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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Heading North

Current Location: Wytheville KOA, Wytheville, Virginia

Malcolm worked in the Nashville office the past week, Monday through Friday. As planned, he rode the train into town and back out each day. One day he forgot his ticket, so he called a co-worker who lives nearby and rode in with him. The train ride was much quicker and easier than driving a car and parking it. Plus, Malcolm got some exercise walking about 3/4 mile each way between the office and the train station in downtown Nashville.

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Hermitage Station, about 5 miles from the campground.

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Double-decker train cars

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Riding on the lower level

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Ticket to ride all week ($40).

Val worked on some sewing projects during the week, as well as some drawer organization projects. On Monday evening, we sat outside after dinner and watched the sunset colors. We could see some of the colors through the trees from our site. Malcolm walked down to the lake and took this picture.

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Monday night sunset

On Tuesday night, Malcolm inflated one of our pool tubes and went to float on the lake in the swimming area (just a couple minutes from our site). Val watched from on shore. The water was very warm and refreshing.

For a couple of years now, we’ve been sending postcards to Malcolm’s office (at his co-workers’ request). They tack them up on a map they put on the wall. The map is getting pretty full.

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Postcards from the road.

On Thursday night, we drove over to another campground to meet a family that Malcolm follows on Instagram. The Koi’s are a full-time family with a 12-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter that they homeschool (roadschool) while they travel. They fixed chili for us and we brought over a chocolate cake. We had a great time visiting with them all evening until it was time to leave the campground before they locked the gate.

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The Kois and us.

On Friday evening, Malcolm got off one stop early on the train and Val picked him up at the Donelson train station. Just across the main road from that station is our favorite Irish restaurant. We had a great dinner there before heading back to the trailer to finish packing things up for our trip today.

This morning, we were up and going early. We hitched up and headed to the dump station to clean out a week’s worth of gray and black water. We headed on out about 8:00 am, driving east on I-40, then picking up I-81 north. We stopped for the night here in Wytheville at the KOA we stopped in a couple weeks ago on the way from Maryland back to Alabama.

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Lunch at a Tennessee Rest Area

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Our site at the KOA

Tomorrow we head on up to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for a couple nights. The campground we are staying in there is rather special. Be sure to read our next post to find out why.

 

 

 

Lots of Pictures

Current Location: Wytheville KOA, Wytheville, Virginia

Here’s another catch-up post for you. This time it is because we’ve been having so much fun and getting in too late to organize everything into a blog post. So, here’s what we’ve been up to the past week.

On Wednesday, we took our Mt. Vernon and Arlington National Cemetery tour. Both were very interesting. We also stopped on the way to Mt. Vernon to visit Christ Church, where George Washington attended.

Here are some pictures from Christ Church and Mt. Vernon.

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Christ Church, where George Washington attended.

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Mt. Vernon from the front.

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Mt. Vernon from the back

Some pictures from Arlington National Cemetery.

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Kennedy grave sites and memorial

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Air Force memorial visible from Arlington Cemetery

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Rows and rows of headstones

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Guarding the tomb of the unknown soldier.

While at Arlington, we watched the guard change at the tomb of the unknown soldier. It was a very sobering ceremony.

Thursday night, we drove up towards Baltimore to go to Medieval Times. It was a very enjoyable evening. The food was good, but nothing spectacular. The show is the main draw. We were seated in the section cheering on the Red Knight. There were six different colored sections with six corresponding Knights. They performed various feats, including some jousting.

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The Red Knight – our hero.

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Our Master of Ceremonies on a beautiful Friesian horse.

Through the weekend, we enjoyed the company of others at our Heartland Owners Club rally. Friday night’s dinner was burgers and hot dogs on the grill. We all gathered around the Maryland Chapter Leaders’ campsite to eat dinner.

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Time for dinner

Saturday morning was a full breakfast at the same location as dinner Friday night. The rest of Saturday was a free day to do whatever you wanted. We just hung around the campground and took it easy. Saturday evening was a catered dinner at the outdoor pavilion. We had BBQ chicken and pork along with all the sides. We also took a group photo.

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Group photo (a few were missing)

On Sunday, we had a continental breakfast and said goodbye to those that were leaving. We stayed until Tuesday, so we had another lazy day around the trailer.

On Monday evening, we went on the DC at Night tour. We rode into town, around town, then back to the campground on the top, open deck of the double decker bus. It was a very full tour. We got lots of great pictures. Here are a few.

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Iwo Jima Memorial again

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Washington Monument in fading sunset

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Lincoln Memorial close-up

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Lincoln Memorial

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Washington Monument

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Artistic framing of the Lincoln Memorial

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FDR Memorial

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Washington Monument from the FDR Memorial

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Washington Monument from between the columns of the Jefferson Memorial

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Thomas Jefferson

This morning we said our goodbyes to a couple friends that were still left in the campground and headed out. We drove west on I-66, then south on I-81. We stopped for the night at the Wytheville KOA in Wytheville, Virginia.

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Our site

When we got out to check the position of the trailer, Malcolm noticed a trail of something on the ground that the trailer was leaving. It was dripping off the hose that has the fresh water tank drain valve, so Malcolm thought it was just not closed completely. Instead of water, he found out it was hydraulic fluid from our slides or leveling system. It has been accumulating in the underbelly of the trailer and started leaking out since we had to drive up a bit of an incline into our spot.

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The trail of fluid

We called a local RV mobile repair person who left his business cards at the KOA desk. He called back just a little while ago and said he could look at it, but if it involved the hydraulic hose fittings, he didn’t have the appropriate tools to fix it. We thanked him for considering it and decided we’ll just head on south as planned and figure out where to get it fixed later on.

