Saturday, October 30, 2010

These are the Great Smokeys?

We left the history of Virginia hoping to get back to nature in the Smokeys. Our nature consisted of torrential rains, gusty winds, and tornado watches. I had to get on-line to learn what to do when you're driving with a tornado in your rear mirror. Okay, they have scary weather here...I'm suppose to abandon my vehicle and lay face down in a shallow ditch with my hands over my head! Oh, and also try not to drown from the probable flash flood that will fill my shallow grave - oops, I mean ditch. Luckily we out ran that storm, but the weather was still bad in Gatlinburg, entrance to the park. It was too windy and no visibility for us to take the tram up the mountain. The Smokeys here in Tennesse are more like Disneyland. Huge amusement parks (Dollywood) water slides, huge hotels, add naseum. So, out of the mountains we went and back to civilization as we know it. We toured the Nissan factory in Smyrna Tn. The place was huge! The factory is a mile long and employed over 4000 people. A far cry from our next tour...Jack Daniels in Lynchburg, population 326. Jack's has 400 employees (less than the city's population). The town is adorable with a city square, gazeebo and church bells.
After Lynchburg we headed south and stayed at "Caamp Walmart" just outside of Birmingham. Our mileage to date is 5,565 miles and we are aiming for Baton Rogue Louisiana tonight

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh, Say can You See?

We spent 3 full days exploring D.C. Beautiful buildings everywhere you look, and the history! Our first day was pretty wild...having to learn the bus system and the subway...on top of that trying to find elevators for me and my scooted. People were very helpful- on the first day into town a very nice lady walked us out of the subway and to the nearest Starbucks...thank you! Speaking of Starbucks, it isn't like home; no Starbucks on every other corner. Tod with his uncanny ability to find the mystical brew has managed to keep his veins pumping with his favorite elexor nearly everyday. We enjoyed museums and memorials, but it started to become sensory overload. I know which was the fattest president, most scandalous, oldest, tallest, fastest(you catch my drift) there were just too many people with overcrowded subways - it was time to head for the hills. On top of a mountain (eastern version of a mountain, mor like a tall hill) in Virginia was our next stop. Monticello, Jefferson's home was an architectural marvel with beautiful gardens and orchards, stables, brewery, wine cellars, slave quarters and everything else it took to run a 3000 acre farm. Original furniture, artwork, and his gravesite. Very impressive.
Time toleave Virginia and start our way south. We just crossed the border into Tennessee and head towards the Great Smokey mountains. I need some fresh air and nature after the hub-bub of the big cities

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's dripping part two

After touring the factory, we traveled east again( I assume there really is an east coast), to the quaint town of Lancaster. We stopped at their beautiful new YMCA for a soak in the hot tub and to visit with local members. We camped at the local Camp Walmart for a quiet evening. It was a stormy night and we discovered that the air-conditioner leaked through the night. We found an RV dealer that took pity upon us and we have been sitting in their garage since 10 am this morning. It's now 6 pm and they're tightening down the final bolts. On the road again!

Soon will be

Why is it dripping in here?

Last night I awoke to the sound of water dripping. Sure , it was raining hard outside, but it was "raining" inside too. But more about that later. We stayed at a beautiful state park just outside of Chambersburg after spending another day at Gettysburg. Gettysburg was amazing with a fabulous museum and movies, but the guided tour of the battlefield was incredible. The battle was 3 days long, and the guide was able to tell us how the battle went nearly hour by hour. The day was beautiful and we had the chance to see all of the monuments erected throughout the park.
After 2 days of history, we headed east to York where we toured the Harley factory

Friday, October 15, 2010

Amish at the Walmart

Yesterday Tod fixed a wiring problem the (I don't think there is anything he can't do) and headed to Jackson Center for a tour of the Airstream trailer factory. It was a fun tour. Pretty cool to watch them bend the aluminum through to the final product. They are very well built, but ouch; they are pricey.
We drove through Columbus with skill and cunning. Dang gps wanted us to circle the whole city and to continue west. West was the big give away, so we ignored her and drove east. She finally figured it out and agrees with us.
We continued EAST to the lovely town of Cambridge, Ohio. It's a quaint historic town with old elaborate buildings and beautiful manicured lawns. The YMCA didn't have a pool or hot tub so we settled into the local Walmart parking lot. Went shopping and got my first taste of the locals...ran into 4 young men and women (late teens?) dressed in black from head to roe. The girls had long black skirts and black caps on their heads. The boys had subdued plaid shirts, suspenders, black pants and cool woven(noT exactly straw)hats. They all had that fresh from the farm look - no makeup and rosy cheeks. As I left the store behind them I noticed the boys ha d an opened Red Bull in their hand! So much for my ideas of these kids being more insulated from our culture. I googled (so sad that I don't know) the difference between Amish and Mennonite cultures and am sure these kids were of the latter. Guess we wouldn't see Amish at Walmart.
Today we will take the highway through beautiful countryside of Pennsylvania to Gettysburg. We're looking forward to shorter drive times and more exploring.
More again soon

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What time zone are we in now?

