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December 2, 2012

Newnan Georgia

On our way from Cumming to Orlando, we made a weekend stop in Newnan, GA, to visit with some other Fulltime Family friends.  The Garrisons, originally from Newnan, have come off the road so we got to see them.  We also got to see the McClosky’s, who we first met in Menifee, CA.  And, we finally met the Lundy’s!  We’d been following their blog for some time before we went on the road, and Margie was very helpful with input on Internet options, as well as with getting our Thousand Trails membership.

The Pine Lakes RV Park (New name.  Formerly Pine Acres Mobile Home Park) was challenging to work with and get a reservation.  I actually made all our reservations and site choice through the McClosky’s.  It was mildly funny.  The park its self was fine.  Good power, water, sewer hookups, and a level site.  There’s a train nearby, but there’s always a train nearby the RV Parks it seems.

We had a GREAT time visiting with our old friends, and meeting the Lundy’s.  I was also able to get the antennae for TV reception fixed, repair a loose panel on the side of the RV, and replace a hose that had gone bad.

On Sunday, we headed out early, and made our way to Orlando, FL.

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November 9, 2012

Washington D.C.

We had looked at a few different options for places to stay near Washington DC.  All of them involved the use of public transportation, as that was just going to be easier for some of the places we wanted to visit.  In the end, we decided to go ahead and stay at the Cherry Hill RV park, which is one that comes up while searching, and is the closest to DC.  It seems to be expensive, but given that you can jump on the public transportation right at the park entrance, you’re actually doing pretty good.  No parking fees, and the staff will gladly help you figure out how to get where you’re going.  I must say, this is probably the absolute best RV park that we’ve stayed at so far.  The sites are all super clean and level, there are many there, and the services are phenomenal   There’s a restaurant  huge laundry, pool, big activities center, and the largest onsite store we’ve seen.  All of these things have hours that will work for any schedule, even though we were there in the off-season period.

On the first full day there, Diane and Molly headed up to Gettysburg, PA, to visit one of the planned sites for our cancelled PA stop.  They had a great time, and extended some of the Lincoln history theme that has been in most of our stops.

On the next day, election day, we had a scheduled tour for the White House.  We got up early, and headed into the city, to the Ronald Reagan building.  It’s an International Trade building, and has public parking that is near the White House and other area sites.  Our early start helped us avoid traffic, and we had time to grab some coffee and pastries, then headed over towards the White House.  We weren’t sure exactly what to expect, and we were glad to see that we could just head on into the security maze, even though we were early.

The tour basically took us through a few of the common areas of the White House, and provided access to a few rooms with historical furniture and paintings on the main floor, and then we were able to go through everywhere up on the State Floor, which is just above the main floor.  It was pretty cool to see the actual rooms, furnishings, and paintings that have been there for decades.  No pictures inside, but we got a couple shots outside once we were done.

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We then went over to check out the White House Visitor Center.  Well, the main building is under renovation, so we got to tour the temp building up on jacks.  It was closer to the White House, and still had a great video that showed a lot of the history and features of the White House.

Next on the agenda, was to tour the “Mall”, and see the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial.  The Washington Monument is closed, and likely will be for a long time.  It was damaged pretty good during an earthquake a while back, and has not yet been repaired.

Heading down the way, we got to see the World War II memorial, and see all the fountains.  We also walked along the reflecting pool, and made our way to the Lincoln Memorial.  We spent some time here, and tried the photo trick with a $5 bill.


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From the Lincoln Memorial, we headed over to see the Einstein Statue.  I had visited this on a previous trip to D.C. Back in the early 90’s.  I remember it being hidden by tree’s at that point, but it has a bit more prominent role, and is highly visible now. (Or, my memory is out of whack)

Next up, a LONG walk back the other way.  We headed over to a couple of the Smithsonian buildings, had lunch, and checked out a few of the more interesting items that we had on our list of “must see”.  Some were there, some not, but it was nice to see all of the items they’ve collected over the years.  Free admittance is pretty nice too.

Next stop, the National Archives building.  This one had the longest line of anything we’d visited.  This building houses and display’s some of the original copies of items like the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.  There are others as well, but I don’t remember all of them.  There was just SO MUCH history and stuff for my brain to consume!  It was a bit full.  After this, we headed home.

The next day, Diane and Molly went back into town for a tour of the Capital Building.  They took advantage of the bus system that picked up right at the RV park, and had a good time for Molly’s first public bus ride.



