Starting Our Summer Travels

Current Location: Seven Points Campground, Hermitage, Tennessee

This morning we packed up, cleaned out our tanks and headed up the road to the Nashville area. Malcolm is going to work in the office here for a week before we head on up to Pennsylvania, then out west.

The park here is very scenic. It is an Army Corp of Engineers park and is situated right on Lake Percy Priest, a few miles east of Nashville. Malcolm looked through their reservation system earlier this year and found one spot available for almost an entire week. That was literally the only week-long opening available this summer, or at least through this week, since we’ll be traveling the rest of the summer.

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Our home in the woods

We’re also going to try something a little different this trip. Instead of Malcolm renting a car, he is going to take the commuter train into town. It drops off about 4 blocks from his office and the local station here is about a 10 minute drive away (about 6 miles).

Both the change of venue and change of transportation method will save us quite a bit of money. The site here is $22 a night and a round trip on the train is $10. Compare that to a site at the KOA (where we usually stay) running about $75 a night and a rental car at nearly $40 a day (with fuel).

 

Back South Again

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

We headed back to Alabama, actually a week earlier than we had originally planned. When we called on Monday of this week to check on the status of our other trailer’s repairs, we were told it was done and ready to pick up.

We had originally thought about leaving Maryland and heading west to Indiana to inspect the other trailer. From there, we were going to pull one trailer south to Alabama, then return to get the other and take it south as well. We’re still figuring out where we are ultimately going to take the older trailer to get it sold.

Instead of heading to Indiana, we decided to head on down here to Alabama with our current rig. We’ll rent a car for Val to get around in and Malcolm is heading up to Indiana in the truck by himself. Assuming the trailer is repaired to our satisfaction, Malcolm will bring it back here to Ft. Toulouse so we can go through it and ready it for sale. Those plans may changed based on feedback on places that can consign the unit for sale.

At any rate, yesterday evening we stopped at the Holiday Travel Park near Chattanooga, Tennessee on the way home. When we arrived, it was 96 degrees outside and the weather app said it felt like 106. While the air conditioners worked to cool the trailer down, we headed up the road to McKay’s Used Books to browse around.

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Our site in Chattanooga

Once back at the rig, Malcolm grilled our dinner. Afterwards, Malcolm headed to the pool to cool off. Val decided to stay in the trailer.

This morning we headed on down to Alabama, parking in our usual spot here at Ft. Toulouse.

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Back at Ft. Toulouse

It was a little cooler here, but not much – about 92 degrees. While the air conditioners cooled the rig, we headed out to lunch. After lunch, we stopped by the office here to pay our campsite fees, picked up a couple things and headed to our friends’ house in Prattville to pick up mail and packages.

Two of the packages were our new desks, ordered from Amazon. They went together pretty quickly and we are pleased with them. We will be figuring out how everything will be riding down the road since the chairs won’t slide under the desks and they way they sit now, they will interfere with the slideouts coming in.

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New desks

After organizing desks and such, we headed into Montgomery to upgrade our two-year-old phones. Malcolm’s phone, in particular, has a battery that is giving out. The AT&T store only had rose gold phones, so Val got one of those. Malcolm went to a nearby Simply Mac store to get a regular gold phone (they were out of the gray ones he prefers).

We also stopped by Which Wich for dinner and used their high-speed wi-fi to update all our various devices. A couple other shopping stops and we headed back home for the evening.

 

Nashville and Lexington

Current Location: Kentucky Horse Park Campground, Lexington, Kentucky

No, it’s not a new railroad, it’s just another combined blog post.

For most of the prior two weeks, Malcolm worked in the Nashville office. On Tuesday of last week, Val’s sister Anne came down to visit with us a couple days. She headed back up to Kentucky on Thursday. We packed up and headed the same direction the next day – last Friday. Other than work, errands and shopping, there wasn’t much else to write about for our Nashville stop.

Per our last post, our trip here to Kentucky was to be a weekend excursion. We wanted to stop by Lexington and go to the horse races at Keeneland. The thought was we were going to do that on Saturday, then head back down to Nashville this past Sunday. As the date grew closer, it became evident from the long term weather forecast that we were looking at almost wintry weather on Saturday. We decided to stay the whole week, instead, with Malcolm working remotely.

It turned out to be a wise decision. The overnight lows both Friday and Saturday nights were below freezing. We even awoke to a dusting of snow on Saturday morning. The temperature on Saturday never climbed out of the low 40’s, and it was windy. Our plan now is to probably go to Keeneland on Wednesday, since the temperatures will be in the 60’s to 70’s the remainder of the week (and sunny).

Saturday, we just spent either inside the trailer taking care of a few items, or heading out to take care of a little shopping. On Sunday, we ate lunch out at Ramsey’s (Hot Browns) and headed to a few stores in the Nicholasville Road area. Malcolm was feeling a little blah (this is the third time we’ve experienced early spring blooms in the past month or so), so we didn’t spend much time out.

Today, Malcolm worked all day inside the trailer (it was warmer, but rained or threatened rain all day). Val took the laundry down to the campground laundromat to wash and dry it there (the campground doesn’t have sewer hookups, so we can’t really run the on-board washer for fear of filling the gray tank). This evening, we went to the grocery to pick up a few items, then back to the trailer to relax.

