January 20 to February 14, 2014 NOMADS Project, Mercedes, MS

February 15 (Approximately) to June - Gate Guarding, TX or LA.

June, 2014 - Up to Alaska!

September - NOMADS Annual Meeting, Branson, MO

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Moving day

Vienna, GA

I am so glad to see Karon as a follower of our blog.  Karon and her husband fulltimed for a few years but recently came off the road and settled back home in Arkansas.  Karon is another virtual friend I had hoped to meet at a Rally in Branson a few years ago.   Back in May we just missed each other when we were passing through Little Rock on our way back to NJ from Louisiana.  We will be in Arkansas again and expect an invite to meet!!!  I'll keep in touch, Karon.

One of the thrills in this lifestyle is meeting new people.   But one of the downsides is meeting people you really like, getting to know them a little and then it is time to move on.   This was very much the case as we spent the last three weeks at the Escapees Park in Heiskell, TN. 

This is Judy.  Judy is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. What a fun, caring person.  I mentioned her in my last post.  We really would like to meet up again.

Here are Joe and Linda, who where the campground managers.   They leave next week to work at the Deming, New Mexico Escapees park.   I got to thinking.   We are going to Tucson, AZ in January for a project.   The route from Louisiana to Tucson is I10.  HEY- Deming is right off I10.   We just might see Joe and Linda again.  We also have two months to stay in the AZ and NM area between the Tucson project and having to move up to OK for another project in April.

  The man on the right is Larry.   He also worked at the campground.  He and his wife Babs (what a character) head to the Alabama Escapees park next week where he will be taking over the cooking duties.

This is Dan and Barb.   Saturday was Barb's last day of work.   They lived only 8 miles from the campground.  They decided they wanted to fulltime so they put their house of the market and it sold in 83 days!   Until Barb could retire they moved into the campground.   Just last week they sold her car.  They also are heading to the Summerdale, AL Escapees park for the winter.

After breakfast in the clubhouse we said our goodbyes and headed out at 8:20.  We arrived in Vienna, Ga around 2:30.   We will be working at a Methodist Campground for the next three weeks.  We easily found the campground and got hooked up.  

There are two issues here.   The gnats were thrilled to see us.  Fresh meat!   It was so bad we could  not stay outside once we got set up.  However, in the early evening they seem to have left.  At least enough that we were able to walk around the camp.  The second issue - we are right next to a train track.  The train rumbles by about once an hour.   I must have slept tight.  I heard it all yesterday afternoon and evening.  It went by as I was writing this.  I heard it at 5 this morning.  But - I slept though the middle of the night runs.

These are some pictures I took yesterday as we walked the grounds:

As I was uploading the above pictures, there went that train again!   

This morning we meet at 10:30 to attend the local church.  Then we will go to lunch with the rest of our group.   This is a small group.  Only four couples here now with one more man expected to arrive today.  We are invited to the camp directors for dinner tonight.  She and her husband and three young children live here on the grounds.

So, here we are - starting one more adventure!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Forgot the camera

Heiskell,  TN

I am also thrilled to have two familiar names added to our list of followers.  First there is Froggi (Donna).   For the last few years I have occasionally caught up with her whereabouts by dropping in on her blog. 

Then there is Ellie.  I used to "talk" to Ellie on a Weight Watchers site.   Ellie is one of the good ones - she lost the weight and KEEPS IT OFF!  Good for her.  Me, not so much. We had planned to meet at a Rally in Branson, MO. a few years ago but it was before we were fulltimers and that summer diesel costs skyrocketed.  We did not attend the rally.  But, I do hope to meet both her and Donna down to road.

Well we are winding down with our time here at the Raccoon Valley Escapees Park.  We have really enjoyed meeting people here and visiting the surrounding areas.   We have not done much of note the last several days:

Saturday - a run to Walmart and that's about it.

Sunday - church and then Len helped a camper here named Judy who is also from Louisiana - Baton Rouge.  She had some problems with her Pressure Pro going off.  He showed her how to monitor the tires and air them up.   She needed a better air gauge so we went to Walmart (again) and picked up one for her.  To thank us she bought us ice cream at the afternoons ice cream social and also bought us over a bag of good Louisiana shrimp she had cleaned and frozen. Judy has been a treat to get to know and spend time with.  She is RVing alone because she says her husband back in Louisiana can not leave his STUFF.  In the evening we took our walk up the hill (mountain to me) behind the campground.

Monday - to the post office and THAT'S IT!  Except we did take our walk up the hill and then spent some time with a neighboring camper couple who had questions about NOMADS.  Most of the night we (I should say I - Len slept through it all) layed awake listening to thunder and hard rain.

