Sunday, April 30, 2017

Day 182, Sunday, April 30, 2017, Jonestown KOA, Jonestown, PA

Site 67
Sunday, April 30, 2017, Jonestown KOA, Jonestown, PA, 135.3 miles, 8,268.3 Miles For the Trip

Since I didn't have all that far to go, and I wanted to avoid the morning traffic (even though it is a Sunday), I hung around the campground until 10:30. An interesting thing in the site across from me. The group of college aged kids left early, and another group moved in, used the site for a couple of hours, then left. Since the check out time is 12:00, I guess they can get away with it.

An all interstate drive with some heavy traffic, even some stop & go, but I arrived at the Jonestown KOA at 1:00. I'm in site 67, a full hookup site for $50.00. Expensive, like all KOA's, but I am used to stopping here since it is one of the few campgrounds in the area that is open in October when I'm heading west. Still, at $50.00 for one night, I better start looking for an alternative. It is wreaking my campground average, which is currently at $17.55, a bit higher than my usual winter travels. Too much time in California & Arizona, and not enough in the LTVAs!

The weather was much more comfortable, in the mid 70's. I sat outside and read most of the afternoon, then headed for the shower.

Dinner was an Amy's Bowl - Broccoli & Cheddar Bake. As usual, an excellent one person meal.

Until tomorrow -

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Day 181, Saturday, April 29, 2017, Greenbelt National Park, MD, Day 3

Relaxing? in the Zero Gravity Chair
Saturday, April 29, 2017, Greenbelt National Park, MD, Day 3, 0 miles, 8,133 Miles For the Trip

Another very warm night (in the 70's), and even hotter day. The thermometer under the propane tank cover hit 95°F and the fridge is up to 44°F.

Karin, Brian & the grandkids stopped over to sit around for part of the day. Brian tried out the Zero Gravity chair to relax, but since both kids wanted to "Share", he didn't get much relaxing! After a bit we headed back to their house to fill the new swimming pool. While the girls didn't spend too much time in it since the fresh water was pretty cold, they did enjoy it. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After that we went to Franklins, a combined restaurant/brewery/country store for dinner. I had fairly good fish & chips.

Until tomorrow -

Friday, April 28, 2017

Day 180, Friday, April 28, 2017, Greenbelt National Park, MD, Day 2

Friday, April 28, 2017, Greenbelt National Park, MD, Day 2, 0 miles, 8,133 Miles For the Trip

A very light rain for a couple of minutes last night, and it never cooled off below 65°F. My refrigerator is barely coping with the warm nights - it was at 37°F this morning, and 40°F now at 8:00PM. It did hit 90°F today.

I only used 8 amp hours last night, but with making a pot of coffee & reading some blogs & forums this morning on the computer, I was down about 18 amp hours by the time I finished my coffee. Since the rear half of the trailer is in shade, and the front panel is partially shaded, I decided to dig out the portable panel & set it in the sun. 1 1/2 amps charging current before, 12 amps after plugging in the portable.

Karin called around 12;00, and drove over to the campground. She parked in one of the empty, but reserved sites next to my trailer, and, of course, the people reserving it showed up (no one showed up for any of the other empty sites). It would be nice if there was some parking available, but since the sites are so small, fitting another vehicle doesn't work. We cheated a little by her parking at my site a little off the pavement - a no no...

After talking for awhile, she headed back home to meet the girls at the school bus, and I put away the awning & solar panel & headed out to meet her. On the way I made a loop of the campsites & made a list of the ones that better fit the trailer & had a bit more sunlight. There are only a couple in the park that are out in the open.

We met the girls at the bus stop, I picked up another book (and dropped off 3) at the Free Library Box on the street near the bus stop. A nice neighborhood where everyone seems to know each other.

Back at the house we sat around, ate dinner, then played with the electric truck I gave Zoe for her birthday. Lot of fun driving it into things!

Now I'm back at the trailer. I had a shower - I'd have to rate it as one of the poorer ones of the trip. Not real clean, and while it did have a bench & hooks, and was large, the drying area was also the shower.

Dinner was at Karin's - fish, rice & broccoli.

Until tomorrow -

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Day 179, Thursday, April 27, 2017, Greenbelt National Park, MD,

Valerie, Brian, Zoe & Karin
Thursday, April 27, 2017, Greenbelt National Park, MD, 168.6 miles, 8,133 Miles For the Trip

Well, I never saw either bear, and headed out of the campground around 10:00. Lots of interstate travels, which should have taken me within a few miles of the turnoff for Greenbelt National Park, but Matilda (my GPS) fooled me & got me into a turn lane I couldn't get out of. So, I had a tour of downtown Washington, DC, including crossing the Potomac, seeing the Capitol Building & Washington Monument, etc. With the horrible downtown DC traffic, it added 2 1/2 hours to the trip, with me pulling into the campground around 3:30. I'm in Site B39, a dry site for $10.00 per night (with the senior pass discount) just big enough for the trailer & with enough slope that I have the tongue almost on the ground. Still, it is one of the few in the park that will get some sun on the solar panels.

After setting up the trailer I called Karin & headed to her house. Well, that was what I thought I was doing - I had a "Saved" on the GPS called Karin, and since I'd been there before, I started following the route. Things looked familiar, but after getting most of the way there I realized it was the route to the apartment that they had just before going to Botswana! I'm glad they came back to Takoma Park since the new house was only a few miles away.

We walked to the school bus stop to pick up Zoe, then I stayed at the house while Karin went to pick up Brian & Valerie at the Metro stop (it was take your kid to work day, so Valerie went with Brian).

