Saturday, April 30, 2016

Here we are. . .

We arrived in Cicero, Indiana, at the White River Campground on Thursday afternoon. Our plan is to stay here till Sunday, then leave for Lafayette. We are going to be staying at Prophetstown State Park, which sounds really nice. It is Indiana's newest state park, so we are anxious to see what it's like.

We haven't been staying at too many Indiana State Parks in recent years because they have raised their prices to actually make the cost prohibitive. A FHU site on the weekend is $40 a night plus an entrance fee. For us out of staters, that's an additional $9-10 depending on the park. Whew. What are they thinking? The price does drop for Sunday through Thursday, so we are waiting to go in on Sunday afternoon.

We called ahead to inquire about sites here at this camp since we had never been here before and were told to get here early. They said they didn't have any FHU sites for our rig, but plenty of spaces where we could grab 30A and water. That was fine with us because they were supposed to have nice showers, etc. And they are very nice, BUT. . . what makes these people who design these things think campers don't want privacy when they shower and dress? No thank you. That's why they stay so nice, no one uses them.

Well, we got here and the one attendant, obviously not the one who told us they had plenty of sites for us, said they had nothing we could fit on. Nada, nope, not one site big enough for us. Grrrrrr. We were contemplating our next move when she said. . . "Well, I could put you on the manager's site. He's not here yet and if you are leaving Sunday, that would work." Thank you very much. It's actually a FHU 50Amp site, so we are all set. The sites are all paved and it is nice here. Except for the rain. . . did I mention the rain? It's been raining since last evening and hasn't let up. It's been difficult to get the dogs out to do their business because it's been raining all day. We take them out during the lulls, but they don't want to get wet. I don't blame them. It's in the 50's so it's a bit chilly. But it's not windy, so we keep our awning out and we can stay dry under that. We are right on the banks of the White River here. It's not very wide at this point, but I'm keeping an eye on some markers on the far bank because I don't want to get caught up in a flood. It is supposed to let up later and not start again till tomorrow, but it's still coming down pretty good.

So it's been movie day and laying around napping day. A little bit of laundry, etc. Anything to pass the time.

Thursday night when we got here, we went to Bonge's Tavern for dinner. It's kind of a legend and we have heard about it for years, even when we lived down here. We decided it was time to finally try it. It was a big disappointment for me. I will eat most anything, but Terry is very fussy. His chicken was the best he has ever eaten, but he didn't care for the pineapple salsa. There is no menu, only a chalkboard that lists the entrees. No mention made of sides. Turns out all entrees are served with the same sides, no choice. You do get soup or salad, which is a lettuce wedge. Now I got the Perkinsville Pork which was very good. A pork tenderloin pounded thin and breaded with planko and Parmesan cheese. It was very tasty, but it was fried in butter and was extremely rich. There were two portions and I ate part of one. There were also beets and garlic mashed potatoes as a side. I love beets, but they were extremely strong, flavorwise and with everything else having strong flavors, it was just too much. We both brought half our meal home. And it was very expensive. It was nice to go this once to see what all the hype was about, but I don't think we will go back.

Tomorrow we leave for Lafayette so we can take Butterscotch to the Purdue University small animal hospital where the chief researcher for TCC (bladder cancer) in Scotties can evaluate her. Praying for a good result and some answers.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, April 27, 2016


After we left Amish country, we traveled on to St. Paris, Ohio, where friends Tab and Deanna live. At one time, they fulltimed with us and traveled the country. But fate intervened and they are now happily living in a lovely house and still camp in their motorhome whenever they want. We try to stop when we can. We don't always go this way, but this time we did and we enjoyed spending a couple days with them. They are doing well and it was a great visit. Even the dogs get along. They have seen each other enough that they seem to be accustomed to one another, so we can sit out and visit with the dogs.

