How We Wrapped Up 2016

The month of December brings us to the end of another year. This year has had its ups and downs. January started with me taking a part-time job as we sat in Tallahassee trying to decide if we were going back on the road or staying put. It didn’t take but about six months for us to decide that what we really wanted was to be on the road travelling, so off we went. Our first trip was only for a couple of weeks to Louisiana and back to Florida. Come July we began what was supposed to be a 4 month trip to the New England states and back along the eastern coastline.  This marks the second time we have tried to visit the eastern coastline and had to cancel and head back home. The first time being back in 2015 when we first began our full-time travel.  

Our journey north started out good and for the first couple months we really enjoyed all the places we got to visit. The most memorable being our trip to Niagara Falls, followed by all the covered bridge sightings. Our time in the North Carolina mountains brought us or at least me some scary moments on the trip up and down the mountain, but nothing that I wouldn’t attempt to do again as the sights were beautiful and seeing the elk was more than worth the drive.

Unfortunately in September we were hit with a big setback when Greg had to have emergency surgery. Thankfully he is doing good and we are hopeful that in February he will have a second surgery to reverse part of the first one and once recuperated we will be back on the road enjoying this beautiful country. After two attempts of trying to see the east coast, we are going to forego that area for now and head west. We want to view some annual lots around Lake Fork in Texas, where we hope to settle one day, before heading to Monterey, California.  

CHRISTMAS

While staying in Florida, I was able to see two of the grandkids at Christmas time. I visited the one who lives in Louisiana right before Thanksgiving and since his mom is expecting a little girl in April, I decided to forego a trip back there until closer to delivery time.

Greg and I spent Christmas day out on the lake as we have a great RV spot on Lake Talquin that is known for great bass fishing.  We try to go out in the boat at least once a week at a minimum.  

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas holiday and we wish you all a very Happy New Year!

A Couple Weeks in Pennyslvania

After we completed our visit through the New England states we spent a couple of weeks in Pennsylvania. Our first stop was only for a couple of days in the Pocono area so we could visit the Pocono NASCAR track. At some point we plan on chasing NASCAR all over the country to see the races live, but in the meantime we’ll keep visiting the tracks along the way. We actually got to ride in a pace car from the fan store to the track for a tour. 

NASCAR Pace Car

NASCAR Pace Car

On days that the track is not hot, they actually take you on the track, but unfortunately the track was being used on the day we visited. At this particular track you can drive a stock car by yourself around the track. They put you through a training session before they put you in the car, but then your strapped in and able to drive as fast as you want to go. Our tour guide said an 84-year-old lady had done it and went 135 MPH around the track. Neither of us participated in this activity, but it was tempting and something we might give into in the future. I mean why not what have you got to lose?

More pics from our trip to the Pocono Raceway…

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From here we headed to Lancaster county. I was looking to see some Amish country and more. We took a day to head to Lancaster where we went on a buggy ride that took us through farmland, a working farm and more. We both enjoyed the tour and wished it had actually been longer. If you ever get a chance to go, do yourself a favor and do the private ride, so you don’t have to share your time with others as some people are not always polite during events like this and when you pay money for something, if your like me, you want to get your money’s worth, which means I like to hear the tour guide talk, not the others on the tour.amw_9782

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At the farm, we stopped and got to walk through several of the barns, one being where the calves are stored once removed from their momma. Some were barely a month old. As you can see from the pics below, they were completely adorable. The next barn was the milking barn, which had all the milk cows. The milk cows produce as much as 10 gallons of milk per day. The Amish use a machine on the udders to gather the milk, which goes into a big vat that houses the milk until the trucks show up to get it and take to the factory for further processing. The cows are only given an hour of outside time per day.amw_9793

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In addition to the cows, we saw chickens, mules and miniature horses. The children attach a wagon to the miniature horses to be pulled around. One of the things that sets an Amish property apart from others is the long clothesline in the yard. I miss having an outside clothesline as when I was growing up that was the only way we dried clothes. 

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I put the pics below in black and white as it gives them that ole’ time look and reminds me of days gone by.

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Chocolate World

We spent a day at Hershey’s Chocolate World. We were thinking the tour would be more of a behind the scenes type of tour, instead it’s a narrated ride telling you how things are done. There are several types of tours you can do as well as a trolley ride through Hershey; however, we opted to spend money on gifts for the grandkids, no chocolate, but something just as good.

