Memories

Driving down I40 through Oklahoma, 28 years since I lived in this state. I had forgotten how beautiful it was. A mix of scrub brush and prairies. With rolling green hills dotting the horizon. I had forgotten about the native peoples – their beauty and strength.

When we first crossed the state line memories began to flood my mind. I spent several years of my childhood in Oklahoma – Lawton to be exact. My dad was in the Army and when we lived here we spent many weekends camping and visiting the natural areas – Mt Rogers, the refuge with the prairie dogs and Bison.

I remembered my 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Royal, her beautiful cocoa skin and her curt manner that seemed to soften before my very eyes. I fondly remember my rabbit, Casper, he was a runt of the litter and for a local man who raised rabbits for food he was considered a waste – my mom talked him into letting the baby bunny come home with me from a local flea market, with much love and food Casper had become the bane of our toy poodles existence. Chasing her around the backyard and running around like the silly bunny that he was.

Memories I haven’t thought of in years. Happy memories that to this day make me smile and feel content.
Yeah, it is going to be a good trip.

This trip is stressful and there is a lot of physical pain that I am paying for the time on the road but I think as we move along this voyage becomes cathartic. Memories that I’ve not thought about in years, decades really – are coming back and it is okay. I am grateful for this trip, grateful for the therapy it is giving me.

2 Sleeps

We are leaving out on Sunday morning. We have plenty of ideas for stops and visits – now we just need to sort them all out. Some of the must sees are Memphis, Gallup, Vegas, Colorado Springs, St. Louis, Google, Yahoo, the TWIT Cottage, Safari West … and whatever else we can squeeze in.

I will be blogging, twittering and facebooking during the down time and from the road – so watch for pictures and updates on this grand adventure.

Road Trip

Soon we will be on the road. It will be our first long trip in the RV. Campgrounds, boondocking, site seeing, visiting friends and family.

I am so excited.

I love North Carolina but I love to travel too.

See you out there!! = )

window shopping online

Since trying to simplify life I have tried to buy less crap. It hasn’t always worked out the way I want but I have gotten better. MOST of the time the crap I buy is crap I can actually use. Cute and functional. But sometimes I see stuff that will have no real use other than something shiny for me to look at, break during a road trip, and keep dust free on a gravel drive (wish me luck on that last one.).

The great thing about online shopping is that I can wishlist it or add it to my Amazon and then if I STILL want it, I will remember where it was. That was the issue with meat life shopping. I’d see something I would like, walk away to ponder it – go back and never see it again.

You have to understand 2 things about me and my life to really appreciate this. 1) I have buyers remorse before I get to the check out – I often talk myself out of small to large purchases. It drives LK crazy. 2) I have VERY limited space now and if I am going to buy something it has to function within that space.

I am still a sticker slut and a pen whore — I love quirky t-shirts and I don’t think I will ever walk by cute stuffed animals without at least a passing glance but I think I am getting better at this RV lifestyle.

= )

Rally Ends

Tonight was the last night of the Rally. I have met some really nice people here. Met some that come with the stupid comment or whispers — I can’t decided which, if I feel sorry for them or just want to make fun of them.

Tonight was the farewell dinner with raffle prizes and dueling pianos. Good time. had by all.

Tomorrow is a lazy day — then Monday morning first then we have to head over to Heartland RV to get some warranty work done. Then off for home. Long freakin’ week. I am spent!!

Oh yeah .. we are parked between two rigs from Michigan, both rooting for the wings — guess who has been rubbing in the GWINS!!!! hells yah!!

A Little Behind

The wifi at this campground is beyond suckage. So I haven’t had a lot of online time. Sorry this is late.

We are attending the 2009 Heartland RV Owners Rally. We got into Goshen, IN on Monday morning. Checked in, hung out a bit, got set up and then went to dinner with a few early arrivals to Dandino’s in town. Good steak! Lots of laughs.

Tuesday morning Twila and I got up and headed south to Fairmount, IN. The birthplace of cool. James B. Dean and the cool you can stand. I must say for being a tiny little museum with just a few items by comparison to Graceland, it was more personal. Great hand written notes and little stories from the volunteers – friends of Jimmy. His cousin Marcus still lives in town. It was very moving.

After the museum we went out to his grave. Made a few rubbings of his name. I left a 2009 Porsche Speedster matchbox car for him.

Wednesday we drove down to Lafayette and met up with Uncle Ron and his wife that we had not met yet (Aunt Sharon) for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Then Tommy and Shirley showed up – got a bite to eat and we all headed to Wolf Park. It was a warm day and a bit of a trek but it was a lot of fun to see Monty and the wolves again. It has been so long. I keep saying I need to get up there more often but life and time slips by so fast.

