Birthday Time

Dates: Aug. 28 to 29, 2018

Location: Wytheville KOA, Wytheville, Virginia

After we left Kentucky, we traveled through West Virginia and into Virginia for a stop at Wytheville. On the way, we stopped at Tamarack which is a big building with a lot of crafts and other things made in West Virginia. We also ate lunch in their cafe.

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We arrived mid-afternoon at the Wytheville KOA and set up our trailer. They put us in a new area with a lot of nice, new pull-throughs.

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We decided to cheat for dinner and ordered a couple Hunts Brothers pizzas from the campground’s pizza counter. They offered to deliver it, but Malcolm walked up to pick it up.

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The next morning we hitched up and headed on to North Carolina.

Dates: Aug. 29 to 31, 2018

Location: Falls Lake SRA – Rolling View Campground, Durham, North Carolina

We arrived at the campground in North Carolina mid-afternoon and set up the trailer. It was a 30 amp site, so we ran one air conditioner to cool off the rig the best we could in the 90+ degree weather. Fortunately, our site had a pretty good tree cover.

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After we got the rig set up and relaxed for a bit, we headed over to the Raleigh-Durham airport to pick up our daughter, Elizabeth, and our granddaughters Violet and Scarlet. They flew in to help us celebrate Malcolm’s cousin Theresa’s 50th birthday. We stopped at Cracker Barrel after the airport so that Elizabeth could get her southern cooking fix (they don’t have Cracker Barrel restaurants near Seattle).

The next day, we contacted Malcolm’s cousin for ideas of things we could do in the area and she suggested the Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh. The girls had a great time. There were tons of interactive learning things to do. Even the adults found some fun stuff.

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Elizabeth Surfing

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Valerie Surfing

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Malcolm playing a tune on the musical stairs

After the museum visit, we headed to Theresa’s house for dinner and to map out our route there from the campground as well as find out where we were going to park the trailer over the Labor Day weekend at her place.

The next day we loaded everyone and hooked up the trailer to take it to Theresa’s place. We filled up the water tank on the trailer so we could reduce the need for water since Theresa was having problems with her water well.

Dates: Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, 2018

Location: Malcolm’s cousin Theresa’s House, Creedmoor, North Carolina

After we pulled in at Theresa’s house, Elizabeth and the girls got a surprise. Our son David had flown in for the weekend, as well, and had driven on over to Theresa’s house before we got there.

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Set up next to the barn at Theresa’s

We didn’t have enough power to run any air conditioners in the trailer at Theresa’s, so we opened windows and turned on the vent fans. We headed on into Durham for another fun field trip – The Lemur Center at Duke University. The girls had recently been reading about lemurs and the Lemur Center was mentioned in their books.

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Since Elizabeth had pre-arranged for five people for the tour, not knowing David was going to be there, Val decided to stay back in the gift shop while the rest of us went on the tour since they were otherwise booked full.

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The girls both picked out a couple of ringtail lemurs at the gift shop to take with them.

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After our Lemur Center visit, we decided to stop by Target and pick up a couple box fans to help keep the trailer comfortable.

On Saturday, Malcolm’s aunts had suggested we bring the girls over to the hotel where they were staying and go swimming in the pool. We had to stop by Target to go swimwear shopping then headed on to the hotel pool. We all had a good swim before heading back to the trailer, then out to a steakhouse for dinner with the whole family.

Violet wasn’t feeling good on Sunday morning, so we relaxed around the trailer. Malcolm helped Theresa and some of his family decorate up for the birthday dinner later in the day. Theresa’s birthday was on Sunday. One of Theresa’s friends brought some really good pulled pork and we had barbecue sandwiches with birthday cake for dessert.

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We visited with family late into the evening at Theresa’s house (in the air conditioning).

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Dates: Sept. 3 to 4, 2018

Location: Falls Lake SRA – Rolling View Campground, Durham, North Carolina

On Monday, which was Malcolm’s birthday, we pulled the trailer back over to Falls Lake so we could all have one evening of air conditioning and the ability to take showers, if desired, before Elizabeth and the girls flew back on Tuesday. David was going to ride back to Florida with us in the trailer.

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We met the family at Cracker Barrel for Malcolm’s birthday dinner and to say goodbye to the rest of the family members that were still in town.