I took a few photos, then we had Tacos for dinner. After that it was back to the campground by a more direct route. Site & more family photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Until tomorrow -

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Day 178, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, Natural Chimneys County Park, Mt Solon, VA

Site B3
Wednesday, April 26, 2017, Natural Chimneys County Park, Mt Solon, VA, 198.5 miles, 7,964.4 Miles For the Trip

While it started out foggy, by the time I left the campground a strange, golden orb appeared in the sky. Haven't seen the sun in over a week. I spent most of the 200 mile drive on I 81. Other than lots of truck traffic, it wasn't too bad. I stopped at a Burger King / Two Stars gas station for coffee, but since it was lunch time I got a Crispy Chicken meal instead. Pretty good, but left me full enough that I probably won't do much for dinner.

I arrived at Natural Chimneys County Park around 1:00 & picked out a site - B3, a water & electric site for $27.38 per night. The sites are not well defined - there are posts in the lawn with power, and a site designation on each side, ie I'm on the B3 side but if someone backs in behind me they are in B16. The water is a short distance away, reachable with my 20' of hose.

I set up the trailer without unhooking the truck since I'm only here one night and it is about 20 miles to the nearest anything (there is a sign about a small store only 3 miles away, but I've never stopped to see what they have). In any case, I have everything I need for the next couple of days. There is no AT&T, even with an amplifier, but a strong, but slow Verizon 4G LTE connection. By the way, I accidently left Lightroom in the full size JPG export mode for yesterday's posts, so the big version of the pictures is BIG!

When the campground host came around to collect the fee, she mentioned that there are a couple of black bears in the park. One is a full size female that is going through garbage cans and the other an abandoned cup that hangs out at the dumpsters. Since I didn't get to see any at The Smokey Mountains National Park, maybe I'll see one here!

After sitting around reading for the rest of the afternoon, I headed for the showers.  Not bad in that they have standard shower heads, lots of hooks & a hanging thing for your soap, etc, but the drying area is part of the shower & the floor gets soaked.  No bench, but the bathrooms are clean.

As mentioned earlier, dinner was just a snack - cheese & crackers.

Until tomorrow -

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Day 177, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, Hungry Mother State Park, VA, Day 2

A Mastodon
Tuesday, April 25, 2017, Hungry Mother State Park, VA, Day 2, 0 miles, 7,765.9 Miles For the Trip

Just a little rain at the start of the evening (the mist just got a bit thicker) and a pretty much rain free day. It was still cloudy & damp outside, so after a bit of reading both on the internet (the campground has WiFi service that is fairly fast most of the time) and a bit of my current book, Peter James' Dead Man's Footsteps, I decided to revisit the Museum of the Middle Appalachians, in Saltville, VA, about 25 miles from the campground. Not many changes from the last visit, but I started a page that includes photos from each.

After that it was back to the campground. I did sit outside for about an hour, but without the sun and a light breeze, it was cool enough to get uncomfortable. I headed for the showers, which are individual rooms, clean, but, at this time of year, seem to be unheated. There is an electric heater high on the wall, but it never came on. Because the bathrooms are in a block building, it was cooler than the outside air. Other than that, nice showers with lots of room even in the drying area, a bench & hooks.

Dinner was a salad.

Until tomorrow -

Monday, April 24, 2017

Day 176, Monday, April 24, 2017, Hungry Mother State Park, VA

The Spillway & Stream
Monday, April 24, 2017, Hungry Mother State Park, VA, 166.8 miles, 7,765.9 Miles For the Trip

The rain stopped overnight and stayed dry throughout the morning (other than a few drops the light wind knocked off the leaves). I said some good byes to a few of the other hangers on, then headed out of the park around 10:00. I thought about backtracking to Maryville to get to I40 rather than going through Pigeon Forge, which can sometimes have severe traffic problems, but decided since it was a late Monday morning, it should be OK. It was, and I continued on to I 81 to Marion, VA and the Hungry Mother State Park. I stayed here at the beginning of the trip for a mini rally in site 35.

Many of the rivers along the way were in flood stage, in fact there were a couple of "Road Closed" signs due to flooding. There is a dam with a spillway above the campground. The last time I was here the spillway was empty with the lake a couple of feet below it. Today it is full of muddy water. The stream next to the campground isn't over its banks, but just about as close as it can get. I picked a site uphill from the stream! I'm in site 39 for two nights, a water & electric site for $39.36 per night, which includes out of state pricing & a $5.00 reservation fee (even though I didn't make a reservation). The site photo is at today's lakeshoreImages page.

While it isn't raining, it also isn't dry & sunny. There is a heavy mist in the air that makes it feel even cooler than it actually is - currently 56°F, but I watched a couple going by wearing winter coats & gloves!

After setting up I headed to the campground office to pay for the site, then into Marion & the Food Lion for a couple of items. Since it is only 3 miles from the campground, I decided a frozen pizza would make a great dinner. Since the freezer isn't big enough to fit a 12" pizza, I have to cook them as soon as I get them home. So, dinner was a pepperoni pizza a bit early at 4:30. After pizza I headed to the campground laundry. Two loads at $1.50 to wash & $1.50 to dry. Nice clean machines & a folding table in the room. I met a woman from Rhode Island heading home, that has been traveling in the south since December.

Until tomorrow -

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Day 175 Sunday, April 23, 2017, Townsend KOA, Day 5

Sunday, April 23, 2017, Townsend KOA, Day 5, 0 miles, 7,599.1 Miles For the Trip

Another rainy night. This has been the wettest "non-Oregon Spring" rally I've attended. We still all had fun, but there wasn't much sitting outside the trailers for Saturday evening or for those that stayed Sunday. I hope the roads will be OK for the start of the drive to home tomorrow - there are flood warnings for the area. The rain continued into the day, mostly light, with short periods of heavy downpours.