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We spent time looking at covered bridges, the farmlands and just resting up for the rest of our journey. Overall it was a great stay and one that I could do again. From here we head back to Ohio to pick up the new RV before getting back on our journey in Washington DC and then down the eastern coastline.

Exploring the New England States in an RV

After we left Niagara Falls, we traveled east across New York and stayed at Lake Lauderdale Campgrounds in New York close to the Vermont border. It made it convenient to go explore the Vermont roads and explore we did. We went looking for covered bridges and found several on some back roads. We ended up at the Vermont Country Store located in Weston. It was an interesting store and had lots of stuff most of us liked back in the 70’s. Plus, it had nostalgia items that dated back further than the 70’s. We enjoyed big fat burgers and delicious ice cream before heading back home.

The sunsets out our front yard were beautiful. I think you’ll agree based on these pics. (Click on any pic for a bigger view and scroll through)

The next stop was in New Hampshire at the Circle 9 Ranch & Campground for 7 days. The campground has a lot of permanent residents and is somewhat run down. The location was convenient for us to explore New Hampshire and drive into Maine to explore as well. However, there are other campgrounds in the area that I would look at staying at if we were to ever come back to the area.

New Hampshire is home to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which for those that don’t know, that means NASCAR. My husband is a big fan and this is one speedway he hasn’t been to, so a visit was definitely going to happen. I didn’t realize you could pop in and view the speedway on non race days, so I was excited to see what the raceway looked like as well.  On the day we visited, the speedway was actually being used by some motorcyclist that were zooming by at speeds unheard of for my liking.  Our visit was pleasant and I’m actually looking forward to visiting some more speedways and even sitting in on a real NASCAR race one day. Below is few of the pics I took. (Click on any pic for a bigger view and scroll through)

The first day we attempted to drive through the White Mountains to see waterfalls and covered bridges ended up being a bust and after an hour or so we turned around and went back home as the rain would not let up. On day two, we had much better weather. We only stopped at one of the falls as we had the dogs with us and I don’t like hiking through the woods by myself and our wiener dogs are lazy and wouldn’t have made it too far and carrying them is not an option. We saw several covered bridges and lots of mountains. The drive was nice and seeing what other states look like is always interesting.We have pretty much given up on seeing a moose. We’ll wait until we visit Alaska for that. The pics below show just how beautiful the landscape is as well as the waterfalls and covered bridges we saw. (Click on any pic for a bigger view and scroll through)

Sightseeing in New Hampshire

Waterfall in New Hampshire

Covered Bridges in New Hampshire

We took a day to head into Maine for two things, lighthouses and some good lobster. I had really been looking forward to tasting some Maine Lobster for months now. I chose a restaurant that was listed on the Maine map and had good reviews. However, the food was not good at all. Luckily, the trip wasn’t a total waste as we saw a couple lighthouses and got to see the Atlantic Ocean. Not sure what I was expecting in the way of the beach, but I was definitely shocked to see how black the sand was compared to the white sandy beaches of Florida. The lighthouses were definitely more impressive than the beaches.  Guess it depends on a person’s taste as to what you like more. Here are the pics so you can see for yourself. (Click on any pic for a bigger view and scroll through)

Sightseeing in Maine

Lighthouses in Maine

From here we head to Massachusetts. While there we’ll cross over to both Rhode Island and Connecticut. Our main reason for visiting MA is to go to a Whalburger’s for a burger and fries and tour Fenway Park. Hopefully the next stop will be better than this one.

My Obsession with Covered Bridges in Vermont

Covered bridges have so much history. When I see one, I think about who might have crossed through and did they have to walk, ride a horse and buggy, a car or just what type of transportation carried them over to the other side. In the last couple weeks, we have driven through several of these magnificent bridges. Most of them dating back to the 1800’s. The ones in Ohio and Kentucky had been vandalized by people spray painting and writing all over them; however, the ones we saw in Vermont and New York had not been.

Our covered bridge ride through Vermont took us on many roads, some paved and some not so paved. There were some that made us think twice about doing this, but when you come around the corner and see views like this it makes the drive better. Had we not been on some back country road we never would have seen this beautiful pond. 