Tuesday - we took a ride over to Sieverville to the Apple Farm, stopping at Longhorn for lunch.   Hence, today's title- I wish I had taken the camera.   I would have liked some pictures of the Apple Farm complex.  There was a bakery, grill, restaurant, ice cream shop, gift shop, Christmas store, candy store and a store with all kinds of apple products along with hams, jams, preserves, etc.   We also stopped at a knife store and a tool store.  I have to admit - I found a bench while Len did the store thing.  Later in the day there were severe storm warnings in several areas of TN including tornado watches. Luckily just heavy rains here that continued most of the night.

Wednesday - to the grocery store then the 4:00 social hour at the clubhouse.   At 6:00 we went back to the clubhouse for a covered dish dinner.  I made my baked pineapple.   Right now I am completely full!  

Yup, these last few days have been really lazy ones.   So much so it is almost 8 and I am tired enough for bed!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Music, music, music

Heiskell,  TN

After going to Dollywood yesterday, I got to thinking.  In our time here in Tennessee and during our stay in North Carolina we have been privileged to attend several functions involving music.

Our first was in Brasstown, NC at a folk center where a gentleman performed singing folk songs and playing "mountain" instruments.  Next we attended a glass blowing demonstration where a duo also sang folk songs, many of them written by themselves.   The night before we left NC we went with another couple to Old Fort, NC.  Every Friday night there is a blue grass jam session.   Several different groups played for about a half hour each.  Most of them quite good, one not so much.   That is when we left.

Here at the Raccoon Valley Escapees Park they have a jam session every Thursday night and Sunday afternoon.   People camping in the park can perform but most of the performers come from the surrounding area.   We have attended every one.  Now, if only there was room for some dancing!

So yesterday we went to Dollywood.  The month of October they have their Gospel Festival.  But first things first.  I read that if you bought your tickets online this month you got a free buffet.  Naturally this was our first stop in the park. It was really very good.

Being properly nourished, it was off to see some shows.    The most popular attraction was Guy Penrod.  If you have seen the Gospel group The Gaithers either on TV or at one of their live performances, you will recognize Guy.   He put on quite a show and gave a meaningful message on the importance of relationships.

The next show was a musical called Sha-Kon-O-Hey!   They said this is the Cherokee word for blue mountains.  
While waiting to take the train ride around the park, we watched the squeezing of sap from sugar cane. Appears the horse does most of the work.

Then it was a ride on the Dollywood train powered by a steam engine.

This one is for my blogging friend Sam:

Two more gospel groups.  The first one is called 4 the Lord and the other one is Tribute Quartet.

We also spent time in the Dolly Museum.  This museum holds her trophies, pictures of her with other stars, childhood belongings, clips of TV shows and movies and lots and lots of outfits.   No photography allowed.

By this time it was 5:00, one hour before closing so we hiked back to the truck.  We stopped at Golden Corral for another buffet.   BTW, sometime during the night my jeans SHRUNK!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lotsa walkin'

Heiskell,  TN

First a big HOWDY to Cruzin2Some and Mary Ann and William who have stopped by to read our blog.  Thanks and welcome.

What have we been up to the last two days?

Tuesday, October 19.....

We packed a picnic lunch and headed to Big Ridge State Park in Anderson County about 20 miles or so from the campground.

This park is also part of the TVA system.  It is an "okay" park, but not as nice as the Norris Dam Park we visited last week.   Upon arriving at the park we did our usual drive through.  There was a playground, camp sites, a lake, pavilions, picnic areas and even rustic cabins, REALLY RUSTIC.   
After our drive through we parked the truck and started out for our hike of the day.  We have found it is impossible to go on any walk around these parts without having at least a 5% grade at some point, usually a lot steeper.

We selected the Ghost House Loop Trail.   It was a relatively easy hike.   On the way we passed this old cemetery.

Following all this expended energy, we were hungry so drove down to the picnic area for a quiet lunch stop.

We were back to the campground in time for our 4:00 social hour followed by Tacos for dinner and another walk up in the hills behind the campground.

Wednesday, October 20.....

We drove about 17 miles over to Oak Ridge, TN.  

Oak Ridge was not even a town in 1942 when it was created as a major site of the "Manhattan Project" a massive wartime effort which produced the world's first atomic weapons.  The town grew from 3,000 to over 75,000 in just a year and a half, making it the fifth largest city in Tennessee.   Quick housing was needed.  One solution were tidy little prefab houses with a living room, small bath with shower, kitchen with pantry and two bedrooms.   Total cost of the 576 sq. ft house = about $3,000 and this included all the furniture.

Our first stop was at the American Museum of Science and Energy.

