Plans are firmed up. Reservations are made. Motor home is fueled up. All we lack now is the date to get here so we can head out for our 5 week trip to Nova Scotia and back. We have reservations with friends and historic and scenic places all setup on the calendar so we don’t forget anything.
Past Trip Memories
We uploaded another video to our Youtube channel that you might enjoy from some of our past trips. Please check it out here. If you like the channel subscribe, like, and turn on the notification button. We also have several other channels that we really enjoy and would recommend you subscribe to those channels as well. They are inspiring and thought provoking, entertaining as well as educational.
Recommended YouTube channels
“You Me and the RV”, “Changing Lanes”, “Less Junk < More Journey”, “Keep Your Daydream” are the ones we have watched the most. Trust me, with TV being what it is today, this is much safer, and more entertaining, especially if you enjoy the RV lifestyle (part time or full time). I feel like we know them and we haven’t met, but have commented back and forth on their videos.
Let us know what your favorite RV destination is, and why. Also let us know if you have other RV related youtube channels that you enjoy so we can watch them as well. If you have any favorite state or national parks we would like to know that as well.
Question of the day
What software, web sites, books, phone aps, etc do you use when planning your cross country, multi-stop RV trips. It is important to us to keep in touch with what others are doing so we don’t use obsolete or less that current tools for planning a safe journey across this great nation of ours.
Well, it is time to get the dirt daubers and spiders out of the motor home and start packing her up for our Summer RV Trip cross country tour. We seem to operate a little differently than the average “weekend warrior” or full-timers. We don’t do very many weekend quick trips, and I work part time from anywhere I can get good Wi-Fi signal. Norma works for the school system here so she is off every summer. This tends to give us a good way to travel during the summers to take long get-a-way trips to see many places that we would otherwise never have an opportunity to visit.
With all that said, we are planning a “re-visit” tour up through Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Newburgh NYC, Boston/Plymouth, Kennebunkport, Portland, Bar-Harbor, Bangor, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. I know that is a lot of stops, but we will setup base camp in the RV and drive the Honda Civic to the specific points of interest. We plan to be gone a month +/- the drive there and back may slow us down a day or two. We Can’t Wait !!!
New You-tube Channel to compliment the blog
Check out our RVacationer you-tube channel to find out a little more about us and our setup. Please help us out by subscribing and hitting the “thumbs-up” and “notification bell”. This is a good way for us to share our experiences both good and bad with you, and get your comments back on how to improve, and find out from you things that will help us do better in the future.
Online Planning Tools
The online tools we us for planning are of course maps.google.com, then rvparky.com, www.rvtripwizard.com, which is a member based tool good for pin-pointing common points of interest like Walmart, Pilot, Flying J, etc, and displays warnings to avoid low bridges, toll roads, and other hazards that would be a problem for a big rig. Then we use the street view to do a virtual drive on any roads that are suspect for being narrow or tight neighborhoods getting into the campground.
As many of you, we have been waiting since our RV Thanksgiving trip last year to get out into the world again. After winterizing the motorhome last November my wife and I sat by the window waiting for the first chance to get outside without frost bite. We are finally going on our first RV trip for 2018 to a local campground about 20 miles away.
We unplugged from house shore power, cleaned the drains, and removed the cob webs and drove about 20 miles away to Lake Guntersville State Park RV campground. This is our favorite local campground as well as a good place to de-bug anything that may have happened over the winter.
As expected, we had a few issues but nothing to diminish the thrill of being back outdoors. Our site had a great look at the lake on one side and the mountain up to the Lodge and golf course out the other side. What we didn’t plan on was this being the states “Spring Break” for schools and there were lots of others who had the same idea.
What went wrong
Our only incident that caught us by surprise was a small water leak coming from our ice maker. My wife noticed the carpet was wet in front of the cabinet that had the ice maker and I immediately unloaded the cabinets and turned off the feed valve. It turns out that it just needed a refresh of the silicon plumbing tape around the inlet. I just happen to keep enough plumbing tools and spare parts with me for this very reason. While I was at it I replaced the water pressure regulator at the faucet as well.
