Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday was another fun day!

We are really enjoying the quietness of this CG and the wonderful 2 mile walk along the Potomac River. 

First thing this morning Ken called the garage mechanic and we are no closer to knowing what is wrong.  So, Ken called Denny, our mechanic in PA for some advice.  He was helpful, but really can't tell us what to do.  Our best solution maybe to have it towed back to PA to a garage and mechanic we trust!  Time will tell.  The saga will continue!!!

After a late breakfast, we drove to historic Fredericksburg to walk the downtown area and have lunch.  We did stop at a larger Ford Dealer to get more info regarding our truck repairs.  We could have it towed there, but not sure. 

Downtown Fredericksburg is such a history filled area concerning the Civil War and has some lovely homes.  We did eat at Brock's on the Tappahanock River.  Delicious food.

Mid afternoon Ken talked to the truck mechanic again with no new info.  He promised to called at 5:00 with more news, but of course, he never did.  We are starting to run out of time and options.  More talking with Denny back home.  We will make a decision tomorrow morning as to our course of action.

The evening was spent playing Bocce by Flashlight.  What a hoot!  The men won in "overtime".  Then we sat outside and played more Cue Me.  It ended in a 1 to 1 tie.

The Fun Continues in Colonial Beach VA Area!

Well, I haven't updated my blog since Monday, so obviously we are busy and having a good time.  The weather still continues to be rather overcast, but warm and very little rain.  (Mostly at night).  Today is the most sun we have had since arriving on Sat. 

After breakfast on Monday, we headed to the Westmoreland Berry Farm to see the goats go across the bridge that is above the road.  They come across when you send the corn up the rope in a cup to the goat platform.  Quite a sight!  Then we enjoyed an ice cream sundae made with a fresh peach sauce.  Delicious.
From there we headed to Ingleside Winery for more wine tasting.  Sam and I decided to decline and sat in the courtyard while the rest did their tasting.  Then we all shared a bottle of wine around a courtyard table. 

When leaving the winery, we stopped to take photos of the workers harvesting the grapes.  They gave us each a merlot grape to taste and they were surprising sweet!

Supper was made over an open fire.  Then the 6 of us played Sequence with the women being victorious!

Tuesday was a rather unsettled weather day, so we decided to stay at the CG and enjoy playing games, walking, etc.  Sinced the CG is closing for the season on Oct. 10th, it is almost empty and obviously no activities are scheduled.  The pool is closed and today they removed the basketball nets and took all the buildings, hazards, etc. off the so called miniature golf course.  It is in such a horrible state of repair and only 9 holes remain, but we insisted that we wanted to play anyway.  The people in the office thought we were crazy, but they didn't know how to stop us.  So 5 of us played the course 2X's.  It actually sits on the tennis court.  I don't know when we laughed so hard.  The "greens" were rippled and had holes and nothing appeared to be level, but it didn't stop us from having a good time and something to talk about for a long time.  Then the 6 of us tried shuffleboard.  Of course, the women won.

Late afternoon we had a major downpour, but if you are sitting outside having cheese, crackers, pretzels and wine, it just doesn't matter!!!!

That evening we played a board game called Cue Me, which was so much fun.  The women were victorious again.  The only downside of the day was no report on our truck repairs.  They only got it in the shop around 3:30 and they are still trying to "diagnosis" the problem.  It is getting abit frustrating, but we need to remember to "Celebrate Life Daily"!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Toured the Colonial Beach Area

Yesterday we had a very relaxing morning!  After Ken and I took a 2 mile walk, the 6 of us sat around chatting and planning our day before we started breakfast.  What a feast it was!!!!!  Delicious cinnamon raisin French Toast, bacon, and lots of fresh fruit.  After clean-up, we headed to a local hardware store to buy some mesquito repellant.  With the overcast weather and all the flooding they had in this area several weeks ago, the striped mesquitos are enjoying the area.  We have been able to be out and not be bothered too much, but as far as I am concerned, they could leave!!!!

We drove into Colonial Beach, about 8 miles from the CG.  Because of Hurricane Irene and being later in the season, it was rather deserted.  The beach really suffered a lot of erosion.  We did get to walk the "boardwalk" and have a drink at an outside bar sitting in the sand and overlooking the Potomac. 

