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 [email protected] is about using and caring for [email protected] 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.

Maggie Valley

Our twelve night stay in Maggie Valley, North Carolina is coming to a close. It’s been a delightful stay at Hillbilly Creekside Campground on Site #3 backed up immediately adjacent to Campbell Creek. We’ve watched the occasional fisherman wading in the stream and a pair of Mallards paddling downstream. It’s delightful listening to the babbling waters and birdsong. Although we’ve visited Maggie many times during our residency in western North Carolina, this was our first overnight stay since 1979 which is now the stuff of family legend and campfire stories when we and our toddler returned to the campground after dark and initially couldn’t find our big green canvas tent. It’d been flattened by the wind and rain of the remnants of Hurricane David. We did manage to get the tent set up and spend a soggy night in it but it was the last one for that particular tent. This time we booked a seven night stay but events conspired to cause us to extend our reservation for five more nights. Thank you Richard and Stacey for accommodating us so graciously. During this stay we’ve pretty much cocooned. We’ve chatted with neighbors a bit. One had recently learned he was descended from the Maggie after whom the town is named. Another was traveling in a camper smaller than ours. We’ve wandered up and down the main drag and ventured up the other side of Campbell Creek. We’ve enjoyed checking out some of the breakfast places here and have met some great folks there. We have run a few errands but mostly we’ve stayed home. The campsites here are quite close together so we opted to not do the full set up with awning, outdoor rug, full outdoor kitchen but kept it simple, two chairs and a small table as well is the Weber Q on another small table. We’ve made most of our own meals despite the temptation of so many restaurants within walking distance. We’ve seen a couple of people we’ve known from our years in this area Jim from the fish market, Kathleen from the pharmacy, but the big surprise was seeing Dina who we met at Petrified Forest in Arizona. She and Tom were traveling in a nüCamp Cirrus truck camper and she was wearing a WCU jacket. Of course we had to talk to them! Today she was visiting an uncle who’s in a motorhome across from us in the campground and recognized us! We had a delightful chat! Tomorrow we move on to our next adventure. The move itself will be an adventure but that’s a story for another day.

Built in the 1960’s the sites here are quite compact but both our trailer and truck fit in nicely.
Who wouldn’t enjoy a backyard view like this one?
We made our way to three different local eateries for scrumptious fare.
But also enjoyed making our own meals.
We went out for a walk together Mother’s Day evening and came home with this gorgeous rose.
The view of Campbell Creek from our camp chairs.
One of us is fascinated with Geodetic Survey markers. This one is in the sidewalk near the Maggie Valley Town Hall.
Apparently part of the infrastructure of the Campbell Family mill which operated from the early 19th to mid-20th Century. It’s on private property but visitors are encouraged to take pictures.
Just a lovely place to plant ourselves for some quiet time before we through ourselves into the preparations for The Last Deck Day.

Craft, Cocktails, and Jazz in Greensboro

It’s been a delightful quick trip to Greensboro, North Carolina. We stayed as driveway guests with Steve & Mary, our former neighbors. Through the years we’ve enjoyed many a wine evening, dinners at one another’s homes, long delightful conversations, and as pod members during the 2020 lockdown we added cocktails to the mix. In fact, their decision to leave our little mountain community and move closer to family greatly influenced our own decision to sell our mountain house and adopt a lifestyle that gives us much more opportunity to spend more time with grandchildren as well as family members across the country. Mary & Steve put a lot of thought into designing the home they built here which includes a wonderfully spacious quilt studio for Mary and a two story woodworking shop for Steve. Besides enjoying meals together and spending time with them in their craft spaces, they treated us to a bit of exploring in Greensboro. One adventure was an in-depth tour of The Forge. We were intrigued to explore this independent maker space and imagined ourselves living here and being able to hang out here and work on craft projects in a collaborative environment but then remembered that there’s a maker space in the Ohio community where we expect to eventually settle. Later in the day the four of us made our way to the O. Henry Hotel for Thursday Night Cocktails & Jazz with guest vocalist Sarah Partridge for an evening of Ella Fitzgerald songs and stories while sipping on some amazing libations. Steve & Mary, thank you for a great visit and for your invitation to return.

