Laying Over in Dillon, SC

 

Even though this was a non-traveling day, seems like we kept busy.  I managed to get two loads of laundry done this morning, and that pretty much catches us up.  Dave got in a bike ride of around 30 miles; he remembers riding in this area four years ago, so it was a bit of a ride down memory lane for him on familiar roads. 

We originally planned to take the cargo out of the bed of the truck while here, but decided it made more sense to leave it in, reducing the amount of hassle and work to be done while here.  That would have been logical if we were spending three nights here, but not so much for the two we actually spending.  Long and short, Dave sat with the truck while I made a 1:04 hour breeze through Walmart this afternoon.  We’re stocked up with provisions for at least through the weekend.

That’s a good thing, because the first couple of days will be crazy/weird as we settle in at our site and acclimate ourselves to working night shift.

The one thing about this assignment I’m really not tickled about is the fact that we will only be able to dump our tanks using a macerator.  We did it for two months when we were at this site in 2010, and it was a bit of a hassle.  On a long-term basis . . . well . . . hopefully the restroom with shower in the guard building is such that I can clean and fix it up so we can utilize it quite a bit.  The guard building is right across from our RV site and quite convenient, actually.  As long as I can fix it up so we’re not carting toiletries and towels back and forth, I’ll be good with that.  Dave used the shower after his bike rides back in 2010 and, if I remember correctly, it was a decent-sized shower.  It really might be nice to have a larger shower.  Whoohoo!  Stay tuned for future developments.

Oh yeah, we splurged on a joint birthday gift and bought a Keurig!  It’s just like the one we had in the office in NJ.   We don’t drink much coffee – me one cup and Dave a couple – per day, but we’re both missing our java.  We decided a hot cup of coffee would be really nice during night shift, especially when the weather turns chilly.  It’s still in its box in the truck, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we christen it tomorrow evening.

We have both been rather tired the rest of the afternoon and this evening.  Dave has gone to bed to read and Maggie is snuggling with him.  It’s a bit too early for me to retire; if I crash this early, I’ll be up around 1 or 2 AM.  We did take some walks earlier after it cooled down a bit and sat outside for a few games of Yahtzee.

The park isn’t full this evening, but almost.  There’s everything here from a vintage (sooo cute!) Class C to big luxury Class A’s.

Tomorrow’s run is short, being just under 40 miles.  It will take us a while to position our RV, as it’s a back-in site and we want to get it well-positioned since we won’t be leaving for a while.

It will then take me a while to find everything that has been stowed inside.  Ha!   I’ll take the first watch from about 4:30 or 5 PM until about 2 AM.  I’ll need to do some major housecleaning after traveling, and I’m thinking this weekend will be time for that.  I’m not going to overdo things the first few days while settling into the new routine.  Rest, work and eat is about it.

Yep, we’re about to begin a totally different lifestyle . . . night owls.

The only Internet we have right now is via my phone hotspot, so I’ll turn it on and post this. 

OMG!  I’m getting NCIS on TV!  Make my day!

Thanks for stopping by!

Landed Safe and Sound in SC

 

Bass Lake 1 09292014

Site A8 at Bass Lake Campground, Dillon, SC – same spot we had four years ago

We got an even earlier start this morning, pulling out of the park in Emporia, VA at about 9:30.  Folks,  that’s early for this crew.  It was raining moderately when we rolled out of the Jellystone park and made our way to I-95 South.  Today was a straight shot down I-95 to Dillon, SC.  It rained lightly off and on the entire trip,  but really wasn’t too bad. 

IMG_2845

November 2010 at Bass Lake

We had one fuel stop at a Pilot in North Carolina and it was again a smooth in-and-out.  Even being Monday, it wasn’t really busy.  We were able to park away from the pumps to walk Maggie.  Dave scored a coffee while I was fueling our truck, so he was a fairly happy camper.  Right around the time we crossed into South Carolina, the rain kicked up a notch and started coming down at a pretty good rate. 

