Over the past 2 weeks, we had the opportunity to help mom & dad with renovation projects on their home. I cooked for them, we built shelves, painted, stained, cleaned out the upstairs, and even rearranged the beds. We had a great time with them, and they are very pleased with the work. So much so, I think they want us back! LOL!
Now off to our next adventures. Three weeks at our home resort and catching up with family, friends and doctors..
There has been a change in our schedule, and SOWERS has graciously let us switch projects to accommodate our needs.
We will now be working at OK-230 project which is in Colcord, OK at the New Life Ranch. We are very excited about working this project, and look forward to meeting and working with other SOWERS.
Over the past month, I really enjoyed working with Ashley to plan a surprise visit for Joe, a week early than he expected. I was able to meet his beautiful girlfriend Ashley for the first time, and we played cards with Ashley, her kids, and her mom. It was a great visit, and SO fun to surprise him!
We were excited to finally return home-ish to some of our friends. We've met Jeff & Lisa in Shipshewana a lot, and this year was no different. We played games, went shopping, and even celebrated Lisa's upcoming birthday! The chicken at the Blue Gate Restaurant is fabulous!
We happened to be there on the opening day of the flea marking in town, and I think everyone in the area was there too! We enjoyed walking around shopping, but at the end of the day, I somehow logged over 7300 steps! Wow! There are a lot of stores and restaurants to choose from, so if you're ever in the area, we would highly recommmend a visit here.. :-)
Stay details: Shipshewana South Campground; Shipshewana, IN.
Note: This was a pretty nice campground, nestled within the country amish ambiance. There was a cow field in the back, and horse fields on either side, so there was pletny of enjoyment watching the animals on our daily walks. There was no smell wheile we were there, so we didn't see it as an issue. They have few ammenities, but there is a dump station, with a seperate electric only space in the rear. This is where we stayed. We enjoyed the more solitute and privacy in the back, only after we moved sites because someone else was parked on our friends' spot. The shower houses they have are very clean and updated. The office personnel were extremely polite and very accomodating, and the neighboring horses are awesome to watch.
We stayed at site 22 (30a electric only), and it was a huge grass spot next to the rear field. We have a 35' rig, and had a LOT of space to spare.
Just a quick stop here because it's an affiliate park without our home membership resort. It has a lot of ammenities, and best yet is that they are all open! Even the hot tub!
We parked on lot VS3, so we are in the front opposite of the lake, very near the pool. Mark just LOVES the pool! While here, we got some laundry done, played miniature golf, swam, took a lot of walks, and got some paperwork and cleaning done.
We have an upcoming appointment with the Grand Design (our RV factory), so get some warranty work, so we want all the Arizona dust removed. lol!!
The worst part of our stay was getting stuck in the rain while on a walk. Well, Pica didn't like it, it got her bloomers wet. Ha!
We would definitely recommend this campground, even if it's for a membership. They take good care of their grounds, and are even building more campsites on the other side of the park. There are a lot of friendly geese here, fishing allowed, playground, miniature golf, a large clubhouse, and an absolutely beautiful pool.
Arriving at Charlestown S.P. meant meeting up with our daughter and her family. The only problem with being on the road is missing family. Being back in the north for 3 months allows us to catch up with everyone. By the end of this time, they all might even WANT to get rid of us! LOL!
Katie & Tony came out with the kids this weekend and camped for the night with us. The last time they camped with us, there were heavy rains and a tornado warning. This time, there was beautiful (warm) weather and sun. We all had a great time catching up, talking, having fun with the kids, and just being together. We look forward to seeing them again later this year.
Stay details: Charlestown State Park - Charlestown, IN
Note: This area was once the Rose Island Amusement Park, until the major flood of 1937 which created a 25-mile wide Ohio River flood which non until put 70% of Louisville under water, but also desimated the park . It was then purchased as an ammunition plant, then dedicated to the state of Indiana in 1995. The park itself is very large with 8 hiking trails and a campground. The campground consists of 189 campsites (129 electric, and 58 full hookup). The sites are well spaces at a great angle so you're not looking inside your neighbor's windows. It has one small playground, several trash bins throughout the park, and a good amount of shaded sites to choose from.