I was going to do laundry, but the laundry room is small, and no place to fold, etc. With the rain, I decided to wait until I got to Hungry Mother State Park tomorrow. I spent most of the day sitting in the trailer reading the Syracuse Sunday paper, blogs & forums & my book. During a short break in the rain I did go out and put away the hummingbird feeder (no hummers showed up) and put the ground cloth on the picnic table to rinse. Felt like tent camping days - putting away a wet ground cloth instead of a tent!

I received email from Escape that my available pick up date for my new Escape 21 has moved up from September 20th to August 16th! That will give me time to see some of the northwest before I head to Arizona for the winter.

The initial plan for dinner was to head to the Riverside Restaurant next door to the campground for a Chicken Fried Steak dinner (which I've had before & liked), but after changing into sweats to take a shower (I guess I could have just stood outside) I was too lazy to get dressed again to head for the restaurant. Instead, I microwaved an Amy's Chinese Noodles & Vegetables dinner.

Until tomorrow -

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Day 174, Saturday, April 22, 2017, Townsend KOA, Day 4

The Group Photo
Saturday, April 22, 2017, Townsend KOA, Day 4, 0 miles, 7,599.1 Miles For the Trip

It rained off & on overnight, but did hold off long enough for me to cook my enchilada dinner. By morning it stopped, and I walked around the campground for a round of photos. After that it was time to make the second blueberry pie. There were a few drops of light rain, but no wind, so cooking under the awning went OK. A few more photos, and it was time for the pot luck dinner. One good thing about site 70 - it is only a few steps to the pavilion. Makes carrying two pies, my tray eating utensils, drink & camera a bit easier!

As usual, plenty to eat with lots of variety. I even got a piece of one of my pies!

After most finished eating we took a couple of group photos. If you want a full size version, check the rally page. A few minutes after the group photo the rain came down.

Dinner was, of course, the pot luck. Right now (at 7:00) I'm listening to Prairie Home Companion & a fairly constant rain on the roof.

Until tomorrow -

Day 173, Friday, April 21, 2017, Townsend KOA,Day 3

Around the Campground
Friday, April 21, 2017, Townsend KOA,Day 3, 0 miles, 7,599.1 Miles For the Trip

A very warm night - it was in the 70's for most of it, but no rain. After breakfast I wandered around, stopping to talk to oth
er fiberglass owners, then decided to go to Maryville for the pie makings. On the way I stopped at the Bronco rally, something that seems to happen at the same time as the fiberglass rally. Lots of Ford Broncos in all kinds of shape, some are amazing for 50 year old vehicles. I took a few photos of some of the trucks, all the photos I did for the day.

I did stop by the office to make reservations for next year. Assuming that I'll be returning from Arizona or Texas around the same time, the rally makes a good stop along the way. Evidently, many others had the same idea. I wanted one of the more "polished" sites that have patios, etc and there were only 3 left. I'll be in site 55, a full hookup site for the same price as my water & electric site (they give a special price for the rally).

Today is the first "official" day of the rally, so I'll take some photos & add them to the page, as well as start a separate rally page. I didn't get everyone - it is raining, so I only made a quick round.

After getting back from the Maryville Walmart I started the first blueberry pie. I set up the toaster oven outside on the picnic table - too hot to cook inside. It looks like rain, so after cooling the pie outside for an hour I moved it inside. I hope the rain holds off long enough to cook dinner. I plan to use the toaster oven to bake a Amy's enchilada dinner on the picnic table. It is under the awning, but if the wind kicks up I will need to take in the awning, and an electric toaster oven doesn't do well in the rain!

Until tomorrow -

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Day 172, Thursday, April 20, 2017, Townsend KOA,Day 2, & The Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Little River Cascade
Thursday, April 20, 2017, Townsend KOA,Day 2, & The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, 0 miles, 7,599.1 Miles For the Trip

More rain overnight, but it stopped during the morning. I headed into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park & The Cades Cove loop for some photos. I added a page to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, page 1 I keep in the National & State Parks links. Since I did the same thing in 2015, some of the photos on page 3 are duplicates.  As usual, there are a few more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page, or, you can start at the beginning of the Great Smoky Mountain National Parks page, or go to today's additions.  So many choices!

I was tempted to hike to Abram Falls, but there were thunderclouds on the horizon & it was described as a 3-4 hour hike, so I skipped it. I did take a photo of the stream at the trailhead. Of course, it never rained...

After that it was back to the campsite. I talked with a new neighbor with an Escape 19, then headed inside to put the Great Smoky Mountain National Park page 3 & today's journal post together. Next is a shower, then dinner, which will be leftovers - a chicken thigh, rice & pinto beans, and asparagus.

Until tomorrow -

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Day 171, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, Townsend KOA

Site 70
Wednesday, April 19, 2017, Townsend KOA, 107 miles, 7,599.1 Miles For the Trip

Another damp night, although the rain held off while I packed up the trailer & for most of the drive to Townsend. Most of the drive was on TN 68 & US 411. I stopped at a Walmart & picked up some stuff, then crossed into the Eastern time zone, reaching the Townsend KOA around 1:00. I set up in site 70, a water & electric site for $42.46 per night (No one ever said KOA's are cheap!)

I sat under the awning in a light rain and read for a bit, then made a run to the local IGA to see what they had in the way of blueberry pie supplies. No specials on blueberries, so it will probably be frozen ones. I hope they have enough for two pies, otherwise I'll need to go out of Townsend to get them. The last time I drove to Pigeon Forge, it took a couple of hours. It isn't that far, but the traffic is horrendous. I'll worry about that on Friday.

