January 2016 Travels

January 2016 Travels


On New Year’s Eve Day we left Short Stay Recreation Area in Moncks Corner, South Carolina and headed west.  Rain was forecast for the day but we were lucky and it didn’t start until we had about 4 hours done.  We took I-95 South and then picked up back roads to take us west.  We stopped in the town of Claxton, Georgia for lunch in the camper and noticed Claxton Bakery that sells the fruitcakes that Tim loves.  After eating we walked over and bought him a fruitcake.  Claxton Fruit Cakes have been made for over a century with a blend of nature’s finest fruits and nuts.

We arrived at Southern Trails Rv Resort in Unadilla, Georgia about 2PM and Tim set up the outside of the camper in the rain while I sat in the truck.  Guess I think I will melt if I get wet but sure appreciated it.  LOL.

This is a pretty nice campground, full hookups, laundry, tables, pool, playground, laundry, pull thru sites, and rec hall.  We belong to Coast to Coast so the cost was $2 a night for 50amp service.  Love a bargain.

The first day we took a ride to Warner Robins Air Force Base and did some shopping for food and misc items.  When we returned home we took a nice walk around the campground.  We are going to try our hardest this year to lose some weight.

After a nice dinner of Parmesan Chicken, fresh green beans, rice and cranberry we sat down and played on our computers and then watched some tv.

Sunday Morning woke up to 54 being the temp inside our home.  We ran out of propane and my goodness was it cold.  I had to wake Tim up to go switch the bottles.  We enjoyed a cup a coffee and then got ready for church at Centerpoint Church in Warner Robins, Georgia.  We totally enjoyed attending church here with Pastor Jason Comer – very uplifting and a great speaker for a young guy.  We found this church thru ARC after attending Seacoast Church in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.  After church we stopped at Target as we are looking for old fashioned boots for when it rains so we can still get our walks in.  No luck but I did buy 2 new tablecloths for the dining room table.  We then went to Academy Sports where we bought 3 bottles of propane for cooking on the grill and some waterproof spray for our hiking boots.  Back home we had lunch and then we sat in our chairs and both of us fell asleep.  Guess and hour nap for old folks is okay.  The rest of the day and evening were spent playing on our computers, tv and having another good dinner.  I must say it was an awesome day.

Monday morning we were up around 8:30AM and sat playing with our computers while drinking our coffee.  It is our normal way to start the day.

We left around 10 AM and headed to Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia.  We needed to get our prescriptions transferred from Charleston Air Force Base here and were informed it will be a 72 hour wait.  We hope it will be shorter but only time will tell.

While on base we visited the Exchange and picked up a few things.  Back home for a late lunch and then another nap.  I have decided I cannot sit in my comfortable chair in the afternoons as it puts me to sleep.  I must stay busy so we can go to bed at a more reasonable hour.  Why I ask myself, I am retired?

Tuesday Morning we got up at 9:30am and drank our coffee, took showers and played on our computers.  After lunch we drove to Robins Air Force Base to pick up our prescriptions which were transferred from Charleston Air Force Base.  We then went to the exchange and bought the new Fit Bit Scale which will synic with our fit bits.  We then went to the class VI Store to get a bottle of wine to cook with.  We parked the car in a parking lot and walked for about 35 minutes thru housing to get in our exercise for the day.  Stopped at Walmart for a few things and then got diesel for $1.85.  Decided to stay in Warner Robins and have a pizza for dinner – pretty good for a cheese pizza.  Filled our bellies and no dishes to clean up made the day.

Tonight we will watch a little tv and maybe read some.  Until tomorrow have a good night sleep.

We woke up to freezing temps with blowing winds so during the morning we stayed in our nice warm home.  After lunch Tim started to put things away and flush the tanks while I cleaned the bathroom, and then made our bed up clean.  Later in the afternoon he went outside and came in to tell me that the whole basement floor was wet.  Why?  We took everything out and used the shop vac to get up the water and then he found the flush valve was loose.  Always something in our little tiny house, that alwys needs something fixed.  I am so glad I have a handy husband that can fix most things.  We got that all put back together and enjoyed the warmth of the house for the rest of the day.  We had a great dinner of baked potato, steak and tossed salad which was very yummy.

Tomorrow we move to a Corp of Engineer park about 200 miles away.

Our trip today was very interesting.  We saw a huge Proctor and Gamble Factory, Keystone Foods, loads of pecan trees, Golden Peanut Company, and the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany.