We left there on Sunday and along the way west we passed some wind chargers in east central Indiana. We arrived in New Castle in time to set up for the Nascar race. Always a favorite. We like this camp, Cornerstone, but are a bit confused about the prices. Last July, just nine months ago when we were here, we paid $22. Then in September when we returned we paid $28. This time they charged us $44 a night. What? We asked if that included the discount which they proudly advertise and were told it did. The owner is the same person who has checked us in all three times. Why the discrepancy? We noted on RV Park Reviews that a previous disgruntled camper is not coming back over "discrepancies in posted prices." Hmmm. So I guess it's not just us.

We also discovered that the state park where we used to stay has now upgraded their sites and added 50Amp electric to all the sites in the one loop. In addition they moved the water so it is more easily accessible to the sites. So we think we will probably go back there when we return. The other camp we have enjoyed using is having problems with electric. We were always blowing something even when we aren't running anything, so that's not good. 

We had numerous doctor appointments and we got all those accomplished. No hiccups. . . no surprises, everything went as well as it could. The dogs saw their vet and he gave us reason to be optimistic about Butterscotch. At any rate, he is glad we are taking her to Purdue. . . he said they will be able to diagnose and tell us exactly what we are dealing with. So hopefully that is the case.

We  leave here Thursday and head to White River Campground over in Cicero. Never been there before, but interested in checking it out.

Till next time. . .


Friday, April 22, 2016

Amish Country, Berlin, Ohio

Amish Country is always special for me. It's so laid back and quiet and peaceful. I could probably live in an area like this for retirement except that I don't want to be anywhere that's cold! LOL

We stayed at the Berlin RV Park this time. Normally we go to Scenic Hills, and we do like that campground very much, but we wanted to try something on the other end of town. This park is built into the hill and the sites aren't quite level. That was a bit problematic for us since we have a broken jack, but we carry some blocks with us and we were able to get leveled enough to work. The sites were kind of terraced and long enough to pull through. This park had amenities including a playground, volleyball sand pit and a shelter for picnicking. The showers were exceptional. Very large and private rooms and very clean. We may stop here again.

We spent some time driving around and saw this magnificent horse at one of the markets. There was also a duck with some ducklings. Very sweet. On one of our drives we encountered this strange sign. We weren't sure quite what to expect!

We visited all the normal places for us, the cheese shops, the markets, the flea markets, etc. It was great fun and we did enjoy our time.

Till next time. . .


Monday, April 18, 2016

Marietta, Ohio for two nights!

This spring we are traveling routes we have not used before. Terry likes to mix it up every now and then and it does make for a pleasurable drive when we get to see different things.

Yesterday we drove from Camp Creek, West Virginia, to Marietta, Ohio. We are in a nice little camp called Ashland RV Park. We are the only overnighter, although we had another rig in here last night. Perhaps we will get another neighbor tonight.

We were told that Marietta, Ohio, was the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, founded in 1788. It was a riverboat town and there are still a couple here. One you can take rides on  and another is used as a floating museum. There are historical homes, many of which have been or are in the process of being restored or renovated. We visited one today called The Castle. It was built by a prominent attorney and changed owners several times over the decades. The last resident lived in the home until 1974. It is one of Ohio's finest Gothic Revival homes and is beautifully restored. We were the only ones there this morning so we got a personal tour by Kyle. He was very informative and knew his subject well. The house has been modernized but still retains its charm and beauty. The carriage house serves as the visitor center where you start the tour with a movie. I was not able to take pictures of the inside, so I only have a shot of the outside.

From there we walked a half block down to The Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption. This beautiful church has just recently been designated a minor basilica by Pope Francis. While the outside of the church shows some wear, the interior is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. The pictures just don't do it justice. We went downstairs to the gift shop and I bought Butterscotch a St. Francis medal to wear on her collar.

There also is a large cemetery near these two structures. In the middle of the cemetery is an ancient mound called Conus Mound. It was probably built by either the Hopewell or the Andean peoples between 100 BC to AD 400. It was used as a burial mound but they do not know how many were interred here. Also in this cemetery are buried the remains of more Revolutionary War officers than anywhere else in the country. I would have liked to take some time to walk around there, but we didn't have time.

