Travels 2015

Our Year 2015

This year was filled with many great places but my desire to write just did not take over so I shall try to recap the year as best as I can.

January thru half of March was spent at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California.  We love this base as it has great places to walk and keeps you active.  Almost every day we would walk over to the Exchange and just walk around to see what was new.   Of course quite a few of those days we spent money on something we really did not need.  Travis Air Force Base was built in 1942 and is a very active base.  They handle more cargo and passengers than any other base in the states.  The campground on base has full hookups, patio, table, laundry, showers and 72 sites.  On base you have golf, commissary, exchange, theater, church, bowling alley, fitness center, library, pools, car wash and a post office.

Our stay in California was not supposed to be for so long but we had trouble with our 2012 truck.  Seems it had defective head gaskets and it took the dealership 49 days to fix it.  We were lucky that it was still covered under warranty and they gave us a loaner truck to drive, but annoying to wait so long.

While at Travis we got to spend a lot of time with our daughter and 3 grandchildren.  We were located about an hour away but made sure we got to spend lots of quality time together.

One day we took a ride to Oakland and went around the airport as I had never seen that before.  Onto Alameda where we came upon the Naval Air Station Alameda which the Navy closed back in 1997.  It looks like a deserted mine field – the government sure needs to find better ways to help the cities take over this land.  Three bases in the United States that really came out nice after the military left are Hamilton Air  Force Base in Novato, California, Presidio in San Francisco and Myrtle Beach Air Force Base in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

No trip to California would be complete without a trip to Napa.   We just love driving around and seeing all the beautiful vineyards and interesting buildings.  We had a nice lunch at Downtown Joe’s overlooking the river.  Great food, great waitress and Tim said great beer.  We did see a lot of the destruction from the earthquake that had hit here a few months back but they were hard at work fixing everything.

Muir Woods National Monument in Mill Valley was a real fun place to tour.  It became a National Monument back in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt.  We hike over 4 miles thru the redwood forest and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the area.  Some of the trees are 400 to 800 years old and are over 250 feet tall.  After our hike we went to the Cheesecake Factory for a great lunch in Corte Madera.  Love that restaurant but they give you way too much food.

Tim and I found a great park called Lynch Canyon Open Space Park.  It is a 1093  acres of rolling grasslands ranch with cows grazing as you walk by.  They have over 10 miles of trails which makes for great hiking and spectacular views.  We visited here a few times to get in a good hike as you have lots of flat land but then huge hills.

Chabot Space and Science Center is a hands on center geared to children but we enjoyed it as well.  We went with our daughter and 2 young grandchildren and enjoyed the huge telescopes, exhibits and planetarium.  The view of the bay was just beautiful.

My favorite place in the San Francisco area is the Presidio which used to be an Army Base for 219 years and now is a National Park.  I can remember going to the base hospital in 1975 and finding out that I would be having another baby.  In 1994 the Military turned the base over to the park system and they have done a wonderful job of fixing the buildings, using housing to rent to the locals and just beautiful grounds.  We enjoyed walking around and just enjoying the views of the ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the beautiful homes.  After we left we had lunch at the Cliff House which overlooks Ocean Beach and has great food.  Then onto Fort Funston which was a former harbor defense installation.  It was inactivated back in 1963 and today its used as a premier hang gliding site plus a great place to walk.

One Sunday we had lunch with family at the Lake Chalet Seafood Bar and Grill located on Lake Merritt in Oakland.  The building is the former pumping station for the City of Oakland Fire Department.  We had a nice lunch and then walked around the grounds enjoying the warm sunshine.

Fort Baker in Sausalito used to be an Army Base until the mid 1990’s and is now used for many different purposes.  The Officer Housing has been turned into beautiful lodging for $500 a night, which is way out of my league.  Also they have an active Coast Guard Station and Travis Air Force Base Marina.  The reason we were there was to go to the Bay Area Discovery Museum with our grandchildren.  This is a really cool place with all kinds of playgrounds and different things for children to do.  The kids really enjoyed themselves.  The only complaint was their restaurant was horrid with really weird food that most children would not eat.  Great day

Mount Diablo State Park costs $9 for a car to drive up to the top with breathtaking views.  On a good day you can see over 200 miles and we hit a good day.

Oakland Zoo is a small zoo on 100 acres with 660 native and exotic animals.  We took a skyride in the chair lift and were able to see many animals.  The zoo opened back in 1922 and most animals are displayed in their natural habitat.  We got to see hyenas, zebras, giraffes, elephants, baboons, river otters and lemurs.  We had a great day but was it ever hot.

