A Camping Trip, 50-days in our RV, Travel and Camping Tips.


A Summer of Camping, Day-0

OK, as you all know, my wife and I are avid Campers and we have been sitting around for several months now at our home-base, just twiddling our thumbs. And I have to admit that a certain amount of cabin fever has set in with us.

Sure, if you read my Blogs and other articles on camping you already know we live in Florida. And if we already live in such a Tropical Paradise, you might just ask why we are leaving the area for several months to go somewhere else.

 

Well, Camping is camping and we addicts need to get out and see some different things every now and then, it’s in our blood, I guess, this wanderlust of ours.

You see, this country of ours is so fantastically varied and there is always another great thing to see just around the next corner.

I have to tell you that we have never been bored searching for new sights that amaze us.

Anyway, we will be on the road for a while, and even though we are only hitting the Southeast from Virginia and on down through Florida, we will be documenting this trip for those of you who might be interested.

So, we have loaded up our RV with our clothes canned goods, electrical accessories, and our Freezer is making Ice. This little ting, called adequate Ice is an important one to my wife and I.

Wherever we go, we like to settle in for the afternoon and evening with a cold beverage in our hands as we socialize with just ourselves or maybe a fellow camper or two.

Ice in the freezer and and a fridge full of food and an adequate amount of beer and Wine make us feel we are prepared to travel “in comfort”.

So, just for those of you who might want to check in on us and our adventure, we are loaded up and ready to pull out in the morning.

Next Stop Three Flags CG in Wildwood Florida

Keep up, I’m sure something will go to Hell once or twice and on the other hand, something wonderful will happen to us as we travel.

by Don Bobbitt, June 17,2016

A Summer of Camping, Day-1

We had a longer drive today than we normally do, and as we left Wildwood Florida on our next leg to the TT Campground near Yemassee, South Carolina. Right at 300 miles of crappy roads and small towns, today.

As to the TT CG, honestly, I’ve used this campground for many years, mostly because it’s almost exactly half the way between my home in Florida and my hometown of lynchburg, Virginia. And, it’s right off of I-95 at exit 33.

But, we only stay here one night, mostly because there is absolutely nothing to do within 15 or more miles of the CG.

But, again, the sites are nearly all pull through with full hookups. That means easy in and easy out the next morning.

Well, now that I think about it, there is a Best Western within walking distance of the CG, and it does have a Denny’s restaurant, but that’s it other than a McDonalds/gas station and a Wendy’s.

Oh BTW, there is a walking path around a small pond on the CG property and the entrance street to the CG doesn’t have hardly any traffic, other than fellow campers, making it relatively safe to walk.

So, Helen and I got in a couple of miles of exercise to get rid of the kinks after that drive, before we settled down for the evening.

I did take a few pictures of wildflowers along the road, but the one I show here is a bundle of Carolina Pine Cones hanging down in the Southern sunshine.

I will get online and try to identify the flowers. A few are Honeysuckle blooms, but the other ones are a bit curious.

by Don Bobbitt, June, 2016

Yeah, I kind of promised to give a daily report on our Summer of Camping, but honestly, at times, doing anything to a schedule becomes a problem when you are on the road.

First of all, I wrote posts on the first three days on my personal site called Meanderings. Click on this link to catch up, if you wish.

So, in the future , I’ll be combining multiple days at a time, hopefully to keep what I write fresh and interesting to my readers.

To catch you up, we’ve been camping in RV’s for a lot of years and one thing that you will often do on longer camping trips, is change your travel plans.

There cam be any of hundreds of reasons for changing your plans, but that’s the great thing about RV travels, you are free to go wherever you want, whenever you want and a route change to see something more interesting is not uncommon.

Our first couple of days had been planned to be a series of several short hops to campgrounds that are only 3 to 4 hours apart.

Our thoughts were that this kind of travel plan would be less of a physical strain on the two of us and thus we would enjoy the overall trip more.

Anyway, after our first two hops we re-examined our travel plans and I changed several things for saving a day of travel.

Our next hop was supposed to be in a KOA Kampground near Lumberton NC, and it, like the past two overnight stays, was just a place for us to hookup, eat dinner and get a good nights sleep before making it to our destination in Lynchburg, VA.

Summer of camping Day-2

We had a longer drive today than we normally do, and as we left Wildwood Florida on our next leg to the TT Campground near Yemassee, South Carolina. Right at 300 miles of crappy roads and small towns, today.

As to the TT CG, honestly, I’ve used this campground for many years, mostly because it’s almost exactly half the way between my home in Florida and my hometown of lynchburg, Virginia. And, it’s right off of I-95 at exit 33.

But, we only stay here one night, mostly because there is absolutely nothing to do within 15 or more miles of the CG.

But, again, the sites are nearly all pull through with full hookups. That means easy in and easy out the next morning.

Well, now that I think about it, there is a Best Western within walking distance of the CG, and it does have a Denny’s restaurant, but that’s it other than a McDonalds/gas station and a Wendy’s.

Oh BTW, there is a walking path around a small pond on the CG property and the entrance street to the CG doesn’t have hardly any traffic, other than fellow campers, making it relatively safe to walk.

So, Helen and I got in a couple of miles of exercise to get rid of the kinks after that drive, before we settled down for the evening.

I did take a few pictures of wildflowers along the road, but the one I show here is a bundle of Carolina Pine Cones hanging down in the Southern sunshine.

I will get online and try to identify the flowers. A few are Honeysuckle blooms, but the other ones are a bit curious.

Summer Camping Day-3

But, of course, we were both feeling pretty good, so I got a little “antsy” and talked Helen into our skipping the KOA layover and going straight to the ‘Burg.

Several thing had to be done for this to work best for us;

1- I contacted the KOA, and rescheduled our stay there until we will eventually be heading back South. This saved my the lost money of a cancellation (they’re always non-refundable, it seems).

2- I rerouted my trip to avoid the previous shortcuts using County and State 2-lane roads and set our new route up for the rest of this longer trip to be on Interstates and other 4-lane highways. This made my driving a lot easier and less frantic than it always is when driving a big RV on those 2-lane roads, not to mention a lot less stop-lights.

The down side of this change was going from a two day combination of 3-1/2 hours plus another 3-3/4 hours of travel, into a one-day 8-hour drive.

Sure, it was a long drive for one day, but there were a number of great rest areas and other stops we could make along the interstate where we could get out of the RV and stretch every couple of hours, or so.

All of this was good so we set out that next morning early prepared for a long day. And, for over an hour ,we were moving along comfortably in the right-hand lane, when the traffic on I-95 just stopped.

We checked the WAZE App on our smartphone and sure enough, there was a “serious accident” on the interstate a little over a mile ahead.

quickly checking my GPS, we found that there was no viable detour focus to take, so Helen and I crept along at a crawl and by the time we got to the actual wreck site, we had lost just over another 30-minutes on our trip.

Anyway, there are always some things you just have no control of and we forged ahead.

Finally though, our trip was ending and I was less than a mile from my destination campground at the Moose Club 1727 in Lynchburg.

After all of that driving, I only had one more intersection to turn onto and then it was into the CG.

Fate took the wheel for a moment.

I was slowing down for the turn when another vehicle decided for me that my RV could stop on a dime (NO WAY!) and I had to slam on the brakes.

Of course, every RV owner knows that you always try to keep things tied down in your RV when you are traveling, but it turned out that there were a few loose things, all of which flew forward in the RV and, well, I suddenly had a very seriously cracked windshield on my RV.

Cursing under my breath, I continued to our campground, pulled into our campsite. After checking the damage, it was obvious that a new windshield was needed, so I pulled out my insurance information for an early morning call the next day.

Once, I was over the damage, we hooked our RV up to AC power for the night and sat down with a glass of wine.

Helen and I, both tired, talked things over for a few minutes, and decided we had two options;
1- we could just stay in the RV, eat what we had in the fridge, or

2- we could walk up to the clubhouse and have a few drinks and a cooked meal while socializing a while with our fellow members.

The clubhouse won out.

Summer Camping Day-4

So, after a our getting a good nights sleep in our campsite, we had our breakfast and decided to formally set up our campsite.

We took our time, but it was several hours before we had properly set up our campsite for our long 3-week stay.

All of you know the difference, I’m sure.

For a one, two or three-day stay, you set up a minimal number of things for your campsite comfort; at times this might just be a couple of chairs.

But if you are going to stay at one site for one or more weeks, you will spend a bit more time to make it your outdoor home with a lot of your favorite comforts installed.