We checked into the Corp of Engineer Campground called Eastbank on Lake Seminole.  This is a huge lake with over 376 miles of shoreline.  The campground has 65 sites with tables, lantern posts, fire rings, dump station, water and electric, showers, picnic shelters, volleyball/badminton, horseshoe pits, and shuffleboard.  This lake sits on the Florida/Georgia line and covers over 37,500 acres of water.  We love all campgrounds developed by the Corp of Engineers and this one did not disappoint.  With our senior pass it cost us only $77 for a week.   It rained most of the week but we did get a few nice walks in, ride around part of the lake, and a nice nature trail hike.

Our next stop was going to be in Louisiana so we started out early.  We hit the time change from Eastern Time zone to central about 10 minutes out.  At the rest area I saw a truck that said “Santa’s Escort.”  Does anyone know what that is – I thought Santa came in a sleigh!

We had reservations at Abita Springs Resort in Abita Springs, La for a full hookup site.  When we got there – no full hookups and they put us in a really wet area which did not sit too well with us.  We decided to stay just one night and continue heading west.  The campground seemed to have some nice facilities especially the clubhouse, pool, pond and picnic area.  This year it has been extremely rainy so most things are muddy.  We both slept good and the next morning we headed out.

Entering Texas you see a sign that says its 880 miles across the state on I-10.  Part of the trip is interesting but the other part is boring as there is nothing to see but land and more land that looks empty.

Our stop was at Gulf Coast RV Resort in Beaumont, Texas.  This is a really nice campground with about 125 sites with full hookups, pull thrus, showers, laundry, library, rec room, free breakfast every morning, free wi-fi, satellite tv, pool, exercise room, store and supplies, and a playground.  The restrooms are the cleanest I have ever seen in a public place.  We stayed here for 3 nights in order to do laundry, shop and go to our favorite restaurant in the area Pappodeaux Seafood Kitchen.  We both had  delicious meals with a nice glass of wine.

Next stop was Braunig Lake RV Resort located in Elmendorf, Texas about 15 minutes from downtown San Antonio.  This is a huge campground with full hookups, cabins, lake, fishing, propane, showers, dump station, shuffleboard, horseshoes, Lodge, pool, spa, conference center and laundry.  While here we did the River Walk and enjoyed that greatly.  We had a nice lunch at The Country Line Restaurant and then walked about 5 miles.  We went into the San Fernando Cathedral which is one of the oldest Cathedrals in the United States.  It was built between 1738 and 1750 and the sanctuary walls are the original walls.  The thing that amazed me was the Stations of The Cross.  They are all  carved out of stone and just beautiful.

While in the area we also toured Lackland Air Force Base.  This is the base that all enlisted in the United States Air Force go for basic training.  It is a very big base with a beautiful exchange.

Driving across the big state of Texas are next stop would be Parkview RV Park in Fort Stockton, Texas.  We only spent one night here with full hookups and plenty of room to stay hooked up to the truck.

Fort Bliss RV Park was our next stop in El Paso Texas.  This campground sits in the scenic foothills of the Franklin Mountains and has 132 sites, full hookups, pull thru, tables, grills, laundry, shoppette, gas station, playground, rec room, showers, and pavilion.  We will be here for 4 nights to do some shopping and just relaxing.  The weather got warmer so we were able to sit outside and enjoy the warm sunshine.  We also did a lot of walking while here.

Shopping on Fort Bliss is like being at a Mall which they call Freedom Crossing.  They have shops, restaurants, exchange, commissary, beauty parlor, barber shop, class VI shop, cleaners, theatre, plus outdoor fireplace and loads of places to sit.  It is just beautiful and wish more bases were like this.  Of course this is the Army’s second largest base so loads of people are stationed here.  The base was built in 1849 and consists of 1700 square miles.

Close to El Paso are the Outlet Shops so we spent and afternoon shopping.  I bought a pair of loafers William Sonoma as I had never seen there outlet stores before.  Glad I live in such a small house as I would have been tempted to buy somethings.

We left El Paso, Texas and traveled thru the state of New Mexico until we reached Arizona where we stopped at Valley Vista Rv Resort in Benson.  This is a pretty nice park with 155 sites, some full hookups, pool, hot tub, clubhouse, activities, shuffleboard, library, laundry, horseshoes and cable tv.

We woke up the first morning and realized that our inverter had quit.  Tim got on the phone and got a new one ordered and the next day we found out they shipped it to Florida not Arizona so now we are stuck here for a week or longer.  Yikes always something.  Smile as we can do nothing about it.

Being in Benson we decided to check out the area and see what we could find.  Our first stop was the Amerind Museum and Art Gallery located in Dragoon.  This museum was founded in 1937 and houses a collection of Native American art and artifacts from the western hemisphere.  The couple that started this museum were from Waterbury, Ct which is close to my hometown in Ct.  As you travel this country you realize how small this world truly is.  Our next stop was Cochise Stronghold which is located in the Dragoon Mountains.  This was the hideout of the Chiricahua Apache Chief Cochise and today consists of a campground, picnic area and trails.  We took a nice trail to get in some exercise.  The campground is much too small for our rig but what a nice campground for smaller rigs.