After we fixed the leak
We tested for other issues that may have been caused by winter’s cold temperatures. We checked the toilet, washing machine, and all the sinks, toilet, and shower. Then, our Ubiquiti wi-fi amplifier system pulled in seemingly unlimited internet bandwidth for streaming our favorite news and sports channels on directvnow.com. Our site was .4 miles from the wireless access point and it got enough signal to browse and stream TV. Something we do when RVing is to play games like scrabble or cards. Those things are a lot of fun, but we don’t seem to find time when we are at home.
The wife and I went on several nature walks and saw one huge buck at the golf course late in the evening, and as much as we could in the low light we think we counted 18 deer in and around the lake area.
Lake Guntersville State Park
We didn’t do much cooking or lounging outside because it was still a little windy and cool to be comfortable. However, we sure did enjoy our first adventure for the year. Our wonderful experiences have made us look forward to doing this at least a couple of times per month. The RVing season in our area is usually from late March through late November. Until the temperatures turn back to freezing and force us back to our homestead we are “On the Road Again”.
Trip with family to Myrtle Beach SC from Arab, Alabama was fun, but every trip we take has some “adventure” to it as well.
(1) Getting through Atlanta is always a challenge no matter what vehicle you are driving. But add 41 ft + a tow car is even more “adventurous”.
(2) Who Knew there are TWO Myrtle Beaches in South Carolina. North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach. Both have a 5th Ave, but only one of those 5th Ave addresses has a KOA… Turning around in a small store parking lot was not for the faint of heart.
(3) Diesel Pumps at car fuel stations is not designed for 41 ft with a tow car.
We left on a Monday night after work in hopes of getting through Atlanta after “rush hour”. At 10:00 pm, we were successful in that only about a million cars were on the road with us, which is low volume for Atlanta. We stopped 1/2 way at a Pilot / Flying J and had most of the parking spaces to ourselves. It was close to 11:00 pm when we arrived at the Pilot to sleep for a while. We slept well, and got up around 5:00 am to eat at the restaurant and get on the road again.
There was confusion in the address I told my wife and she was navigating with our cell phone using Google maps. It successfully got us to 5th Ave North Myrtle Beach. Which is not the same as 5th Ave North Myrtle Beach ! What ??? It depends on where you put the comma. Before North, or after North. Anyway, we called the KOA number and the nice lady was very patient with us and obviously knew every landmark in both Myrtle Beaches. She even said “you wouldn’t believe how many times this happens” 😉 made me feel some better.
We got to the correct address and checked in at the KOA. got hooked up, and went our to see the sites with our kids and grand-kids. Which was well worth all the excitement of the drive. We ate at some wonderful places, but the most memorable was the Pirates Voyage Dinner and Show. The food was good but wasn’t the best part of the evening. Our grand-kids normally are good for about 30 seconds of quiet time during a meal, like most 2 and 3 year olds. However, at this show they didn’t move a muscle for about 2 hours. The show was very good with talented young folks singing, gymnastics, animal tricks, and diving and swimming with lots of animatronics and special effects.
We also rode a sea pontoon boat out to an unpopulated island where the kids found a bunch of nice large shells and sand dollars in tact. The boat didn’t have a way to depart without stepping into the water for a few steps to reach the beach. It was a nice sunny day for a boat ride, but a bit cool for getting wet. But the kids had a blast.
On the boat ride we also saw a large school of dolphins swimming and jumping in and out of the water. We got a few good shots, but was really hard to do since by the time someone sees them and points it out, they are back in the water.
Before we left the fun filled and packed full of fun adventure to head home, we rode the Sky Wheel, Dolphin Tour ocean cruise, Pirates Voyage Dinner and Show, Boardwalk Shopping (Including build-a-car), Zoo, Aquarium, Beach photos, Several Playgrounds for grand-kids energy burn-off, ate at Italian Amici’s, Mexican Abuelo’s, Captain George’s Seafood buffet, Wahlburgers, and Sweet Carolina’s BBQ.