So, we took our time and walked around doing the following things to make our site a great campsite;

  • we laid out our medium size outdoor rug to keep dirt from being tracked into our RV,
  • we opened and set up our screened room for when we want to sit outside and keep the bugs away,
  • we then set up my Dish Tailgater dome and got the satellite system operating properly,
  • we set out a half dozen solar powered lawn lights to make our site a little safer at night as we walk around,
  • we set up my portable table-top grill for grilling those inevitable hot dogs and hamburgers we all eat when we go camping,
  • we set up 6 lawn chairs for any visitors we will have come by, and
  • then we set up a couple of tables for cooking and eating outdoors.

By the time we had done all of this, it was getting close to our dinner time, so we drove over to a nice Burger/Pizza place and had a simple but good dinner.

Summer Camping Day-5

Now, having neglected my social communication promises for yet another day, we made plans last night to drive up onto the Blue Ridge Mountains with our Son and his girlfriend; and once there, having a light meal and some cold custom made beer at some very scenic micro-breweries near Wintergreen and Afton Mountain.

More on that later.

by Don Bobbitt, June 2016

NOTE: Rather than go into detailed explanations about some of the tools we use regularly on our camping trips and rather than spending too much time describing some locations, you will notice there is highlighted text sprinkled within my article. If you are interested, then click on these text sections and a new window will open to a site that gives you more information, for your convenience.

Summer Camping Day-6

Lynchburg Virginia, my hometown, is actually a nice little town. And just like so many small Southern towns it’s still searching for it’s “identity”

Is it a Church town? is it an industrial town? Is some backward. worn out Southern village? Or, maybe it’s some kind of little known retreat for people searching for a quiet southern lifestyle?

I certainly don’t know. But I am in a unique position as an observer, seeing as for the past two decades I only visit a couple of times a year, so I do see some noticeable changes to the area; whether it’s good or bad change, is not for me to say.

Right now, I’ll just mention one attraction which has sprung up nearby, about an hour’s drive away up and into the Blue Ridge Mountains. This attraction is a collection of micro-breweries near Afton Mountain.

Let me explain, the town of Charlottesville (you know; Thomas Jefferson, UVA, etc?) is itself only a little over an hour away to the North of Lynchburg, while the popular ski resort area called Wintergreen sits on top of one of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

And, it’s only a half hour from this collection of micro-breweries, itself. Add the potential traffic from the interstate I-81, just over the mountain and you have a pretty wide variety of potential customers for their products.

Anyway, some astute business people saw a way to open a few breweries for a relatively low price. Add the fact that this area is “in the middle of nowhere”, as they say, you can buy a few acres of mountain land. maybe with an old barn on it, do a little remodeling, grow your own Hops, and set up your own craft brewery.

Well, over the past ten years or so, this idea has grown to the point that there are over a half dozen of these rural micro-breweries, in the same relative area, just waiting for you to come by, sit outside and enjoy the great scenery and weather, have some award winning craft beers, and eat from some interesting selections of popular appetizers, sandwiches and meals.

It seems the the combination of, people living in Wintergreen, the people living in Charlottesville, and others driving up from the surrounding areas, keep these places going, and I understand they are very profitable.

Anyway, we made our first trip up there yesterday to visit the most well know of these breweries, Blue Mountain Brewery.

And honestly, we stayed therefor several hours and we had a great time. There were 4 of us and we sampled their cheese and fruit tray, then their Hummus tray along with several of their sandwiches. All of the food was really good, and the beer was exceptional.

We will be going back, probably within the week.

Summer Camping – Day-7

Well, we had a great time yesterday at the Breweries, but today, the area has been getting hit by one thunderstorm after another.

They aren’t really horrible storms, but so far today, every thirty minutes or so another black cloud comes over the mountains, drops some heavy rain on our RV for 15-20 minutes along with some gusting winds that stir things up at our campsite, and then it all disappears for another half an hour again.

Of course, sometimes the weatherman is actually accurate with their forecast, and this was one of those times. He said we would be hit by some Severe Storms mixed with large Hail. Darn if he wasn’t right.

Check out my video of the worst of it, Hail Storm at Campsite

Anyway,even it ended after an hour or so, and now we are riding through a long night of blowing winds and rains.

But, so far, the good and the bad of it all is;

The Bad? This is really crappy weather for camping.

The Good? Hmmmmmmmmmmm! I got nothing! LOL!

Summer Camping Day-8

After a night of on and off rain, we woke up and surveyed our situation.

Overall, we fared well, I guess. No rain leaks in the RV, even with such heavy and blowing rains going on for over 12 hours. Well, except for our rear bathroom ceiling vent which we had accidentally left cracked open all night.

And, of course, the campsite is a mess, with small twigs and leaves from the trees lying around everywhere. But, generally speaking, we got through this big storm in pretty good shape.

Our site is our priority for the day, if these occasional showers will just blow away for us.

On to tomorrow!

by Don Bobbitt, June, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-9

Back to the Brewery on the Mountain.

My brother’s wife is an organizer. It’s just what she does, and everyone else normally just sits back and waits to hear about her latest “Idea”.

Well, one of the things she has done over the years is collect some of her relatives and friends into a loose group who go out together and celebrate the next birthday. And, that’s OK, i guess.

She loves planning things and everyone else has come to like these breaks where they can get together and have a nice dinner together.

This time though it was her birthday, and a couple of the other ladies planned a group trip to her favorite place to eat outside. And, that happens to be, yep, Blue Mountain Brewery.

We were also invited, because we were in town, and everyone drove into the mountains and met at the Blue Mountain Brewery for a special birthday celebration in the mountains.

Actually, it was a nice afternoon, sunny and warm, so we ended up spending almost three hours there, just talking about nothing, eating some good food and sipping on high quality wines and craft beers.

Eventually though the place got pretty crowded, even outside “on the lawn”, so everyone packed up and headed back down the mountain to their homes.

So, after our great day trip, we were eventually back to our RV and settled down for the night, enjoying the outside evening air.

A good day for everyone, all and all.

by Don Bobbitt, June 26, 2016

Bamboo_01

A Summer of Camping Day-10

Monday!

For me, it’s the day after a weekend, and the day I usually look at my spending and adjust my budget as necessary.

I don’t know why, but I have been doing this for years, and Monday is my “Get those loose ends wrapped up” day.

I guess I do this, mostly so we can coast through the rest of the week without my having to think about such things as Bills or repairs or anything vaguely representing work.

We even had a few errands to run around town so we killed some time; at the bank, at the post office, filling the car with gas, picking up things at the supermarket and other such necessary tasks.

If you remember, I mentioned before that we had a cracked windshield so I made a point of stopping by at the glass repair vendor’s store and made sure they had someone coming by to replace our broke windshield on our RV. The manager promised a visit later that day.

Well, we sat around for a few hours but finally the guy showed up, did his thing, and just to be sure we could go out and take a nature walk , we quickly checked the weather before we went out exploring again.

And, of course, the weather report had shifted and they were now calling for heavy rains for the afternoon and evening.

So, we again settled back and watched as the weather got worse and worse, until we were being drowned in yet another series of storm clouds accompanied with thunder, lightening, and winds.

It’s a little scary but some people here in town are starting to accuse us of bringing the rain to town.
They were joking ….. at least I think so.

by Don Bobbitt, June 27, 2016

Bamboo_01

A Summer of Camping Day-11

This day was again going to be one where we were to go out; exploring, hiking and taking pictures .

But we woke up to thick clouds and the occasional shower of rain. AGAIN!

So, we changed our plans and we did get a little visiting in, and I did a little road exploring in our car.

By that I mean that even though we are originally from Lynchburg, we are only here a couple of times a year, so one thing I like to do is take an hour or so and explore the once familiar back streets and sights around town.

Change occurs slowly for a resident that lives in a town, but it becomes very evident to the occasional visitor. I spent a little time and I actually found a few things I want to go back to and take a few pictures whenever the Virginia Monsoon season is over. LOL!

by Don Bobbitt, June 28, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-12

Finally a nice day, but I decided to use it to take on the job of improving my television reception at my campsite. I haven’t stayed here for over a year so, I made a quick check and could only receive a couple of channels. 

So, I checked out all of my cable connections both on the antenna on the roof as well as those inside the RV.

Everything was OK, except for my location. As many of you campers know, you need a clear “shot” in the direction of the local TV station antennas when you are in a campsite because your RV antenna is very directional.

And, it turns out, we no longer have a clear shot where I need it.  I haven’t stayed in this site since last year, and it seems there are a lot of new tree limbs in the way now.

My fault, I guess, I should have planned on having to trim these limbs back, before i returned. But, for now, I’ll just have to rely on my DISH antenna and receiver for my evening entertainment.