Back at the trailer I wandered around saying hello to a bunch of other early arrivals, then fired up the grill to make dinner.

Dinner was a grilled chicken thigh, pinto beans & rice, and asparagus. A thunderstorm passed through while I was cooking dinner, but the wind wasn't bad enough that I had to take in the awning.

Until tomorrow -

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Day 170, Tuesday, April 18, 2017, Cumberland Mountain State Park, TN, Day 3

Ozone Falls
Tuesday, April 18, 2017, Cumberland Mountain State Park, TN, Day 3, 0 Miles, 7,492.1 Miles For the Trip

Rain off & on all night & morning. Mostly light, but it didn't go away until around 11:00AM. Even then, it only got down to a light mist. I decided to head to Ozone Falls. Only about 15 miles from the campground on Deep Draw Road & US 70 / TN 1. The closer I got to the falls, the harder the rain fell. A good AT&T signal at the parking area, so I checked my weather radar app & it showed the rain throughout the area, with no break in sight, so since it wouldn't help to wait, I decided to give it a try anyway.

A short, flat hike to the top of the falls, where I met a family exploring. I too a few photos, then headed for the trail to the bottom. Very rocky, steep, and the rain was still falling. I was soaked & muddy from slipping and sliding into a puddle on the way, so I passed it up. I'll have to visit these two waterfalls during dry weather!  More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Of course, as soon as I got back to the campground, the rain stopped. I sat outside & read for awhile. It started to rain, so rather than cooking inside, I headed to the campground restaurant for dinner. The buffet was better than the one at David Crockett (which, I'm afraid, isn't saying much). The sides & salad were OK, but the pork chops were dry & tough.

Until tomorrow -

Monday, April 17, 2017

Day 169, Monday, April 17, 2017, Cumberland Mountain State Park, TN, Day 2

The Bridge/Dam
Monday, April 17, 2017, Cumberland Mountain State Park, TN, Day 2, 0 Miles, 7,492.1 Miles For the Trip

A much cooler night, although not enough that I needed the cube heater or furnace. It rained off & on, so I didn't go for my morning walk. After breakfast I read some journals & forums on the internet - I'm using my Verizon Jetpack with excellent results. The park does have TengoInternet, a pay service that I've used with mixed results at other parks. I probably should have asked at the office since they ofter give a couple hundred MB of access for free, but I generally use more that that per day so I didn't bother.

After lunch, the rain let up, so I decided to check out one of the nearby waterfalls. On the way I stopped to take a couple of photos of the bridge/dam built be the CCC when the built the park. According to the park handout, it is "The largest steel free structure ever built during the Works Projects Administration of the Civilian Conservation Corps." A pretty structure. I also took a photo of a nearby building & the restaurant. More photos at toady's LakeshoreImages page.

After that I headed out for Piney Falls. I tried putting the Google Maps coordinates for the falls into the Garmin GPS, but that ended up on the wrong side of the gorge & suggesting that I go "Off Road" down someone's driveway. I drove back out to TN 68 and followed the instructions to head right on Fire Tower Road. The tower & a cell tower is at the end of the road & a small, unmarked parking area is a few 100 yards back from the end.

I met a family asking me if this was the parking area for the falls, I we both decided to wait until the rain let up before trying the trail near the parking area. We eventually headed out in a very light rain that, of course, got heavier after reaching the falls. It was raining hard enough that I didn't take the additional section of the trail that went to the bottom of the falls. It would have made pretty pictures, but a steady stream of water was running down the fairly steep path. I was soaked by the time I got back to the truck, but at least it was a warm rain!

After that it was back to the trailer. I ate the leftover Food City fried chicken for lunch, then sat outside for a bit. When the sun went behind heavy clouds, it got cool enough to move inside. I headed for the showers around 5:00. It appears that the host has added his own showerhead to one of the stalls. There is the typical low volume head in one stall, and a multi spray, including massage in the other. You can guess which one I used!

Dinner was cheese & crackers; I'm still stuffed from lunch.

Until tomorrow -

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Day 168, Sunday, April 16, 2017, Cumberland Mountain State Park, TN

Site 24
Sunday, April 16, 2017, Cumberland Mountain State Park, TN, 75 Miles, 7,492.1 Miles For the Trip

Happy Easter! We had a bit of light rain overnight and during the morning. Since I didn't have far to go to the next stop, I decided to wait it out, and it stopped around 10:00. The rain brought down a bunch of pretty flowers from a tree over the sidewalk to the bathrooms. I don't know what kind of tree it is, and couldn't ID the flower with a Google image search, but I picked one up for a photo. Check today's LakeshoreImages page for the photo.

I dumped the tanks at the dump station, and stopped at the office to drop off my garbage at the dumpsters. I was also suppose to pick up a sock that the campground host let me know I had left in the laundry room (She was pretty sure I was the only one that did male socks yesterday). Only problem is I got talking with someone about fiberglass trailers & forgot. Actually, not a problem since I'm sure I have at least one sock with a hole in the toe so I can just toss it to keep pairs!

A pleasant drive on US 70 to Cumberland Mountain State Park. I think I'm still in Central Time, although the change to Eastern happens before I get out of Tennessee. I had checked with Reserve America, and there were lots of open sites, so I didn't make a reservation for the three days I need to wait until my reservation for the Townsend rally.

The directions in the park to get to the office were a bit confusing & I ended up driving through the dump station. That wouldn't have been a problem, but someone in a class A decided to stop at the gate after the dump station, blocking the road. After a 5 minute wait, I decided I'd walk to the office & get a site while I waited (there was no one in the driver's seat). I was assigned site 25, a water & electric site for $27.39 per night (with a 25% senior discount). When I got to the site there was someone in it even though it was an hour after check out time. No one around, including the host site, so I called the office & they moved me to site 24. While it is a full hookup site, they didn't charge extra (and, I didn't connect to the sewer). Anyhow, I'm moved in.

