Finally, Labor Day 2020 has come and gone so the camping season should begin winding down. Although we’ve stayed isolated at home since mid-March (with the one exception of a quick trip to Sugarcreek), for many it’s been a year to foray into the world of RV travel. Folks that we know and those that we follow on YouTube have been reporting unprecedented crowds at campgrounds this summer, so although camping is a good way to practice social distancing, we chose not to participate until after the holiday weekend. For us it’s been a good summer in many ways. We’ve developed some excellent new lifestyle habits, done some nice home improvements, and acquired products to enhance our life in the T@B. At long last we have now ventured out in Redford with Sc@rlett in tow. Standing Indian Campground in the Nantahala National Forest near Franklin, North Carolina was our first outing. Although visitors to the area tend to flock to the campgrounds in the nearby Smoky Mountains Park, Standing Indian is a favorite among locals. It’s lovely. At 3800 feet above sea level, these September days have been cool in the mornings and warm in the afternoon. The sites are widely spaced. We chose #53, not far from Kimsey Creek, a First Come site, because it was the sunniest spot available when we arrived and registered for three nights. Our plan was to test our upgraded dry camping capabilities. We now have rooftop solar as well as our suitcase panels to feed our batteries. Those batteries have an additional load on them now because we are now carrying a portable chest style 110V/12V compressor driven refrigerator to help the existing 110V/12V Norcold accommodate all the fresh foods we are eating these days. Also new is a drinking water filtration system so that we feel comfortable using the water from the fresh water tank for our beverages. After the first three nights we assessed the levels in our tanks and how much we’d been using our generator to supplement our solar, and registered for three more nights. Ultimately we stayed five nights. We learned that although we can do a great job of managing our fresh water usage and our gray water accumulation, the capacity of our black tank is our limiting factor. We also learned that although we appreciated the extra refrigerator space, the extra compressor was enough of a draw that with some shade, some clouds, and the shorter days of late summer that our solar array couldn’t totally meet our power needs. We needed run the generator daily, sometimes just two hours and up to six hours on rainy days. We also learned how much we enjoy internet connectivity. In some ways we enjoyed being unconnected. In other ways we regretted not having downloaded some extra ebooks, music, podcasts, and movies before we left home. We also appreciated the time to read books that we did have with us, work on some hobbies, and organize the bed of the truck. And best of all, we took long walks, had some great conversations with other campers, saw an awesome restored vintage 1960 trailer, met some T@G owners – an Atlanta based couple, and crafted some fabulous meals! Looking forward to our next expedition!
It’s snowing! We’re warm and snug here in our little mountain house on this Eleventh Night of Christmas though. Yesterday we made the drive from Hilton Head SC. At one point while we were enjoying a phone conversation we hardly noticed missing the turn that would have put us on I-95. That gave us a chance to see some ghost town areas on US-301 and to travel through Orangeburg SC. before getting back on track. Then today we transitioned into our winter mode and started sorting photos to be scanned and stored on our NAS so all three of our kids and their families will have access to all the family photos. We’ll also be refining the Our Travels page and T@B Talk as well as posting some backdated blog entries. And of course thinking ahead to summer travels and watching videos about places we want to see even as we celebrate these last couple of days of Christmastide.
It’s a New Year! And we want to wish each and every one of you an amazing and wonderful year. In fact, since it’s a new decade, we hope you have a fabulous ten years and more! We’re celebrating today in the tradition we have practiced for the last few decades, we are deliberately choosing to do things today that we want to do all year long. We are hanging out with friends. We’ve had some great conversations with family. We took a long walk and talked about things we want to accomplish. We’re working on travel plans. We’re working on our website and our blog. We’re on an adventure! We’ve enjoyed sumptuous food and intriguing drinks at Frankie Bones.Yes, we’re staying at a lovely resort on Hilton Head Island on the South Carolina coast as guests of dear friends of ours. Today’s long walk was on the beach. We’re hatching plans for a birthday trip not so far from home, various visits with family, a foray with our T@B into the Canadian Maritimes, and a hop across the pond to explore Cornwall and London. We’ll do our best to share those adventures here!