Old Sacramento was another of our trips.  We love walking and looking in the shops, walking along the river and visiting the old 1 room schoolhouse.  We have been here quite a few times and enjoy it each time.

Another really cool restaurant is Campo Di Bocce Restaurant in Livermore.  This place has wonderful food and drinks but you can play bocce right inside the restaurant.  I had never seen this before and it was fun watching people play while we ate.  Maybe the next time we will have to try it.

On the 16th of March we left Travis Air Force Base and headed south.  Stay tuned for more adventures.

Our first stop was Lemoore Naval Air Station located near Fresno County, California.  The campground on base has full hookups, showers, free laundry, tables, and grills.  Lemoore Naval Air Station was commissioned in 1961 and was built as a master jet base.  I believe it’s the newest Navy base in the States.  On base we have a commissary, exchange, bowling alley, gas station, chapel, Inn, Restaurants, Fitness Center, Pool, Theater, Hobby Shop, and a Car Wash.  This stop was mostly to shop and relax as not much is around the area that we have not already seen.  The last time we were here we ate at the Restaurant located next door to the campground and it was very good.  They have changed the menu and must say it failed to make us happy campers.  We do love to watch the jets flying overhead.

On our drive we saw loads of crops, fruit and nut trees.  We also watched them spray the fields with helicopters which I had never seen before, as they usually use a small airplane.  Loads of Feed Lots where they fatten up the cows before going to slaughter houses.  Because of the terrible drought in California we saw the Kerr River completely dried up.  It is really sad to see so much in desperate need of water.

We drove on the Stockdale Highway which was named after James Stockdale the Navy Officer held prisoner for 7 years in Vietnam.  Our next great view was the San Bernardino Mountains which are just beautiful.

Our next stop was Desert View RV Resort located in Needles, California.  This would be just an overnight stop but a very pretty campground.  They had full hookups, pull thrus, showers, laundry, pool, propane, activities, wifi, laundry, and a meeting room.  They have beautiful flowering bushes between each site which makes it very pretty.  Most of the people were snowbirds that were here for the winter. It cost us $35 a night with our Good Sam Discount.

We left around 8 am the next morning and headed further east on I-40.  Tim and I are not too keen on the desert – to us everything looks dead as we like green grass and pretty trees.  Outside of Flagstaff we saw snow which thrilled us.  We stopped at Sam’s Club parking lot and made our lunch and took a little break.  While traveling we very seldom eat out, homemade food is much better for you.  When we were looking for our rv that was a requirement for us that we could access our kitchen table, refrigerator and bathroom with our slides closed.

USA RV Park in Gallup, New Mexico was our next new home.  This campground has full hookups, cable, store, supplies, laundry, pool, propane, souvenirs, and playground.  We had site 88 which was very nice.  We had stayed in this campground back in 1974 when we were transferred to California and at that time it was a KOA.

Our trip across country will be quite fast as we are getting low on medications and need to see our doctor before getting new ones.  It was not very good planning on our part this year lol.

Vega, Texas is a small town with 936 people and very run down.  Route 66 closing did not help this poor town but we did find a campground with really nice owners.  We stopped at Walnut RV Park which had full hookups, pull thru sites and a laundry.  Across the street a field full of farm equipment so we walked over and checked it out.  Tim explained to me how they use each piece and what it was for – he is just too smart.

We were very lucky to be able to take I-40 in March and not hit any bad weather.  We spent one night in Shawnee Oklahoma and then the next morning headed to Little Rock.

We had plans to stay at Burns Park but when we arrived they were completely full so we headed to Downtown Riverside RV Park in North Little Rock.  It is located on the Arkansas River and a walk bridge takes you across the river to Clinton Presidential Library and downtown Little Rock.  One day we walked across the bridge and then took the River Trail around town.  We stopped at Cache Restaurant and had a wonderful lunch of catfish, salad, and fries.  Yummy.  We had toured the Clinton Library before so we skipped that this time.

Next stop was Tombigbee State Park near Tupelo Mississippi.  This campground had full hookups, showers, laundry, fire rings, tables, lake, fishing, boat launch and disc golf.

While in the area we toured Elvis Presley’s Birthplace.  He was born in Tupelo on January 8, 1935 in a 2 room house that his father built.  They lived here for 2 ½ years and then lost the home for nonpayment.  On the grounds is the house, a museum and a chapel.  In 1957 Elvis returned to Tupelo to perform a benefit concert for the city and with the proceeds he purchased his birthplace so it could become a city park for the neighborhood children.