Cloudy, and much cooler, although still in the 80's. No rain during the afternoon, and a light breeze made it nice to sit outside. I walked around the different loops (there are 5 of them) and checked out the bathrooms - typical older state park bathrooms with a couple of shower stalls.

Around dinner time I thought about going to the restaurant, but drove across the dam on the lake & found the parking lot completely filled with Easter diners. Rather than fight the crowd, I decided to head to Food City for some ice cream (I've been out for almost a week) and picked up some fried chicken & deviled egg potato salad for dinner.

Until tomorrow -

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Day 167, Saturday, April 15, 2017, Edgar Evins State Park, TN, Day 7

Saturday, April 15, 2017, Edgar Evins State Park, TN, Day 7, 0 Miles, 7,417.1 Miles For the Trip

Another warm day. I did some walking in the morning while it was still cool, then chased the shade sitting outside reading. I discovered that there is a Wilber Smith fan here at the campground. They have a shelf of books at the office, and almost half of them are by Wilber Smith. I like his work as well, and traded in 8 - 10 books.

While the campground isn't full, it is fairly packed. Even the walk in primitive camping area has 4 tents. They may be cooler than the developed sites; they are tucked in the trees with lots of shade. It is a good thing I don't have photos today - the internet connection on Verizon still shows 4G LTE, but it is too slow to read many of the forums, and, I suspect, too slow to post photos.

I did get a chance to talk with my son Kyle, Don & Anne, and my daughter Karin using FaceTime because AT&T kept going in & out.  FaceTime uses the Verizon WiFi to make a connection, even to a phone that is on a phone network. After that it was more reading, then dinner, which was the rest of a jar of beets, and a couple of El Monterey Chicken Empanadas. I set up the toaster oven on the picnic table - too hot to cook inside. This is one of those days that I won't want to use the real built in oven in the new Escape 21, so I will still carry the toaster oven.

Until tomorrow -

Friday, April 14, 2017

Day 166, Friday, April 14, 2017, Edgar Evins State Park, TN, Day 6

Friday, April 14, 2017, Edgar Evins State Park, TN, Day 6, 0 Miles, 7,417.1 Miles For the Trip

Maybe a little too warm today - the thermometer in the propane tank cover reached 92F. Around 10:00 I decided to do a load of laundry, as well as dump my garbage & recyclables next door to the laundry room. Both machines were in use, but one became available about 1/2 hour after I got there. I got out one of my chairs & sat in the shade of the campground office building.

While waiting for the washer and a turn at the dryers, I met a couple from Canada that had a scary story. As they pulled into the campground their truck died. They managed to pull into a boat storage area with the trailer, and called for a tow truck to haul the truck to the nearest garage. The tow truck driver got the truck on the flatbed & headed out of the campground. He missed a shift, and as he started rolling back down (Remember this campground is carved into the side of a very steep hill) his brakes failed. He managed to stay on the road for about 150', then both trucks ended up in a gully 50' below the road. While the driver didn't get hurt, they still haven't managed to pull either truck out of the gully, it looks like both are totaled.

So, here they are in a different country with no way to haul their trailer home. They are in the midst of sorting out both their & the tow truck's insurance, police reports, and figuring out what to do with the trailer. The campground host towed them to a campsite with the longest break before it is reserved, but that is only until the 24th. If they need a new truck, buying one in the US would be difficult, both because of problem of importing it, and because of the current exchange rate (the Canadian dollar is about 75% of the US dollar at the moment). I wish them luck & wish I could do something to help. Their current plan, once they have a decision of the truck, is to rent a vehicle, drive to Canada & buy a replacement truck, then come back for the trailer. The campground will let them park it in the boat trailer storage area after the 24th.

I did finish my laundry, got it all folded & made the bed, then sat in the shade of the trailer and read - currently Jonathan Kellerman's Over the Edge.

Dinner was P. F. Chang's Orange Chicken. This is one of the meals I only make when there is a campground dish washing sink. The sauce takes lots of scrubbing of a large frying pan which uses lots of water & doesn't fin well in my tiny sink. I wish they made single servings - the standard package is for two, and while I usually eat a bit more than half, there is no was I'd do the whole thing. It doesn't reheat well.

Until tomorrow -

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Day 165, Thursday, April 13, 2017, Edgar Evins State Park, TN, Day 5

A Crow
Thursday, April 13, 2017, Edgar Evins State Park, TN, Day 5, 0 Miles, 7,417.1 Miles For the Trip

Another beautiful day. I hope I'm not using all of them up before the fiberglass trailer rally next week. In any case, I spent lots of time sitting outside. I decided I had to take some photographs of something, so I put on my 80 - 400 zoom lens & waited for wildlife. Before I got out the camera, nuthatches, blue jays, crows & a squirrel were hanging around, but the second the camera came out they went away. I finally went for a walk and took a few photos of the marina & some fisherman.

Back at the campsite, I sat out & read, keeping the camera on the picnic table. I did get a few lousy photos of a bumblebee & a couple of crows, but nothing I'd post if I had anything else. I did do some repair on one of my chairs, but that was about all I accomplished for the day.

Dinner was a sandwich made with left over tuna fish, and a salad.