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The two birthday cousins

On Tuesday, we took our time getting ready and about 2:00, Elizabeth and the girls headed to the airport in the rental car while we hitched up the trailer for the trip back to Florida. We had one minor glitch before we left and had to fix a slide out seal that had come loose. Malcolm and David took care of that and we were on our way.

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Sights and Storms

Current Location: Camp Hatteras, Waves, North Carolina

On Monday, we did some more sightseeing around the Outer Banks. We were hoping to beat the weather being pushed northward from tropical storm Colin. We were successful in missing all the rain before we got back home.

We drove up north quite a ways to visit the Currituck Lighthouse. We basically walked around the grounds for a few minutes, took some pictures and shopped in their gift shop for a bit. We also walked around the nearby old village of Corolla, but were getting hungry and they didn’t have much in the way of food that sounded good, so we hopped in the truck and headed south to the town of Duck, where we found a good pizza buffet.

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Currituck Lighthouse

After lunch, we stopped by the Wright Brothers Memorial and walked around. We decided not to walk up the hill to the monument at the top due to hot and humid weather.

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Wright Brothers flight re-enactment.

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Memorial marker on Big Kill Devil Hill

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Plane replicas in the visitor center

We headed on back to the trailer after our sightseeing adventures. Pretty soon after we got home it started raining. The wind picked up at bedtime and the rain kept on coming. We decided since tropical storm Colin was forecasted to graze our area in the morning that we would pull in all our slides overnight to prevent wind damage to the slide toppers.

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Slides pulled in for the night

We left the slides in for a while this morning. Rather than try to climb over things to fix breakfast, we ventured out to a local coffee shop. Malcolm got a bagel (what he would have had at home anyway) and Val a muffin along with hot beverages. We watched the wind and rain blow around from the porch of the store. We drove up and down the strip for something to do, hitting a couple shops before heading back to the trailer.

We never got a whole lot of wind from the storm, just a bunch of rain. Both had cleared out by lunch time. We put the slides out after we got back from being out as the wind was dying down by mid-morning. Since the rain had stopped, we walked out to the beach to watch the waves beating on the shore.

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Lots of waves, tropical storm off in the distance

The rest of the day was nice and sunny. Malcolm caught up on some work and Val took the opportunity to sit outside in the sun for a while.

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Blue Skies

We headed out after dinner to fill the truck up with fuel and grab some money from the ATM. We pack up in the morning and head to Newport News for the rest of the week and the weekend. We’re hoping to visit with Malcolm’s cousin who has been in Richmond for bone marrow transplant and related treatments and therapy since Christmas.

 

 

Outer Banks

Current Location: Camp Hatteras, Waves, North Carolina

We left Lumberton yesterday and drove up I-95 to Rocky Mount, North Carolina. From there, we took US 64 east to the coast, then NC 12 down the outer banks islands to our current location in Waves. As we drove down NC 12, we noticed a lot of spots where standing water was slowing traffic as everyone slowly trudged through the water.

This area had a whole lot of rain on Thursday (we arrived on Saturday) that had a lot of places flooded out. The campground, itself, had several flooded sites. We had a fair amount of standing water next to our site in the grass. It has since finally subsided.

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All set up

After we got set up, we ended up going out to eat at a local pizza place since dinner was still frozen. We also walked out to the beach for a few minutes and checked out the sand and water (cold).

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Val at the beach

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Artsy beach photo

Today was a sightseeing day. First, we drove south to Buxton and visited the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. We mainly wandered about at ground level. You could buy a ticket and hike to the top of the lighthouse, but we decided not to do that. We did pick up some items for our National Parks passport book at the gift shop.

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Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Malcolm realized while we were here that he first visited Buxton with his family on a vacation in 1966, so it was a sort of 50 year reunion for him. He started to try to find the hotel where they stayed back then, but after visiting the lighthouse, he was pretty sure that the hotel probably no longer exists.

The reason being that the Outer Banks “move” inland a few feet every year, with the wind and waves pushing the eastern shore inwards. That is why they moved the Cape Hatteras lighthouse in 1999 about 1500 feet in from the shore, because it was in danger of being surrounded by ocean very soon. For the same reason, the location of the beachfront motel where Malcolm stayed in 1966 is probably a couple hundred feet out in the ocean by now.

