Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Georgia, and Tennessee

After our stay at the KOA in South Carolina, we drove to the Atlanta-Northlake Elks for two nights.  It was a very pleasant lodge. 

The first night there, they had a pot luck dinner.  I made a yummy macaroni salad and we had a great dinner of baked ham, augratin potatoes, veggies, oven baked apples, macaroni salad, cinnamon bread and chocolate cake.  After dinner, they invited us to play a game of trivia with them.  Each table was a team.  We didn't win......but we did have a good time.  We had planned to visit Stone Mountain the next day, but since it rained all day, and was cold and damp, we decided not to go there.  The visit would have cost us $15.00 for parking, and $29.95 each to get in, and with miserable weather, it didn't seem worth the price if we couldn't see everything. 

We had also planned to visit my sister Joan and her family.   Below is a picture of their lovely home.  Alan & his wife, Jen, take care of both Joan (his mom) and also his wife's mom. 

   Not only that, we got to meet his two daughters, and one of his grand kids.  I have to apologize as I'm terrible with names.  We had a lovely visit.  Joan had recently broken her hip, so she requires a lot of care.  I think Alan and his wife are doing a wonderful thing, caring for the mothers at home.  They were delightful and charming, and I'm really glad we got to visit them.  Also, Alan showed us the tear drop trailer he is building in his garage.  It's going to be really cool when he gets done.  We were able to get home before it got dark and before it began raining heavily again.
The next day we drove through moderate rain up to a KOA park in McDonald, TN.  The park was nice enough but the site they gave us was too short for the RV and car.  After we unhooked, I had to park the car sidewards, near where the edge dropped down precipitously.  Kinda scary, but I set the parking brake and we were OK until morning.  We just stayed there one night then came to this KOA Park in Crossville, TN, on Sunday.  I have a dear friend, Sharon Medlar (nee Cadek) with whom I attended school.  We had not seen each other since 1975, at our 10th high school reunion.  After Jim and I were at the 50th reunion in Horseheads this summer, I got Sharon's address, and wrote to her.  She and her wonderful husband Jack live here in Crossville.  Sunday she invited us to enjoy a delicious dinner at her house.  She has a beautiful
home and two very sweet dogs.  I only got a picture of one of the dogs, but they are both sweetie pies!  The picture below is of Jim sitting in their living room.  It is a very comfortable and lovely home.

On Moday, Jack & Sharon took us to the Stonehaus Winery, where we sampled some delightful wines, and bought a few bottles, even one of Aaron Tippin's wines.  We bought some yummy fudge too.
Then we came back to the RV for a dinner I had made.  It was a lovely evening. 

The picture above on the right is of the water tower, identifying this town as the Golf Center of Tennessee.  Jack is an avid golfer too.  I didn't have the heart to tell him we only play mini golf.  LOL.
We had planned to leave here this morning, but it has been raining all night and most of today, so we decided to stay one more day and hope for better travel weather tomorrow.  Since we had the unexpected time for it, we went ahead and made our travel plans for the rest of the trip home.  If we are able to continue our travels as we hope to, we will arrive at Silent Valley, in Banning, CA on October 20th. 
That's all for today.  Keep well, happy travels to those of you who are enjoying seeing this wonderful country.   Keep the shiny side up, and keep the faith.  God is awesome! 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mt. Airy, AKA Mayberry, NC

I'm sorry I didn't get to post this sooner, but we were too busy having a wonderful time being tourists in Mayberry.  We stayed 4 nights in the Mayberry Campground.  It is beautiful, one of the nicest we have seen.

The two pictures above are at the campground.  The geese came right up to our door.

We saw this cute car downtown.  On the right is Jim next to the statue in front of the Andy Griffith Museum.   Inside I took the next picture in the lobby, Jim getting a kiss from "Thelma Lou."  The next picture is Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) signing a picture of her with Andy & Barney Fife.  She is 89 years YOUNG, and still very delightful.

This beautiful picture was at the Museum, in the lobby.  We were not permitted to take any pictures in the museum itself.
The next day we took the tour of Mayberry in a replica squad car.  It was fantastic, and educational too.  We caught our ride at Wally's.
The first stop was to see the North Carolina Granite Corporation, which is huge.  The church below, and many homes were built entirely from the local granite.

Jonathan drove us up Donna Fargo Road, named of course after the country singer.  Later we drove by the home Andy Griffith grew up in.

The driver told us that for a mere $175.00 per night, one can actually stay in the house......but of course we did not! 
The Walker Soda Fountain was originally the Lamm's Pharmacy, where Andy worked after school and the fountain area is the original from back when he was there.

Several people brought their older cars to town that day!

 Here we are after the tour of the town.
Then we went inside the Mayberry Courthouse/jail.

 We had fun here......locked up and Jim couldn't reach the keys.  The last picture above is a replica of the cell Otis used to spend the night in, then leave in the morning.  Sheriff Jim had fun using the old style phone too. 
This is Snappy Lunch, where the folks on the TV show often dropped in for a bite after seeing a movie, and this is Floyd's Barber shop....two chairs, no waiting.

The next day we had lunch at Walker's Soda Fountain, and later got ice cream at Opie's candy Store.

 Even Andy came back here sometimes.  The Moon Pie and RC Cola were listed as the biggest lunch in town.....with a note that "It's a Southern Thing".

