Adventures in RVing

July 7 to 8, 2019 – Shawnee Forest Campground, Vienna, Illinois

We got up early this morning to hook up the RV and head on up the road to our next stop in Illinois. It was a 460 mile trip, so we wanted to get going as soon as we could.

We were out getting things ready to go around 7:00 AM when Malcolm turned on the tire pressure monitor system as part of his routine. It started beeping about low pressure, supposedly on the front-left trailer tire. A quick check with a pressure gauge verified the bad news. So, our early start was delayed while Malcolm put the spare on the trailer and tossed the bad tire in the back of the truck.

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Being a Sunday, there wasn’t much we’d be able to do with the tire so we decided to go on ahead on the spare and take our chances. We made it to Illinois without any further tire issues. While inspecting the low tire, Malcolm didn’t see anything in the tread or sidewall area. It might be yet another cracked wheel (would be our third one). We’ll know when we get it checked.

The campground we are staying in is pretty nice. It is brand new (opened on Memorial Day weekend of 2019). The owner met us at the entrance and, finding out about our tire issues, offered to contact RV shops for us tomorrow if we wanted him to. We told him we’d let him know.

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The sites here are built on the side of a hill and, while generally level, are still a bit uphill and off-kilter just a bit. We see this a lot. Regardless, the utilities work and we’re not too far up in the air on the low side.

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Malcolm identified a couple local places that do tire work. He’s thinking of taking the low tire in to one of those places as soon as they open to see if they’ll at least give it a look to see what the issue is. If they can fix it right away we’ll put it back on the trailer.

Otherwise, if it turns out to be a cracked wheel, Malcolm can at least start contacting the wheel supplier for, hopefully, another wheel (if the replacements are under warranty). We’ll see. We might end up buying a steel wheel (like the spare wheel) to at least get us across the country so we have a spare tire available.

To the best of our recollection, today’s trip went through more states in one day (four) than we’ve done before (we’ll have to look back and see). We started in Alabama and traveled through Tennessee and Kentucky on the way to Illinois.

 

 

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Nashville and Kentucky

Dates: Aug. 12 to 25, 2018

Location: Seven Points Campground, Hermitage, Tennessee

On the weekdays during the two weeks we were here, Malcolm worked downtown in his office. He rode the train in every day. Some days Val dropped him off at the train station and other days he drove the truck over and left it there all day. Val worked on various sewing projects.

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The Morning Train

The weather was nice most days. It rained one morning as Malcolm left the trailer but had fortunately stopped by the time he got to the train station.

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Barge Traffic in Downtown Nashville

Over the weekend, we did some antique shopping at a couple places in downtown Nashville. One specializes in mostly mid-century to 1970’s items. It’s always fun to walk through.

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We also did our laundry at a laundromat over the weekend so that we could catch up on our clothes washing since we don’t have sewer hookups at the campground. We did hitch the trailer up over the weekend and took it to the dump station and back to the site on Saturday morning.

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Mid-stay tank clearing

On the last workday, Malcolm left the office a little early and caught the first train out of town at 4:20 instead of 5:05, getting off at the first station where Val picked him up. We went out to dinner at a pizza place nearby before heading back to the trailer to start packing it up to leave.

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The Last Train Ride

On Saturday morning, the 25th, we hitched up the trailer and dumped the tanks once again and headed from Nashville to northeast Kentucky, where Malcolm grew up.

 

Dates: Aug. 25 to 28, 2018

Location: Ashland/Huntington West KOA, Argillite, Kentucky

We arrived at the KOA and set up the trailer on Saturday afternoon.

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KOA near Ashland, KY

After relaxing a bit, we drove into Flatwoods, Kentucky and had dinner at the Giovanni’s Pizza restaurant where Malcolm often went when growing up in the area. They had the usual pizza buffet set up. We added side salads to our meal along with the restaurant’s special red salad dressing (very similar to a Catalina dressing).

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On Sunday morning, we went to church with a couple of Malcolm’s classmates at Advance United Methodist church in Flatwoods. After church, Malcolm’s classmate Margaret King drove us over to the Chinese buffet for lunch. We had a great time visiting with Margaret and eating lunch.

We spent Sunday afternoon relaxing at the trailer. It was pretty hot outside and we just felt like sitting inside and doing nothing.

This morning (Monday), we drove out in Greenup County and visited the two covered bridges that are still standing. Both have been rebuilt to some extent over the years, but one is still in active use for light vehicles.

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Bennett’s Mill Covered Bridge

We also drove to the Greenup Locks and Dam on the Ohio River. You used to be able to take a tour of the locks and watch the barge traffic moving through, but you can only view it from the river bank now. We walked down to the bank and watched for a while, taking a few pictures.

