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.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Do we want to be Planners or Spurrers?

It's been several days since I have written a post on the blog so let me bring you up to speed of where we are now and what's going on.

First of all, great news on the air conditioner.  Trent with Kamperz RV Service repaired our rear air conditioner on Friday.  The part came in Friday morning and Trent had the new part installed and our rear air conditioner was working like new by noon Friday.  Woohoo!!!!  

If you ever need repair service and are in the area of Lexington, North Carolina, we highly recommend Kamperz RV.  They are very good at what they do and very reasonably priced. Their website is:

While we were waiting for those couple of days on the part to come in, we walked a couple of mornings,

got caught up on laundry, enjoyed sitting outside, and had dinner at Tar Heel Q again one night.

We also talked about where we wanted to go this fall, next winter, and next year.  We talked and discussed and planned and then talked and discussed and planned for two days.  With so many places we want to go and so many people we want to see, it can get rather confusing.  And our biggest problem is we are and have always been such planners.  Not that planning is a bad thing.  But we don't do very much of the "spur of the moment" kind of thing.  

And that is or should be one of the greatest blessings of our full-timing lifestyle.  Yes, it is a good idea to plan or have a general idea of where we want to go or who we want to try to see or what we want to do but it is very ok, even great, to just do things on the "spur of the moment."  

While we were trying to decide how long to stay at Forest Lake in NC, we looked at a map and realized we were only about 360 miles from Fall Creek Falls.  And every year for the past 30 years or so, Chuck's uncle and aunt, Donald and Anna, and their families, have been coming to Fall Creek Falls State Park for 2 weeks of camping and lots of fun around the 4th of July.  

So, we decided to be spurrers rather than planners for once.  And early Saturday morning we packed up, drove across the Smoky Mountains,

and headed for Fall Creek Falls State Park in Pikeville, Tennessee.  We ran into traffic from construction and a wreck involving 8 cars (thankfully, not serious!).  We also went through a couple of thunderstorms.

It was lightning everywhere and I caught this bolt of lighting on video.

We noticed a squealing noise when the exhaust brake was applied when we were driving slowly through one of the construction zones.  As we began paying attention to it more, the noise seemed to only go away when Chuck first let off the accelerator (like when descending a hill).  I began looking up everything it might be on the internet and trying to self-diagnose the problem.  We even begin to wonder if we should just drive on to Nashville and see about getting the problem looked at on Monday.

We stopped in Crossville to fill up with diesel and once we were on the road again, the noise was gone.  How weird is that?  I can't tell you how many times that kind of thing has happened to us.  Particularly in the motorhome.  We hear a weird noise going down the road or sometimes even when we are parked at a campsite and of course, we immediately assume the worst.  And then it the noise or problem just goes away (or hides).  We may still get the motorhome looked at when we go to Nashville; but for now, we decided to just continue on to Fall Creek Falls.

We called to confirm we could get into Mountain Glen RV Park which is a campground about 16 miles outside the park because we thought we probably would not find a spot in the campground at Fall Cree Falls at this late notice.  We arrived at Mountain Glen about 5:30 pm.

Mountain Glen is a quiet park with full hookups that is way out in the country.  The biggest problem is that none of the sites are level and it is a 25 minute drive from Mountain Glen to the campground in Fall Creek Falls where Donald & Anna and crew are staying.

We knew Donald and Anna would not be arriving until sometime Sunday.  We waited until mid-afternoon on Sunday to drive into Fall Creek Falls to see if Donald and Anna had arrived.   As of 4:30, they had not arrived at the campground; but through some tricky text messages with Anna, I learned they were only 30 minutes away.  While we waited for them to get there, we drove out to see the falls.

We drove to their site and surprised Steve and Darlene (Anna's niece) who are camped in the site next to Donald and Anna's, and then hid the car in another site and set up our chairs at the back of the Donald & Anna's site and waited.

I wish you could have seen the look on Anna's face when they pulled into the circle where their site is located.  She looked back once and then again with the facial expression of "What???"  They were SOOO surprised and glad to see us.  And we were SOOO happy to see them too!  :)

We are looking forward to a week or two of lots of card games, corn hole games, hiking, biking, golfing, swimming, and a WHOLE LOT OF FUN!!!  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Back to Forest Lake

We left the Refuge on Roanoke Island about 8:15 this morning and drove through the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge again as we were traveling west on Hwy 64.

We drove about 6 hours back to Forest Lake RV Park in Advance, NC, and only stopped for fuel.  Thankfully, we were able to get a site with shade at least at the rear of the site.  With the rear a/c not working, we really needed a site with some shade.

Kampers RV Service came out about 4 pm and checked out the rear air conditioner.  It looks like it needs a new capacitor and start button.  They had the capacitor but will have to order (or find through a local RV dealer) the start button.  We're hoping he can find it locally and we will have the rear a/c working soon!  It's supposed to be 93 tomorrow!

