Looking Down the Road

I’m grateful again today that we are in a park with concrete sites and roads.  Dave just now mentioned he could only imagine the state of the other park we were at briefly when we landed here in College Station.  The term “mud pit” surely describes it.  Here, though, we are good.

April 18 2016

Break in the rains on April 18

The days and nights seem to fly by; perhaps it does have something to do with the aging process?  As one gets on the “downhill side” of Life years, does Time truly seem to pass more swiftly?  Perhaps it’s a “mental” thing.  When one is young, one seems to be waiting for different stages . . . summer break from school, graduation, first job, first home . . . you get the idea.  Looking down the expanse that is the open road of one’s life to come.  In later years, perhaps we subconsciously realize we’re gliding on the “downhill” side.  Get it? 

I have to smile . . . the song on my Pandora station right now is “Where Are We Going From Here?”  We have been casually talking about the future.  No, we’re not ready to make a jump at this time, and it will be, realistically, two years before that time comes.  With that in mind, now is the time to start visiting the topic.  We are looking at ultimately transitioning from RV living to a 55+ community, i.e., apartment/villa/townhome so we do not have maintenance, grounds upkeep, snow shoveling. 

I hear you exclaim, “Snow shoveling??!”

We lived in northern Minnesota for a couple of years; yes, that included Winters.  It was a small town with not much between us and Canada except a lot of trees, lakes and black bears.  We both really liked that environment.  It was wild, simple, pristine, laid back . . . yes, Winter is cold with temperatures dipping down to –30 or so.  It is a dry cold – trust me, that makes a world of difference – and easier for us to physically tolerate.  One adapts and dresses for it.  Yes, you cover your face in subzero conditions.  Your breath freezes.  Your nose hairs freeze!  Snow?  Yes, there’s snow; however, life in that environment continues.  Things don’t come to a standstill – except during actual blizzards – just because there’s white stuff on the ground.  Summers are mild.  There are fewer occurrences of weather-related disasters such flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and so forth.  Extreme cold each Winter also seems to “clear the slate,” if you will, with regard to insects, viruses, etc.  It’s like you start afresh each Spring.  We like that concept and feel the colder climes are healthier for us all around.

Betty and Baby Hibbing Dec 2006

Me and Baby (our dog-child then) strolling around town – December 2006

There is something fun, magical, unique and perhaps a wee bit insane about firing up the backyard grill, standing in snow and having the white flakes come down on you while doing so.

Ever seen the sun shine on ice crystals in the air, causing them to look like twinkling diamonds suspended in air?  Stood on your back porch and marveled at the Northern Lights?  Ever cycled the numerous Rails To Trails paths and seen a young black bear up ahead or had a large deer cross your path right in front of you?  Heard Canada Geese and the call of the Loon from your open bedroom window in the early morning?  Have you sat at the feet of a Native Elder and been honored by the wisdom and insight of yourself bestowed upon you?

If you have, then you perhaps understand the voice that speaks inside, calling you back to that land. 

Our Maple

Looking across the alley at the maple tree in our backyard in MN

Pros and cons.  Unfortunately, there are financial considerations.  Minnesota’s health insurance premiums are predicted to skyrocket exponentially in the coming year and the state does have a personal income tax. 

Texas is financially more favorable as the overall cost of living is lower and there is no personal income tax.

Wherever we end up, I think we agree that it will be a smaller town, one which has necessary amenities but not a surplus of businesses, hustle, bustle, traffic and people.  We’ll be back where one more intimately shares the land, sky and water with Mother Earth’s creatures of the wild kind.

Warren Glen 10102012

Security job site – Warren Glen, NJ – October 2012 – See?  This is the “problem.”  We spent 3.5 years at this site in a small community.  We became “spoiled” with the beauty, the remoteness, living in Nature, the simplicity, the “wildness,” the peace, the privacy.

So, that’s our “problem,” mine, at least.  My soul looks forward to the time of escape from a large city with so much traffic and so many people.  I know, I know.  College Station is not truly considered a large city; however, it is a megalopolis by my standards.