For my camping friends, it took us 10 hours of steering wheel time (not counting rest stops) which is 20% longer than Goggle Maps predicted. We Spent the first night at a Flying J on Generator and had the place to ourselves pretty much. When driving back we had the entire trip in one day so we took our time, and stopped for several breaks, dreading the return through Atlanta in mid day Saturday traffic, but it ended up being slow and painful due to road construction. KOA at Myrtle Beach was nice, but had construction going on with bull-dozers, and back-hoe running all day with beeping backup-warnings making naps less enjoyable, but that will be temporary so I won’t hold that against them for a return trip. It was easy to get to and convenient to everything.
When driving I ALWAYS try to maintain a football field distance from the vehicle in front of me. I also use the lines as a guide, looking at them far away brings them closer together and it seems to keep me straighter and prevents drifting left and right. I do use my backup camera just as a reference to what is directly behind me even though I read that some states have a law against that for some reason. I fully depend on my side mirrors as to what is coming around me on either side. I used an empty parking lot and had my wife walk to key points on my left and right and down below so I could adjust my mirrors to reduce blind spots as much as possible.
We are sharing a few photos from our trip showing our KOA campground setup, parking lot camping at Flying J, and a lot of Myrtle Beach things to do, and our grand-kids ( which was the highlight of our trip ).
My wife and I depend on wifi for many reasons. TV, Roku, browsing, updating this blog, planning my next trip, checking emails, keeping up with family using skype, and more. For those of us that have this dependency on wifi, I found a design for long range extended wifi reception. This solution is GREAT as long as the campground provides stable, unfiltered access to their internet service provider. My experiences have pulled in wifi connection from a home quality linksys WAP that was located in the club-house that was at least 1/2 mile away. For less than $200 bucks from Amazon for all the components, and a little bit of setup time – IT WORKS !
I can tell you from experience that several campgrounds across the country “offer” wifi, but they use content filtering or bandwidth limiting per connection. In those cases this design will not work around the limitations. We are still dependent on the connection quality to their internet provider and their firewall restrictions that my block NETFLIX, YOUTUBE, HULU, etc. But for those locations where the wifi would be great if you were just close enough to their campground antenna is located this list of components will definitely give you the best chance of a strong signal. I can say that using this set of components and if they are configured and setup correctly, it will bring in and amplify wifi signals from almost a mile away.
I must tell you that you should have a good understanding of wifi setup and static I.P. addressing of your PC, laptop, or tablet. If you don’t then I’m sure there is someone close to you who does.
First, the Components list:
Ububiquiti-airgateway-access-pointiquiti Networks Airgateway Indoor AP (AIRGATEWAY)
TRENDnet 8dBi Outdoor Omni Directional Antenna TEW-AO08OTRENDnet-8dBi-outdoor-omnidirection-antenna
iCreatin Passive PoE Injector and PoE Splitter Kit with 5.5×2.1 mm DC ConnectoriCreatin-Passive-PoE-Injector-adapter
A Wall-wart power adapter for PoE Splitter Kit – The airGateway is compatible with Ubiquiti PoE Adapters featuring 24V, 0.5A or 15V, 0.8A.
A 10-20 foot long Cat-6 patch cable to connect the antenna outdoors to the Indoor Airgateway Access Point.
Second – The Concept of Operation.
Example scenario : Campground has a good reliable internet access but requires taking your laptop or tablet to the store or bathhouse to use it because of distance or tree interference. You can purchase the above components for roughly $175 – $200 depending on shipping costs and where your buy them. The antenna screws directly onto the Ubiquiti BULLET outdoor receiver which is configured using a web browser. Then a CAT-5 or CAT-6 patch cord connects the Ubiquiti BULLET to the indoor Ubiquiti AirGateway access point which is powered by the Passive PoE Injector which is connected to your Wall-Wart Power Adapter. The Ubiquiti AirGateway is also configured via a web browser.
