Monday, April 25, 2011

Back Home

We returned home on the 23rd, unhooked the caravan and Mark went into work.  Reality hit us both really hard.  We felt a serious disconnect with the house and wanted to be back on the road.  We need an offer on the house to make this dream come true!  I will get busy posting items on craigslist again and plan on having another yard sale.  Still have lots to sell.  I know in my heart the house will sell so in the mean time I will continue to go through 10 years of stuff and keep a positive attitude.

Home For Sale
We bought the land in 1990 and starting building in 2000.  Mark & I built the home ourselves and moved in 2001.  I never thought I would be able to give it up but we are now ready for a new chapter in our lives to begin.  We have many wonderful memories in this home and I won't say that I won't shed a tear when we finally pull out for the last time.  What awaits us is the open road filled with adventure...

With 3 Outbuildings on 3.64acres

Built 2007 this is my garage. 

This was the 1st structure built on the land.  We actually lived in it along with a small camper while we were building the house.  I remember saying back then that I would never live in a camper again...never say never!  It has been Marks garage since we moved into the house.  That's our old camper that we sold and are storing it for abit until the new owners get a storage spot.

The carport was also built in 2007 and we have really enjoyed it.  We had parties and showed movies in it. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Our First Dinner Guests

Spent the day visiting with my Aunt Ruthie and Uncle Cliff who live in Bracey, VA.  Helped her with a few gardening projects.  She put a landscape timber border around some azealas on the back of the house but what I thought was interesting is what she use for weed block.  My Aunt Ruthie is one smart lady who I love and admire very much.  She has used recycled carpeting, check it out...

What a great idea.

Anyone that knows me knows that I am a passionate gardener and I just think this is a great idea!  I would have covered the whole bed with carpet if I had enough.

This finished project.

We had enough wood left so I made her one to go around another bush that she had, just need more mulch.

The front flower bed was in full bloom.  It was so nice to see bright colors again after a cold dull winter.  I wonder what my gardens look like?  I know that I have some work waiting for me when I get home.

This is her bottle tree.  It needs no watering or pruning and is fun to make!  First you have to buy wine in blue bottles and then of course they have to be drank before one puts the tree together.  That part was my job, hey somebody had to do it.  I gave her the bottles the last time she was down to visit me.

After the gardening was done we got cleaned up and headed to our camp site for dinner.  A good time was had by all.  Hamburgers on the grill with all the fixings and great conversation around the camp fire. 

Plan to spend the day tomorrow with Ruthie doing some thrift stores and errands.  Friday will be a day to just chill as it is suppose to rain all day.  Then Saturday we have to head home back to the rat race and reality, ugh :(

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

North Bend Park VA

This was our first time camping at a Corp of Engineers park and boy we feel we have found a jewel here in VA and it is close to my Aunt Ruthie and Uncle Cliff.  North Bend Park is located at John H. Kerr Reservoir. The 50,000 acre lake extends 39 miles up the wooded, cove-studded shoreline of the Roanoke River. With over 55,000 acres of public lands, you can enjoy swimming, fishing, camping, boating, or just relaxing. John H. Kerr Reservoir is the perfect destination to enjoy nature's beauty. North Bend Park offers 249 campsites on or near the lake. There are about 138 sites with water and electric hookups and 106 primitive sites. There is a paved jogging/bicycle trail that runs through North Bend Park as well as a fishing pier with Universal Access.

The John H. Kerr Dam sits at the eastern edge of Kerr Lake, or as the locals it, Buggs Island Lake.
This lake is the largest lake in the state of Virginia and is a very well kept secret. It straddles the state line and is called Lake Gaston on the North Carolina side. Everyone but people who live here refer to the Virginia side as Kerr Lake. Locals call it Buggs Island Lake. Are you confused on the names yet? Technically, as the maps show, Kerr Lake and Lake Gaston are two different bodies of water tied together by the Roanoke River inbetween them. There's a dam on the Lake Gaston end as well (but who cares about North Carolina?)

The powerhouse at the dam generates an average of 426,749,000 kilowatt hours of power per year.

In building the dam, the 50,000 acre Kerr Lake was the result, with 800 miles of coastline.

Our campsite is tucked into the woods with a slight view of the lake.  The sites are not right on top of each other with woods in between, fire rings and tables, the roads are paved as well as the jogging paths (wish we had our bikes) and they are huge.  $24 for water and electric.  Our site was 135 but unfortunately it can't be reserved.  Most sites are reservable but some are not.  Almost half of the sites are good for big rigs with room to spare.  We will defiantly be back here and are very impressed with the Corp of Engineers. 

This was my view every morning while I had my coffee listening to the birds and watching the squirrels.  There is a path leading to the lake where we could launch the kayaks. 

Mark cooking up a tasty breakfast.