We’ll see what the future brings and how we can shape ours.  There may be communities in Texas which would suit our everyday living needs with regards to housing, but . . .

What about one’s soul?  Does one have to “settle” for something totally absent of what is desired?  I confess it saddens me to think so.  Can’t one manifest what one’s soul longs for?  I have always believed so.

In the meantime, today is our “Sunday.”  The rains have hopefully moved out of the area for a while this afternoon.  Dave is preparing to get out on the bike again today – he logged 52 miles yesterday – and I’ll be going for a much-needed hair trim later.  Then it’s cooking Mexican Lasagna once I return; it’s a great dish for a few meals this week and then for portioning and storing in the freezer for a later date.  An evening of chilling – we finished House of Cards and have moved on to Hinterland.  Tomorrow it’s back to work!

Thanks for strolling down the path of future plans with me!

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2015 – Done and Dusted

This past year was one of changes and traveling, some good times and some challenges.  It was a very unsettled year for us; seems like we just couldn’t find the “spot” for us, sort of like Goldilocks looking for the right bed.  Some of our decisions were better than others.  We logged a lot of miles; well, for us, at any rate.  We faced some challenges and had some good times along the way.   

Georgia Rest Area 06282015

I took a multitude of these types of shots at various rest stops during 2015.  Wish I had the patience to go back and tally up the miles we traveled during the year.

Darlington SC 07012015

We started the year doing security work in Darlington, SC.  This was a tough gig.  Night shift did not agree with Dave; he was getting 1-2 hours of sleep every 24-36 hours.  Cycling was dangerous with him being run off the roads, chased by extremely aggressive stray/wild dogs and coming off the bike (crashes) three times.  We had no way to properly empty our tanks and experienced our first ant infestation in 5 years of full-timing (and numerous years of camping before that). The tree over us was unkempt; a storm brought down large branches which barely missed our rig.  We were also experiencing frequent fluctuations in power to our rig, with our “big black box” shutting us down due to low voltage.  This was definitely not a good thing.

Vicksburg MS Visitor Center 03172015

We received an offer to manage a park in Texas, so in March we headed that way.  We took our time and did a bit of sightseeing.  Here we are in Vicksburg, MS.  We stayed at Ameristar RV Park and would recommend it.

KOA Mt Pleasant TX 05022015

While the job itself would have been okay, the circumstances were not.  We resigned our management position but stayed on as workampers for a while.  If we had remained as managers, more than likely we would still be there attempting to run the place by ourselves with extremely limited resources.  Not a good scenario.  We learned a lot from this experience, though.

We stayed at numerous RV parks in 2015 in our trekking around the eastern third of the country.  I haven’t included photos from all of them, just some of the memorable and well-liked ones.

Shady Pines RV Park Texarkana TX 06082015

We really like Shady Pines RV Park in Texarkana, TX.  This was our second stay here, this one in June.

Camping World Anniston AL 06242015

Another second stay at Camping World in Anniston, AL during June.  Skies were threatening and we were treated to an extraordinary light show courtesy of Momma Nature, but it never rained.  I like this photo.

Prairie Creek COE Beaver Lake AR 06132015

We gave a try at being gate attendants at a COE park in Arkansas in June.  A brief try.  The site looks nice, but had many issues, including an uphill sewer connection and a dirt hill right next to our rig which became a mud river during rains.  A quiet park?  Hardly.  A young girl was killed on the lake the day before we arrived.  Weekends were nonstop traffic, to the point of parking being full in all areas.  Law enforcement screaming through the gate with lights flashing at all hours.  People coming up to our rig (when we weren’t on duty) with questions, etc.  It was also a 6-day work week and turns out one had to go the bank and post office on one’s day off.  This was not a good decision and not as described.

Country Boys RV Park Madison GA 06272015

A repeat visit to Country Boys RV Park in Madison, GA in June.  Certainly adequate for 1-2 nights.

We agreed to return to South Carolina and the security gig as the relief team for 3 months.  While we had questioned our decision to leave there earlier in the year, the return visit served as affirmation of that decision. 

Office area 08262015

While in SC the second time, we removed our dining table and chairs (which we rarely used) and turned the area into a workspace/office for me. 

