Category Archives: Travel

Silence

Tales From the WagginMaster has been silent since April 2016. I guess you could say I’ve been in a funk. Not necessarily in a state of depression, but just plain old ho hum funk.

The other day, my youngest daughter ask me why I had not posted in a while. I used the lame excuse, “no topic”.  She replied, “Well, just write about what God is teaching you. That got the gears in motion. After giving her comment some serious thought, I’ve decided it is time to go public with what God has been teaching me. Some may see that as a means of becoming vulnerable. I see this as a means of sharing good news. But first, I must digress and fill in the gap between April 2016 and now.

In my previous post, I reported that I hit the ground running. I can say that I did not stop until mid October when I began to wind down my projects and prepare for our journey to West Virginia for the winter. More on that in a bit. In Manchester, TN I worked as the park’s Handyman. That suited me well since I love to work on projects, large and small. I had full control of my time meaning that I did not have set hours. I did my best to get my weekly activities completed in 4 days so I could enjoy a three-day weekend with Carol.

Carol had an accident in May where Cody (our beloved Golden Retrieve) unintentionally pulled her off the landing at our RV. She fell about 3 feet onto our concrete patio and fractured her right wrist and was bruised pretty badly. (I’ll spare you the photos.) She was out of work for about a week but bounced back just fine.

I worked after-hours on a few projects so I would not disrupt customer activities in the registration office or store. Largest project was a complete renovation of a one bedroom apartment above registration. I had great helpers along the way who made my work go quickly.

About mid summer, we began searching for a winter position. We found several spots and talked to many park managers only to find nothing felt right. In God’s time, He led is to a conversation with Fox Fire KOA in Milton, WV. Carol and I agreed this was the place for us so we began making preparations for relocation. We had to leave Manchester a week earlier than planned but that also worked out well. We did make a commitment to return to Manchester, TN for our summer 2017 spot and are looking forward to returning.

img_0294-2Before we left Manchester, TN. Cody (our Golden Retriever of 12 years) developed congestive heart failure. On Wednesday,October 5th we took Cody to the vet for the last time. He was met at the rainbow bridge by many of our former fur babies. His final resting spot is on the property of Manchester KOA where the owner and his son dug Cody’s grave while we were at the vet.

img_0303A couple of weeks later, Carol and I visited PAWS of Murfreesboro and fell in love with Chessa. She is German Shorthaired Pointer mix and a puppy. Yes, a puppy. She is now about 7 months and is supper smart. She is house broken, loves her crate, and loves daily walks and play time with me. It has taken about 6 weeks for MeiLing (our Chinese Crested) and Chessa to figure out each other.

We still miss Cody dearly but know he is no longer suffering as he had been. There will always be room in our hearts and home for fur babies.

After a short 400 mile drive, we arrived at Fox Fire KOA in Milton, WV the week before Halloween weekend. We stayed in this park in the spring when we traveled from Shenandoah Valley KOA in Virginia to Manchester KOA. It did not take us long to get settled and into a work groove. Carol and I work Thursday-Saturday from 9-6 and every other Sunday from 1-6. We leave here at the end of March and plan to visit the Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green, KY on our way back to Manchester.

Ever since our work time in Amarillo, TX (winter 2014/2015), God has led us a great worship spots. In Amarillo, it was St. Stephen Church. In Virginia, it was Grace Covenant Church. In Manchester, it was Christian Life Church. And here in West Virginia, it is New Life Church. Plus Carol and I have enjoyed participating Bible Study Fellowship’s study of Revelation and The Gospel of John. I am also working through some online Bible study courses from Dallas Theological Seminary.

Now, what has God been teaching me? For that you will need to check back for the next post. If you want a clue, take some time to meditate on this passage of scripture.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)

Think about why God sent His Son, Jesus, to the world.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

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The Journey Continues

I left you in Louisville, KY. And now I am finally telling you about the rest of the journey, three weeks later? What’s with that? I have no excuse.

After two days of driving more than we like, our trip today would be light and easy. Sunday driving normally offers light traffic until later in the afternoon when weekenders are hurrying back from their busy weekend away from their homes. Since we only had 141 miles to travel to our destination, we took our time getting going. Traffic was light as expected on I-65 South. We pulled off I-65 at exit 104 as instructed by GPS. We were looking for Nashville North KOA. Signage for many KOA parks is generally pretty good. Many have signs on the interstate exits and at intersections that help guide travelers along the way. I thought it was odd, that we saw no KOA signs leading us home for the night. Nashville North KOA is not a typical KOA in that it does not have the common A-frame office. This park (formerly known as Nashville Country RV) recently joined the KOA family. About the time I started to get a little concerned that our GPS had led us down a dark hole, I saw the familiar KOA sign. Home was in sight.

