Category Archives: Travel

Home At Last

We left Amarillo, Texas on Tuesday March 31, heading East on I-40. 6 days and 1530 miles (2,400 KM) later, we pulled into Harrisonburg/Shenandoah Valley KOA in Broadway, VA.

The last leg of the trip from Salem to Broadway, Virginia was a short one (130 miles/210 KM). We decided to grab breakfast rather than fix something. The Omelet Shoppe sounded pretty good so that is where we headed. The restaurant looks like a converted Waffle House. Food was OK but nothing to write home about.

IMG_2573If we were just taking the car, parking would not be a problem. Parking a 38 foot motor home is a bit more challenging especially when pulling a small trailer. We found a spot in the Exxon gas station next door. (That is Cody, our Golden Retriever, up on the dash board. That’s his guard spot.)

IMG_2574I-81 traffic was pretty heavy this morning. It was moving but sometimes at a slow pace.

IMG_2596For our last segment of the trip, we, turned off I-81 and are now on Route 608 (Mauzy-Athlone Rd). After about 4 miles (6.4 KM) of a winding two lane road, passing a few dairy farms and a turkey farm, we arrived at the entrance to our new home.

IMG_2607After exchanging greetings and filling our motor home’s propane tank, we backed into our site and started getting our site set up.

IMG_2634We made good time on our 1530 miles (2,400KM) trip. Yes, we endured a couple of big storms along the way and one obstacle on the highway in Memphis, but overall, we had a good trip. It is not unusual to see an RVer broken down on the highway or worse, an RVer involved in an accident. On this trip, we saw neither. We enjoyed the company of good friends in Bluff City, Tennessee and had great food in several places especially Blues City Cafe in Memphis.

It was sad leaving our friends behind in Amarillo, Texas but it is good to have a chance to meet new friends in our new location. We have a fantastic site and look forward to many campfires. Tomorrow I will post more photos of our campground.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come see us now.

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Hello Virginia

We got a late start heading out of Bluff City, Tennessee on Sunday after church and lunch. We had almost 300 miles to travel to get to our destination of Harrisonburg/Shenandoah Valley KOA. Because of our late departure, we decided we would drive half the distance Sunday afternoon, April 5th and the rest on Monday. Driving North on US-11, which runs parallel to I-81 took us directly into Bristol, Tennessee.

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Bristol Motor Speedway

I pulled this photo from when we were in Bluff City in 2012. (It is hard to take a picture our of the side window of the RV while driving it.) NASCAR racing enthusiast should recognize this place. Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the most popular NASCAR tracks in the NASCAR circuit. While it may be a short track, its steep banks enables racers to reach higher speeds than other short tracks. Bristol Motor Speedway is also known as the loudest speedway. We’ve been told that on race day, the sound emitting from the track can be heard several miles away.

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I-81 @ Marion, VA

Just out of Bristol, we connected with I-81 and crossed into Virginia. We were told that traffic can be congested in I-81 but so far things look pretty clear. I-81 runs up to 2600 feet at Wytheville and down to 1100 feet at Salem and crosses US-11 in several spots. We had beautiful weather for the trip.

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Our site @ Dixie Caverns Campground

Our spot for the night was at Dixie Caverns Camping in Salem, VA. The campground is small and nestled in the valley next to Dixie Caverns. We opted to not take the tour of the caverns. We were travel weary and were ready for a bit of rest. Tomorrow we will concluded our trip. To be continued…

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

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Tennessee, The Wiener Dog State

Tennessee is a very long and skinny state; sorta like a wiener dog. (No offense intended to the folks from Tennessee). It is 500+ miles from the Southwest corner (Memphis) to the Northeast Corner (Bluff City or Bristol). That makes it a wiener dog state.

IMG_2557Our time on I-40 ended in Knoxville where we picked up I-81 and headed Northeast. The Interstate Highways in Tennessee are a joy to drive. These folks take care of their roads. And as we head Northeast on I-81, new scenery appears in the horizon. Looks like we have big hills ahead.

IMG_2563Our spot for the night is in Lake View RV. Apparently they are under new ownership since we were here in 2012. Talked to a few locals in the park who said they did not like the changes. For folks who complain about their RV park, my response is always the same – if you don’t like the management, remember your house has wheels. It is better to find a place where you can be happy, than stay in a place where you are not.

IMG_2564I know the management at Lake View RV park is not responsible for the low water level in Beaver Creek. The Tennessee Valley Authority is responsible for this drop in water level. Apparently seepage was discovered near the Boone Lake Dam in October 2014. The TVA announced the water level will not be brought back to normal summer levels until the source of the seepage can be found and corrected. Sadly, the property owners along Beaver Creek are not happy.

Well, we did not stop here to take a swim or go boating. We came to visit my friend and former boss from Corpus Christi. Becky and her husband are now retired and live in Piney Flats on Boone Lake. Sunday morning we joined them for Easter church service at Grandview Christian Church in Johnson City. After church we went to The Bonefish Grill for lunch.

