Tag Archives: KOA

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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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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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.

 

Heading South

Yep, that’s right. We packed up and headed south. After a great week with our kids, who came for a Christmas visit, and two months workamping in Townsend, TN we left for warmer weather and new workamping gigs in Texas.

December 31, 2013

First stop was Nashville, TN for an overnight stop at Camp Walmart and a visit with my nephew. We are not the party goers, especially on New Years Eve. After a wonderful visit with my brother’s eldest son, we called it a night. In the morning, we paid for our site by refueling at Camp Walmart.

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January 1, 2014

Happy New Year! Wishing a prosperous and joyful new year to our readers and friends. Our target destination for today is Memphis, TN. We crossed the Mississippi River to park at Tom Sawyer RV Park in West Memphis, AR. This allowed us a view of the Mississippi from our front window plus we were close to Memphis BBQ on Beale Street. Tom Sawyer is not a fancy place, and certainly has little ‘IT’ factor unless you like an RV park with very few amenities.

IMG_1589Memphis known for its BBQ and Blues. It is home of the world’s largest Pork BBQ competition and a large Blues festival. We decided to test the BBQ at Blues City Cafe across the street from B.B. Kings Blues Club. Blues City Cafe had better review for ribs than BB Kings place.

DSCN0587After a belly full of ribs, we headed back to Tom Sawyer’s. The weather was getting colder as an arctic hurricane was bearing down on us. By the time we got back to the RV, the temperature was significantly cooler. I took the fur babies for their evening stroll, disconnected our water hose and hunkered down for the night. After a light breakfast, we pulled up stakes and headed for our next stop – Hot Springs, AR.

January 2, 2014

We had an uneventful drive to Hot Springs, AR where we parked at Hot Springs KOA. This was our first KOA park. As expected, the park was just about empty. Temperature was a bit warmer due to the sun shining brightly. Our site was not level at all. Front left wheel was 4″ off the ground, right front wheel was 6″ off the ground when we leveled the RV. Good thing we had extra blocks to put under our jacks.  We were just about half-way through our journey to our destination in Corpus Christi.

January 3, 2014

Our next stop was in Marshall, TX. We could have stayed in any other town in the area so why Marshall? Well, I mistakenly took Marshal, TX for Huntington, VA, the location of Marshall University. The university suffered the loss of their football team and coaches in an airplane crash in 1970. In 2006, their story was released into movie, We Are Marshall. It was ironic that I was able to catch the movie on TV just the other day. In researching online about Marshall, TX, I discovered that George Foreman was born here in 1949 and Lady Bird Johnson graduated from Marshall High School in 1928.

IMG_1594It does not take much to make this Texan happy, especially since we have been out-of-state for a bit. We decided to enjoy a Texas tradition of Whataburger for dinner Friday night. What a treat. In the morning we paid for our overnight spot at Camp Walmart. Oh yes, we went back to Whataburger for breakfast Tacos before taking off.

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January 4-7, 2014

Next stop was R&R at my brother’s place in Burton, TX. Burton is a small town just a few miles northwest of Brenham, TX – home of Blue Bell Ice Cream. Our plan was to rest up for a bit and relax. By Saturday, I was pretty miserable dealing with what we call the Texas Crud. Texas Crud takes a few weeks to run its course. If it is severe, it can turn into viral bronchitis. Somehow on the way, I missed a turn at Henderson, TX. By the time I realized the missed turn, I began making routing changes on the fly. I recommend you do not do that. My error added about 35 more miles and almost an hour drive time to our route. When we finally arrived, the temperature was in the mid 60’s and we were both tired.

For the next three days, I needed rest. The weather was also turning bad on us. Remember that arctic hurricane we left behind in Memphis? Well, it caught up with us. We had forgotten how it felt to be in Texas when it the weather is wet and a north wind begins to howl. Sunday, the temperature began to fall. Monday the north wind began to blow and the air was full of moisture. Tuesday morning we were down to 19 degrees. East Texas winters are known for misting rain mixed with cold temperatures. There is no way to stay warm in that kind of weather.

Carol and her sister, Donna, decided they needed a sister project. They decided to make a new quilt. While I rested and slept, Carol found fabric and borrowed our sister in law’s dining room table to began cutting out the material. The quilt style is called a Sampler. That means each square is machine quilted in a different pattern. The pattern is often used in a block of the month group where each participant makes and shares quilt blocks. Once each block is completed, all the blocks are then pieced together. While I do not understand the details of this, I am sure our quilting readers will understand.

January 8-11, 2014

Next R&R stop is Potter’s Creek on Canyon Lake just north of San Antonio, TX. We stopped by Carl Wendler’s Ranch in Ledbetter, TX first. This is where we spent the winter of 2012. The ranch is doing fine. We enjoyed the short visit with Maurice.

IMG_1603Carol went on ahead of me to stop for gas and BBQ from City Meat Market in Giddings, TX. My last stop was Buc-ee’s for gas. ($2.98/gallon). If you are traveling through Texas and come up on a Buc-ee’s, it is worth a stop. We arrived at Potter’s Creek shortly after 3:30PM , got set up a took a short nap. Carol called her brother and we made plans for dinner Wednesday evening at Italian Garden. WOW, what a great place. Service and food were very good.

After sleeping late on Thursday I fixed breakfast around 11:00ish, then we took a trip to New Braunfels for a few groceries and fur baby food. By the time we got back from town, Carol was beginning to feel the drag of her bought with the Texas Crud. We had Baked Potatoes with the BBQ from City Meat Market

After two years of living on the road and living in less congested areas, I can tell you, I dislike congestion with a passion. Drivers are most inconsiderate and rude when they are in a hurry. Roads in New Braunfels are being expanded again. That is good news for road construction folks but bad news for travelers.

Friday, Carol took a day off and stayed in PJs until 3PM. She needed the rest. We had a little rain overnight but nothing serious. This afternoon the temp rose to 75. I am wearing shorts for the first time is several months.

We will be leaving Potter’s Creek on Sunday as we continue our journey south. Last stop of our R&R will be Corpus Christi. We will be parked at Sea Breeze RV in Portland until the end of January.

I leave you with our site photo at Potter’s Creek. Tomorrow I will give you an update on where we will be working next.

IMG_1606Thanks for stopping by. Y’all come back now.