We had plans to stop at a campground near Atlanta and when we arrived they were full.  This trip it happened twice which was very unusual in all of our travels.  We very seldom make reservations but guess going forward we must.  We drove all the way to Charleston Air Force Base and dry camped for the night next to the laundry room.

The months of April and May were spent seeing our doctor, dentist and eye doctor.  Also had lots of tests but everything came back good so no need to worry.  Tim had a colonoscopy and got great results.

We spent lots of time attending our granddaughters activities, Julia soccer, Makenzie swim meets and Emily dance recitals.  Always enjoy spending time with grandchildren and seeing what different things they do.  Tim even attended 3 sewing classes with Julia at Hobby Lobby while Makenzie and I shopped.

One week we babysat for the week as our daughter took a trip to Italy.  We enjoyed being with them and loved being in a house for a week. I loved having a dishwasher, washer and dryer and different rooms to go into.  Wow what you enjoy after living in a rv for 9 years lol.

Trips to the beach, even a few boat trips, baseball game, sleep over, Birthday celebrations, got I phones chorus concerts even a graduation from elementary school.

Near the end of May we did a 4 day trip to Disney World with Susan, our daughter, and our granddaughters.  We stayed at a Marriott Timeshare enjoying the restaurant, pools, ice cream stand and the great walkways.  We did all  4 parks enjoying all of them greatly.  We even did a Birthday Lunch with the princess’s.

Time goes really fast when you stay stationary so stay tuned for our summer travels.

On June 6th our daughter Susan came to Foster Creek Campground on Joint Base Charleston South Carolina with her 3 girls.  We are taking the 2 youngest ones, Julia 11 and Makenzie 9 for a six week adventure starting today.

After goodbyes we pulled out of the campground around 10:30 and headed west on I26.  We stopped at a rest area for lunch and a short break.  The girls watch movies in the truck so it is quite quiet for the most part.  Our stop for today was Magnolia Rv Park and Campground in Kinards, Sc.  The campground offers 44 sites, full hookup, store, laundry, propane, playground, basketball, volleyball, horseshoes,  bocci and a pool.  After getting set up I took the girls over to the pool and let them use some of that energy swimming.  They enjoyed it greatly.  We sat outside and talked and just enjoyed ourselves.

The next morning we got up, had breakfast and started getting ready to travel again.  Poor Julia slammed her fingers in the door and we all felt for her cuz that hurts so.  While driving we saw a car that had just burnt up.  What a scary feeling that is.  We checked into Pride RV Resort in Waynesville North Carolina into site 12B for 7 nights.  With our Coast To Coast Membership we paid $70 for the week.

Pride RV Resort has full hookups, mini golf, pool, playground, store, laundry, clubhouse, creek, cabins, wi fi, rec hall, fishing, horseshoes, ball field and spa.  While here we will do a number of things but especially enjoy mini golf and the pool.

We went to Oconaluptee Indian Village which is a replica of a 1760 Cherokee village.  We took a tour and saw many demonstrations, dances, and dwellings that they used.  We all enjoyed that.  We then had a nice lunch at a restaurant and then hit the tourist stores as the girls needed something to remind them of this area.  Julia bought a fife while Makenzie chose a ring.

Our next exciting trip was with Rolling Thunder River Company for a rafting trip down the Nantahala River.  The girls just loved this and we had a raft to ourselves and our guide so they got to sit on the front of the raft thru the rapids.  I thought they were brave to do that and they enjoyed every second.  By the time the tour was over we were all pretty wet but what a great time.  The water is very cold but so pretty.

One day we went on a hike in the Smoky Mountains.  We got to see a deer, waterfalls, tubers, and hikers.  The girls enjoyed playing in the creek and on all the rocks.  After our hike we stopped at a restaurant and had barbeque sandwiches.

Uncle Jeff came to our rescue one day and took us out on his boat on a beautiful lake.  The girls got to swim, we enjoyed cruising and had a nice lunch on board.  Thanks Jeff for a super fun day.

We also got together with Tim’s brothers, aunt and cousins for a family church event.  Then we all went out for a wonderful Italian dinner.  Thanks guys for inviting us and getting to meet our little granddaughters.

After one week at Pride Resorts we moved to Shady Oaks Campground in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  Our main reason for coming here was to visit the Smoky Mountain National Park and Dollywood.