There is something comforting about returning to a place you’ve been before.  We know where Bass Lake is, so getting here was easy; it also is a very easy on-and-off from I-95.  We got set up fairly quickly, including water and sewer since we will be here until Wednesday. 

We ducked out to Walmart for a couple of things and then I indulged in a small personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut.  Only ate two of the four pieces; haven’t eaten anywhere near a huge meal (not that we routinely do, anyway) in the last few days, so two pieces just hit the spot.  I have two for tomorrow.  Yay! 

We have walked around this 53-site park a few times in the light rain, just because walking feels good after riding for several hours.  We also enjoyed some catch-up time with Guy (he and his wife Julie are from England and are the owners), trading highlights of the four years that have passed since we were here.

Bass Lake 2 09292014

This is not the fanciest park by any means and certainly not a resort, but the facilities are clean and it is peaceful.  There are a few permanent residents, others who return to winter here every year and others who stop on their snowbird flight South.  Guy told us that last year he had to turn people away, as he was completely booked. 

Tomorrow we’ll stock up on provisions and I’ll do what laundry there is in the hamper.   Who knows?  I might even get a nap.  Dave might even sneak in a bike ride.  He has been remembering his rides in the area from our previous time here in 2010. 

All in all, not a bad day.  I am so very proud of our truck for getting us here from NJ with not even a hiccup.  It ran very smoothly and strongly, pulling our RV behind it like the true champion workhorse it is.  Good Truck, I’d tell it every day.  Good Truck!

We have TV reception!  No cable, just off our antenna.  Several channels to choose from, and right now I’m watching one of Michael Palin’s travel documentaries in which he was watching Life of Brian on DVD.  How funny and almost surreal is that?  He is visiting the site where it was filmed.

Maggie again was the ultimate full-time dog, traveling contentedly in the truck, reveling in the smells and sights during her walks and now tuckered out in one of the recliners.  If I want my hoodie, I’ll have to arouse her.  I can do without the hoodie.

Although it’s still early in the evening, I am rather tired and think I’ll bid you good-night.

Thanks for stopping by!

Today Was Smoooooth

 

First of all, a very happy birthday to my beloved Scotsman, my best friend, my partner in adventure and my husband.  We have known each other for 10 years this month.   My birthday rolls around in 10 days, so we may try to have a meal out  at some point to celebrate both events.  We usually do that.

That extra day and night at the KOA in Broadway, VA really helped.  We were on the road at about 10:30 this morning, which is very reasonable for us.  Yes, we remembered to make sandwiches for today, and our snacks hit the spot as we cruised along.  I also remembered to charge up my MP3 player and put it in the truck.  I have a playlist of “plane music” which I compiled years ago of songs which give me good vibes during our flights back to Scotland.  They are also good “road tunes,” and we both enjoyed the almost two hours of hand-picked songs.

Our route today was Interstate 81 South, Interstate 64 East, the 288 loop around Richmond, VA, and then south on Interstate 95 to the Jellystone park near Emporia, VA.  We take our time when we travel, so we arrived around 3:30 this afternoon.

Coming through the Blue Ridge Mountains was absolutely beautiful, especially that long downhill run which ended (thankfully!) at a rest stop. 

Virginia Rest Stop 09282014

Perfect day for traveling.  View looking back from the rest stop.

There were no mishaps or stressful incidents today.  We stopped once to fuel at a Pilot and it was a positive experience.  There were hardly any big dawgs at the pumps, I’ve got the fueling procedure down to a science now and Dave didn’t really object to stopping there after yesterday’s experience at the wee convenience store fueling the truck. 

Dave had mentioned earlier that, since it is his birthday, he wouldn’t mind picking up a few beers if we had the opportunity.  He is, after all, a born and bred Scotsman.  When I went in to get our receipt for the fuel, I noticed a small cooler of . . . beer!   I was really surprised, as I had never seen beer sold at truck stops before.  When I went back out to our rig, I told him to go inside and get his beer, which he did!  Since we are not unhitching for a one-night stay, this was a nice surprise.

