to get something sweet to eat.

Rufus enjoys his vanilla ice cream :-)
On our way to Bar Harbor (for the second time as we found out the t-shirts we bought were too small for the grand-babies) we stopped in a small store across from the campground.  It's called Maine's Own Treats.  We bought a couple of jellies, some chocolate covered blueberries, honey and maple syrup.  Oh. My. Goodness.  It was all so tasty.  We had to visit a second time so we could buy a larger jar of their strawberry/rhubarb jam.  The 30 ounce jar we bought in early July is already half empty so I may just have to place an online order myself. 

it doesn't look fancy on the outside
but the inside is full of delicious goodies

shelf after shelf of goodies
You can find a limited selection of these same treats in some of the Bar Harbor gift shops.  I even saw a few of their jellies at the gift shop at the top of Cadillac Mountain inside Acadia National Park.  Trust me though, stop by the store for a huge selection and lower prices.  Win Win!  Their inventory isn't limited to food either.  They also sell knick-knacks, magnets, house hold items and handmade gift ideas. Plus, the store personnel are super friendly :-)

Had I known that the Acadia National Park pass was good for seven days I would have bought it sooner.  We could've had more days in the park.  Their website says to plan on 3 or 4 days inside the park.  Oh well, that just means we'll have to visit again :-)  We went there on our last full day in the area.  We started at Cadillac Mountain.  On our way to the top we kept spotting what looked like a cruise ship in the harbor.  There was never a big enough spot to pull over and double check.
view from the top shows what appears to be a cruise ship in the harbor
yep, definitely a cruise ship (zoomed in extra far)
We visited the Park on July 3rd.  We expected it to be super busy.  It really wasn't that bad :-)  We found a parking spot at the top of the mountain quite easily and explored the area for about an hour or so.   The views were incredible and hard to put into words.  You simply have to be there in person!

the fog rolling across the tops of the smaller islands is almost angelic
After we were done exploring the mountain top and visiting the gift shop we headed down the mountain to continue driving the Loop Road.

We stopped at Thunder Hole.  Unfortunately it was low tide so it wasn't really thundering :-(  We watched the tide coming and going and imagined just how loud it could be at high tide.  Oh well, maybe it'll be thundering next time we visit.

We continued driving and came upon a parking lot with a trail leading down to a rocky shore.  There was a large cave that we wanted to get a closer look at.  We both enjoy scrambling along the rocks.  Ron was a bit braver though and got a photo of the cave entrance.

Without a good way to go inside the cave, we had to settle for a photo.  Even Rufus likes to scramble on the rocks.

This same parking area is also a good viewing point for Egg Rock.
I'm sure the rookeries thrive because it's inaccessible to humans.

Our day was coming to a close.  It's time to say see-ya-later to Maine, for now.  We all enjoyed our stay in the area and we're definitely looking forward to returning.  Next time, we'll be sure to visit more of the beautiful Acadia National Park and it's neighboring cities and harbors.