Dollywood was a place that our granddaughters loved and we had so much fun.  Our only complaint was it was so hot that standing in the sun wore you out.  Our ice cream cones melted really fast while we were eating them.  The girls enjoyed the rides – especially the wet ones.  We all enjoyed the bird show especially the part with the owl.  Julia is in love with owls.  We got to the park one day at 3 so we got an extra day because of that.  How lucky is that.  When we got done we went into the store and Julia bought a shirt and Makenzie bought a cowgirl hat.  It was another great and busy day in Tennessee.

Our trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park was wonderful.  We got to see bears, horses, deer, and red squirrels.  We got to visit Churches, Elijah Oliver house, grist mill, visitor center, blacksmith shop, huge barns, smokehouses, corn crib, sorghum mill, Henry Whitehead home, and Tipton place.  We were able to see what life was like for the people that lived here become it became a National Park.  This is the most visited National Park in the United States and it is all for free.  The scenery is out of this world – must say that Tennessee is just one of the prettiest states.

Our next stop was Cedars of Lebanon State Park located in Lebanon, Tennessee.  This state park was opened in 1955 with 900 acres.  Driving into all Tennessee State Parks there is no entrance fees at all which really surprised me.  The campground had water, electric, bathhouse, fire rings, pool, great laundry, hiking and horseback riding.  The swimming pool was closed except on weekends because they hold summer camp here. Our total cost for a week of camping was $122.96 which is a real bargain.  One day we all did horseback riding and enjoyed it so.  It was very reasonable at $20 per person and a really nice ride thru the woods.  We got really silly when Julia’s horse decided to go off the trail taking her thru some bush but she listened to the guide really well and no problem getting back on track.

While here we were close to Nashville so our daughter Susan flew in to spend a long weekend with the girls.  The first night she stayed in the tent but then decided Gaylord Hotel was more to her liking lol.  The girls went with her for the weekend but we saw them each day.  We went to the Gaylord and took a tour, had dinner at Jack Daniels Restaurant, did some shopping and then to the Grand Ole Opry.  We so enjoyed hearing so many songs by great artists.  We saw Jeannie Seely, Carly Pearce, Restless Heart, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, Jimmy Wayne, Connie Smith, Riders In the Sky, Vince Gill and a few others.  Then to our great surprise they introduced Trish Yearwood which thrilled us but then she said she had someone with her and to our delight was Garth Brooks.  All in all it was a wonderful show.

We spent one day walking around Nashville looking in the stores, stopping at the old Opry House, lunch listening to more music and fun in a candy store.

Sunday afternoon we took Susan to the airport and went back to the campground to prepare for our departure.

Hillman Ferry Campground was our next stop.  This campground is located in Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area located in Grand Rivers Kentucky.  We paid $244 for 7 nights in a full hookup site with plenty of room for our tent also.  This is a really nice campground with a beach, lake, swimming, boating, fishing, playground, ball fields, store, amphitheater, archery range, and a play court.

We spent two afternoons at the lake cooling off from the hot summer days.  We also toured the Elk and Bison Prairie twice to witness all the elk and bison roaming around.  The girls loved the idea that a huge buffalo was right next to our truck licking our tires.  It is really a cool place.

The Woodlands Nature Station was truly a learning experience.  We heard talks and saw the animals up close.  Here they have a bald eagle, bats, bobcat, coyotes, deer, groundhog, hawks, opossum, owls, turtles, vultures, wild turkey, and wolves.  All of these animals were either hurt or born in captivity.  They have beautiful grounds and I especially loved the Hummingbird garden.

Another great place to visit was The Homeplace  which is a 1850 Working Farm and Living History Museum where a middle class family would have lived.  We watched a woman spinning yarn and another making an apron.  Julia is into sewing and the lady actually gave her an old piece of cloth so she would be able to make something with it.  We walked the grounds and enjoyed the house, blacksmith shop barns, and gardens.

Driving to our next stop in the pouring rain was a true experience.  I still have no idea how Tim did it as I could not see a thing.  We arrived at Montgomery Bell State Park which is located near Dickson, Tennessee.  Thank goodness for raincoats because we were soaked when thru setting up.  While here we enjoyed making walks, hikes, and the girls loved wading in the creek.  They put on their water shoes and had a ball.

Tennessee State Parks are just beautiful.  This park had 3782 acres with a beautiful 1810 Presbyterian Church, Restaurant, Inn, Golf Course, beach, conference center, cabins, gift shops and the campground.

We enjoyed quite a few campfires and just enjoyed the area.

Another nice park in Tennessee was Harrison Bay State Park located in Harrison.  We had a nice site with water and electric close to the Chickamuga Reservoir.  This park sits on 1200 acres with a lake, fishing, boating, golf, hiking, marina, pool and campground.