The Forge is an amazing non-profit maker space.
Lots of high end equipment and skilled volunteers who can help you learn how to use it. Here is the laser engraver.
Karen was fascinated with the array of equipment in the textiles department. Steve liked the metalsmithing area and Steve P. was impressed with the woodworking shop.
And there’s plenty of space for assembling, gathering, storing as well as individual studio rentals.
Back at the house Mary was busy working on her most recent quilt project.
Karen brought her folding spinning wheel into Mary’s space to spend some productive time together. Apparently the first ever spinning wheel in her studio!
And Steve assisted Steve P. with his wood bench project.
Then in the evening we all headed to the O. Henry Hotel for Cocktails and Jazz.
All too soon it was time to pull Bell@ out of the cozy little spot at the back of the driveway and head on to our next adventure in Maggie Valley, NC.

Summersville Lake

Have we ever mentioned that Army Corps of Engineers Campgrounds are among our absolute favorites? There’s more than 400 of them across 43 states. We’re winding up a five night stay at Battle Run Campground at Summersville Lake off US-19 just south of Summersville, West Virginia and just north of the northernmost tip of New River Gorge National Park. Yes, proximity to the national park and the iconic New River Gorge Bridge was one of the reasons we chose this park. Other reasons include the 50% discount we get with our America the Beautiful Senior Pass so our nightly fee is $17 for a waterfront electric campsite. We’d checked our Ookla Speedtest app and it suggested we’d have decent Verizon connectivity, which we did. On top of that, when we checked for availability, expecting to make an online reservation, we learned that during May but prior to Memorial Day weekend, all sites are first come. We got to sally in on a Friday afternoon and pick the site that suited us best then head up to the gatehouse after 5PM to make our payment. We chose #14 with a view of a cove off the main lake and settled in for three nights. The next day we decided we wanted to stay two more nights. No problem, just trek to the gatehouse and pay an additional $34 and enjoy yet another conversation with the volunteers on duty. While we were there we made one trip into the national park, one trip to a Valvoline Oil Change station in Summersville, one stop each at a couple of lake scenic overlooks, found one geocache, took a couple of hikes along the top of Summersville Dam and long loop walks through the campground, chatted with lots of fellow campers, watched a livestream of the Coronation of Charles III, wrote some blog posts, enjoyed some delightful May weather, and also just relaxed.

One day we ventured out to the New River Gorge National Park and from the Fayette Station Road got a good view of the the New River Gorge Bridge from below!
Back the camper we did a scratch off to note we’d visited yet another national park, our 45th of 63!
If the Verizon signal had been inadequate we’d still be able to communicate with the outside world providing we had change and could remember how to use an old school phone!
There’s a reason why that geocache we found was rated 3.5/5 for terrain!
Searching for the geocache took us along a wooded path near the lakeshore.
Gazing out over the lake we wondered what lay beneath the lake. We later learned that it was the abandoned community of Gad, NC.
This is fascinating terrain with particularly hard Nuttall Limestone.
One of the original valves installed in the dam for the purpose of flood control.
Originally built in the 1960’s for flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife management, the dam now also provides hydroelectric power.
A view of the hydropower plant on the downstream side of the dam.

New River Gorge National Park

New River isn’t exactly new, it’s been a river for eons, perhaps the second oldest in the world. It may have gotten it’s name when it was discovered as a river not already on the map. However New River Gorge National Park is our newest national park, so designated in 2020. It’s been on our radar for quite some time. As we scurried past the brown signs along I-77 we’d remark that we needed to go there sometime soon. Now we know we need to go back time and time again. Today we started our visit at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center with a long conversation with a ranger followed by the orientation film in the theater. There’s so much to visit here, so much to learn about history, economy, geology, and more. Yes, some of the recreation here is extreme such as Class V Whitewater rafting and BASE jumping on Bridge Day , but there’s much more to do that doesn’t involve risking life or limb. Our first adventure was driving the Fayette Station Road and listening to the audio tour. This drive without stops takes at least half an hour to travel from Lansing to nearby Fayetteville, WV. Since the opening of the New River Gorge Bridge in 1977, that journey takes less than a minute. We stopped to marvel at the bridge from below, to watch for four minutes as a freight train passed by just east of the Tunney Hunsaker Bridge or “little bridge” down at the water. Ask us sometime about the railroad crossing gate and you’ll hear a campfire story. Then we paused to hike just a little and to watch a series of rafts float down some easy rapids. We know it’s just the beginning of our New River Gorge adventures but once we were on the west side we headed to the Kroger to re-provision then north on US-19 and over the iconic New River Bridge and back to camp for the evening.