After visiting the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, we headed back north. We stopped at the Top Dog restaurant, near our campground, for lunch. We both had the fish taco plate. We could have split one plate. The tacos were huge. We did take some home with us, dropping it at the trailer on the way by the campground.

We then stopped to visit the Bodie Island lighthouse. We did some light shopping in the gift shop, stamped our passport book, went outside to take some pictures, then headed on up the road.

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Bodie Island Lighthouse

We were originally going to just drive around and sightsee for a bit the rest of the afternoon, but instead ended up visiting Fort Raleigh and The Lost Colony. We again got our passport book stamped there. We also picked up our own Buddy the Bison. This is a stuffed animal that they ask that you put in pictures when you visit various National Parks and Monuments. We took our first Buddy the Bison picture at the mounds where the Lost Colony used to stand.

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Buddy the Bison at the Lost Colony

We also went next door to tour the Elizabethan Gardens. They had lots of beautiful plants and a couple big gardens.

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Elizabethan Gardens

Since it was a hot and muggy day, we didn’t tour the gardens for a very long time, though a lot of the walkways were in the shade. From there, we packed up and jumped in the truck for the long-ish ride back to the campground and had leftovers for dinner.

It’s been very windy most of the day. Even more so this evening. Looks like we’re also expecting some storms overnight, but possibly clearing up enough tomorrow to do some more sightseeing.

 

North Carolina

Current Location: Lumberton/I-95 KOA, Lumberton, North Carolina

This morning, we got the trailer hitched and ready to go, then headed to the main building at the KOA to enjoy some free waffles. We brought our own drinks, but they did have coffee and orange juice available. The waffles were great. Though they were free, there was a donation box that we dropped a couple dollars in.

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Waffle time.

We headed out about 8:45 and had an easy drive up I-95 to Lumberton, North Carolina. The KOA here is an older campground with new owners (a little less than a year) that are working on fixing the place up. They’re doing a great job so far. The main area of the campground has a smattering of trees, so we had a very sunny site all afternoon.

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Lumberton KOA, Site 30

After we set up, Val decided to relax in the trailer while the air conditioning caught up. Malcolm checked out the swimming pool and decided to go for a swim for a while. The water was just perfect and the pool very nice. It was a great way to cool off (the temperature here was around 95 degrees when we arrived).

We decided to eat dinner out at Cracker Barrel up at the next exit. Malcolm enjoyed the camp style beef dinner – one of his favorites that they introduced last summer. After dinner, we stopped by the Food Lion to pick up a few groceries, then headed back to the trailer. After putting groceries away, we walked to the back of the park where there is a short trail out to the Lumber River, which runs right behind the campground.

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The Lumber River

It’s not a very big river at this point, but it was quiet and scenic.

Tomorrow we head north, then east to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We have reservations out there for three nights.

We’ll close with a cool picture that Val grabbed as we were heading up I-95 today.

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I see us

Halfway Home

Current Location: Asheville West KOA, Candler, North Carolina

This morning we packed up and headed out in the middle of a cold, intermittent rain. It rained on us until lunch time. We had stopped at a truck stop to fill up the truck and it was still cold (38 degrees) and raining. Instead of standing outside in the cold rain, or heading inside to fix lunch, we decided to go a few miles up the road and treat ourselves to a meal at Cracker Barrel. The rain stopped just as we got there and the sun was shining when we left.

The weather turned nasty again as we got into Asheville, spitting rain and snow at us. We decided to call it a day at the Asheville West KOA where we stayed on the way to the North Carolina rally near the end of October. The folks here are really nice. When Malcolm asked at the office if they have LP gas, they said yes and to go ahead and park the rig and set the tank out. They picked it up, filled it, charged it to the credit card, emailed us a receipt and dropped the tank off at the door.

We stayed hooked up to the truck and only plugged in the 50 Amp cord. We heated up leftovers on paper plates for dinner to minimize the amount of dishes.

Our spot for the night

Our spot for the night

We should be in Nashville tomorrow, hopefully not too late. It’s only about a five hour drive from here, but the weather is calling for snow showers with a chance of accumulation here in the mountains. We suspect once the sun is up it shouldn’t be too bad on the roads.