We then stopped at Pearce which was an old mining camp and one of the richest gold diggings in Southern Arizona.  The original store and post office still stand but in 1940 when the mine closed everyone just about left.  Today it looks like maybe 5 families still live in the town.

Another day we took a ride to Fort Huachuca which is an active Army base established in 1877.  They have a really nice museum which we toured.  Today the base is the center for communications and electronic technical development.  They have a beautiful exchange and commissary which we also visited.

One of our favorite stops was Fort Bowie which is now a National Park.  This is the only National Park that I have ever visited that you take a gravel road and then hike to the Visitor Center.  The sign said the trail was 1 ½ miles each way but believe me that was not true.  Really difficult hike but we accomplished it and saw the old Butterfield Stage Station ruins, the site of the Battle of Apache Pass and an old cemetery.  The Visitor Center we sat on the porch and enjoyed talking to the ranger and hearing about the area.  Really nice day hiking over 5 miles up a Mountain and getting lots of exercise.  This army fort was built in 1862 as a way to protect the pass from the Indians.

Another ghost town we visited was Fairbank which at one time was an old West railroad town founded in 1882 during Tombstone Silver boom.  This town had the railroad depot, hotel, restaurant, bar, post office, several businesses and a school.  By 1972 everything had closed up in the town and just empty buildings remain.  On the property are many hiking trails and a cute school house and some buildings that will be fixed and then you’ll be able to tour them.

All in all our trip to Benson proved very interesting and different.  The month is coming to a close and we have enjoyed our trip thus far.  We have seen many interesting things and are only complaint is the weather is pretty cold this year even down south.

Stayed tuned for our continued travels west.









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.

January 1, 2015

Happy New Year to you all. May you find health and peace in this new year and may God watch over you.

Today we took a ride to Oakland California and went thru the Oakland Airport. We had never been here before and I wanted to see what it was like. The airport began in 1927 with a few flights each day. During World War II it was closed and became Naval Air Station Oakland until the war ended. Today it is a good size airport with many flights.

We then took a ride to Alameda Island which was founded in 1853.  We were amazed at how many homes were on this island.  We found a nice park called Crown Memorial State Beach were you can actually swim and it has sand.  There was loads of people walking, riding bikes and playing frisbee even though the temp was pretty cool.  We then took a ride around the island and found the old Naval Air Station.  It is a shame the way these old bases look, looks like the Navy walked away and just left it to deteriorate.  I guess the city owns it now but what an eye sore.  The only bases we have seen that look wonderful after being closed is the Presidio in San Francisco and Myrtle Beach Air Force Base.  Naval Air Station closed in 1997 and has sat for the last 17 years.  Yikes

We picked up our grandson and went to the Black Bear Dinner and it was horrid.  Tim is the only one whom liked his dinner and he had a chicken pot pie.  Josh couldn’t eat his and mine was not too good.  Oh well another place off our list.

Another nice day and back to Travis Air Force Base to our little home for a few weeks.  Enjoy your day and be thankful for what you have.

Our time here in Pleasanton was visiting plus Tim had an appointment with the heart doctor. Enjoyable time and then it was off to Bass Lake.
Bass Lake Recreation Area is a nice campground with full hookups, pull thru sites, cable, adult clubhouse, teen club, café, playground, horseshoes, shuffleboard, basketball, hiking, showers, laundry and propane. This is a coast to coast park so very reasonable for us plus 13 miles from Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite National Park was created as a forest reserve in 1864 by President Abraham Lincoln. It became a National Park in 1890. The park covers over 747,956 acres and is noted for its beautiful waterfalls, giant granite cliffs and giant sequoia trees.
Our first stop was Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. We took a tram tour thru this grove stopping at different places along the route. We saw the Grizzly Giant which they think is over 1800 years old. They even have a tree that they cut a tunnel into to let horse drawn stages to pass through. Some of the trees even grow together. They have a little museum which gives the history of the trees. In this grove they have over 500 trees.
Yosemite Valley has a wonderful Visitor Center and interesting things to see and do. They have a Museum, theater, art gallery, book store, lodge, post office, gift shops, workshops and tours. Usually you can see the highest waterfall in North America here but due to the drought in California this year not so good.
From Half Dome at 8836 feet you can see most of the valley. We also did Tioga Road which is a 39 mile scenic drive with elevations of 6000 feet to 10,000 feet. What a beautiful drive with a lake and Tuolumne Meadow. This time around we did the whole park and enjoyed every minute.
Our time was cut short because of the fires close to our campground. We decided to leave around 8 PM one night and drove about 100 miles to Lemoore Naval Air Station Fam Camp. This is a nice base campground with full hookups, free laundry, showers, and tables. Also right near the campground is a car wash, gas station, restaurant, pub, fitness center, theater, bowling alley and a pool. While here we were able to do some grocery shopping also and one day we visited Sequoia National Park.
Sequoia National Park was created in 1890 and has over 404,063 acres. We got to see the giant forest museum which had wonderful exhibits and then walked the big tree trail. The General Sherman Sequoia tree is 275 feet tall making it the largest single stem tree on earth. Another beautiful and interesting National Park that as travelers we were able to experience.
Our next stop was Smithwoods RV Park located in Felton. This campground had full hookups, pool, campfires, tables, laundry, showers, lodge, store, wifi, ball field, and cable tv. The park is surrounded by coastal redwood trees and felt like you were in a state park. We met our daughter Amanda and family here to celebrate our grandson Elijah’s 3rd Birthday. We had fun putting on a party, enjoying watching the children play, hiking, and watching the campfire while we had a glass of wine. It was a fun weekend.
We left Smithwoods and headed to Sharpe Depot in Lathrop to spend the last week before they close down the base. This campground was one we visited often while in California as it has full hookups, tables, pool, gym and plenty of areas to ride our bikes or walk. We had an enjoyable week here and were saddened to think no more.