While here we kept quite busy.  We went to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga and enjoyed the river journey and the ocean journey.  The girls loved seeing all the fish, the butterfly room, and touching some sea creatures.  It was a fun day with a nice dinner at Carrabba’s and then ice cream plus a stop at Barnes and Noble Bookstore for a good book to read.

Two days we went to the swimming pool and had lots of fun.  One day the girls met some kids their ages and played.  A big surprise their dad showed up to spend 3 days with them and it shocked them.  Tim and I knew – love surprises.

While Jerry was with us we went to the Creative Discovery Museum downtown Chattanooga.  What a great place for children to learn and even fun for adults.  They even had a recording studio, theater, art lessons, science demos, fun factory, inventor’s clubhouse, play instruments and an excavation station.  We all had fun playing.  We stopped at a restaurant and had a drink and some fries and then to the Incline Railway.  This is the worlds steepest passenger railway up the Lookout Mountain.  It was built in 1895 and has a grade of 72.7% and takes 15 minutes to reach the top going 10 mph.  The cable system was made by Otis Elevator.  Up on top they have observation decks and the view is remarkable.  We then walked to Point Park where the Battle Above The Clouds took place in 1863 during the Civil War.  We enjoyed walking around and taking pictures – the views were just out of this world.

Another real thrill for us all was staying on Cousin Scott and Betsy’s house boat for 2 nights.  Scott picked us up on his jet ski and took us over to the houseboat located on the Tennessee River.  The first day we all went swimming in the River and then the girls went tubing.  The houseboat is huge with 4 bedrooms, huge kitchen, living room, 2 bathrooms and huge outside decks.  They even had a waterslide which the girls loved.  The next day we cruised down the river enjoying the scenery.  What a fun time – thanks so much Scott and Betsy for a wonderful weekend.

Our final stop was Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta Georgia.  What a beautiful park this was.  We had a full hookup site with cable, showers, fire ring, tables, laundry, store, pool, volleyball, playground and free wifi.    They have 400 sites.  In the  park is also a hotel and conference center.

Stone Mountain is the world’s largest mass of exposed granite.  Each evening they have a Laser Show that lasts for 45 minutes on the mountain and it is out of this world.

We took the Summit Skyride which took us up 825 feet to the top of the mountain and then you can walk all over the top.  We enjoyed the Museum which tells the story about the carvings on the mountain and the area.  They have a 1940 scenic railroad train that takes you around the mountain and you stop to watch a Wild West Show with gun fights and exploding outhouse.  They have geyser towers, skyhike which is a rope course, a fun barn, and many different shows.  The restaurants and shops are great also.

The Antebellum Plantation is a collection of buildings built between 1792 and 1875 in Georgia.  They have a store, doctor’s cabin, slave cabins, smokehouse, schoolhouse and various homes.  This was truly a beautiful family park with so much to do.

After 7 days here we drove back to Charleston and the girls were very happy to see their mom and sister Emily.  It was a great trip and we truly enjoyed having them and hope they will have many memories of our travels.

Tim and I spent a few weeks at the Foster Creek Campground located on Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek South Carolina.  While here we attended Seacoast Church, trips to the Dentist, Tim to the Doctor, bought new tires for the truck, visited friends and family, and attended Surf Camp Graduation.

Barnwell State Park in South Carolina was our next stop.  This campground has 25 sites with hookups, fire rings, showers, cabins, tables, lake and fishing.  It sits on 307 acres and was built in 1937 which makes it an old park.

While here we took a leisure ride thru the western part of South Carolina.  Once in Augusta we drove around admiring the buildings.  We stopped at the Visitor Center and met such a nice lady there.  She had us laughing telling us stories after stories.  She told us President Woodrow Wilson’s boyhood home was about 5 minutes away and worth visiting.

Woodrow Wilson’s first name was Thomas and was born in 1856 in Virginia.  His father became the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Augusta in 1860 and they remained in the city for 10 years.  The tour starts with a movie about his live.  The home is just beautiful with 14 huge rooms and decorated in 1860 time period furniture.  It was a great stop.

We walked along Broad Street and decided to have lunch at Luigi’s Italian Restaurant which was a great decision.  All the locals eat here and the food was great.

Our next stop was the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area.  We decided not to do the boat tour as it was so hot but we did tour the Discovery Center.  It told the story of the Industrial Revolution in the south.  The canal brought manufacturing to the area plus a great recreation area.

One day as we were riding we took a right turn and found the God’s Acre Healing Springs in Blackville.  There must have been about 50 people filling containers with the water from the springs.