We have had several walks around the park here, but I forgot to take a photo of our setup.  Perhaps in the morning, although the forecast is for rain all along our route into Dillon, SC.  We’re parked in between two huge Class A rigs, but over on the other side of the park there are all sorts of rigs from Class A’s down to two tiny teardrop-type bumper pulls. 

There are quite a few dogs here, and Maggie had a nose-to-nose meet-and-greet with a wee Yorkie on one of her strolls.  She was so going crazy with all the new smells we at one point thought she would just explode and “there would be puppy everywhere.”  Ha!  She is such a good traveler!  Oh, she was disturbed when the park cat came over and sat on the picnic table bench with Dave for a while earlier on.  He sat outside with his laptop for quite a while, catching up on emails and Scottish futbol scores.

We even managed a wee dinner here at home this evening of pasta and bourbon-BBQ ham steak.  Very simple and very yummy.  Well, Dave is having a wee snack of a kolache, toast and cheese right now. 

All in all, a day on the road as I envisioned . . . beautiful weather, gorgeous scenery, upbeat tunes, snacks and easy conversation peppered with laughter between us. 

Indeed, a very smoooooth day.

Total States:  One, Virginia, from just inside the northern state line to just inside the southern state line.

Mileage:  209.6

Thanks for stopping by!

We Really Should Get Out More or Perhaps Not . . .

We got away from the facility a bit after 11 AM yesterday morning.  I had told myself I’d be happy if we left by noon, so we were good.  Made it through the toll plaza in PA just fine, no sweat.  Highlights – if that’s what you want to call ‘em – of our day.

  • I prefer refueling at truck stops simply for ease of maneuvering the rig.  Dave really doesn’t like them.  Wanting to not drop us much below half a tank and liking to start the day with a full tank, we refueled twice.  First was a truck stop.  During that exercise, we exchanged a few words in tones of voices we rarely use with one another.  Towards the end of the day, we exited the interstate and followed the sign to a station that had diesel, this in an effort to oblige Dave.  Turns out it was a wee hole-in-the-wall convenience store, which would have been really fairly easy except . . . there was a vehicle blocking access to the diesel pump with owner nowhere in sight, getting our rig’s butt off the road put us at a tight angle for getting to the pump (eventually) and . . .  well, it was stressful for yours truly.  “Am I going to miss the flowerpot on your side?”  Dave afterwards said he’s okay with my pulling into truck stops from now on.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

West Virginia Rest Stop 09262014

Hanging with the big dawgs at West Virginia rest stop

  • Saw a fast-traveling car on the interstate in front of us pass an 18-wheeler on the shoulder.  Insane.  Scary.
  • This is the first time we have carried cargo in the bed of the truck, including a plastic bag with chocks, etc.  I periodically scan the truck bed, rig sides, etc. in my mirrors.  At one point the bag started creeping up the side of the truck bed.  Yoinks!  “Umm . . . okay, the bag’s climbing out of the truck.”  We slowed down quite a bit with flashers on and then stopped as soon as we safely could exit for Dave to secure that puppy.  Amazing what wind can do, eh?
  • Always before when traveling, we made sandwiches the night before and had them in the cooler of the truck for snacks.  Did we remember to do that this time?  Oh no, she says.  We had a few drinks and a bottle of peanuts.  As of this morning, we had gone a bit over 24 hours without eating. “Why?  What happened to dinner?”  See next bullet.
  • After arriving at our site at this KOA last evening and setting up the rig, it was time to put out the slides.  Bedroom slide open.  Check.  First living room slide.   First living room slide.  Hello?  Motor running, but no movement.  Oh  crap.  Long story short, we sat outside at the picnic table until almost 10 PM, when it dawned on me, “Duh!  The slides can work independently.  Let’s see if the living room superslide will open.  At least we  can get to the kitchen and I can clean up the flour that’s everywhere.”  I hear you saying, “Flour?  Flour?  Everywhere?”  See next bullet.  Again.  Checked the outside slide control panel.  Oh.  Dear.  In my routine pre-trip safety checklist, I always turn off the slides at the control panel.  Oh.  My.  Yeah, well.  My bad.  Turned on the switches for those two slides and they opened.  “Better cancel that call to Good Sam Roadside Assistance . . .”
  • You might be wondering about the flour by now.  In all our journeys with this rear kitchen, we have never had a cabinet  pop open.  On climbing over furniture to get to the kitchen last evening to get me a Dr.  Pepper and Dave a much-deserved beer, there’s this white stuff everywhere in the kitchen.  All cabinet doors closed.  Heck, looked like someone’s baking attempts went very much awry.  Or a cocaine party that was just way too wasteful.  After we got the slides open, I did a basic clean-up, leaving the details until this morning.