Oh Well, Lessons learned!

by Don Bobbitt, June 29, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-13, 14, 15, 16

Thursday and Friday were uneventful, just on and off rain at the campground and Helen and I got a little reading in along with a visit or two around town to see some people we know.

Saturday though, the weather was supposed to be mostly sunny so I went downtown with my Nikon camera. Helen and I walked up and down Main street in Lynchburg and I got several dozen pictures of some of the remaining older architecture.

The architecture in Lynchburg, like in so many old towns, is slowly disappearing and being replaced with the bland new designs of buildings. You know, just bricks, concrete and glass.

Oh, the locals in most towns usually don’t notice such changes, but as someone who is only here once or twice a year, I see a lot of changes in the older parts of town each time I return for a visit.

So, I took advantage of the nice weather and I had my walk along Main Street, along with my camera; not to show what a pretty place it is, with the new stores along the street and the empty lots where building used to be, but to take a few pictures of what’s left of the old architecture that still exists, before it’s all gone.

Check out my article on Main Street Lynchburg’s fading architectural history..

by Don Bobbitt, June  30, July, 1,2, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-17

You may have noticed that our stay so far, up here in Lynchburg, has been riddled with rain storms. Well, this situation continues, but on July 3rd we did have something of a break.

Even thought the weather man was calling for an over 80% chance of rain, the actual storms skirted our campground and continuously ran by just to the North.

With the third being on a Sunday, the Moose Club had planned a cookout starting at 7:00PM and some fireworks starting at 9:00PM.  My son came by, and we just hung out at my site and watched the entertainment.

The cookout was actually more of a picnic with the Club providing Chicken and everyone bringing a dish. There was s DJ playing music and everyone seemed to have a great time.

And the fireworks? Well, i was happily surprised to find that they had done an exceptional job. The fireworks used were high end and the presentation was very professional. Everyone that I spoke to told me they had a great time.

Here is a link to my short Youtube video of a portion of the fireworks here at Moose 1727 campground.

And, as if planned, we eventually went to bed and in the middle of the night? We had a couple of shower roll through as if Mother Nature was saying: “OK, now it’s my turn to wet thing down a little for you”.

Oh well, the challenge is to take what you get when camping and make something good from it!

by Don Bobbitt, July 3

A Summer of Camping Day-18

We had our showers last night, and then we were awakened around 8:00AM by some early morning fireworks.

These occasional “Booms” and “Pop Pop Pops” were something of a distraction throughout the day, but I guess some people just felt like they couldn’t wait for the actual evening of the fourth.

The weather? Well again, a day of murky clouds and the constant threat of actual rain. But we got through a little cookout at our campsite without incident. Too many Hamburgers and Hot Dogs were consumed and the late evening was more of a moaning contest between my wife and I.

Eventually, we hit the bed and slept well until 1:30AM. And, that’s right, that happens to be the time we had a serious thunderstorm roll right over our heads, accompanied by heavy rains. This happened several times over the night and when we did get up there was this lovely sunshine everywhere.

by Don Bobbitt, July 4

A Summer of Camping Day-19

After a hard night of storms, rolled out of bed and then we spent a little time getting our bodies and minds together, had our coffee, checked our daily web news, read our emails and such, then we put the TV on the local news.

Oh and by this time, the initial morning sunshine had gone away and the sky was filled with a number of threatening clouds.

So again. we checked the weather forecast for the day. And yes, the cute ( but by now, in my opinion, complete idiot) local weather lady said we would have showers until noon and then thunderstorms throughout the rest of the day.

Being a little wary of the weather by now, we decided to stay inside, do our laundry, clean up our campsite outside as well as the insides of the camper, and then wait as the now  mysterious weather passed over us.

By 2:00 PM, we were done with our tasks and decided to go out and run a couple of errands. On the way out and back there were some very ugly clouds hanging over our heads, but still, no rain.

We decided not to push it and stay inside and around our campsite for the rest of the day.

But by 4:00 PM, of course, the campground was bathed in sunshine and there was only the occasional cloud overhead. But we have been here for over two weeks now and we are taking nothing for granted, anymore.

We have plans for tomorrow that do not include rain, but ………

by Don Bobbitt, July 5

A Summer of Camping Day-20

After a late start, we were down at the local City Market on Main Street in Lynchburg. The selection was sparse but we did pick up a few tomatoes to last us until Saturday wen we hope there will be more people selling.

We walked around for a while and then we girded ourselves for our real walk.

You see, we like the Nature Walk down on the James River called “The Percival’s Island Trail”. It’s just down two blocks from Main Street, she we started out with something resembling gusto.

Well, with our intentions being good, it was immediately obvious that we were in for a real challenge. The temperatures were in the 80’s and the humidity was off the scale. And the once wonderful walk under the numerous shade trees became almost choking without even a hint of wind for our whole walk.

But, we did get in a walk of over five miles before we sat down in our car, soaked from head to toe in sweat.

We talked for a minute and decided we had earned a treat.

We drove over to a decent place in the Forest area of Lynchburg called TRIOs and treated ourselves to a couple of cold beers for me and some Chardonnay for Helen.

Looking at the clock, it was by then almost 2:00PM so we split Steak Sandwich with Fries.

OMG! When you have walked as far as we did, and sweated your butts off, like we did, a serving of Caviar and Champagne couldn’t have tasted as good!

We took our time, talking with the bartender, sipping our drinks and eventually we left the bar, sore and tired from our walk but smiling over a great day.

Oh BTW, we go to Trio’s often, because as camper, we use our iPhones as a Hotspot for WIFI access when we travel. But, when we need to update lot of our Apps, we always look for a Bar/Coffee Shop/Restaurant that has good Wifi service, and the service at Trio’s is really fast.

Anyway, we made  couple of stops and then it was back to the camper and a quiet evening to nurse our sore muscles and bones.

by Don Bobbitt, July 6

A Summer of Camping, Days 21, 22

Cooking Jalapeño Poppers

For the first part of the day, on Thursday, we did ……. Well, we just did nothing at all. We read the local paper, I wrote a little, we walked around a little, but essentially we did nothing.

It was wonderful.

We had made our favorite (and most poplar) appetizer for a little get-together at my brother’s home. This would be our Jalapeño Poppers, that we actually made and then put them in the fridge, the evening before, so we only had to pull them out just before we left the camper.

A gathering at my Brothers house.

Once we were at my brother’s house, we put the Poppers into their oven for 30-minutes and by the time they were done the others had arrived. My sister Star and her husband Wayne, Jason and Hilda, as well as Ed and Peggy were all there, so we served the poppers up and they disappeared pretty fast.

Everyone had brought a dish to share. We sat down to eat and talk on my brother’s patio and before we knew it, the time (over 4 hours) had flown by and when we all realized this everyone said their goodbyes and left.

It had been one of those, sit outside and laugh and tell lies to each other evenings.

We all had a great time, we ate too much food, and belts were loosened by several of us. Helen and I were ready for bed by the time we got back to our camper, so we crashed right away.

by Don Bobbitt, July 7

by Don Bobbitt, July 7, 2016

Over our breakfast Friday morning, Helen and I realized that we were going to pull out on the morning of the twelfth, and we still had a number of things we wanted to do before we left town.

So, realizing this we did take another look at just who we would visit and who we might have missed. And we rechecked our list of things we were going to do, but had changed our minds about. For the next few days, we were a little frantic, at times getting some of these things done, and checking them off of our list.

Although, it seemed we were really running around a lot, it was actually just a series of things to do that mean a lot to you later when you look back at your trip, such things as;

We got in yet another long walk in down on Percival’s Island,

As I said, Helen and our daughter, Dawn, carried out two grandchildren, Lauren and Caleb to the museum at the Appomattox Surrender Grounds.

I stayed and cleaned up our campsite a little and then I picked up a few things we knew we would need before we left and then I drove over met them at a nice casual restaurant (Trio’s) for a late lunch together.

We also drove down to the TT Campground just south of Rustburg to check it out in case we wanted to stay there sometime in the future. It’s been over five years since we last stayed there and honestly, the last time we were there it was not in good condition.

But happily, we saw the a lot of the irritating things had been fixed or updated. There is still a lot they need to do, but it is better.

Back at our campsite, I mentioned that I had set up a large screen room when we arrived at our campsite in case we had any problems with mosquitos or other bugs, but it ended up being unused. But what goes up, must come down, so Helen and I, along with one of our fellow camper neighbors who was just walking by, dismantled that mechanical monster and we were actually able to put all of it back into the original bag it came in.

That was a first for me, but we took the good work as an omen. LOL!