We registered and we given directions to our site – a PUB (pull in, back out) site. That was a first for us. The only stipulation was we had to get Cramalot Inn and the small cargo trailer completely off the road. I was more concerned about that than back out of the sight. We managed to get everything nestled in place.

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Not only did we have a short trip and a cool site, we were back in Central Time Zone. Having lived in Central Time Zone all our lives, our body clocks have difficult adjusting when we are in other time zones.

I took the fur babies for a walk around the park and found this place pretty full. The park was clean and people were friendly. The interstate was close by but not so close that highway noise would be a problem. I liked the 10 x 16 wooden patio which would make it easy to keep mud and rain mess outside. The only dislike about this park was the dog run. It seems like many RV parks place their dog run in the least desirable section of the park. The dog run here was very narrow and very long, placed along a creek trail. I know dogs don’t mind where they do their business, but their people do. We’ve encountered a few dog runs that were easy to find and will kept – this one was clean but pretty rough.

After a short nap, we decided to head to Hendersonville for dinner. We picked a place called The Lost Cajun. This is a regional chain that started in Colorado and is spreading its wings. (For our Texas family and friends, there is a location in Odessa, and will soon be locations in Midland and San Antonio.) Food was good, facilities are clean and staff are friendly and knowledgeable about Cajun style foods.

After a good meal, it was time for a restful evening. Monday we would have our windshield replaced.  Monday morning we enjoyed a home style breakfast at Liz’s Kitchen. We thought about taking a shuttle into Nashville for the day but since we did not know just when the glass folks would be out to replace the windshield, we just hung out for a lazy day at the rv park.

The glass guys came out and had no problem pulling the old windshield and getting the new one installed.

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Our installer arrived with struggled a bit with the old windshield. Our pull-in, back-out site did not make it easy for them as they had no spot to park the work truck in front of the RV. I loaned him our ladder so he could climb up to get to the top of the glass. After removing the old glass, he and his buddy fixed a rust area at the top of the window frame. Apparently this is a typical spot for rust and leaks in RV windshields. Their work was quick yet thorough. After getting the new windshield installed, they cleaned up around the RV and headed to next stop. Thanks fellas – you done good.

We made dinner plans to meet my nephew and his family at Barefoot Charlie’s in Hendersonville. The place had an island/beach sorta of decor. We enjoyed our short time with my nephew and the girls enjoyed their ‘drink’.

yummy

Carol keeps her focus and Carlotta’s eyes tells the story.

We enjoyed the conversations and short time with family. It was time to call it a night as i was beginning to turn into a pumpkin. (That happens to me around 9PM). After taking the fur babies out for their nightly walk before bed, we crashed. Tuesday would be a long day (83 miles).

We opted for a light breakfast Tuesday morning. My neighboring RVer watched me back out of our sight and gave me a thumbs up as we headed our way. I guess he was amazed that I could back a 38 foot motor home with the 8 foot utility trailer attached. We left late enough to miss the morning rush hour traffic in Nashville, and arrived at our target destination around noon. Because our back-in site had a privacy fence in the back, we disconnected the trailer before backing into our site.

Next we returned the unloaded trailer, and stopped for lunch at Subways. When we got back, we spent the rest of the day getting the RV nested into our site. The park owners took us to dinner at Logan’s Roadhouse where we had a ‘get to know you’ chat.

Wednesday, I hit the ground running since the fella I was replacing was leaving on Thursday. I’ll tell you about our work and the park on a follow-up post. Meanwhile, here is our trip recap.

Car

Cramalot Inn

Miles Driven

763.00

920

763

Avg MPG

24.75

24.8

6.4

Avg $/Gal

$1.96

$/Mile

$1.45

# days

7

Fuel $

$307.93

RV Park $

$145.68

Food $

$296.93

Moving Exp

$356.40

U-Haul Trailer

Trip $

$1106.94

By not adding the trailer cost into the mix, our average $/Mile would be $0.98. Since we began this journey in 2012, our average cost/mile has been $0.75 with the fifth wheel and $1.00 with Cramalot Inn.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

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Go West, Young Man!

