Monday, October 31, 2011

Travel Day

Travel days for us usually start early, depending on how many miles we’re covering. Well, today we were traveling about 200 and I slept in! All these recent time changes has reeked havoc on my body. Well, at least that’s what I keep telling myself. IMG_5560We finally left Pride RV Resort in Waynesville, NC and pointed our coach eastward then north to Mayberry Campground. While much of the fall foliage is past peak there were still magnificent views around every bend in the highway. Then came the signs. Not the “here’s your sign”, sign. No these signs would make most newbie RVer’s nervous. 6% grade ahead for four miles. 35 MPH speed limit for trucks down the other side of the Smoky Mountains. The smell of hot brakes as you near the bottom of the hill. IMG_5548Run-away truck ramps, not one, not two, but THREE of them as we continued down the mountain. Oh, how I enjoyed the views as Lenny drove. Oh, how Lenny gripped the steering wheel as I oohed and ahhed! I-40 is a wonderful drive across NC, except for one section that was tooth rattling. Before we knew it we were heading north on 77 to our destination of Mt. Airy, NC. For those of you who may not know, Mt. Airy is the town that Mayberry, RFD is based on…The Andy Griffith Show. Now, I am much younger than my husband, He remembers The Andy Griffith Show, I don’t. It went off the air in 1968. In 1968 I was still a toddler, not even in school yet. But I will let you know that I was out of diapers. Winking smile It was almost 5 by the time we were in our sight and set up so off to dinner we went. A friend had recommended the Prime Sirloin Buffet up the road. Diners and workers were all dressed up for Halloween, so we told told them we were dressed up as RVers! LOL Anyway, after dinner we went for a drive through town. Tomorrow looks like a busy day, so much to see and do while we are here. It’s getting late and if I don’t get to bed, I will turn into a pumpkin, no pun intended. Thanks for traveling along with us on The Thomas’ Trails. Until next time…

Sunset in Mayberry

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Quick Blog Update

O.K., I am really going to try and write at least once a week. Sometimes I think my life may be too boring. After all, who wants to read that I woke up at 6, had two cups of coffee, played on the computer all morning before getting ready to go out for the day? But once again I was reminded that I don’t write often enough, so let me bring you up to date. We spent a few days in Crossville, TN. A lovely RPI park for $10 a night. We knew we were in the south when we passed a beautiful home on a large plot of land flying a Confederate Flag! IMG_5301The scenery in the area was breath-taking. From there we were headed to Asheville, NC. We have friends here that we had not seen in years. Friday night we drove to Melanie and Vance’s to have dinner with them. They have the cutest kids. Solomon, 4 1/2 and Nathanial, 2 1/2. Although you would think there were four small boys playing including Len and Vance. They thoroughly enjoyed the Halloween cupcakes we bought them. The view from Melanie’s kitchen window was awesome. To look out at the hills and valleys, with the cows grazing. IMG_5391WOW. To Melanie’s surprise, she made my most favorite meal, meatloaf, baked potato and broccoli. It was very enjoyable and the boys were well behaved and funny. By the end of the night, they were repeating everything Lenny said. It’s been awhile since we’ve been around kids like that. Saturday we went for a drive thru the town of Maggie Valley where they have a tower you can climb to take pictures. The view leaves you speechless. When we got back from our jaunt, Lenny recognized a motor home belonging to friends, Nick and Terry Russell of The Gypsy Journal. We had met them many years ago at a Life on Wheels seminar. Nick is a very prolific writer about the RV lifestyle and has even written a murder mystery that is very good. They had gone to the Wheels Through Time museum and on their way back stopped at our coach and we chatted for a while. Today, Sunday, Melanie and Vance are bringing their boys here so they can see our “house on wheels”. Tomorrow we leave to explore more of North Carolina. Thanks for traveling along with us on The Thomas’ Trails. Until next time…