The girls had a decent time touring the Capital, but were really impressed with Ford’s Theater, and the home across the street.  They still have the bloody pillow from the bed where they laid Lincoln after he was shot.  Lot’s more history!

The Cherry Hill RV Park was AWESOME.  It is expensive compared to your average RV park, but, it’s not your average RV Park.  I would say it is likely one of the best we have stayed at, as far as having everything you could want.  Granted, our visit was during cold weather, so we didn’t get to be outside at the pool and such, but it was wonderful in every way.

We left town the day after the Capital visit, and headed to Virginia, and the next post.

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November 3, 2012

While in Indiana, lot’s of plan changes

FYI – This post is partially for those interested in our planning changes, and for us so that we can remember for later on.

So, just to review the original plan.

  • Get to Indiana and spend 3 weeks at Horseshoe Lakes.
  • Move to Indianapolis so I could do a quick trip to Atlanta for a couple days.
  • Move to Hershey, PA, and spend 3 weeks, with David traveling 2 weeks during this time.
  • Move to hotel in Meadowlands, NJ, and spend 5 days.
  • Then the schedule got loose again, where we’d move to DC for some number of days, then Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, then Florida by Dec. 2.

So, while we were at Horseshoe Lakes, we had some flies that invaded.  Lot’s of little gnat flies.  They really liked the bathroom.  I still have no idea where they were coming from.  I know about the famous RV “toilet flies”, but these weren’t coming from the toilet.  Covered the drains with clear cups, but still no flies.  There’s a BIG opening at the bottom of the sink, that goes to the water/waste/elec connection area, but they still kept coming even after closing that off.  I think some came through the vent and window screens, but there’s still some other place where they came in, and I’ve still not found it.

Anyway, the girls were none too happy about the situation.  Then, Diane saw on the Thousand Trails Facebook page, some posts regarding stink bugs.  Now, we’d heard about the possibility of this happening, so we’d purchased some bug spray that was supposed to take care of these and other bugs, and you just spray the outside of the RV.  Problem solved, I thought.  But, it seemed most of the posts on the matter were saying things like “nothing kills them”, “if they die, more come”, and “they find any small space and get in your RV”.  And, as you may recall from my earlier comment on our planned schedule, I was basically going to be getting the RV to Pennsylvania, getting the girls settled, then taking off for two weeks of work travel out west.

After several discussions, and checking on all kinds of options, we decided to extend our stay at Horseshoe Lakes for 3 weeks, and skip the stop in Indianapolis, and skip Pennsylvania.  There were some planned Halloween activities in Hershey, PA, so there was a little bit of disappointment at missing this.  Also, there were some plans to travel to Gettysburg while there, and extend the Lincoln History theme this trip has taken.  BUT…It also meant that Molly would get to hang out at Pumpkin Works for a few more days of helping with the horses, and Diane and Molly would get to be around for the Covered Bridge Festival.  They both enjoyed these, and Molly especially was fine, for the most part, with staying a bit longer.

So, I went off on my trip and we all carried on as best as possible.  There was one incident where I had to help Diane figure out how to use the bug sprayer thing we’d gotten for the stink bugs.  It seems that there were some distant cousins to the PA stink bugs that were hanging in Indiana.  One is an Asian lady bug of some sort, and the other is a small black beetle with some orange-ish markings.  Based on how this went, I think everyone was glad we’d not moved to the stink bug capital.

As I was wrapping up the last couple days of my work trip, we all started hearing about a hurricane in the Caribbean area, that was projected to head north.  Then, the predictions started showing it make a weird left turn, right into NJ/NY.  This is early in the week of October 22, there were several days before it should turn, and we decided to wait till the end of the week, and decide what to do.  We had book at Horseshoe Lakes till October 28, but had planned on heading to NJ the day before, spending the weekend traveling east.  I kinda thought the projections would change, and it would head north or east.

Well, as we got to the end of the week, and even up to our goodbye get together on the 27th, we were still thinking of moving to NJ, but just trying to figure out the best way to do it.  Should we board Francie, leave the RV at a relatives in OH/WV area, and just drive our car?  Should we take the RV as planned?  My first big concern, without investigating, was flooding.  It would have been catastrophic for us to take the RV there, and have it flood.  A quick Google search, and I found there was a history of flooding for that area, even with less severe storms.  The idea of going without the RV then made a bit of sense.  That is, until my Mom mentioned the power outage predictions she’d been hearing.  If that happened, I would rather have the RV with us, but there was still the flooding.  After several discussions, it became obvious to me that we’d not be able to safely and securely go, and that the girls were not willing to make that decision.  So, I got to make it, and be the potential bad guy if it all blew over.

