Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Grandkid Time!

We made it across country to Virginia stopping at Dandridge, Tennessee, for a relaxing time along the French Broad River. The camp there is a COE park so we were able to camp for half price, $11/night. We had water and electric. The camp was crowded when we arrived but people soon started leaving and soon there were just a few of us in camp. Even the camp host went home at night. The fishing in the river was pretty good because a camper came down to fish in front of our space and he caught a huge walleye. Terry said it was about 30 inches long. He promptly carried it off and when he returned he said it was already filleted and ready for the supper skillet!

We did a little driving around Pigeon Forge, checking out landmarks we knew from years ago. For many years this was our "go to" spot for fall break from school and even spring break. It was far enough away we felt we were really "getting away" and close enough we could drive it easily without stopping. We used to camp at "The Smokies" but the campground is no longer there. We had heard for years the property had been sold, but sadly, nothing has been done with the property. It's too bad it couldn't continue to be a viable business until the owners decided what to do with it.

We even drove on over to Gatlinburg. Nothing has really changed there. There are hundreds of shops which have all kinds of junk for sale. The real draw for me to this area is the location and the scenery. So we decided to drive up to Ober Gatlinburg. Here on top of the mountain is an ice skating rink, a mountain slide and some shops. It hasn't changed much over the years and it is probably really hopping in the winter, but during the warmer weather, there isn't much here. But NOW, they charge you $5 to park! What a ripoff. We won't be back up there. I always thought it was a lot of hype for what was there and that's when it was FREE! It was overcast when we were there, but we could still see town, but no flowers or trees had bloomed. We did spend some time at the factory shops, but didn't buy much. Terry bought some tools. . . . now what surprises me about that?

Once we left there, we traveled on to Virginia, spending another night on the road before coming into Charlottesville. Since then it's been the grandkids every day! We gave Aenea her birthday presents since her birthday was last month. She seemed to like everything and it's now probably just a memory! LOL She is the sweetest little girl. Hard to believe how she started out this life at 28 weeks gestation and 2 lb. 12 oz. She is doing great, perfectly developed and chattering a lot. She picks up words easily and although she doesn't say a lot, she communicates very well. She knows some sign language which I am learning as well. It's not hard to figure out what she wants.

Ronan is a typical almost 7 year old. We celebrated his birthday a couple days ago since we won't be here for that either. We have to be back in Indiana for Terry's doctor appointments, so his other grandparents will be here. We bought him several things including a new bike. We actually bought two. The first one was defective when we got it home. He did get to ride it a bit before we returned it. Fortunately we found a bit better bike when we went to a different store and he now has a very nice new bike which should last him several years.


We have been here a week and will leave tomorrow. It will be hard to leave the wee ones and their parents. Jocelyn is sporting a lovely purple cast on her right hand. She had a stener lesion from a fall last year. Nothing seemed to help it, so they did surgery in March. Once she gets the cast off she will have a splint and some therapy. It does handicap her a bit. She cannot drive or use her right hand for anything. Hopefully it will heal properly and she will regain full use of her thumb/hand.

We will be heading to Indiana tomorrow. It is raining here today, but I must say I prefer it over the snow they just had in the Indianapolis area. When will it stop?

The girls are doing very well. They now seem excited when we stop because they have learned it will mean all new smells and discoveries to make. There is one disappointment here in the camp at Charlottesville. This is a very wooded camp in an area of Virginia that is wooded and hilly and remote. We always had hundreds of squirrels in the park and the girls know that. There is not ONE squirrel here. My son-in-law says the decline of the squirrel population has been a topic of discussion. It was a very hard winter for them, longer and colder than normal and their food supply was depleted. They either starved or were killed on the road racing around trying to find more food. He said they seemed to be acting crazy in their quest for food and more than usual ended up dead on the road. It's strange to walk through the woods and not see one.

Today is our last day to see the kids. It is also Terry's birthday! I am so lucky to have him here with me considering his health problems that started 16 years ago. Happy Birthday to the love of my life!

Till next time. . .


Friday, April 04, 2014

Marking time. . .

Tuesday we drove through Houston and up to Nacogdoches, Texas, where Foretravel Motorhomes are built. We have been interested in looking at what late model used coaches might be available at Motorhomes of Texas. They had several we looked at, but nothing that I liked well enough to give up what I had. They had a selection of Foretravel and Newell coaches. The Newells are really nice, but they tend to have an almost "gaudy" interior. They just don't look like something to be lived in. . . very pristine and a lot of white with gold trim and accents. I sure don't want to have to keep that all clean. But there surely are coaches that have different interiors, so we have to look. We like the bigger engines in these coaches, but one would have to have amenities like we are used to in order for us to trade. We have lived in ours for eight years and the interior is in better shape than many of the coaches we looked at. It makes one think the quality of the interior fit and finish is no better or in some cases substandard to our Tiffin. So, we are hanging on to Phaeton Place for the present.

After leaving Nacogdoches, we drove on to Henderson where a friend and fellow cancer survivor we met in Houston lives. We set up camp, then drove over to their house. We visited a bit, then Dave and Reba took us to the "Cotton Patch" restaurant where we were able to order just about anything we wanted. They had a great menu and we all ended up getting really large salads. They were so good and we enjoyed them. After dinner we returned to their home and visited till 9:30. Since they both had to work the next day, we didn't want to keep them up too late.

We left Henderson Wednesday morning and drove across the rest of Texas and Louisiana. We ended up in Vicksburg, Mississippi, for the night, camping at Rivertown Campground, south of town. We did go visit the two casinos closest to the camp. It was the strangest experience we have ever had in a casino. The parking lots were virtually empty and so few people were in the place. We got $5 in free play money and that is all we spent. We left there and went to the other casino across the parking lot and it was a little bit busier. But the slots were just as tight. We spent a couple dollars then left. It doesn't make sense. They won't get people in if they don't let them win a bit. Seems to me someone would wisen up and let people win. Then the parking lot would be full, the hotel full, the restaurants full and people spending money. But I won't be back if they don't loosen the slots. Apparently we aren't the only ones who feel that way.

Yesterday we drove on across Mississippi and into Alabama. There was the threat of severe weather later in the day and into Friday, so we wanted to get to our next mark.We are camped at Tannehill Iron Works State Historical Park. It was a bit of a trick getting in here, but we made it. Tannehill was and iron forge active during the Civil War, producing ordinance and other items for the Confederacy. It was destroyed when Wilson and his men burned it to the ground just before the end of the War. It has been partially restored and the furnace actually blasted once again in a historical reinactment witnessed by thousands of people. There is a museum on the grounds and many cabins and other structures of the period have been moved here to form a very informative historical park. We visited the museum and other structures on the grounds today, including a grist mill, church, school, and pioneer farm.

Tomorrow we once again hit the road on our way to see our kids and grandkids!

Till next time. . .