Both the AirGateway and the Bullet are configured with a web browser and requires your PC to be given a specific IP address according to the instructions that come with them. Basically, you are giving the AirGateway a SSID name and Security Password to prevent neighbors from sharing from your wifi hotspot.
Any device at that point will be able to receive and IP address from the DHCP component of your AirGateway ( according to how you set it up ). In my case, I have my AirGateway setup to provide up to 10 addresses to limit the number of devices that can connect at any one time. I also setup the unique ip address range to be assigned to my devices that are way outside the normal “off the shelf device” addresses. I try to stay away from the 192.168.1.0 network. I use 172.16.102.x or 10.2.102.0 range to avoid interference with other typical network addressing schemes.
We receive a monthly local magazine that usually presents recipes from the states cooks of the month. This month’s theme was camping recipes. I thought I would share the wonderful looking goodies with you this month since both food and camping are both near and dear to my heart. Enjoy !
1 large onion, chopped
In a large skillet, cook and stir onion in oil until tender.
Add garlic and cook 1 minute, then add potatoes and
cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Add kielbasa, cook and
stir until meat and potatoes are tender and browned,
about 10-15 minutes. Stir in chilies and corn; heat through
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 pound smoked kielbasa, halved and sliced
1 4-oz can chopped green chilies
1 can (15 1/4 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
Grandma’s Campfire Beans
4 to 6 cans (14-16 oz each) port and beans
In large pan, fry bacon until crisp. Remove from pan, drain
and crumble. In same pan, saute’ onions and garlic until golden.
Drain off most of grease then add to pan. The rest of the
ingredients. Stir and cook until bubbly, then simmer 10 to 15
6 slices of bacon
1 clove garlic, minced fine
1 large onion, diced
2 cups brown sugar ( light or dark )
1 cup ketchup
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Dutch Oven Blueberry Pie
Blueberry pie filling
Start with a mound of charcoal that is burning well. Butter the bottom and
inside of the Dutch oven with butter or margarine. Put in the blueberry pie
filling and the crushed pineapple. Sprinkle cake mix on top of the pie filling
and pineapple mixture. Cut up the rest of the butter or margarine and scatter
it over the cake mix. Sprinkle with white sugar. Set the Dutch oven on the
charcoal, placing several pieces of charcoal on top of the oven. Let it cook
small can of crushed pineapple
butter or margarine
box cake mix
Dutch oven with sunken lid
2 pounds ground beef
Make 6 patties from ground beef. Slice baking potatoes in half. Peel and chop carrots
into bite size pieces. Slice onion. In 6 separate foil sheets, place 1 patty, 1 slice of onion
and 2 slices of potato and even portions of carrots and wrap. Place on grate on top of a
campfire or grill. Cook for 30-45 minutes, and remove carefully and enjoy.
Attending the yearly Mountaineer Folk Festival 2016 was a blast this year. We were able to go with two other couples who are the types of friends that are more like family than just friends. Two couples went ahead on Thursday morning while some of us had to work most of the day and leave after 2:00 pm.
We arrived last at around 5:30 pm and called Mountain Glen store ahead of time to let them know we were on our way. They were more than gracious to assist us in finding the place, and getting us to our site even though technically we were going to arrive after they closed. We were setup by 6:00 pm and ready to relax and enjoy time with our friends and eat.
The temperatures were perfect with low humidity, the campgrounds were clean, with excellent provisions for washing, restrooms, game room, and other features. I especially enjoyed the full strength wi-fi that was reachable from any site in the campground. I depend on wi-fi for email, TV streaming from Sling-TV, and working remotely ( If Needed ). It was certainly the quietest campground I have ever enjoyed. We almost felt like we needed to whisper when we were outside since it was so quiet we didn’t want to break the silence. The store was well stocked with the items you would expect such as chips, marshmallows, soft drinks, and other handy items for camping needs.
