Planning a trip? Dreaming of travel? Perhaps some of our adventures could inspire yours! Over the last several years we’ve had the distinct pleasure of many cross country journeys traveling though the Lower 48 in tents and our various teardrop campers as well as an amazing Alaska adventure that did not involve a camper. To learn more about our day to day adventures, recent blog posts are below. To learn more about Steve & Karen, click on the About Us link. All Things T@B is about using and caring for T@B trailers. Every other link is about travel adventures. Enjoy exploring, and leave us comments! We love hearing from you. And if you’d like to follow us, Subscribe by signing up at the bottom of this page.
Remembering how much we learned and how much we enjoyed the visit to the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Manteo, North Carolina when were here with our young family in 1986, we decided that despite the Memorial Day weekend traffic on the North Carolina’s Outer Banks it would be a worthwhile stop. The visitors center and the ranger talk helped us remember what a remarkable feat that Orville and Wilbur Wright accomplished here at Kitty Hawk on December 17, 1903. It’s incredible to remember how remote this area was at that time. Just the logistics of getting themselves and their flyers here for four successive testing sessions beginning in 1900 boggles the mind not to mention the incredible research and development back in Dayton that led these brothers to achieve First Flight and the beginning of a new age for humanity.
One historic site in the New Bern area that we had not been aware of before our visit is the New Bern Battlefield Park, owned and maintained by the New Bern Historical Society. The park’s acreage preserves a significant portion of the land where in March 1862 Union forces overwhelmed Confederate defenders. Through time the battlefield has been preserved and earthen redans remain much as they were at the time of the battle. We spent our time reading the excellent interpretive signs at the open air visitors center and walking the trails in what is today a peaceful park but once was the scene of a horrific event.
Once considered to be the finest building in the American Colonies, Tryon Palace was constructed between 1767 and 1770 during the reign of King George III to be the seat of government and home to the family of the Royal Governor of the Colony of North Carolina. After the American Revolution three state governors resided and ruled from here but after the state capitol was moved to Raleigh, the building no longer had an official purpose and in 1798 it not only burned to the ground but began to fade from local memory. It’s property was redeveloped with streets, sidewalks, homes, businesses, and even a highway. Then in 1950 a serious reconstruction campaign began and the palace, rebuilt from original plans, opened to the public in 1959. We truly enjoyed stepping back into the Eighteenth Century as we chatted with a costumed interpreter on the grounds about the local military history then joined a costumed docent and toured the house and kitchen before strolling at our leisure through the kitchen and formal gardens. In time we were ready to return to the Twenty-First Century and a savory meal at MJ’s Raw Bar and Grill a short walk away on Middle Street before spending time at the North Carolina History Center which in truth deserves at least an entire day all to itself. At day’s end we were thrilled to return to our campsite at Flanner’s Beach Campground to relax, reflect, and plan the next day’s adventure!
In truth neither one us had much pondered the history of Pepsi Cola before our first visit to New Bern, North Carolina in 2014 but the fact that we’d have the opportunity to visit the Birthplace of Pepsi was one of the reasons for our return to this historic town. This is the very location where Caleb Bradham concocted Pepsi at the soda fountain in his pharmacy. Today it’s part museum, part Pepsi Cola dispensary, and primarily Pepsi/Mountain Dew souvenir shop. Although we opted out of the opportunity to enjoy the sugary drink, we truly enjoyed pursuing the wall panels detailing the history of the drink and did actually come away with a few small souvenirs.
What a delight to awaken to the sounds of a rooster heralding the morning, the sight of horses grazing outside our camper, and memories of last night’s experience of helping candle and place ostrich eggs into the incubator as well as getting up close and personal with individual adult ostrich. Yes! Through our Harvest Hosts membership, we visited what seems to be the only ostrich ranch in the Harvest Hosts system. It certainly has been a most unique experience for us. A few years ago Ryan & Gaby went in search of a better life beyond Los Angeles never dreaming that the quest would lead them to raising ostrich and educating the public on the nutritional and ecologic value of these huge birds as a food source. We’re leaving Misty Morning Ostrich Ranch in Robbins, North Carolina with a freezer full of ostrich steaks and a desire to return for one of their events.
This morning we spotted an interesting brown sign informing us that the President James K. Polk State Historic Site in Pineville, North Carolina was nearby. We made a quick decision to reroute, found parking for our rig, and headed inside to learn more about the 11th President of the United States. There we met Kyle Booker who shared with us a wealth of knowledge about the site, the Polk family, and the presidency of James, the eldest son of Sam and Jane Polk. On Saturdays visitors can tour the historic buildings, that represent the kind of structures that would have been here during the Polk’s time, and visit a well curated museum that traces James life from his birth here in Mecklenberg County to Tennessee to the White House as well as watch a movie that gives a great overview of the contribution of Polk’s presidency to the United States of America that we know today. The historic buildings were not open today for tours but there is a North Carolina Museum of History video, Cooking for the Future President, on this page that was filmed on site and in those buildings. And Kyle shared with us the the site’s YouTube Channel with myriad long and short videos about James Polk and the organization that remember a remarkable public servant.One fun tidbit is that Polk’s Inauguration in 1845 was the first for which “Hail to the Chief” was a prominent feature. For us, this has been a great follow-up to our visit to the Polk House in Columbia, Tennessee in 2010.
Today’s adventures concluded with a celebratory meal at the Root + Barrel – kitchen in downtown Franklin, North Carolina. The service was marvelous, the cocktails superb, and every bite of the filet mignon and asparagus deserved to be savored. Again it was a short walk from the RV park. We had ventured out this morning and were able to fill up Redford’s fuel tank at the Mountain Energy Shell station on US-441-S now that the effects of the Colonial Pipeline crisis are beginning to ease. It’s been ten days now of carefully husbanding our gasoline. Hopefully going forward things will be more normal. After that we did a grocery run to get a few choice items for our pantry. Our itty bitty freezer will not hold much so we dedicated it to frozen berries for the next couple of days and polished off the pint of Rebel Ice Cream as soon as we got back to the T@B. Then we spent the afternoon continuing to settle in to the new rig and getting to know some of the updated equipment. Life is good.
This is definitely a hidden gem. Downtown RV Park is a private RV park located on the edge of downtown Franklin, North Carolina, only about ten sites. After getting ourselves organized and out of the house we headed here for a two night stay. It was a fun time getting situated, chatting with our camp hosts and next door neighbors who were former T@B 320 campers and now travel in a 17 foot Casita. Our big adventure for the evening was a walk to Lazy Hiker Brewery and a food truck dinner from Flying Cloud Cafe prepared in a vintage Airstream. The round trip walk was a mere half mile. Such a nice way to be kicking off this stage of our Summer Ramble. So fun and so convenient.
Tonight is our tenth night of driveway camping in Bell@ at our mountain house. This has given us the chance to bring home some items that we’d used in Sc@rlett that we do not currently need as we continue to get settled into Bell@. And we had just a few things to do at the house to get it ready for the summer. Then there was the fun of registering the camper with the state along with the privilege of paying the associated highway use tax. But the best of all was hosting Pat & Montiel for a weekend visit. Despite the limitations of a fuel scarcity due to the Colonial Pipeline shutdown, they delighted in walks in the nearby woods and identifying wildflowers. That’s not to mention naps in the hammock and collaborating on meal preparations.