Wanting to spend a little time with friends Stan & Mary during our interlude here in the North Carolina mountains, we met them for lunch at Forager’s Canteen in Dillsboro, North Carolina. Oh, yum! We’d heard good things about this place from a friend, now we’re qualified to recommend it too! Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner and with a respectable looking bar it looks as if anytime you arrive, you are in for a taste treat. We did arrive at 11:30 AM for lunch and were grateful we’d timed it to miss the lunch crowd. The food was fabulous, locally sourced and changing with the season. They serve classics with a twist such as a Hamburger with Pimento Cheese and Fried Green Tomatoes or Sweet Potato Tots served either salty or cinnamon sweet. Leaving there after a great visit and a fabulous meal, we’ll definitely return!
As our great 2019 cross country adventure winds down we find ourselves deadheading toward the house even more quickly than we planned because we have an appointment this afternoon. But it’s a gorgeous October morning in Tennessee and we’ve got enough time to linger here at the Greene County I-81 Rest Area for a few minutes to find the two geocaches hidden here as well as to stretch our legs and to just appreciate the scenery. Yes, we’re still geocaching although not so intensely as we were back in 2014 but really do appreciate the reasons to be a part of this amazing worldwide game.
It’s become tradition. Wytheville, Virginia is a convenient stop on our way out or on our way home along I-81 and the Wytheville KOA offers Crazy Pizza. Tonight as we head home we have nothing more than breakfast makings in the T@B refrigerator so the prospect of a hot tasty Extreme Supreme Pizza delivered directly to our campsite is especially appealing.
At the Stormville Rest Area westbound I-84 near Fishkill, New York just east of the Hamilton Fish Bridge over the Hudson River, we spied something that looked out of place. Perched atop a fence post was a bowling trophy bearing a brass plaque that reads: Winner Hilltop League Summer ’67 Who won this trophy fifty-two years ago? Where did the Hilltop League play? Is it still in existence? Why is the trophy here now? How long has it been here? Was it deliberately left? As part of a game? To make people as questions? If so, it’s working. In any case it was a fun find on a longish travel day between West Greenwich, RI and Jonestown, Pennsylvania.
Our arrival at Leyden Farm Winery was delayed for almost an hour by an incident on I-95 in Providence so we didn’t get there early enough to participate in a tasting or wine by the glass. However we were in time to present our Harvest Hosts membership card and get instructions as to where to park as well as to purchase a chilled bottle of Strawberry Fields to enjoy at our pond side home for the evening. Leyden’s in West Greenwich, Rhode Island has been a family owned Christmas tree farm for generations and more recently the crops have included grapes and other fruits they incorporate into their wines. Although it would have been fun to sip wine amid the camaraderie of the people gathered here on a Sunday afternoon, we truly enjoyed the pastoral setting for the sharing of a refreshing libation. Life is good.
What an incredible opportunity! A friend from Florida visiting her son and his girlfriend in Massachusetts while we were in the area and mutual friends who live on the Massachusetts coast made for a great afternoon visit and delicious meal at The Old Grist Mill Tavern in Seekonk, Massachusetts. This lovely Eighteen Century tavern was in fact rebuilt after a devastating 2012 fire but in a way that totally preserves its historic character. And the food was great. Thanks Arleene, Xander, Ellie, Deb, and Tim for a fun afternoon!
When we discovered that üCamp friends Mike & Marilee with their daughter Jesse and we would all be in or near Rhode Island the same weekend, we made plans to rendezvous for a shared adventure. A grand house tour and some great American history appealed to everyone so we met at The John Brown House immediately adjacent to the campus of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. The house was constructed in 1786-1788 for John Brown, a descendant of one of the earliest Rhode Island settlers, successful merchant, benefactor of the College of Rhode Island which was later named for his nephew, and Patriot. He was an instigator in The Gaspee Affair in 1772. This elegant mansion was added onto in the latter 1800’s but remained in the family until 1901 when successful Providence businessman Marston Perry purchased it and added some Gilded Age decor. After Perry’s 1935 death a Brown family member purchased it, commissioned the Washington Wallpaper and then donated it to the Rhode Island Historical Society in 1942. Among the fascinating artifacts are what may be the oldest American built vehicle still in existence, a carriage in which George Washington once rode, and The Tree Root That Ate Roger Williams. From there, at the suggestion of locals, we made our way to Providence Oyster Bar for (could we resist?) New England Lobster Rolls, and more time to visit with friends. Thanks, Mike & Merilee, for the comment on the blog that led to this fun afternoon. And Happy Birthday, Jesse!