Washington is not a place to live in. The rents are high, the food is bad, the dust is disgusting and the morals are deplorable. Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country.  —  Fictitiously attributed to Horace Greeley’s July 13, 1865 editorial in the New York Tribune

So, West we went. Friday’s journey was less strenuous than our first day on the road. Thursday, we dove 300+ miles up and over the low mountains of West Virginia. Friday was a much easier 232 miles due West through the rolling hills of Kentucky. As we continued our westerly trek, the grass became greener and the land began to open up a bit with less dense forest areas and more openness. I can see how many settlers following the “Go West” dream made the decision to stop in Kentucky.

We got on the road earlier on Friday than Thursday so we knew we would have time to rest a little before grabbing a bit of dinner in Shepherdsville, KY. We did take a lunch break at a truck stop along I-64 at Mt. Sterling which just happened to be close to the mid-point between Charleston, WV and Louisville, KY. While we were temped to go into the truck stop and grab a Subway sandwich, we opted to stick with the plan and fix our own lunch, thus saving a little $$.

While Carol gathered the lunch stuff, I walked the fur babies. They were ready for their potty break just as we were. One advantage of traveling in an RV is not having to wonder what surprises may lurk in the facilities found along the highway. Friday’s lunch spot was also off the highway so we were not rocked with each passing truck.

After cleaning up from lunch, we took off. I quickly realized the direction I chose to exit the truck stop led to a dead-end. Because we were in a truck stop, I was able to get turned around quiet easily and negotiated Cramalot Inn back to I-64.

Between Lexington and Louisville, I noticed the traffic began to increase and that we were apparently in the middle of horse country. While the roads were crowded, the surrounding country opened up with sprawling estates configured with horse pastures and buildings looking more like horse stables than typical cattle barns.

GPS routed us around loop I-265 bypassing central Louisville. That was fine with me since we will get back into Louisville with our car on Saturday. We made the connection to I-65 south and made the exit at Shepherdsville on KY-44. As we crossed over I-65 heading east to our spot for the weekend, we encounter a school zone. Kids, cars and school buses everywhere; looked like someone stirred ant mound. It was obvious, the students knew it was Friday.

We pulled into our spot at the Louisville South KOA and anchored just fine. This park is much larger than where we were Thursday evening and there are more people buzzing about.

IMG_3455No one has commented about the ‘band-aid’ on the windshield just yet. This is one reason why we are making a stop in Nashville as we head south Sunday afternoon. We picked up a stress crack in the windshield in 2013 as we left Mark Twain Landing in Missouri. It was a small crack and really nothing to worry about. While we were parked in Virginia, we heard a rather loud pop sound. A lawnmower was in the area so I suspected we were hit by a flying object. We look around the RV on the outside and could see no evidence of a ding or any thing that looked like damage from a flying object. A few days later we noticed the crack had grown significantly and the top corner of the windshield had some small, loose shards of glass. We called around various glass shops in the area and found none that had mobile glass service and none that had any experience working on RV windshields. Closest spot would be Washington DC, Richmond or Roanoke. After going a few rounds with various glass companies and our insurance, we did find a mobile service that could accommodate us in Nashville, which just happened to be along our route. The band-aid is a piece of fiberglass reinforced panel similar to what is found in commercial bathrooms. I cut a piece to cover the crack and secured it with duck tape. The panel distributes the wind pressure to other areas of the windshield. So far it has held just fine. Monday we have an appointment in Nashville with a mobile glass service to replace that windshield. I’ll let you know how that goes then.

Meanwhile, we are on vacation. Today, we plan to visit Louisville and play tourist. We will hit the Derby and Louisville Slugger museums along with a few other spots.

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I leave you with a sunrise photo from the dining room window. It is going to be a beautiful day.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

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On The Road Again

That’s right folks, we are on the move once again. This time, moving from Broadway, VA to Manchester, TN. Our year at Harrisonburg/Shenandoah Valley KOA has closed and we are officially on vacation.

We got a late start from Broadway yesterday, primarily because we are rusty on packing and getting on the road. When we stay in one spot for a long while, we tend to nest. Pulling up roots can be time consuming. And as we pulled out of the park, I realized I did not have my GPS set up and ready to go. So we made our first stop to get that done. That’s when I realized I still had my work radios and keys on board. Carol made a quick 4 mile trip back to the RV park to return those items while I set up my GPS. It was just past 11:00AM when we finally got on the road. Now we just need to follow the blue line.