We were there from July 1st until October 1st, at which point we were headed back to Texas.  Changes in our health insurance predicated this move.  I was still working part-time as a virtual assistant, and we were hopeful Dave could pick up some work once we arrived in Bryan, Texas.

Barnyard RV Park Lexington SC 10012015

We planned a 2-night stay at the Barnyard RV Park in Lexington, SC following our security gig.  We thought this would allow us to resume normal sleep patters and chill a bit before hitting the road to Texas.  The stay stretched into 5 nights due to massive rainfall and areal flooding.  We were grateful the park did not flood.  It wasn’t very relaxing, however, as we were in emergency preparedness mode the entire time.  Management was totally accommodating and helpful as we (and a couple of other neighbors) kept extending our stay day-by-day due to weather.

Montgomery South RV Park 10122015

Landed for a week at Montgomery South RV Park, we sort of began catching up on some R&R.  Dave really enjoyed the cycling here; however, the park was infested with loose dogs and, just because of that, we would not return.  Otherwise, it was a fine park in the process of expansion during our stay.

Ever closer to Texas, we stayed a few nights in Beaumont at Gulf Coast RV Resort.  Looks like I didn’t get photos . . . hmmm.  Dave enjoyed the cycling and I enjoyed really relaxing, catching up laundry, etc.  Our friend Rachelle, whom we had not seen since 2010 prior to our embarking on this lifestyle, came to spend a day with us.  So good to see her again, and we really appreciated her making the trip.

Traders Village Houston TX 10182015

From Beaumont, our next stop was Traders Village on the northwest side of Houston.  It was okay, but nothing spectacular.  I couldn’t believe Highway 290 was still under construction.  No, wait, I can believe that, actually.  It was pretty darn warm when we arrived and shortly after landing . . . it was a really warm day . . and . . we had no power to the rig.  Turns out a mobile tech working on the RV next door was terrific and got us powered up again.  Remember that low voltage issue in SC?  He suspected that’s what fried the . . . um . . . I forget what it was but it had to do with the gen set.  Since we don’t have an onboard gen, he just bypassed it and disabled that.  He showed it to us and, yes, it was fried.  Another affirmation that leaving SC was a good decision.

The next day, we headed to Bryan, Texas and what we anticipated as our home for the long term.  I had checked reviews, talked at length with the manager and made a month’s reservation at Primrose Lane RV Park in Bryan.  We didn’t have much selection, as it was football season in Aggieland and nary an RV space to be had.

Primrose Lane Bryan TX 10192015

Primrose Lane long-term site.  Mud pit. Bad “neighborhood.”  Worst place we have ever stayed.  Our front landing gear were sinking.  We asked for more gravel, correction, gravel on the site but it never materialized and we realized after a while that it just wouldn’t.  Standing water all the time around our rig.  Electric shore connection so low to the ground we had to unplug so it wouldn’t short out.  Residents letting dogs run loose and dog “deposits” all over the grounds, including sidewalks.  Ugh.

Good news is that during our time there, Dave secured a seasonal position at Walmart.   I still had my virtual assistant client and had landed a medical editor job.

We had been looking at other RV parks and ended up being third on the waiting list for Aggieland RV Park.  With our November rent almost due at Primrose and not wanting to be there any longer, the owner/manager at Aggieland found a spot for us.  We moved here the early afternoon of November 17, following horrendous storms which got us out of bed around 3:30 that morning.

Aggieland RV Park Site 43 12132015

Concrete streets!  Concrete site!  No mud!  Tidy neighbors!  Decent laundry facilities!  Great owner/manager!  Yay us!

Aggieland RV Park 11182015

The site on our door side is only for short-term and is not used often.  We have an open grassy area on the other side.  Lovely.

We experienced a split (and leaking) gray holding tank in November and it’s been a saga getting the correct tank ordered, etc.; however, we have an appointment next week for installation at an RV dealer less than 10 miles down the road.  I sure will be glad to have my own shower again, but am grateful for the facilities here during this time.