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Country Home


We left Grandma’s RV Park around 10 this morning heading south on I-65. Looking at the GPS and the paper map, it was taking us in a straight line to Lebanon, TN, our next stop. The map made it look like ok roads to drive, but being unfamiliar with the area only time  would tell. We exited onto a county road and would be on this road for 20 miles before our next intersection. Well, it started out ok, but went downhill from there. IMG_5055Literally, down hill. It was a two lane road, very pretty drive, but nerve racking. There were ditches to the right, no shoulder on either side and no where to pull over. With that twenty mile stretch behind us we turned onto a much better road. Still a two lane road but plenty of shoulder. Before we knew it, we were almost to our destination. I am still not feeling well, so I looked around for an Immedicenter or Urgent Care facility. This cold is turning into an infection and I can just feel it. On Saturday’s, the urgent cares close at 2pm. Too late for us, so off to the ER we go.IMG_5056 I was impressed. In less than two hours I was out of there with a prescription for antibiotics and was told it was the start of bronchitis. Got this nipped in the bud, from there it was off to Walgreens to fill my Rx and then home to rest. I want to enjoy the Nashville area, so tonight is a short post. We gained an hour coming here, in two weeks when we leave, we’ll loose that hour. Two weeks after that we’ll gain it back when the clocks change. I am very confused with all this “what time is it” so I think I’ll just stay put on EST! Thanks for traveling along with us on The Thomas’ Trails…till next time.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail

Today didn’t start out too well. I have a really bad cold working on me. Must be the drastic changes in temperatures. What with going from Northern Indiana to Kentucky with a rise in temps of 20+ degrees, coupled with allergies! But my woes are nothing compared to those on I-65 south this morning. Two tractor trailers and a car. IMG_4970One of the trucks ended up in the ditch, the car ended up under one of the trucks and at least one fatality, so I’m not complaining about my cold. More vitamin C to take, orange juice and hot tea with lemon and honey will do the trick.
With all the traffic and me not feeling well, we decided to stay put in KY and move to TN tomorrow. Later in the day we headed out to the Jim Beam distillery. It’s about 6 miles from the campground. This was one of the places we wanted to visit anyway. What we didn’t know was that today was the start of the Kentucky Bourbon Race. IMG_4985These people have teams of 12 and they each run 8-12 mile legs over two days, totaling 200 miles for each team. Wow, I can’t even run one mile and some of the hills they had to run were pretty steep! Now, picture this…two grey haired fat people in a station wagon with a handicapped placard hanging from the rear view mirror. We pull up to an attendant and she asks us if WE ARE PARTICIPATING IN THE RUN!!! Really??? Are you serious? Do we look conditioned to run that far? I really wanted to say something, but figured I would just keep quiet and let her tell us where to park for the tour. We made our way around hundreds of runners and vans and found a place to park. We enjoyed touring the facility and listening to the band and then we were greeted by one of the descendants of Jim Beam or whoever started the company. We saw thousands of barrels of bourbon and oh the aroma. Finally, at the end, I decided to try some. I’ve never had bourbon and I can truthfully say, “How can you drink that stuff?” All it did for me was numb my throat for the afternoon.
IMG_5031There was another distillery not too far from Jim Beam, so we went to check that one out too. As we approached Heaven Hill Distillery we saw more runners. Ouch is all I can say as we watched them make their way up that hill. This was a nice place too. They had samples of different sauces and jams that they make with the bourbon. It was nice to be able to try them out before buying them. We didn’t spend too much there, but did buy a few more Christmas presents. That is one nice thing about traveling…we can get Christmas presents from all over that our daughter and other loved ones would never find back home. There are four other distilleries on the Bourbon Trail, but like I said in the beginning, I wasn’t feeling well, so we came home so I could rest some more before heading to Tennessee tomorrow morning. Thanks for traveling along with us on The Thomas’ Trails…till next time. Click here to see the rest of the pictures.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Horses and Baseball Bats

