Carolina's and Catskills

Friday, June 29, 2012

Carolina's....a place we haven't been to near enough. We did spend some time in New Bern, NC when we picked up the first BRAT (Big Red's Attack Trailer). We stayed at the KOA and had a gorgeous view. We hope to go back and spend more time there someday.

We have also visited, several times, the Fontana Dam area of NC. Great riding country, beautiful scenery, close to Deal's Gap, the Cherohala Skyway and Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg. A special visit was to Wheels Through Time Museum, Maggie Valley NC

We have season tickets for Dollywood, so I suspect we'll be visiting that area again. No phones, no Internet (unless you're in the lodge), quiet and secluded. Sigh....

BONUS: The Catskills

Basements and Badlands

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Basements, not the kind you find under a building but the ones you find in the bellies of an RV. I don't think you can ever have enough basement space. In our KZ Escalade, we have one large basement area that can be accessed from either side of our rig. It has a heavy duty rolling tray which works well...well, unless you get something stuck under the tracks.

We do have other storage areas but they contain the things we need to travel - batteries (another B), generator (where we also store our portable DirecTV dish and a couple of folding chairs, and the LP tanks).

In my older Class C Tioga, I had a lot of basement storage although only one went across the width of the rig and it was so small and narrow I used it for my outside broom, folding rake and the like.

Can you ever have enough basement storage? How do you use yours?

BONUS: B is for Badlands

I love my stuffies!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

This is how it little toy keeping me company.

Now they ALL keep me company....I love my stuffies!

PS> Mommy says if you use instycrumbs instygrams you can see more pictures of me. She's froggidonna (I don't understand any of this....)

Sniffing and lickingly yours,

Arizona and Alaska

A is definitely for Arizona, one of our two favorite "Out West" states. Before we met, I spent five months boondocking and  visiting different areas of the state. Since then, Stu and I have spent one winter there and can't wait for another.

Arizona is quite a diverse state ranging from the mountains and Grand Canyon grandeur of the north, to the beauty and spirituality of Sedona to the many, many BLM boondocking in areas like Quartzsite and the major cities of Phoenix and Tuscon. Toss in some fun history with Tombstone and Route 66, lots of places to geo-cache, hiking galore be it in the desert of woods - it's a great state.

One more bonus for us has been the Yuma Gypsy Journal Rally....our favorite non-rally that we hope to finally attend again, in Celina, OH this September.

What is your favorite state?

BONUS: Alaska Inside Passage Cruise

The A to Z - 26 Days of US

Sunday, June 24, 2012

It's hard to come up with interesting posts on a regular basis when you are sitting in one spot for weeks on end. We will be here in Tennessee until the end of August - that's three months of not traveling or sightseeing. We will, hopefully, be working on our land but we have a separate blog for that: Fire Lily Base Camp.

So, I've hit upon a thought of how to hopefully not bore you to death over at least the next month. I've seen something similar on other blogs and hope I can translate it to this one. In fact, some of you may have following my flash fiction stories for the April A to Z Blog Challenge (done on My Write Spot blog).

It will be the 26 days of us (not the U.S.) I'm going to travel through the alphabet from A to Z and hopefully find a photo and write something about that letter as it pertains to our RV travels in the past. Yes, I'm already panicked about Q, X and Z. Hopefully something will come to mind.

I won't post daily, giving me spots to pass along updates about our daily toil and trouble, probably every other day or so. I hope you enjoy this!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Life returns to...wait, normal is just a setting on the dryer!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Things are slowly returning to the current version of normal. Doctor appointments, motorcycle rides,  service appointments, motorcycle rides, haircuts, motorcycle rides, chores, shopping and oh yeah, did I say....motorcycle rides?

I finally got all the photos from CMA Fest uploaded to SmugMug and thought I should post a recap of the nightly music at LP Field. [Each name is linked to the photo album for that person]

The first night was Thursday and after the National Anthem, Glen Campbell came out and gave an amazing performance. When done, it was a standing ovation from all. Miranda Lambert came next followed by Kellie Pickler, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band, Lauren Alaina, and Brad Paisley closed the night along with surprise guest, Hank Williams Jr.

On Friday The Oakridge Boys performed the National Anthem and a few verses of "Elvira" to warm up the crowd. The opening classic star was Ronnie Milsap. He's got a new album and his voice is as good as ever!. Brantley Gilbert, Jake Owen, Gwen Sebastian, The Band Perry, Blake Shelton, Randy Houser followed with Carrie Underwood as the closer. What a performance she put on!!