My medical transcription skills are still excellent after all these years away from the profession; however, I found medical editing to be very stressful with a good deal of “extras” one has to do for which one is not paid.  I dreaded each work day, which was totally opposite to my experience with traditional MT work; I used to love my work as an MT; however, the profession has deteriorated and really is not a profession where skills are paramount these days.  The MT company owner called after I resigned wondering why I did, stating “You’re such an MT!”  Perhaps that’s part of it . . . I’m a purist.  Today’s environment just is not a good fit at this time. 

Long and short . . . I picked up a second virtual assistant client which also may be a long-term relationship.  I resigned the ME gig and, upon doing so, felt a great sense of relief.  I now have two clients and really enjoy the work and my interactions with them.  The resulting pay is much better, and I am utilizing my brain and skills.  Yay me!  Minimal stress, maximum rewards.  I’m good with that.

Dave’s seasonal job is turning into a permanent position.  He’s working hard, but it’s certainly not as rigorous as pipefitting on ships or in the mines of Minnesota.  He enjoys his interactions with coworkers and most of the time even the job itself.  Yay him!

Dave works 2-11 PM Thursday through Monday.  I go to work when he leaves a bit after 1 PM.  We both take Tuesday and Wednesday off to run errands and do whatever.  This schedule seems to be a nice fit for us.  We’re both sleeping very well here, and that’s a good thing.

I know Walmart gets a bad rep, but so far Dave and others are treated decently at this store.  He worked overtime around Thanksgiving, but management had a huge dinner spread for the team.  There was a gift discount card during that time, freebie holiday decorations, more food and treats for them at work (and to bring home), etc.  There are other “small” things that have been positive so far, too, such as opening up a check-out lane for Dave when he was purchasing some items on his dinner break.

Dave was a pipefitter with the Royal Navy in Scotland.  He remarked once that he’s gone from working on nuclear submarines, where the lives of sailors literally were in his hands and relied upon his skills.  Now he’s working at Walmart.  But you know what?  At this point in our lives it’s not about our jobs or building careers.  It’s just about having work which pays what few bills we have, putting food on the table and living a comfortable life. 

It’s about our life together, not about our jobs.

We had a delightful impromptu visit this week from two dear long-time friends who live about 60 miles away near Bellville.  Had not seen them since 2010, so it really did my heart good to get some hugs and spend time with them.  Talking on the phone is great, but it’s just not the same as being together.  We hope to get out their way before long, as I used to do occasionally when I lived in Brenham.

Yes, 2015 had its challenges.  Just to end the year with a bang, my bridge failed the other night, so I’ll need to find a dentist after we see how insurance is going to shake out in the coming weeks.  Oh yeah, it’s been a whiz-bang year, alright.

Radar Bryan TX 10242015

This was an all too often recurring theme in 2015.  We believe we experienced more days in rain/severe weather than not.

We made some decisions which seemed questionable at the time, but we learned from those experiences.  We traveled, saw some sights and had some good times.  The end result is that we have landed well back here in Texas with jobs and a comfortable, pleasant environment for our RV home.  (Yeah, well, check with me in July/August when it’s 2275 F outside!  At least the pool is nearby and electricity is included in our rate here.) 

I am grateful for those experiences and for all the miles we traveled in safety and comfort with no breakdowns or accidents and, even in severe weather, we were never in immediate danger.  We try to be careful and alert, but we have also been very fortunate and watched over, I’m sure. 

If all continues favorably with work, our plans are to remain here for the foreseeable future.  We’ll see what 2016 brings, but I’d be good with just “being” right here.

Hope your holiday season has been safe and joyous.  Happy New Year!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

  

 

 

 

Last Night in Alabama

This is our last evening in Hope Hull, AL. We’ll be on the road tomorrow headed to Gautier, MS for one night. We’ve got around 200 miles to go tomorrow. That’s not much for some folks, but it’s a full day for us.

Dave pedaled 51 miles today on his bike this morning, once again thoroughly enjoying the cycling here. He has racked up 208 miles in 5 days here. He has also been taking some photos with his new phone.

Hope Hull Cows 10122015

 

Hope Hull Road Kill Cafe rest stop markers 10122015

From the charity ride, alerting riders of the upcoming rest stop named Road Kill Café. Cute, eh? Each rest stop is named with a theme.