From there we headed to Oak Crest winery for some wine tasting, for the best experience we ever had at a wine tasting.  The lady was so friendly and knowledgeable and she had the 6 of us sit at a table where she conducted our wine tasting.  We really enjoyed their port wines and all of the Hershey Kisses they offered us while we were there.  The setting was beautiful too!  An all around good experience.

We were back to the CG around 5 and the men started the fire.  Our supper was incredible - Ribs from Costco that were "to die for", baked potatoes, and fresh salads from our now famous and standard for our camping trips, salad bar!  We even had some brownies.  We are living high!!!!

At 9:30 we decided to repeat our 2 mile walk in the circle road in front of the CG.  The road really doesn't go anywhere, just in a circle but along the Potomac.  Very lovely walk.  Only 3 of us took the hike, but we definitely needed our trusty flashlights.

To bed by 10:30, but it really was a fun day.  Hoping for some sunshine, but not looking too promising until about Thursday!  Fortunately, it is not raining, so we have still been able to be outdoors.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Great Time with Deb and Barry!

We were so excited when Barry and Deb arrived at our house on Monday.  We had met them in 2009 when we stayed on Pine Island in Florida and then reconnected last year in Pine Island again.  Last year when we "moved" to the Venice area they came to our campground for a day to visit and explore the area.  Then we went to their campground at Tarpoon Springs and enjoyed that area with them for a day.  So, we were thrilled when they decided to make the drive to PA to spend a few days with us.

We spent a lot of time just chatting, but also went to numerous places around the county.  Walked the linear trail here in Ephrata and ate at the Tomato Cafe in Lititz.  

My mother was our private tour guide from 9 to 2 on Tuesday for a drive around Lancaster County.   She relayed so much information about the Amish lifestyle to us including courtship, marriage, funerals, family life, etc. She did such an exceptional job. We ate at Dienners, a small restaurant on Route 30 that offers a delicious buffet at such a reasonable price. Spent that evening at our house playing ladder golf and then 5 Crowns.

Wednesday we started the day by meeting our friends, Sam and Kathy for breakfast so we could introduce them to Barry and Deb.  We are all campers.  What a fun time! 

Then we took Deb and Barry to Hershey to tour Chocolate World, checked out the Hotel Hershey and Hershey Gardens, and then ate on the deck at the Quentin Hotel. Very good food.

Hotel Hershey

 Hotel Hershey Lobby

Hershey Park from the Hotel

Then on to Mt. Gretna to walk all around that quaint area. Ended the day with ice cream at Sonic and then another game of 5 Crowns. I think Barry may have actually enjoyed playing cards!

Ken' s family rented this cottage for a week several summers just to have a family getaway.  They only lived about 4 miles away!

They left at 9:00 this morning, Thursday, to head back to their home near Ontario.  We were sad to see them leave.  We had such a good time.  We plan to meet up again this winter in Florida and maybe sometime next year head to Canada to camp with them in their area.

Friendship is so special!!!!

Destination - Colonial Beach VA

Yesterday, Saturday, Doloris and Fred arrived at our house at 7:15 and they followed us with their rig for the drive to Colonial Beach.  We stopped right before the Maryland border on Route 83 to have breakfast at Cracker Barrel.  Definitely not a favorite of mine, but they sure are RV friendly for parking.  With the 5th wheel, sometimes our choice for stops is rather limited.  Only 1 more stop for something to drink. 

We arrived at Harbor View CG, a Thousand Trail Park, around 1:00.  Several weeks ago they have 22" of rain in a relatively short time, and the CG resembled a lake.  It is still abit "soggy", but fine!  This is another example of a park that is in need of some TLC.  There are not a lot of sites, but the CG has many acres and is in a quiet area.  Seems to be a rather depressed area.  The CG is obviously older, as most of the sites are deep, but the cement pad and the hook-ups are so close together that it is hard to get in between them.  We had to put our tires on the cement to fit into the site.  (Most have been designed for smaller rigs way back when!!!)  We had some problems getting set-up, but eventually we were level and ready for the fun to begin.  Kathy and Sam got here about an hour after us.  So, the 6 of us are looking forward to a full week of fun.  (This is the first time Fred and Doloris will be camping for an entire week!  They are so excited!)

