Sunday, July 27, 2014

Back Home in Nashville

After leaving Fall Creek Falls after the 4th of July weekend, we drove to Nashville so we could take the motorhome into Cummins on Monday morning.  The squealing noise was back and rode with us all the way to Nashville.  :(

We left the motorhome at Cummins around 7 am Monday morning.  Since we had not eaten any breakfast, Chuck treated me to a breakfast at Waffle House.  It was delicious!

We were so surprised (but glad) to get a phone call from Cummins around 5:30 Monday evening saying they had the motorhome ready.  The squealing noise was a leak around the gasket so it was a good thing we took it in to be fixed.  Fortunately, there was no damage to the motor.  Thank goodness!

We stayed at Jellystone which is where we normally stay when we are in Nashville.  It was nice with some shade plus being able to get out with satellite.

We enjoyed the next three weeks being with family.  We got to spend a lot of time with my mom which was great!  She had enjoyed a surprise visit from Crystal, Grant, Avery and her newest great-grandchild, Hannah, the week before.  Below is one of my favorite pictures of her and Hannah.

We had breakfast one morning with Chuck's brothers, Rick and Jerry.

Over the next couple of hours, we talked and laughed and remembered things we enjoyed when we were younger like eating a Shoney's Big Boy sandwich wrapped up in cellophane.

More of us got together again the next week at Fletchers Pizza. Mandy, Pam, Jerry, Anna, Donald, Rick, Marla, and Scott (who took this picture) joined us at Fletchers for all-you-can-eat pizza.

We laughed and remembered even more good times.  :)

We stayed until nearly closing and then stood around laughing and talking in the parking lot for another 45 minutes.

Mama, Chuck and I also spent one afternoon with my Uncle John and Aunt Milbrey who kept us laughing with all their stories and memories.  Uncle John and Aunt Milbrey have been married 64 years!!!!  WOW!!!!!

We drove up to Lafayette to see Patricia and Doug and had a very nice visit with them and some good mexican food at La Tia in Lafayette.  We talked about when Chuck was a boy and they would "go to the country" to visit Grandma Velma's mother and her brother, Floyd, who was Patricia's father.  Sleeping on a feather bed, a "two-holer" outhouse, and getting ice cold water with the dipper from the well are some of his fondest memories.

Both my mom and Anna treated us to a couple of delicious home-cooked meals and we also enjoyed some of our local favorite restaurants like Painturo's and Hermitage Steakhouse.  We ran into Chuck's cousins, Barbara and Donnie Wilkerson, at Hermitage Steakhouse whom we had not seen in 8 years!!  We enjoyed renting and watching some movies when we were over at my mom's and we had fun playing many card games of SkipBo and 7Up (sometimes until after midnight) when we were over at Donald & Anna's.

With all that good food, we knew we needed to get back walking again.  We got our 10,000 steps in most days by walking at Opry Mills.  I like walking outside better but in the middle of the summer with Nashville's hot and very humid days, the air conditioning was much appreciated.

We would always try to get to the mall a little before 8.  Since the mall doesn't open for shopping until 10 am, we avoided the crowds.

Four times around the mall plus about another 800 steps equals 10,000 steps (or 5 miles) for us.  The air conditioning and the country music playing over the speakers is nice but the scenery gets very repetitive.  I call it walking the Opry Treadmill.  :)

Beginning the second week we were in Nashville, we started biking about 10 miles around the Pennington Bend area near the campground after walking our 5 miles on the Opry Treadmill.

To avoid traffic we would bike down Music Valley Drive to Pennington Bend and McGavock Pike and then ride around the parking lot of an office strip mall about 4 or 5 times to get our 10 miles in.  I call this the "Pennington Bend" Spin.  :)

Nashville has some very good paved bike trails.  We had ridden out to Shelby Bottoms a couple of years ago.  We got real ambitious one day and decided to do a 30 mile bike ride out to Shelby Bottoms and then all the way out to Percy Priest Lake.

We began by parking at the Kohl's on Lebanon Road near Hermitage and then headed west toward Shelby Bottoms.  Of course, we usually always take at least one wrong turn with the first one being when we started down the drive of the old Ravenwood Country Club.

I have some very fond memories of going to the swimming pool with my friend Amy Oakley and her family at least 2 or 3 times a week when I was a kid.  Metro Nashville owns the property now and the pool, clubhouse and golf course are no longer operational.

We turned around and headed down the bike trail that took us through some beautiful farmland...

...and across the Stones River.

Although the trail is nice and wide and paved, and the scenery is very nice, it is very hilly.  I had to walk my bike up the steepest hill that goes up to and under McGavock Pike.  Chuck took it slow and made it all the way up on his bike.  We next rode through Two Rivers Park and after passing the Wave Pool, we crossed over the Cumberland River.

The trail out to Shelby Bottoms follows along Cumberland River...

...and was shaded and flat most of the way out to Shelby Bottoms.  :)

We rested for a few minutes and drank some water and then headed back the way we came.  Unfortunately, you have to climb a steep spiral trail... get back up to the bridge that takes you back across the Cumberland River.