While we were here, we did encounter several ticks on us, the kids and the dog. We decided not to take any more walks in the woods.
Cumberland Point Campground is an Army Corps of Engineers campground. We have been wanting to stay at this place for quite some time, and it did NOT disappoint!
I must warn anyone who wants to book this place. BOTH the loop campground and the dead-end sites are very steep, with a sharp grade from road to site; which means you might have trouble with a 5th wheel hitting the truck. Use caution, and I would not recommend bringing any rig over 35' to any of these sites without knowing it will be a challenge to park.
With that said, we booked site #11 because I learned online that it was the best one with the lake view. Online, the site fits 40' rigs (we are 35'). Upon arriving, we were told that he didn't think we would be able to turn around at the end of the dead-end. So, we walked down, checked it out, and decided to give it a try.
Mark and I have been doing very good with communication on parking, so we had this! He turned wide, I watched his angles and limits, and radio'd findings. He took it slow, got the truck & camper at a little more than a 90 degree angle, and was clear to make the turn. The front corner barely touched our soft toneau roll. He straightened it back up the hill, then backed in with ease. Within 10 minutes, we had the rig unhooked, leveled and slides out.
In the meantime.... Upon arriving, two guys came out of the woodwork looking at the size of our camper. I think they made fun of us even thinking of trying it. Once we got in to try it, they told us "we haven't looked at all the sites yet", and continued on down the hill to where we were going. Like every RVer, we all watch the newbies coming in to see how things are done. Perhaps we silenty wait for that 'oopsie' to happen while feeling proud we would 'never' make that mistake! LOL!!
Anyway, as we were making that turn, they watched in awe, as they had previously told us that we would NEVER be able to make the turn. Mark and I worked in precision without their help, as we made the turn in one try, then backed in one try. I just smiled at them and said "See, you can do anything if you remain positive about it".. I think they left with their tails between their legs. Ha!
So here we are, on an absolute perfect day. Not too hot, not too cold. Very little breeze, and an awesome lake view and the sounds of waves gently hitting the shores below. Mark rode up to buy wood, and was told by the park manager that we could forage whatever we wanted! Wait, what???? When do we ever hear that? So Mark went to work foraging, and he had a 3' tall pile of wood in no time! He even got to use his new toy (a Makita circular saw)! Before long, dinner was sizzling on the griddle, the fire was crackling, and the birds were serenading us with their song.
We would recommend this campground only if you are brave enough to park your rig from an angled road, LOVE beauty, and love the peace and quiet. There are 2 bath houses which also have showers, and are nicely kept. The entire grounds are kept clean and nice by Army Corps personnel, and I must say, this is one of the best places we've been to (barring the fear of the unknown). Yes, site #11 is the absolute best. It's own peninsula and overhang toward the water. But there are plenty of other beautiful sites here too, so no many which you choose, you cannot lose. Each site also comes with 50amp and water hookups, with a dump station at the exit.
On the 2nd night entering a beautiful, quiet evening, we suddenly had neighbors. We don't mind neighbors, and most of the time even get to be friends with them. However, we cut our night short when the mom kept yelling at her kid all night, so loud that I think the entire campground could hear her. Nightie night. An early departure sounds promising at this point. Ha!
Told by the park secretary about the must-see elk herd in the nearby Cataloochee Valley, we headed out first thing in the morning in hopes to see a LOT of these promised elk.
After an 7-hour day of driving and touring the paved and unpaved curvy roads of the Smokies, we did not see any elk, but we did see some beautiful scenery, historical locations, and learned a lot about the area's history.