 Here's Opie's Candy Store.....it was small and crowded inside, but oh the delightful smells of chocolates, and pralines.  Oh my!
God treated us to an awesome sunset our last night in North Carolina.  We can't decide if it's more beaituful in Virginia, or in North Carolina.............but both are incredible.  If you haven't been here, you should consider it, and autumn is definitely the time to be here.  The temperature is mild, and the scenery is unbelievable.  As I've said many times before, God IS the greatest artist of all time!
We spent last night at the Elks Lodge in Gastonia, NC.  It was very nice, and as always, the folks were very pleasant.  Today we drove south to the Thousand Trails Preserve called Carolina Landing in Fair Play, SC.  I have to say that this has to be the worst of all the parks we have ever stayed at.  We booked it for two nights, but we are moving to a KOA Park in Anderson first thing tomorrow morning.  We cannot get level in the site.  They assigned us one site that was just terrible!  There was a deep hole on the left side that our back tire dropped into, and we were afraid the Rv was going to fall over!!!!!  With prayers and almost too much acceleration, Jim managed to get out of the hole and into the site............but leveling was NOT possible.  We looked at three other sites, and finally moved to one we hoped would suffice for our two nights.  It's still not possible to get level.  I feel like a drunken sailor when I walk to the back bedroom.  We had to use a pry bar to open the bathroom door, and don't dare close it tonight.  Even Millie was walking funny when she jumped off the couch.  Please note:  Mayberry Campground in Mt. Airy, NC was the BEST park of the trip, and this one has to be the Worst!!!!!
Stay well, and keep the rubber side down.  On Thursday we will be going to an Elks lodge in Atlanta, GA for two days, and we plan to drive over to Grayson to visit my sister Joan, whom we have not seen since about 1982.  WOW.  We also want to go see Stone Mountain.  Hopefully I will find time to post again after that.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sylvia & Stephen

This post will be unlike anything else I have written.  My sister always tells me I am too trusting, and this could result in my being hurt by people.  I know that this COULD happen, but I also believe that if you close yourself off, you can never experience many wonderful moments with many wonderful people along the path of your life.  Jim and I are more than willing to take that risk........we embrace it.  We belong to the BPOE (Elks) which also stands for Best People On Earth.  Throught this organization we have been able to park our RV over night at many lodges and met some great people.  We belong to Thousand Trails and camp at their parks whenever possible.  Our "home" park is Wilderness Lakes in Menifee, CA.  About four years ago, we were camped there, and had the good fortune to meet two wonderful people, Sylvia and Stephen Yazell.  They are two of the most wonderful, open, generous and loving people we have ever been blessed to call our friends.  When we were not away on our travels, we would camp together, at Wilderness Lakes, or Silent Valley, or Pio Pico.              

If we got to a campground first, we'd make dinner for all of us, and if they got there first, Sylvia would cook for us.  Steve was the best at smoking pork for pulled pork dinners, and made great country baked beans!  One time, we all traveled up to the Thousand Trails Preserve in Las Vegas together.  We had a wonderful time, seeing sights, and hanging out together.  The picture below was at the entrance to the preserve.


 The two pictures above were at Ethel M Chocolates, where there is also an awesome cactus garden.  There was also a solar garden.....

This last picture was of a place we went for lunch together.  It was called The Road Kill Grill, sorry to offend some, but we had a grand time there.   Sylvia and Steve were always ready to try something new, or go someplace new.  They were good friends, and really good Christians.  They would always help others out.....in fact, I remember one night when rain brought down the awning of our motorhome.  I called Sylvia, and she got Steve out of bed to come help Jim to cut the awning free, and salvage our screen room.
When we were away, or when they took their trips with their travel trailer, we always kept in touch by phone and by email. When we were together, we loved to play Mexican Train ( a game of dominoes, for anyone not yet initiated to this fun game).
 We left California, in January this year, and began a long trip across the country.  In June, we were in the town of Welcome, MN, and I called to talk to Sylvia.  Sadly, Steve had to tell me she had passed away.  It was a terrible blow to us to learn of her death.  Steve told us he was going to sell his house in California, and move to Virginia, to be closer to his daughter Tiffany, and her husband Ron.  We decided right away that when we got out here, we would make a trip over to Norton, VA to visit him. 
After our adventures in the Chesapeake Bay area, we traveled west to Lynchburg, VA, then to Wytheville, and then on to Norton.  We had hoped to do some sight seeing while in Lynchburg, but that did not work out.  We parked our RV in Steve's driveway, and stayed for two days.  I wish we had planned for a longer visit......but for sure the next one will be longer.  He drove us around to see some beautiful countryside in the area.

The first three pictures, above, were taken from a scenic overlook on route 23 between Norton and Big Stone Gap.  The view was incredible, and, as you can see, the leaves are beginning to change colors for autumn.   I'm sorry to say I can't tell you for sure, the name of the place we took these next three pictures, but it was a park above Norton, VA that Steve drove us to.  From that vantage point, you can see into part of Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

We had a wonderful time visiting Steve, and were sorry to have to leave today.  It was wonderful to see him, and share memories of his beloved Sylvia.  Steve is a shy sort of person.  I don't think it's easy for him to make new friends.  Sylvia, on the other hand, was a live wire!  She had a kind word for everyone.  We didn't know her for a long time, but we truly feel blessed to have had her for a friend.  She is sorely missed.  Thank you God, for bringing Sylvia and Steve into our lives. 
Please folks, don't be afraid to reach out to people.  You never know when a new friend might be right next door.  That person might also be in need of a friend.  As far as we are concerned, the rewards will always outweigh the risk. 
Happy travels, and be safe, but also be ready for friendship.