We headed to Southern California in September to Anaheim Resort RV Park in Anaheim. We were joined by daughter Amanda, her hubby Tim, and our 2 grandchildren Grace and Elijah. We were going to Disneyland to celebrate Grace’s 5th birthday. The campground was pretty nice – full hookups, tables, pool, laundry, bathhouse and hot tub. They also had a shuttle that took you to Disneyland but a cost was involved but it made it so much easier.
We have been going to Disney World for years so Disneyland is very different to us. They have two parks and we had Military Tickets so we could visit both parks each day for 3 days. We loved Soarin Over California, The Little Mermaid, Toy Story, carousel, Maters Junkyard Jamboree, It’s A Small World, Flying Tires and all the other rides. We did both parks and we all had a wonderful time.
On Grace’s birthday we celebrated at Ariel’s Grotto for a luncheon. She got to meet all the princess and she was in seventh heaven.
One night we did downtown Disney and enjoyed walking in all the stores plus playing at Lego Land. We enjoyed watching the fireworks also both at the park and from our campsite.
Amanda and family went to the beach two days and Tim and I just relaxed. The kids enjoyed playing with play dough and just having fun so all in all it was a good trip.
We had planned to take two days to return to Northern California but started driving and decided to drive all the way in one day.
Our stop for the next two weeks will be Delta Shores Campground in Isleton. We have a membership here so we get full hookups for $3 a night. Sure helps with the budget and it is a very relaxing campground. They have a laundry, playground, showers, mini golf, dump station, rentals, tenting, hot tub, pool, basketball, and rec hall.

We left the Delta around 10 am and made a stop in Lodi at Safeway for a few groceries and wine. We then headed south with a short stop at a rest area for lunch. Our next stop was Success Lake, a corps of Engineers Campground near Porterville, Ca. This park has about 10 full hookup sites and then loads with no hookups. We had a full hookup site and at first wondered why so few people. Then we looked at the lake and most of the water is gone because of the drought. The people whom live near the park have had their wells go dry so late in the evening they drove into the campground to take showers.
Our stay here was fun as we rode our bikes all around plus walked. We took a ride one day and stopped in at the National Forest Office for information and the ranger gave us all types of things to see and do. Sequoia National Forest became a Sierra Forest Reserve in 1893 and then in 1908 President Theodore Roosevelt renamed it. In 2000 President William Clinton created Giant Sequoia National Monument.
We saw deer grazing along the road, beautiful waterfalls, and stunning scenery. We stopped at The Trail of 100 Giants where 125 giant sequoias are. Some of these trees are 1500 years old and huge. Some of them are more massive than the coastal redwoods. This Forest has over 33 groves of sequoia trees and a very diverse terrain. The roads were very narrow and had loads of switchback turns. I told Tim I felt like I was riding a roller coaster. What a wonderful place to visit.