I can't believe we crossed another time zone! I was reading my watch and feeling quite smug that I was actually on time for taking my evening meds, but no - my watch says 7 but the phone says 8. Did I doze off when we crossed that mystical line? Yesterday was a long day. Tod drove over 470 miles from beautiful La Crosse, Wi through Illinois and half of Indiana. We toured the Indy 500 speedway museum this afternoon and got back in the motorhome just before the skies opened up. The roads here are horrible! I-90 through Illinois makes our I-90 feel smooth as silk. We drove through Indiana and have stopped for the night at a nice state park near Jackson Center, Ohio. It's pouring down rain with gusty winds. It's a good thing I've seen some leaf changes.
We had our first mechanical breakdown

The I states

Tod drove a long tough day of 475 miles yesterday. I-90 is so beat up, we felt that we were off-roading. The road makes our Snoqualmie Pass

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Is it Wisconsin or Minnesota?

It's a beautiful sunny morning in La Crosse, Wisconsin. This is a beautiful town of 50,000 or so. Lots of hills, trees and the Mississippi river. We were both surprised that the body of water we crossed wasn't just a large lake. Guess we were sleeping in geography the day we learned about
Major waterways. Wisconsin is a very pretty state. The leaves are all changing and the farmlands look like they are from a Norman Rockwell painting
Today we
continue on I-90 to Bloomington, Illinois. Planning to
visit the Indy 500 speedway the next day.

Cell phone service is virtually non-existent (thanks AT&T) so blogs will probay be sketchy

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Bye-bye South Dakota

We stayed at a state park in Gillette, Wyoming and started early for a long drive east. We loved the Black Hills of S Dakota, especially Spearfish. Drove through the Badlands, but was disappointed in Devils Tower. I thought it would be impressive like it is in the movie. I guess you have to be from one of those flat states to be in awe. We stopped at Wall Drug for 5 cent coffee. The coffee wasn't bad! We drove 400 miles across the state and never had had phone coverage- no trees, no mountains- why not coverage AT&T? Saw corn fields everywhere and then a nice change - sunflowers! They were beautiful.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Top of the Big Horn Mountains

We left Yellowstone late morning enjoying more wildlife, spectacular waterfalls, and smelly hotsprings, not to mention bubbling mud pits. Met a Big bison coming down the road. Needless to say, we gave him the right of way.
We came out of the park through Cody, Wy (not a pretty town, sorry Cody and then climbed 9000 feet through the Big Horn Mts. We're very impressed how the old girl (Toyota, not me) on how she's handling the mountains. Planning to drive to Gillette tonight, then on to So Dakota

Friday, October 8, 2010

Best mpg yet

we bought a mini motorhome for one reason: $3 gas
Tod is all smiles. We gassed up near the entrance of yellowstone and we got 17.33 mpg. Best yet. The road into the park is beautiful. Looking forward to a soak in the hotsprings


I'm sitting at the Starbucks in Butte Montana sucking up their free wi-fi so thought I should talk about Montana. We spent our first night in Missoula - a town big enough for a Costco (cheap gas). Camped at a nice state park just outside of Missoula where it rained hard during the night (no leaks!!)but was beautiful sunshine in the morning. Now that's the kind of weather we should have at home.
We continued east to Butte...very cool old mining town. The town motto is "Butte, the richest hill in the world". They pulled millions $ of ore out of here but all the mines are closed now. The mines are right in town or should I say the town is built around the mines? We took a tour of a mine and had a great dinner at a local place called Sparky's.
Today we travel east and then south to Yellowstone where we will be staying at Mammoth Hot Springs

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We're actually gone!

After spending my morning getting my infusion, we locked windows and doors and said goodbye to Home sweet home, we loaded into our new home for the next seven weeks.
We are at the cabin tonight planning on an early start tomorrow. The only way Tod could talk me into a dawn departure was with the promise of breakfast at the Cottage (our favorite restaurant in the world). After a hearty breakfast we are hitting the road hard, hoping to get through some of Montana. Hoping for clear skies, no traffic, and an occasional glimpse of a bison in the distance

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Are we ready yet?

Okay, first entry into our official travel blog...wish me luck

It's Saturday,and we are scheduled to leave Tuesday afternoon. Tod is still working on the rig. The box he designed to carry my walker on the back bumper needs another coat of paint.

We have an itinerary planned out that goes as far as Washington DC, where we will meet Mike and Sue. I haven't packed the home yet, but I've got bags and boxes filled with clothes, food stuff, shoes, coats....I tried to streamline everything, but I know I will have to cut it down in size some more. How do you decide what to take on a 7 week journey through so many different climates? It's raining in DC, but in the high 80's in Dallas