Hope Hull You Kill It We Cook It 10122015

Also for the Road Kill Café, this says, “You kill it, we cook it.” Haha!

Hope Hull route markers 1 10122015

Route markers

The park is full tonight, with 4 rigs parked in the new sites. Those sites do not have gravel yet, but the utilities are functional. We hitched up the truck a bit ago; that’s one less thing to do in the morning.

Maggie was definitely feeling better today and has had a bit of food at reduced amounts. She is certainly more her usual perky and alert self. I am so grateful and am keeping my fingers crossed that she (and I) has another restful night.

Roaming dogs have been less of an issue today, at least so far. Perhaps someone dropped a word or two to their owner down the road?

I am also happy, no, thrilled and relieved, to report that we have had no ants in our rig from day #1 since leaving the work site in South Carolina. Obviously they were coming in from outside. We are both grateful for that and happy to be away from that location.

One other cool thing I have forgotten to mention. When we were getting ready to leave Lexington, SC after the rain event had passed, Dave noticed a wee frog that came out from under our Lynx pad under one of the tires.

Little wee Frog. Good omen. Sent by Cousin Karen, I betcha. Watching over us. Yep. Indeed.

Hope you have had a great Columbus Day. Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in Canada!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday and Sunday

Saturday

While Dave was out cycling Friday, he noticed route indicators on the roads. I hopped on the Internet and found the Glassner Autumn Challenge, taking place today.  Although he did not pay the entry fee, he still rode the 30-mile route, as this is something he would have done anyway. The staging area was at a church about 3 miles from here.

Hope Hull AL Glassner Autumn Challenge 4

Dave had a whale of a good time being amongst other cyclists of all skill levels. The photo above and the one below were snapped by him at the event.

Hope Hull AL Glassner Autumn Challenge 2

The Caped Crusader (Batman) was handing out goodies to riders

Everyone was quite friendly and ride hosts insisted he partake of the sumptuous spread of fajitas following the ride. Yep, Dave scored big time!

What did I do while he was gone? I got my feet wet with my new virtual assistant job, taking advantage of the quiet time.

Our Maggie woke up at 6 AM with nausea which, along with another symptom, led us to believe she was experiencing a flare of the slight pancreatitis she was diagnosed with a couple of years ago. I immediately began her on the prescription medications I keep on hand for this. They absolutely alleviate the symptoms but make her a bit drowsy, although this is a good thing. Napping and being quiet is a benefit during these flares. I also held food except for the minimal amount needed to take the meds; this gives her gut a break. She was not appearing distressed or in any discomfort, but not 100% her usual bouncy, perky self. If you didn’t know better, you wouldn’t be able to tell anything was going on just being around her.

After a nice dinner of crab cakes and wild rice, we watched an incredibly bad horror movie in the evening. Dave has commented that we certainly have done well with meals. The only groceries we have needed have been staples such as bread, milk, etc. I’m glad I stocked up the freezer, fridge and pantry prior to embarking on our trip. There’s still several more meals to be had from our current provisions. We have not eaten one meal out so far. We didn’t have dinner at Stuckey’s the other day; I just got the pecan divinity and we ate dinner at home.

Sunday (today)

Maggie made it through the night without stirring, so she and I both had a good sleep. She has done well today and acting somewhat more like herself. She still is on her meds as a precaution to get her through this episode. I am hopeful we caught this early and that she will be able to travel Tuesday.

Dave took off on the bike again today, as the area here is excellent for cycling. In fact, he says it is even better than the Lancaster, PA area, which he really enjoyed. I did some more laundry, which  puts us in a good position in that regard for our departure Tuesday. Got a bit more work done, too!

After Dave’s return, we went the 10 miles north on I-65 to the actual town of Hope Hull and the Winn-Dixie market there for a few basics in the way of groceries. We then stopped at the Flying J near the park to fuel up the truck for Tuesday’s leg of our journey.