We are in California mostly to visit with our family – need that grandparent fix! We have enjoyed camping with family, dinners, just talking, holidays, hugs and kisses and all that go with being with them. Thanks so much for being so special to us.
We went to Coast Guard Island one day which is located in Alameda. The Island covers 67 acres and was opened as a base in 1926 to train recruits from the west coast. It closed as a training center in 1982 and now all recruits are trained in Cape May, New Jersey. Today the base is home to cutters and supports the west coast. We went to the Exchange just to look around and then took a little ride around the island. While in that area we had lunch at Quinn’s Lighthouse Restaurant and Pub. This building is a historic landmark built in 1890 in Oakland.
Our oldest grandson moved to Berkeley so we toured that city with him. We walked up to the University of California, students were everywhere. This is a very busy school with all types of people to make it very interesting.
We were looking for more places to be able to camp so we went to the Anthony Chabot Regional Park to take a look. They have 75 campsites but only 12 have full hookups. They all have tables, grills and fire pits. Most were much too small for us to fit in. I would love to go back and just walk the grounds someday as they have loads of hiking trails.
My daughter and I attended a weekend for “Women of Faith Tour” in Sacramento. What an uplifting experience that was. We arrived Friday night for 3 hours and then Saturday from 9 until about 5. Highly would recommend this for any women that lives with the Lord. The speakers were Sheila Walsh, Priscilla Shirer, Christine Caine, Anita Renfroe, Nichole Nordeman, and Matthew West. All were wonderful speakers that could make you laugh, cry and ability to learn so much. While in Sacramento we stayed at Marriott Courtyard and had a nice room with two queen size beds. Before going to bed we enjoyed a bottle of wine and just talked away.
Our grandson works for In N Out Burgers so one day we took him to a ballgame between the different stores. They fed everyone hotdogs and drinks for free while we watch the game. Really enjoyable.
Three times we have tried to go to Muir Woods National Monument in Mill Valley and all times the parking lots are full and nowhere to go. Well when we got home read on the National Park site that they have a bus service during the warm months which I did not know. Oh well guess we will try again someday. While there we decided to do Route 1 and enjoyed our ride up the coast to Olema. Back in the early 1970’s we stayed at the Olema Campground for about a month until we got into Coast Guard housing in Point Reyes Station. We decided to tour the campground which has grown up since we stayed there. They have full hookups, pull thru sites, tenting, propane, showers, laundry, dump station, horseshoes, shuffleboard, playground and a clubhouse. It is a very nice campground but really expensive as most things in this area. We left the campground and headed to Point Reyes Station and rode thru the Coast Guard Base – wow did they look old – we lived in the housing back when it was brand new. Still remember when we moved in we wanted to put a clothes line in our back yard, did not have a dryer back then, and they refused our request saying it would look like shanty town. That still makes me laugh as I had a huge line in our home always as I loved hanging my sheets outside in the breeze. We stopped at the Station House Café for lunch which was very good. When we lived here that was the Two Ball Inn. We walked all around town visiting gift shops, grocery store, 1890 Old Western Salon and all the places that we enjoyed while living here.
Tim finally went to a foot doctor about his feet and she recommended new shoes so off to Fleet Feet Sports. What a great store for measuring your foot and watching how you walk – very impressed as most stores do not even measure your foot anymore.
For Christmas celebrations we attended the Livermore Christmas Parade. We sat at the First Street Wine Bar and had a glass of wine while watching the parade. It was a very nice parade and the weather was perfect, just a little cool but nothing like watching it in New England lol. After the parade we went to First Street Alehouse and had dinner with family.
Our Christmas was very nice watching our grandchildren opening presents. They opened them so fast I wondered if they really saw what they got but then again they are 3 and 5. We had a wonderful dinner of ham and roast beef with all the trimmings. Thanks Amanda for again doing a wonderful job. We also attended church services at Blue Oaks Church held at Foothills High School. Beautiful service with lighting of candles – looked so pretty.

This rounds out 2014 – Stay tuned for 2015

Beale AFB, Lake Tahoe

Pleasanton California is a beautiful city about 30 miles east of San Francisco. It was incorporated in 1894 and has a very active downtown area. There is lots of nice stores, restaurants, art galleries, salons and museums. I think the reason it is always busy is because no charge for parking so people come and shop locally. More towns and cities should try this and bring more shopping back to their towns.
Our location at the Fair Grounds makes for easy walking downtown plus great walking and bike paths. I think we should enjoy our time here plus only about 10 miles from Amanda’s (our Daughter’s) house.

Another stop along the way was Beale Fam Camp located on Beale AFB near Marysville, California. This beautiful fam camp has 44 sites with full hookups, free wifi, laundry, showers, lounge, lending library and kitchen. Nice size sites with a lake across the street. This base is pretty remote but we enjoyed it greatly.
The base opened in 1942 with 86,000 acres as Camp Beale and in 1948 became an Air Force Base. It was used as a Prisoner of War Encampment during World War II. We took a drive out to the site and you can see parts of the cells still standing. Some of the cells have drawings on the walls still visible today after so many years. Today the base is an air combat command with about 4,000 military personnel stationed here.
One day we took a drive to Empire Mine State Historic Park in Grass Valley. This park covers over 856 acres. The mine operated for over 100 years with over 367 miles of tunnels and over 5,800,000 ounces of gold. Today they have restored some of the buildings, have exhibits, mine shaft and a beautiful home. In the visitor center they have a scale model of what the mine looked like in 1938. The grounds are very pretty but the home was closed when we visited.
The town of Marysville has a real Chinese influence. You can see this on the buildings in town plus a beautiful Chinese temple.
The area around Beale Air Force Base is farm land growing mostly rice. Never realized how much rice is grown in this country.