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We kept hoping we would see some wildlife especially when we were driving through the national forest, but we didn’t even see a squirrel. We did see lots of old cars, barns, farmhouses and other things that reminded us of the old days. After seeing a half-dozen bridges, we headed back home to prepare for our next journey. I wanted to provide more than just pics of the covered bridges, so here’s a little history on each one we saw.  

The West Arlington Covered Bridge a/k/a Bridge of the Green is located in West Arlington, Vermont off Route 313 in Bennington County. It was built in 1852, is 80 feet long and 17.5 feet wide. Although the bridge was damaged by flooding due to Hurricane Irene on August 28, 2011, it was fixed and reopened to traffic in the months following.

West Arlington Covered Bridge

West Arlington Covered Bridge

West Arlington Covered Bridge

The Burt Henry Covered Bridge, also known as the Henry Covered Bridge or just the Henry Bridge was originally built in the 1830’s, however it was completely rebuilt in 1989. It is located near Bennington, VT and spans the Walloomsac River. The bridge spans 121 feet and is 18.5 feet wide.

Burt Henry Covered Bridge

Burt Henry Covered Bridge

Burt Henry Covered Bridge

The Paper Mill Village Covered Bridge, a/k/a the Paper Mill Bridge or Bennington Falls Covered Bridge was built in 1889 by Charles F. Sears. It spans 125 feet and is 18.5 feet wide and is located on the south side of State Route 67A, northwest of downtown Bennington, VT.

Paper Mill Village Covered Bridge

Paper Mill Village Covered Bridge

Paper Mill Village Covered Bridge

The Silk Road Covered Bridge was built in 1840 and is in close proximity to both the Burt Henry and Paper Mill bridges. It spans 88 feet long 15 feet wide. It is located between downtown Bennington and North Bennington on Silk Road, which connects Vermont Route 67A and Vermont Route 279.

Silk Road Covered Bridge

Silk Road Covered Bridge

The Creamery Covered Bridge was built in 1879, is located in Brattleboro, VT and was closed to vehicles in 2010. The bridge spans 80 feet long and 19 feet wide. A sidewalk was added about 1920. The Creamery is the last covered bridge in Brattleboro, is visible from Route 9 and a great tourist attraction.

Creamery Covered Bridge

Creamery Covered Bridge

Creamery Covered Bridge

Creamery Covered Bridge

The West Dummerston Covered Bridge was built in 1872 and is located in Dummerston, VT. This is the longest covered bridge I have ever seen coming in at 267 feet. It was built in two spans, with the westerly span being 143 feet and the easterly at 124 feet. The bridge is 22 feet long and opened to traffic. Locals enjoy going for a swim under the bridge as there were many families enjoying the beautiful day when I stopped for pics. 

West Dummerston Covered Bridge

West Dummerston Covered Bridge

West Dummerston Covered Bridge

West Dummerston Covered Bridge

West Dummerston Covered Bridge

The Rexleigh Covered Bridge was built in 1874 and is located in Salem, NY. The bridge spans 107 feet over Battenkill River in Washington County. It is just under 18 feet wide and is still operational to vehicles today.

Rexleigh Covered Bridge

Rexleigh Covered Bridge

Rexleigh Covered Bridge

Our Trip North, Part Two

From North Carolina to Ohio

Our second big stop after Maggie Valley was Delaware, Ohio. It wasn’t until I started planning this trip that I discovered Ohio even had a town named Delaware.  It’s north of Columbus, OH and convenient to just about any place you need. Before I talk about our Ohio visit and all the wonderful things we got to see let’s look at the places we stopped at on the way.

The first mini stop was to visit the in-laws. We stayed at Riverside RV Resort in Sevierville, TN only about a 15 minute drive to their place in Kodak. Other than spending a little time with them, including a night out to the local Texas Roadhouse, we mostly hung out at home.

The second mini stop was in Frankfurt, KY. This was a last minute change from a trip to West Virginia after the floods. We just didn’t want to chance driving up there, so we changed our route. I picked Frankfurt so we could visit Louisville and Lexington. We stayed at the Elkhorn Campground.