We use a fresh water hose, that is close to 200 feet long, mounted on a wheeled hose carrier. My Daughter, Renee, and her husband keep it for us at their campsite, so now, with plenty of water in our fresh tank, we disconnected it, rolled it up and wheeled it back over to their camper for them to use.

I mention this because I hate that darn carrier. With almost every step I take when pulling the carrier, I end up hitting my heels on it. But along with some colorful cursing, I finally got it back to their camper.

Somehow, by the time we had gotten these thing done, it was late afternoon on Saturday, so we sat back, Helen with a good book to read, and myself with some writing to do for my Blogs.

The next couple of days are going to be even busier for us.

We will start running around saying our farewells to family when we can catch them, probably on Sunday, and on Monday, we will be going through our pre-Hitting-the-Road procedures. Being campers for so many years, we are pretty steadfast in what we do, check out, and such to make sure our next trip is a safe one.

At some point, on Monday, we will have everything done, and we will go out for a light dinner and then back to our camper and a relaxed evening and a good nights sleep.
by Don Bobbitt, July 7, 8, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-23, 24

Saturday, was yet another laid back day for Helen and I. We did ride around town for a little while, just taking roads we had not driven down for several decades to just to find old sights we had almost forgotten.

But, we did get back to our RV in time for our son Donny to drop by with his girlfriend Sophie. They visited us for a couple of hours and we sat around outside just talking about nothing, mostly.

by Don Bobbitt, July 9, 2016

Sunday turned into a “go walking day” for us at first and then we really did very little the whole morning, other than sit outside for a few hours and enjoy the nice breeze and watching the Geese walk by.

Oh, I don’t think Mentioned the Geese at the campground. It seems that a few of years ago a couple of Geese found the small lake below the campground and adopted it. If you are familiar with Geese (and Ducks, too) a pair one year equals several pair the next year and then they equal several dozen the next year, and soon.

At one point, I counted 28 of them waddling between the campers, oblivious to any people who might be around and eating the bugs they thrive on from the rich grassy soil of the campground.

The existence of Geese, pretty much anywhere, is based on how many there happen to be around, it seems to me. You see, the more Geese there are, the more “Goose Poop” you are likely to step in.

I have found, that whether you have these creatures near your home, or like here, your campground, eventually the indignation of having to clean your shoes so often takes over and people band together to find a way to get rid of the Geese.

Helen and I laughed and made a bet. I said that the campers would do something next year, but Helen said she thought there had to be more than thirty Geese to force any serious action.

Time will tell, I guess.

My brother and his wife Virginia dropped by and we sat outside with a couple of Beers and Wine for the girls just relaxing and talking about nothing in particular.

But, we did have a gourmet meal together also.  Helen and I had gotten some more vine-ripened tomatoes at the City Market, so we had  sandwiches. Gourmet sandwiches made of those fantastic tomatoes, mayonnaise, sliced bologna, topped by salt and pepper for spice.

And, of course, served on Merita brand sliced white bed. 

Nothing healthy there, of course, but damn! They gave us all a flashback to one of the meals we often ate in the Summer when we were kids.

by Don Bobbitt, July 10, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-25

With Monday being our last day in the Burg, we went into our “Hopping to another campsite” routine.

I should probably mention here that this routine is a lot different from our “Hitting the road” routine.

I have mentioned before, that when we are planning a trip and it’s that day before we are going to leave where we go through a special routine.

Our routine is almost a checklist we follow that, over the years, makes us confident that we have everything in order and we are truly prepared to travel in our motorhome.

On the other hand, when we have already been camping for several days, or a week or more, and we are just going to another campground for another continuing stay, we have a totally different routine.

You see, once you are already camping, you have everything you need to camp loaded, so that’s no problem. You just need to pull things together for what we campers call “a hop” to this other campground.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things you need to do, but it’s just different.

We started our day with a good breakfast, and then we went through our email, heck, I even pre-paid a few bills electronically to get them out of the way.

Then, Helen essentially kicked me out of the RV so she could put things away.

That’ all you really need to do, put things away properly.

It seems that every day we sit in and around our camper, we pull things out and set them where they are convenient for us to use. After a few days of this kind of thing, our motorhome is ours, with everything we like to use right at our fingertips.

But when you are going down an interstate, these loose items can turn into missiles that fly around when, you go into curves or when you have to slam on the brakes.

After our years of doing this, Helen has her own system and as I said, she went to work on getting the interior ready to go.

As to me, I had all of those things you use outside that needed to be put away.

You can ask any RV owner and they will tell you that, no matter what RV you own, they just don’t have enough exterior storage space. It’s just one of the rules of camping that whatever space you have, you will fill it up.

I’m no different from my fellow campers, every space of storage in my RV is packed. In fact, I have been camping long enough that I have even sold off some items I had previously bought just to get another one that is a better fit in my storage areas.

So, things were put away slowly, but everything went into it’s assigned space, such as;

  • Chairs were wiped off, properly folded and stacked together in their proper compartment,
  • Cocktail tables were wiped off, properly folded and stored,
  • My grill was wiped down and stored in its spot,
  • My fold-away table we use for food preparation and the one for holding the grill were wiped off, folded and stored appropriately,
  • All of my outside night lights were cleaned, disassembled and stored away,

Finally, we cleaned up at the campground bathhouse and went out to a last dinner with two of our kids.

After that, we made a quick trip out to visit my favorite cousin Shelby in Madison Heights and had a great few hours of re-connecting and laughing, essentially about everyone and every thing.

Finally, we got back at our RV and crashed, ready to move on, to another campground and in our lives. We all move on, you see, with or without a camper.

by Don Bobbitt,  July 11, 2016

A Summer of Camping, Day 26

Disconnect, Dump, and Fill up

These are the three things you have to do (or consider doing) when you get ready to actually hit the road for a few hours in a Big Rig, towing a Fiver or Travel Trailer.

Even the most hardened camper feels a little twang of emotion when they actually disconnect that power cord from their RV. Essentially, once  the “umbilical” is cut and you are definitely going somewhere.

Once this is done, you have to consider if you are going to dump your holding tanks before you hit the road; or wait until you get to your new campsite. Either way, you have to dump those tanks.

This decision is an important, if for no other reason, than the fact that all of that “Gray Water and Black Water” weighs a lot and can be just dead weight when you are going down the road.

I figure it this way; a gallon of water weighs approximately 8 pounds. My Black Water tank holds up to 47 gallons and my Gray Water tank hold up to 56 gallons.

That means that if my tanks are full I could be carrying up to 103 gallons or around extra 800 pounds of excess weight.

So, as I try do whenever possible, I dumped my tanks right there at the Moose club rather than take the Poop and Dish Water with me across the state.

The trip from Lynchburg to Williamsburg

The trip itself was going to be a short one. In fact, my Garmin indicated it was only right at three hours of drive time.

I put the destination into my Garmin, and it wanted to take me up to Charlottesville and then across I-64 to Richmond before we hit the Richmond traffic and thr infamous beltway.

As many of us regular travelers often do, I already knew that I wanted to drive on US-460 when leaving Lynchburg, and not go up into the steeper terrain around Cahrlottville. The trip would be about fifteen minutes longer, and I would have to drive on a couple of 2-lane stretches of road but neither stretch was over twenty miles.

So, I ignored the “recalculating” nuisance warnings from my Garmin for the first ten minutes until it accepted the fact that I was going to go another route.

Once my Garmin was happy, we drove on to our destination.

Of course, there were County police along the sections of roads under construction as we were leaving Lynchburg, and there were several State Troopers sitting in wait for speeders along the stretch from Appomattox to Farmville, but after that we didn’t see any more Cops until we got to Richmond.

I will say that my trusty Garmin took me through several short connections going around Richmond itself before it finally placed me back onto I-64 East, and although I get a little tense when I need to keep watching for the next ramp, this only took less than ten minutes before we were away from Richmond and it’s traffic.

We ended up at the campground, only about fifteen minutes late than our projected ETA, but I usually drive just under the speed limit anyway, and there was a little traffic along one stretch that was really slow, so that explains my delayed arrival.

Setting up in my Campsite

After we had checked in, we went out and started looking for a good campsite. That’s always a problem for most of us that camp in popular, tourist rich areas. The campgrounds stay pretty full and your selection of useable sites are limited. And this campground was no exception.

They gave me three options that my RV would fit on and Helen and I grabbed a garbage bag and went on a walk.

You experienced campers already know what I’m talking about. You select a campsite and you place your garbage bag over the power panel.