We spent 3 wonderful weeks in a timeshare at Marriott’s Timber Lodge in South Lake Tahoe. We loved having a washer and dryer, whirlpool, pool, fireplace and comforts. The timeshare is located at Heavenly Village where they have stores, restaurants, movies, bike rentals, ski resort gondola, and a short walk to casino’s and the Lake. We even had valet parking which was nice.
Lake Tahoe has a shoreline of 72 miles and an elevation of 6225 feet. Lake Tahoe is the largest Alpine Lake in North America. It is just beautiful and so peaceful to just sit and watch the water. This lake is known for the clarity of water, and the beautiful mountains surrounding it. While in the area we took many rides around the lake stopping at different points of interest.
One of our favorite spots was the Taylor Creek Visitor Center where we walked the grounds and saw salmon spawning and to our delight black bears eating the salmon. We got to see a mother bear and two of her cubs. It was just spectacular watching the cubs play and run into the stream. They have about 35,000 bears in the area and they can weigh up to 300 lbs and sprint at 35mph which surprises me. We also saw where the beavers made dams in the stream. We also were surprised that we met a couple from Connecticut at the creek, what a small world.
Did you know that Lake Tahoe was found in 1844 and that snowfall has been recorded every month of the Year. I found that interesting.
Another one of our favorite places was Tallac Historic Site. In the late 1800’s it was a resort where the wealthy came and enjoyed themselves on 74 acres. The grounds are just beautiful and we enjoyed walking around reading the little signs as the season had ended and all the buildings are closed.
One thing nice about this area is that at least 70% of the land is owned by the Forest Service so it is enjoyed by many. We took many hikes, bike rides, enjoyable walks and car rides. This is a really cool place and we enjoyed it so.
One day we took a ride to Carson City, Nevada which is the capital. The city was named after Kit Carson and became a state in 1864. Silver and gold were discovered in Carson City. We rode around the city and saw the State Capitol, Governors house and all the state buildings. We visited Nevada State Museum which was pretty cool. They have a huge walk thru mine, Carson City Mint, (original coin press) animals, Native American display, firearms, and the most beautiful gems in the world. Really enjoyed learning more about Nevada.
While in Carson City we had lunch at Red’s Old 395 Grill. Really cool looking building with stuff hanging off the walls. It advertises as the best barbeque – it was just okay in our book. Guess for the west its good.
We visited the Campground By The Lake which is operated by the city. What a beautiful campground this was. They have a dump station, showers, fire pits, tables, store, pull thru sites, water and electric, and bike paths. It sits across the street from the lake plus a recreation complex and library sit next to the property. If we had not been staying at a condo we would have stayed here. Just beautiful.

Our stay in Lake Tahoe was just wonderful – kept busy and enjoyed every minute. We even saw 3 movies while here, out to eat twice and toured Carson Pass, Caples Lake, and the Momon Emigrant Trail.

Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California

We left Kansas around 10 and headed northwest into Nebraska.  Surprised at the amount of traffic but otherwise an easy drive.  We stopped for the night at Double Nickel Campground in Waco.  The campground was nice with full hookups, tenting area, pool, store, laundry, bar, lounge, game room, playground, mini golf, wifi, showers, golf course and a storm shelter.  The only negative was the sites are quite close together and we had to keep jockeying so we could open our slides.  A nice young couple just bought the campground and plan to do some work.  Some of the sites even have swings.  Stayed only one night but slept really good.


Our next stop was going to be F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne Wyoming.  This base was established in 1867 as Fort Russell and became an Air Force Base in 1947.  It is a missle base that spans 12,600 square miles.  We entered the base and headed for the campground and to our surprise it was full.  The city of Cheyenne was celebrating Frontier Days and this is a special day in Wyoming.  We would have loved to attend but looks like we need better planning next time. Frontier Days is celebrated over 10 days and has shows, rodeos, Thunderbirds, parades and rides.   We headed south and stopped at the rest stop.  What a wonderful rest stop, lots of displays and so interesting.  Wyoming has a speed limit of 80 which is so darn fast.  The eastern part of the state is beautiful but the west part is very desert like.  We stopped at Laramie KOA in Laramie Wyoming for one night.  The cost was $54 which was extremely high considering they did not even have a pool.

