Sunday, August 30, 2009


We thought these couple of weeks would be relaxing, however, we got a surprise yesterday when daughter and family called to say they were about 5 miles away!! What a wonderful surprise. We are close to where they live, and in a couple of weeks we will be moving to the state park down the street from them. We weren't expecting to see them until then. I was very glad they decided to stop by on the way home from Nags Head, NC. And Miss Savannah, well, she loves her Poppy Ed. Only took her about 10 minutes of being shy. We drove into South Hill to the Pizza Hut for dinner and then came back and sat outside with a campfire.

Playing on the swings!

Kim and Savannah will be back next Saturday to visit while son in law Mark travels to see a college football game. Appalachian State

I predict many happy times during the next month!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Wild Ride!

We left Big Stone Gap, Virginia on Tuesday morning moving toward South Hill, Virginia. We knew we weren't going to make the trip in one day so we just took our time. We came through the mountains and onto interstate highway 81. We then took interstate highway 77. Our goal was to end up on highway 58, which runs along the border of North Carolina.
The last 50 miles of our journey that day were some of the scariest I can remember. This narrow two lane road started winding up and around over the mountain. We are always seeing signs for deer crossings, and in Washington we were seeing elk crossing signs. Here was the first time I had ever seen a bear crossing sign!!
The summit of this road was where the Blue Ridge Parkway intersects with highway 58. We then started down....
There were times when there was a 9% grade going down. We had our exhaust brake on, of course, which helped somewhat. However, when going down this steep grade and having to make some sharp curves, well... I just about put my foot through the dash, I was braking so hard!!
We finally came to the town of Stuart, Virginia where we spent the night at a Walmart.
Thankfully, the next 130 miles of our journey were better with 4 lane divided highway most of the way. We arrived at our destination, North Bend Corps of Engineer park. There is a nice lake and Ed will do some fishing here. Our motorhome is sitting almost in the road so that we can get our satelite TV. (Really have to look into getting a portable dish)
While here I will take some pictures and get them posted. We are not going to be doing much except relaxing so I may not be blogging much.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cumberland Gap

We left General Burnside State Park on our way to Cumberland Gap. The weather was not great, rained most of the way and we stopped for the night at a Walmart in Middlesboro, Kentucky.

We left Saturday morning and stopped at the visitor center of the Cumberland Gap National Park. We walked around, and saw a short movie on Dr. Thomas Walker, who worked for the Loyal Land Company as a surveyor. He became the first white man to explore, describe and document the route to the Gap. The most famous name associated with Cumberland Gap is Daniel Boone. Beginning in 1775, he began escorting settlers through the Gap, including the grandparents and parents of Abraham Lincoln.

This is a picture of a mural on the wall. Daniel Boone leading the way.

These days it is much easier to get through the Gap.

We are now staying at an RV park in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. You sure can tell we are in the mountains because we haven't used the air conditioner since we got here. Weather has been beautiful with nightime temps in the mid 60's. Great sleeping weather!!

Today we visited the Southwest Virginia Museum. This museum is housed in a mansion originally built in the 1880's by Rufus Ayers, a Virginia attorney general.

The Slemp Foundation, established by C. Bascom Slemp, gave the home to the Commonwealth of Virginia. There are 3 floors of exhibits many about the early days of the frontier life and then on to the mining of coal and iron ore. After the Civil War, northern businessman wanted to turn Big Stone Gap into the Pittsburgh of the South. It became a prosperous town but nothing like they dreamed.

Tomorrow we are moving on again. We are slowly working our way toward the Richmond area and a family visit.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cumberland Falls and Colonel Sanders

Yesterday we took a ride to see Cumberland Falls. What a wild ride, narrow winding road through the Daniel Boone National Forest. And there are RV parks along the way!! Thankfully, we were in the car. These falls are sometimes called the Niagara of the South. We were not to impressed by them, but it was a place to stop and let my stomach settle.

Maybe if we had been there earlier in the summer or even the spring there might have been more water. You could tell the water was low from the debris in the rocks. Found a friend among those rocks below.

Back in the car, we continued on to the little town of Corbin and the spot where Colonel Sanders had his original cafe.

For years, he operated this cafe, motel and gas station along highway 25, which was then the main north and south road from Kentucky to Florida. When they build the super highway 75, he was forced out of business. He was 65 years old and took his first social security check of $105 and went off to peddle his recipe for fried chicken. The rest, they say, is history. All that is left is the cafe, which is now the seating area of the Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Tomorrow, we will be on the move again. First we have to stop at a repair shop. We just had our hot water heater fixed in St. Louis but it is not working now. Again the same situation, it works on the electric side but not on the propane. The part they replaced is under warranty, so hopefully it will not be expensive and will stay fixed. It seems never ending!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

One Year Anniversary

Today is our one year anniversary on the road. We left Richmond, Virginia on August 18th and headed first to upstate New York for a family reunion. We spent about 10days there before moving on to Massachusetts. In Mass, we toured Boston, saw a Red Sox game, and visited friends in Springfield.