So, the next thing to figure out, was out next step.  We had to leave Horseshoe Lakes, as they were closing, and we still wanted to go to DC, if possible, after the storm.  We also didn’t want to get into Pennsylvania, as there were heavy wind, rain, and snow predictions for that area, should the storm go as expected.

Luckily for us, my sister had put in the electrical outlet last year, and they were open to having us come over for the week, and to even participate in some trick-or-treating with them in the area.  So, on Sunday the 28th, we moved to my sister’s place, out in the woods, south of Indianapolis.

While there, Molly got to play in some big piles of leaves.  Seems that is something she’d yet to do, and had on her “I’ve never done _____” list.  We also went trick-or-freezing… I mean treating… with the cousin crew.  Lot’s of candy to be had, but it was COLD and a bit windy.  We decided a coffee cart could have made a killing that evening.  I believe the cold and wind were all part of the now super-storm Sandy.

Well, we watched the reports starting Wednesday morning, then Thursday, and into Friday, and most of us came to the conclusion that we’d made the right choice by not heading to NJ.  We also watched, and checked up on Washington DC, and the roads to get there, and found we were good for travel.  We made some reservations for an RV park that is really close to DC, and came with great recommendations, and headed out on the morning of November 3rd.

We also did some checking regarding the hotel we were supposed to stay with in NJ.  It turns out, the storm knocked out power right away, and they closed and evacuated the hotel.  Not sure what we’d have done at that point, as the storm had already caused most of its damage and flooding by that point.  Also, power didn’t come back for a whole week for them.

We’re happy to have been able to avoid the devastation, and our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to those that were unable to avoid it.  We’ve made a few donations for victims of the storm, and would encourage anyone reading this to do the same.

Better posts coming!

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October 7, 2012

Horseshoe Lakes – first 3 weeks.

We planned to be at Horseshoe Lakes for three weeks, and then move on to Pennsylvania.  But, as the move day drew closer, we started hearing about some bugs and things being at the park we were heading to.  Also, I was going to be gone for 2 weeks of the time at that park, and Diane and Molly would need to deal with the bugs themselves.  We investigated what it would take, and then decided to just go ahead and stay at Horseshoe Lakes for an additional 3 weeks.  This meant paying for one week, where we should be out of the park, and then two more weeks of our normal Thousand Trails reservations.  For this post, we’ll cover some of the activities and scenes from the first three weeks.

First, I grew up (age 5 to 18) about a quarter mile from the RV park.  I had only been in the park twice before.  Once before it became Thousand Trails, and the second for my 10 year class reunion.  I was pretty excited at the idea to be able to ride bikes with Molly, up and down the streets that I spent so much time on.  I had a paper route for something like 5-7 years, and put some serious seat time delivering the paper 5 days a week.

Upon arrival, there were some differences here.  Most notable was that you don’t check in at the gate, but rather at the office, which is on a side road before you enter the gate.  Ok, no problem.  We got in, got a basic briefing of what all the site groups had to offer, and we headed out to pick a spot.  The biggest “issue” was the number of tree’s, and how low on the horizon the satellites are here in this part of the country.  We found one site, but couldn’t get the dish to latch on, so we moved a couple sites over, and got a lock.  Another interesting thing about this park, is the number of Seasonal Sites that are occupied.  With the price they charge, and the fact you could stay there from park open to close (April to end of October), there are several people in the program.  Some parents of one of my classmates have their camper there in a spot as well.  It made for a nice community, and likely the park would be a ghost town without them.  I also saw how they basically ran the facility.  Some of them officially, and others unofficially.  It wouldn’t be as nice a place without them.


Now, all the visiting and fun.

We had a visits from family of course, and also another Fulltime Family came to stay at the park.  We had met this other family (The Pickett’s) in California at Wilderness Lakes.  They have three younger kids, but they all enjoyed spending time with Molly whenever we’d go over for a campfire. It was great to catch up with John and Mary, and do some in-person smack talk for our Fantasy Football league.  John was starting one at the beginning of Football season, and I was able to join.  It was my first, and it has been a lot of fun.