This is the universal signal that someone already has that site and you need to look for another one. And, I really have seen a number of arguments over the years between other campers searching the campground for a site at the same time and one of them not “tagging” the power panel but going bak to the office and claiming a specific site.

What happens is that another camper comes along and just pulls in or maybe he tags the power panel, and he thinks it’s his site. Well, you can see the potential for arguments.

Satellite Reception

Here is another tip for you campers who have satellite antennas. Whether they are separate mobile antennas (dishes , domes, whatever), or if they are antennas mounted on your RV’s roof. if you do not have a clear shot of the sky from your site, then your satellite receiver is not going to work.

To prepare myself for just this situation, I have a great FREE App on my smartphone called Dish Align.

It has data on pretty much all of the commercial satellites in our sky on this one app. The app, using your smartphones GPS, then gives you the magnetic compass direction from wherever you might be to the satellite you choose, as well as the elevation (or azimuth) setting required.

So, when I pull into a campground, the first thing I do is check for these special numbers for my satellite service, the direction and the elevation.

With these numbers, I can use my Compass App and quickly check whatever site I am offered and immediately see of there is any kind of an obstruction that would block my receiving a strong enough signal.

Well, the three sites they offered me had very large trees in my line-of-sight to the point where the satellite would be, so they were not for me.

As we walked back to the office though, I did see a site that had relatively open sky where I needed it, and we put our bag over the power panel.

Setting up our Campsite Accessories

Then it was a casual walk to the office, have them assign that site to us and we only had to get my RV into the site and hook up to water and power.

We took the afternoon to do a few things at our own pace;

We “unpacked” everything we had put away for the trip.

We set up my satellite antenna and we got it roughly aligned for the night.

We pulled out a few solar powered outdoor night lights. We use these so we could walk around our site without tripping over anything on the ground.

We sat for a while and then we drove over to the closest Pub and had a couple of drinks along with an unhealthy (according to some), but tasty, early dinner, rather than having to cook.

By the time we got back to our RV, it was evening so we poured ourselves a couple of glasses of wine and had our first lazy walk around the campground to check things out.

Along the way, we met a nice couple from Texas who were full-timers and spent a half hour or so, of so just chatting with them, then we continued our walk as we did trade a lot of “Hello! How are You” with other people who were all sitting outside their campers and enjoying the cool evening breeze.

Then it was back to our camper,  sitting outside for a while with another glass of wine, and we eventually hit the bed around ten. We were excited and ready to make our plans the next day to check out the area properly.

by Don Bobbitt, July 12, 2016

 A Summer of Camping, Day 27

Our first full Day in Thousand Trails Campground

We did sleep a little later this than we normally do, just tired I guess, but then we fell into our normal morning routine.

We usually like to get up, make some Coffee and then catch up on the morning news on our TV as we finalize what we are going to do that day. We eventually had our breakfast, and then we got online for an hour or so and checked our emails as I managed my Blogs.

By the time this was done, we walked over and checked out the Outdoor Pool. It was a nice sized one, so we went back to our camper and changed before we went back to the Pool and got our exercise in for the day.

We like to do some “resistance walking” in the pool. Helen and I do this at least four or five days of the week when we are home, in Florida and it really helps us.

We both have bad backs and this is a good way to get some exercise and being in the water. The buoyancy of the water takes a lot of our weight off of our knees, hips and backs, allowing us to get our exercise in and not have a lot of pain involved.

We like to do this for an hour, to an hour and a half ,each time and we not only get our exercise, but we strengthen the muscles in our backs and legs at the same time.

Our exercise felt so good, this day, that after our showers, I spent some time truing to get my satellite TV reception to be better.

Campsite TV Reception

Here’s the problem. We are in a site, and the campground is full, so moving around, to another site, is pretty much out of the question.

And, even though we have one of those automatic aligning satellite antennas, which can align properly on its own, when there is a tree in the way, like I happen to have, then you end up with lower satellite reception.

You see, I know the direction I need for alignment, down to the degree, and even the proper elevation down to the degree, and trust me, I have checked the numbers a dozen times.

But, even when I stand and look, it’s obvious that there is a very large tree limb right in my way.

Oh, it’s not even a big thick limb, dense with leaves, because that would block all possible signal for me.

No, It’s an errant limb that the wind waves back and forth throughout the day. And it’s just big enough, with just enough leaves on it to mess with my reception, momentarily at least, on some channels.

So, I can see that my options slim, other than actually changing sites.

I can see now that I’m going to have my own personal adventure with this tree limb. I swear I’d cut the darn thing but the limb is about fifty get in the air, so, caution dictates that I just accept things as they are, with this tree limb.

Dinner in our RV

Anyway, Helen did make us a great dinner this evening.

It consisted of Pork Chops, Cabbage along with some cooked Radish roots and carrots. Her Chops are fantastic. She leaves them to soak up a rub she puts on them for a couple of hours and then she sears the Chops in a pan to keep the juices in. After that, she bakes them for a while in a preheated oven.

This yields a fantastically flavored and juice Chop every time. The Cabbage is fried along with some Onion and that makes a really good side dish. Add the Radish and Carrot combination to round the meal off and you have a great Dinner.

All in all, it was a pretty good day at our campsite.

by Don Bobbitt, July 13, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-28

We had another of our typical mornings and then we decided to do a quick reconnaissance of the Old Town part of Williamsburg.

We knew that the town was a lot to take in, on the first time there, so we drove down and found ourselves a free parking spot, right at the edge of the Old Town area, at the edge of the College, William and Mary.

By the time we got there, it was around 1:00 PM and the temperature was literally off the scale. Even the people that worked in the Old Town, doing their jobs in their authentic period costumes, were complaining about how bad it was for them. I heard one of them say that the “feels like” temperature was 106.

And, honestly, we had only walked maybe ten blocks and both of us were soaking wet, from head to toe. They did have a stand that sold; lemonade, organ juice and water, and their business was going wide open when we got to them.

It didn’t take long and after going in and out of several of the attractions, we had reached our limit. We had planned on coming back later for a longer visit so we decided to come back on a day where the temperatures were a little lower, and we walked back, dripping sweat, to the area where our car was parked.

And there it was, not two hundred feet from our car; a Pub called the Dog Street Pub. It took no convincing to get Helen to go inside and have a drink.

We walked into the Pub, and the air conditioning immediately smacked us in the face like a hammer. We walked over to the bar, grabbed a couple of seats and the waitress appeared, with a smile on her face and a menu of drink options for us to select from.

So, we spent the next couple of hours, drying out our clothes and sipping on a couple of cold drinks, before felt refreshed enough to finally get into our car and drive back to our camper.

Eventually, we had our dinner of leftovers from that great meal we had eaten the day before and then we settled down at our campsite for the night.

July 15, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-29

Now it’s Friday, and we have our Son and his girlfriend coming down from Lynchburg to visit us for a couple of days. So, we needed to get some groceries to hold us over while they are with us. Looking at our list, we decided that going to the Walmart was the smartest place for us to shop.

I really don’t like going to a Walmart, and surprisingly, their prices are so much lower than pretty much any supermarket you might go in the area. Luckily the crowd wasn’t too bad, and we got in and out with our list filled, pretty fast.

We had planned on getting a late lunch while we were out, but the temperature was so high that we knew we had to get our groceries back to our campground and into the fridge.

But, after we put the groceries away, we looked at our options and we said the heck with it and we drove over to an interesting restaurant called the Huntsman’s Grill. It’s right at the entrance to the well-known Great Wolf Lodge, so we went in and almost had the place to ourselves.

We decided to share an appetizer and have a cocktail, rather than have a full meal, and they provided us with great service. Afterwards we went back to our camper to relax the rest of the evening.

And, of course, when I settled down for the night, in front of my TV, the one channel I wanted to watch, just that one, would fade in and out.

Satellite TV

So, stupidly, I figured I could move the outside antenna, just a little you see, just a little.

Finally, after over an hour, I had the antenna back where it was to to start out, and I watched something else. The other show I had wanted to watch was long ended, anyway. Darned Tree limb.

Looks like my new hobby while here at this campground, and on this site is going to be my moving my antenna dome around my site and then having the receiver go through it’s 5-15 minute setup process.

I have already figured out that I can receive about 2/3 of my channels in one position and an overlapping 2/3 if I move it to another position. For me to receive all of the channels. I would have to climb about fifty feet up that darn tree and saw off that one limb in my way.

I’m pretty sure the CG is not going to let me do that, so ……. it’s going to be; move here, watch this, move there, watch that.

I foresee a lot of beer being consumed over this little problem. LOL!

by Don Bobbitt, July 16, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-30

It showered off and on most of the past night, so although we enjoyed the sound on our RV roof we had several periods of solid sleep interspersed with some serious downpours that would literally wake the dead.