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Tugboat heading to the locks

We drove on into Ashland and had lunch at Panera Bread followed by a shopping trip to Joann Fabrics. From there, we drove around town for a bit then headed back out to the campground to change clothes for a dinner engagement. On the way, we stopped at Crisp’s Dairy Bar, a local favorite, and got some frozen treats.

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We headed back into town and met several of Malcolm’s high school classmates (and a couple of their spouses) for dinner at Blazer’s restaurant in Ashland.

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We had a great visit and a pretty good turnout. Malcolm’s classmates decided after the last high school reunion last year that it would be fun to get together on a more frequent basis, so they go out to dinner once a month now as well as some other special get-togethers.

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The Dinner Crowd

We sat around and visited until about 9:00 when everyone started heading for home. We said our goodbyes and headed back out to the trailer to get ready for our trip tomorrow. We’re heading to North Carolina for the Labor Day weekend, with a stop tomorrow night in Wytheville, Virginia.

 

Heading Back East, Part 2

Dates: Aug. 7 to 9, 2018

Location: Lake Mitchell Campground, Mitchell, South Dakota

On our first full day in Mitchell (Aug. 7), we drove about an hour northeast to the town of DeSmet, South Dakota, otherwise known as “The Little Town on the Prairie”.

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We stopped into the gift shop and signed up for a Laura Ingalls Wilder tour.

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Laura Ingalls Wilder tour and gift shop

The tour started next door at the Surveyors’ House, where the Ingalls lived for a while during their stay in DeSmet.

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Upstairs bedroom at the Surveyors’ House

We also toured DeSmet’s first school house.

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From there, the tour group traveled a few blocks away to visit the house that the Ingalls built in DeSmet.

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It was a very nice tour. Our tour guide did a great job. After the tour, we bought a few souvenirs and headed downtown in DeSmet to grab a sandwich for lunch and look around a few of the shops. We headed back to Mitchell later in the afternoon and back to the trailer.

The next day (the 8th), we drove to downtown Mitchell and walked up and down the street, stopping in a couple stores along the way. We didn’t go into the Corn Palace (we’ve done that before), but looked around their gift shop which has moved from inside the building to across the street.

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We also did some other shopping in town before heading back to the trailer for the evening.

Dates: Aug. 9 to 10, 2018

Location: Onawa/Blue Lake KOA, Onawa, Iowa

Our next stop was in Onawa, Iowa at the KOA. Directly across Blue Lake from the campground was a state park campground. Both were fairly busy. The KOA is a nice park. We left the truck hooked to the trailer and enjoyed sitting outside for a while in the evening.

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Dates: Aug. 10 to 11, 2018

Location: Country Gardens RV Park, Odessa, Missouri

Our next stop was at the Country Gardens RV Park. We’ve stayed here a few other times along the way. They have a store with a huge selection of cheeses and other treats, some of them from various Amish areas. We stocked up on cheese and some sweet treats. We left the truck hooked up to the trailer here, as well.

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Dates: Aug. 11 to 12, 2018

Location: Hinton RV Park, Sikeston, Missouri

Our next stop was in Sikeston, Missouri. We’ve stayed at this campground before, as well. It’s a pretty nice campground and just a mile from one of our favorite restaurants – Lambert’s (the home of throwed rolls). We drove by Lambert’s on the way to check out an antique store and saw a huge crowd waiting for dinner (at 3:00 PM).

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We came on back about 3:30 and put in our name and got a number. It was a two hour wait to eat, which was pretty accurate – we were seated about 5:30. The food is worth the wait, though. The main reason for the huge crowd was that there was a rodeo going on later in the day.

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Before leaving the park, we made sure to empty and clean out all our gray and black tanks since our next stop is in the Nashville area and there are no sewer hookups there.

Aug. 12, 2018

Location: Seven Points Campground, Hermitage, Tennessee

We rolled into Nashville about 12:30 PM after noting that our campground has a 2:00 check-out time and a 3:00 check-in time. We decided to waste time by stopping at the Cracker Barrel on Music Valley Road (and parking in the mostly empty parking lot for the shopping center nearby).

We had a leisurely lunch and then drove on over to the campground, arriving around 2:00. The people that had been on our site had literally just left (we passed them on the way in), so we could head on back and set up. We have a very shaded and wooded site.

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After setting up the trailer, we headed out to get some shopping done, then back to the trailer to cook dinner and go through our mail via FaceTime with our daughter. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing.

Malcolm will be working in the office here in Nashville the next two weeks.