 

Further North

Current Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

Since we last posted, Malcolm flew out to San Diego the week of March 14th for work. Val stayed behind in Alabama. Once Malcolm got back home, we decided to stay one more week in Alabama so we could attend Easter Services at our home church there.

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Seals on the beach in La Jolla, CA.

Our son, David, moved out of his dorm room at Tyndall AFB and into a house he is sharing with a fellow airman. As part of that process, he and his buddies came up and cleared his stuff out of our 10′ x 15′ storage unit. We moved our stuff to a smaller 10′ x 5′ unit and gave up the larger unit.

After David and his roommate got settled in, they decided having a pet might be nice. We made suggested to them that they could take Callie and they agreed. We drove down on the Saturday before Easter with Callie and all her gear and dropped her off at the house. We visited for a while before heading back to Wetumpka. So, now we are pet-less travelers again. We often miss being greeted at the door by a cat, but we feel she’s probably in a better situation not traveling around so much, especially given her age (almost 13 years old).

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Callie commenting on the new place.

We packed up and left Wetumpka this past Monday and arrived here at the Nashville KOA mid-afternoon.We’ve been having random power problems with our 12V system since mid-winter. When it was colder, we chalked it up to the weather’s effects on the hydraulic system and so forth. We would randomly find the 12V breaker tripped after hooking up the trailer, despite leaving the power cord connected until we were hooked up to the truck.

Our inverter beeped all the way from Alabama to Nashville and refused to power up to keep our residential refrigerator running. Fortunately it was a short enough trip that everything stayed cold or frozen. Once we got set up here in Nashville, Malcolm checked the batteries and found that they were all very low on water. Essentially, the batteries were pretty much ruined.

We picked up one battery and ordered a second from Collum & Massey (the local RV dealer next to Camping World, who was out of batteries). The second one came in on Wednesday, so we now have two new batteries, full of water and that should hold a charge. Malcolm is going to add checking the water in the batteries to a monthly checklist he is going to eventually get around to making up.

We’ve done a couple modifications to the trailer. We painted our bathroom a dark teal color. It was supposed to be a lighter shade, but we didn’t realize the store mixed the wrong color until we had one coat on and it dried. We decided to just stick with that color anyway. Today, we put up some peel-and-stick gel tiles for a backsplash.

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Blue wall and gel tile backsplash.

While we were in Wetumpka, Malcolm found an old stereo receiver at a thrift store for $5. He figured for that price, it wouldn’t hurt to at least try it out to see what condition it was in. It turns out it is in very good condition considering its age (decoding the serial number, we found that it was built in August, 1971).

The only thing done to it so far, other than cleaning, is to shoot some contact cleaner ($12 from Amazon) in all the knobs and switches. That got rid of all the typical scratchy noises and it plays really well. It will eventually need a few parts replaced, but the parts are inexpensive and relatively easy for Malcolm to replace. He figured it would need some tinkering.

Malcolm added a shelf in the overhead cabinet over the TV and put the receiver on the bottom and the other electronic gear up on the shelf. We bought a pair of bookshelf speakers and used Command Strips to attach them to the cabinet top under the TV. Malcolm wired everything up, including pulling the speaker wires for the outside speakers and hooking them up to the “B” output on the receiver. Now we can listen to music inside, outside or both at the same time.

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The new stereo setup.

Another random thing. Before we left for Hawaii, our son came up and brought a present that he and his sister purchased together for our 30th wedding anniversary. Our son-in-law’s cousin’s partner is an artist at Disney. He did a commissioned piece for us based on pictures and information our daughter sent to him. You can see Callie and our traveling horse, Bullseye (above in stereo picture). Val and I are wearing hats/ears relating to our respective favorite Disney characters – Minnie Mouse and Goofy. And, of course, Cinderella’s castle in the background. (The following photo was taken from Instagram. Our copy is framed).

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Our new picture.

Our 2015 travel quilt was delivered while we were in Alabama. It came out great. Callie is modeling it for us here.

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2015 Travel Quilt

We still owe everyone some pictures from Hawaii. We’ll try to get those out here soon. We will be in Nashville until the end of next week. We’re taking a weekend trip up to Kentucky, then we’ll be back here another week.

 

Rally and Settling In

Current Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

We enjoyed the Heartland Owners Club rally here at the KOA last weekend. Lots of folks were glad to see us and we were so glad to be able to get here with the new trailer. As usual, there was plenty of food, fun and fellowship. On Friday and Saturday evenings there were get-togethers with food pitched in by all in attendance. On Sunday afternoon, a group of 14 of us went to dinner at Gondola House. Pretty much everyone had left by Monday.

Malcolm was back in the office this week. We rented a car on Sunday afternoon so he would have a ride into town and Val could still run errands. She has been busy unpacking stuff, organizing it and getting it put away. We’ve also been buying items to add to the rig similar to what we’ve done on the previous two rigs. Since a lot of them are repeats, we won’t delve into all the details.

We will be here until Saturday morning when we will head south for a while. We have an upcoming rally in Louisiana that we are looking forward to, followed by a volunteer stint at Fort Toulouse for Frontier Days.

At this point, the truck is all settled. The trailer insurance is still churning the estimate around their claims department. They may want to send another adjuster out to look at the trailer again.