Our next stop was the Visitor Center in Utah where the woman was so helpful.  She told us all about all the campgrounds in the area – advised us to even call the base in Salt Lake City before heading that way.  We did and no sites – the campgrounds are getting really busy this year.  Guess more people have become traveling with their homes this year.  We decided to stop at Holiday Hills RV Park in Coalville Utah for the night.  We were given site 17 and were allowed to stay hooked up.  The campground had a laundry, showers, store, gas station and pads.  We enjoyed walking around and looking at the land and different campers parked here.

The next day we headed west and saw a car on fire – how horrid that was.  Just pray the folks were able to get out.  We stopped at the Fernley RV Park in site number 5.  The campground has full hookups, pull thru sites, tables, showers, laundry and lp gas and the cost was only $16.90 per night.  Very clean, we have stopped here before and enjoyed it greatly.

While driving into California we saw deer grazing in the gutters right along side I-80.  We passed Domner Summit which is 7239 feet ad so pretty.  Our next stop was Travis Air Force Base and to our surprise they were paving the roads so no way could you get to the campground.  Very disappointed but we headed south to the Fairgrounds in Pleasanton California where we have stayed a lot in the previous years.  We will be close to family.  Stay tuned for our travels while here.  Our main reason here is to visit with family, get a grandchild fix, and relax.


We left the COE Campground in Missouri and headed west. We made a stop at a Walmart to do some grocery shopping and then stopped for the night in Springfield, Missouri. The Campground was pretty close to the highway and the owner told us it sounded like ocean waves. Tim and I chuckled about this – don’t believe he has ever been to the ocean lol. We did get a good night sleep so we were happy.

Our next stop was Chanute Kansas which is a small town with less then 10,000 people. Our 5th wheel camper was built here and we have come back to have it serviced. We need a new roof, new carpeting and have the slides adjusted and fixed. They cannot schedule us right away – we will need to come back in two weeks. We spent the night in the city park which is free for 2 nights for water and electric. Cannot beat that price!

Our next stop was a COE campground on Big Hill Lake. We were very lucky to get a full hookup campground, tables, fire ring, and a nice spaced site. This lake has swimming, beach, fishing, boating, and hiking. During the weekend it was full but during the week so peaceful. We spent a lot of time reading and a few walks. We also did a lot of sightseeing. We always thought Kansas was a boring place to visit but we really enjoyed our stay in the state.

Coffeyville Kansas was settled as an Indian Trading post in 1869. Inn 1880 it was known as Cow Town due to the number of cattle grazing plus it was a shipping point for cattle herds. On October 5, 1892 the Dalton Gang, which consisted of 5 men, tried to rob 2 banks at the same time. The citizens of the town recognized them and went into the hardware store and armed themselves with weapons. They were able to kill all but one man. He was held in Death Alley in the Old Jail. Today they have murals painted all over town by Don Srague whom did a wonderful job. One of the murals the man seems to be looking right at you – another is a picture of a baseball pitcher throwing the ball and then across the street on a building is the ball. Really cool. We walked around the town and went into a few stores. We even went into a pawn shop which turned out to be interesting. We toured the Old Codon Bank which was raided by the Dalton gang and found it amazing. The town was also the birthplace of cowboy boots.

Another town we found very interesting was Independence, Kansas. Again under 10,000 people but we found many interesting things to do.

Little House On the Prairie Museum had a replic of the original home that Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in back in 1869 They also had a one room school house and a post office on the grounds. Laura loved writing stories about her childhood in a pioneer family. The tv series was based on her books. We also found a beautiful park outside of town and a beautiful field of Sunflowers growing. I had only seen this in pictures before and I must say it was just beautiful.

We dropped our camper off and headed to Marriott Hotel in Wichita Kansas while it was being fixed. Because we use a Marriott Visa Card and charge all our expenses we were able to spend 15 nights for free. Love great bargains. We got settled into our room which had a love seat, chair, desk, king sized bed, tv, small refrigerator and microwave.

Wichita had so many interesting places to visit, good restaurants, great shopping and great bike riding paths. Would you believe they have over 80 miles of bicycle trails. We rode at the county park and really enjoyed that.

The Historical Museum For Adventures In Time was a history lesson on Wichita and its people. It was housed in the 1892 City Hall Building. The exhibits covered the growth of Wichita, the aircraft industry in town, oil industry, the dust bowl, Great Depression, WWI, arts, entertainment and technology. They even had a display of a 19th century home and and old fashion drug store with a soda fountain. I enjoyed the toy collection as we used to have many of those toys. Guess we are getting old to remember things that look so old lol.

Coleman Museum and Outlet is located in Wichita with a display of products built in the last 100 years. Being campers we used many Coleman products from tents, sleeping bags, stoves, heaters and coolers so we really enjoyed the display and the outlet store.