Here are some of the area highlights:
- Cataloochee Valley: 10 miles of steep curvy roads with beautiful scenery of the Smoky Mountains. Most of this area is unpaved, but the roads were relatively cared for and in good condition. I passed over 3 old one-lane bridges, and saw several old homesteads that were built in the 1800's. Sorry, no elk on our trip, even though we heard they are often seen eating along the roadside.
- Gatlinburg: Drove the narrow northern road up to Gatlinburg. We didn't make the stop here because we had Pica, but we will definitely be back to enjoy the shopping and sites. Some of the super cool things in the area are the sky bridge (via chair lifts) & Anakeesta Mountain Park. The downtown shops are amazing for those who like browsing, and there are tons of food options in the area too.
- Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail: Just outside of Gatlingburg, this one-way car trail is a definite must-do when you're in the area. Several 1800's homesteads remain in the area and are fully open for people to browse through. There are 2 picnic areas near the river, and there are many walking trails ranging from ADA short to strenuous 8 mile trails and more! Many of these trails take you to beautiful waterfalls.
Overall, just get out and see this beautiful nature! The trip through the Smoky Mountain NP was pretty short itself, but you can always add adventures on your trip to fit your dreams.
This trip and MANY more out west were much more educational due to the JUST AHEAD app. This app follows along on your journey, and tells you about the area, the history and what's expected. We just LOVE this app!
Stay Details: Pride Resort, Waynesville, NC
Note: This is a small campground resort that is nestled on the banks of the Pigeon River. It is small, pretty tight together, and have a few small ammenities like a pool (not currently open), putt putt and community center. They have benches beside the water which we really loved
Through Coast to Coast, we can stay here for 3 weeks during non-peak season, so we reserved 3 weeks just before the season began. What a beautiful gem of a place to relax, work on class, and find hike/bike trails in the Uwharrie National Forest. We are also using this location to give some time away from events so our family has the peace of mind that we are not bringing any 'bugs' home to them from our recent larger events.
Sycamore Lodge is absolutely beautiful, and if you are ever in the area, you should definitely plan a stay to this old homestead; now lodge.
Stay Details: Sycamore Lodge Resort. Jackson Springs, NC
* Sycamore Lodge is a membership resort that hosts a slew of ammenities for all ages. Fully stocked general store, membership lodge (with kitchen, laundry, restroom, sitting rooms, piano & library), miniature golf, basketball, horseshoes, shuffleboard, many sitting areas, pavilion, swimming pool, fishing, and much more!
The Grand Design Rally is open to all people that own a Grand Design RV. We signed up for this a few months ago. This would be our first rally, and we were told that they always have the G.D. techs there to fix warranty and recall issues as well as the opportunity to get on a list to fix general issues. They also hold educational seminars and have venders to purchase items.
As soon as we parked, we met up with our neighbors who owned a Solitude. We hit it off right away, and spent the rest of the weekend with them, attending events together, playing games and having dinner. We also met up with several other couples, and made several friends during the rally.
Having the rally at Myrtle Beach was a bonus. They gave us all $60 worth of 'Design Bucks' that we could use for food during the week. The campground was huge with several ammenities, not to mention the absolute beautiful beach!
On our last night, after receiving a tweet that SpaceX was about to launch their rocket with more satelites, we walked to the beach at 11:30pm and set up our chairs & video of the launch. I was able to get a few decent photos, but we were able to watch the rocket throughout most of the sky, when it finally disappeared back at the north horizon. Seeing this even from SC when the launch was in FL was spectacular and very exciting!
Stay Details: Lakewood Family Campground, Myrtle Beach, SC
* This is a huge Christian family campground that hosts large events. They have a swimming pool, lazy river, water slides, putt putt, paddle boats, ice cream, general store, and much more! The conference ammenities offer an amphitheater, a library, information center, and campground integrated events.
Even though the sites were pretty close together, it still allowed decent room for family get-togethers. All sites offer full hookups with immediate access to the beautiful beach.