In front of the museum is a statute made from scrap metal from the Twin Towers.
The museum tells the Oak Ridge story along with displays relating to all forms of energy - solar, oil, natural gas, coal, atomic, nuclear.  There are lots and lots of interactive displays and areas especially for children.  A large area is devoted to how the Manhattan Project ended World War 2 following the dropping of the bombs on Japan.  

Some of the displays related to WW2:

After spending about two hours at the AMSE (and only scratching the surface) it was lunch time.  We had packed our lunch minus the sandwich.   We had decided a Subway sounded good.  Luckily there was one right around the corner from the museum.

We found a picnic area next to a lake right outside of town.

We then drove about 3 miles to the University of Tennessee Aboretum

We picked out a relatively short trail for today.   One can only imagine how beautiful this place is during the Spring.

Again, we arrived back at the campground in time for social hour.   I was delighted to find that Nick and Terry Russell had checked in.  Nick is the editor of Gypsy Journal.   I have visited their web site several times over the last few years.   Often I have thought about attending one of their Gypsy Gathering rallies.  We probably will at some point.  To check them out go to http://www.gypsyjournal.net/

This life is really good.  So much to see, so much to do.  And we are just gettin started.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A day at Cades Cove, TN

Pigeon Forge and Cades Cove, TN.

Welcome to Karen, the latest follower of our Blog.

This weekend was a sad one.  We stayed close to "home" most of the weekend.   My thoughts often were of Margie and Bruce and their children and grandchildren who are in the midst of their grieving over this unthinkable event.   But, today I needed to get out and about so we decided to pack a picnic lunch and head over to Cades Cove, about an hour and a half drive from the campground.

I had printed out directions on Mapquest but decided, instead, to listen to Lucy our GPS. (my first goof in directions of the day)  We should have followed Mapquest.  Lucy took us through Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.  Not where we wanted to be!

Since we were there, we made one stop in Pigeon Forge at the Christmas store.  We detoured through there  and stopped several years ago on our drive to Louisiana.  This area has really built up since we drove through about 12 years ago.

We've been looking for an electric candle like many houses have in their windows and we had back in NJ.    We have a ceramic pumpkin sitting outside our Fiver for Halloween.  The original light in it broke.    We have been to several stores looking for a window candle but no luck.  Not even WalMart of all places!   We found a small window type candle at this Christmas store but I refuse to pay almost $10 for a smaller candle than what I had paid a few dollars for previously.    We will wait until WalMart sets up their Christmas displays.

This store had all sorts of stuff, everything overpriced.   Hey, Terri which of these do you want?

We finally got to the 11 mile Cades Cove loop drive.  But first we were hungry for that picnic lunch.  We pulled into the picnic area and saw many empty tables but no place to park.  We drove further down the loop until we saw a side road.   After we drove through a small stream we found the perfect spot to tailgate.

Out next stop was to walk to the oldest cabin at Cades Cove built in the early 1820's.  This was the John Oliver home.   His family were the first white settlers in the area.   The house sits more than 1/2 mile off the loop road, a pleasant walk.

Up the road a bit was the Primitive Baptist Church built in 1887.

I tired out the pews.   All I can say is I would hope the services were short!

Further along and we came to the Methodist Church built in 1902.

Their pews were a little better.   Maybe the Baptists were a hardier breed or the Methodists learned some improvements after once having sat in the Baptist pews.

Because it was a beautiful fall day and the leaves were changing, many people had the same idea as we did.  There were times when we drove bumper to bumper cruising along at 2 mph.

Two views of the valley.

The only wildlife we saw was one black bear.  He was rambling through the forest.   A truck load of folks a few vehicles ahead of us stopped in the middle of the road to take pictures staying there until the bear walked out of sight.   Therefore, all of us behind them did not have a chance to take a picture.  
Gregg-Cable House - 1879
John P Cable Grist Mill
Carter Shields Cabin - 1910
Tipton House - 1870's
After almost completing the loop road, I looked at the Cades Cove Tour brochure and saw a side road that looked to head toward the direction we wanted to go. We (I) decided this would be a good idea.  (My 2nd goof in driving directions today)  This meant taking one of the valley roads back onto the loop road and retacing where we had already drove for about 2 miles.  Easy enough. 

We then took the "different" road.  Once we got on it we found it was a cinder road 12 miles long and ONE WAY!  No turning around.   This road took us up over the mountains with steep drops offs, winding and curving and very narrow.  Len said it was fun.  I hung on to the door handle.

This is looking down at the Methodist Church on our way up my SHORT CUT :)

We had planned on making Tacos for dinner but after coming down from the mountain road we were hungry for dinner and had a 65 mile drive back to the campground so Ruby Tuesday it was!