Saturday Julie Roberts opened with the National Anthem. The classic star was Kenny Rogers. If you follow country music, you know his plastic surgery has been a more recent claim to fame. His voice might have faded a little but he showcased many old favorites, all to the delight of the crowd.

The gee-whiz kid of country music was next, Hunter Hayes. He's been performing since age 2, plays almost any instrument, write songs and has a voice to die for. After doing several songs on stage he proceeded to the middle of the audience and played piano. All the lights were dimmed during one of his songs and the field was lit by thousands of mini-LED flashlights that were handed out, or in our case (and others that didn't get one), by our cell phones. The effect was amazing....a starry, starry night.

The rest of the evening's performers were Love and Theft, Rodney Adkins, Little Big Town, Eric Church, Faith Hill, Kip Moore and was closed with a rousing performance by ace showman, Luke Bryan.

Sunday, Sarah Darling was the performer of The National Anthem and the first classic star performance was to herald the return to country music, The Mavericks. The second classic star was "Whispering" Bill Anderson...what a velvet voice! Scotty McCreery was next, proving his country roots. Dierks Bentley was next and near the end he did a duo with Karen Fairchild from Little Big Town.

Rascall Flatts came out and soared, doing new and old songs and everyone joined in for "Life is a Highway". They were followed by Alan Jackson who wowed the crowd with every tune. Steel Magnolia, winner of the reality show "Can you Duet" were next, followed by Martina McBride. Her closing act was the highlight of the event, perfect for the last performance on the last night. When she finished “Broken Wing,” the long and adoring applause had its effect on McBride, who surrendered to tears. “All I’ve ever wanted to do since I was 4 years old was sing,” she said, emotionally. “Thank you for making my dreams come true.” [quote source]

We had a wonderful time, enjoying our first and last nights eating out with friends from Knoxville area who ended up being camped about six sites away. We originally had planned to leave on Monday but opted to stay the extra day and rest. The weather was perfect, no severe storms and even the heat wasn't bad on the worst day; in addition we were treated to gorgeous sunsets several nights.

Stu enjoyed the campground pool during the day, we rode our bicycles several times, made a trip to both Camping World (stayed under $100) and Bass Pro (spent nothing). We really liked the Two Rivers Campground, so well that we reserved a week for 2013 CMA Music Fest and bought our tickets. The past two times we've paid for a parking pass at LP Field, but the campground is on the Gray Line route so we plan to buy a 4 day pass. (Will make it easier to run in/out of town during the day.) So, anyone wanna join in the fun with us? Sites go fast as do the tickets!

Look what Stu got for Father's Day!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

We're settled into our Jamestown campground, Maple Hill RV Park & Cabins. Check them out on Facebook...they even have a picture of Sadie there. And I'm still working on the photos from CMA Music Fest (we took over 800, trying to pare it down and get them uploaded) but wanted to check in and say HI.

Stu got his Father's Day present early, it arrived yesterday. We love our Keurig coffee maker and we love our diner mug collection. Unfortunately not all diner mugs are created equal. Stu uses the largest output size and in some mugs that means an overfill.

I had bought myself a "Life is Good" mug when we started our collection and knew it handled the large setting so I went on the hunt for a couple of man oriented "Life is Good" mugs. This is what I found. Aren't they just perfect? LOL!

If you're a father, step-father, grandfather, foster father or just someone who takes on the role of father...ENJOY YOUR DAY! Also, my short stories are all FREE from Amazon this weekend. Check them out on my author page. Remember, you don't need a Kindle, just a Kindle reader [download here].

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

I hear music.....

Saturday, June 9, 2012

We arrived at Two Rivers Campground around 2 PM (CT) on Wednesday. Great folks in the office, got us all signed up and settled into our site without a hitch. We dumped due to a late reservation (Nov 2011) when only 30 amp/no sewer sites were available.

Our spot has a good amount of shade, good in the heat that is now rolling in. Not so good for our satellite dish - we're using the campground cable and our regular antenna. So all our recorded shows are being missed...I think So You Think You Can Dance is the biggest miss but I'll try to catch it on the computer.

Good friends of mine from Morristown, TN were already here and settled in. Karen bought my 2005 HD Deluxe from me back in 2007 when I was getting ready to go full-timing. We headed out to dinner at Logan's Roadhouse and really enjoyed both the food and the company.

We opted to wait until Thursday afternoon to pick up our registration packet and parking pass. We spent some relaxation time enjoying the comfortable temps.