Once we finally got up, and after we went through our morning routine, we decided to go out and look for some fresh produce.

We figured that at this time of the year there should be people selling fresh produce pretty much anywhere we looked.

Well, I got distracted by a couple of those impromptu Saturday Flea Markets that were set up in several nearby parking lots, along with the nearby Williamsburg Pottery stores, just down the road and I ended up wasting a lot of time just looking.

But eventually, Helen pulled me away from the Cool Stuff at the Flea Markets and we did finally find a young man selling fresh produce from the back of his pickup truck a couple of miles down Richmond Road (which is actually US highway 60).

The tomatoes we selected were large and smelled like the real (vine-ripened) thing, so we picked out a half dozen and headed back to our camper. I did take note that the guy also had fresh sweet corn on the cob, nice looking cucumbers and some large Cantaloupes that we might go back for, in a couple of days.

Preparing for Visitors

My Son and his girlfriend were due to drop by and visit us around 3:00 PM so we put a few things away and when they did show, were offered them a Beer and we all sat around and relaxed as they stretched their legs after their drive from Lynchburg to visit us.

Out to Dinner

They were more tired than they thought they would be, so we decided that rather than cook we would go down to an interesting Mexican restaurant just down the road from our campground.

It turned out to be a good idea, because the food was good (for Mexican), it was Hot, and best of all, reasonably priced.

We took our times and spent a couple of hours eating things we normally stay away from, like Chips, Salsa, Cheese Dips and other fattening foods. We eventually stopped eating and got got back to our campground where we sat back in our lounge chairs outside and just spent the evening talking, not about anything in particular, just talking.

by Don Bobbitt, July 17, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-31

We had pulled out our sofa bed, in the living area for my Son and they say they slept well. So, it was up and about by 8:00 AM for us all. We had a good breakfast, took showers, and eventually, we decided to drive over to Yorktown.

I had looked at my Google Earth app several days before and I saw that Yorktown, the town, was pretty small, but it did have an area of small beaches between man-made breakwaters, designed for tourists, I guess.

I also saw that there were several shops there for us to roam through as well as several restaurants and even a real Pub for the diehard Beer drinker.

When I told everyone about this, it was unanimous and we were on our way to Yorktown.

It turned into a thirty minute drive, but once we were there, we spent an hour or so just walking around, and then we finally stopped at the Pub.

The Pub had a certain worn character to how it looked, both outside and inside, and the crowd inside was pretty varied, from tourists to locals.

We ended up spending a couple of hours sitting there, over a couple of Beers and some decent appetizers, before we made ourselves leave and we returned to our car for the trip back to my RV.

When we got back to the camper, Helen had already planned on making one of her great dishes for us all, made of; Italian sausages, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and other great ingredients and spices.

But for some reason, Bologna sandwiches came up and before we knew it, I was sent up to a store and picked up some white bread, a jar of mayonnaise, some thick sliced bologna, and sliced cheddar cheese.

She fried the bologna, toasted the bread, and were were eating gourmet Bologna sandwiches for our dinner later, and people, they were fantastic.

After our meal, we settled down outside in our chairs, once again and spent another lazy evening in our campsite.

by Don Bobbitt, July 18, 2016

OK, we’ve been a little busy, in our lazy, retired, camper’s way. So my documenting of our escapades has been happening, but honestly, when I have to format and edit them for my Blog, that takes a little time. So, here is a catch-up session of six days, at once.

A Summer of Camping Day-32

Late the next morning after we went through our morning routine, my Son and his girlfriend had to shower and hit the road by 11:00 AM leaving us alone again in our camper.

Once they were actually gone, we again pulled out our things that had been put away and I walked over to the Pool to see how crowded it was.

Lo and Behold! There were only two adults and three kids in the Pool.

So, when I told Helen about this, we were immediately into our bathing suits and over to the pool.

It was great, we got our full hour and a half of walking in the pool and pretty much had it to ourselves the whole time.

There were no people crowding us, and no kids thinking my head was a receptacle for small footballs, and there was not even one kid or teen who thinks doing a cannonball jump into a pool drenching everyone nearby is funny.

So, needless to say, we had a good pool day.

Back to the camper, and a text pops up on my cellphone. It was Walgreens telling me I had prescriptions ready to pick up.

This is something any camper has to deal with, each in his own way.

I have a number of health problems so, over my years of camping, I have all of my prescriptions (typically 9 to 11 active ones), that I must take regularly.

And after a lot of hard learned lessons, I have put together a system where all of my Doctors use one specific pharmacy chain.

Personally, I use Walgreens for all of my meds, and for several reasons; 1-they are a giant national chain, 2- Walgreen’s provides me with good records for me to use when tax time rolls around., 3- I can easily pick up other medical supplies that I need a the same place, and 4- I can  usually find at least one Walgreen’s within twenty or less miles of me no matter where I happen to be traveling, in my motorhome.

These fact alone allow me to travel and more easily manage my meds as I do so.

For healthy people, this is not something they even think about, but for those of us with health problems, the need to constantly keep your prescriptions filled so you can live a better life is a very big thing.

So I did have to make a trip from my Rv one more time, but we eventually got back and had a nice pre-dusk walk around the campground.

by Don Bobbitt, July 19, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-33

My brother, Darrel, and his wife, Virginia, were coming to visit us for a couple of days so we made our plans for this and actually slept in for an extra hour this morning.

Once we were up, we had another lazy morning as we waited for my brother and his wife to show up. They live in Lynchburg, and they were planning on visiting us for a couple of days, here in Williamsburg. They had rented a room at a local hotel, and we were really looking forward to their coming by to see us.

They eventually showed up, just a little late, and I had already planned for us to go over to the Old Town of Williamsburg and then have an early dinner at the Huntsman’s Lodge.

So again, we were dutiful tourists for the day.

First it was over 2-1/2 miles of walking in the hottest part of the day in the Old Town, then a quick stop at a nearby Pub for a cold beer, to replace lost bodily fluids, of course, and then it was over to the Huntsman’s Grill for our meal.

The meal was really good and the servings were very large. These fact changed our minds about any further explorations, so we were back to the camper for a couple of hours to moan about how full we were.

July 20, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-34

This was another good day for us. We really didn’t do much of anything other than make a trip over to Yorktown, walk around a little and settle down fir a couple of cold Craft beers at the Yorktown Pub, right there on Water Street, and then head back to our RV.

After that, we just sat around at our camper and talk a bit, mostly about nothing.

July 21, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-35

Guests coming in and guests going out.

This was a hectic day for us.

First of all, my brother and his wife were leaving to return to their home the next morning but we had a little complication.

Our daughter, Dawn, and two of our grandchildren, Lauren and Caleb, had changed their plans and were going to visit us a little earlier, it turned out, actually by late morning.

My wife and I thought about it for a bit and then we realized it would all work out with a little coordination by everyone.

Even though we had around 6-7 hours of being little crowded, we ended up with everyone getting along and we all had a great time.

My brother and his wife, left on their return trip to Lynchburg, right on time and we settled down with my daughter and the grandkids for the evening.

Later my wife cooked us really a good dinner and then we got out and walked down to the clubhouse for an evening of playing miniature golf.

July 22, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-36

For a change, we had a morning where everyone slept a little late, so by the time we did get up, we were a little off of our planned schedule for the day.

So it was a hurried morning routine and I decided that after two trips to the Old Towne section of Williamsburg in a little over a week, I would pass on this trip.

This left my wife to take the daughter and grandkids over for their visit to this tourist attraction.

She “took it for the Gipper” and this left me to get caught up on my Blog writing as well as giving me time for my hour and a half walk in the pool.

I finished my exercise, got in a nice invigorating shower, ands by this time, I received a text that the tour was over and the kids were really hungry.

I met them at a restaurant and we had a great “late lunch – early dinner” together and eventually we migrated back to the camper.

by Don Bobbitt, July 23, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-37

Just another lazy day for us both.

We did gt in a walk of over a mile before the heat looks us down. So, it still being relatively early in the morning we hit the pool for an hour of walking before we were crowded out by the many kids (a lot of whom were unescorted by parents, by the way) who took over the pool.

We figured that was enough exercise for us for the day so we showered, and both of us spent a few hours doing such things, as; laundry in our washing machine and repairing a couple of electrical things and tightening a few loose things on the RV.

Helen made a great dish of cooked yellow squash with Zucchini Squash and onions, and we had a nice dinner with these and a couple of veggie burgers.