Harrisonburg VA KOA 09272014

Site #20 at the Harrisonburg, VA KOA

  • The couple across from us have two large dogs.  One wandered over into our site and started barking at us.  Skeered the bejesus outta me.  Black dog in the black night; hard to see until he is right there with ya and barks with a deep voice.  The guy came over and got him.  Heard them saying, “I thought you were watching him . . .”
  • Said dogs are the only barkers in the entire park.  And their site is right across the drive from ours.  And their people are gone and the dogs have been vocalizing ever since.  Could be worse.  They could be constantly barking yappy small dogs . . .
  • While in the office arranging to stay over tonight, the office cat got sick and started throwing up.  You guessed it.  Didn’t notice it had already done so right by the counter apparently during the time I stepped away from the counter and went back.  I stepped right in it.  Oh yay.  Cat vomit on my shoe.

Finished cleaning up the kitchen this morning.  We decided to stay an extra day here to rest from yesterday’s adventures.  Dave is out on a short bike ride, adding Virginia to his tally of states he has cycled.  Originally planning a one-night stay here, Dave hooked up our water and sewer this morning before heading out on the bike.  I figured I might as well do a couple of loads of laundry before it becomes a mountain.  Since our travel schedule has been severely modified, we may have only a one-night stopover right before getting to our work site in South Carolina.  Looks like we may have a two-night layover at our next stop tomorrow in Emporia,  Virginia due to possible bad weather Monday.

States traveled through yesterday:  New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia.

Total mileage:  290.1,  which is more than we usually do, but it worked out that way.  We survived and have shorter travel days ahead.  Hopefully,  they will be less eventful and less stressful, too.

I’m going to chill on the daybed with Maggie now.  Oh yeah, Maggie was her usual trouper self.  She was so excited, she couldn’t bring herself to focus on that pre-departure pee and tugged me straight to the truck!  In her crate in the truck (except for periodic walks) until almost 10 PM last night, she uttered nary a whimper and was in no distress.  We couldn’t ask for a better full-timing doggie!

KOA Chicken 09272014

One of the many KOA chickens here, this one visiting us at our site this morning.

Thanks for stopping by!

Ready to Roll

We made a good call by waiting out the weather today, as it rained until late this afternoon.  Once it finally did stop, we got out and got busy.

The first thing we got out of the way was hitching up the truck and RV.  It had been a bit over a year since we had done that and I’m pleased to say it went very smoothly.  We have our system down pretty pat.  I am in the truck and Dave mans the RV landing gear controls and directing me to line up the truck and RV. 

Hitched Up 09252014

It started lightly raining again for a while after hitching up

Dave then got under the RV and disconnected our sewer line.  It was regular sewer hose for a few feet which connected to a PVC pipe for the remainder of the line.  This worked really well during our time here; we didn’t have to worry about the sewer hose becoming damaged or freezing during Winter.  While he was doing that, I disconnected our water line.  All that’s left in the morning in that regard is disconnecting from shore power. 