Until tomorrow -

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Day 164, Wednesday, April 12, 2017, Edgar Evins State Park, TN, Day 4

Wednesday, April 12, 2017, Edgar Evins State Park, TN, Day 4, 0 Miles, 7,417.1 Miles For the Trip

Another day without pictures. The weather couldn't be better - temperatures in the 70's and clear skies. I took my garbage to the dumpsters. While not that long a walk, you gain a couple hundred feet of altitude on the way. It is also the location of the laundry - $1.50 to wash & $1.00 to dry. I don't have enough for a load, although I might by the time I leave on Sunday.

After lunch I drove to Smithville to do some shopping & get a tank of propane. The propane was at Tractor Supply; at $2.59 per gallon, some of the least expensive of the trip. I couldn't find a large grocery store, so I stopped at the Walmart Supercenter. Of course I ended up buying more than I really needed. I replaced a very worn 2 quart saucepan, my remote meat thermometer I use to tell the temperature in my Dutch oven, and enough frozen stuff that I had to eat half a pint of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream just to make room.

That was about it for the day. I finished Martin Cruz Smith's Havana Bay, and started a P. D. James mystery - Cover Her Face. I asked one of the rangers why is seems all the Tennessee parks have WiFi, but no internet. He said the same company installed the system over the last 4 years in all the parks, but didn't do the outside connections. They are currently installing a 1Gig fiber run to the campground, but it isn't finished.

Dinner (besides the ice cream) was cheese & crackers - I had a big lunch. I thought about going to the park's restaurant for dinner some night. It is a long drive, but only a mile hike on a trail between it & the campground. Glad I checked since it is closed for the season!

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Day 163, Tuesday, April 11, 2017, Edgar Evins State Park, TN, Day 3

Tuesday, April 11, 2017, Edgar Evins State Park, TN, Day 3, 0 Miles, 7,417.1 Miles For the Trip

Another warm night & a nice day. There were more clouds, but they keep the temperatures in the 70's rather than the 80's of the last couple of days. Lots of sitting around reading blogs, forums & my current book - J. A. Jance's Down Fall. I finished it and started Martin Cruz Smith's Havana Bay, a 1999 copyright, but one of his that I haven't read.

I did take a break from doing nothing, and walked around the campground. Discovered a Casita 17 parked in the row below mine. They later stopped by & we chatted for a bit.

Dinner was a couple of tuna fish sandwiches & Cape Cod potato chips.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, April 10, 2017

Day 162, Monday, April 10, 2017, Edgar Evins State Park, TN, Day 2

Another View of My Site
Monday, April 10, 2017, Edgar Evins State Park, TN, Day 2, 0 Miles, 7,417.1 Miles For the Trip

I did find a couple of FM NPR stations, all somewhat weak, but listenable. At least one has classical music at night, so I'm set. Speaking of the airwaves, this park, like most of the other Tennessee State Parks has good WiFi coverage. The problem is it appears that the state hasn't paid its ISP bill - all the parks I've been in have strong WiFi, but no internet. Luckily, there is a good -92dBm (with the Sleek amplifier) 4G LTE Verizon signal. AT&T comes & goes. Last night it was good enough that I could listen to WXXI's 10:00 broadcast of "Hearts of Space", a favorite of mine that isn't on too many NPR stations. The music was first described to me as Yanni meets Philip Glass. In any case, my iPhone pulled the Rochester station over the internet without any drop outs. I also managed to talk to my brother and Facetime with the Guidos yesterday. Today all I get is "No Service".

I did my usual walk around the campground, took a couple of photos including one of the prettiest new greenery - poison ivy, another view of the site platform, and the definitely not ADA compliant sidewalk to the bathroom & showers. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I spent most of the day goofing off. As long as I could find shade, the weather was very nice & I sat around outside reading all afternoon. After a quick shower, I made dinner, which was a couple of turkey hot dogs & half a package of freeze dried Mexicali Rose Green Chile Homestyle Refried Beans. I like these much better than canned refried beans, but if I can find them again, I'm going to switch to the non green Chile version. These are pretty hot!

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Day 161, Sunday, April 9, 2017, Edgar Evins State Park, TN

Site 33
Sunday, April 9, 2017, Edgar Evins State Park, TN, 144.2 Miles, 7,417.1 Miles For the Trip

I was a little slow getting out of the campground, and hit the road around 10:00AM. Since it was a short drive, most on 4 lane roads, including Interstates 840 & 40, I arrived at Edgar Evins around 1:00. Check in is at 4:00, but my site was empty, so I moved in.

An interesting campground. The sites are all on the side of a hill overlooking the Center Hill Reservoir (which, on the park map is spelled Reservior). My spell checker insists on Reservoir, so that's what I'm going with. Because it is a large body of water, distances are deceiving. My GPS shows the nearest large grocery store (a Super Walmart) is only 9 miles away. Punch in directions, and it is a 22 mile drive taking 35 minutes. Evidently, that 22 miles is to the closest town - Smithville, TN.

I'm in site 33, a water & electric site for $21.37 per night. Most of the sites are on wooden decks with concrete & steel structure and 6"X6" decking. Each site has exact size measurements - mine is 24' wide by 31' deep. With leaving room to open my rear carrier, the trailer fits fine, but I have to park my truck across the street. The water faucet is in a strange location, requiring my longer hose running across the deck, but the view from the back is nice. I do have a neighbor that likes loud country music, but he turned it down after cooking dinner.

I walked around the campground, at least part of it. There is a restaurant here in the park, but it on another part of the reservoir. I'm not sure it is in walking distance; in fact, the campground map shows no road or parking going to it. That might be possible. There is a large marina completely off shore across from the campground. No land connection...

I spent the rest of the day sitting outside reading, talking to Don & Anne in Binghamton - Don is doing well recovering from his heart attack & quadruple bypass surgery, and my brother on Nantucket who is dealing with high blood pressure. With just my painful wrist, I feel like I'm healthy!