IMG_4888Today was a fun day. It started pretty late but that’s ok. We slept in until about 8:30 which is very late for us. We had some mundane business stuff to attend to, but by noon we were on our way. I’m not much of a sports fan but was looking forward to seeing the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum. The tour was about a half hour long and no photography was allowed in the factory. Sad smile They were making bats for the Yankees today. It was interesting to learn that they only use ash or maple for all bats and that wood comes from northern PA and southern NY. It used to take a person 30 minutes to craft a bat on a lathe by hand, now they make one in 30 seconds with machines. And baseball players are soooooooooooooooooooooooo picky! It’s not uncommon for them not to use a bat because something is off by 1/100th of an inch. They store the players preferences in a computer so when they need more bats, they enter the model number, put in the wood and poof! 30 seconds later a bat is born! Most players use about 100-120 bats per year.
The streets of downtown Louisville reminded me of NYC, they are one way streets, 4-5 lanes wide and BUSY!!!, but with a southern hospitality spin to them. Yup, they actually stop at red lights. And the artwork is pretty cool too. Buildings with pink penguins on them, a car body with feet under it and horses lying in the streets.
From there we drove to Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum.IMG_4939 It was getting late, so we skipped the tour this time and just did some Christmas shopping and took pictures outside. It gives us something to look forward to when we come back this way.
No crazy drivers on the interstate tonight so we had an uneventful drive back to Grandma’s RV Park. This is a nice quiet place and we will definitely return when we’re in the area. Thanks for traveling along with us on The Thomas’ Trails…till next time.

Elkhart, IN to Shephardsville, KY

Wow, we have been busy driving and sightseeing. We left Elkhart on Monday and drove to Anderson, IN. We only stayed one night at this campground, but there was a store we wanted to visit in the area. Len enjoys Southern Gospel and Quartet music and wanted to check out the Gaither Family Store in Alexandria, IN. It was just like any other Christian Book Store, they just featured all their musicians. We asked the clerk for a good place to eat and she suggested The Lemon Drop. She told us it was a local place that could be featured in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives because it was, well, a dive! But let me tell you, the food was fantastic! We both ordered the “onion burger”, their signature dish, we shared an order of onion rings and an order of fries and topped everything off with a chocolate milk shake. Man, I haven’t eaten like that in a while. If you know my doctor…please don’t tell him. LOL. It was a cute place with counter seating, some booths and a train circling overhead. We would definitely go back there to eat.
Most campgrounds are near railroad tracks and this one was no exception, however, it IMG_4848was also near an airport. Not a major airport, but boy were they flying low over our heads. The next day we continued on to Kentucky. A new state for us! As we neared the border of the Indiana and Kentucky traffic began to build. We had to cross the Ohio River and I felt like we were crossing the Hudson. The traffic was horrible, the only difference is we didn’t have to pay a toll. Driving down I-65 we saw the craziest thing we’ve seen yet. The pick-up truck in front of us was being held together by bungees! Now I know you wouldn’t believe it, so I took a picture. IMG_4871But wait…that wasn’t the craziest thing I saw in KY. I had to go to the store and on my way back to the campground I was on a four lane road. Coming towards me, in the middle of the road was a man on a tricycle (the pedal kind) being powered by, YUP…A LAWN MOWER!!! This one you have to take my word on because I was alone and driving and it all happened so fast. But alas, I will not say I’ve seen it all yet because there are still so many states to visit and back roads to drive, you never know what will be coming down the road. Enjoy the pictures and thanks for traveling along with us on The Thomas’ Trails…till next time.