Montgomery South RV Park sunset 10112015

View of sunset this evening from our site

The roaming dog saga continues this evening. The total number of dogs that roam freely through this park (but do not actually belong here) has risen to 6, with the latest one being a very large brown dog that just showed up a few feet from us this evening as we were sitting out on our patio.

Earlier in the evening (before dark) I had just stepped out of our RV to take Maggie out – she was still just inside the door on her leash –and saw one of the big white dogs (which belong down the road apparently) just entering our site. It saw Maggie and Maggie saw it. I got back inside; thankfully, Maggs had not started down the steps yet.

Spooked the heck outta me, I tell ya. The best thing for Maggie during these health episodes is to not become excited. Good luck with that here. No wonder my stomach is rumbling, too. Walking her is stressful, especially at night, as there are no lights anywhere in this park. Flashlights and spray bottle at the ready, and we double-team walking her – one walking her and one on lookout.

Yesterday evening the cat was under our rig, sat up on its haunches and grabbed onto the rig’s underbelly with its from paws/claws. We were sitting out and shooed it away.

Management here is very nice and the park is well-maintained; however, the roaming critters are enough of an annoyance and issue that we would not return here except as an overnight stop. The fact that there are no lights in the park makes it a bit more dodgy when walking Maggie. We do have good flashlights as part of our “arsenal” in security work, and we have been using them. We also leave our porch light on at night and our driver side security light on all night.

The evening is moving along, so I’ll mosey out of here for now. Be safe out there, okay?

Thanks for stopping by!

Rest Days in Lexington, SC

Barnyard RV Park Site D2 Lexington SC 06282015

We are on our second and last full rest day here at The Barnyard RV Park in Lexington, SC

Yesterday was nothing really to write home about or to blog about.  We ended up at a Walmart for a few provisions in the morning.  “Ended up” means we were originally headed for a grocery store I couldn’t find; that doesn’t happen very often.  We were about to say “screw it,” and go home, but did get to a Walmart.  Whoopee.

Seems like we were both kinda tired wiped out yesterday, so we didn’t do much but imitate slugs and two-toed sloths here in the rig.  Pretty darn warm out, so we hibernated.  Too, there aren’t folks around to visit with, so there was no hangin’ outside for long.  Even hit the sheets sort of early for us.

This morning I got a load of laundry going to catch us up before arriving at our work site tomorrow.  Dave did manage to plot out a route for the bike and got 25 miles in, although he really didn’t enjoy it all that much.  The area is just too congested and there’s no ready access to quieter country-type roads. 

I whipped up one of our fave dishes today, a chicken noodle casserole.  We had some for today’s main meal and we have leftovers for dinner tomorrow.  Sweet.  Not long after that, we were under a severe thunderstorm warning and . . . wow.  It did storm!

Folks next door have their awning out and anchored and left it that way, although many of us stowed chairs and brought in awnings.  The gentleman next door came out during the storm and looked around and up at his awning, in what appeared to be contemplation of, “Do I take it in or leave it out?”  He did this a couple of times.  At that point, it was too late to bring it in, as it was blowin’ and stormin’ like crazy.  They were lucky in that their awning looks intact, although one of their chocks went floating a bit away from their rig tires . . .

The storm passed and we went for a stroll around the park just a bit ago.

Have I mentioned that they really need to trim trees here?

Barnyard RV Park storm 06302015

Not our rig.  In the back section of the park.  The tree (on the left) split and part came down.  They were fortunate in that it did not hit their rig.

Barnyard RV Park storm 2 06302015

Again, not our rig.  This was just about directly across from the top photo a couple of rows over.  You can see where the tree on the right split.  Again, looks like no direct impact on the rig.

Barnyard RV Park storm 3 06302015

Flagpole at the front (we’re closer to the front) was also a casualty.  It’s not a very thick pole; however, it really was windy for a while. 

You can see in the photo at the top of this post that there are a couple of big trees right next to us; in fact, one of them is one of the tallest in the park.  We were very fortunate not to have anything come down on our home.

Now we’re just hanging out and enjoying our last night of cable TV for a while.  I’d love to see “The Philadelphia Story” with Katherine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant, but the air time of 1 AM is just past my bedtime.  Sure wish that was on now . . .

