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. 

A Visit to Rainbow Springs State Park, Florida

We spent a week at Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon, Florida. We had hoped to get some kayaking in, but never had the opportunity as we couldn’t take the dog on the river with us and he’s not old enough to be left alone yet without disturbing the other campers while he whines for hours and hours. So we took him with us when we went to the state park.

We spent some time walking through Rainbow Springs State Park and looking at the waterfalls. Unfortunately all the azalea blooms had already died, which was disappointing as it would have made for some pretty landscape shots. Even though the waterfalls are man-made, they are still pretty to look at. We also saw baby turtles and lots of different fish. It was nice to see other people enjoying the outdoors as well. Some people were actually swimming, but I’m afraid those waters are too cold for me plus the weather was only 70 degrees.

Rainbow Springs is Florida’s fourth largest spring and from the 1930’s through the 1970’s was the site of a popular, privately owned attraction. Over time the park grew and included submarine tours of the main spring, gardens, waterfalls, a monorail, aviary, zoo and a rodeo area. The amusement park closed in 1974 after interstate highways had diverted traffic from U.S. 41 so much so that people didn’t visit as much. Because of the history with the springs, citizens would not let the park die and soon the state took over; redesigned the area as a state park, returning it to its natural condition and opened to the public in 1995. Rainbow Springs State Park includes more than 1,470 acres.

Seminole Falls are remnants of Rainbow Springs attraction era that were built in 1937 utilizing soil dredged from a nearby phosphate pit.

Other falls in the park.

On another day we decided to drive over to Homosassa Springs State Park which was only about a 30 minute drive. I was hoping the wild manatees would still be around, but unfortunately they had already left so the only manatees were the ones in captivity. There were several animals in the park and we enjoyed our leisurely stroll. Although there were some school children around, they were well-behaved and the park was not crowded, so it made our time enjoyable and stress free.  We had to put Oscar in doggy daycare for the day though because dogs are not allowed in this park at all.  He also needed to get his next round of shots, so we left him with the veterinarian for a few hours. He was so sad when we picked him up. He was completely worn out as he had cried for the majority of the time he was there. Don’t know what I was thinking in getting a puppy at this stage in our travels, but we were able to enjoy the day and it looks like we might have to find some other doggy daycare places down the road so we can have mommy and daddy time.

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park has been a tourist attraction since the early 1900’s. Back then trains stopped so passengers could walk the short trail to the spring. The 50-acre site and surrounding 100 acres were purchased in the 1940’s and operated as a small attraction. In 1964, the property was bought by the Norris Development Company, who expanded the springs making it a place of entertainment with a variety of exotic animals as well as some native species. Norris sold the property in 1978 and until 1984, it changed many hands until the state of Florida purchased and turned it into a state park.

One of the highlights of Homossassa Springs is the Hippopotamus, Lu. Lu was born at the San Diego Zoo in 1960. He’s been a resident of the Springs since 1964. When he was young, he starred in television and movies. The governor in 1989, Lawton Chiles, is the reason Lu still gets to reside at the springs as when the state bought the former attraction, hundreds of letters were sent to the governor requesting Lu be able to stay and as such he was made an honorary citizen of the state of Florida.Although I wouldn’t want to meet an alligator in the wild; I always like seeing them at different attractions. Today I learned something about alligators that I wasn’t aware of and that is they growl. The up close shot alligator started it and then the big one added his growl and it continued with other gators around the pond.  It was an interesting sound. The sign seemed silly as it’s seems obvious no one would want to swim with gators.

There were many more animals in the park, but this post would get very long if I shared all the pics I took, so I’ll just share a few that stood out to me.

The Red Wolf was declared federally endangered in 1973. They are now sustained by captive populations; however, there are between 100 to 130 Red Wolves currently living in the wild.The Great Horned Owl is native to the Americas and resides in the forested areas of Florida. Their wingspan can be anywhere from 40 to 60 inches and are known to take prey 2 to 3 times heavier than themselves.

The Pink Flamingo always bewilders me with how they can stand for so long on 1 foot.  I have trouble standing on 2 sometimes, much less on 1.  Flamingos can live for over 25 years in captivity. They were once common in South Florida and as far north as Tampa Bay, but are usually associated with the tropics. During breeding season their color becomes a vibrant coral color and their diet adds to their color.The White Pelican can live up to 25 years in captivity. They are migratory birds who breed inland in the northern parts of the United States. They build their nest on the ground and instead of diving for food like the brown pelican, they scoop up their prey in the pouch of their bills. Both of these Pelicans are missing a wing, which is one of the reasons for this park as they take in animals that need rehabilitation.Both stops were great and highly recommended if you happen to be in the area. The Rainbow Springs State Park Campground area was a little intimidating for me as I don’t like being in total darkness and unfortunately the only lights around the park were at the ranger station. I was surprised they didn’t have some throughout the camping areas if for no other reason but safety; however, they were not. For this reason, I will think twice about staying there again.  

Next stop on our journey is Moore Haven, FL, which is about 5 minutes from Lake Okeechobee.  I really hope we get to spend some days fishing and have some nicer weather. It has been hard to enjoy the sunshine state with all the rain and cloudy days.  Come on Florida sunshine.

Hope to see you on the road…

Winding down

Time is winding down and soon we will be ready to pull out of Nashville and head south. The weather has been so crazy around here lately, it makes me wish we were leaving today. I sold the last item that was tying us down…my beloved car. We sold it to a young couple who had been looking for a car since September and for some reason fell in love with mine. It’s times like this that make me believe we are on the right path and that God has his hand in what we are doing. Once the car sold on the 4th, we had to wait for the title to come in to complete the sale and lucky for us it arrived on the 11th and the deal was finalized. I’ve been driving the hubby’s truck since it sold on the 4th and enjoying every minute of it.

Put my notice in at work on the 6th, which ended up being a three-week notice instead of two to allow a little more time for the boss to get some new bodies in place since a co-worker had left a week prior. I’m a softy when it comes to looking out for my co-workers cause I know they will end up having to carry the load when their short-handed and I wouldn’t want someone doing that to me. As of today, we have 15 days before we hit I-65 and head south.

We’ve been staying at Campers RV Park in Columbia, TN since the middle of December paying by the month, but since we are pulling out on the 27th we only need 12 days from when our time runs out so we’re thinking of moving over to the state park, Henry Horton, about 12 miles out from our current location to save on money and to have something different to look at for a few days. Plus with the park being on the Duck River, it will give hubby something to do if it ever warms up while I go to work for a few more days.

Henry Horton State Park

Today we decided to go to the local state park and see what we might discover. We encountered several deer while driving through the park. It was nice to get out and relax and just enjoy not having anything to do. Getting use to not having a “project” to work on has been challenging, but I look forward to the day when my time is filled with exploring many new places as we travel all over the US. Here are a few of my favorite shots from today’s adventure.