We were in the area to enjoy the Falls Creek Falls scenery as well as the annual Mountaineer Folk Festival. We were amazed at how much it had grown since the last time we were there. We saw an enormous variety of crafts and old types of skilled artistry such as quilting, sorgum syrup rendering from raw cane, bluegrass music, black smithing, pork rind frying, alpaca sheering, spinning wheel demonstrations to turn raw wool into yarn / thread. and weaving to make fabrics. As much as we enjoyed that, we also spent a good bit of time at the food vendors, for funnel cakes, home-made ice creams, kettle corn, and root-beer floats. We may have hit the ice-cream vendor 5-6 times, its hard to remember for sure. I’m not sure how we just kept going by that booth ;-).
As for scenery, we saw the 600 + foot waterfalls, the beautiful lake areas for fishing, boating and swimming. There were deer with fawns out in the open for easy photo opportunities as well as two wild turkeys that were a little shy for the camera but we got a few snapshots anyway. The colors were beginning to change on the foliage. Farmland was the most common feature of the area with mostly Mennonite houses and farms with a wonderful bakery with home made jellies and jams, breads, vegetables, fruits, and flowers. There were also some extremely fine hand crafted swings, chairs, and gliders made from polished cedar wood and stained with a glossy protective surface.
Please see some of the photos that were made below.
There were a lot of items on our “bucket list” for this and future trips, and this checked off a bunch of items. One of the major items was to pick up 8 of the states we had never set foot into together. Maine, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont. I have worked in Boston before but Norma and I have never seen the state from a tourist viewpoint.
New England WHALES
We have had a wonderful time so far, but there is lots more that we want to do.
Next on our check list is a whale watching tour. We went to the wharf and bought tickets for Captain John Whale Watching tours which was to last around three hours.
We rode on the boat for about an hour when they sited a school of dolphins following the boat. The captain slowed the boat so we could watch them. The dolphins put on a show for about 15 minutes, and we then continued on out to sea.
Shortly after this we started seeing spray blow up out of the ocean. Some would just slowing swim along side the boat, some would come straight out of the water catching lots of fish as they came up through the ocean waters. When they arched their backs and their tales came out of the water that meant they were diving down to catch more food. It was kind of funny, but we would be on one side of the boat watching the whales and someone would see one on the other side, so everyone was running from one side of the boat to the other. It was a large boat, so thank goodness we couldn’t flip it over. We watched them for probably about 45 minutes put on a magnificent show.
We then had to head back to shore which was sad. I could have stayed out there for hours watching them.
We saw some beautiful lighthouses while we were staying in the New England area. We saw Nauset Lighthouse, Cape Cod Lighthouse, and the Portland Headlight.
We were able to drive to all of these, but there were many more that were only available by hike or boat. They were all situated on the cliffs next to the ocean. Some have had to be moved because the ocean is forcefully taking the beaches and cliffs away. To think that years ago this was the only indication to weary sailors that there was land ahead.
There was one we saw while on the whale watch cruise that a man and his wife lived in -YIKES- it was small and about 5 miles from shore. Now they have been replaced by solar panels and electronics.
We got to the Cog Railway on Mount Washington about 30 minutes before time to board. We went to pick up our tickets and found out that it was snowing on top of Mount Washington, so we would only get to go up about half way.
It was a little scary because the train was pulled with cogs up the mountain, and part of the grade was 50 percent. It went a whole 5 miles per hour. We saw a little red fox going up the mountain. When we got about half way up the mountain it started snowing. There was already some snow on the ground. They stopped long enough for us to take some pictures and then we made our decent back down the mountain.
We wished we could go all the way to the top, but we had a lot of fun anyway.
MAINE WILDLIFE PARK
We have wanted to see a real moose since we have been here. There are moose crossing signs everywhere, but no moose can be found. We decided we would just go see the Maine Wildlife Park instead.
There are many Moose Watching tours, but they are expensive and do not guarantee that you will see a moose.
The animals that live at this park have been injured or someone tried to raise them and they became to much to handle so they ended up here.