During this first three weeks, we got to go over and see the great Pumpkin Works that we’d heard so much about over the years.  This is a pig farm turned Halloween extravaganza, near Paris, IL.  The farm is owned by my Aunt’s family.  They started Pumpkin Works 20 years ago, and it is even on the map!   My Aunt and Uncle have also started their own horse carriage company, offering carriage’s for weddings, parades, and such, and they also give horse wagon rides at Pumpkin Works.  So, we got to go see them as well as the great Pumpkin Works.

Not sure if it has been mentioned before, but Molly is a great fan of horses.  She’s had several lessons while we lived in Orange County, and she was very happy to be able to get a ride with Uncle Jeff and Aunt Cathy’s horses.  Even better, she got to DRIVE!  And even better than that, she went back and worked as “Uncle Jeff the Great” (a name he recommended) assistant on several days.  The J&C horses were only there on the weekends, but Molly spent as much time as possible working with them.



Also during this time, we got some Woopie Pie’s from the Amish, took lot’s of fall color photo’s, rode bikes in the old neighborhood, took care of my Mom’s “honey do list”, installed a new bike rack on the back of the RV, and got a “Stay-a-while” gas line kit so we can use portable tanks and attach them to the RV Propane system.  A very productive few weeks.  More on the next three weeks in a later post.

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September 5, 2012

We made it!

We left Jellystone this morning, but not till around 10:30 local time.  With a nearly full tank of gas, we rolled for about 300 miles, all the way into Georgia in one swoop.  It was a monster run.  I think that’s the longest non-stop run so far.  There was a couple small spots with some HEAVY rain.  Came nearly to a stop due to there being a couple inches of water on the road.  But, for the most part, it was simply normal driving.

So, we called the Twin Lakes RV Park in Cumming, Georgia, on our way.  Lucky we did, as they were going to close the office soon, and, only had a couple spots left.  When we were here last November, it MIGHT have been 25% full.  I guess the warmer weather of September is what has people here.

Anyway, I’ll get three days in the office this week, and five days next week.  The original plan was for two days in the office this week, then two weeks on the road doing some shows, but the show portion has been cancelled, and so we adjusted a bit.  The calendar on the main page has our schedule as it stands now.  I believe the Ohio piece will be changed, as there’s some other work travel I have to do.

Diane and Molly have an American Girl Doll event planned for Saturday at the local Marriott, and we hope to be able to visit with some family, friends, and maybe another (not currently active) fulltime family we met earlier this year in California.  Fingers crossed and hoping we get all of that in before heading up to Indiana.


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September 4, 2012

Almost made it to Alabama

Got a late start today.  I slept in a bit, but, I knew we had 2 days, and 12 hours worth of driving, so not too big of a deal.

We were about 30 miles from Meridian, MS at 4pm, and I pulled off at a Rest Area to look for a place to pull in for the evening.  I had noticed clouds building ahead of us, but it seemed to be a long way off.  As I looked at my phone, I noticed a weather alert had come in, and this one was a tornado watch that was going till 11.  A closer look and the center of the alert was 7 miles away.  I spent some time reviewing other weather info, and found that we were heading into a huge area of tornado watches, and we’d been planning on spending the night right in the middle.

So, some calls, and a couple miles of backtracking, and we found a Jellystone Park that was outside the weather trouble area, and only $25 a night.  It would have been nice not to have used up the extra gas, but it’s worth it to have some feeling of safety for the evening.  I’ll be reviewing the weather for tomorrow, and hopefully we can make it the rest of the way to Cumming, GA.

The Jellystone Park has a big lake, and a nice big water park.  The girls tried to get over there and check it out, but we got in a tad too late.  Seems the staff is really anxious to get home now that everyone left earlier today from the long Labor Day weekend.

If you’re in the area, this is a pretty nice location.  It has the lake, water park, lot’s of nice clean sites with full hookups, lot’s of tree’s, a big store, and golf cart rentals.  Kinda wish we were staying here longer. 🙂

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September 2, 2012

Tyler, Texas

Well, we’ve made it to the other side of Texas.  We got a really early start, made one quick stop at an In-N-Out, and then made it all the way to Tyler.  Fortunately, there was a nice and easy to get to Passport America park right off the 20, and it was just $16 for the night.  The Texas Rose RV Park made for a nice quite stop, even though it’s not to far off the highway.

Should make it through the rest of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and hopefully spend tomorrow night in Alabama.