All of us took a walk outside of the park.  It was about a 2 mile circle of nice homes that back up to the Potomac River.  No traffic on that road, since is really goes "nowhere", but around!  The men made a campfire and we had an easy supper of hamburgs and baked beans.  Then we sat around the fire chatting and called it a night around 10. 

Let the good times roll!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Final Gathering at the Rally!

Wednesday evening we had a thunderstorm with plenty of lightning while we were at the Theme Party.  It poured!!!!!  Ken and I had walked to the dinner and were thankful to get a ride back to Willie!  It rained a lot of the night.  Everything was so wet!!!

Howard and Linda had a question and answer session from 8 to 9 and then we had a catered breakfast in the meeting hall on Thursday morning.  Then they expressed their appreciation for all of us being there and there were lots of tears and hugs as we said our goodbyes to all the new friends that we made especially George and Jean, Jim and Cindy, Bonnie and Richard, Neil and Nancy, Ray and Carol, Leesa and Gary, and Connie and Kurt and of course, Howard and Linda.  They are such special people who are so real and honest.  Their life on the road really is an open book.  They share everything, even their entire budget.  They are definitely living their dream and hope everyone else realizes it can be done - you just have to believe and take the "leap".
Jim and Cindy

Ray and Carol

Richard and Bonnie
Howard and Linda
Howard and Linda ended the Rally with the Rascal Flatts song "My Wish".  More tears shed! 
Ken and I spent from 11 to 5:30 at the RV Show at the Giant Center.  It was a very cloudy, cool and breezy day, but we had fun!  Actually met up with my sister, Cindy and her husband John.  They are excited about RVing in several years.  We also chatted with many of the folks we met at the Rally.  After touring dozens of rigs, we are very happy with our 5th wheel choice, an Open Range.  It really suits our style of RVing!
We started packing up Willie when we returned, but everything was still fairly wet.  Made an easy supper inside and then Bonnie and Richard came to visit.  We enjoyed our 2 hours together. 

Ken and I were on our way home by 8 AM today, Friday.  We would have enjoyed staying another day to visit with some of the folks, but I had a 10 AM Dr. appt. and we had to return home.

This was some of the best monies we have ever spent!  Howard and Linda do an amazing job and we would recommend that if you have the opportunity to attend their Rally, make it a priority.  You'll be glad you did!!!!!

Wednesday at the Rally! Our Last Full Day!!!

Couldn't believe this was the final full day of the Rally!  It has gone by so quickly!

Linda showing us the custom changes they made to their rig!

We began classes today at 8, because we had so much to cover.  Howard led the session on "Internet on the Road", followed by "Choosing Campgrounds/RV Parks, which can be more involved than you think.  Important to find ones that fit with your lifestyle!  Then to continue on our theme of full-timing we had a class on "Selecting a Home Base and Insurance Considerations", since all full-timers have to be a resident of some state.  Kyle Henson, a fellow rally attendee, did a session on Medicare Basics, which Ken stayed to listen to.  I headed back to Willie to get ready for the afternoon "tour of RV Rigs".  There were about 20 RV's open which was fun for those of us who have RV's and fun and informative for those folks who are planning to buy a new one or their 1st one. 

Before the Open Rig's, the ladies had the opportunity to learn how to braid the bottom edge of a t-shirt.  Fun and very simple.  Howard did a demonstration of his inflatable kayak made by Sea Eagle.  Ken and I both took a "test run".  Ken had asked Howard if he would do a demonstration of it on the small pond and many people had an interest.  We had been considering buying one for quite awhile.  We both thought it handled well and liked how easily it inflated and deflated.  Storage would be so easy!

We met at 6 for a delicious catered dinner with the theme of Red, White and Blue.  I had another chance to wear my special peace sunglasses.  (Amazing what you can buy at Dollar Tree for only $1.00!!!!)  Linda and Howard had a disc jockey for the evening and he had some fun activites and many folks enjoyed dancing.  Linda, Bonnie, and Jean seemed to have the most fun!!!!!  No visiting that evening - we were all too tired!!!!!
Ken following Linda's Lead!!
My famous $1.00 sunglasses!
Leesa has the Spirit!!
Linda loves to dance and sing.

