Guess there is a LOT to catch up – since we haven’t posted since our Summer 2017 trip to the Canadian Maritimes! We did spend a couple of months last winter in Florida, which confirmed several things for us. The results are seen in our current and future plans.
During the summer of 2017, we were able to purchase the wooded area (~1 acre) across the Little River from our home in the mountains for a home for Contessa. There is no way we could take her across the one-lane bridge, dirt road & driveway onto our home property, but with her “directly behind” us, we are set. Of course, the land needed to be cleared sufficiently, a parking pad of gravel built, electric and septic tank installed and well drilled. Some got accomplished while we were gone, but the final task of well drilling wasn’t completed until September of this year.
While in Florida, we began to accept that the reality of Florida as a winter destination for us had passed its allure. Having lived there for 25+ years, the sense of adventure was long gone and while we enjoy visiting friends, our wanderlust is seeking more. As well, our initial plan of north in the summer, south in the winter and “home in the mountains” for spring & fall had some holes in the thinking. Specifically, if you want to go northwest in the summer, it takes many months to get there! So…… we are on the road to California!
Contessa pulled out of her summer home about 11:00a on Tuesday, October 30 – just as we had planned. Admiral Jann just MAY plan a bit too much, but at least we know where we are going and when – and that someplace will be leaving a light on for us when we arrive!
Contessa on her parking pad – and the new shed that covers the well head
First stop was a whopping 35 miles away, but with closing the cabin, stops for fuel, weight & balance and tire pressure adjustment, it made the most sense to take our time, stop in town for a few last hugs and then have dinner with Dear Friend/Sister Nancy Weir!
Contessa in the beauty of Fall Colors – Flat Rock NC
Wednesday started early for us – and earlier than we like as it was still dark. Only the opportunity to have breakfast with dear friend, George Richardson, would have us creeping out of the park in the dark. The reward was a glorious ride down US25 as the sun came up over the mountains and the colors were spectacular.
Walmart provided the parking lot, George provided the local transportation, Waffle House provided the breakfast – and a good time was had by all! We were back on the road by 10a with a destination of Lake Allatoona, north of Atlanta. Captain Bill decided that the struggling starter battery really needed to be replaced. Dealing with these types of queries is so easy with internet & cell phone service – so off we went to Open Road RV just a few miles north of our final destination. Of course, it was two batteries – but they had them! And, of course, Captain Bill reminded the Admiral that the two batteries and installation was less than half of one Ivory Lady battery – and she had eight!
Our destination at Allatoona Landing was motivated by being close to Cousins Ken & Linda Ratts, but also to meet Haley Stewart, daughter-in-law of our dear friends, Jill & Danny Stewart from our home Church, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Brevard. Haley was a delight and we had an opportunity to spend a bit of time with her each of the two evenings we were there.
Contessa @ Allatoona Landing, the train just outside the campground (we love the sound of it!) and Bill, Haley & Crash with ball to throw!
We also had great visits with Ken & Linda, as well as daughter Megan, daughter Samantha and her guy, Zach. Lots of family talk – and hopes for a Ratts Reunion in North Carolina next June.
On Friday, Contessa & Crew departed – this time in the daylight – with a destination of Helena, AL and a visit with Nephew Jim Davis. It was an uneventful journey that kept us out of Atlanta rush hour and an arrival at Cherokee Campground about 2:00p. Keeping with our desired travel of 3-3-3, we went less than 300 miles, arrived before 3p and stayed at least 3 days.
It was a lovely long weekend with Jim, spending time in his home as his first family visitors since he moved here in January to join Warrior Mining, following completion of his Masters work at Virginia Tech. We toured Helena, which is a quaint “old town” with a GREAT pub for lunch. We journeyed to Tuscaloosa to see the University of Alabama campus (on a Sunday) and have lunch at Avenue Pub, owned by the Craig, son of our dear friend Laura Oxman in Brevard.
Jim’s home, breakfast prepared by Jim, pictures from the Train Museum, Goodfella’s Pub-Helena and Avenue Pub-Tuscaloosa
Today we headed out early, but thanks to “standard time” we had morning light. Everything was going according to plan until Captain Bill said, “OK, here we go with the power cord retraction” and nothing happened! A check of fuses (MANY) with no obvious resolution then led to the Captain having to hand-roll the power cord into the coach.
This was one of our longer days with 289 miles to Picayune MS. We had sporadic rain but, thankfully, I-59 is a much less “loaded” interstate so the travel was relatively easy. We pulled into SunRoamers RV Resort before 1:00p to a lovely site – and a business card for a Mobile RV Service. Kenny & Jeremy arrived by mid-afternoon and, with the help of Captain Bill, identified the issue with the power cord retraction motor – it had “lost” its ground. Whew! It was an easy and inexpensive permanent solution and we are ready to head to New Orleans tomorrow.
So, some of you may be wondering — CALIFORNIA? As we considered warm locals for the winter and a way to “see the west”, we made a trip to Indio/Palm Springs area in early March. The trip had a two-fold purpose – visit friends, Bob & Sue Grote, and investigate whether we wanted to winter 2018/2019 in that area. At the end of the weekend, we had purchased an RV site in the same community that Bob & Sue also own!
We returned in May and contracted to have some exterior work done to make the unit more outdoor hospitable – we are excited to see the results in just a few weeks!
So, tomorrow we will roll into New Orleans and connect with Bob & Sue. We’ll travel west together – prepare for a winter of sun and exploring a portion of our fabulous country where Bill & I have spent precious little time.