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September 2, 2012

Van Horn, Texas

We made it quite a ways today, and should do about the same tomorrow if all goes well.  For our overnight, we’re staying at the Eagles Nest RV Park, in Van Horn, TX.  They have a 10% discount for most all the camping clubs, but no Passport America.  Still, full hookups for less than $30 is always nice, especially when it is right where you need it for a good nights sleep, is in great condition, and has such a friendly staff.

On our drive today, we ate lunch in the RV, and just made gas stops, except for when we saw the signs for “The Thing”.  We had watched a video over on the Gone with the Wynn’s site from their visit, so we had to check it out for ourselves.  Funny thing was that the girls ended up being more frightened by some large colorful grass hoppers we found than they were the thing.  I expected “The Thing” to be some kind of Big Foot or something, but it isn’t.  Not sure if it’s real or not, but wouldn’t be surprised either way.  It won’t be what your expecting though!  All the antiques and such that you see along the way is pretty cool.  It’s worth the $1 admission, and then you can head on in to the Dairy Queen for a treat.

Off to catch up on making adjustments to our plans.  I found out yesterday that part of my work trip has been cancelled, so we’ll adjust a couple things.  Likely we’ll get to Indiana a week earlier, which will be nice.

Couple of photo’s…


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September 1, 2012

Tucson, AZ… Almost

Well, we got a fairly early start this morning, and headed on down the road by about 9 am.  My pre-planning for gas stops is working well, as are the distance targets.  Hopefully we get an earlier start tomorrow.

Today we made it to Tucson, AZ, and we’re staying back at the Valley of the Sun Mobile Home and RV Park.  Diane and I stayed here on our way to California last December, and I knew they had a Passport America Rate, as well as really new and clean hookups.  Given the temperatures out here in the desert, I really want a good electric setup.

The drive was HOT.  The front engine area AC works well, but it’s only going to keep the front two seats cooled off.  We ended up firing up the generator and the roof AC’s for most of the afternoon.  Should only be an extra gallon of gas per hour.  It’s quite a bit different than the trip last November.  The temps then were quite mild.

After we got the RV all setup and cooled off for Francie, we headed out to a Cracker Barrel just down the road and had a nice dinner.  It’s going to be a bit more remote for the next couple days, and we’ll be eating at the RV, so it was a nice treat before we push on.  Molly was happy, as she likes Cracker Barrel, and it was all the way back in November when she last ate at one.  I suspect she’ll get her fill over the next 5 months.

Off to bed so we can roll out early tomorrow.

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August 1, 2012

A stop in Fresno for some customer visits, er, something like that.

We had some planned “whatever” time between our departure from Southern California, and our Sacramento destination. So, I had worked it out with one of our distributors to visit with them and a customer or two in Fresno. As a result, we picked Blackstone North RV Park as a place to stay for 3 nights in order to make the visit. Everything was set for Tuesday, so I thought. As it turned out, there was some confusion, and the distributor thought that the meeting was next week. Oh well. None of us had ever been to Fresno before, so now we can check that off the bucket list….

The one thing I can say about Fresno is that it is HOT. We thought that 95-99 was hot in Menifee, but it’s 101-105 here, and a bit more humid. AC runs for nearly 18 hours a day.

I was a able to work, and the Internet connectivity is fine. The RV park is fairly nice as well. The spaces are well cared for, hookups in great working order, and they are coming around a couple times a day to pick up trash and leaves. There’s a few “permanent” residents, but it seems most of the park is people traveling in the area to visit all the national parks and forests that are an hour or two east of here. The RV parks and campgrounds there are 2-3X the price, and often don’t have full hookups. It makes this a good place to connect your house, and then venture off to the wilderness.

We also took advantage of the extra time I ended up with yesterday, and got more information on the work schedule for September. If all goes as it appears, it looks like we’ll be heading out from California over Labor Day weekend, and just heading straight for the Atlanta area. I’ll do some work for a few days, then relocate Diane and Molly to a Thousand Trails park in South Carolina, and then I’m out on the road for work for about 10 days. After that, our plans are back on track, with a trip up to Indiana to visit family, then over to Pennsylvania and other areas to check out as we head to GA/FL for Nov-Feb.

But, today, we head to a KOA in Sacramento. Last year we stayed at the State Fair grounds, called Cal Expo. This year, some friends are joining us at the conference, and they only offer RV spots at Cal Expo. Our friends will be staying in a cabin at KOA with us for a few days. After that, Morgan Hill, CA.

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