                                                                   all is good.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Travel Day

Left Sevierville headed back to the dealer ship in Knoxville to have a few things fine tuned on the Caravan.  Dropped it off at 1pm then went into town to have some lunch at a highly recommended establishment known as the "Pizza Palace" which was featured on the food network show "Dinners, Drive-ins and Dives".
The Pizza Palace has been around for 50 years serving homemade spaghetti and meat sauce, hand-breaded onion rings, famous Greek salad and, of course, made-from-scratch pizza.  This is a true drive-in with a few stools up against the wall inside if you choose not to eat in your car. 
We went inside found some stools and placed our order.  One medium pizza with sausage, mushrooms, pepperoncinis, green peppers and onions.  An order of onion rings that where huge-you can order an 1/2 order and a Greek salad.

It was a feast and man it was good!!!  The pizza was wonderful with a thin crust, the salad very tasty but the onion rings needed some seasoning.  We highly recommend eating here when you are in the area.  We watch the show and have talked about checking out the places that Guy recommends so this was a pleasant surprise when we got there to find out that the Pizza Palace was on his list.

Well we didn't get out of the dealership until 5:30pm so we just headed east on I40 to get across the mountains and then find a place to stay.  The drive went well and the traffic was minimal so we kept going getting through the big cities with no problem.  It's alot easier to go through a city at night then in morning rush hour traffic.  It is not our plan to travel at night but we decided to keep on and then we found a Walmart at Oxford on Route15, stoped at 1:30am and slept for the night.  Got up in the morning and drove less than an hour to our campground in VA.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Day of Nothing

A day of nothing!!!  Mark went to breakfast this morning and brought me back a plate as I had no intention of getting up until I wanted too.  We spent the day not doing much of anything.  Visited with some folks and just chilled. 

River Plantation RV Park-site 199 was our home for a week.  The campgroung is located in Sevierville TN about 1 mile north of Pigeon Forge.  I would say it was an average park with gravel roads, concrete patio pads, fire rings, clean laundry facilities, located on the Little Pigeon River, pool, full hook ups with internet(was told it wasn't great by my neighbor) and large conference center making it a good choice for the rally.  Some sites are located on the river and several sites are pull though sites.  Of course it is close to all the area attractions.  We don't plan on coming back as we have had our fill of the area and want to see something new, the Smokeys are beautiful though and if you haven't been you should check the area out.  It is just too conjested for us and reminds us of Myrtle Beach SC.

Tomorrow we will head back to Knoxville to the dealer ship to have a few things addressed on the rig and then make our way back home stopping in VA to visit my aunt and uncle before we have to go back to reality.  Hopefully we can get out of the dealer ship early in the afternoon so we can make it across the mountains and find a campground for the night...

                                                                          all is good.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Last Day of Rally

Classes started way to early this morning at 8am but I forced myself to get up and attend. "Boondocking/Solar - this means camping without any hook-ups, we plan on doing some of this in Quarsite AR this coming winter. Of course that will means we will have to get some solar panels for the caravan but it can wait for now. The rig was order with another compartment for more deep cell batteries. I do like my hook-ups but it is a way to camp any where you want for free and in some beautiful areas. "Choosing Campgrounds/RV Parks"-lots of good info about finding campsites which is very important when you are a gypsy! "Packing Your RV For Full-Timing"-again good info, once we really start to pack it should be interesting as we have alot of stuff. You have to really think about how much things weigh as you can only carry so much weight. This reminds me of when we went camping with our good friends Karen and Stewart. When we rolled in and she seen everything we had she said the only thing missing was a rocking chair on the hood of the truck-I believe she called us the Clampits! Hey we got to have our toys-golf cart, kayaks, motorcycle and corn hole boards! I will be following Mark with a truck and trailer-just can't give up our toys at this point, should be interesting. "Traveling To Alaska By RV-good class but it has changed our mind on going to Alaska with the Caravan. When we do go it will be on a cruse ship or by train. Yeah classes are done with, this afternoon was open rig walk throughs. I didn't open up ours as it was just too new to have a bunch of people walking through but did show it to some of the nice people that we made a connection with. Our dealer RVs For Less brought two units to the Rally and one of them was our floor plan so I didn't feel to bad about not opening up ours. In the evening we had a catered dinner and a 70's Theme party which was fun. Exchanged info with some new friends that we met and hope to see them down the road some day. That is what is so cool about this life style-the people, places and new experiences.
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Zip Linning in the Smokey Mountains

Today was a free day with nothing scheduled, yeah!  A group got together and planned a trip to going zip linning.  This is something I have always wanted to do and was thrilled.  It is such a rush and we will be doing it again!!!  Glad we went early as the weather will turn bad this evening with high winds and rain.