Then, we fell into another of our regular lazy evenings in our camper.

I spent a couple of hours looking for a Tiki Bar for us to go to in the area. You know, a restaurant/Pub that serves fresh seafood and you sit on the waters edge enjoying the view and the breeze.

This has turned into a major task, because it seems this kind of thing is rare around this tourist area. Other than the couple of places I have already been to, in  Jamestown, on Water Street, it seems that the closest such place is going to be a drive of almost an hour away from us.

The search will continue in the morning.

by Don Bobbitt, July 24, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-38

Here’s a little fact about vacationers that many people just don’t know.

Vacationers, or at least the majority of them, typically take their time off from work for a week at a time. And, normally they are off for the 5 days from Monday to Friday plus the weekend days. So, what you might say?

Well, this time constraint often forces them into having to take their week off at the same time in order to make the most of their vacation. This means they try to go places essentially from Saturday to Saturday, or Sunday to Sunday.

In fact, the major resorts, beach areas and other heavily used vacation spots, in the US just fall into the habit of giving prices to potential customers for a “vacation week” which is one or the other that I just mentioned.

They usually want one family to check out by 11:00 AM and then their staff of cleaners rush in and within just a few hours have the each condo, or apartment, or house, or whatever, cleaned and ready for the next family of renters to check in by around 2:00 to 3:00 PM on the same day.

I am sure you have run into these restrictions when you have taken a family vacation.

Now, with campers. the story is a little different. Sure, some families still need to take their vacations under the same constraints, Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday. But, they are not in the majority when it comes to campgrounds.

The majority of campers don’t ALL camp during these periods. In fact, many campers are retired and they just don’t have the same restrictions on their time as people who still work a 40-hour week. So these independent retirees and Full-Timers travel and camp when the feel like it.

It’s a simple fact that most campers don’t like to drive a motorhome or tow a trailer of fifth-wheeler in heavy weekend traffic. While some campers will stay at a campground for three or four days, and many will often stop at a campground just for the one night to rest before they continue their journey, many will settle into a campground for more than a week at a time.

All of these situations make a campground a place where you have new neighbors moving in and out almost every day. But the fact I mentioned about the dislike for driving on weekends has made Mondays and Tuesdays the peak checkout/checkin days for many RV travelers.

And this one was no different. This morning, I heard my first diesel engine fire up early, around 6:00 AM ,and after that, we got on up and drank our morning coffee as one after another camper hit the road during those first couple of hours of daylight.

Of course, after the exit of so many campers, there was a lull of a couple of hours and then from 11:00 AM until into the hours of dusk, there were other campers entering the campground, checking in and then searching for their perfect campsite from this available.

Then, of course, they spend the rest of the day setting up their campsite, and once done, they usually go running to the nearest supermarket to shop for provisions.

Thus is the first day of the typical camper in a new campground.

Helen and I? We went about our business during the day and every time we went outside we said “Hello” to a lot of new campers. This was not a bad day of the week to be in a campground, actually.

by Don Bobbitt, July 25, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-39

So, Tuesday was a lot like Monday with the changeover of campers around us.

And, as I have mentioned, Helen and I like to get in some exercise again. This time, because, as the days here have gotten near the noon hour, the heat/humidity combination has become nearly unbearable, we decided to forego our regular morning routine and get out for a long walk relatively early.

We crawled out of bed, and without even one cup of coffee, we dressed and went outside for a good walk in cooler weather.

Well, we did what so many camper do, we walked up and down every street of the campground until we had walked over two miles.

Was it a cooler time to walk? Sure, it was cooler, but that’s relative statement here in the Chesapeake area, specifically Williamsburg Va, at this time of year. When we finished, we did not have a dry stitch of clothes on us and we were panting like a couple of dogs after a rabbit chase.

And, after we had cleaned up with a nice shower and some dry clothes, we had our breakfast and coffee. It was a little late, but what the heck, we’re retired and our calendar is very very, flexible.

by Don Bobbitt, July 26, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-40

Another campground morning and we did try something a little different. We got up early, again, but this time I went to the pool for my morning exercise and my wife decided to zig-zig the campground streets,

I have to say, after my hour and a half in the pool, I felt great, and who my wife walked around the corner, I burst out laughing her. There she was, soaked from heat to toe from sweating.

We went back to the camper and cleaned up discussing which way to get our exercise in the next day, with me laughing a lot.

We did decide though that we didn’t want to cook this day, so we did what we often do when we are in a different town. We decided to have what we call jokingly; “LINNER”.

You see, we are not people who go out and soak up the nightlife. No, if we go out for dinner it’s usually around 6:00 PM or so. That way we’re back at our campsite and ready to enjoy the campground in the cooled down evening air.

My wife and I have developed yet another little eating habit. We eat a light but healthy breakfast first thing in the morning.

Then at times, we will go out and drive around town, find an interesting restaurant or Pub by around 2;00PM to 3:00PM, and go in for a couple of cocktails and something to eat.

First of all, the places are usually not crowded at this time of the day, and and we get good service and decent food. This may seem strange to you, but, it’s what we enjoy.

Then, around 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM we have a light snack, which might consist of; cheeses, sausages, crusty breads, nuts and or fruits; it all depends on what we might like.

by Don Bobbitt, July 27, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-41

Williamsburg Old Towne heat.

We finally gave up on having the weather change for us. We’ve been up here in the Williamsburg area for almost three weeks and the heat has been pretty bad every day.

We might be from Florida, and used to it being hot, but while we’ve been up here, I do have to admit that trying to do pretty much anything has been impossible. 

According to the weather experts, there has been some kind of what they call a “heat dome” over where we are along with several other states in the middle of the east coast and it has refused to move.

Well honestly, having the actual daily temperature being in the nineties isn’t the real problem, in fact that’s what we’re used to back in Florida. But if you add the high humidity, and the stagnant air, you end up with the heat index being in the 104 to 108 range.

So, my wife and I have been consistently unsuccessful in trying to get anything done, other than walking in the campground’s pool, that didn’t leave us smoking wet after the first five minutes being outside.

Well, today, we decided to make the best of the situation, and the heck with the miserable heat. As you know, we have been down to the Old Towne part of Williamsburg several times, (yeah in the heat) just ourselves as well as with us escorting our visitors through the town.

Today, we did it right. We put on some old loose clothing, instead of our tourist clothes, some comfortable socks and a pair of our walking shoes instead of the regular flip-flops.

Then we went down to the Old Towne, prepared for what nature threw at us, for once. We parked, checked the map of the Colonial sights available and took out on a real walk.

You see, the touristy part of the colonial area is pretty much confined to three streets, and it just so happens that from the shops and restaurant down to the old capital building is close to one mile.

We paced ourselves, stopping under the occasional shade tree to cool down and after taking some pictures we had done our three miles, the hard way, in this strange heat in Williamsburg.

Oh, by the way, having been down here before, we had a plan for recovery. We already knew about the Dog Street Pub up in the tourist are and when we walked into their ice-cold air conditioned front area, we didn’t have a dry stretch on us.

I got ready to say something to the hostess, but she just pointed at the bar, so we limped over and spent a couple of hour replenishing our lost bodily fluids, with beer for me and wine for my wife, of course.

We spent the rest of the day back at our camper, reflecting occasionally on the heat and what we might figure out to do next.

by Don Bobbitt, July 28, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-42

Friday was a shock to us, literally. We woke up to overcast skies so I checked the weather and the whole forecast had changed. Now, we were going to have temperatures in the upper eighties and some air movement for the day.

So, we went got dressed and got in a couple of miles zig-zagging the streets of the campground. It was a little hot, but it was nothing like what we had been running into for the past couple of weeks.

We felt so good that after taking our showers, we got dressed and went over to a local Winery that Helen had found on one of the tourist catalogs. It was called the Williamsburg Winery, and a tasting/tour was supposed to cost only $9 a person.

That was pretty cheap, but we decided to go anyway, hoping for an entertaining several hours.

It turned out to be a good idea, even if the price did change from $9 to $12 somehow. The owners had spent a lot of money making the whole winery scene resemble a real French winery. The building and the decor just gave you a nice feel for the place, and their equipment was top end.

The sampling was a good experience and their wines turned out to be very good. Of course, we didn’t get our tongues on any of their “Reserves” but what we did taste was satisfying. Satisfying enough for us to pick up a couple of bottle we liked before we left.

And, by the way, they have a very nice Pub on site with a selection of their wines, along with some beers for tourists to stop by and enjoy. The food was simple but tasty.