Dinner was a Bubba Burger & beets.

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Day 160, Saturday, April 8, 2017, David Crockett State Park, Lawrenceburg, TN, Day 6

Barn Owls
Saturday, April 8, 2017, David Crockett State Park, Lawrenceburg, TN, Day 6, 0 Miles, 7,272.9 Miles For the Trip

Down to 38°F overnight, but nice & toasty in the trailer. I did sleep in a bit longer than usual to avoid going outside in the cold! It warmed up quickly; clear skies & in the high 70's for much of the day.

I walked around the campground, did some reading of forums, blogs & my book until 1:00, then headed to the David Crockett Museum. They have birds of prey in cages out in front of the museum, and a few displays inside. I also stopped again at the waterfall for some filtered photos, but it was crowded; tough to get the waterfall without people. Many more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After that it was back to the campground and more sitting outside enjoying the nice weather.

I talked to some friends in Colorado then started a pot pie for dinner.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, April 7, 2017

Day 159, Friday, April 7, 2017, David Crockett State Park, Lawrenceburg, TN, Day 5

David Crockett Monument
Friday, April 7, 2017, David Crockett State Park, Lawrenceburg, TN, Day 5, 0 Miles, 7,272.9 Miles For the Trip

Another cool night, but it did warm up more than yesterday during the afternoon. I sat outside & read, checked the Syracuse Post Standard newspaper on my iPad, and read a few blogs & forums on the computer. After lunch I drove to town to find the David Crockett monument.

On the way back to the campground I made a quick stop at the local Walmart, dropped off the purchases, then headed to the restaurant for dinner. The had a $12.95 buffet which was just barely OK, but easier than deciding what to cook myself. After dinner I sat outside and talked with some of my neighbors. The park is filling up. While there are still more empty sites than filled, most of the nicer sites have RVs in them. I met a couple from Nova Scotia who are heading home after spending the winter in Alamo, TX, one of the towns in the part of Texas referred to as the Rio Grande Valley. They had a very warm March, but the rest of the winter was pleasant.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Day 158, Thursday, April 6, 2017, David Crockett State Park, Lawrenceburg, TN, Day 4

Thursday, April 6, 2017, David Crockett State Park, Lawrenceburg, TN, Day 4, 0 Miles, 7,272.9 Miles For the Trip

Boy did it cool off! Down to 43°F at 6:00AM, and it only barely got up to 59°F by late afternoon. I'm glad I fired up the cube heater overnight. Sorry for not photos, but it was a dreary day for them.

Around 4:00 a 5th wheel moved in next door, so I don't feel quite so alone in this end of the campground. There are also about 5 RVs in the upper area, some that are here for the weekend. For both our sakes, I hope it warms up.

I spent most of the morning inside reading, then decided since it was too cold to be comfortable outside, I'd do laundry. Nothing here in the campground, so I headed into Lawrenceburg & the Wishy Washy Laundromat. Not too busy with no wait on washing machines or dryers. Good size folding tables, plenty of carts to move your stuff around, and comfortable (but worn) booths with benches to sit at while you wait.

After putting away the laundry & making the bed, I spent more time reading inside, went for a shower, then made dinner.

Dinner was simple, a couple of turkey hot dogs & the left over rice & broccoli from the other day. Speaking of turkey, there are wild ones here in the park. I can hear them each day, but haven's seen them in the campground. I did see a small flock in a field when heading to the laundromat, but there wasn't anywhere to pull off the narrow road to take a photo.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Day 157, Wednesday, April 5, 2017, David Crockett State Park, Lawrenceburg, TN, Day 3

Wednesday, April 5, 2017, David Crockett State Park, Lawrenceburg, TN, Day 3, 0 Miles, 7,272.9 Miles For the Trip

A nice, quiet night. Lots of severe thunderstorm & tornado warnings on the radio this morning with many schools closed in Alabama to the south. I checked the weather radar app and the storms are to the east & south of Lawrenceburg. I did keep a local station on the radio to hear alerts, and while there were lots of them, we appear to be on the western edge of the storms. More predicted overnight; lets hope they are somewhere else. I really don't want to be in the trailer with quarter sized hail. In fact, while I have been through a dime sized hail storm on a previous trip, I doubt the trailer would deal well with a combination of quarter size hail & 60MPH winds! I'm used to the wind - most winters we have a couple of storms off Lake Ontario that have 60+ MPH winds, but large hail I can do without.

All we had here was lots of wind. It was in the 80's, so I tried sitting outside reading. The prediction is for 40°F tonight, so I may dig out the electric heater.

I didn't feel like cooking, so dinner was a salad.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Day 156, Tuesday, April 4, 2017, David Crockett State Park, Lawrenceburg, TN, Day 2

David Crockett Falls
Tuesday, April 4, 2017, David Crockett State Park, Lawrenceburg, TN, Day 2, 0 Miles, 7,272.9 Miles For the Trip

Just a little light rain overnight that stopped by midnight.

After breakfast I went for a walk around the campground loops, waved goodbye to the only other campers besides the host & a Sunrader Class C in the upper section. I sat around reading, checking forums & websites, called my friends Don & Anne (Don is recovering from a heart attack & quadruple bypass surgery). I also reserved three days at the end of April at Greenbelt National Park in Maryland (just outside Washington, DC) so I can visit with my daughter, her husband & the granddaughters.

After lunch, I drove to the covered bridge & the David Crockett Waterfall. I didn't have my neutral density filter with me so the image isn't as soft as my usual waterfall pictures, but it is what you get! The picture of the bridge is at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After that I headed to town to find a grocery store. I had an urge for a couple of hard rolls to make sandwiches. Unfortunately, although the Krogers had a bakery, they didn't have any rolls. Of course, I picked up some other stuff, most of which I didn't really need, The freezer is officially full!