Life is good...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

More Classes and Food

Classes that we attended today- Selecting A "Home Base" and Insurance Considerations: we will probably be residents of South Dakota, Working on the Road-there are so many options for work camping that we feel there will be no problem finding positions.  If you give a camp ground 15-20 hours a week you will get your camp site for free which is a big savings when you are on retirement, the possibilities are endless and I look forward to them.  We won't work camp all year but if you did it half the year and then boondocked (dry camp for free) and mochdocked (parked in a friends yard) you can really cut your campsite costs down!  The next class was a costly one- TV Options For RVers- this was all about satellite dishes, Direct TV, Dish TV, blah, blah, blah.  Anyway, we will do Direct TV but getting that damn satellite dish pointed in the right direct then storing it in the basement, blah, blah, blah...we now have an automatic one attached to the roof of the caravan-push a button and up it goes searching and bingo bam you have Direct TV.  Ouch, it hurt to write that check but it is now done.  I won't even go into the trouble we had getting Direct TV to start your account but all is good now...
Tonight for dinner we had a potluck with so much food it was embarrassing.  Afterwards they played Family Feud but we silently slipped out and came home to have a campfire.  We are wore out and needed some down time...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Kings Throne

Today starts classes and Mark is waiting for his recliner to be delivered today. We only got one recliner as I wanted to leave room for my jeweler's bench and I sit on the sofa at home anyway. The seminars we attended were: Emotional Aspects of the Full-timing Decision, What does It Cost to Full-Time and Internet On The Road. All classes were good and made you think of things you may not have considered but the Internet class gave me more information than I ever cared to know! I use a Verizon MiFi hot spot and have so far always had Internet so I will continue with what works. Mark's recliner arrived and he is a happy camper! Purchased it from Best Buy-they sell theater seating and we found it online but had to stop at several Best Buy stores to actually be able to sit in it, we feel we made the right decision. It is very hard to find a wall away recliner that has some style and isn't huge. The color is a warm chocolate brown and the arm rests have storage for the 16 remotes that are needed to operate all the components!  The drink holder compartments are great as there is no room for an end table.


Tonight we had a Chili cook off for dinner that was wonderful. It was great to try so many different kinds of chili. After dinner there was a show and tell of your favorite RV/Camping accessories which was very informative. I showed my flour sack dish/hand towels and explained that I really like them because they dry so quickly and they don't sour.  Of course I have to put my own twist on them.  They are white when you get them (I buy mine at Dollar General and have seen them at Walmart) but I dyed some of mine and added the camper.  I also cut one into quarters and use them as my dish rag.  If they get stains then just dye them, I will never use a regular dish towel again.

My brain is full and it is time for bed...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Rally Begins

It was a raining day in the Smokey Mountains with a storm passing through that should clear out by this evening. We took our time getting up and just chilled in the caravan until registration at 2pm. Dropped off some laundry on our way as we didn't get a washer/dryer in the caravan because of the weight and lose of space. Going to the laundry house brings back memories when Mark and I were first together and to poor to own one. Now it is by choice and you get to meet the nicest people as well. We bought a drying rack to hang on the ladder off the back of the caravan which works great. Made a little improvement with a piece of wood that helps to hold it out with more stability.

I took a class during registration to learn how to make braided tee shirts. It's a cool concept ladies that changes an ordinary shirt into something different (you know I like to be different) and it's fun to do. I will definitely be teaching it to my peeps.

A tasty catered meal was provided then it was on to information about the up coming week. Along with a show of hands to indicate full timers, future full timers, future full timers waiting on the sticks and bricks to sell(that would be us), how many years on the road, who traveled the farest, etc. It's amazing how many people want to live this life style! That's really what the whole week is about, talking to people about their journey, tricks and tips, what to expect and gathering as much information as possible. After the introductions everyone moved to different tables to mingle and meet new folks, then we played a game. Two tea bags were attached to each side of the bill on a ball cap. One had to try to flip the tea bags up on the bill of the cap, a good time was had by all.

All is good...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

RV Dreams Rally - Sevierville TN

Made a big move today 2 miles north to River Plantation RV Park for the RV Dreams Rally.  We signed up to attend the rally back in Nov which is all about full timing in an RV and it coincided with picking up the caravan, sometimes good plans do work out.  The rally doesn't really begin until Tuesday but alot of people come in early and we are glad we did.  This is a much larger park which will be good for the rally as there are 170 people attending from all over the country.  There was a meet and greet cocktail hour at Linda and Howard's site tonight, they are the folks that started the rally I think back in 2005? and they have been full timing since 2004?  There were alot of people from NC and we chatted with several folks which I can't remember their names but it is nice to be surrounded by people that either are living the dream or plan to very soon.  Glad to know there will be name badges on Tuesday.  Of course we talked with other Mobile Suite owners and toured each others coaches to see how they had theirs set up.  Right across from our site there is a couple that have had their coach 7 months and have the exact floor plan as us and met another couple that will be getting their coach in a couple of weeks with the same floor plan.  Tomorrow we will walk the park, take care of errands, ride down to Gatlinburg to check it out and pickup some alcohol as Pigeon Forge is a dry county, then in the evening Mark will play poker...all is good.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Inside Pictures

So here are some inside pictures and remember I am new to this blogging thing.  I tried to put them in the correct order but wasn't successful, but I am sure you are can figure it out.
Mark ordered his chair, it will be next week and it is coming to the campground 

 Check out my took two days to get them all on but it was worth it.

Don't ask me why there is a big gap between these pictures?