I learned a lot about their business and some new things about commercial wine-making so, I recommend you go there, if you are in town.

by Don Bobbitt, July 29, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-43

When we got op on Saturday it had turned into another cooler more typical day than what we have suffered through over the past several weeks.

I had some writing to do, as well as a few things that needed checking on our RV, so after we got up and had finished our morning routine, I started out on the RV.

They were small things that were more irritants than anything else, but eventually you just need to get onto the tasks at hand and take care of them.

First, I always clean my RV windshield before I hit the road after a long stay. The combination of baked on bugs and weeks of dust and pollen are tough, but with a tall ladder, some good glass cleaner and a lot of elbow grease, I was able to get my windshields clean and clear.

Second, My fresh water hose would leak, no matter how tight I tried to make the connection to my RV at a campsite. So, I had purchased some new gaskets for the connector, but just hadn’t gotten around to installing them. It only took me five minutes to remove the old and very hard gasket and replace it with a nice new one, but it took me almost half an hour to find the darn things.

Third, I ran the shower in my Black Water Tank for six times. When you do this, it essentially blows anything like toilet paper off of the tanks walls. This is a common problem for these tanks as there are sensors built onto the inside walls that indicate the level of what’s in the tank. But, if a piece of wet toilet paper hangs on one of these sensors, the indicator panel shows that the tank has more in it than it truly does.

Fourth, After all of this work, I poured myself a nice glass of Merlot (with half ice cubes, of course) sat in my favorite campsite chair and congratulated myself on being such a good camper owner.

by Don Bobbitt, July 30, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-44

Sunday

We’ve been here for three weeks now, and it really is time for a change.

After we went through an hour or so of re-organizing our outside storage compartments, it was early afternoon and we decide to have a late lunch somewhere.

We checked out one of the many tori catalogs and we found a place in the residential section of Williamsburg called 2nd Street Bistro that had some very good reviews.

We drove there (with the aid of our Garmin) and if you ever come down here to Williamsburg, this is a great place that is frequented by locals and is really a very good dining experience.

The restaurant section as well as the Bar area are decorated very nicely, the food selection is interesting and what we ordered was great,

The whole combination of excellent service, the atmosphere along with the interesting and delicious food gave us a nice evening dinner.

We will definitely come back here if we ever hit the area again.

Second Street Bistro,
102 2nd Street
Williamsburg, Va
by Don Bobbitt, July 31, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-45

Monday, The day of travel preparation has been just like the one I described before, so I won’t bore you with a repeat of the things an RF owner does on this day before a camping adventure.

Suffice it to say, we worked, at a slow pace of course, and eventually we had the camper all packed up and put away, so we just laid-back and watched TV, along with sipping on some wine before hitting the bed around ten for a good restful nights sleep, before our trade started tomorrow.

by Don Bobbitt, August 1, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-46

Tuesday, On the Road to Lumberton, NC, we were up by eight and it only took us a little over an hour to get our TOAD hooked up, check out the electrical connections, walk through our “on the road” checklist and then leave the campground.

This was supposed to be a pretty simple run of us. It was supposed to be right at five hours of driving. The trip was so easy, I thought. Drive up I-64 to Richmond, take the I-295 belt line around Richmond and then hit I-95. from there it was straight down the interstate to Lumberton

No problem right?

Jeez what a mess! We had two detours off of I-95, one for a multi-car wreck, and thirty miles later another wreck where one tractor-trailer driver tried to mate his truck with another tractor-trailer.

It was not a match made in Heaven

Then, two sections of the highway where the state highway departments decided that the middle of the day is a good time to repair a guard rail along one stretch and to patch some holes in the asphalt in another. These of course forced them to close the highway down to only one southbound lane. We all know what that means, right? A traffic backup for several miles. And a special thanks to the state highway departments for their great work. LOL!

We finally got to the campground, a KOA franchise one. The checkin was smooth, and we were at out site hooking up to power and satellite TV within maybe ten-fifteen minutes.

The CG is well laid out, the sites are level and wide. And everything, everywhere was in fantastic condition. I like this place.

FOODS Unused, the Campers dilemma.

But, we do have our “returning camper’s dilemma.

We looked into our fridge and it’s full. Prepared food, frozen food, cheeses, beer, chilled wine and more. And the pantry is worse. There are several boxes of really good crackers, and nd some other snacks that have been opened.

All of this does not count the unopened foods, these are just what we realize we will have to carry into the house when we get home and then eat relative soon.

OK, the carrying into the house is just a nuisance, but eating these “vacation foods” is always a No-No for us. When we are home we are pretty strict with our diets and exercise programs and after the past two months of having such a great time, we are confident that when we step on our scales, there will be a “reckoning” for the both of us.

Oh, well, I am doing my best with the Beer now, and when w eat dinner later, Helen and I will work on the wine. Oh, BTW, the dinner will be; some leftover hard multigrain bread, some Brie, some “butterkase” cheese, some leftover garlic and chive goat cheese, two Granny Smith apples, slice thin, and again the wine to cap the meal.

It may not be a balanced meal, but boy is it good!
by Don Bobbitt, August 2, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-47

Wednesday, On the Road to Walkabout – A five hour drive, right?

Well, NO!

We stopped to fill up the RV with gas and that took a while and then I needed to take a break twice. I can drive for about 1-2 hours before my hip starts to hurt, followed a half hour later with pains down my left leg.

It really sucks to be old, but considering everything, I’m doing pretty well. And when I hurt, I get the Rv into a rest stop or at least into a truck stop. Then I only need about ten minutes to walk around, and the pain is gone. Then I’m good for another two hours or so.

So, complaints aside, we finally got into the Walkabout campground at the very southern end of the state on I-95. It only took us about ten minutes to set up the camper, turn on the AC and then we put out DISH dome outside and Viola! We have TV service.

Damn, don’t you just love us decadent Americans with our toys?

After a couple of drinks to relax, we will be taking a shower and then we’ll be going over to the little village of St. Mary’s for an evening of dining and sightseeing.

After our visit to St.Mary’s we are hitting the rest of the foods in the Fridge, just in the interest of not being wasteful people, you understand.

St. Mary’s is a very nice little village (the Historic district) right on the water’s edge. We walked around reading the storefront signs and just stretching our legs from our day of driving.

Eventually, we stopped off at a small Pub, with a nice selection of Italian food. We started to sit outside in their relatively large bar area, but with the heat and the dark clouds on the horizon, we decided that maybe it was a good evening for being inside an air-conditioned (and dry) area instead.

The service was good and the food was , well, Bar food. Nothing gourmet, of course, but we did eat some decent Italian style dishes before the storm had eventually blown over. Our appetites were sated, so we drove back to our RV for a relaxed evening and a good nights sleep.

We were going to be at our home base tomorrow and we were already planing what we had to do when we got there.

by Don Bobbitt, August 3, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-48

Thursday, On the Road to our Home Base

We did sleep a little late, but we eventually got the RV ready for travel, and hooked up our TOAD. Then we did our “walk around” to assure that everything was safely tied down for our trip and then we hit the road.

With this being my third day of driving, I was having my hip pain more often. It eventually runs down my left leg and when it does, I need to stop. The only real relief I have found for this is to stop and walk around for a few minutes. Once I can do this, I am good for another hour or more of driving before the hip pain creeps back on me.

Because of this, I stopped several times, at Rest Areas, and once at a Truck Stop to relieve my pain. This made the trip a little longer, but we weren’t in any hurry.

We arrived at our home, and we went into our unloading routine. This entails unloading the fridge/freezer first, and then unloading any perishable foods in our pantry.

Once the food was taken care of, we unloaded our clothes, PC’s, chargers, cameras, and other accessories we use when we travel.

And, we then stretched out and rested for the rest of the day. Our travels on this trip was officially over.

by Don Bobbitt, August 4, 2016

A Summer of Camping Day-49

Friday, Storing the RV and planning our next trip

This morning, we did a walkthrough of the RV and carried a few of the things we had left behind from the camper and declared it ready for storage.

We drove the RV over to where we store it, parked it in it’s assigned space, turned foo all of the power systems, and returned home.

And, while everything was fresh in our minds, we made a list of things (mostly just small things) that we want to work on before our next trip.

That’s right, we’re leaving in a little over four weeks for a trip to the Keys for a 30-day stay. We are campers, so this is what we do. We call our home our “home base” for a reason. We stay there so we can visit our Doctors and so we can save a little cash up for our next trip in our RV.

We can’t wait.

by Don Bobbitt, August 5, 2016

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Copyright, Don Bobbitt, August, 6, 2016, All Rights Reserved

You are free to enjoy this article and share it with your friends, but if you wish to use it commercially, then you must have the permission of the author, in writing.

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