Sunday, May 30, 2010

We’re in Gloucester, Virginia


Sunday, May 30, 2010                                                                                                      Lorraine’s report

Happy Memorial Day to all our Veterans, their families and friends; without our Veterans, our freedom wasn’t free, and to all those men and women still serving, we thank you for your service to our country.

Well, another week has flown by. We are in Gloucester, VA at Thousand Trails. This is one of the nicest TT we have been in. It is out in the county, away from railroads, busy freeways and airports, so it’s really quiet.

Last Sunday we were on the road from Myrtle Beach, SC, heading out to New Bern, NC. That day at least 3 drivers tried to take us out, one right after we got on the road. We were on the interstate when this big Cadillac pulled right in front of us, going very slowly.  Chuck laid on the air horn, but she (a white haired older woman) just kept going slowly, not speeding up but I bet her heartbeat was faster. There were two more incidents just like that, both were taking on their phones and were not paying attention to driving. There are times I wonder how these people got their licenses.

We pulled into Moon Lake RV Park in New Bern, NC; set up, washed bugs; same old routine. We spent a quiet evening in, with a home cooked meal.

Monday we went to explore New Bern. New Bern is a small, quaint old town that looks just like many others around here. It just celebrated it 300th birthday. We parked and walked around town. This town has painted bears all over, we found several.

We went into their church, Christ Episcopal Church, which was finished around 1750. Inside we had a guide that told and showed us interesting aspects of the church; it was a beautiful, old church with tons of history, very nice.

Across the street is the drug store where Pepsi Cola was invented by Caleb Bradham in 1898.

From there we took a drive to the end of the peninsula we were on; it was a great day for a drive and we enjoyed the many new sights. We spent a quiet evening home, I watched the last episode of 24, I am going to miss that show.

Tuesday we left New Bern and headed north to Gloucester, VA. It was a good thing because the Thousand Trails we are in was almost full, and it wasn’t even the Memorial Day holiday yet. We did our normal routine, setting up, etc. Now the TT is full with the weekends all here with their families.

Wednesday I asked Chuck to take me to a walk in clinic. I hurt my back about a month ago, and the pain wasn’t going away. In fact, it was hurting more and so was the area around my liver. The doc did blood work/x-rays and gave me a strong pain pill and said to rest. We stayed home Thursday, Friday, and I rested.

Wednesday night at 3 am, we had a big thunder/lightening rain storm come through here. The lightening hit really close to the coach, there was a big crack that woke us both up, then, the rain started.

Saturday we walked over to the activities center for breakfast, it was good.

After, we headed off to a Pow Wow in Central Garage, VA, put on by the Upper Mattaponi tribe. They had a very nice salute to all Veterans attending. We stayed a couple of hours watching the dancing. The afternoon temperature was about 95 and 65% humidity. We both got too hot and need to be in air conditioning, so we left. I enjoyed the costumes, dancing, and the drumming. It was similar to the ones we’ve attended out west; I enjoyed the event.

Today, we again walked over to the activities center for another good breakfast. We hope to tour some part of what they call the triangle area, Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. There are so many things to see and do, it should be interesting.

A big “Thank You” to Joy and Rick, for sending me the package, I appreciate your kindness!

Until next time, Lorraine


5/30/2010                                                                                                                           Chuck’s report

First off, Happy Memorial Day to one and all.  After all the grief I caught on missing Mothers’ Day by a week, I had to check to be sure but it is tomorrow.  Thanks to all the ones who are serving now, those veterans who have served and especially all those who have paid the ultimate price so we can enjoy our freedoms.  There are some who would want to take away our freedoms, we must be ever vigilant to protect them.

Yep, we’ve made it as far as Virginia, the first time here for both of us.  We are at a 1000 Trails park, plan on staying here for two weeks.  The prior three weeks we acted like we were on vacation, trying to see and do a lot in a few days.  At least we will be here for two weeks and hope to get back in the slower paced retired mode. 

Last Monday we decided to tour the area around New Bern, NC.  We went into town and and of course toured a very nice Church while there.  The town has a bunch of bear statues painted by individuals and businesses set around town where you can take a walking tour to see them.  Of course, it just so happens that you pass by most of the business section of town while walking.  We only stopped at a couple of places, one was the birthplace of Pepsi Cola, not too much there except for a small soda fountain and some souvenir tee shirts, cups. pictures etc.  We have been to the birthplace of Coca Cola in Atlanta and they have a much bigger place there.