After a great visit and lunch, we headed back to Lake View RV to close up our RV and continue our trip to Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. To be continued…

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

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More Storms On The Road

From the Mighty Mississippi in Western Tennessee, to the rolling hills of Central Tennessee our next stop was Lebanon, just east of Nashville. Our goal for this travel day was to get on the east side of Nashville so we would not need to deal with morning traffic going into or through Nashville.

IMG_2553Our home for the night was East Nashville KOA. KOA (Kampground of America), founded in 1962, is the largest system of privately owned camp grounds in North America with over 900 locations. Our ultimate destination on this trip is the Harrisonburg/Shenandoah KOA where we will be working for 12 months.

In 1969, the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain was founded in Lebanon. Today, they have over 600 locations in 42 states. And we opted for O’Charley’s instead.  Remember, we tend to stay away from national chains but will frequent local or regional chains. We first encountered O’Charley’s in 2012 while we were traveling through Georgia. As we were driving into Lebanon from the KOA park, we saw the sign and made the decision to stop there for dinner.

When we got back to the RV, the bottom fell out. Sheehs! Enough with the rain. This is the third night of rain and the second night of a heavy rain. Fortunately, the rain did not last more than about 20 minutes and we were protected by the heavily wooded area where we parked.

IMG_2551One thing we noticed as we move to the east. The trees on the highway are getting taller. That can only mean we are getting closer to the Appalachian Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley.

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

 

Put Some South In Your Mouth

So says the sign that hangs above the prep line at Blues City Cafe on the infamous Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. This was our target destination for our third night on the road. Memphis is just a bit over 200 miles from Russellville, Arkansas. We normally stop at Tom Sawyer’s RV Park in West Memphis, Arkansas because our site would be right on the Mississippi River. However, the recent rains have turned the grounds at Tom Sawyer into mud pits and the Mississippi River is swelling due to the spring run off from up north. We wanted to stay at Graceland RV Park and Campground but they did not have a site large enough for us, so we moved on down the road to EZ Daze RV Park in Southaven, Mississippi about 18 miles South of Beale Street in Memphis.

EZ DAZE RV Park - Southaven, Mississippi

EZ DAZE RV Park – Southaven, Mississippi

The weather was cloudy and partly foggy so we could not get a descent photo of the Mississippi River. Trust me when I say it is still muddy. Once we crossed the Mississippi River on I-40, we turned south on I-55 for the short trip to Southaven, Mississippi. Traffic was moderate to light so we were making good time. The large truck in front of me moved over to my left. That is when I saw what looked like a cardboard box on the right side of my lane. The lane to my left was clear so I gentle swerved to my left to avoid the box. That is when I noticed Carol was not moving left with me. I tapped my breaks to get her attention and saw her swerve pretty hard to the left. She just missed the box as she drove past it.

Gee, it was only a box. Problem is the box turned out to be a two-wheeled hand dolly that apparently fell out off a trailer from another vehicle. That driver had pulled over on the far left side of the highway and was out of his vehicle trying to figure out how to retrieve his two-wheeled hand dolly from the middle of I-55. This all happened too quickly to get vehicle tags from the driver who lost his load or even think about who to call to report the debris on the road. Fortunately, the traffic was light. I can only imagine a worse case scenario if this had been rush hour traffic. Sheesh people! Secure your load!

After getting settled into our site and after taking the fur babies for a walk, we headed to Memphis to “Put some south in our mouths.” Carol and I were at Blues City Cafe in January 2014 and enjoyed the ribs then. We were not disappointed as we chowed down on this rack of ribs that we shared. (Turn on the touch and smell option on your PC to catch the wonderful aroma.)

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YUMMO!

After sharing that wonderful late lunch/early supper, we took a stroll down Beale Street. Even though is was late afternoon, the blues clubs where piping music out onto the street. We stopped by one open air stage to catch the sounds from a local band.

This one building caught our eye. The Gallina Exchange Building was built in 1891. The building had a colorful history until 1980 when it was gutted by fire. The steel girders were put up to hold the front facade of the building in place. A wind storm blew down the sides and rear walls later. This wall is all that remains of the original building. Behind the wall is an open air cafe belonging to Silky O’Sullivan who runs a successful bar and restaurant by the same name.

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A look down Beale Street @ Second Avenue
Blues City Cafe is on the left and B.B. Kings Blues Club is on the right.

A few years ago, Carol had visited Graceland, home to Elvis Presley, the King of Pop. If you are into overpriced tourist attractions, Graceland is for you. We skipped it.

If you travel near the Memphis, you should plan a stop. The largest city in Tennessee is rich in culture and history. You will not be disappointed if you ‘put a little south in your mouth’.

From the home of the blues to the home of country music, our next stop is Nashville, Tennessee. To be continued…

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

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