Across the river in another area is another majestic home. This one is known as The Anchorage and is said to be haunted.

This is a very nice area. The town in located at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Riers. There are many things we think we would like to come back and see. We enjoyed our visit and look forward to returning some day.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, April 17, 2016

The only flat spot in West Virginia. . .

We have avoided stopping in West Virginia as we travel to and from Charlottesville. This time, though, we were coming from Chesapeake and stayed the night in Appomattox, so we continued on through the state on highway 460. Let it be known that this stretch of 460 was much better than the stretch from south of Richmond to Chesapeake, but it is definitely not my favorite road. It was all 4-lane divided, but not limited access. So you had all kinds of idiots on there, lots of towns to pass through and the curves were quite tight, not rounded out. It was definitely a challenge, which I was up to, but not as enjoyable a drive as I like.

We were on our way to Princeton, West Virginia, and a state campground/forest by the name of Camp Creek. Let it be known that this is probably the flattest spot in all of West Virginia. The reason we never stop in this state is because there is generally not a long enough, flat enough spot to park Phaeton Place. But, we have finally found one. This is a very nice little campground, not too large with about 26 campsites, three of which are 50 amp, full hookup. And we scored one of those. What was really nice was that the sites were very nearly level, which is a requirement for us right now since we have a broken jack. When you have 1 broken jack, you may as well have 3 broken jacks because we don't want to take a chance on getting the bad jack stuck in the down position because then . . . you won't be able to move. Been there, done that. So we don't use them. We have some jack pads we use for leveling when we need a little bit.

We arrived on Terry's birthday. Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband of almost 45 years. He is 66 and while not everyone would want their age broadcast, Terry had some serious heart issues 18 years ago which nearly took his life. Then he developed prostate cancer and sailed through that treatment. So we feel very fortunate that he is still here and we will celebrate every birthday as the milestone it is. I got him a gift certificate plus a new computer. He has yet to pick it out, but he needs to shop first.
Yesterday we spent doing some sightseeing around the camp. There were two waterfalls within walking distance of camp, so we drove. LOL You really didn't expect me to walk to them, did you? One was about 1/4 mile away and the other 3 miles, both in the campground though. The first was the smaller falls and named Mash Fork Falls. It is the site of an old mill. The other was at the opposite end of the park and also the site of an old mill. We weren't able to see any ruins of the mills themselves. The second falls is named Campbell Falls and was much larger than the other. Both were very pretty and had water flowing over them.

We enjoyed our visit at this camp. The park itself did have some hills and was by no means flat. But they were able to carve out a campground and sites that were suitable for big rigs. We will probably stay here again.

Till next time. . .


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Heading east for spring appointments.

We left Chesapeake on Wednesday morning and, as is always the case in the spring when we leave Texas, we are eventually going to make it to Indiana and our spring doctor appointments. But that doesn't mean we can't have fun along the way. Since we wanted to be in Charlottesville to help with the kids after Jocelyn's surgery, we arrived much earlier than we had planned. So now we have some extra time to kill before our appointments.

We used part of that time visiting Tom and Sharon and then we traveled on the next day to Appomattox, Virginia, to the site of the surrender of Lee to Grant ending the Civil War. Being a Mississippi native and from an area that saw a lot of action during that war, Terry is naturally interested in all things Civil War.

We arrived at our camp on Wednesday in time to go visit the actual preserved site of Appomattox Court House, Virginia. It is small, but has several buildings, some of which have been rebuilt and some which have been preserved. The surrender did not actually take place in the famous courthouse, but in the McClain house which stood nearby. We entered first at the courthouse and watched a movie on the surrender and then visited the several buildings open to the public. It was very moving and a very solemn atmosphere. I came away with a better understanding of how the war was dragging on and how the population was relieved when it was over. President Lincoln had insisted that no harm befall the southerners who had taken up arms against the Union so long as they lay down their arms and head back home. They were allowed to keep their horses and were given food and water.