We then drove down to the beach area a few miles South.  We both like the area around here, lots of trees, grass, bushes and flowers, somewhat like back home in Washington.  Also, I guess I wasn’t expecting to see so many undeveloped areas, I figured we would see town after town. 

Lorraine tripped in a pot hole about a month ago and has been favoring her back ever since.  After we got here, I took her to a walk-in clinic to get checked out.  They took some X-rays and checked her out, prescribed some pain pills and rest.  So we took time off to just sit around the rest of the day on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  We did take a walking tour of Gloucester on Wednesday before we came home however.  Once again, there is a lot of history here although they talk more about the Revolutionary War than the Civil War.  I guess I enjoy Civil War history more but still we will do some Revolutionary War exploring while here next week.

On Saturday, Lorraine and I went over to the activity center here for breakfast, we like to support the campground when/where we can.  Afterward, we drove North a few miles to King William to visit the Upper Mattaponi Indian area and attend their Pow-Wow.  Even though we brought chairs and a beach umbrella, it soon got too hot for us so we left after a couple of hours.  I was taken by how similar their drums, dances and songs are to the Indians in the Southwest and West.  Their regalia was noticeably different however.  I will attach a few pictures to show that. 

This 1000 Trails campground is probably one of the nicest we have stayed at, the other good ones are along the Oregon coast.  They have a fairly large area set up with 50 amp electrical service for the ones who need it and charge $3/day extra for that.  But with this being a long Holiday weekend, most of the sites are full and there are lots of smaller rigs in these 50 sites.  Some of these smaller rigs don’t need/can’t use 50 amp so they just don’t have it turned on.  But with them taking a “Big Rig Site” it forces some of the big rigs to take a smaller site in a different area of the campground, some of them can’t fit in the site and stick out into the road.  We’re glad we got here a couple of days early so we could get the site we have.

It’s been awhile since we’ve “camped”, guess it was when we took our children with us and had campfires and smores.  Since we’ve started fulltiming, Lorraine likes to say we aren’t camping, its just a different lifestyle we live now.  But this weekend we are surrounded by lots of families that are camping.  There is loud music, lots of kids running around and riding their bikes, having fun and getting into things  and lots of folks just riding around in their golf carts and four wheelers.  We haven’t seen any accidents yet but we have seen some close calls.  The rangers were out all afternoon trying to get the kids on bikes, the cars, golf carts and four wheelers to slow down and be safe.  And of course I have seen/heard some partying going on into the late hours by some of the adults.  Last night there was a DJ playing music at the activity center, we chose to stay away from that.  I’ll be glad when the long weekend is over and we get back to mostly having people who are RVing rather than camping around us.  But I bet some of my actions in the past are the kind that bother me now, boy its sucks to get old and grouchy. 

So today we plan to do a bit of exploring, not sure how busy the area will be with the long weekend but we’ll see.  At the least, we can have one of the old fashioned Sunday afternoon drives and see the countryside.  It’s a tough life but we manage.  

Our plan has us staying here for another week before moving on the Washington DC area.  I think we will be there for a bit more than a week then possibly move on to another 1000 Trails park just North of Atlantic City in New Jersey.  At least that’s what we are thinking today, all of that is due to change as/if we change our minds.  

And now for some pictures. 

Scenery pictures while we were driving.

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On the right are two men selling their crafts alongside the road.

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The bears of New Bern.  Lots of cities and towns have different statues that are painted and set around town.  Here they also painted some of the fire hydrants too. 

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We passed three different restaurants named after my brother-in-law.  John, why didn’t you tell us you were owner of a chain of restaurants??

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We’ve seen lots of signs like this saying Washington was here or Washington slept here. 


Driving into the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge and Tunnel.  I know we’ve seen this place in movies before.
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At the Pow-Wow.

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So once again, our week in review. 

Thanks   Chuck

Monday, May 24, 2010

We’re in New Bern, North Carolina


Sunday, May 23, 2010                                                                                                 Lorraine’s report

Last Sunday, we were in Titusville, Florida. I tried to go to church at the Great Outdoors Church, but misunderstood the sign in front. I thought it said services at 9 and 10:15, but it said service was from 9 to 10:15, so I just caught the last part of the service.

From there we decided to make it a slower day and drove north on A1A to explore Merritt Island. We chose a beautiful day for the drive; it was in the mid 80’s, very few clouds in a beautiful, blue sky. We found Merritt Island full of people enjoying the beaches and plenty of different kinds of birds. All in all it was a wonderful day.