More on The RV-Dreams Rally

We were so busy at the Rally that I got "behind" on my posting!  Just couldn't find the time to sit at the computer!!!

Tuesday was another informative and fun-filled day and more friends were made everytime we got together.  We all met at the meeting hall at 9 to begin our sessions.  Today's topics included "Buying an RV - Pros, Cons and Must Haves. We talked about the different types and the "must haves" for a full-timing rig.  Then we discussed "Weight and Tire Safety" and then Jack Enfield from Mor/Ryde talked about Suspension Systems.  (I left that one for Ken so I could go back to Willie to get my potluck dishes ready for that night.)  The afternoon session was "Boondocking'Solar" which I found interesting, but I am not too excited to RV without water and electric.  I can handle no sewer, but not having the other 2 could be a "stretch" for me!!!! 

That evening was a delicious potluck dinner with such a wide range of foods.  Then we played the RV-Dreams version of the popular television game show, Family Feud.   Howard and Linda had asked questions regarding RVing on their website and used the answers from 100's of RVers for the show.  It was so much fun.  Ken was the leader of his team, the Open Rangers, and they were the Champions!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Our Rally Day on Monday!

The Rally seminars and the 1st full day began on Monday.  Again, Ken had a short night's sleep - still so excited!!  We were at the seminar location by 8:45 for the beginning class at 9.  We are starting to know folks by name and it is a delight to be spending so much time with fellow campers who enjoy the same things and can share so much information including places they have been.  There are only about 8 couples who are fulltiming and several of them only began in the last 6 months or so.  Numerous attendees have very little camping experience and came here to gather information before they buy their rigs.  It is so much fun to see their enthusiasm.  (It was where we were not very long again - about 3 1/2 years).

The topics in the morning classes were "No Right Way to Full-time - Evaluating the Options, the "Emotional Aspects of the Full-timing Decision", and "What Does it Cost to Full-time".  Even if you have been camping for years, there is always new things to learn.  We had a short recess for lunch and then a 1 1/4 hour class on "Working on the Road".  We talked about workamping jobs.

We had free time from 3 to 6, so we were able to chat with some of our new friends, play some cards, and then each person took their own picnic meal to the meeting hall to enjoy supper together.  After dinner Howard showed a short silly video of "unique" RV's from days gone by and cartoons regarding camping experiences.  Then we shared gadgets or items in our RV's that attendees have "invented" or items we just wouldn't want to be without!  Linda shared her cast iron pie maker and I was able to add my recipe for cinnamon buns and snakes on sticks.  It was a fun evening.

Afterwards, Jean and George stopped by "Willie" to see photos from our trip to Acadia, since they plan to head there in a week or so.  We had a nice time visiting and sharing experiences.

Earlier today we received 2 free passes to the Hershey RV Show at the Giant Center.  Linda and Howard planned this Rally to coincide with the show.  What a great thing for those folks who are looking to buy an RV in the near future.  They will be so educated on what to look for when puchasing their 1st, 2nd or 3rd rig!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The 1st day of the RV-Dreams Rally

Ken was awake for over 2 1/2 hours during the night. (I guess he was so excited for the Rally to begin).  He has wanted to attend one of their Rallies for several years, but it never coordinated with our schedules or it was not near PA.  When we were in Florida this past winter, Howard and Linda had posted that they were coming to the Hershey area in September and Ken signed up the 1st day he read about it while we were still in Florida.  So, he has been anticipating this for over 6 months.

After we ate breakfast, Ken and I decided to take a walk around the campground.  It really is a very nice area.  The sites are large and level and the CG is so spacious.  There are many amenities and most are in good repair.  They have numerous park models for rent that are furnished and adorable.  During our walk we stopped and chatted with Jean and George who are hoping to be full-timing in the very near future.  We spent 45 minutes talking with them and had such a good time.  When like minded RVer's start chatting there is so much to talk about. 