September and October found us in South Carolina at the freightliner service center and on to Florida to have the inside of our motorhome remodeled. Then it was on to Texas to get our vehicles registered and become what we refer to as 'paper Texans'.
We also spent time in San Antonio and Carlsbad, New Mexico before moving on to Arizona.

We were in Needles, CA at a campground when someone coming in at night, hit our drivers side mirror and broke it. We got very lucky and found a replacement in Lake Havasu.

Thanksgiving found us in the Los Angeles area visiting with family. Christmas found us in Bakersfield again with family.

January we finally went to Quartzite to meet with the rest of our class of 2008! What a time we had!

February we spent touring around Arizona. Went to a rally and spent time in the Benson area. March found us back in Bakersfield for granddaughter's birthday and them on to Washington State.

We took our time going up through the Redwoods, the Oregon Coast and to Tacoma area visiting daughter and grandson. Spent time with friends along the Columbia River trying to catch some salmon. Didn't catch anything but had a great time anyway.

After being cold for so long, we went back to Arizona to warm up for a couple of weeks. May found us at the Grand Canyon.

Spent May and part of June on the Santa Fe Trail. What fun it was to just drive and stop wherever we could. We went from New Mexico, through Colorado and into Kansas.

The last half of June was spent in Iowa at Forest City, home of Winnabago. We had some small things taken care of.

July was spent traveling down the Mississippi River, into Illinois some times and Iowa at others.

We are now in Kentucky and have spent time in the Mammoth Cave area and now in Daniel Boone area of Cumberland Gap.

We have had a great time in our travels, but have decided to slow down. October will find us in Coffeyville, Kansas working at for the holiday season. Then on to Arizona to meet up with friends. The rest of year 2 is in stay turned!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Nolin River Lake and Lost River Cave

Thursday we left our quiet site at the COE park and drove about an hour around Mammoth Cave National Park. We couldn't take the motorhome on the ferry so we had to drive around, but in the end right now we are only about 7 miles from where we were the other day. Here are a few pictures from the park, for a couple of days we were the only people in our section!

This was a very nice park and if you had a boat its really ideal. Many of those coming in when we left, had there boats anchored right by their site!!

Today we took a ride into Bowling Green to visit the Lost River Cave. This is a boat ride through a cave. The cave entrance was once a night club in the 1930's.

Can you imagine trying to climb down these stairs in high heel shoes and evening gowns??
There is another entrance now but in the 1930's that was the way down. The wooden steps are gone now but these metal ones remain. They do have weddings and high school proms here today. The tour was not the best we ever been on. Not too many pictures. The biggest claim to fame they have is that Jesse James evidently hid out here at one time.

We did start to walk down a nature trail and this butterfly landed on Ed. There were a lot of butterflies around. Not as much walking as we did at Mammoth Cave but it was a good workout!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mammoth Cave

Yesterday we drove over to Mammoth Cave National Park. The ranger told us of a shortcut and a ferry we could take across the river. Now most of us have been on a ferry before. It's very relaxing to be on the water for a little while and get out of the car and feel the wind in your face. Here are a few pictures of our ferry ride.
We first came upon this sign..

It's telling us that the road ends in water!!

We then went around a corner and this is what we saw. This is our ferry coming to get us!!

The ride across took about 1 minute on this cable driven ferry. We had a good laugh and continued on to Mammoth Caves.

We arrived at the information booth, were told about the various tours. We decided to purchase tickets for the self guided 'Discovery Tour' and the longer guided 'New Entrance Tour'. We had a couple of hours before our guided tour started so we went in to the cafe and had some lunch first. Then we started down the path to the self guided tour.
During the early 1800's they mined this cave for Salt Petre. it was then refined and additives added to make black gunpowder. We also learned that a doctor in the early 1800's thought that the caves would give healing powers to those with tuberculous. About 15 people volunteered to go and live in the cave for a year. Of course it didn't work and they gave up after 10 months. But even 10 months spent in the cave was a hardship. At the time they were also giving tours and they would go right by these people. The ranger down there explained that these people would go up to the tourists and ask about weather and would smell them to know what was blooming on the surface!! I couldn't imagine trying to live in this cave for any length of time!

We then went on the guided tour. It was 250 steps down a steep, narrow opening.

Mammoth Cave is listed as one of the longest cave system in the country. There are not a lot of formations, just a lot of rock and they are still exploring portions of the caves. We did get to the portion of the cave that did have some formations. This is what they call Niagara.