We were able to see moose, bears, cougars, deer (including a white one), woodchucks (including a white one), a badger, eagles, hawks, owls, and turtles.
This is a very nice place, and they are doing a very good work.
We have driven out to see quite a few beaches since we have been here. Some have been around the lighthouses and have been closed because of all the beach erosion. They are either very rocky or a gray sand, not like our white sandy beaches along the gulf.
Up until today the beaches have been very empty, but the temperature decided to go into the 80’s today which brought a lot of people out of hibernation.
We visited Old Orchard Beach in Maine today. They have a really neat pier, which holds shops and restaurants.
On day 7 which was our first full day in Plymouth MA. We slept in a bit since the drive was so long and tiring yesterday from Harrisburg. We got up to a balmy 54 degrees outside, and Norma amazed me with another home cooked breakfast for us and it was delicious. We washed a load of laundry as well.
About 11:00 or so we decided to head out for a relaxing site seeing day. We figured we would start with the Monument to the Forefathers which is hardly known even in this area, but is a huge and very reverent monument with a posting of verbiage on each side to reflect on the values that were the foundation to the life and faith of our founding fathers. It is just sitting in a couple of empty lots in a neighborhood. We met 3 very nice ladies from Cape Cod that were there when we arrived, and they were very friendly and acted shocked that we would offer to take a photo of them together. We got to know them a little and found they are faithful believers, and they asked for prayer for our country, and we discussed our concerns for the future of this great nation.
We also wanted to see Plymouth Rock up close, and take better photos of that and the Mayflower II. After that we wanted to drive down to Plimoth Plantation which was a very enlightening and eye opening tour of a real life farm and village that uses techniques for cooking, farming, and living in authentic buildings like the original settlers would have used.
We ate lunch at a small restaurant named Cafe’ Nicole on the sidewalk across from Plymouth Rock, and although it was good, it wasn’t up to the standards established at Isaac’s last night.
Enjoy the photos below to see a tiny bit of what we experienced today. If you attempt this on your next RVing adventure, or other type vacation to this area, BRING GOOD WALKING SHOES !!!!
On day 6 of our New England adventure we had to leave Harrisburg, Hershey, and Amish areas in order to make our scheduled reservations at the very nice Pinewood Lodge and Campground. It is very spacious over many acres with a wide spread of wooded private sites, but at the same time has they still offer cable, wifi, and 50 amp full hookups. We made our reservations a few months in advance so we could be assured a pull-through site. It turns out that making plans ahead was a good decision.
It could have been done faster, but we took a little over 7 hours to drive from Harrisburg, up through New Jersey, and New York, but WAY AROUND NYC. Then on through New Haven Connecticut, and Providence RI, to eventually reach Plymouth MA. The traffic was a little lighter than I had feared but was probably appropriate for a normal mid-week business day. We stopped a few times for stretch breaks, and once for a fuel top-off. I don’t like getting below 1/2 tank just as a safety precaution.
Once we arrived at the camp grounds, and got checked in, and setup, we got in the car and drove 15 minutes to the best seafood restaurant I’ve enjoyed in a log time. The food, service and view were all outstanding. From our window side seat, we could see the entire harbor, including the famous Plymouth Rock, and the Mayflower-2. So not only is the motor home “topped-off”, but we are too.
This was scheduled to be a travel only day, and site-seeing would have started tomorrow. However we have already seen some of the items we wanted to get to, and scoped out places that we want to visit so we now know about how long it will take to get to the mayflower tour, and the monument to the forefathers. We may squeeze in a whale watching tour here instead of waiting until Portland ME. We are also going to do a light-house tour in Cape Cod.
Some of the items we saw were Hudson River, Connecticut River, a Shopping Mall that was on the top 2 floors of a parking deck “elevated mall”, unique church and house architecture, unique bridges over large bodies of water, wind turbines, and lots of other sites. One thing for certain, is that they control their speed limits up here by destroying their interstates to the point that it is not possible to drive faster than the posted limits or it would shake you to death !!!