At noon we headed to the building where the Rally seminars and meals will be held to help with registration.  We assisted with set-up from noon to 1:30 and then from 2 to 5 we actually helped with the registration of the RVer's.  It was fun to talk with these folks and see their enthusiasm for the RVing lifestyle.  At 6 we all got together for a simple catered meal of pulled pork, one of my favorites, baked beans, potato salad, and corn on the cob. We ate across from Nancy and Neil, RVer's who live in East Petersburg, only about 15 minutes from our home in Akron.  They are getting ready to sell their home and live full-time in their RV.  They are so excited to follow their dream.  After dinner we had a get acquainted time, a video remembering 9/ll, and then a silly team challenge where we get to know even more of the attendees.  It was a fun evening.  Linda and Howard have a way of making the atmosphere light, informative, and fun all at the same time.  We know we will learn so much here, not only from Howard and Linda, but from all the RVer's.  Everyone has stories to tell!!!!

Tomorrow the seminars begin and new friendships will be created.  It is a great adventure!!!

RV Dreams Rally at Thousand Trails near Hershey!

Hi Everyone!

We arrived at the Rally yesterday, Saturday, 1 day before the Rally officially began.  Up until 3 days ago, Howard and Linda (the coordinators) were not sure the rally would be possible because of all the rain and flooding in the area.  The CG did not have electric, water or sewer for 2 days, but all was up and running by Friday night.  So, Ken and I decided to head to the Rally early to see if we could be of assistance and let's be honest, to get a good camping site.  We had to come by way of the turnpike, since Route 322 was closed at  Pumping Station Road.  We arrived around 12:30 and met Howard and Linda as soon as we got here.  What a great couple.  She is such a bubbly person with a contagious smile.  Howard is abit more reserved, but the perfect compliment to Linda.  Ken has been following their blog, for the last 6 years ever since they started full-timing.  They have an extremely friendly blog where you can follow their adventures and then go into their forum and ask questions.  Their followers are happy to reply and help you with any concerns you may have. So, we were so excited to actually meet them, since we felt like we already knew them.

After getting set-up, we walked around the campground and then I spent over an hour chatting with Linda in her "rig", a 39' 5th wheel.  What a fun time!

After we ate our dinner outside of Willie, the folks that had already arrived for the Rally met at Howard and Linda's site around a campfire to introduce ourselves, chat, ask questions, and then volunteer to help with tomorrow's registration.  We met many great people and had a fun evening with like minded folks.

This Rally is geared for folks who do alot of traveling and are considering going full-time.  There are about 6 couples here that are already full-timing, as their RV serves as their home.  They have all sold or are renting out their stick and brick homes.  Interesting!!!!!!

Tomorrow, Sunday, begins the actual Rally.  We can hardly wait.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Family Vacation in Bethany Beach Delaware

Last fall, we planned a week family vacation at a Condo near Bethany Beach for the 2nd week in August.  Little did we know that Hurricane Irene would decide to hit the east coast the latter part of that week.

We left on a Saturday and had to "sneak" our luggage, etc. into the car without Willie (our 5th wheel) noticing.  He was so upset that he wasn't a part of this trip.  Jamie, Dane, and our 2 granddaughters arrived on Sunday as they had a wedding to attend on Saturday night.  Lanie, Bob, and our other 2 granddaughters arrived on Tuesday.  We had such a good time on the beach, enjoying the local playgrounds, and spending time on the boardwalk at Rehobeth Beach.  The little ones loved the rides in the arcade on the boardwalk.  The rides are so inexpensive and they have so many that are good for the age of our little ones - 4 years, 2 at 2 years, and 4 months.  (Katelyn, the 4 month old slept through all the activity on a bench with her daddy!) 

On Thursday, the news started talking about Hurricane Irene in detail and that it may become mandatory to leave the beach areas.  Jamie suggested 1st thing in the morning that we fill ourselves with caffeine because no one was allowed to go to bed early tonight - we were having a hurricane party after the little ones went to bed.  By mid afternoon Ocean City announced that there would be a mandatory evacuation started at midnight.  After discussions, we decided to head out around 7:30 PM to avoid the crowds of people that would be leaving.  With 4 little girls, they did not want to get in long lines of traffic and increasing the time needed to get back home.  Turned out to be a good decision, for people who left the next day took about 9 hours to return to our area.  It only took us 3 1/2 hours the night before.  The caffeine was helpful for the drive, but we were sad to miss the planned party and to have to cut short our family vacation!  We really had such a good time and Ken and I love spending one on one time with our girls, son-in-laws, and those precious little granddaughters.