We left the Space Coast in Florida on Monday morning and went to Hardeeville RV Park which is just outside of Savannah, GA. We set up, did laundry, Chuck washed bugs from the windshield; then studied brochures on what to see and do in Savannah. Talk about a bunch of stuff to do for just about anyone or anything you like.

Tuesday we were up and off to take the Old Town Trolley Tour of Savannah. We lucked out and had a wonderful tour driver named Hollywood. He really made our tour fun, singing, telling us wonderful stories of the history of Savannah; we stayed the whole way through the entire tour, then started over and got off at his suggested places to go.

We saw and heard about the Andrew Low House, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the City Market, the First African Baptist Church, the Juliet Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of America, her birthplace and home, the Telfair Academy and so much more. We saw various types of architecture, such as Colonia, Federal Style, Greek Revival, and English Regency, just to name a few. We learned that showing of a lady’s ankle was a no-no so proper homes had two staircases in them, one for men to climb and the other strictly for women. The Catholic Church was a beautiful place to see.

Following our tour, we went home, took Misty out, then headed out to Tybee Island to see and walk in the Atlantic Ocean. Tybee Island was a small island filled with beautiful homes, condos and apartments. To go to the beach you had to pay at the meter for the amount of time you were going to stay, 24/7 365 days a year; the same for shopping in town. There were lots of people shopping and at the beach.

Dinner was at the Crab Shack, where I tried the Lowland Boil, which is prawns, crawdads, mussels, shrimp, Jonah Crab, Snow Crab, sausage, corn and potatoes, all served on a big platter; it was a good food following a great day.

Wednesday we left Savannah and went on into Hollywood, SC which is by Charleston, SC to the Lake Aire RV Park. Same routine, Chuck washed the front end, top and windshield, I fixed dinner.

Thursday Chuck finished washing the coach. I did laundry; then we went into Charleston, stopping at a Welcome Center. We discovered we could get 3 attraction tickets from a guy there if we went to a travel club presentation of approximately one hour. We signed up, chose our attractions and off we went to the presentation. Of course we told them “No” at the presentation, collected our tickets and started using the free tickets for the tours.

The first tickets got us on a Carriage tour of Old Charleston. The driver was well informed and knew his stuff. We didn’t know that the city of Savannah charged $.50 per person, plus $3.00 per buggy each time they took people out for a tour, and that they had 3 different routes to take tourists on, and they used a lottery system each tour. Fortunately, we drew Old Town and the Harbor. It was very warm and our buggy was crowded, 13 on board. We learned a lot about Charleston, or on a sign we saw, Chuck Town, saw historical homes, churches, squares, and oak trees with Spanish Moss hanging from them.

From there we were right by the Market; this is where slaves who worked on the plantations went to sell their wares, made on the plantations, with their owner’s blessings. We enjoyed looking through the market.

Charleston is where you go to get your Sweet Grass baskets. The coiled sweet grass basket is a historically significant example of African Cultural heritage that was brought by the slaves when they came across the ocean. Sweet grass basket weaving was considered a gift from God. The craft was handed down from generation to generation and is usually learned in childhood. Basket makers pledge to continue their traditional craft making as long as there are materials available to use.

Friday we were up early again headed for our second tour, Ft. Sumter. This tour involved catching a ferry boat that took you out into the bay to the island Ft. Sumter is on. It is about a 35 minute ferry ride. We took the noon boat. It was pretty crowded, not only with tourists, with lots of school children. But the day was warm, around 90 by noon with humidity about 50-60%. The Cooper River was calm, with a slight breeze blowing, the skies a nice blue.

Ft. Sumter was held by the Union at the entrance of Charleston harbor. When the South demanded that the north vacate Ft. Sumter, the North refused. South Carolina, which was the first state to leave the union and become part of the Confederacy, finally fired on Ft. Sumter on April 12, 1861. This started a two day bombardment that resulted in the surrender of the fort by the Union troops. This was the start of the Civil War.

During that time the fort was under siege for almost 2 years. 46,000 shells, estimated at more than seven million pounds of metal were fired at Ft. Sumter. Most of the fort was reduced to rubble from 5 foot thick walls. For those reasons and more, Ft. Sumter remains one of the most significant historic monuments in US History.