Elsewhere on the grounds was a Confederate cemetery where 18 solders from the south are interred. They were originally buried on the grounds around the courthouse, but a Ladies Group had them removed a year later to a plot donated for the cemetery. Some of the 18 have now been identified. One lone Union soldier is buried at the far end. The southern soldiers have the battle flag marking their graves and the northern soldier has the star bangled banner.

On Thursday we went to the Museum of the Confederacy, which was just across the road from our campsite. It is a very nice museum with mostly displays of uniforms and personal effects. General Lee's uniform and sword worn at the surrender can be seen here. With all the hoopla over displaying the southern "battle flag" which is erroneously called the "Stars and Bars," I have to say that it is prominently displayed here and throughout the south. Although I would say we are seeing more of the Confederacy's actual flag (one of many), which is the flag officially named the "Stars and Bars." I, and I suppose, most everyone else, was unaware of the actual flag that flew for the Confederacy. This museum is part of a three-museum "set" with the other two museums in Richmond, Virginia. We will have to take those in another time. One is housed in the "White House of the Confederacy" and the other in a different building. Did you think the Confederate White House was Beauvoir in Biloxi? If you did, you were wrong. That was the home Jefferson Davis retired to after his release from "detention" and it was left to him by a friend.

We can't change history. But we can hopefully learn from it.

Till next time. . .


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Post Kids

When we left Jocelyn and Tom's on Monday, we drove to Chesapeake, Virginia. Tom's parents, Tom and Sharon, live there and have been wanting us to come visit. We never visited them when they lived in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, but now that they moved closer to the kids, we thought we would make the trip to see them.

We certainly regretted the route we took, which was mainly 460. It is 4 lane in most places, but the lanes are very narrow and the roads are quite pockmarked. It made for a long, stressful drive, but we made it down there by 2:00 p.m. and got set up. We camped at Chesapeake Campground, which is not all that nice. It is certainly great for the location, but that's where the good stops. A lot of permanents and the sites are narrow and close together. We drove over to Tom and Sharon's which is about 5 miles away and Tom made us dinner. We sat and visited for quite some time. Dinner was delicious and afterwards, we went to Dairy Queen for dessert. Whoo hoo! It doesn't get much better than this! Tom and Sharon moved a year ago to Chesapeake after retirement and bought their retirement home. It is in a condo subdivision and is a beautiful home. They have enough room for the kids when they come visit and even have a playroom for them upstairs.

On Tuesday, we went to Norfolk and did the "river tour" through the harbor where the Navy ships are brought in for repairs, upgrading, servicing, etc. It was a wonderful tour. It was raining the entire time, but the boat we were on was enclosed on the lower deck and we could see pretty well. The rain was not super hard, but it did make for some fog in the distance, but it was still an experience just to see these giant behemoths sitting at the piers. Our captain/narrator did a great job of educating us on the harbor, the different ships and their statistics. I could see him part of the time and he appeared to be talking from memory and not reading from a document. He was very informative and made the trip very enjoyable.

I took a lot of pictures because I wanted to share them with my Dad who is a Navy veteran. The ships now all look so much different than when he was in during WWII, but he will enjoy looking at them. The naval museum call the Nauticus has a WWII era ship, the Wisconsin, which is part of the museum. It sits right next to the building. We did not go there this trip, but decided to go another time when the weather was clear.

We saw the hospital ship Comfort, which has 1,000 beds. Sharon said that is amazing. She is a nurse and said most hospitals only have 3-500 beds.

One ship was sitting in dry dock and that was amazing to hear how that is accomplished. The crane being used to work on it had a BAE Systems logo on it which is the company our son Brandon worked for at one time.