We are in “Amish Paradise” aka Puppy Mill Mecca (BLECH!!) for a few more days. Then it is back home. At least for a little while.

Howls.

The Devil’s Playground

That’s right guys and dolls .. LOUP is heading to Amish Country. LK and I are attending the International Heartland RV Rally in Elkhart, IN. We are picking up Twila on the way and since I am not a RV club kind of gal. Twila and I have plans.

What kind of plans you ask?

Visit my Uncle Ron – I haven’t seen him since 1988. Visit Wolf Park!!! (Here I come Orca!!), James Dean’s home town of Fairmount – – – also apparently the home of Garfield the Cat and Jim Davis. Also something I have wanted to do since I was 13 – but in life didn’t get the chance. I wanted to meet Ryan White. So I am going to visit his grave.

Not the weirdest thing I have ever done – but not something on every one’s THINGS TO DO IN INDIANA list either.

We are leaving next Sunday … so I have to get some plans made and some cleaning done.

Star Light Star Bright

We are parked in my Uncles driveway. It is a brisk night. I can see every star out. Quiet and clear as a bell. No city lights, no dense covering of trees.

Night birds, frogs, the occasional nicker of the horse in the neighboring pasture.

LK is asleep and I am awake just enjoying the peace and quiet. If it were just a smidge warmer out I would be lying in the grass star gazing instead of lying on the couch.

This is the best RV spot we’ve had so far. = )

Oh yeah .. GO PENS!! Nice Hat-trick.

On the road again

Tonight we are in Powhatan VA – staying at a very nice RV “resort”. Friendly and clean – smaller spaces than we would like the place is near empty so no big deal. It is well off the beaten path. About 30 miles from the Zoo — so we will have to get up earlier than hoped to meet the group tomorrow.

I am so excited about getting to see Liam’s face when he feeds the penguins and the giraffes. Almost as excited about MY getting to feed the penguins and giraffes.

Also on the way up here I FINALLY found Pepsi Throwback with SUGAR and not the icky HFCS … it tastes like my childhood. I also found Luzianne Tea (pre-made) with sugar and no HFCS. I am glad that SOMEONE is finally getting a clue. Not only is that crap toxic and dangerous but it makes food taste nasty!!

Berea, KY

We pulled into camp yesterday around 4 pm. I am spoiled. RV Parks should be like Country Waye in Luray – or KY Horse Park in Lexington. We are right off 21 and next to a car wash. Pretty bleak. But I am here for visiting and checking out the town.

LKs sister and her family came down from Lexington yesterday for a quick visit. I feel bad we didn’t just sit around a campfire and talk but we were hungry and tired. So Cracker Barrel it was. She found a yummy goat milk lotion – the scent was “Blue Ridge Wildflowers” and having lived on the Blue Ridge Mountains for 10 year  — they got the smell right. I bought a few things. = 0)

My uncle started having some heart flutters. We didn’t hesitate and took him to the ER. He is fine but better safe than sorry. His new thyroid med is the culprit.

Sitting in the waiting room LK has his laptop, I had my netbook, my aunt had her iPhone, I showed her my iTouch — then some unsavory looking man said “Where y’all staying?” WTF? Maybe I am just not as trusting as I should be but really WHAT THE FUCK! LK said over by the interstate. I would NOT have been so nice.

I haven’t seen much of Berea but I am hopeful today’s visiting puts it in a better light. I feel like I could have gone to any small town in NC with some craft shops and saved the 8 hour drive.

Saw little carnage inside upon arrival. I am learning where to stow things when we are mobile. I lost a horse head figurine I bought several years ago during my first trip to Kentucky Horse Park. Sad moment. Swapping my desk and futon really helped keep the disarray down.

While on the road a fellow WolfPack fan spotted my flag hanging in the window and gave us the HOWL hand signal. Very cool — other than that the trip here was (as we like it) uneventful.

Time in Luray

Monday morning we slept in – it was so nice. The sun was shining bright – the girls LOVED all of the grass and new smells. The campground really is wonderful.

We went up to Skyline Drive for a bit to look at the Valley. It was colder and really windy so we didn’t stay long. We had lunch at this fabulous home cookin’ cafe at Brookside Cabins on 211. Virginia Ham sammich for a lumberjack!! It was about the same as eating at some fast food joint but we were STUFFED!!

We got to the Luray Rescue Zoo a little after 1pm. Mark was a great guide. One of, if not the ONLY time I have ever learned anything new at a zoo. Lots of great critters and Mark was really a fantastic guide. Very hands on and it was clear to see how much the animals there loved and respected him.

We spent 2.5 hours there … I could have spent another 2.5 hours but we were both getting sore and tired.