Following that tour we went home, took Misty out, then headed back out. Our destination was the Magnolia Plantation and Garden tour, the third free ticket. The Magnolia Plantation has been in one family, the Drayton family continuously since 1676. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

We arrived in time to take the narrated 4:30 tour of the big house. The guide was full of information about the times, the customs, the land, etc. We then wandered out into the gardens. There were not many flowers blooming, just lots of green leaves, green algae on the water, green trees, all pretty, but not we expected. We were disappointed.

Saturday we left Charleston and headed to Myrtle Beach, SC. Myrtle Beach was full of people, there was some sort of old car rally going on. I couldn’t believe the number of hotels there were on the beach. Of course, I had to put my feet into the water again. It sure is warm water compared to the Pacific.

So that takes us to today, we left Myrtle Beach and headed to New Bern, NC, the Moon Lake RV Park.

Until next time….Lorraine

5/23/2010                                                                                                                        Chuck’s report

Boy what a week!  Seems like we’ve been touring cities and learning history continuously, so much so that it all runs together.  We visited Savannah and Charleston, both are very fine cities with Charleston being the big brother, so to speak.  Both towns have lots of history, going all the way back to before the Revolutionary War.  What with war, fires, earthquakes and hurricanes, most of the really old building are gone.  We took tours in both cities and the facts, figures and dates are sort of scrambled around inside my head.  I will not attempt to discuss all those, I hope Lorraine does so in her report. 

On Monday we left Titusville, having been there a week.  When we roughly planned our itinerary for this portion of our trip, we didn’t know about the space shuttle launch and didn’t have any time scheduled for it.  But we really wanted to see a launch and figured we would cut short some of our time in other places here in the East.  

We wanted to visit Savannah and found a nice campground just North of city in Hardeeville, SC.  We also drove over to Tybee Island one afternoon.  We really only had a day and a half here before we left on Wednesday to Charleston, SC so we were on the go most of the time. 

When we got to our campground in Charleston I was able to wash to coach, it has been awhile and it was pretty dirty.  We stayed here three days and once again we were on the go for two of those days. 

On Saturday we headed to Myrtle Beach, SC and were only there for the one day.  Now no one can say they’ve toured and seen Savannah, Charleston and Myrtle Beach in a week, we are no exception.  We really enjoyed our time in South Carolina and hope to return for a more lengthy stay sometime in the future. 

We had an unusual, at least for us, travel day today, Sunday.  We are going to stay in New Bern tomorrow to see what we can before heading out on Tuesday morning.  About all I know about New Bern is Pepsi Cola was invented here.  There is also lots of history we will be checking out here, there were some major Civil War battles in the area.  So another busy day for tomorrow for us.   

From here we are planning on one day stop in Virginia Beach, Virginia then we are going to Gloucester, VA. for a two week stay over Memorial Day and the following week.  After that, we plan on heading to Washington DC for our first visit there.  So we will be doing more touring and exploring in the next three weeks, although not as fast as this week was for us however. 

The weather has been just short of fabulous, a bit warmer than I would like, getting into the 90s most days.  And the humidity is high, seems like I break a sweat just walking.  But, I will take this over the weather back in Washington this time of the year, some days their highs are only in the 50s and they just had a big winter type wind storm.  I’ll take the 90s with a cool breeze. 

And now for some pictures, culled from the 1000 that Lorraine took this week. 

The waving girl on the banks of the harbor in Charleston.  Story is, she had a sailor boyfriend who said he would return, she met and waved to each ship that came up the river for 44 years, waiting for her boyfriend to return.  Aren’t we men full of lies!


Random pictures of some parks in Savannah. 

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Church in Savannah.

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Tiles on the sidewalk in Savannah, notice the one for Forrest Gump.

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The bridge in Charleston, a smaller one of the same style is in Savannah. 

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On our buggy ride in Charleston.

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Sweetgrass baskets on display. 


Tour to Fort Sumter on the passenger ferry.  The is where the Civil War started.  South Carolina was the first state to succeed from the Union, right after Lincoln was elected. 

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At Magnolia Gardens, we were a bit late to see all the flowers in bloom.

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Some of the building and architecture in Savannah and Charleston.   

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Notice the colors of the houses along rainbow row in Savannah. 

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Rainbow row in Charleston.  One of the colors was called “H’aint Blue” because it ain’t blue and it ain’t green.  Supposedly, that is a true paint color and you can find it at Lowes.

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That’s a wrap, more next week.

Thanks   Chuck