Once everything was packed away, I sat outside in the shade and continued to read my latest book - Orphan X, by Gregg Hurwitz. An interesting read in the style of Lee Child. He has written lots of other books; this is the first time I've read him. Looks like I'll be doing some Amazon used book orders!

Dinner was an Amy's Thai Pad Thai dinner, A Vegan Thai/Vietnamese stir fry frozen meal. The first time for her version, but so far I've liked all the different frozen dinners from the company.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, April 3, 2017

Day 155, Monday, April 3, 2017, David Crockett State Park, Lawrenceburg, TN

Site 94
Monday, April 3, 2017, David Crockett State Park, Lawrenceburg, TN, 98.6 Miles, 7,272.9 Miles For the Trip

It rained off & on, mostly on, all night, including lightning & thunder, stopping just in time for me to pack up the trailer & head out. A relaxing drive on TN 100, US 412, and US 43 to Lawrenceburg. I crossed the Natchez Trace and pulled into David Crockett State Park around noon.

I asked for a site until Sunday, and while they had many for the week, few that included the weekend. I'm in site 94, a back in with water & electric and a distant picnic table for $20.66 per night with the Senior discount Tennessee gives to those over 62, even if they are from out of state. Thanks! A pretty site, although it looks like lots of sand has flowed across the site's pavement with yesterday's rain. I did manage to put down my plastic ground mat so I won't be tracking too much into the trailer.

Right now the campground is mostly empty. A couple on their way back to Quebec from wintering in the Rio Grand Valley of Texas moved in a few spaces below mine, but that is all in this loop. A few more in the upper area. The bathrooms, as well as the campground can be classified as "rustic", although in better shape than Chickasaw.

While I was sitting outside a bunch of cars & trucks pulled up to the bathrooms. They are closing down the campground for the better part of a year starting in September to rebuilt the bathrooms & some of the sites. I suggested that they consider showers that didn't spray into the dressing room, and they thought that was a good idea. The problem is there is already a design for all Tennessee showers that may result in the problem even with new showers. The newest Tennessee campground I've been in was Tim Ford, and that had all kinds of shower problems.

After setting up, including a hummingbird feeder, I spend most of the day sitting outside reading. It started to rain around 4:30, and has been raining off & on since. Not too heavy, but too much to sit outside.

I read for a bit in the trailer, than fired up the toaster oven to heat up a frozen Boston Market Chicken Parmesan dinner. They make a bunch of dinners, but that is the only one I like.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Day 154, Sunday, April 2, 2017, Chickasaw State Park, Chickasaw, TN

Site 20
Sunday, April 2, 2017, Chickasaw State Park, Chickasaw, TN, 132.7 Miles, 7,174.3 Miles For the Trip

A quiet night; even the dog next door didn't do a lot of barking. This morning the owner mentioned that he was bit of a problem and nipped at his own kids. Just the kind of animal you let run loose in a campground!

After breakfast I packed up the trailer & headed to Tennessee. I stopped at one of the Memphis Rite Aids to pick up my prescriptions. They were able to fill all of them even though one still had 11 days before it was scheduled for filling. One of the most pleasant Rite Aids I've been to.

After that it was east on US 64 & TN 100 to Chickasaw State Park. There are probably better campgrounds on the way to Townsend, but this one is a short jog off the route, and I know what to expect - a somewhat run down (probably better to say "rustic") state park. I did get a better site than last year - I wouldn't have been able to get the trailer into last year's site with the truck. That was one big advantage of the RAV4. The short wheelbase, combined with the short distance between the hitch & rear wheels made the combination very maneuverable. I'm in site 20, a water & electric site for $20.48. I'm only staying one night - it is suppose to rain tomorrow & it looks like water runs through the site during a storm. It is hot & muggy, 89°F this afternoon. The campground, at least the lower section is almost empty - just me & the host. Actually, the rain isn't waiting until tomorrow; it just started around 7:15PM.  I don't have a lot of packing up the trailer to leave in the morning - I already unhooked the water, the truck is still hooked to the trailer & the site is level enough that I don't have any blocks or the Anderson Leveler out.  All I have to do is disconnect the electric, close the front window protector, run up the tongue jack,  & crank up the rear jacks.

I did some reading, both a book & the internet. There is WiFi here, but it doesn't currently have an internet connection. I have a good 4 bar Verizon 4G LTE signal, and one bar to none AT&T.

Dinner was a couple of grilled chicken thighs & a Knorr Rice & Broccoli side.

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Day 153, Saturday, April 1, 2017, Village Creek State Park, Wynne, AR, Day 2

Saturday, April 1, 2017, Village Creek State Park, Wynne, AR, Day 2, 0 Miles, 7,041.6 Miles For the Trip

Not much going on today. The campground has filled with only a few empty sites. About 1/2 RVs, the rest tents. My next door neighbors, along with many others in the campground don't appear to believe in the dog leash rules. Their Greman Sheapard mix came visiting, growling & barking - their answer was he is only 1 year old. They finally chased him back to their site with a broom. I don't know what it is with me and dogs, but most of them don't like me! I did do a bit of housework - I defrosted the refrigerator.

I had a late brunch of bacon & scrambled eggs, then spent the day either walking around the campground or sitting outside reading. I finished my first Lyn Hamilton book; liked it alot, and ordered a couple more at Amazon. I won't get them until I'm home, but I still have quite a few books in the bin to read on the rest of the trip.

Dinner will be a BLT and a salad.

Until Tomorrow -