Funny . . . I used to suffer from severe “hitch itch” every now and then but it had not occurred in, oh, probably the last year.  I have been very content here.  Today, however, once hitched up . . . man, I am ready to cruise down the highway and see some new territory.  I do the towing, and I’m getting into that “hanging with the big dogs” (big semi rigs) groove.  It will be nice to drive through different states other than New Jersey.

I really don’t like driving in NJ.  It is claustrophobic.  You can’t see conveniences such as gas stations from the highway.  You really can’t see much from the highway at all due to the trees.  Trees are lovely and I appreciate them on many levels; however, I like to be able to see.  Especially when hauling a 40’ RV behind me!  “Can I get in there?”  “Can I get out of there??”  “Where is it?”  Then you see a sign after exiting that indicates your destination is 1.6 miles in that ======> direction.  Oh goody.

Maggie, of course, knows something’s up, especially with all our bustling around this afternoon.  She’s not worked up or anything, but she knows something’s in the air.  Took her for her usual evening extended walk and the three of us have been hanging out together like we do many evenings, just to maintain some normalcy for her.  She enjoys traveling and does quite well, so she’ll have fun over the coming days.

The facility electrician stopped by this afternoon, so we had the opportunity to say a proper “cheerio” to him.  He has never let us down when we have had emergent power issues and is a good guy.

One bit of good news is that the company is purchasing our generator.  Yay!  Although we advertised via various methods and had a bit of interest, it had not sold outright.  “Oh, my dad says we can use his, so we won’t be coming to look at it,” etc.  The company can definitely use it here on the property, so it’s a win/win situation for everyone.  It’s a great relief to not have this issue unresolved as we leave.

That’s about it for today.  Will be unwinding a bit more and then heading to the shower and blankies shortly.  There are still last minute tasks before we roll and then about 290 miles to travel before we land tomorrow.  We’re in no rush and will take our time in the morning getting out of here and on the road. 

Hey, we’re full-timers.  There’s no hurry.  Isn’t that grand?

Life is guid!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Weather Delay

I took the opportunity the other day to snap some (more) photos of the site here.  It was quite a cloudy day, even a bit overcast. 

WG3 09222014

Entrance to the property as seen from the street.  The hedge around the sign was totally disheveled when we arrived in 2011.  Dave got it under control and keeps it lookin’ good.

WG4 09222014

Driveway into the property.  There’s a gate down there that we open and close daily.

There is a coastal storm heading this way, expected to impact us starting tonight.  If it were closer to Winter, one might even call it a Nor’easter.  We were scheduled to leave tomorrow; however, with about 1” of rain expected here and heavy rain and a bit of wind along our projected route, we have delayed departure a day.  The forecast for Friday and on out from there looks really nice.

After calling the campgrounds and changing our reservation dates, I got chicken tetrazzini into the slow cooker and will make a batch of kolaches later.  Road food!  With everything done except last minute tasks, Dave is taking the opportunity to get in another bike ride.  Maggie had a pre-trip clip a while ago and is looking even cuter than usual.

WG6 09222014

  Taken from just inside the gate.

Yesterday was crazy-busy.  Our boss came out and took us to lunch, and it was a totally fun outing.  The weather was quite pleasant, so we dined outside.  What we really enjoyed was the fellowship with him.  That was a very special gesture and we are honored.  Our washer and dryer went off on a company truck down to one of the yards, where it will be boxed and prepared to go on another truck down to the facility in South Carolina. 

WG14 09222014

We have had a lovely park-like setting here, although it has come with its trials of living next to a river and the curve balls Mother Nature has tossed our way in the form of hurricanes, Nor’easters, blizzards, Superstorm Sandy and the like.

Today is an unexpected, but welcome, gift.  Rather than bustling around hitching up the rig, disconnecting sewer and water and preparing to roll out tomorrow, we are left with a mostly do-what-you-want day.  Tonight and the first half of tomorrow will see us hunkered down in the storm that passes through.  After it’s gone tomorrow, we’ll take care of those remaining items on our pre-departure list.