 

Our Time in Nashville

Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

Dates: Apr. 8 to 21, 2018

Malcolm worked in the office every day the first week we were here and the first four days of the second week. On Friday, April 20, he decided to work from the trailer. That gave us a chance to make sure everything was ready for our trip north to Kentucky on Saturday, the 21st.

Malcolm drove the truck downtown those nine days he worked downtown. He parked in the parking garage next to the office building and the receptionist gave him vouchers to pay for his parking. Val worked on projects in the trailer those nine days and rode the shuttle from the campground to downtown Nashville once each week to have lunch with Malcolm and the crew.

One reason we came to Nashville was so that Malcolm could officially receive his plaque for 20 years of service with the company (his 20th anniversary was February 23, but we weren’t planning on coming up in the dead of winter).

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Malcolm receiving his plaque from his boss.

On Saturday and Sunday in the middle of our visit, we took care of normal shopping and also visited a few thrift shops and antique stores. We also picked up a new hotspot from AT&T. Our old one was working fine, but this one has been getting great reviews for speed and stability.

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One of the neat antique stores we visited was Pre to Post Modern, which carried a lot of mid-century modern items. We didn’t buy anything, but it was fun looking at all the things they had.

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On the second Monday we were there, the temperature was right around freezing in the morning. Malcolm went to get into the truck and found the windshield covered in frost. These Floridians have no ice scraper in the truck, so Malcolm just waited until the defroster melted it enough to clear with the wipers.

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Frosty

A couple days later the temperatures had gone back to more spring-like levels. All the blooming trees have been blooming here.

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Pink blooms littering the ground and water feature

We ate at the Cock of the Walk restaurant a couple times while we were here. It is located next door to the campground, so it was an easy walk. As a matter of fact, you could see our trailer from one of the dining rooms.

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There’s our house (on the left)

We packed up the trailer this morning (Saturday, the 21st) and headed up the road to Lexington, Kentucky. Stay tuned for that visit in the next installment.

Here, There and Everywhere

Location: Washington State visiting Grandchildren

Dates: Mar. 27 – Apr. 2, 2018

Once we were back from the beach trip, Malcolm and the girls worked on their pinewood derby cars for Awana. Malcolm and Violet both got sick shortly after we got back. Not sure about Violet, but Malcolm had the flu (we never got around to getting flu shots).

Violet’s car won 2nd place in her division for design. Malcolm’s car won first place in the adult division for design. None of our cars were terribly fast, though, but they at least made it to the finish line. Violet was home sick the night of the race, so Nana raced in her place and accepted her award.

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The rest of the week we all just had fun. Malcolm tried to work as much as he felt like even though he had the flu.

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Eventually, on Friday, Malcolm went to the doctor. They determined he had the flu and gave him a prescription for flu meds, though they wouldn’t guarantee that they would do any good since he had the flu longer than 48 hours. (They did help some).

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Cole came home from India on Friday afternoon. Elizabeth went to the airport to bring him home. He caught up on his sleep over the weekend. Malcolm was still sick on Easter Sunday, so he stayed home while everyone else went to church.

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The girls had an Easter egg hunt on Sunday afternoon. Scarlet sorted all her candy out by type.

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On Monday, Malcolm was feeling better. We spent the day getting ready to fly home. Our flight left late in the evening on Monday and arrived early morning in Orlando on Tuesday.

Location: Our RV Lot at Deer Creek RV Golf and Country Club

Dates: Apr. 3 – 6, 2018

We flew in to Orlando early in the morning on Tuesday, the 3rd. We picked up our car from the parking lot and headed home. We slept very little on the plane, so we slept for a few hours once we got home. Later, we headed across the street and brought Callie home from our neighbors who were watching her while we were away.

We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday catching up on laundry and getting the trailer ready for travel. On Friday morning, we hooked up the trailer to the truck and headed out for a couple weeks in Nashville.

Location: Tifton KOA, Tifton, Georgia

Dates: Apr. 6 -7, 2018

Our first stop on the way to Nashville was Tifton, Georgia. We had some slow traffic in Florida due to the heavy spring break traffic mixed with a tanker truck that had crashed and caught fire.

Location: Holiday Travel Park, Rossville, Georgia

Dates: Apr. 7 – 8, 2018

Our second stop was in Rossville, Georgia (just outside of Chattanooga). We again hit traffic due to a traffic accident and generally heavy spring break traffic south of Atlanta.

Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

Dates: Apr. 8, 2018

Today’s journey from Chattanooga to Nashville took less than 3 hours up I-24. It was a generally smooth drive. There was a lot of spring break traffic again but it generally moved well.

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We’ll be here for two weeks while Malcolm works in the office here.

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