BLUE hasn’t been feeling well so we didn’t get to meet up with he and Chrissy – but next time. For sure — just feel better BLUE, that is all we ask.

The trip home was a little more stressful – LK had to make some quick maneuvers to escape an idiot on the road. When we stopped and looked in — it was a mess. Everything that should not have moved — did. So before the next trip it is my job to batten everything down. A bit of a panic attack later we got back on the road and the rest was smooth as butter. Just my nerves got the better of me. As a result today I have no energy and hurt even more than before.

It is all about the spoons!!

All in all the trip to Luray was WONDERFUL and I would do it again in a heartbeat!!

In the Valley … like fer sure

Not going to post too much right now – just letting you know that we are in the Shenandoah Valley and it is beautiful. I have been on both sides of the valley the upper rim — but never to Luray and down in the middle. I want to come back in May when Spring actually arrives. = )

We are staying at a wonderful campground called Country Waye. Gorgeous views!!

Last night we spent a night out listening to local musicians and eating some of the best BBQ I have ever had at Cristina’s Cafe.

The trip up was flawless – except I forgot to turn the water heater back on – so I had a cold shower this a.m. But everything else was wonderful. Now we may never stay put on the weekends. = )

Thanks to the gals at Cristina’s for taking such great care of us, Slide & MJ for everything, Kudos to Christian – the 15 year old guitar wielding prodigy, Ashley for the beautiful voice, J for making it out when he was tired and sore and just really needed SLEEP – you are still my nemesis tho’ MWA, and nice to meet cha Chris. We will have to get back up here more often.

Today – lots more planned – and this time I won’t forget my camera.

Pencil You In

So the next few weeks are going to be a little hectic but a lot of fun.

Sunday we are heading up to VA to visit friends in the Winchester area.

Monday … to DC and (crossing toes) to the Smithsonian and dinner with friends – and try to swing through Stafford.

Tuesday – drive back home

Wednesday – pick up Vicious at the airport

Thursday – Friday – visit with Vicious and some other ASCFers

Saturday – Duke Lemur Center and possibly the hockey game

Sunday – back to the airport

Monday – try to squeeze in a nap

Tuesday – volunteer orientation at shelter

Wednesday – doctor appt, where I hope to get some tests set up on my knees – they are STILL giving me issue after the fall (2 months ago)

Thursday thru Sat – clean, and study for placement exams … which I know is corny but I really don’t want to have to pay for extra classes that I don’t get credit for … so I am hoping I can test out of it.

Sunday thru Tues – OBX

Then catch some rest … but then it REALLY starts for LK – he has training and has to work 10 days with one day off. BLEH.

RV – getting here

Until last week we didn’t even own a truck. We put the cart way before the horse.

There are so many people and companies that deliver and move RV trailers around that we thought better get the place to live before we worry about the way to get it anywhere.

Like I said before LK got really involved with the Heartland RV group. He was connected with a guy who moves coaches around from the factory to a dealer in — I think it is Tennessee. Been a while. Anyhow, guy showed up and after a bit of trouble getting started thanks to all of the rain / mud we were hooked up.

We had to take the coach into a local RV shop to have some work done on her before the big move. The hauler was cool with it. Yeah, something was wrong with the coach.

No matter what coach you buy you will run into shit breaking, and things needing fixed. The difference between them all is how the companies deal with it. Customer service is a top priority with Heartland. We have had several things over the last year that needed dealt with and it has always been swift and courteous. I am all about customer service. If you make and sell a product that you don’t stand behind 100% I don’t want to buy that product I don’t even want to deal with yah. But Heartland has and continues to impress me on that level.

Once we were on the road it was less than 8 hours before we made it to the campground. Cost us less than renting the truck from VA to KY with our stuff in it to move our whole house!! Very cool. Imagine how cheap it will be when we just have to hook up our truck and buy diesel. = )

Camping Info & Links

BLUE asked about information on knowing where to go / camp etc.

My aunt and uncle have camped since before I was born – so when I was kid it was just 2nd nature. Sleeping outside – under the stars gives yah a fantastic feeling. Sleeping inside your coach with running water and TCM channel – even better *grins*

There are many types of RVs (Recreational Vehicle) out there. Motor Homes, Travel Trailers, Class A, Class C, pop ups, toy haulers – it can be overwhelming. Some camp sites don’t have full hook ups, some don’t allow tent camping — you really just have to know what you want / need and have Google handy.

RV Glossary is a good place to start to get a handle on the lingo.

Love RVing has a lot of information about general stuff as well as campgrounds, used campers and so on.

For BLUE and any other unfortunate souls living in VA …

Go Camping and RVing in Virginia – this site is run by Virginia.gov so it is not comprehensive – accurate – or all that useful but it is a start.