We sat outside until about 6 pm.  It wasn't too bad in the shade.  Chuck was a little tired after the long drive today.  I took a little nap outside too.  :)

We put a fan up at the front of the motorhome in an attempt to help circulate the cool air from the front air conditioner to the back of the coach.  Hope it helps!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Laundry and Loons

This was our last day at The Refuge at Roanoke and we planned on not doing anything in particular today except get caught up on laundry.

While we were sitting outside after breakfast, we noticed the loon was back.

The water was calmer today and he swam a little closer to us today.

I put together this little video so you could enjoy the loon too!

Later that afternoon, Chuck decided to fish a little while. We sat our chairs in the shade at the back of the motorhome and waited for a fish to take the bait.  Unfortunately, the fish were not biting at all.  Not even a nibble.  Chuck threw the rest of his shrimp bait in the lake and we enjoyed watching the minnows attack the shrimp like piranhas along with the occasional crab.

When I went back inside to check on the laundry, I noticed warm air (instead of cool) coming out of the rear air conditioner.  We tried turning it off for about 30 minutes and then turning it back on but the air coming out was still warm.  And it is supposed to be 97 degrees tomorrow in the Williamsburg area which is where we were planning on traveling to.  This is not good.  :(

We decided to go back to the eastern part of North Carolina instead -- probably to Forest Lake Campground where we had stayed a couple of weeks ago.  You may recall from the blog that when we were there, Kamperz RV Service came out and fixed our hot water heater.  We're hoping that maybe they can fix our rear air conditioner too.  If not, there are more RV dealers in that area of the state we can check out.  Plus, after we get the a/c fixed, we will probably travel into the mountains where it will hopefully be cooler!  :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Walking, Biking & Bears

After breakfast this morning, we decided to get some exercise in.  We needed it after 3 days in a row of eating delicious hamburgers at Burger Burger!

We first drove to the National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) Visitor Center in Manteo to get some information about the Alligator River NWR.  The Visitor Center is a very new facility with lots of exhibits and films regarding wildlife and National Wildlife Refuges in the southeast.  The Alligator River NWR is home to black bears, alligators and very rare red wolves.  We got a map of the Alligator River NWR and then drove over to Fort Raleigh and parked the car to begin our walk.

Don't we look like we are so happy and excited to be walking?  :)

Several flowers were in bloom along the trail.  I really liked these red and yellow daylilies...

...and these purple flowers.

The only wildlife we saw along the trail was the occasional squirrel.

We did pass these sheep that were grazing near this windmill on the Island Farm.

Since the Outer Banks didn't have much in the way of running water, early settlers built windmills to use for grinding wheat and corn and for pumping water.  The Island Farm is a "living history site" where visitors can see what life was like back in the 1800's.

Today was a very sunny and warm day.

We really appreciated the shady parts of the walking trail.

I forgot to wear my pedometer.  Usually, it takes us around 90 minutes to walk 10,000 steps so Chuck just timed us.  After walking 45 minutes down the walking trail, we turned around and walked back.  After we got back to the car, we drank some water and then got on our bikes.  We rode to where we had walked to on the trail which was 2.6 miles which meant our round trip walking was 5.2 miles.  We then rode our bikes further for a total of ten miles round trip.  I think we worked off those hamburgers and then some!  :)

Back at Fort Raleigh where we had parked the car, I noticed this very big tree growing sideways out of the ground.  I wonder how old it is and how many hurricanes it has lived through.  We read somewhere that hurricanes or tropical storms occur somewhere in or around the Outer Banks every 1.33 years!  Maybe that's why the tree is growing sideways.  :)

After getting back to the motorhome, we decided to skip lunch and have "lupper" at Captain George's. After all we did just walk 5.2 miles and bike 10 miles!  :)  A fellow camper we talked with at Forest Lake Campground told us about Captain George's and how the food there is so good.  You could order the buffet or off the menu.  Because this was our first time, we went for the buffet which included all-you-can-eat crab legs.

The food was very good and, of course, we ate too much; but we won't be doing a buffet again for a very long time.  In fact, it's going to be back to just salads for supper for us for a while.

Since it was still daylight when we got back home, we decided to drive to the Alligator River NWR and see if we could find some bears.  The "driving trail" is gravel...

and takes you through farmlands and by canals.

We had been riding for about 30 minutes and had not seen or heard any wildlife except the big horseflies buzzing around the car.  

We turned around at the end of the "driving trail" and just about the time I was about to give up, eagle-eye Chuck spotted a bear.

We were a long ways away from the bear but we were able to see him stand up and then start walking on all fours along a ditch next to a road in the distance.

We drove a little further and Chuck spotted this smaller bear.

I spotted this raccoon.  :)

As we drove on a little further, he spotted the 3rd bear but this guy was a little closer.

We watched him (or her) for several minutes and I was able to take some videos.  You can hear the horseflies buzzing around the car in the video.  Makes you feel like you are right there swatting with us!  :)

Pretty cool!  We didn't see any red wolves (but didn't really expect to).  We didn't see any alligators either.  But we saw 3 black bears!!  I'd say our wildlife adventure for the day was a success!  :)