Another day on a ride we went thru the town of Denmark, then Sweden and then Norway.  Wow that was a quick trip lol.  We took a ride to Ehrhardt South Carolina as that was my grandmother’s maiden name and I wanted to see if any relation.  The only thing I know is that both families came from Germany.

While at this campground we had a family next door that lived in a 30 ft camper fulltime with 5 children.  Wow I do not believe I could do that.

Our next stop was Givhans Ferry State Park.  Here we had a beautiful large site with full hookups.  We did a lot of walking and watching people tubing down the Edisto River. 

While there I got a call that I need to have another mammogram as the results were not good.  It scared the living day lights out of me but as it turned out everything is fine. 

Hilton Head Island at Marriott Surfwatch Timeshare was our next stop.  We were to enjoy a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo for two weeks.  The first night our daughter  Susan came with the girls and spent the night.  We laughed a lot and enjoyed them.  Then Tim’s brother Jeff arrived for a few days.  Then our daughter Amanda and her 3 children arrived.  We spent most of the time at the beach swimming, talking and just enjoying each other.  One day we traveled to James Island so we could get all 6 of our grandchildren together.  We had a nice lunch, beautiful picture of them all and they enjoyed playing together.  It was a nice vacation at my favorite place.

We left Hilton Head Island South Carolina and headed northwest for a beautiful ride on all the back roads to Boone North Carolina.  We stopped for the night at Flintlock Campground.  The man in the office told us our site would be really easy for us to get into which turned to be a real surprise to us.  This is an older campground with narrow roads and short sites.  After much work Tim was able to get us into the site but we could not stay hooked up.  We both were tired so we had a good night sleep.  The campground has full hookups, cable, showers, laundry, cabins, playground, basketball, volleyball, horseshoes, tables, campfire rings, store, rec room, stream, pavilion and internet.

We were up early and started our journey to Elizabethton, Tn.  We had a little difficulty finding our turn for the TVA Campground Watauga.  Our site was along the river with water, electric, table, campfire ring.  The campground also has showers and a dump.  Bears are known to visit so no tents are allowed.  Tim’s brother Jeff arrived to stay with us for a few days.  We are located here in the mountains of Tennessee to do family research.  Tim’s family lived here for many years so it should be very interesting.  The first night we went out for dinner and when we got to the restaurant we decided to have drinks and different snacks instead of dinner.  Turned out to be a lot of interesting food and very good. 

The next day we rode around Elizabethton trying to find the different places that they lived during junior and senior high.  I must say they had difficulty finding different homes – did they tear them down or did they move them?  We took a ride out to the Ellis Cemetery where their Great-great Grandfather is buried and most of the family.  It is located behind a home where you need to ask permission to walk thru their yard.  Very disappointed on how run down the cemetery is.  The grass was up to our knees and many holes in the ground.  Maybe if you live near a cemetery that is just for family please try to take care of it.  Our next stop was a church that Daniel Ellis, their great-great grandfather build in the late 1880’s.  It is still standing today but not used as a church any longer.  Daniel Ellis was a captain in the Union Army during the Civil War and helped many escape to the north.  We then toured the Smith Cemetery where there other great-grandfather is buried.  Our lunch was at a barbecue place in town which is very popular with the locals.  I thought it was okay but would not return.

Another day we went to the library and did research.  The head of the genealogy department was very helpful in directing me in the right direction.  Such a small world he was from Rhode Island and now lives in the mountains of Tn.  I was able to get a lot of information which I will put to good use.

While here we also visited Warrior Path State Park, Roan Mountain State Park, Kingsport, Johnson City and into the woods to find the cabin that they stayed in.  All in all it was an interesting stop.

Our next stop was Panther Creek State Park located in Morristown, Tennessee.  This park sits on 1444 acres on the shores of the Cherokee Reservoir.  The campground has water and electric sites, firerings, tables, showers, and laundry.  The park also has a pool, fishing, boating, hiking, dump station, gift shop, tennis, playground, and a soccer field. 

While here our camper got infected with stink bugs.  They were all over our camper and when we brought in the slide we got loads inside.  Never heard of these pests before but let me tell you it was horrid.  They do not go after food they just hide to stay warm and when you see them if you scare them they let off a horrid stink.  Lesson learned – do not park near tall grass.

While at Panther Creek State Park we enjoyed the outside taking walks, sitting outside, and loads of reading.  We did take a ride into Morristown and admired the old buildings in the town.  We also visited the Crockett Tavern Museum which is a replica of the boyhood home of Davy Crockett.  It is a 1790 tavern which was kind of interesting.  Davy Crockett had a very rough life as a young boy as his dad was not a very nice person.  At one time he even sold him to make money.