Monday, October 3, 2011

RV Hall of Fame


IMG_4661What a beautiful day here in Elkhart, IN. We’ve met a few folks here at Elkhart Campground who were at the Gypsy Journal Rally last week in Celina. It’s always fun seeing people we’ve met along our travels. We treated ourselves to breakfast this morning at The Golden Egg Pancake House. Not much to speak of, a bit pricey. Our waitress reminded us of Len’s niece in Florida, and she had the same name! Wow, must have been her evil twin. Laughing out loud I say that only because she didn’t write our order down correctly so we didn’t get our food the way we wanted. I should have sent it back, but it was too much of a hassle so we enjoyed what we had. Then it was off to the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. WOW! Words cannot do this place justice. So many RV’s, and all in great condition for their age. I won’t even try to express in words, I’ll just post the pictures here for you to see for yourself…and mind you, the lighting was not the greatest, so not all the shots came out great. We found more Elk Art thereIMG_4827 and later in our day. It’s becoming a game for us. There are about 30 of them around the area and I think we’ve found about 6. We leave tomorrow, so I doubt we’ll find any more. Sad smile It is funny to see Lenny try to get into the left turn only lane from the right lane when I yell “ELK” and throw my hand in front of his face pointing in that direction! Smile After the RV Hall of Fame, we drove into Michigan to see our friend, Michele Henry of Phoenix Commercial Paint. If your motorhome, 5th wheel or travel trailer needs a new paint job…this is where you want to come. She does a top notch job at an affordable price. We met her through Nick Russell and she gave us advice over the phone about our class c. This year, we finally met face to face at Nick’s rally last week. Her place is five min. away from the campground we are staying at so she invited us to her shop to see her operation. We’ve seen a couple of her jobs. She’ll even repaint your car to match your rig! We’ve already sold our class c to friends, so I can’t wait to get my A, so I can come back here and have Michele paint it for me. Are you tired yet??? I am. After we left Michele’s, we went RV shopping. Well, what else would you do in the RV capital of the world? Actually, there are not as many dealerships here as there used to be, thanks to the economy. We didn’t find anything that wowed us, so we’ll keep looking. We’re on our way to TN and I’ve found a few on line I’d like to see in person. Thanks for traveling along with us on The Thomas’ Trails…till next time.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Baby, It’s Cold Outside


2011-10-01 16.58.55We left Celina, OH about 10 am today. It started out cold, windy and overcast. We took it easy till the wind calmed down. We drove alongside acres and acres of corn andIMG_4571 soybeans. Then finally, we come across a whole different kind of farm! Yup, we did! A windmill farm. Dozens of windmills peppered amidst corn stalks for miles. Those things are huge! Before long it was back to seeing corn and soybeans. Then we saw a Christmas tree farm. It was a very easy ride. There wasn’t much traffic and the sun finally came out. About 155 miles later we were pulling into Elkhart Campground. Once we got all set up we decided to explore the area. At one traffic light I told Len to turn left and he did, but it was on the wrong side of the concrete curb divider! Thank God there was no oncoming traffic. He pulled into a parking lot and made his way around to the right side of the road. We saw some really cool Elk statues on corners. 2011-10-01 17.13.002011-10-01 17.13.36They were painted in  various designs. I have read in other blogs about cities named after animals that have these types of statues around the town, but have never seen any. Now I can check that off my bucket list. We also decided to drive into Michigan. After all, we were only five minutes away and I wanted a picture of the welcome sign. 2011-10-01 16.54.32Another state checked off my list, but we will have to return and camp there because we only add stickers to our map if we have slept there in our RV. This year, we will be adding the states of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee so far. We’re still not sure how far west we’ll be going this winter. Lenny wants to get to Texas, but we have two babies due in Florida. Lenny’s niece is due in February and my cousin is due in March. We want to be there to welcome the new additions to our family. Also, my cousins husband was just diagnosed with a terminal illness and given about six months to live. Please remember them in your prayers. On a cool note, it’s supposed to drop into the LOW 30’s tonight and our winter coats are in storage back in NJ. At least I have my winter jammies with me…I just have to get them out from under the bed, open the space bag, then after taking them out, close the space bag and put it back under the bed. That sounds too much like work, but hey, at least I’ll be warm at night! Tomorrow, we’ll do some more exploring around the area and go to the RV Hall of Fame on Monday. Not too much is open here on Sunday’s. Sad smile Have a great day everyone and thanks for traveling along with us on The Thomas’ Trails…until next time.