Thoroughbred Center

The Lexington trip was to the Thoroughbred Center. It was an interesting place. We got to see the thoroughbreds during their morning training sessions. During our visit we were told that jockeys can weigh no more than 105 lbs, but trainers can weigh as much as 130 lbs. We watched several horses on the track and then learned about the education program they have on site as well as other interesting information. If you’re into horses I would recommend a visit if you’re ever in the area. Click here for additional pics.

The Thoroughbred Center

The Thoroughbred Center

Exercise track

Exercise track

Gorgeous horse in the barn

Gorgeous horse in the barn that kept making faces and showing his teeth at us.

Louisville Slugger Museum

The most entertaining trip was to the Louisville Slugger Museum. We got to tour the plant to see how bats are made. They produce bats seven days a week; although professional bats are only made Monday – Friday. It only takes 30 seconds to cut a bat from what is called a billet, which is made from either Ash or Maple wood, which is harvested out of Pennsylvania. We walked down main street to see members of the Walk of Fame.  There is so much about this place that was amazing. They had a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not that had some great items. Click here to see some of my favorites from the museum and Ripley’s.

Louisville Slugger Museum

Louisville Slugger Museum

We also spent some time getting the truck serviced as well as searching for covered bridges. There was one only a short distance from Elkhorn Campground, so we took off to see it. It was beautiful from the road, but once you got up close and walked through you could see how people had desecrated what use to be a beautiful bridge. I will never understand why people want to paint and destroy a part of history.Edit-7353

Our next stop would be the big city of Delaware, OH. We stayed at Alum Creek State Park where I discovered I really messed up when I made our reservation for an entire week. The site only included electric. Luckily it was 50amp, but we had no water. The people at check-in were of little help. Instead of telling us at check-in where we could fill our water tanks up at, they didn’t tell us anything. Hell I had to ask for a map to find our site. It wasn’t until my husband was hooking up on the outside that he discovered we had no water hookup. Once you back in a 38’ fifth wheel and level the last thing you want to do is unhook and search for water. Had we known prior to going to our site we could have filled our tanks up. We found a solution by running several water hoses to a water tap nearby. It was a big inconvenience that could have been avoided. We are looking at it as a lesson learned.

Columbus Zoo

Our first day out we went to the Columbus Zoo. It was bigger than most I’ve been to and although the temps were in the eighties, it was still an enjoyable day. Please click here to view pics from our visit.

Columbus Zoo, Ohio

Columbus Zoo, Ohio

One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Ohio was to visit Amish Country. We took a day trip up around Millersburg and saw lots of farms and even went through Nashville, OH; which looks nothing like Nashville, TN, where we use to live. It was one of those towns that if you blinked you might not even realize you had driven through it. Once we arrived in Millersburg, we did see a couple of horse and buggies as well as some Amish people. However, I think we saw more Amish at the Zoo in Columbus than in Amish Country. We ate at a place called, Olde Country Bakery. We both had a farm burger, which is just a hamburger with an egg. It was good, but the fries were even more delicious as they were fresh cut. The best part was the fresh bread. I wished I had bought two loaves.

Our final tour of Ohio was to see covered bridges. I picked several that were built in the 1800’s within an hours drive from our campground. We saw five different ones and a gorgeous church with beautiful stained glass windows. My favorite covered bridge pic below included a lovely couple that were locals taking a bike ride on a trail leading to an ice cream shop on the other end. You can find several pics from the tour by clicking here.

B&W of my favorite

B&W of my favorite

Stained glass window

Stained glass window

Beautiful church with stained glass windows

Beautiful church with stained glass windows

On Saturday we were headed to the outlet malls when my dear husband decided to stop at a couple RV dealerships. The first one didn’t seem too interested in showing us anything…..boy was that a mistake. At the second one they had the 2017 Montana’s. The 3791 model has way more storage than we’ve ever seen in a fifth wheel. We looked and looked, asked a lot of questions and told the salesman we needed to keep looking before we made a decision on whether to trade or not. By the time we left the outlet mall we both knew we wanted the new model, so we stopped back by and looked again, but I still wouldn’t agree to do anything. However, by Monday morning we were back signing papers and ordering our new house with all the options we want, so in less than 8 weeks we should be picking up our new house.

From Ohio we are headed to Niagara Falls.  A place neither of us have ever visited. From there we will travel east through Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine before we start our journey down the east coast. Hope you’ll continue to follow our journey.