Downtown was an absolute zoo. Stu dropped me off about three blocks from the Bridgestone Arena and continued searching for a parking spot. I was in and out in a jiff but never took time to take any photos. Lots of music, vendors, shouting, people, heat, ice cream, beer, police....loved it but needed to get back to wherever Stu was parked.

From there we headed to Shoney's for a late lunch-early dinner, knowing that we were right next door to the LP Field parking lot. Since we had secured a handicapped parking ticket, it was a breeze to get in and parked. The waiting wasn't too bad, considering, and we found out seats easily. We were in section 212 last time, 218 this time; row D last time, row B this time. Our goal is to get to row A which means no one in front of us.

We've taken a ton of photos but haven't taken them off the camera yet and won't until we're done. I have taken a few with my phone and some with Instagram so I'll put those up here to give you a flavor. Some of the stars we've seen so far: Glen Campbell, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Lauren Alaina, Kelly Pickler, Jake Owens, Miranda Lambert, The Oakridge Boys, Zac Brown, Brad Paisley, The Band Perry, Ronnie Milsap, Blake Shelton, Randy Houser, and Carrie Underwood. Tonight we have Faith Hill, Little Big Town, Eric Church, Hunter Hayes, Kenny Rogers, and Luke Bryan. Tomorrow will be Bill Anderson, Scotty McCrerry, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, Alan Jackson, Steel Magnolia and Martina McBride. Phew!!!

[click any photo for larger image]

We liked the campground here so much that we bought tickets for next year's music fest (and nabbed the elusive Row A) and reserved a full-hookup, 50 amp site for a week. We're ready to go...oh, and next year we'll buy the 4 day bus pass and not deal with driving and parking. It costs more but the convenience will be well worth it.

I won't be blogging until probably next Wed or Thurs...we will head to Jamestown on Tuesday but I know I'll need some down time and time to sort through all the photos. I might drop in a shot or two but not promising anything. LOL!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Always an adventure....

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

We left Delaware Sunday morning with the weather perfect for traveling. A little rain showed up on Monday but nothing too serious. We enjoyed seeing this truck at one rest area...and I missed getting a photo of Miranda Lambert's bus that passed on the highway as I took this photo.

Tuesday we had a little adventure. We saw a sign for a truck wash and the rig desperately needed the bath so we pulled off.

Once the RV was washed, we parked and headed into the Iron Skillet at the Petro. Nice decor, each booth divider was hand painted with a different scene.

We finished a nice lunch and headed back out, less then 2 hours from Cookeville, TN where we planned to spend the night. The Freightliner wouldn't run. It would start but the engine knocked loudly and then died. Stu opened the hood and discovered that the fuel filter with the water separator had sprung a leak...a bad leak.

Fortunately there was a truck repair shop on site and they had the part....the PRICEY part. After a team effort between us, the new filter was primed and put in place. It worked! Three hour stop wasn't in our original plans but it could have been worse. Sadie was SOOOOOO bored.....LOL!

Down the road, not too far from Cookeville traffic slowed to a crawl. A semi had gone off the road in a nasty wreck. Once past that, traffic opened up again. We did see a LOT of police in both Virginia and Tennessee. Must be the start of the summer careful out there!

We got settled into the Sam's Club parking lot, took a little time to rest and watched a helicopter land at the hotel behind us. Later we headed over to see The Avengers. Fun movie....lots of action. We suspect there will be a sequel. LOL!

Tomorrow morning we'll take Sadie to her doggy camp and then it's on to Nashville for five days of fun, stars and music!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Stuff your eyes with wonder …

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Key West Sunset - Nov 2003
copyright Donna B. McNicol
“Stuff your eyes with wonder …
live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds.
See the world.
It’s more fantastic than any dream made
or paid for in factories.”
~ Ray Bradbury
(1920 – )

Moving on down the road....

We've been in this area since March 11th. We've done a lot since then, especially Stu with his double knee replacement.

We've spent time with grandbabies....

We've helped a daughter celebrate her 30th birthday....

We've watched twin granddaughters go to their senior prom and then graduate high school and get ready to move on to their next phase of life....

Even had some nice meals out, some with family, some not....

We've watched Scooby get towed away....TWICE....

It's been wonderful but now it's time to move on down the road. We're heading to Nashville for the CMA Music Fest (June 7-10). Then we'll head up to Jamestown, staying at our favorite campground, Maple Hill RV Campground, while we work on our property.

We still hope to get the water and electric done, at a minimum. Sewer and a storage shed would be nice but might wait till fall. Time will tell.

I'll try to drop a note once in a while over the next week, but no promises! The weather looks good and we hope to really enjoy ourselves.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

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