Trip VA-TN

Trip Map

Our first destination was Huntington, WV which is west of Charleston, WV. Our trip south on I-81 was uneventful; not much traffic and excellent travel weather. We turned west onto I-64 at Lexington, VA. About 10 miles later, things got interesting. The interstate through The George Washington National Forrest was what a friend called a 40-mile roller-coaster ride. Not filled with steep climbs and descents as a roller-coaster but full of twisty turns mixed with long climbs and descents. One thing I’ve learned when making climbs in an RV is to not get stuck behind a slow-moving 18-wheeler. Well, that happened. It took a bit of an effort to get moving around that truck but Cram-A-Lot Inn met the challenge. Her GMC L18 Vortex V-8 coupled with her Allison transmission did just fine. The only thing missing was an exhaust brake system for the long descents.

As we were nearing the top one of the climbs, Carol notified me that her hunger indicator had triggered. We found a safe spot to pull over on the highway and enjoyed lunch while traffic whizzed by. Most of the large trucks were courteous and pulled into the left lane as they passed us. We could tell some did not.

Traffic through Charleston, WV on I-64 started to get a little heavy and there were several spots on the interstate where the turns required reduced speeds. Carol led the way through the toll plazas in Charleston. The route pretty much followed the Kanawha River which looked like a major trade artery through the area. We crossed over this river 4 times driving through Charleston.

Shortly after 5PM, we pulled into our RV site for the night.

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Site 23 – Huntington Fox Fire KOA, Milton, WV

Huntington/Fox Fire KOA is not a fancy place but it is a nice small park. Sites are a little close. Entry into park is a bit trick with a pretty tight switch-back turn off  of US-60.

Fox Fire KOAFor future guests, it would be easier to enter the park by exiting the interstate at Barboursville (exit 20) and turning back towards Milton, WV so the approach to the park entrance is more direct. We made the turn just fine but we did create a small traffic delay as it took a short while for us to get complete off the road.

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Huntington / Fox Fire KOA

We were planning to fix our own pizza for dinner but being road-weary, we opted to find a local spot in town. KOA office staff recommend a local burger spot named Fat Patty’s. WOW, that was one of the best burgers we’ve had in a while.  I selected the Lava Patty (Red hot patty seasoned and spicy. Topped with grilled jalapeños and hot lava cayenne cheddar cheese, lettuce tomato and onion.) while Carol chose their Junior Cheeseburger. We enjoyed chatting with the staff. The fella who brought our food to us was giddy when he found we were headed to Manchester, TN. He is from that area and told us about a few things we need to check out while we are there.

We returned to the RV and enjoyed a FaceTime chat with our eldest daughter and grandson (Gage). Before we said good night, our youngest grandson (Jayson) and son-in -law (Martin) popped in to say hello. It was getting late and we were having trouble our peepers open, so off to bed we went. The RV rocked a slight bit as one of two storm lines passed just south of us.

Next leg of this trip takes us to Louisville, KY where we will spend  a couple of days on vacation.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

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Shenandoah Valley

The Shenandoah Valley is a low spot between the two mountain ranges – the Blue Ridge on the eastern side and the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians on the western side. The Shenandoah Valley is bounded on the north by the by the Potomac River and on the south by the James River.

Shenandoah ValleyThe red lines in this clip from Google Maps, with the Terrain feature turned on, show the western and eastern sides of the Shenandoah Valley. The arrow at the top points to the Massanutten Mountain which bisects the Shenandoah Valley between Strasburg, VA in the north and Harrisonburg, VA in the south. The small red star just above Harrisonburg is our location in the valley.

So what does the valley look like up close?

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Typical roadside wild flowers and lush green grass.

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Dairy farm between US-11 and I-81 looking east

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The two long white roofs are barns for a local turkey farm (looking west).

There are a couple of Civil War (1861-1865) battle fields nearby. We have yet to explore the Battle of New Market which took place May 15, 1864 and the Battle of Piedmont which took place June 5, 1864.

There are also several caverns that we need to explore. The Luray Cavern (discovered in 1878 is a registered National Natural Landmark. The Shenandoah Cavern is the only one with elevator access. This makes the cavern accessible to those who are wheel chair bound. The Endless Caverns is one that was discovered by two boys out on a rabbit hunt. The Grand Caverns is also a registered National Natural Landmark.

Needless to say, there are plenty of things to do and see in the Shenandoah Valley that are an easy day trip from our location.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

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