Fayette Station Road is just one of several scenic drives in the park.
Yes, the gorge is still utilized by freight trains and we had a very up close and personal view of this one for nearly four minutes.
Nuttall Sandstone overhangs along the road.
Near the remains of the the mining towns of Fayette and South Fayette
Just gorgeous scenery!
So much of the cultural history here is about coal mining.
And the labor movement.
But now the economy is based on tourism and river adventures.
The “Little Bridge” on Fayette Station Road was preceded by Townsend’s Ferry.
We’ve only explored a tiny part in the very northern part of this park. We definitely want to experience more.
After driving under the New River Gorge Bridge, Redford’s anxious to also drive over it on US-19.

Cambridge Based

On our way south to our next stop, we paused in Sugarcreek to meet up with some of our friends at nüCamp RV, an amazing organization that we’ve been privileged to be associated with for the last fourteen years. After an afternoon spent with John, Julie, and Scott we made our way to Spring Valley Campground in Cambridge, Ohio only to realize it looked familiar. We’d stayed here in 2017 before visiting Zanesville. This time it was a convenient base from which we could head south to rendezvous with cousins at DaVinci’s in Williamstown, WV. It was a most salubrious evening visiting with Dick & Angie while munching on a German Pizza with corned beef and sauerkraut. It sounds weird but is frankly delicious! The next day we made the trip from Cambridge to Wheeling WV to lunch with a dear friend who recently relocated from North Carolina. At Mary’s suggestion we headed to Glassworks Grill in Wilson Lodge located in Oglebay Park, an 2000 acre self-sustaining city park with a fascinating history. At the suggestion of our most delightful server, the two of us ordered the Wilson Lodge Sandwich while Mary relied on previous experience and enjoyed a Mushroom Pizza. Everyone of us toted leftovers as we departed. Back at her apartment building Mary toured us around the facility and regaled us with not only the current features but the history of the building and her own personal history associated with it before we hugged and promised to visit again soon. We loved having the leisure to linger in Cambridge and make some long desired visits as well as hobnob with friendly folks in the campground office instead of scurrying through in a hurry to get back to take care of the house. Loving this life!

A view of the top of the stairs in the office section of the nuCamp RV factory.
Thanks! To the gracious fellow guest who agreed to snap this group photo for us.
It sounds weird, but this German Pizza is positively delish!
Pure joy when the Mushroom Pizza arrived.
Near and dear to Mary’s heart.
Already looking forward to the next hug!

Sojourn in Summit

Our destination when we departed western Massachusetts was northeastern Ohio to watch Peyton dance in a ballet production of Mary Poppins, hang out a bit with family, pick up some belongings from our storage area, and take care of some other personal business. There were a few issues of logistics that made our staying in a campground the better choice. Other than a Friday night at the Streetsboro/Cleveland SE KOA in Streetsboro, Ohio on their first day of the season, we made Silver Springs Campground in Stow, Ohio our home for the stay first on Site 3 then 19. We’ve been here before and will be again. Ken, the campground attendant remembered us from another stay. He checks in with us once a stay, usually with information about cool things to do in the area. It’s a municipal campground with a discount for residents but our out-of-town rate of $18 for an electric site was sweet. Important to know, they require online reservations for a stay here. It was good being not too long a drive to pop over and have dinner with the family and have time for some good face to face conversations but also to have our own space in the in-between times. We were also close enough to Medina to head over there for a dentist visit on Monday. Now we’re packed up and rolling again, planning a rather leisurely trek to western North Carolina over the next couple of weeks. Loving the adventure of Full-Time Travel!

Mary Poppins

Peyton’s been dancing for at least ten years and it thrills us every time we have the opportunity to watch here. Tonight she played a nanny, a band member, a panda, and a banker in a ballet production of Mary Poppins. We especially loved her brief solo with a tambourine and her performance as a stodgy old banker. Also in the audience was big sister Riley who’d arrived home for the summer from college just hours before. Peyton loves these performances so much that she’s always just a little misty eyed by the time we get to see her after the show, she enjoys performing with her dance community so much and is disappointed when each production ends. This is one of the great joys of our life these days, being present for Peyton’s performances!