But I took my time and made it up without walking my bike this time.  We carefully rode back down the steepest part of the trail past McGavock Pike and back across the Stones River.

In addition to nice shade in parts,

the trail also follows along the Stones River.

We crossed the Stones River again...

...and when we arrived back at Kohl's where we parked the car, we rested a few minutes, drank some water and ate some fruit.  Then, we got back on our bikes and headed east toward Percy Priest Lake.

The trail continued along Stones River...

with part of the trail being a boardwalk constructed on top of bridge pylons along the bluffs.

Again, a lot of the trail was shady...

but it was also very hilly.  Are we having fun yet???

When we reached the dam,

we did some calculations and realized we would not hit 30 miles if we just turned around and rode back to the car.  So, we rode some off-shoot trails that were also very hilly and then began heading back at a point where we thought we would reach 30 miles at the car.  We reached another long hill where I had to take a short break, drink some water, and walk my bike for a short distance.  Slow and easy Chuck made it up the hill just fine.  :)  When we got back to Kohls, we were still about 9/10 of a mile short so we rode behind the strip mall and back and when we reached the car we were at 30 miles on the dot!  Our longest bike ride ever!!

We proved to ourselves that we could ride 30 miles but I don't know that we will be riding 30 miles on this trail again.  The hills were a little overwhelming!  Nashville has some really awesome bike trails, but you better just be prepared to pump...a lot.  :)

We are SO VERY BLESSED with such a wonderful family and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit "back home".  Now, we're off to Atlanta to enjoy even more time with our kids and grandkids as we await the arrival of granddaughter #5!!  :)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Fun with our Fall Creek Falls Family

A summer "vacation" at Fall Creek Falls is always fun but two weeks with Donald & Anna and all the crew is especially fun!  Donald & Anna and many friends and family members have been coming to Fall Creek Falls over the 4th of July for over 30 years.  The last time we were here for this annual summer event was before we started full-timing in 2011.  I was still working then and could only be here on the weekends so I was REALLY looking forward to a whole 2 weeks of fun!

Many, many games of cornhole were played over those two weeks.

We would play cornhole until it got so dark you could barely see what you were throwing at.

Sometimes it seemed that no matter how hard you tried those bags just refused to go through the hole.

We also rode bikes some...

...but not as much as we would have liked because Chuck got a flat in his bike the last week.  :(

Of course, we ate lots of good food.  Unlike "Feed Week" in Daytona where we would eat out every night, these good Southern chefs cooked anything from grilled burgers, hot dogs and steaks, to quesadillas and fajitas.

And there were desserts EVERY NIGHT!!!  Now that's my kind of camping!  :)  We had apple dumplings, peach cobbler, s'mores, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, pecan pie, banana nut bread, and homemade ice cream.  We even made ice cream in a Ziploc bag.

We played lots of card games including 7-up, SkipBo, Golf, Nerts, and Spades.  And the weather was just about perfect with just a few rain showers.

But even when it rained, we thought of fun things to do.  Chuck even learned how to give me a French manicure!

What a man!  Don't you see what a lucky girl I am?  

Ryan tried to make his Nana a Tennessee fan, but she wasn't too happy about it.  This is probably the closest you will ever see Anna wearing orange!  :)

Of course, with all the activities, the occasional afternoon nap was enjoyed by some.

Rachel tried out her new hammock,

but found it does weird things to your feet.  :)

An evening ride around the cul-de-sac was frequently enjoyed by the younger ones.  :)

We were treated to some "rolling bluegrass" around the circle too.

Everyone was excited when the 4th of July arrived.

The first event of the day was the annual campground parade...

...accompanied by the annual water gun fights!  :)

Next, was cake, punch and watermelon at the recreation field in the campground.

Jake tried to give Chuck some of his sticky watermelon but Chuck didn't want any.

Then, the games began:  sack races, tug-of-war, and the annual Fall Creek Falls Egg Toss.  There were more people participating in the egg toss than any other competition.

Little Joah was showing us he was ready to toss some eggs!  :)

Chuck and Donald paired up for the egg tossing event.  Hope you have as much fun watching it as I did!  :)

We rested for a little while that afternoon and then headed over to the Rec Hall for some ping pong.

Later that evening, we had a final cornhole tournament with Chuck and Sheila winning it all.  What a terrific 4th of July!  

There were a couple of very sad notes to the week.  Earlier in the week, we found out one of our dear RVing friends, Jackie Partlow, had passed away.  We had met Jackie and his wife, Linda, years before when camping at Defeated Creek.  Jackie was so full of life and always kept us laughing.

Then, Saturday morning, when most everyone was getting ready to go home, we found out that Allen Fuqua, Brent's dad, had finally lost his battle with cancer.  Allen and Wanda had been coming to Fall Creek Falls the past several years and this was the first year they had not been able to come.  Allen was such a good man and good father and all of the Fall Creek Falls family will miss him dearly.

We are just so very thankful that we live in a country where we have the freedom to live our dream of both traveling to see this beautiful country and also being able to spend precious time with friends and family in Tennessee, with our daughters and their families in Georgia, and with all of our wonderful RVing friends we have met and look forward to meeting along the way.