Thankfully it was a gradual climb back out of the cave. We surely got our exercise yesterday!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

General Patton and Abraham Lincoln

We decided to leave the Horseshoe Casino on Saturday. They put on summer concerts there on the weekends. Friday the parking lot really filled up and we sat outside and listened to The Steve Miller Band. That was pretty good, however, most of the people there in motorhomes don't know how to boondock and ran their generators all night long!! Saturdays concert was a band called "The Killers" so we decided to get out of dodge.

We traveled into Kentucky and stopped at the welcome center. We learned we were not far from the Patton Museum and the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, so we decided to do a short detour off the main road to see both.

The Patton Museum was a free museum with many many tanks. Since my brother spent time in the army and drove these tanks, I took quite a few pictures. Hopefully, I did get a picture of the one you drove, Doug.

It was a very interesting museum, we spent over 2 hours walking through it. We drove by Fort Knox to get there. Here is a picture...think there is any gold left???

We also took a side trip to Lincoln's Birthplace. This is the log cabin, on a knoll up from Sinking Spring. The family lived here until Abe was about 6 before moving to Illinois.

Look Familiar? The monument in Washington DC was modeled after this one. There are 56 steps, one for every year of his life. Inside the monument is a replica of the log cabin.

We arrived here at the Moutadier Corps of Engineer park. We have a real nice site, with electric and water. Will post some pictures at a later date.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Two Loves

Baseball and Horse Racing

My father was born in Cooperstown, New York and we were there often visiting my great grandparents. Cooperstown is a small town that grows during the summer months. It is where baseball was invented and is the home of The Baseball Hall of Fame. You can't come from that background and not have a love of the game. Today, we were able to visit the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.
In 1884, 17 year old 'Bud' Hillerich brought Pete Browning to his parents wood working shop to make him a bat. (His had broke during the game) Pete Browning was known as "The Louisville Slugger". And a company was born.
It was an experience to see how they make these bats. Being a retired machinist who ran these big lathes, Ed really enjoyed seeing the big lathes that make these bats for Major League baseball. After we toured the factory, we watched a short movie called the "Heart of the Game". It's said that the heart of the game is the crack of the bat! Then we walked through the museum. It's a very hands on museum. Great for kids!

Ed got to hold a world series bat used by David Ortiz!!

When I was young, we lived in Saratoga, New York. This is a hugh horse racing town with 2 tracks. One a harness track and the other a 'flat track', was for thoroughbred racing. Each year, in the month of August, thoroughbred racing comes to Saratoga. So the second part of today was also very special. A trip to Churchill Downs...home of the Kentucky Derby. I was really looking forward to going through the museum, however, it was closed and suffered some major damage during the flooding that occurred earlier this week. But we were able to have a tour of the track. This is the winners circle for the Kentucky Derby. It is only used that one day. There is another winners circle used for other races.

The famous twin spires! These are part of the original racetrack.

The paddock area and the tunnel which the horses enter the track.

The cemetery at Churchill Downs. A horse is usually cremated except for the brain, heart and hoofs. They are buried with the ashes to symbolize drive, courage and speed.

And last is a statue of Pat Day, one of the best jockeys and was my mothers favorite. Yes it is lifesize!

It was a great day!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Gateway Arch in St. Louis

Last Thursday we left the Hannibal area and traveled to St. Louis. We spent Thursday night in the repair shop where we had an appointment on Friday to get our Norcold refrigerator recall completed. While our home was being worked on, we went to visit another house of Ulysses Grant. This home called 'White Haven' was actually the childhood home of Julia Dent Grant.

Julia's father owned this 850 acre farm and considered himself a southern gentleman who owned several slaves to work this farm. When Ulysses married Julia, he had many arguments with her father about the slavery issue. He would work the farm along side of the slaves. However, not really being a farmer, he failed at farming and took his family to Galena, Illinois where he worked for his father before the Civil War started.

We are now at the Casino Queen RV Park across the river from the Gateway Arch. We can see it from our window. Yesterday we took the metrolink over and toured the arch. We first saw a movie about the Louis and Clark expedition. Then we took the tram up to the top of the Arch.

This is what the tram car looked like.

It's more like a pod that holds 5 people. Because the arch is curved, these pods travel on a curve. They were designed by an amusement park architect. Thankfully the ride wasn't that long.

Here are some views from the top:

The Old Courthouse

Cardinals Stadium

The Eads Bridge...the first bridge in St. Louis across the Mississippi River. Its the bridge with the supports on the bottom.

Here is a final picture of the Arch as we looked at it from the Metrolink platform.

Today we are just relaxing after all the walking yesterday. I'm doing some research about our future travels and Ed is watching golf, both the LPGA's British Open and the PGA's Buick Open. He makes me dizzy with the remote going back and forth!!

Tomorrow I hope to go back over and tour the Old Courthouse. We didn't get to do it yesterday because it was raining when we finished at the Arch!!