We saw the aircraft carrier George Washington which is a Nimitz class carrier. These ships are huge and there happened to be one F-18 Hornet on its deck. My cousin's son Jason is an F-18 pilot and was stationed here at one time. He is currently in California.

One ship is designed to be flooded so that  tanks, boats, and personnel can walk/drive off the ship without getting wet. The technology is amazing.

Thanks to Tom and Sharon for helping with the entertainment! Afterwards, we walked to "Hell's Kitchen" to have some lunch. Another great meal and great company. I would call it a "goth experience." LOL    We laughed about how Jocelyn and Tom would love the place!

Later after we had returned to the motorhome and fed and walked the dogs, we were able to rest a bit. Then we returned to Tom and Sharon's and went out to dinner. We went to the Courthouse Cafe where I had prime rib and it was delicious. It was a larger cut than I normally get and so I brought half of my dinner home so I can enjoy it today for lunch! I love it when a plan comes together.

We left Chesapeake with promises to come back again and traveled through Virginia, stopping at Appomattox for two nights. Terry is a Civil War buff and is actually a Mississippi native. The area where he was born is in the heart of many battles and occupations, not too far from Shiloh. So we have always spent time visiting those sites over the years. We plan to do some sightseeing while we are here.

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Twelve Days in Charlottesville

The time, it's flying. . . I tell ya'. We spent time in Charlottesville and I was pretty worn out each day and didn't take time to post.

Our daughter had breast reduction surgery. I had it about 32 years ago. Like mother, like daughter, I guess. Let me tell you. . . carrying around the weight of a newborn on your chest for 30 years takes it toll. I was so glad when I had my surgery and so glad now that Jocelyn was able to have hers. In the time since, she has not had a recurrence of the C-spine migraines she had been experiencing for years. Hopefully she will have other problems that disappear as a result of getting rid of that extra weight.

We arrived two days after her surgery. Tommy's parents had been there for a couple days. Our job was to take care of the kids. Tommy needed a break and Jocelyn couldn't drive or lift anything and was spending a great deal of her time resting and recuperating. I was glad that we were able to be there and help with that process.

Since Aenea's birthday was last month and I had sent some gifts, I brought the remaining ones so we could see her unwrap them and get some hugs. Toward the end of our visit, we also gave Ronan his birthday presents since his birthday is the 21st and we obviously won't be there for that. I hope the kids don't mind that we miss these times. By giving them our gifts when we see them it gives them something to look forward to and we get to experience some special moments with them.

I usually tried to get in to their house by 10 a.m. and stayed until around six. Some days I stayed later, if Tom had something on his schedule, and sometimes I snuck out earlier. I took Aenea to gymnastics and Ronan to his friend's house as well as to the park, etc. I took Jocelyn shopping one day, but she overdid that and spent the next day sleeping mostly. One day later the next week, Terry and I took Jocelyn and both kids and went over to Stewart's Draft to the Amish cheese shop on Tinkling Springs Road. We never say we are going to Stewart's Draft, we always say Tinkling Springs. Something about that name, I guess, but we both know exactly what we are talking about. There are a few things we buy there that we can't seem to find anywhere else and it is an enjoyable trip over the mountain. While we were in the area, Jocelyn directed us on a drive back to Sherando Lake which has a campground, the likes of which Phaeton Place will never see. LOL  But MinnieMee would like to camp there sometime.

Their standard poodle, Pepper, was quite the clown while we were there. She still is wary around Terry, but she is great with the kids and enjoys watching out the window for anyone/anything that might go by.

 We took Aenea and Jocelyn out to the coffee shop one day. The one guy there just loves Aenea and talks with her and gives her high fives.

We had a most enjoyable visit and the kids even came out to the motorhome once. I think we helped give the kids a respite by taking care of mainly Aenea. She is not hard to watch, but if left alone to her own devices, she will choose to aggravate her brother all day long. There are like normal siblings, though. Ronan is old enough to entertain himself and also has friends he enjoys being with.

Till next time. . .