Bob’s Diner

Making the decision to live in our cute little 2021 [email protected] 400 teardrop trailer means that for us a road trip isn’t necessarily a vacation so we approach meal planning the way we would if we had a fixed residence. We grocery shop and prepare most of our meals at home. Convenience store “road food” doesn’t really appeal to us. What we do love is indie diners in small towns and Bob’s Diner in Bainbridge, New York jumped out at us when we did a Yelp! search for Breakfast and Brunch. Yes! They serve breakfast all day and they offer “Bob’s Everything”, an omelette with lots of meat, cheese, and vegetables in a vintage diner with black and white linoleum floors and red vinyl upholstered booth benches. Our server, Megan, was an absolute delight. The fellow diners seemed to be primarily local regulars and everything we tasted was delish. We were inspired to post a review on Yelp! and to look for a nearby campground to check out on a future trip through the area because we definitely intend to return!

Backyard Living

Tonight we’re in upstate New York just off I-88 not too far from Binghamton on the shore of Ouleout Creek. We’re on the road again, at least for a few days. For the last two weeks we were hanging out in western Massachusetts enjoying visits with Greg and his kids. It’s cool to park our rig in the backyard and be independent. We’d visit each morning over coffee and joined in for selected activities but pursued our own routine as they kept to their own established patterns. We loved watching the signs of Spring bursting out even as we relished sharing in little pleasures like eating watermelon on the back steps or trying out hula hoops then gathering around our propane fire can campfire. We were amazed at Linus’s magic tricks and loved helping Miles create sidewalk chalk art. We tagged along for the walk to school one morning, celebrated Spring Break with a special lunch out with Linus, read books with Miles, and joined Greg for an incredible drinks and dinner out. And as is becoming our habit, we helped out in the garden. Then this morning we got bunches of hugs. Cool thing is we plan to be all together again in little more than a month.

Lovely long driveway for Bell@ and Redford
Greg passing on his love of video games
Swords of all types are fascinating
Special putty that’s sensitive to UV light
And other putty that changes color with heat
Build Your Own Sundae with double gummies
Early morning quiet time by the fireplace
Checking out our hula hoop skills
Sharing our love of reading aloud
Redbuds blooming
A riot of daffodils
Spiffing up the garden
Collaborating on Saturday breakfast
Surveying the take down the old awning project
Winding up a fabulous day with great eats and incredible drinks
A bit of imagination with the “new” antique school desk
A selfie along with goodbye hugs

And now we’re on the road with a creekside campsite and a Manic Monday chat with Amanda newly arrived in London.

The First Four & a Half Months

Where are we? Where have we been? What are our plans? Why are we so behind on the blog? So many questions but we’ll do our best to give you an update. This afternoon we arrived at Greg’s in Western Massachusetts and spent a pleasant evening with grandkids in the backyard. Since our last legitimate blog entry in late January, we’ve visited Saguaro National Park, Tombstone Arizona, Quartzite, [email protected], Petrified Forest, Santa Fe, Blackwater Draw, Lubbock Lake, Fort Worth, New Orleans, St Petersburg, Labadee, San Juan, St Martin, St Croix, and Coco Cay. We’ve had delightful visits with at least a dozen family members ranging from Santa Fe to St Croix, reconnected with a college roommate, and made lots of new friends along the way. Aboard Jewel of the Seas we not only got to visit various Caribbean destinations but as part of a party of forty dancers, we got to cut a rug every night! Then after retrieving our lost luggage, we found an out of the way full hookups campsite to isolate and recover after we discovered we’d contracted that nasty virus we’ve all been trying to avoid since 2020. Now we’re looking forward to backyard camping for a couple of weeks, hanging out in Ohio for a little bit, heading to North Carolina to reconnect with some former neighbors and hosting our final Deck Day, then heading back to Ohio for üCamp23. Finally, we promise to get caught up on the blog. We got behind for a number of reasons but we expect to slow down a bit and be able to back fill the awesome experiences of the last few months. Stay tuned as we venture on in this full-time travel adventure.