So we’re away in the morning for a short run of about 90 miles into Darlington, SC tomorrow to our duty station.  We’ll be on night shift starting tomorrow. 

I’m so looking forward to being settled for a few months!

Thanks for stopping by!

Safe and Sound in Lexington, SC

We got away from Country Boys RV Park in Madison, GA a bit after 11 AM this morning and once again continued eastbound on I-20.   Our stay there wasn’t bad.  Again, it’s not terrific, but it was quiet and fine for an overnight.

It certainly was a nice morning with bright sunshine and actually pleasant temperatures.  What a relief after the hot days we’ve endured lately!

We cruised down I-20 with a fuel stop at a Pilot after a short ways and then hit a rest stop before going through Augusta, GA. 

Georgia Rest Stop 62 06282015

Lovely blue skies and a light breeze at Georgia Rest Stop 62.  Sweet!

Passage through Augusta wasn’t bad at all, probably given the fact that today is Sunday.  Pulled into the Welcome Center over the South Carolina state line and gave Maggie a rest stop.  She’s such a good traveler!

Another 50-odd miles and we were arriving at The Barnyard RV Park in Lexington, SC.  The RV park is sort of behind the Barnyard Flea Market.  This is our third stay here, but we had never been here on a weekend and I wondered what the traffic would be like getting in and out of the RV park, as the road to the park is indeed behind the flea market.  It wasn’t too bad, thank goodness.

I had made our reservation here about two weeks ago, stating the size of our rig including truck, the number of nights and that we wanted a pull-thru.  Fine.  We were given site B-3, close to the laundry and one of the better (utilities in the correct spots, long enough, etc.) spots for big rigs.  Well, guess what?

B3 was still occupied with no tow vehicle in sight.  The office person tried calling them, but got no answer.  Okay, so we were given D3.  Fine. 

Not so fine. 

Sewer ground connection at the back end of the site, the site is shorter and . . . trees overhanging that would definitely be hit by our rig.  Nope.  Not gonna do it.  We had stopped short of the site and decided to take the next one to it, D2.  Sewer and water connections in better positions and trees, although hanging down, not totally dragging on our RV.  Went and told the office gal.

Took a while to level our home, needing two tiers of Lynx levelers on one side . . . they kept sinking into the ground.  This site is more dirt than gravel and is not as long as we really need.  We had stayed in Row A before; those sites are gravel and plenty long. 

Contrary to what the gal in the office says, these sites are not as long as those and they obviously are not as well-maintained/groomed as Row A.  Over here we are more in the midst of long-term folks.  Nothing really wrong with that or the site, I guess, but it is definitely not as nice as Row A or even Row B.  Longer distance to the laundry and the dog walk, too.  That being said, there is plenty of room between sites in all sections of the park; however, the grass could do with a trim.

Barnyard RV Park Site D2 Lexington SC 06282015

Our home for three nights – Site D2.  Might be a wee bit tricky getting out of here, as it’s two sort of tight right turns close together.   Definitely not a convenient big-rig site.

A couple of thoughts:

  • There should be some system for knowing who is scheduled to depart each day and then checking to see if they do leave the park.  We did this at the KOA in Texas.  Seems like common sense to  me, especially with the overnight sites at the front of the park where you can easily check them.
  • If you move someone to a different area/section, give them the password to the WiFi booster that has the better signal in their new section.  Phone was busy when I called and then the office was closed.  We’re both using my hot spot, although Dave typically uses park WiFi when available.
  • Trim overhanging trees.

More notes about this park:

  • There is a good amount of space between sites.
  • Each site has a concrete patio and picnic table.
  • Sites both with shade and without (in case you have a satellite).
  • Cable TV with oodles of channels, including TCM.
  • Decent utilities.
  • Sites may or may not be sort of level.  Ones in Row A weren’t bad; however, this particular site is not level side-to-side.
  • Lots of ants, so bring spray for around the perimeter of your rig.
  • Paved streets.
  • There is no nearby grocery store.  There used to be a Piggly Wiggly across the street, but it is no longer there.  You’re a bit of a drive from amenities such as groceries.
  • Be aware some sites have sewer and water connections at rear of site.
  • Watch for overhanging trees in sites.
  • It is convenient to I-20, but we would not consider this for an extended stay.  The surrounding area is congested with busy streets, something which does not appeal to us and is definitely not tempting for cycling.  You can get more pleasant environments for your buck elsewhere.
  • There are really too many long-term folks here and, if you are put in their midst, you don’t get a chance to visit with other RVers with whom you might have more in common to chat about.  With over 100 sites there may be . . . may be . . . approximately 20 short-term sites.