Our next stop was Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park.  This is a small park with only 105 acres but a pretty park.  The park has full hookups, tables, some sites where they have fire rings, dump station, river, and showers.  We visited the Visitor Center and watch a movie about Davy Crockett which was very good.  We then visited the replica of his birthplace in a small log cabin.  Davy Crockett was a very celebrated frontiersman, warrior, statesman and defender of the Alamo. 

One day we took a ride to Greenville where President Andrew Johnson resided.  We toured the National Historic Site where we saw his old Tailor Shop, a movie, and learned about the 17th President of the United States.  We also saw his Homestead and the National Cemetery up on the hill where he is buried.  Andrew Johnson because the president after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.  It amazes me to think he became a president and never attended school.  What a difference in the world today!

Jonesborough is the oldest town in Tennessee founded in 1779.  It is a very interesting town with many old buildings nestled in the Appalachian Mountains in Northeast Tennessee.  We toured the Chester Inn Museum built in 1790 and the oldest frame structure in town.  A really cool place and so much history of the town.

Jonesborough is unique in that it has the International Storytelling Center here.  This is the only place in the world devoted to oral storytelling.  While we were here they had the convention and the town was bursting with people.  I had never heard of this before and it peaked my interests.

The Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site was also on our agenda and it did not disappoint us.  The park has 11 buildings on 45 acres with a cemetery, cave, nature trail and a visitor center.  The house was built in 1784 and in great shape.   This was another great find.

One day we took another ride to Elizabethton and visited the Carter Mansion.  This home was built in 1775 and is the oldest frame house in the state.  It also is the first house to have glass windows.  It sits on the banks of the Watauga River and on the grounds has a family cemetery.   

The Doe River Covered Bridge was built in 1882 and is 134 feet long.  It was built entirely of wood with steel spikes to fasten the wood together.  Today it is just for foot traffic and makes a nice statement in the town.  This was the end of our stay in Tennessee which we totally enjoyed.

We traveled the back roads for a while and got the scare of our lives.  A car coming in the opposite direction lost control and came right in front of us into the field.  We both looked at each other and said “God was taking care of us tonight.”  The driver was okay and so were we.  We stopped for the night at Interstate RV Center and Campground in Byron, Ga.  Not a bad campground but loads of people that live there fulltime so a little messy.

Our next stop was Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park located in White Springs, Florida.  The campground offers water and electric sites, tables, campfire rings, laundry, and showers.  The park has river, canoes, fishing, hiking, playground, cabins, gazebo, craft village, amphitheater, gift shop and the carillon tower.  The carillon’s electronic roller plays Stephen Foster’s tunes daily.  They sound just beautiful.  While here we took a nice long bike ride, enjoyed campfires and the nice warm sun.

After leaving the park we headed towards Tampa and going over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to St Pete we got a blowout.  If you have never traveled this road it has very little room for breakdown and the traffic goes about 90 miles per hour.  Tim was able to get the truck and camper over to the side and the guys that patrol the road changed our tire for us.  Free of charge – what a saint.  Well that makes 2 new tires now for the camper also. 

We checked into Vacation Village Rv Resort in Largo, Florida in site 184.  We had full hookups laundry, dump, horseshoes, showers, pool, clubhouse, patio, card and game room, kitchen, and activities.  The best part was my youngest sister lived across the street with her husband.  Plus my sister from Connecticut was down for 3 weeks so it was great being with family again.  We got together for dinners, went to the beach twice, shopping, and just sitting around talking.  We enjoyed our week in Largo and thanks Ann and Rich for being such good hosts.

Our next stop was Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park located in Keystone Heights, Florida.   Our site had water and electric, picnic table and showers were available.  We enjoyed hiking while here as the park sits on 2000 acres.

Our next stop was Fort Clinch State Park in Amelia Island Florida.  We had a very nice site with water and electric.  While here we toured the Fort.   Fort Clinch was built in 1847 to protect coastal Florida as a military installation.  The fort is in very good shape considering the age.

While in the area we took a nice ride to look at the beach, homes and have a delicious lunch out one day.  Our stay lasted 3 nights and then it was on to Savannah Georgia to Lott’s Island Campground aboard Hunter Army Airfield.  The campground is small but has full hookups, tables, grills, fire pits, cable and wifi.  The best part is that shopping is all around the base. 