While in town they had an American Indian Festival held at the Century II Expo Hall. We watched a Pow Wow which was very interesting to us. Pow Wow’s are American Indian celebrations of community and spirituality featuring Indian dances, drums and vendors. The drums symbolize the heartbeat of Mother Earth.

Along the Arkansas and Little Arkansas Rivers in Wichita is the Keeper of the Plains Statue. It is so impressive and each night in nice weather they light a fire ring for 15 minutes. They also have a Mid-America Indian Center which is a museum, gallery, and gift shop. It preserves and educates on the heritage of the American Indian.

Old Cowtown Museum is a living history of Wichita in 1865 as a frontier settlement. They have over 40 buildings plus a working farm on the site. We enjoyed touring and learned a little more about Wichita. We even got to see a gunfight in the street showing the wild west.

Old Town has brick lined streets and old warehouses from the mid 1800’s which are now converted into shops, apartments, and restaurants. I had my hair cut here and we enjoyed Chicago Pizza.

Botanica, The Wichita Gardens sit on 9.5 acres with 25 gardens, 50,000 tulips, 100,000 daffodils, 20,000 annuals, 5000 chrysantheums, and 4000 species of plants. Everything was just beautiful and wonderful weather.

We both enjoy zoos so one day we went to the Sedgwick County Zoo. This zoo was founded in 1971 and has over 3000 animals with 400 different species. Enjoyable day.

McConnell Air Force Base is located here also and its primary mission is to provide refueling. We were able to witness that once in Minnesota and I must say it was impressive. We did a little shopping while here ad a quick tour of the campground.

Great Plains Transportation Museum displays old railroad cars. We enjoyed hearing stories about the railroad from a few old men whom used to work on the railroad.

One day we took a ride to Mulvane, Kansas and toured their historical museum. This town was started in 1879 as a rail town and the museum is located in the train station. The woman running the Museum was so friendly and imformative that we really enjoyed are stay.

Abilene Kansas is where the Texas longhorns passed thru and also where President Dwight David Eisenhower lived and where he is buried. The grounds consist of a Visitor Center, Presidential Library and Museum, his boyhood home and a place of meditation which was just beautiful. I love Presidential Libraries and learning more about our great leaders.

Something else we did that was totally different was to tour the Strataca – which is a Salt Museum located in Hutchinson, Kansas. It is built within one of the world’s largest deposits of rock salt and provides the opportunity to go 650 feet (198 meters) beneath the Earth’s surface. It is a unique destination attraction for exploring an environs carved from salt deposits formed 275 million years ago. The Hutchinson mine is home to Underground Vaults & Storage, a secure facility housing documents, artifacts, and other valuable material from around the world.

My favorite place was Lindsborg, Kansas which is called Little Sweden USA as Swedish immigrants settled the town in 1868. Both of my mother’s parents came from Sweden so it was very interesting to me. The town has only 3,458 people so very small. We had lunch at the Swedish Crown Restaurant and had a Swedish meatball dinner. It was good but my mother made them much better. LOL. We walked around town and went into the shops. We even went into a self serve bakery. You take what you want to eat and leave the money in a jar. Imagine that in today’s world? We met a really nice Swedish lady on the street and she told us different things to see. Such a small world – her son used to work at the CT State Library. We went into one gift shop where I bought a Christmas Swedish Angel Chime which we always had growing up.

We stopped at Viking Valley Playground which was built in 4 days by 900 volunteers. They used the ideas that the children gave them for the design and it is really cool. They had a tree house, rocket ship, climbing wall and a castle to name a few. Our grandchildren would have loved this stop.

The McPherson County Old Mill Museum which preserves the early heritage especially time frame from 1870 to 1910. They had a 1898 Smoky Valley Roller Mill which was built in 1898 and used until 1955. It processed over 35 bushels of wheat per hour which yielded 1470 lbs of flour. Most of it was built out of wood and was just beautiful. They also had an 1870 log cabin, 1903 school house, heritage center, chapel, train depot, windmill, blacksmith shop and the Swedish Pavilion from the 1904 World’s Fair. The director of the museum helped me to learn more about my swedish roots.

We visited Coronado Heights Park which we found by driving up a rocky dirt road. In 1930 Works Progress Administration build a castle and picnic area atop a hill. Once inside the castle you get great views of the farm lands surrounding the area. They believe that Coronado visited Kansas in 1541 so that is how they got the name.

Back to Chanute to pick up our camper and then we spent the night in the city park. As we were closing up the next morning the slide did not come in right so back to the factory for an adjustment. I must say that the people at NU-Wa are the nicest people to work with – they listen to you and do only what you tell them to do. We were able to leave everything in the camper and they worked around it. Very happy with our carpet and repairs.

Stay tuned for our next stop