We were going to grill dinner outside, but a front moving through had a pretty stiff breeze with it. Also, we were hearing thunder in the distance. We decided to take the campground up on their offer of cooking up some pizza for us. We ate some of it and put the rest in the fridge for leftovers.

Since we won’t be getting any repairs done here, we’re moving on tomorrow on south to probably the area of Chattanooga, Tennessee. We should be in Wetumpka on Thursday.

 

 

Maryland, Our 36th State

Current Location: Cherry Hill Park, College Park, Maryland

Never mind what your history books say, Maryland is our personal 36th state. 36th that we’ve stayed in since we started traveling, that is. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we still have a little bit of Virginia business to take care of first.

On Saturday, we ended up heading over to Busch Gardens again since we had paid tickets. We only had to pay for parking. The park was much busier on Saturday than it was Thursday. Malcolm got to ride one rollercoaster and a couple other rides he missed on Thursday. We also ate lunch in the Ireland area. Since it was hot and the crowds were getting larger, we decided to leave mid-afternoon.

We headed over to Malcolm’s Aunt Mary and Uncle Charles’ place to visit. Charles was out working at his hunt camp, so we missed him. We visited with Aunt Mary the rest of the afternoon. Malcolm’s cousin, Beth, and her family came over for dinner, bringing some great food along with them. We ate and visited until it was getting late, then we headed back to the trailer.

Sunday morning, we packed up, hitched up and stopped at the dump station to empty tanks. We hit the road about 9:00 am. We drove up I-64 to Richmond, I-95 to the I-495 beltway around Washington, DC, then to the park here at the intersection of I-495 and I-95 on the north side of the metro area. Traffic was snarled in one section of I-495 due to construction, but it wasn’t terrible.

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All set up in our shady corner

Once we got set up at the park, we relaxed while the air conditioners caught up. At 4:00, we went over to attend a seminar they give here at the park every day where they explain all the various options for visiting Washington, DC and surrounding areas. The talk included how to ride the city bus from the bus stop at the park to a local subway station so you can ride the subway into town. There are also several different Gray Line tours that pick up here at the park and take you around to the sites. We’re thinking of taking a couple of those tours.

We headed back to the trailer and ate leftovers for dinner then sat down and watched TV for a couple hours (Malcolm hooked up the cable TV when we were setting up). We’re not real big TV watching fans, but it felt good to just chill out and catch a couple episodes of The Property Brothers on HGTV.

 

 

Virginia For a Few

Current Location: Newport News Park Campground, Newport News, Virginia

We arrived at the Newport News Park Campground around 1:00 on Wednesday. We were instructed to drive around, find a site we liked, call the office to make sure it wasn’t reserved and pull on in. We ended up in the same site we stayed in a couple years ago, site #31 on the B loop. It’s a really nice site overlooking the woods.

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Our site

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Our view out the front door

After we got set up, we drove up to Williamsburg to do a little shopping. The campground is only a few miles away, so it makes for a nice drive. After Williamsburg, we headed down into Newport News to go to Costco to grab some things we needed. We ended up eating dinner at Mellow Mushroom since dinner was still frozen at the trailer. Once back at the trailer, we enjoyed the cool weather by opening the windows and turning off the air conditioning.

On Thursday, we drove over to Busch Gardens amusement park for the day. Since school is still in session locally (and probably elsewhere, as well), the park was not crowded at all. Malcolm got to ride all six of their rollercoasters (some more than once) and never had to wait more than about 5 minutes for each one.

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Busch Gardens

We paid for Fun Pass tickets, which allow us to return as many times as we want by September 5, 2016. They were the same price as a single day ticket to the park. We may not be back this summer, but no money lost. If we do come back, we only pay for parking ($15) and can enjoy the park for free.

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Entrance to “Ireland”

The park is divided into areas themed around different countries. We liked Ireland, and saw a really nice entertaining show there in the afternoon. It was a good break from all the walking around.

Today we made an appointment to get the truck serviced (oil change) at a local Ford dealer. We took things to keep us busy, which was a good thing, as they were busy. It took about an hour and a half to get the truck through. They had free wi-fi, so that helped.

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At the Ford Dealer

After we left the Ford dealer, we headed up to visit Historic Jamestowne. It was a very interesting history there. There is also active archaeology dig going on right now. We ate lunch at the restaurant on the grounds. It was really good food and a good price. We wandered around for a while before heading back to the truck. We also drove over to the Jamestown Glasshouse, which is a replica of an old glass-blowing factory that was built nearby.

Here are some pictures from around Jamestowne.

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John Smith statue

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Memorial to Jamestown, built when the park was dedicated around 1907

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General scenery

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Church built on the grounds around 1907, on the same site a church would have been there many years earlier

After visiting Jamestowne, we stopped back through Williamsburg just to walk around a bit and pick up a couple gifts. We also stopped into a pub to have a quick drink and a snack. Afterwards, we stopped by a grocery store in Williamsburg to grab some groceries.

It was a good thing we had the cold food in an insulated bag, as an accident on I-64 had traffic stopped for miles. We ended up getting back off the interstate and traveling slowly on US 60 for a few miles before it opened up. It took us about an hour and a half to get back to the trailer from Williamsburg – about an 8 mile drive.

Once back at the trailer, we put the groceries away and had leftovers for dinner. Malcolm got a little work in afterwards.

Tomorrow  we’re going over to Malcolm’s aunt and uncle’s house to visit with them and with Malcolm’s cousin who has been in Richmond with bone marrow treatments and therapy for the last six months. The whole family is getting together tomorrow afternoon for dinner.