What we have seen at several of the parks we have stayed at recently is that there are few overnight sites; even if the park is large (such as this one with over 100 sites), most of the sites are occupied by long-term guests.  I know in same cases these were workers in the area such as welders, electricians, etc. in the area for a special work project. 

Nothing wrong with that, really.  We don’t stay at high-end resorts but the parks we stay in are not slums, either.  It’s just something that we have noticed more lately and it makes getting a reservation and/or a pleasant site for a short-term stay.

Truck’s odometer clicked over the 56K mark during today’s journey.  Good Truck!  Good Truck!

Total miles today = 152.2.  I’m once again grateful for a safe and uneventful trip.  Nothing jumped out of the cabinets and nothing took a swan dive from its allotted spot in the rig.  Sweet!

Thanks for stopping by!

Last Rest Day in Meridian / Marion, MS

It may be our last rest day here, but we have more coming up.  Yay us!

Dave gave the bike a miss today, and this morning we set about preparing to hit the road tomorrow.  He loaded the bed of the truck and I did a few things before the heat set in for the day.  This evening we continued on with me dumping our tanks and Dave disconnecting the water and sewer.  We’re running off our water pump and fresh tank until we land in Anniston, AL tomorrow.  I  emptied and wiped dry our “overflow fridge” – a standalone dorm-sized unit – and it’s ready to be stowed for traveling tomorrow.

Benchmark Coach and RV Park Dave laundry day 06232015

Dave did some cycling laundry today.  Didn’t take long for it to dry outdoors.

I worked my virtual assistant job a bit and Dave took advantage of being indoors by watching a few cycling videos.  Before we knew it, dinnertime rolled around.  After that, Dave did those few things outdoors mentioned above and we had a stroll around the park.  Although it was pretty darn hot during the day, this evening is milder than last night.  Don’t get me wrong; it’s still quite warm and still out, but better than last night.  We saw a bat flying about just a bit ago at dusk. 

That’s a good thing, because this place sure has a lot of flies and mosquitos.  We’ve been utilizing our flyswatter indoors.  Maggie isn’t happy about that; her one “fright” holdover trait since we rescued her from the shelter is a fear of flyswatters.  She’ll cower in a corner or slink off into the other room.  Of course, after we nail the fly, she receives a lot of reassurance, hugs and love. 

I cannot fathom anyone taking a flyswatter to our sweet Maggie, but it is fairly obvious someone did in her past prior to coming to live with us.

The dumpster was emptied yesterday, and that was a bit of a funny thing to see. The dumpster truck driver was good; he got the dumpster emptied, even though it was piled high with lids propped open.  There were a couple of bags that ended up on top of the truck cab; he got out and up there via a ladder on the front of the truck and got those puppies down.  Yay him!

There is a Class A parked next to us that came in this afternoon.  I wonder if they leave their gray tank open because . . . whooowhee . . . there sure is a sickly-sweet sewer smell emanating from their rig. 

Did I mention I downloaded the Allstays Truck and Travel app for my iPhone?  Thought I’d give it a spin seeing as we’re more mobile these days.  I like it!  I already had the My Pilot app (we have the RV Plus Card for fuel) and I use it all the time, but the Allstays is a nice addition for showing rest stops and other truck fueling options, not to mention so many other amenities.  Right now I have the filter set for rest areas and truck fueling places and truck parking spots.

It’s a full house here tonight at Benchmark RV.  Five (or was it six?) rigs came in this afternoon.

We have both been sleeping well here.  Dave has really enjoyed cycling in the area.  Yep, we would return to this park.  It’s a nice layover.

Thanks for stopping by!