While in Savannah we went to Tybee Island Light Station and Museum.  Because Tim had been in the Coast Guard the lady felt we should be able to tour for free.  Love people that think that way.  First up was the lighthouse which has 178 steps.  The bottom 60 feet are the original light built in 1773 while the top 85 feet were reconstructed in 1867 after the Civil War.  On the grounds they had a 1881 cottage, keeper cottage from 1885, cottage from 1861and the gift shop.  Across the street is the Museum which is housed in Fort Screven’s Battery Garland which was constructed in 1898.  This museum had many exhibits about the history of Tybee Island and its people.  It was a very interesting stop.

One day we went downtown Savannah and walked all around.  We stopped at Moon River for drinks, and had a nice lunch at Paula Dean’s Restaurant.  I love all the squares in Savannah and enjoyed looking at all the buildings and reading all the signs.  A really great day.

Our next stop was Short Stay Recreation Area in Moncks Corner South Carolina.  This military rec area sits on Lake Moultrie which covers over 60,000 acres.  The campground has sites with water, electric, tables, grills, campfire rings, convenience store, boat shop, beach, swimming, fishing, boating, villas, cabins, cable, laundry, showers and a conference center. 

During our stay here we did dentist appointments, got our medications, visited with Susan and girls, attended Seacoast Church and just enjoyed our relaxing time.  We also attended a hockey game with Julia which we really enjoyed.  Julia and I also went shopping to see what she would like for Christmas.  She is one girl that loves most everything.  LOL

Our next stop was Weston Lake Recreational Area which is part of Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina.  At this campground we had full hookups, campfire ring, grill, table and showers.  This park also had cabins, lake, beach, swimming, boating, fishing, volleyball, playground, shelters, and a rec hall. 

While in Columbia we brought our camper to Industrial Alignment to have our axles aligned.  If you ever need to have this done check into this place.  Great place, great price and wonderful people!

While at Fort Jackson we enjoyed the commissary and Exchange.  We celebrated Thanksgiving in our camper this year for the first time.  We cooked a 10lb turkey with all the trimmings and really enjoyed it.

Another thing we did while here was go to Sesquicentennial State Park and take the hike around the lake.  It was 2.8 miles and a very pretty walk. This park covers over 1400 acres around a man- made lake.  They have a retreat center, kayaks, canoes, fishing, nature trail, playground, paddleboards, volleyball, and softball fields.  The park also has a campground with water and electric, dump station, showers, tables, and campfire rings.

Our next stop was going back to Short Stay Recreation Area to celebrate Christmas, shop, dentist and visiting.  While here we went to the Biggin Church Ruins which is part of an old church from the 1700’s in a cemetery.  It is hard to believe how cool it was.

Another day we went to Mepkin Abbey which is a community of Roman Catholic Monks.  In 1949 they were given an old plantation from the 1724 time frame and set up the monastery.  The grounds are just beautiful with gardens, statues and sits on the Cooper River.  They also have a cemetery and a beautiful church. 

Julia had her sixth grade winter concert which we attended.  It featured the band, chorus, drama club and orchestra.  They did a wonderful job playing their instruments and singing all the songs.

One day Tim and I went downtown Charleston and went thru a lot of the shops and just enjoying the city.  I love walking thru the market place and seeing the things that they sell.  We had a nice lunch at Pogan’s Porch.

While in the area Tim ordered an Apple Computer so he has spent a lot of time learning the differences. 

We went to Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet.  It was just beautiful with over 4500 candles, lighting of a huge tree, and live music.  It was quite cold but we all enjoyed it.  After we stopped at Chacon’s for dinner.

Julia had 2 soccer games during that time also which we love to watch.  She is a wonderful player and very competitive.

Tim and I also attended the Santee Cooper Holiday Lights Driving Tour.  It cost us $5 for a wonderful ride looking at all the beautiful lights and decorations.  It sure helps to get you in the spirit of the holidays.

Christmas Eve Day we went over to Susan’s and then we all went to the Moscow Ballet Great Russian Nutcracker. It was a  beautiful production with so many talented people, beautiful costumes and a lovely story.  After the show we went to Old Village Post for dinner in old town Mount Pleasant.  We had a beautiful dinner and enjoyed talking and laughing with family.  After that we attended church at Seacoast and listened to a super sermon and then lighting the candles with the church lit by candlelight.

Back to Susan’s home to open presents – we all made out very well and had a super Christmas.  Christmas Day was different for us this year as we were alone so we opened gifts and then had a big dinner.  It was different but we enjoyed it.  We remember that the reason for the season is Jesus’s Birthday.  We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

In the New Year I will try my hardest to keep up with the blog so we can look back and see what our year held.