WG10 09222014

Our RV is to the right, with the office trailer to the left.  That stack is from the mill, which is an old paper mill.  The Musconetcong River runs between the parking lot where our RV is parked and the mill.

Blindsided at first by the idea of leaving and transferring to South Carolina (we knew we would leave here someday; we just didn’t expect it at this time), we are now looking forward to the change.  We rearranged the basement storage of our RV and have items stowed securely in the truck, and I am even looking forward to the journey itself.  It’s been two years since we’ve traveled with the rig, and I’m thinking it will be fun to be out on the road again.  We’ll have drastically different duties in SC and not be nearly as busy with work, but that may be okay, too, really.  Well . . . I will miss running an office and hopefully at some point in the future we’ll have another situation with a variety like this one.  In the meantime, I’m sure I’ll adapt and find other things to do.  Knit, work as a virtual assistant, write, perhaps get involved with a local CERT organization, do more photography, garden a bit, drum . . . yep, I’ll find something, I bet!

It’s time to check on dinner, so I’ll say cheerio for today!

Thanks for stopping by!

T Minus 3.5

 

That’s 3.5 days until we roll through the gates here for the last time.  Dave is off on a prolonged bike ride this lovely Sunday, and I’m good with that.  He is winding up his cycling here in New Jersey; I told him to take as long as he wanted, stop by the little café where he likes to get a coffee and just really savor the ride.  His busy time preparing us to leave starts tomorrow.  He gets to do the “fun” stuff including torqueing the wheels, checking tire pressures, greasing wheel bearings, unhooking the sewer (PVC line) connection on Wednesday and so forth.  Wednesday will be busy, as we’ll hitch up the truck and 5er, too.  I’m hoping he has a blast on his ride today! 

Meanwhile, I’m doing our laundry for the last time here.  Our washer/dryer will leave Tuesday and should be at the site in South Carolina by next weekend.  I also continue to stow some things . . . our log tongs, being one of the items.

IMG_2664

We found this item in a funky resale shop in . . . Florence, South Carolina, during our two-month gig there in September 2010.  They have gotten quite the workout since that time, being very handy for our campfires.  Interesting that they will be returning to Florence with us.  We had our last campfire here last night, and it was a good one.

Last fire at Warren Glen 09202014

Bringing in some warmth and good vibes through the chakras in my feet last night

Amazing how when you’re in one spot for so long stuff is everywhere . . . tongs on the rock by the fire pit, work boots in the office, there’s the outside garden hose that needs to be put away (check), beer glasses (inside a cabinet in the RV, naturally) wrapped and stowed for travel (check), etc..  Whew!

For several evenings lately, we have been visited by Toad.  Toad was out again last night, keeping a very still vigil by one of our ground lights for over three hours.  I think Toad was  waiting for bugs, i.e. evening meal . . . 

Toad 2 09202014

Hunting or meditating?  Or both?

Part of the symbolism of Toad in Native American views is the bringing of inner strength medicine.  That’s totally cool and very welcome, as I will be summoning up my inner strength persona during our trip South.  Thank you, Great Spirit, for sending Toad my way during this time of transition.

Oh yeah, Mole is busy again already this year.  The ground right next to the pavement in front of our RV is squishy/gives way a bit, and one can see the trails – upended earth – where Mole is burrowing around underground.  Mole is getting an early start; we didn’t see that until well into Winter last year when there was snow on the ground. 

Bridie

Steak Bridies for dinner tonight

The meat is in the slow cooker and still has a bit to go, but bridies are on the menu tonight.  This is a Scottish treat and should be even more yummy this evening because we actually have a bottle (well, part of one) of HP Sauce.  Yay!

I think I’m pretty much done with outside stuff today, as it is fairly warm and quite humid.  Tomorrow should be cooler by about ten degrees and more pleasant after a cold front rolls through later this evening.

Well, at least with this move I have something to blog about these days.  I really appreciate you taking time to visit with me here!

Thanks for stopping by!